Trainer Kyle Spagnola and driver Phil Fluet won the Open Trot together for the third consecutive Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Though that feat is impressive enough, it is made all the more noteworthy due to the fact that the three Opens have been won by three different horses. Two weeks ago, Waiting On A Woman went coast to coast to win the trotting feature while Cash Me Out got the job done last week (Nov 9). On Monday, If Not Why Not (Muscle Mass) made his second career start in the local Open and drew post four for his try in the $10,000 co-feature. Fluet moved the Spagnola trainee out to the early lead and went unchallenged in a first half that went in 57.4. Pocket-sitting Gruden (Billy Dobson) got geared up to go around the final turn and gave If Not Why Not all he could handle in the stretch before coming up just shy in a mile clocked in 1:56.3. If Not Why Not paid $12.60 in the mild upset and led an exacta with Gruden second that returned $24.40. Longshot TT’s D-Jay was placed third after a disqualification and completed a $153.50 trifecta. If Not Why Not is owned by Mike Polansky of Loudonville, NY.
The pacing half of the co-featured races on Monday went the way of a track superstar. Artful Way was Saratoga’s first ever three-time Pacer of the Year when he earned the honors each season from 2016-2018 but the Jackie Greene-trained stalwart is still on the comeback trail following an injury sustained last season. With just a dozen starts to his credit over the last two years, Artful Way has been in the Open Pace every week for the last five and after a second and a third-place finish in his last two secured his first Open win of the season on Monday. Sitting the pocket to the 1-5 favorite Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum), Artful Way took his shot around the final turn and had enough to get the better of the defending Pacer of the Year before stopping the timer in 1:54.1 for his first Open victory in more than eighteen months. Crockets Cullen N was the runner-up while Blaise MM Hanover (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. Artful Way, who is owned by Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC of Queensbury, NY and was piloted by Billy Dobson, paid $8.90 to win on Monday.
Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon with a Noon start to the card.
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy