Sunday’s matinee was highlighted by a double feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. There were Opens on the pace and the trot, each going for a purse of $12,000 on the rainy afternoon. A couple of veterans scored victories in the co-features as JK Panache (Art Major) and Fox Valley Iliad (Vaporize) recorded wins. JK Panache finished third last week in his first start back since September and on Sunday afternoon, the nine year old marched out to the early lead. After an opening half of 56.2 over a track labeled ‘good’, JK Panache was met with the challenge of a pocket-pulling Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum). Those two pacers slugged it out for the final 3/8 of a mile before JK Panache stopped the timer in 1:53.3. Itsonlyrocknroll A was the runner-up while Poisonous (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. The favorite ran out of the triple for the second time in as many Open Paces this year. JK Panache now has record at least one win in the local Open Pace in four consecutive seasons. The $12,000 featured trot went the way of Fox Valley Iliad, following a disqualification of upset winner Golden Tate. Golden Tate got up to win by a nose at the wire but was DQ’d for a pylon violation around the final turn and subsequently placed second. It was the first career win in the local Open for the ten year old Fox Valley Iliad (Larry Stalbaum) whose mile was clocked in 1:57. Golden Tate wound-up as the second place finisher at odds of 17-1 while Delcrest Massy (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot.
Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12:15pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino