With no Open Pace being contested this week, the $15,000 Winners Over was the Saturday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The race kind of had the look of an Open in that the runner-up in the last two installments of the local Open JK Panache was a member of the field. The Dave Dewhurst trainee was assigned the outside post in the featured field of six but was still backed by the betting public down to odds of 1-5. Shawn Gray forwardly placed the nine year old veteran in the early going in a race with sizzling first half fractions. Following a first quarter in 26.3, JK Panache waited until the dust settled and made his move to the top, clearing the lead in a half posted in 55.4. From there, the classy vet built up what proved to be an insurmountable lead ,drawing away at one point by four lengths before hanging on to win by a half length in 1:53.3. Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum), who finished third in last week’s Open just a couple of lengths behind JK Panache, again was bested by the classmaster and wound up as the runner-up in this Saturday’s feature. Longshot Ginger Tree Cash (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. The exacta paid $10.80 while the triple came back $58.50 with the big favorite on top. With the win, JK Panache moved his career earnings to over the $600,000 mark for Dave Dewhurst who co-owns the star pacer with Philip Hale. Shawn Gray piloted three winners on the card as he also guided the Jordan Derue-trained Best Shot N to a wire-to-wire victory and Joe De Carlo trainee In The Huddle to an off-the-pace score. The win was the fourth in as many weeks in the $15,000 claiming condition for the New Zealand invader Best Shot N. In The Huddle’s score came while competing in a $12,000 conditional try.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm.
Photo: Melissa SImser-Iovino