Lake Charles & Greg Merton

Winning the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel this year is nothing new to the Scheigert Racing Stable, trainer Amanda Kelley and driver Greg Merton. That tandem has teamed up to win the featured race for pacers four times this year with their Some Waratah A. In recent weeks, it’s been a different member of the Kelley stable who has been competing in the $15,000 Saturday night feature. Lake Charles (Well Said) finished third last weekend and on Saturday night, the four year old drew the rail for his most recent try in the Open Pace. Merton was aggressive with Lake Charles and cut the mile with the 8-1 shot in the betting. After moving through a quick first quarter of 27.2, Lake Charles got a breather before reaching the half in 57 seconds. The favorite charged up first-over but was rebuffed by the gutsy Lake Charles who held off a late charge in the stretch from last week’s Open winner Quagmire Bluechip (Brett Beckwith) as well as Sports Obsession (Shawn Gray) to secure his first ever victory in the local Open. The win, which came in 1:52.4, was the third of the season for the Kelley trainee. Quagmire Bluechip finished second to extend his “on the board” streak in the Open to five straight while Sports Obsession earned the show spot. Lake Charles paid $18.20 to win in the upset and led an exacta and triple in the six-horse feature that returned $189 and $589, respectively. The win was one of three for Amanda Kelley and Greg Merton who also scored victories with their Our Corelli N (Bettor’s Delight) and Fox Valley Inferno (Sportsmaster) who each went wire-to-wire in conditional paces on Saturday.

Live racing will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon next week with matinees beginning at noon. Sunday racing will start up next weekend (Sept 12) with action also kicking off at noon. In his final start of August, Talking Tom broke his maiden with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky, a win that would break the seal for the improved pacer. He went on to rattle off three consecutive


Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy


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