Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) was raging with pace in the stretch in his debut in the local Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel last week. On Saturday night, the Tracy Tarantino trainee wasn’t going to risk getting caught inside again and driver Larry Stalbaum moved first-over at the half with Lord Willoughby A in the $15,000 Open. Bet down to odds of 9-5, the public’s top choice in the wagering was tasked with grinding local star Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) into submission after a half mile in 55.2. Lord Willoughby A’s pressure proved too much for that rival as the race’s favorite took over the lead past three quarters in 1:23.1. Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison), the runner-up in two consecutive Opens heading into Saturday night, shook loose around the final turn to serve as the stretch threat for the favorite. The chase proved to be futile as Lord Willoughby A stopped the timer in 1:52.2 to record his first win in the local Open. Century Endeavor came up second-best once again while last week’s Open winner Betterlatethnnever (Mitch Cushing) earned the show spot. Lord Willoughby A paid $5.60 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $21 and $88.50, respectively. The victory was the fourth in the last six installments of the Open Pace for Stalbaum and trainer Tracy Tarantino whose Crockets Cullen N has recorded a trio of Open wins in the last two months.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino