The defending National Horse of the Year Mcwicked (McArdle) came to town for the first time on Saturday night to compete in the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Casie Coleman-trained Mcwicked earned more than $1.5 million in his award-winning 2018 campaign but recorded only one win in his first five starts in ’19 before heading into the season’s richest race at the Spa. Hall of Famer Brian Sears was in to drive Mcwicked and gave the classy eight year old pacer a second-over trip. With the race’s favorite This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) on the front end and rival None Bettor A (Joe Bongiorno) in the pocket spot, Mcwicked fanned off his cover after the three quarter time popped up in 1:23.1. This Is The Plan faced a two-pronged challenge in the stretch and it was Mcwicked who proved fastest of all, securing the biggest win of his season by stopping the timer in 1:50.3. This Is The Plan was the runner-up while None Bettor A had to settle for third. Mcwicked paid $9.80 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that returned $30.60 and $79. Mcwicked, who is owned by S S G Stables of North Boston, NY, becomes the 11th winner of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial since it was started in 2009. Originally contested as a series, the Gerrity became a free-for-all Invitational Pace in 2013. That year the track record was set by Bolt The Duer who paced 1:49. His record lasted just one year as Dancin Yankee dazzled in the ’14 installment of the Gerrity when he lowered that record to 1:48.4 in a world record performance that still stands as the fastest in Spa history.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino