There were three divisions of the second leg of the Virginia O’Brien Memorial Pacing Series contested on Thursday’s matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Each division for fillies and mares went for a purse of $10,000 as the distaffers had their last chance to earn points towards next week’s $30,000+ Final. A series that appeared wide open heading into it has proven to be just that as there was no repeat winner in the two legs of the series and none of the favorites in their races prevailed on Thursday. The fastest winner of the second leg was Mississippi Charm (Mach Three) who set a lifetime mark as she overcame a long first-over journey to prevail on Thursday in a career-best 1:56. Jay Randall piloted the Andy Sardella trainee who made a break as her race’s public choice in leg one but avenged with a resounding victory in the second leg, drawing away to win by two and a half lengths. Besting the race’s 1-5 betting favorite Jayda Nicole (Billy Dobson), Mississippi Charm likely punched her ticket to next week’s final with her best career performance in which she paid $8.30 to win. The win one was of three on the card for Randall.
Reflexionofroyalty (American Ideal) continued her winning ways in leg two as she secured her fifth victory in eight seasonal tries. Jimmy Devaux sat behind the Allen Sisco-trained four year old who came from well off the pace to spring the upset at odds of 7-1. Reflexionofroyalty paid $16.80 in her most recent score. Unusual Clarity (Betterthancheddar) sprung a mild upset of her own as Mark Beckwiith piloted the Paul Minckler-trained mare to the series victory. Getting up to win in 1:56.1, Unusual Clarity recorded the fastest of her three seasonal scores as she followed the leg two trend of winners coming from off the pace to prevail. Unusual Clarity returned $9.80 to win as she secured her spot in next week’s final.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. There is a Pick Five carryover of $1,977 to Saturday night’s pool with the Pick Five beginning in the evening’s first race.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino