No trainer has won the Open Pace more times in the last decade at Saratoga Casino Hotel than Jackie Greene. The track’s two-time leading trainer splits her time between Saratoga and Plainridge as she has several top-flight, Open caliber pacers. On Saturday evening, Greene’s Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) was the 2-5 betting favorite in the local Open Pace as the six year old made his return to town off a victory in the Plainridge Open last week.
Driver Jay Randall took back early with the public’s odds-on choice on Saturday but with the first half going in just 57.2, it didn’t necessarily shape up to be a closer’s race. Moonshine Kisses picked up the cover of rival Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) who has become a force in the Open this summer and was coming off a win in last week’s installment of the $16,000 feature. The outer tier thrived and as Optical Illusion N wore down the leader, Moonshine Kisses tipped off his cover and came charging hard in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:52.4 to record his second local Open win of the year and his sixth victory overall in thirteen seasonal starts.
Optical Illusion N was the runner-up while Patrikthepiranha A (Brett Beckwith) closed to be third. Moonshine Kisses, who is owned by Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY, paid $2.90 to win as the big favorite and led an exacta and triple that returned $11.80 and $36, respectively. The victory was the sixth at the Spa this season in the Open Pace for Jackie Greene.
Live racing continues on Sunday with a matinee beginning at noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser