Tuesday’s matinee featured two divisions of the second leg of the Bunny Lake Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. North Country (Roll With Joe) emerged from leg two as the only repeat winner after Billy Dobson piloted the Monica Krist trainee to her second consecutive pocket-sitting victory. After setting a career-best 1:54.4 victory in leg one, North Country again got a two-hole trip on Tuesday while mirroring the moves of fellow leg one winner Gingerbred Girl (Larry Stalbaum). The race’s favorite, Always Watching (Shawn Gray), who finished third in the race in which North Country set her new lifetime mark, came first-over on Tuesday and slugged it out with Gingerbred Girl. North Country surged up the passing lane and got the best of her rivals while stopping the timer in 1:56.4 to head into next Tuesday’s (October 26) final of the Bunny Lake Pace as the one to beat. Always Watching finished second while Gingerbred Girl had to settle for third.
In the afternoon’s other division, Tsimis (Mach Three) toughed out a first-over victory for trainer Andy Gardner and reinsman Jimmy Devaux. Tsimis, the runner-up to North Country in leg one, had the daunting task of taking on her race’s big favorite Pursuit Of Speed (Larry Stalbum) who recorded the fastest win of the series heading into next week’s Final when she cruised to a 1:54.3 score in leg one. On Tuesday, the Stalbaum trainee was again tough on the lead but succumbed to the pressure late from Tsimis who proved best in 1:55.3 to spring the mild upset at odds of 5-1. The inaugural Bunny Lake Pace Final will go for a purse of upwards of $30,000 and will be the feature on the matinee next Tuesday (October 26).
Live racing resumes on Sunday at Saratoga with a card set to kick off at noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino