In 2014 and 2015, Panocchio (No Pan Intended) was named Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jimmy Mattison-trained pacer also took home honors for Horse of the Year after his fantastic ’14 campaign. On Saturday night, Panocchio was back at the Spa after spending the winter racing at Pompano in Florida. The nine year old veteran drew the rail in the $12,500 featured Winners Over and driver Gerry Mattison marched the classy pacer out to the early lead. After getting a second-quarter breather, Panocchio clicked off a first half in 57.3 and had plenty left in the tank for the final lap. The first-over threat to the leader was the race’s even money betting favorite In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson) but he saw bid rebuffed by Panocchio who drew away to win in 1:53.1 to make his return to the Spa a winning one. Pocket-sitting Rise Up Now (Jimmy Devaux) finished second while In A Single Bound had to settle for third. Panocchio paid $6.30 to win and led an exacta and triple in the feature that paid $41.60 and $95.50, respectively. Trainer Jimmy Mattison and driver Gerry Mattison went two-for-two on the Saturday card at the Spa as their Century Endeavor (Shadow Play) came from off the pace to prevail earlier in the evening.
Live racing resumes on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino