Panocchio was the Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel in both 2014 and 2015. After another terrific season in ’16, the Jimmy Mattison trainee got off to a slow start at the Spa (by his standards) but on Saturday night earned his first local win of the year. Trainer Jimmy Mattison, who was inducted into the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame last month, saw his prized pacer go coast to coast in Saturday’s $14,000 Winners Over.
The defending Pacer of the Year Artful Way was the race’s odds-on favorite but made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn. Panocchio (No Pan Intended) didn’t make it look easy but as he usually does, dug in late in the mile wound up securing the win in 1:52.3 with Gerry Mattison in the sulky. He’s A Lock (Wally Hennessey) came on for second while YS Lotus (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot.
It was the sixth win in 2017 for Panocchio who had another strong winter/spring while competing in Florida at Pompano Park. On Saturday, the seven year old paid $6.80 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $50.50 and $386.50, respectively.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino