Panocchio (No Pan Intended) has been named Saratoga’s Pacer of the Year in each of the last two seasons. The Jimmy Mattison-trained pacing star made his return from Pompano Park in May and had yet to secure a victory in the local Open Pace in 2016 before Saturday night. In the latest installment of the $15,000 Open, Panocchio was the 9-5 betting favorite and after leaving to get away third, wound up first over on rival BJ’s Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr). Panocchio got the best of the race’s frontrunner before coming on to win in 1:52 for his first local victory of the year. Gerry Mattison piloted Panocchio who bested runner up JK Panache (Wally Hennessey) by a half length while BJ’s Guy earned the show spot. Panocchio, who had four victories in the Pompano Open to his credit when he made his return to the Spa for the summer, paid $5.70 to win in Saturday’s score. The exacta returned $17.20 while the triple came back $44. Panocchio is owned by his trainer Jimmy Mattison in conjunction with Emile Johnson Jr.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino