Racine Bell (So Surreal) has been competing against the top pacing mares in North America in the last few seasons and on Monday afternoon, the Dave Dewhurst-trained distaffer made her return to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open. Jason Bartlett came to town to drive Racine Bell who was the public’s 1-9 favorite in the wagering despite drawing the outside post in the $17,150 feature.
Bartlett blasted Racine Bell out early but settled in third in the early going as local top-flight mare Sea Shadows (Brett Beckwith) carved out first-half fractions of 27.3 and 56 seconds. Racine Bell came off the rail heading to the three-quarter pole and although Sea Shadows looked to have something left, the Dewhurst trainee paced right by in the stretch to not only secure the Open win but do so in a final time of 1:51.3.
That clocking matched the all-time track record for pacing mares set in 2017 by Velocity Vespa and matched last year by the track’s Horse of the Year Surreal Feeling, who is owned by Racine Bell’s owners Chris and Dale Lawton. Sea Shadows was a super second while Alittlesidehustl N (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot.
The exacta and triple with the big favorite on top paid $11.20 and $36.60, respectively. Racine Bell’s win was her 28th in 68 lifetime starts and leads her closer to the million dollar mark for her career.
Live racing resumes on Friday evening with a 5pm first post.
Photo: Melissa Simser