Rocknroll Runa A (Rock N Roll Heaven) won the final two installments of the Open Pace contested in 2023 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and trains the Aussie-bred invader who enjoyed a monster ’23 campaign that saw him earn more than $230,000 by way of thirteen wins. The first Open Pace of the 2024 was contested on Saturday evening on an opening day card that consisted of ten races. Rocknroll Runa A was moved to the lead in the early going by Stalbaum who sat behind his stable’s star in Saturday’s $15,000 feature.
The seven year old cruised unopposed through a first half in 57.1 but was challenged past three-quarters by Pickup Man Hanover (Shawn Gray) who popped the pocket to take on the favored leader around the final turn. Rocknroll Runa A proved up to the task as he stopped the timer in 1:53.3 to win the season’s first Open. Pickup Man Hanover settled for second best while Seventh Secret (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. Rocknroll Runa A paid $3.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $17 and $86.50, respectively.
Stalbaum completed a Saturday night double when his Crockets Cullen N prevailed in a $10,500 race for condition pacers. A former Pacer of the Year at the Spa, Crockets Cullen N made the first start of his thirteen year old season a winning one as he proved an impressive nearly three-length winner in a mile clocked in 1:55.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.
Photo: Jessica Hallett