The stable of trainer Jackie Greene has produced a lot of stars at Saratoga Casino Hotel going back as much as fifteen years ago. The two-time training champ at the Spa has wound up with a several award winners in the categories of Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year and has also taken home trophies for Horse of the Year on a handful of occasions. Greene has had two winners of the Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year Award in her close to decades at the Spa as well. Her Golden Ace was named top pacing mare at the track back in 2011 and Super Soph won the top ladies’ award after a strong ’15 local campaign. While Greene annually has continued to produce top-flight pacers and has had some strong trotters over the course of the last few years as well, there has been a bit of a gap among lady pacers to compete for her against the top distaffers at the track.
Owner Wayne Kellogg’s Kellogg Racing Stables LLC has featured local superstars such as two-time Horse of the Year and three-time Pacer of the Year Artful Way as well as Stirling Cadet who also took home a Horse of the Year trophy. The one thing he has been searching for for a few years has been that top-level mare to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open. As he has done numerous times over the course of the last decade-plus, Kellogg looked to New Zealand to find some talent and late in 2021 came up with a mare named Alittlesidehustl N. Sight unseen for Kellogg and Greene, Alittlesidehustl N was purchased in October of ’21 but the mare didn’t arrive in the U.S. until after New Year at the start of 2022. Greene gave her stable’s new mare some time to adapt and the $60,000 purchase didn’t debut at Saratoga until late March of last year.
Alittlesidehustl N was acquired by Kellogg and Greene in the hopes that she would become a formidable force in the Fillies and Mares Open. Without many credentials on her resume to that point, the four year old debuted at Saratoga in March and made an immediate impact winning her first try at the Spa before graduating out of maiden company. The wins kept coming for Alittlesidehustl N who prevailed in six of her first seven local attempts including a victory in the Final of the Virginia O’Brien Memorial Pacing Series, a race that went for a purse of $32,000. The mare was displaying to her new connections that she loves to race and likes to win and was giving indications that she could indeed become the Open caliber mare that Kellogg and Greene had hoped for when they acquired her. In fact, Alittlesidehustl N finished first or second in her first twelve starts at Saratoga covering a span of close to four months. By the time summer hit last year, Alittlesidehustl N had in fact graduated into Open company and although she didn’t win a local Open in ’22, the up-and-comer did finish as the runner-up once in the local ladies’ feature in addition to scoring a victory in a $30,000 Fillies and Mares Open at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts.
When the 2023 season kicked off at the Spa in February for Alittlesidehustl N, she was immediately thrust back into the Open. Dismissed at odds of 43-1 in her ’23 debut, Alittlesidehustl N finished second with her regular driver Jay Randall at the controls. Two starts later, it was another runner-up try in the Open for the now five year old who hadn’t quite been able to get over the hump. In her final start of March, Alittlesidehustl N drew post five in the $18,200 ladies’ feature and she shook her bridesmaid status. That is, the Greene-trained distaffer put the swoop to the group to score her first local Open victory. The mare who won thirteen races all together in her ’22 campaign recorded her first win of this year to add “Open winner” to her lengthening resume. Last Tuesday (April 4), the talented mare was tasked with trying to repeat in the feature, a difficult achievement for any horse competing at the top level. Making the attempt even tougher for Alittlesidehustl N was that she drew post seven in a nine-horse Open although she wound up moving in one spot due to a scratch in the race.
Alittlesidehustl N had not been on the front-end in any of her first fourteen starts in the local Fillies and Mares Open. Any questions of whether the mare isn’t good on the lead or if her connections were trying to keep her away from the front-end were answered last Tuesday when veteran reinsman Jay Randall moved Alittlesidehustl N out to the lead to overcome her outside post. Sizzling through a first quarter in 27.1 and cruising unopposed through a half in 57 seconds, the Greene stable’s leading lady scored her second consecutive victory in the $18,200 Open when she went wire-to-wire in 1:53.4 to complete her back-to-back jacks. When Wayne Kellogg purchased Alittlesidehustl N now close to a year and a half ago, he said that he wanted “a mare we can depend on with the hope that she becomes an Open caliber horse.” It’s safe to say he got what he was looking for after his stable’s top distaffer piled up close to $120,000 in earnings in her ’22 campaign and has now followed it up with a “sophomore season at the Spa” which has seen her post a pair of wins and two runner-up tries in her handful of starts in the Fillies and Mares Open this year. Interestingly, Alittlesidehustl N is the sixth different winner in the Fillies and Mares Open this season at the Spa and all six have the ‘N’ at the end of their name. The ‘N’ indicates the horse was bred and usually raised in New Zealand. The moral of this part of the story may be- need a top-flight lady pacer, reach out to New Zealand. That’s what Wayne Kellogg and Jackie Greene did when they sought a mare for the Open and it’s now safe to say they’ve gotten what they wanted.
Live racing takes place every Saturday starting at 5pm and continues with matinees on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday afternoons each beginning at noon. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!