Jackie Greene has enjoyed about as much success as any trainer at Saratoga Casino Hotel over the course of the last fifteen years or so. The two-time leading trainer at the Spa features a much smaller stable these days than the one she ran in the years when she ended up atop the trainer standings. More often than not, when we see Greene’s name attached to a horse, it is one that is competing in Opens or in levels just below. In the span of the last fifteen seasons, Greene has had five different horses be named Horse of the Year at Saratoga. Trotters Lorenzo Dream, Prime Interest and Stirling Cadet have earned top honors and pacers Gimmebackmybullets and Artful Way have finished atop the mountain as well for Greene since 2007. Artful Way, the Horse of the Year in ’17 and the co-winner of the award in ’18, is still among the top horses at the track and continues to compete at the Open level.
Artful Way came into Saturday evening’s start with a pair of victories on the season, one of which came against the track’s elite. The ten year old drew post five for his try in the most recent installment of the $15,000 Open Pace and had leading driver Billy Dobson at the controls. Dobson wasted no time powering the classy veteran out to the early lead but Artful Way had to work for the front-end. The tough effects of a first quarter in 27.2 were neutralized a bit when the classmaster got to the half in 57 seconds. With major danger Skyway Victor closing in first-over, Artful Way continued to roll along and after cruising through a third quarter in 27.4 had plenty left in the tank for the race’s stretch run. The 4-5 betting favorite hit the wire first for a 1:53.3 victory, a win time that serves as a new seasonal mark for the Greene-trained superstar. Coming up on 200 lifetime starts, Artful Way now owns 69 career wins and has earned over $785,000 as he continues to display top-flight talent as a formidable Open pacer several years after his first start in the local feature for the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury who have owned the classy vet throughout his time at Saratoga.
The Open success of Artful Way is not only nothing new for his trainer but wasn’t the only winner of the week in the track’s featured races for Greene. Robyn Camden is no stranger to Saratoga but moved to the Greene barn a few weeks ago. While competing out of the stable of conditioner Rob Harmon, the veteran distaffer enjoyed another six-figure campaign in 2021. The Irish-born Robyn Camden won in each of her first eleven treks on the track while racing in Ireland, stats that don’t factor into the current statistics that you see in the program for the now seven year old. 2019 was the breakout season in the States for Robyn Camden who put together a year in which she won fourteen races and hit the board 22 times in 29 starts. In her four year old campaign, she piled up $192,940 in earnings to get off to a sensational start to her career in the U.S.A.
The first time Robyn Camden raced at Saratoga was midway through her ’19 campaign. The young mare rattled off victories in her first three local starts before “losing” for the first time. Her season concluded after her debut try in the local Fillies and Mares Open which, of course, saw her win again. Four wins in five starts in the “freshman season” at the Spa for Robyn Camden whose winning ways spilled right over into the years the followed.
In the shortened 2020 season, Robyn Camden raced just once at Saratoga. Just pre Covid shutdown, the Irish invader prevailed in her lone start in the ladies’ Open at the Spa. She spent the remainder of her year racing at Yonkers, mostly against top-flight mares at the track. Last year, we started to see a bit more of Robyn again. She won the first installment of the Fillies and Mares Open for the season in March but didn’t make her return to the Spa for another couple of months following the victory. Upon returning, she scored yet again against the track’s top ladies. She prevailed in the Fillies and Mares Open again in June and then once more in August to move her local record at the time to nine wins in thirteen starts, a dazzling win percentage considering most of the time she was competing in Opens. Despite the fact that she didn’t factor much in her handful of tries upon returning to town in November and December, Robyn Camden was still a nominee for Pacing Mare of the Year at the Spa as a four-time Open winner in ’21.
After beginning her season at Yonkers while still competing out of the Harmon stable, Robyn Camden moved to the barn of Jackie Greene and finished second in her debut under the guidance of the two-time leading trainer. On March 7th, the seven year old swooped the group in the feature going last-to-first with Billy Dobson in the sulky to get back into the win column. Last Monday, the hard-hitting mare was at it again and this time changed tactics. Dobson powered Robyn Camden out to the lead in the $15,000 Open and the winning machine recorded her 39th victory in 98 lifetime starts by completing a wire-to-wire score in 1:54.4 while pulling off a minor upset at odds of 5-1. We’ll keep our eye on Robyn Camden as the season progresses as she now calls Saratoga home after dominating here over the course of her time at the Spa.
While Monday’s feature saw Robyn Camden score yet another victory, she wasn’t the only star to shine out of Greene’s stable. The New Zealand bred Alittlesidehustl N made her local debut in maiden competition after competing for the first time in the U.S.A. at Yonkers earlier in the month. Jay Randall was the controls behind the recent Greene acquisition as she posted one of the more resounding maiden victories that you’ll ever see. Alittlesidehustl N sat just off the blistering pace but, despite racing in second, was seven lengths off the lead approaching the half. By the time they got to the head of the stretch, the Greene rookie was better than eight lengths in front. What resulted was a fourteen and a half length romp that came in 1:54.4. Not bad for a maiden four year old! While Alittlesidehustl N’s name is tough to mention in the same sentence as Robyn Camden and Artful Way at this point, her dazzling Monday score certainly warrants eyes being on her moving forward as a potential future star out of the stable of Jackie Greene, a trainer that knows a thing or two about stars shining at the Spa.
Live racing takes place every Saturday evening starting at 5PM and continues on Sunday and Monday afternoons 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!