In 2013 and 2014, young trotter Cash Me Out took home the awards for Saratoga Casino Hotel’s Two and Three Year Old Trotter of the Year, respectively. The New York Sire Stakes star earned almost $350,000 in his first two seasons and subsequently was named the Spa’s top young trotter in each of those years. Fast forward several seasons and Cash Me Out entered his 2019 campaign with just shy of a million dollars in lifetime earnings and with multiple Trotter of the Year nominations at Saratoga. Though the Kyle Spagnola trainee hadn’t taken home any awards since his ’14 sophomore season, Cash Me Out has been a force against top-flight trotters at the Spa throughout his illustrious career.
In 2019, Cash Me Out began his season in strong fashion winning the first Open Trot of the meet in February and rattling off victories against the track’s top trotters in three of his first five starts. The eight year old, while super consistent on a year-in year-out basis, like any other horse, isn’t immune to a cold spell. After his solid start, Cash Me Out hit a bit of a lull and didn’t record a local win from March until July. After a couple of summer scores, Cash Me Out got hot again once the temperature got cold in the Spa City. Driver Phil Fluet piloted the Spagnola stable star to his first four Open wins before the meet’s leading driver Billy Dobson sat behind Cash Me Out in his fifth Open score of the season. Once fall rolled around, 2018’s award winner for the track’s top breakthrough driver Brett Crawford got the call behind the now millionaire high-stepper. The combination proved to be a winning one as Cash Me Out wrapped up his season by rattling off four more Open victories including scores in three of the final four installments of the $18,000 regular Sunday feature to put a bow on what wound up being an award-winning campaign. Yes, the Spa veteran was named Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year at the end of the season holiday banquet that took place on Saturday night. Trainer Kyle Spagnola was joined by Mike Traylor, of Ballston Spa, who has owned the star trotter throughout his career, as they accepted the plaque and framed picture of Cash Me Out after the announcement of his achievement. With more than $121,000 earned in just his local starts this year, Cash Me Out was the top earner of any horse at Saratoga in 2019. His ’19 campaign was the sixth out of his seven career seasons in which Cash Me Out has piled up over $147,000 in earnings en route to now over $1.13 million lifetime. Fittingly, on closing day for the ’19 meet, Cash Me Out reached a milestone as he won for the 50th time while taking part in his 200th career race. What a year it was for the Traylor Racing Stable’s superstar and for his trainer Kyle Spagnola who adds Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year awards to his collection which began when his Road Bet was named Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at the Spa in 2014.
Cash Me Out earned the track’s top honor after a season in which he won the local Open Trot nine times. There was a pacer who matched that total as Crockets Cullen N went on an absolute tear in the final few months of the year winning his ninth installment of the Open Pace on closing weekend en route to being named Pacer of the Year at the awards banquet last weekend. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who not only scored nine Open victories but won nine consecutive attempts in the Saturday feature. Prevailing despite having difficult post positions every week, Crockets Cullen N displayed versatility and sheer talent on his way to earning the track’s top pacing award. From August 31st to December 14th, Crockets Cullen N raced nine times in the $18,000 Open Pace and won all nine, a feat that hasn’t been achieved at Saratoga for decades. The late season surge for the New Zealand-bred was enough to get him past Hudson Phil who had been the winningest Open Pacer this year before enduring a fairly long stretch without an Open score to finish up his campaign. Still, the Jackie Greene-trained Hudson Phil had a breakout season as he won the Open Pace eight times in a stretch that spanned from March to August. Though winless in Open company in the final few months of the campaign, Hudson Phil did record three consecutive second-place finishes in his final four starts in a season in which he earned more money than any other local pacer.
Billy Dobson won his seventh local driving title in 2019 and subsequently won the Driver of the Year award. The Horseman of the Year, though, was Mark Beckwith who edged Dobson in the voting by the narrowest of margins. Beckwith finished fifth in the driver standings in ’19 and ran the track’s top stable with wife Melissa who took home her eighth training title this season. The Beckwith’s Happy Heart took home the award for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year despite winning just two Opens this season. Owned by Tom McTygue and the Masie Stable, Happy Heart amassed the most earnings of any lady pacer at the time of voting and wound up being named the track’s top mare for 2019. Horsewoman of the Year went to Michelle Crawford as the top-flight, all-around horsewoman was recognized by the voters after having a terrific campaign in her first full season as trainer for the stable she runs with husband Brett. A different Horsewoman of the Year nominee wound up taking home the Peerless McGrath Award for top breakthrough trainer as Lisa Zabielski enjoyed a monster season and finished third in the trainer standings. The Johnny Page Award for top breakthrough driver went to Steeven Genois who ended up ninth among local reinsmen in his first full season in the sulky at the Spa.
Two Year Old Pacer of the Year was Harry Landy’s Chuppah On while the Two Year Old Trotter of the Year was John Stark Jr’s C and T’s Credit. Three Year Olds of the Year were horses that enjoyed success locally as well as in New York Sire Stakes competition. Chase You, for Horsewoman of the Year Michelle Crawford, and the McGivern stable’s Powerscourt took home the awards. Claiming Pacers of the Year were Cool Jack ($7,500-$12,500 level) and Howmacsblackjack ($15,000 and up). The Filly and Mare Claiming Pacer was Pancakes while the Claiming Trotter of the Year award went to I M Fishin. Congratulations to all of the award winners and to all of those who helped make the 78th racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel a success. Live racing resumes at the Spa in mid-February. Until then, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the safest and happiest of holiday seasons and we’ll see YOU, in February, at the finish line!