A former Horse of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel was back in the winner’s circle on Wednesday night. Slugfest earned top honors at the track in 2015 when he was named Horse of the Year in the same season in which he took home the Trotter of the Year award for the second consecutive campaign. The Maureen Salino trainee was still among the track’s top trotters in ’16 but was lightly raced last season. With his 2018 campaign starting just a month ago, Slugfest is still on the comeback trail and while not the same kind of top echelon trotter he once was, the veteran dug in to record his first win of the year on Wednesday night. Brett Crawford piloted the nine year old in the $6,420 conditional race on Wednesday and moved the classy vet out to the early lead. Things appeared dicey when another former award winner at the Spa Coastal Region (Wally Hennessey) surged three wide and actually took the lead away from Slugfest heading to three quarters. The back-class of the former Saratoga star shined at that point, though, and Slugfest wouldn’t let the track’s defending Three Year Old Trotter of the Year clear him. Slugfest rallied and reclaimed the lead before drawing away late to prevail in 1:58.1 for his first victory of the season. Coastal Region had to settle for second. Slugfest was the race’s co-favorite but still paid $7.10 to win in his first score of ’18. The win was the 39thin the career of Slugfest, a career that has seen him earn close to $585,000.
Live racing resumes on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino