There were two divisions of the Step Up To The Plate Claiming Series for trotters that served as co-features on the Monday afternoon card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The winners of the two divisions from last week’s (March 13) first leg squared off with each other on Monday as Esa and The Royal Poze slugged it out for their share of the $22,500 leg two purse. Esa, who was claimed out of leg one, went coast-to-coast to score in that start but on Monday wound up having to move first-over on his race’s favorite JNR Express (Jay Randall). Esa fought gamely before wearing down the favorite to score in 1:56.1. It was the fourth victory of the season for Esa who was again claimed on Monday and will head into leg three of the series under the guidance of yet another set of new connections. JNR Express was the runner-up for the third consecutive week while leg one winner The Royal Poze (Jimmy Devaux) came on to finish third. All three of the top finishers from this division were claimed on Monday.
The other division of the second leg of the series went the way of Live Well Lived (Muscle Mass). Claimed out of leg one by trainer Kevin McDermott, Life Well Lived drew the rail and controlled the action from start to finish to pay immediate dividends for his new connections. Shawn Gray sat behind the nine year old trotter who proved to be a decisive winner in 1:57.2 as his race’s odds-on favorite. Mr Cool Seaeyre N (Brett Beckwith) made a break in the early going and still toughed it out to finish second while First Gunner (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Leg three of the Step Up To The Plate Claiming Series for trotters will take place next on Monday (March 27) with the Final scheduled for the following week.
Leg one of the Step Up To The Plate Claiming Series for fillies and mares takes place on Tuesday afternoon highlighting the 13-race matinee that is set to begin at noon.
Photo: Jessica Hallett
Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York