There were two divisions of the second leg of the Charlie Hoffman Pacing Series contested on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Sunday was the last chance for the pacers to earn points towards next Sunday’s Series Final. Each of the $10,000 divisions saw a repeat winner as both Northern Rein (American Ideal) and Steve’s Hot Rod (Voracious Hanover) recorded their second consecutive victory on the matinee card. The Kerin Warner-trained Northern Rein prevailed in leg one despite making an early break in his race. The six year old rallied and powered into the lead at the half before powering away for the decisive score. In Sunday’s second leg, Northern Rein had Leon Bailey at the controls when he left to sit the pocket. Bailey didn’t wait long to pop the pocket and the race’s big favorite proved up to the task. Northern Rein drew away from his rivals to record a four and a half length victory in 1:55.2 and perhaps stamp himself as the favorite for next week’s Series Final.
Steve’s Hot Rod stayed red hot on Sunday as the Andy Gardner trainee went coast-to-coast for the second straight week with Jay Randall at the controls. The seven year old pacer worked hard to get to the top but once he did, it was over. Steve’s Hot Rod became the second horse on the day to sweep the legs of the series leading up to next week’s Final. The 1-2 betting favorite’s win was his seventh of the season. The victory was one of two on the day for Randall who piloted the winner of the $15,000 Open Pace as Rob Harmon’s Macheasy A (Mach Three) swooped the group to record his fifth win in the local Open in 2021.
Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with first post time set for noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser