Town Gossip & Joe Bongiorno
Two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three year old colt and gelding pacers were featured on the fifteen race matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday. Town Gossip (American Ideal-Flibbertigibbet-Albert Albert) came roaring out of the pocket to prevail in his $77,300 division of the NYSS for sophomore pacers. Joe Bongiorno piloted the Jenn Bongiorno trainee who sat the two-hole behind Southwind Petyr (Jason Bartlett) who came in on a two-race win streak. The race’s favorite I’ll Drink To That (Matt Kakaley) came first-over on Southwind Petyr who cruised through a first half in 56.2. I’ll Drink To That was turned back by Southwind Petyr in a third quarter that went in an eye-popping 26.4 and once Town Gossip found open road in the stretch, the race was over. The three year old gelding stopped the timer in a career-best 1:51.1 to record the biggest win of his season for owner Robert Weinstein of Bellmore, NY. Town Gossip was the runner-up in the Stakes Final last season as a two year old and is off to a strong start to his ’21 campaign after recording his third victory in his eighth seasonal try on Wednesday. Town Gossip paid $8.40 to win and led an exacta and triple with Southwind Petyr second and I’ll Drink To That third, respectively, that returned $20.80 and $33.40.
The $78,700 division of the Sire Stakes for colts and geldings went the way of last year’s two year old champion King James Express (Art Major-More Diamonds- Dragon Again). The Mark Harder-trained sophomore didn’t get off to the fastest of starts in his 2021 season but on Wednesday found the form that led him to over $200,000 in earnings and a stakes title last year. Reinsman Jason Bartlett sat patiently with the race’s 3-5 betting favorite who came from off the pace to record his first win of the season. The sophomore pacer powered past longtime leader Major Bean (Matt Kakaley) who came up just shy of the upset on Wednesday in a mile clocked in 1:53.3. King James Express is owned by Harder, Frost, Carleton and Lockhart. Major Bean finished second while Natameri (Wally Hennessey) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple paid $21.60 and $84.50, respectively.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening when night racing returns to the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino