Crockets Cullen N & Larry Stalbaum
Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) has been an absolute force in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the last year and continued his dominance in Sunday afternoon’s feature. Larry Stalbaum owns, trains and drives Crockets Cullen N who finished up his 2019 campaign on a nine-race win streak in the local Open Pace. He began his ’20 season in style by winning yet another feature before going on what was, for him, a cold streak. Heading into last Sunday’s (June 28) Open, Crockets Cullen N had gone four starts at the Spa without a victory but broke that rare losing streak after getting a pocket trip behind the race’s betting favorite Hudson Phil (Shawn Gray) and besting him in the stretch.
On Sunday afternoon, Crockets Cullen N took on Hudson Phil once again as the top two pacers from 2019 at the Spa wound up squaring off in the stretch for yet another time. Stalbaum moved Crockets Cullen N out to the early lead in the $8,500 feature and after setting first-half fractions of 27.1 and 56.2 cruised past three quarters in 1:24.3 before facing his first challenge. Hudson Phil came from off the pace and followed live cover into a striking spot before fanning three-wide around the final turn. The chase proved to be in vain as Crockets Cullen N dug in to win yet another installment of the Saratoga Open Pace, scoring in 1:53.1. Hudson Phil came up second-best and now has been the runner-up in all three Opens since the return from the pandemic shutdown. Deetzy (Jay Randall) earned the show spot for the second straight week in the pacing feature. Crockets Cullen N paid $4.90 to win as the 7-5 second-choice in the betting. The exacta with the favored Hudson Phil second returned $10.20 while the triple with Deetzy third came back $30.40.
Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon with a 13-race card featuring NY Sire Stakes action. Two year old trotting fillies will be featured on Wednesday with first post time set for 12 noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino