Optical Illusion N & Chris Long

Optical Illusion N (He’s Watching) instantly became a force after coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel last year. Lisa Zabielski trains and co-owns the New Zealand import who had a breakthrough season in 2022 scoring twelve wins en route to earnings of more than $114,000. For his efforts, Optical Illusion N was named a nominee for Pacer of the Year at the Spa in his local rookie season. The ’23 campaign kicked off last Saturday night (Feb 4) for Optical Illusion N who was dismissed at odds of 29-1 despite drawing post two for his try in the Open Pace. Shaking loose late in the mile, the Zabielski trainee came up just shy of upsetting having to settle for second-best in a mile clocked in 1:54.2.

This week, with no Open Pace on the docket, the $14,500 Winners Over was the evening’s feature and Optical Illusion N drew the outside post for his second start of the season. His regular driver Chris Long asked for a bit of early speed from the six year old pacer who found a spot mid-pack in the early going.
The rising star came motoring home in the stretch while surging past his rivals to win the Saturday feature in 1:53.3. With the would-be favorite taken out of the betting due to suffering broken equipment before the start, he wound up as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering and paid $6.50 to win. The favored Belmont Major N (Jimmy Devaux) finished second while Stop Staring (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Optical Illusion N is owned by Lisa and Kim Zabielski.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon with a matinee beginning at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York