Angel Nation & Brett Beckwith
Angel Nation (Archangel) was tasked with besting a pair of trotters who have been on a tear of late. The Melissa Beckwith-trained Angel Nation started from post four in Friday’s Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel and was squaring off against Reign Of Honor (Shawn Gray), who has won six of his previous eight starts, and Joxter (Dan Daley) who had hit the board in all ten starts to begin his season, usually while competing in the Open either locally or at Vernon Downs. Angel Nation got the jump on his major dangers when he left and cut the mile in the Friday feature although Joxter, the race’s favorite at odds of 3-2, marched up on the outside to race parked out from just after the start. The Beckwith trainee went through a first half in an honest 56.2 with Joxter to his flank. All the while, the longest shot on the board Oh So Pine (Larry Stalbaum) sat the pocket behind Angel Nation and became a factor late in the mile. Reign Of Honor got away last and although he shook free around the final turn, his move proved to be too little too late. Angel Nation drew clear in the stretch and opened up by a couple lengths but made a break under the shadow of the wire. The five year old survived an inquiry and stood as the Open’s winner paying $8.20 in a mild upset. Joxter toughed it out to finish second while Oh So Pine earned the show spot. Reign Of Honor had to settle for fourth. The exacta and triple in the feature returned $25.80 and $168, respectively. Angel Nation is owned by Bill Hartt of Carmel, ME in partnership with trainer Melissa Beckwith. Brett Beckwith piloted the winner in the $16,000 Open for trotters.
Live racing continues on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm.
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy
Rocket Mac & Leon Bailey
Rocket Mac, trained by Amanda Kelley and driven by Leon Bailey, won Friday night’s 7th race in 1:54.1.
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy
Debs Prince Hall & Alek Chartrand
In what has been a breakout season for her at Saratoga Casino Hotel, trainer Erica Chartrand secured a training double on Friday evening. Chartrand’s (Conway Hall) had consistently finished first or second in the winners of two but not more than five class for trotters this spring before traveling out of town for a stint in the New York Sire Stakes. Debs Prince Hall was back to the Spa on Friday to compete in one of the $11,000 co-features for trotters and driver Alek Chartrand powered the talented three year old up first-over.
The gutsy sophomore fought gamely on the outside before wearing down the race’s leader and powering away to prevail by better than two lengths in 1:58.2. Debs Prince Hall, who is owned by Richard Vale of Cambridge, NY, has now finished first or second in five consecutive local starts. Team Chartrand teamed up for another win on Friday when their Valor (Always B Miki) broke his maiden while following the same path as stablemate Debs Prince Hall by taking the first-over journey to the winner’s circle. Valor’s first career score came in 1:55.4 to complete the double for Erica and Alek Chartrand. The three year old Valor is owned by Mike Moore of Old Westbury, NY.
Live racing continues on Saturday evening at Saratoga with first post time set for 5PM
Photo: Melissa Simser
Stop Staring & Billy Dobson
Driver Billy Dobson has been battling with defending champion Jimmy Devaux at the top of the driver standings in the first few months of the 2022 campaign at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Coming into Friday night second among local drivers in ‘22, the 38 year old reinsman swept both halves of the co-features. With no Open on the card, two divisions of $10,500 pacing events for colts and geldings served as co-features and Dobson went coast-to-coast in both races. Stop Staring (So Surreal) set a lifetime mark earlier in the season when he cruised to a 1:52.4 victory on the engine and while Friday’s victory wasn’t quite as fast as his previous score, the 1:53.2 final time certainly stood out as impressive. The Amanda Kelley-trained Stop Staring had little difficulty prevailing on Friday and did so as his race’s 1-2 top choice in the wagering. Major Makover also went the distance with Dobson in tow as the Gary Levine trainee prevailed for the fourth time in his last five starts, scoring in a seasonal best 1:54.2 on Friday to complete the driving double for Dobson.
Live racing continues on Saturday evening with a first post time of 5PM.
Photo: Melissa Simser
Askmenoquestions & Phil Fluet
Askmenoquestions, trained and driven by Phil Fluet won the $11,250 finale at Saratoga tonight in 1:58.4