Nuttin But Finesse & Luke Hanners

Nuttin But Finesse and driver Luke Hanners won Saturday night’s open pace in 1:52.2 This was Nuttin But Finesse’s 9th win in 2022. The 4 year-old Art Major is trained by Janice Connor.

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

La Bella Vita N & Shawn Gray

La Bella Vita N (Changeover) has been a force in the Fillies and Mares Open since coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel this summer. The Alicia Gray trainee won the ladies’ Open three times from the beginning of August through the start of October despite competing out of town in a good chunk of her starts over the course of that span.

On Monday afternoon, La Bella Vita N came into the feature off back-to-back runner-up tries while a beaten favorite in each of those second-place finishes. She was once again the public’s top choice in Monday’s $16,000 Open when reinsman Shawn Gray sat patiently in the early going. Getting away last in the six-horse feature, she remained last in a first half that went in 56.4.

With last week’s Open winner Sea Shadows (Brett Beckwith) on the lead, La Bella Vita N revved up the engine and powered up first-over before taking over the lead turning for home. The favorite made good at odds of 3-5 when she stopped the timer in 1:55.2 to record her fourth victory in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa.

Fond Memories A (Larry Stalbaum) finished second in her debut in the ladies’ feature while Sea Shadows (Brett Beckwith) held on to earn the show spot. La Bella Vita N is owned by Bowie Racing and Michael Goldberg Racing. Trainer Alicia Gray and driver Shawn Gray also teamed up for the winner of Saturday night’s Open Pace for the boys as their Alluneedisfaith N overcame post eight to record his fourth win in the local feature since coming to town late in the summer.

Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 5pm. | Saratoga Springs, New York

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Innisfallen & Jordan Derue

Innisfallen and driver Jordan Derue won Sunday’s open trot in 1:57.2. The 6 year old by Explosive Matter is trained by Brett Derue.

Live racing at Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Alluneedisfaith N & Shawn Gray

Alluneedisfaith N (Art Major) has been nothing shy of dynamic since coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel late in the summertime. The Alicia Gray trainee has had to deal with outside posts in each of his local tries but has been undaunted finishing first or second in the six consecutive starts that he’s made in the Open Pace heading into his most recent try.

On Saturday night, Alluneedisfaith N drew post eight for his attempt in the $16,000 Open and left a bit at the start to settle in mid-pack. The race’s favorite worked hard in the early going but settled onto the front-end in a first half paced in 56.1. Alluneedisfaith N powered up on the outside and just unloaded on the favorite taking over the lead around the final turn.

Under just mild urging from driver Shawn Gray, Alluneedisfaith N reported home a length winner in a mile clocked in 1:53.4 on a chilly night in Saratoga. Longshot Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) got away last in the eight-horse feature but came charging hard in the stretch before finishing second at odds of 30-1. Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) earned the show spot to continue what has been his breakout campaign at the Spa.

The morning line favorite, Alluneedisfaith N paid $7.60 to win in what was his fourth Open victory since coming to town in August and his eleventh win overall in the 2022 season. The eight year old is owned by Doug Overhiser of New Smyrna Beach, FL.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that begins at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Sea Shadows & Brett Beckwith

Sea Shadows (Shadow Play) continued her magical 2022 campaign on Monday afternoon when the Melissa Beckwith trainee scored in the Fillies and Mars Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The seven year old mare recorded her fourteenth victory of the season as she went wire-to-wire with Brett Beckwith at the controls.

Sea Shadows carved out first-half fractions of 27.2 and 56.4 before being met with the challenge of the race’s 2-5 betting favorite La Bella Vita N (Shawn Gray). Sea Shadows proved up to the task as she turned back La Bella Vita N who had to settle for being the runner-up in the $16,000 feature. Shallow (Brian Cross) sat the pocket to the winner and wound up finishing third.

Sea Shadows paid $7.80 to win in the Open as the second-choice in the wagering. It was the seventh score in the local Fillies and Mares Open this season for Sea Shadows, the most of any distaffer in the ’22 campaign. The mare, who moved her career earnings to over the $350,000 in Monday’s win, is owned by Paul O’Neil of Saratoga Springs.

The win was one of three on the afternoon for the Beckwith stable and reinsman Brett Beckwith who is enjoying a breakout year in just his second full season in the sulky.

Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time of 5pm.

Mike Sardella
Photo: Melissa Simser

Majestic Fire & Luke Hanners

Majestic Fire (Majestic Son) moved up into the Open Trot on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel following an eleven-length romp last weekend in his first start for trainer David Yates. He posted a dazzling 1:55.3 last Sunday (Nov 6) but drew post six for Sunday’s try in the $16,000 feature. Luke Hanners piloted the David Yates trainee to his impressive score and sat behind him once again this week.

The young reinsman asked the seven year old trotter for early speed and when they couldn’t find an early landing spot drove on to the lead. Majestic Fire posted fast fractions of 28 and 57 seconds in the first half before clicking off three-quarters in 1:25.3. Although he had built a big lead, Majestic Fire was under Hanners urging turning for home as he seemed to be tiring a bit. The red-hot trotter had enough to hang on to win by a half length in a mile clocked in 1:56 for his first Open Trot victory.

Owned by Josh Cukerstein of Halfmoon, NY, Majestic Fire paid $9.50 in the mild Open upset and led an exacta with Grinder (Jimmy Devaux) second that returned $58. The favored Big Box Hanover (Larry Stalbaum) came on to finish third and complete a $184 triple. Majestic Fire gave Hanners one of his three winners on the Sunday card.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a matinee starting at noon. There is a $2,967 carryover in the Pick Five which begins in the Monday opener. The Pick Five is a 50 cent wager.

Saratoga Springs, New York

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Moonshine Kisses & Jay Randall

Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) is making a late run at Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jackie Greene-trained pacer rattled off his third consecutive victory and fifth in his last six tries in the local Open Pace on Saturday. Contending with the outside post for the third straight week, he changed tactics just a bit this week and floated out a bit at the start.

Driver Jay Randall found placement in mid-pack with the race’s 4-5 betting favorite and pacesetter Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) powered through a first half in 56.3, Moonshine Kisses bided his time. Randall unleashed the favorite heading to the three-quarter pole and when the Greene trainee made his move, it proved to be too much for his competition. Moonshine Kisses secured a decisive victory, stopping the timer in 1:52.3 for his ninth win of the season in just seventeen tries and his fifth in the last six starts in the local Open.

Crockets Cullen N finished second in a $10.20 exacta while longshot American R ebel (Luke Hanners) earned the show spot to round out a $52.50 triple. Moonshine Kisses is owned by Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that begins at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Way Too Sweet & Jordan Derue

On what was a big afternoon for her connections, Way Too Sweet (Rockin Image) pulled off the upset in the Bunny Lake Pace Final on Monday afternoon at Saratoga. Andy Gardner sits second in the trainer standings at the Spa this year and on Monday, the conditioner scored a hat trick. Gardner’s Way Too Sweet was a leg three winner in the Bunny Lake Pace but was faced with the task of defeating Racey Rach N (Chris Long) in the $34,200 Series Final. Racey Rach N rattled off an incredible eleven consecutive wins upon coming to Saratoga this summer but showed a bit of vulnerably for the first time when defeated in her leg three try last week.

The Lisa Zabielski-trained Racey Rach N was the 1-9 betting favorite once again on Monday afternoon and sat the pocket to rival Captain’s Star (Shawn Gray) in a first half that went in 58 seconds. Way Too Sweet and driver Jordan Derue powered up first-over and dueled with Captain’s Star for the majority of the second lap before wearing the leader down turning for home. Racey Rach N pulled the pocket around the final turn and swept up three-wide in the stretch to square off with Way Too Sweet before ultimately coming up just shy in a mile clocked in 1:55.3.

Way Too Sweet, who is owned by George Tackley and Wendy Storrier, recorded her fifth and biggest victory of the season, paying $23.80 to win. Racey Rach N had to settle for second and completed a $45 exacta while Captain’s Star earned the show spot to round out a $211 triple. The score in the Series Final was one of four in sulky on the afternoon for Jordan Derue who also guided his Always Watching to a victory in the Fillies and Mares Open as well as piloting a pair of winners for his brother trainer Brett Derue. Way Too Sweet adds her name to the short list of Bunny Lake Pace Series’ winners that started last year when North Country swept the first annual series.

Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with first post time set for 5pm. | Saratoga Springs, New York

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Perfect Titan & Jimmy Devaux

Perfect Titan (trained by Amanda Kelley) scored an impressive victory in today’s Jim Derue Memorial Trot final, winning by 8 lengths and trotting in 1:57.1. The three year-old gelding by E L Titan was driven to the win by Saratoga’s leading driver Jim Devaux. Perfect Titan is owned by Scheigert & Allies Racing and Gmp Stables.

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, NY

-Melissa Simser

Blue Collar Man & Dan Daley

Saturday night marked the conclusion of the eighth annual installment of the Gary Kamal Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel with Blue Collar Man at the front. The Final for the series named in the memory of a longtime Saratoga horseman who passed away in 2007 appeared to be up for grabs as the lone pacer who swept the three legs of the series drew post eight for his try in Saturday’s $35,000 Final.

Pickup Man Hanover was the public’s 9-5 betting favorite on Saturday despite the poor draw but the post position got the best of the talented three year old. Blue Collar Man (Bolt The Duer) was a beaten favorite twice in the series while confronted with defeating Pickup Man Hanover who wound up in the same division as the Dan Daley-trained pacer in each of the three legs. It was the Dan Daley trainee who flipped the script on Saturday and wound up on the front-end in the Final.

The sophomore paid a stiff price for getting to the lead though as he posted first-half fractions of 26.3 and 55 seconds before facing a host of challengers turning for home. The Blue Collar Man held on to score, winning a photo with longshot Special FX (Chris Long) to prevail in 1:53.4 and become the eighth winner in the history of the Gary Kamal Pacing Series. Special FX, a leg one winner, was the runner-up on Saturday while Skyline Blue Chip (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot.

Blue Collar Man paid $5.80 to win as the second-choice in the wagering and led an exacta and triple that returned $50.50 and $425.50, respectively. The three year old Blue Collar Man is owned by Ann-Mari Daley and Donald Brenner, both of Florida.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that starts at noon. | Saratoga Springs, New York

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser