Mach Le More A & Jimmy Devaux

Amanda Kelley has been the winningest trainer in the Open Pace thus far this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Her stable came into Saturday night with eight wins in the feature for pacers and added another one to tally. Mach Le More A (Mach Three) prevailed in his previous try in the Open when he set a lifetime mark scoring in 1:52. Following a week off, it was back into the $16,000 feature for the Aussie invader who had leading driver Jimmy Devaux at the controls. Devaux blasted Mach Le More A out at the start and got to the top in a reasonable 28.1 before clicking off a half in 56.4. The seven year old still appeared strong through three quarters of 1:24.2 and his rivals proved no match for the Kelley trainee in the stretch as he paced away from them to stop the timer in 1:52 to match the lifetime mark he set in his previous start. Nuttin But Finesse (Brett Beckwith) sat the pocket and finished second while Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) surged to come on for third. Mach Le More A paid $9.10 to win in recording his third Open score of the season.

Kelley’s Lake Charles (Well Said) is the winningest horse in Opens this year at the Spa and dropped down into Winners Over company on Saturday night. Competing in a $13,750 event for pacers, Lake Charles put in pretty much a carbon copy effort from that of stablemate Mach Le More A as he assumed command from the get-go and went on to wire his field in 1:52.1 at odds of 3-1. Lake Charles, who like Mach Le More A is owned by Scheigert&Alliesracing LLC, was driven to victory by Shawn Gray.

Live racing continues on Sunday evening at Saratoga with a first post set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Southeaster & Chris Long

Southeaster (RC Royalty) became the sixth different horse to win the Open Trot in the last six installments of the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel when he sprung the upset. The John Roach-trained trotter went over the $100,000 mark in career earnings last week in his first start in the local Open. On Friday night, Southeaster drew post five in the eight-horse feature and was put in gear early on by driver Chris Long. Southeaster looped the field into the first turn and cruised unopposed through a first half that went in 56.4. The race’s favorite never posed much of a threat to the leader who clicked off three quarters in 1:26.1 and had enough in the stretch to hold off the late challenge from Gettin Messi (Shawn Gray) who finished second. The upset-minded ER Sophia (Jimmy Devaux) closed sharply to be third in the $16,000 Open. Southeaster paid $20.40 to win in the upset and led an exacta and triple that returned $122.50 and $502, respectively. The Roach trainee became the fourth trotter in as many weeks to be a first-time Open winner at the Spa. Southeaster is owned by William Miller II of Bluffton, SC.

Live racing continues on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

La Bella Vita N & Shawn Gray

La Bella Vita N (Changeover) drew post position seven in a seven-horse featured field on Sunday evening at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Alicia Gray trainee was making her debut in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa following a successful stint at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts. La Bella Vita N advanced a bit in the early going in Sunday’s $16,000 Open as Shawn Gray got her away fourth. Like La Bella Vita N, Always Watching (Jordan Derue) was in the local Open for the first time in her young career and drew the rail for Sunday’s try. That longshot was aggressive from the get-go and the 11-1 shot carved out first half fractions of 27.1 and 56.4 before rebuffing a first-over bid from the race’s favorite. All the while, La Bella Vita N drafted behind the cover of the favorite before fanning three-wide around the final turn. The seven year old New Zealand invader surged in the stretch and completed her swoop of the group to score in 1:53.1 in her first ever Open win at Saratoga. Always Watching finished a strong second while Birch Island Betty (Billy Dobson) came on to be third. La Bella Vita N, who is owned by Bowie Racing and Michael Goldberg Racing, paid $10.20 to win in the mild upset. The exacta returned $83 while the triple came back $364. The victory in the Open was one of two on the card for Alicia Gray and Shawn Gray whose Spicytuna Bluechip (Roll With Joe) scored earlier in the night.

Live racing will resume on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post time. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $2,326 starting in the evening’s first race.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Renée Casavant

Optical Illusion & Chris Long

Optical Illusion N (He’s Watching) came into Saturday night riding a modest win streak at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A winner of two in a row, the New Zealand invader in is the midst of his first season in the U.S. and has found a home in the Lisa Zabielski stable. The six year old had eight wins to his credit in 2022 when he made his debut in the Open Pace on Saturday night. Assigned the rail following back-to-back jacks down in company, Optical Illusion N was aggressive from the get-go in the $16,000 feature as driver Chris Long would not relinquish the early lead. After being challenged by a parked out rival in a first quarter of 27.3 and a first half of 55.4, the Zabielski trainee didn’t get much of a breather heading to three quarters either as the favored Hudson Phil (Billy Dobson) came knocking on the door of the leader. Those two sparred around the final turn but Optical Illusion N proved to be tough as nails as he dug in to win in 1:52.3 for a victory in his first ever Open try. Hudson Phil was a strong second while Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. Optical Illusion N paid $10.00 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $36.20 and $144, respectively. Optical Illusion N is owned by his trainer Lisa Zabielski in partnership with Kim Zabielski. The score was the first in local Opens this season for both Zabielski and reinsman Chris Long.

Live racing continues on Sunday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Renée Casavant

Kele Kele & Wally Hennessey

A pair of New York Sire Stakes races for three year old pacing fillies served as features on the Friday night card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Two fields of five were featured and each went for a purse of $82,500. John Mc Dermott’s Kele Kele (So Surreal) is in the midst of a strong sophomore season that saw her hit the board in each of her ten starts on the year heading into Friday’s try. Wally Hennessey catch-drove Kele Kele and powered the filly out to the early lead. After favorable fractions in lap one, Kele Kele had plenty in reserve for the final half and prevailed by almost two lengths in 1:53.3. The Mc Dermott trainee paid $6.10 to win in what was her third victory of the season. Kele Kele is owned by Garofalo, Hurrikane Racing LLC and Jonathan Klee Racing.

The other $82,500 division of the NY Sire Stakes also saw a wire-to-wire winner as Just Divine (Huntsville) recorded her first victory of her 2022 campaign. The runner-up in the Sire Stakes Final as a two year old last season, the Ron Burke-trained Just Divine drew the rail on Friday night with Jordan Stratton at the controls. The sophomore enjoyed comfortable fractions on the lead while traveling unopposed through a half in 58.3. From there, Just Divine had to hold off pocket-sitting favorite Valar Dohaeris (Mark Macdonald) and did so to secure her first score of the season, stopping the timer in 1:53.4. Just Divine paid $5.40 to win as her race’s second choice in the wagering. Valar Dohaeris finished a strong second to lengthen her “on the board” streak as she has now finished in the top three in all seven starts in ’22. Just Divine is owned in partnership by Donovan, Sbrocco, Henderson and Purnell&Libby.

Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga. There will be a Pick 5 carryover of $1,967. The Pick 5 begins in the evening’s first race which is set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Mach Le More A & Leon Bailey

Mach Le More A (Mach Three) won his first Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel back in April. The seven year old Amanda Kelley trainee is in the midst of a career year and has spent much of it racing in the local Winners Over, a level one below the Open. On occasion, Mach Le More A steps up into the regular Saturday feature and finished second and third place in his last two starts against the track’s best heading into this week’s try. Leon Bailey pilots the Kelley trainee and powered him out to the early lead in the $16,000 feature. With very little speed to test him in the early going, Mach Le More A enjoyed leisurely first-half fractions of 28.1 and 57.2 with Ucanttouchthis (Brett Beckwith), the race’s favorite, sitting in the pocket. Mach Le More A took advantage of those soft early fractions and paced up a storm in the final half before powering away to win in 1:52 pacing his back half in 54.3. Ucanttouchthis finished a solid second in his Open debut while Somebeach Baron (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. Mach Le More A set a new lifetime mark with his 1:52 score which was the eighth win in the Open Pace this year for owner ScheigertandAllies LLC, of Saratoga Springs, and trainer Amanda Kelley. Mach Le More A paid $7.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $22.20 and $90.50, respectively.

Live racing continues on Sunday evening at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

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.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Birch Island Betty & Billy Dobson

Birch Island Betty, driven by Billy Dobson, won tonight’s open filly & mare pace in 1:54. Birch Island Betty is trained by Eve Bergeron and this was her 3rd open win this year at The Spa.

Melissa Simser

Tattoo Artist & Wally Hennessey

The 13th annual installment of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace featured an incredible stretch drive on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Like most years, the race looked to be pretty wide open on paper with no clear cut favorite emerging. Trainer Ron Burke had two participants taking part in the $250,000 richest race of the season at the Spa and was looking to be the first trainer to win the Gerrity on more than one occasion. His defending champ This Is The Plan started from post two while stablemate Workin Ona Mystery drew the rail while looking to hold off, among others, the favored Linedrive Hanover as well as Tattoo Artist who was the second-choice in the wagering in Saturday’s big race.

Workin Ona Mystery (Tim Tetrick) cut the mile in the Gerrity and rattled off first half fractions of 26.4 and 54.3 before dealing with a wide move from Linedrive Hanover (Brian Sears) who spent the duration of the mile parked out. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) got the pocket trip behind his stablemate Workin Ona Mystery while speedy threat Tattoo Artist (Wally Hennessey) saved ground before finding room up the passing lane in the stretch. It was Tattoo Artist who surged in the final strides to get by his rivals and secure the victory in 1:50.1, the fastest clocking for any horse this season at Saratoga. Workin Ona Mystery was a strong second while Linedrive Hanover had to settle for third. This Is The Plan, last year’s winner of the Gerrity, completed the superfecta. Tattoo Artist paid $7.30 to win as the second choice in the wagering and led an exacta and triple that returned $24.20 and $92.00, respectively. Tattoo Artist is trained by Chris Ryder for owners Cannon, Let It Ride Stables and Diamond Creek Racing. With the earnings from his Saturday score in the Gerrity, the five year old Tattoo Artist now has piled up more than $395,000 in the ’22 campaign and just shy of $1.35 million in his career.

Live racing continues on Sunday evening at Saratoga and will feature a Pick 5 carryover of $4,706. The Pick 5 starts in race one. Also, the Pick Six Jackpot has grown to $7,081 with the Pick Six beginning in race seven.  First post time on Sunday is set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

ER Sophia & Jimmy Devaux

On Friday night, ER Sophia (Swan For All) found herself in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the just the second time in her career. The John Mongeon trainee finished fourth in her lone try in the trotting feature and headed back into the $16,000 Open on Friday evening following a close second place finish in last week’s installment of the Winners Over for trotters. Leading driver Jimmy Devaux found some early speed from the six year old mare who was facing a bit softer of a group than usual in the Friday Open. ER Sophia enjoyed a hassle-free first lap and coasted to the half in 59.2 before cruising out to win by open lengths in 1:56.4. Released at odds of 9-2, ER Sophia recorded her sixth victory of the season but her first in an Open. The race’s longshot Deswanslittlelorie (Leon Bailey) got the pocket ride behind the winner and ended up as the runner-up while dismissed at odds of 55-1. Theresademoninme (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. ER Sophia, who was a ten-time winner in 2021, is owned by Brenda Messenger of Monticello, NY in partnership with Scott Woogen of North Chesterfield, VA. The winner paid $11.80 and led an exacta and triple that returned $337.50 and $653, respectively.

Live racing continues on Saturday evening with a star-studded fifteen race program highlighted by the 13th annual Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. The $250,000 race is the richest of the season at the Spa and will be featured on a night where NY Sire Stakes action for two year old pacing colts and geldings will also take place. First post time is set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser