Mega Miki & Leon Bailey
On an evening that saw an historic upset in the Kentucky Derby, the featured race at Saratoga Casino Hotel consisted of a shocker of its own. The 2-5 betting favorite in the $31,900 J.P. Morel Memorial Pacing Series Final was JM’s Rockin. This Monticello invader had not only gone eight for eight in the win column this year but hadn’t trailed at any point in a mile this season.
Making every pole a winning one en route to put together the incredible win streak, JM’s Rollin was poised to once again cut the mile in the Series Final. Behind the gate though, the race’s big favorite made an untimely and extended break taking him out of the mix at the get go. The Final became wide open at that point and two-leg winner Mega Miki (Leon Bailey) took to the first-over path approaching the half. A closer in each of his consecutive victories heading into Saturday night, Mega Miki posted a career-best matching 1:55 win in leg two of the series when he sprung an upset at odds of 8-1 with Bailey in the bike.
In the Final, the four year old Joel Flanders trainee came a back half in under 57 seconds before drawing away from his rivals in the stretch to become the ninth winner in the history of the J.P. Morel Memorial Series. 43-1 shot Lannister Hanover (Wally Hennessey) charged hard late to finish second while leg one winner Pound For Pound (Shawn Gray) closed to be third in a race that was a longshot bettor’s delight.
The winner paid a middling $12.80 on top but the exacta and triple returned a bulky $631 and $4,721, respectively. Mega Miki is owned by Joel and Karen Flanders of Argyle, NY.
Photo: Melissa Simser