Sophomore NYSS Debut At The Spa
New York Sire Stakes action highlighted a fifteen race card on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Three year old colt and gelding pacers were featured on a night that featured a pair of $80,000+ stakes races for sophomore New York breds. Huntinthelastdolar (Huntsville-Eighthunrdolrbill-Bettor’s Delight) came to town off a lifetime-best 1:49.2 score in NYSS competition at Vernon Downs.
On Saturday, Wally Hennessey piloted Huntinthelastdolar for trainer Gregg Mcnair and sat behind the sophomore as he paced a sizzling first quarter in 26.3 before getting a significant breather and reaching the half in 56.3.
Huntinthelastdolar cruised to victory in 1:52.2 to record his second win in as many weeks. The three year old colt, who is owned by Gregg Mcnair, George Kerr and Bradley Grant of Ontario, Canada, was his race’s co-favorite at odds of 6-5. I Was Tricked (Braxten Boyd) finished second while Goldin Greatness (Jason Bartlett) earned the show spot in the $82,500 stakes event.
The $84,000 NYSS race went the way of Duval Street (Huntsville-Native Bride-Allamerican Native) who won the biggest race of his young career on Saturday night. Jason Bartlett piloted the Ed Hart-trained three year old who sat the pocket to Blue Hunt (Wally Hennessey) until evacuating the two-hole at the three quarter pole.
Duval Street overpowered that rival before pacing away to score by two and quarter lengths in a mile clocked in 1:52.4. Blue Hunt, the 8-5 second choice in the wagering, finished second to the 3-2 favorite on Saturday while Taste Of Honey (Brett Beckwith) was third best.
It was in a $20,000 Excelsior Series race on Saturday in which the fastest mile of the 2023 season at the Spa was paced as Storm The Court (Huntsville) scored in 1:51.4 with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer Mark Silva.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.
Photo: Jessica Hallett
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.
Photo: Melissa Simser
Twin B Joe Fresh & Jason Bartlett
The Independence Day matinee featured two year old pacing fillies on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for freshman fillies that each went for a purse of $51,300. Twin B Joe Fresh (Roll With Joe) was the fastest of the two year olds on the card as the Chris Ryder trainee made her Sire Stakes debut a winning one in 1:54.3. Jason Bartlett piloted Twin B Joe Fresh who won her lifetime debut at the Meadowlands in June while taking part in Geers competition. On Monday, the Ryder-trained up-and-comer cruised to a decisive score to move her record to two-for-two. She was the public’s 1-9 betting favorite in her $51,300 division.
Vivians Dream (American Ideal) was also a repeat winner on Monday as the Cory Mumford-trained filly was impressive for the second straight try in NYSS competition. Wally Hennessey picked up the catch-drive behind Vivians Dream who scored impressively in her debut at Buffalo Raceway and had little difficulty repeating. The final time for both wins to kick off her freshman campaign was 1:54.4. She was the 2-5 public choice in the wagering in her Spa debut.
The only mild upset of the trio of stakes races went the way of Ray Schnittker’s Hunting Season (Huntsville) who went coast-to-coast at odds of 5-2. The freshman filly came to town off a win at Pocono Downs and handled the move to the half-mile track with ease on Monday as she went wire-to-wire with Mark Macdonald at the controls. Hunting Season stopped the timer in 1:55.1 in her first Sire Stakes score. The freshman paid $7.10 to win as her race’s second choice in the wagering.
Live racing resumes on Friday evening at Saratoga when NY Sire Stakes action will again be featured as two year old colt and gelding trotters will highlight the thirteen-race card. First post time is set for 5PM.
Photo: Melissa Simser
Twin B Deluxe & Jason Bartlett
Saratoga Harness hosted the NYSS 3year old colt pacers today. Twin B Deluxe, trained by Andrew Harris, won the first of three New York Sire Stakes races each with a purse of $58,000. Driver Jason Bartlett steered Twin B Deluxe to the win in 1:53.
Moni For Lindy & Yannick Gingras
Iteration continued her sensational sophomore season on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the three year old filly kicked off a big day for her connections. In her $74,000 division of the New York Sire Stakes, Iteration (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows-Muscle Massive) wasted little time moving out to the lead with Brian Sears at the controls and the super soph had no difficulty cruising to her fourth victory of the season. Over a track labeled ‘sloppy,’ Iteration never faced a legit challenge before stopping the timer in 1:57.4 to move her seasonal earnings to just shy of $320,000 and her lifetime bankroll to close to $635,000. Sweeping Rainbow (Scott Zeron) finished second to the 2-5 betting favorite and completed a $5.90 exacta while Titans Hope (Jason Bartlett) earned the show spot and rounded out an $11.40 triple in the five-horse field. Iteration’s connections of owner Courant Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, trainer Marcus Melander and driver Brian Sears scored a natural hat trick on the Tuesday card when their big Sire Stakes victory was followed up by wins with Insured Am S (Chapter Seven), who came from well off the pace to score in a $15,000 NYSS Excelsior A event for three year olds, and Izzy Demsky (E L Titan) who completed the natural hat trick for her connections.
The $72,700 division of the NY Sire Stakes for sophomore fillies went the way of Moni For Lindy (Credit Winner- Live Moni-Conway Hall) who prevailed with Yannick Gingras at the controls. Moni For Lindy left alertly to overcome her “outside” post as she drew the four post in a four-horse race. The sophomore filly made it to the top before being confronted and bypassed by Contested Hanover (Scott Zeron) approaching the quarter. Gingras was content to sit the pocket which turned out to be the right move as Moni For Lindy trotted by that rival in the stretch to win in 1:56.4. Contested Hanover finished second while Splash Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) ended up third. Moni For Lindy, who is owned by Greathorse, of Hampden, MA, paid $8.40 to win in the four-horse field as she recorded her fifth victory in eight seasonal tries for trainer Domenico Cecere.
Live racing resumes on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino
Hamptons Babe & Jason Bartlett
Two year old pacing fillies took center stage on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel when the New York Sire Stakes were featured as part of the fourteen race matinee. There were two divisions of the Sire Stakes that went for purses of more than $70,000 and while each race consisted of a big favorite only one of them saw the favorite prevail. Freshman filly Gotthegreenlight (American Ideal) came into the day on a four-race win streak and the Nifty Norman trainee wound up as the 1-5 betting favorite in the $71,600 division of the NYSS. Gotthegreenlight wound up having to come first-over with Mark Macdonald at the controls and while she made a big push on the outside got passed in the stretch by rival Hamptons Babe (American Ideal-Anndrovette-Riverboat King) who surged in the passing lane and got up to win for the first time in her young career. The Tony Alagna trainee stopped the timer in 1:53.4 to break her maiden in resounding fashion and paid $13.20 to win in the mild upset. The favored Gotthegreenlight had to settle for second while Wine N Dine Me (Joe Bongiorno) finished third. Hamptons Babe, who was the runner-up in her first two tries in Sire Stakes competition before recording Tuesday’s win, is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, NY.
While the 1-5 favorite came up second-best in the first of the two divisions of the NYSS on Tuesday, the public’s odds-on favorite thrived in the $72,900 race for freshman fillies. Just Divine (Huntsville-Divine Caroline-Rock N Roll Heaven) came in as a winner of both starts in NY Sire Stake competition and was well positioned for the stakes hat trick as she drew post three on Tuesday. Matt Kakaley piloted the Ron Burke-trained filly who moved to the lead in the early stages and just powered away from her rivals before recording a decisive victory in 1:55 while under wraps at the wire. The heaviest of favorites at 1-9, Just Divine remained undefeated in NYSS competition and continued to make her case as the one to beat among freshman fillies this season. Just Divine is owned by Donovan, Sbrocco, Henderson and Purnell & Libby. A Girl That Twirls (Dan Dube) closed sharply to be second while Symphony Girl (Jason Bartlett) earned the show spot.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino
Town Gossip & Joe Bongiorno
Two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three year old colt and gelding pacers were featured on the fifteen race matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday. Town Gossip (American Ideal-Flibbertigibbet-Albert Albert) came roaring out of the pocket to prevail in his $77,300 division of the NYSS for sophomore pacers. Joe Bongiorno piloted the Jenn Bongiorno trainee who sat the two-hole behind Southwind Petyr (Jason Bartlett) who came in on a two-race win streak. The race’s favorite I’ll Drink To That (Matt Kakaley) came first-over on Southwind Petyr who cruised through a first half in 56.2. I’ll Drink To That was turned back by Southwind Petyr in a third quarter that went in an eye-popping 26.4 and once Town Gossip found open road in the stretch, the race was over. The three year old gelding stopped the timer in a career-best 1:51.1 to record the biggest win of his season for owner Robert Weinstein of Bellmore, NY. Town Gossip was the runner-up in the Stakes Final last season as a two year old and is off to a strong start to his ’21 campaign after recording his third victory in his eighth seasonal try on Wednesday. Town Gossip paid $8.40 to win and led an exacta and triple with Southwind Petyr second and I’ll Drink To That third, respectively, that returned $20.80 and $33.40.
The $78,700 division of the Sire Stakes for colts and geldings went the way of last year’s two year old champion King James Express (Art Major-More Diamonds- Dragon Again). The Mark Harder-trained sophomore didn’t get off to the fastest of starts in his 2021 season but on Wednesday found the form that led him to over $200,000 in earnings and a stakes title last year. Reinsman Jason Bartlett sat patiently with the race’s 3-5 betting favorite who came from off the pace to record his first win of the season. The sophomore pacer powered past longtime leader Major Bean (Matt Kakaley) who came up just shy of the upset on Wednesday in a mile clocked in 1:53.3. King James Express is owned by Harder, Frost, Carleton and Lockhart. Major Bean finished second while Natameri (Wally Hennessey) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple paid $21.60 and $84.50, respectively.
Live racing resumes on Saturday evening when night racing returns to the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino
Test Of Faith & Dave Miller
Wednesday marked the start of the New York Sire Stakes season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Three year old pacing fillies were featured on what was a 15-race matinee card. The back-half of the program contained the stakes fillies highlighted by three divisions that each went for a purse of $50,400. Test Of Faith (Art Major-Cannae Cammie- Cam’s Card Shark) was last year’s Sire Stakes champion for two year old fillies and made her 2021 debut on Wednesday afternoon. Dave Miller was in town to pilot the Brett Pelling trainee who was one of the top fillies in North America last season. Test Of Faith resumed her winning ways as Miller wasted little time putting the 1-9 favorite on the front-end and the superstar filly took it from there. Test Of Faith scored a decisive win on Wednesday to kick-off her sophomore campaign in the same fashion as her freshman season wrapped up. The victory for Test Of Faith that came in 1:52.1 was just a fifth of a second off the all-time track record for three year old pacing fillies at Saratoga and she appeared to do it with ease. Test Of Faith, who earned exactly a half million dollars last season winning eight times in nine starts, is poised for another sensational season and if Wednesday’s ’21 was any indication, she will be awfully tough to beat for her rivals in the New York Sire Stakes. Test Of Faith is owned by Melvin Segal, Eddie Gran and the Kentuckiana Racing Stable.
While Test Of Faith is the defending Sire Stakes champion among the returning fillies, Heart Of Mine (Roll With Joe-Acquavella- Western Ideal) was the runner-up in last year’s NYSS Final. Scott Zeron piloted the Linda Toscano-trained filly on Wednesday afternoon and sat the pocket with Heart Of Mine who came on in the final stride to prevail in 1:54.3 in her $50,400 division. The super sophomore is now four-for-four in the win column in the 2021 season after recording the victory in her first Sire Stakes start of the year. Heart Of Mine is owned by Fred Wallace, Bay’s Stable, Radio Racing Stable and Camelot Stable.
The Jessica Okusko-trained Purameri (American Ideal-J K Pure Pearl- Bettor’s Delight) sprung the upset for the day as the sophomore filly parlayed a pocket ride to victory with Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey at the controls. Purameri flew up the inside in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:56.2 while dismissed at odds of 13-1. Purameri, who is owned by the Purple Haze Stables of Fairport, NY, gave Hennessey one of his five winners on the Wednesday card.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino
Love A Good Story & Andy Miller
With the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace being canceled this season, the richest race of 2020 at Saratoga Casino Hotel was Wednesday evening’s $156,500 New York Sire Stakes event for three year old trotting fillies. Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven- Celebrity Lovin- Andover Hall) was the public’s 1-5 betting favorite while in the midst of another monster campaign.
Andy Miller pilots the sophomore filly for trainer Julie Miller and owners Daniel Plouffe, Pinske Stables and Kentuckiana Racing Stable and moved the super soph out to the early lead on Wednesday. Untested in lap one, Love A Good Story reached the half in a comfortable 58.4 before picking up the pace a bit and checking in at three quarters in 1:27.1. The favorite had little difficulty putting the finishing touches on a measured length and a quarter victory that came in 1:55.4.
Without A Warning (Jason Bartlett) charged home to be the runner-up in the featured race while No Mas Drama (Joe Bongiorno) held on to finish third. For Love A Good Story, it was win number five in seven starts in 2020 and the twelfth win in seventeen career starts for the filly who now has over a half million dollars in earnings following Wednesday’s score.
While Miller sat behind the winner of the biggest race on the card, Jason Bartlett was the sulky star of the evening as the standout reinsman piloted six winners on Wednesday to continue what has been a big summer at the Spa for the 39 year old driver who has often come to town to drive on Sire Stakes evenings.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino
Heart Of Mine & Jim Marhon Jr.
There is a new track record for two year old pacing fillies at Saratoga Casino Hotel after Linda Toscano’s Heart Of Mine (Roll With Joe-Acquavella-Western Ideal) paced to a 1:53.2 victory in her $70,300 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Monday afternoon. In a race with two fillies that were sub 2-1 odds in the wagering sitting one-two throughout three quarters of the mile, Heart Of Mine powered up and past those rivals around the final turn before pacing away to score impressively and break her maiden. Heart Of Mine was a distant second in her previous start to stalwart Test Of Faith but sprung the mild upset on Monday after her one big brush was plenty to best her rivals. Jim Marohn Jr. piloted the now record-setting freshman filly, who is owned by Fred Wallace, Bay’s Stb, Radio Rcg Stb and Camelot Stb., to her first career win in on an afternoon that was dominated by the 38 year old reinsman. Marohn also sat behind the winner of the other $70,300 Sire Stakes event as Test Of Faith (Art Major-Cannae Cammie-Cam’s Card Shark) went coast-to-coast as her race’s heavy favorite en route to her fourth win in five career stakes tries. Brett Pelling trains Test Of Faith who scored decisively on Monday, drawing away to prevail in 1:53.4 and give Marohn a sweep of the co-featured Sire Stakes races and three winners on the card. Test Of Faith, who was backed to odds of 1-9, moved her career earnings to over the $145,000 mark in just five starts for owners Melvin Segal, Eddie Gran and Kentuckiana Racing Stable. The previous track record for two year old pacing fillies belonged to So Awesome who scored a stakes victory in 1:53.3 in 2018 with Tim Tetrick in the bike.
Live racing continues at Saratoga on Tuesday afternoon starting at 12 Noon and then takes place on Wednesday evening when NY Sire Stakes action is once again featured. First post on Wednesday is set for 7:15pm.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino