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

Bare My Soul & Scott Zeron

Bare My Sould (trained by Linda Toscano) and driver Scott Zeron won the fastest division of Sunday night’s NYSS for 3yr old trotting fillies in 1:56.

 

Melissa Simser

Crown & Brian Sears

Saratoga harness hosted the NYSS 2 year old trotting colts Friday night. The fastest of the four divisions was won by Crown, trained by Marcus Melander and driven to the win by Brian Sears. The maiden trotter by Chapter Seven won is first pari-mutuel start in 1:57.1

Melissa Simser

Canterbury Hanover & Brian Sears

Two year old trotting fillies took center stage on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel as a pair of New York Sire Stakes races highlighted the twelve-race card. Most fillies were making their lifetime debut when they took part in the $78,700 and $77,300 co-featured races for the rookie trotters. Stablemates Canterbury Hanover (Chapter Seven-Charmed Life-Majestic Son) and Kayleigh S (Chapter Seven-Pasithea Face S- Muscle Hill) recorded victories in the big races for trainer Marcus Melander and driver Brian Sears. Canterbury Hanover had one solid qualifier as prep for her debut on Monday and cruised on the front end under the guidance of the Hall of Famer Sears in her NY Sire Stake race. Canterbury Hanover, the 4-5 betting favorite, cruised to a decisive score in her debut. The freshman filly was the fastest two year old of the day as she stopped the timer in 1:59. Canterbury Hanover is owned by Holly Lane Stud East LTD of Vero Beach, FL.

Kayleigh S also came in with one qualifier at the Meadowlands on her resume, one in which she showed some promise. Sears wasted little time moving to the front with the Melander trainee who held off just a mild challenge from the favorite in the stretch before scoring in 2:00.4 in the $77,300 NY Sire Stakes event for freshman fillies. Kayleigh S, who paid $5.80 to win as her race’s second choice in the wagering, is owned by Courant Inc. of Delray Beach, FL. While Sears won the two biggest races of the day, Jason Bartlett piloted three winners on the matinee card.

Live racing resumes on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 5PM.

 

Mike Sardella

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.

The fastest mile of the day was in a division of the New York Excelsior series, when Kingsville paced in 1:52.3. Kingsville is trained by Gareth Dowse and was driven by Scott Zeron.

Melissa Simser
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Molotov Cocktail & Brian Sears

There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two year old trotting colts and geldings that took place on Monday’s matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The three races, which each went for a purse of more than $46,000, were highlighted by a showdown between two trotters in one of the divisions that each came into the day undefeated. Justice (Chapter Seven-Religulous-Muscles Yankee) came into Monday’s try two-for-two for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. The freshman faced the toughest task of his young career as he took on the Jim Campbell-trained Cool Papa Bell (Jason Bartlett) who was three-for-three heading into Monday’s tilt. Svanstedt moved Justice, who was bet down to odds of 1-9, right out to the early lead and enjoyed pretty leisurely fractions with Cool Papa Bell stalking him from the pocket throughout. Justice trotted his back half in 58 seconds and needed every tick of it to hold off Cool Papa Bell who surged in the stretch before coming up shy by a head in a mile clocked in 1:58.1. Justice moved his career earnings to over the $63,000 mark in just three lifetime starts for owners Ake Svanstedt, Torbjorn Swahn, Myfab, and Little E.

The second division of the afternoon saw the biggest upset among the Sire Stakes races on Monday. Valentine Express (Chapter Seven- Cantata- Donato Hanover) got the pocket ride behind the favored Quincy Market (Corey Callahan) in the five-horse NYSS event. Valentine Express rode the coattails of the two-time Sire Stakes winner throughout before powering past him in the stretch to record the biggest win of his young career. Coming into the race with less than $2,000 in earnings, Valentine Express earned the winner’s share of the $47,067 purse for owners Salvatore Vullo and James De Armond of New York. Valentine Express, who is trained by Jessica Okusko, scored in 1:59.4.

The final division of the day went to Molotov Cocktail (Chapter Seven-Moonlight Cocktail-Kadabra) who never had an anxious moment before stopping the timer in 1:58.3. The two year old trotter came in off an eleven length victory at Batavia which was the second win in NY Sire Stakes competition in his freshman campaign. The public’s 1-2 betting favorite on Monday coasted to a wire-to-wire victory with Brian Sears in the sulky. Molotov Cocktail is owned by Richard Gutnick and Gary Cocco of PA in partnership with Thomas Pontone of Holmdel, NJ and trained by Linda Toscano.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon featuring a carryover of $3,872 in the Pick Five pool starting in the first race which is set for noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

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.

 

 

Mike Sardella

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.

 

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

This Is The Plan & Yannick Gingras

Trainer Ron Burke had three of the seven participants in this year’s installment of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The top-flight conditioner brought his superstar This Is The Plan (Somebeachsomewhere) to town to lead the trio of pacers in the $150,000 race. Yannick Gingras piloted This Is The Plan who brought his close to $2.3 Million in career earnings to the Spa and wound up as the 7-5 betting favorite in the 12th annual Gerrity. Gingras moved the standout to the lead in a 26.2 first quarter before giving way to fellow Burke trainee Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick). That one retook command after the sizzling first quarter and cruised through the first half in 55.2. It appeared that after three quarters went in 1:22.3 that it would come down to those two stalwarts but just then is when yet another Burke trainee tossed his hat into the ring. Rockapelo (Matt Kakaley) was the longest shot on the board in the Gerrity and he shook free around the final turn before surging in the stretch. When This Is The Plan powered past Backstreet Shadow turning for home, it appeared that he had the race wrapped up until Rockapelo exploded in the lane and those two photoed for the win. This Is The Plan prevailed by a nose and stopped the timer in 1:50.2, the fastest clocking of the season thus far at Saratoga and in doing so, won for the fifth time in the 2021 campaign. Burke trainees comprised the entire trifecta as they ran one-two-three in the season’s biggest events for pacers. The exacta with Rockapelo second paid $116 while the triple with 8-5 second choice Backstreet Shadow third returned $337.50. This Is The Plan, who now has seasonal earnings of over $600,000, is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva- Purnell & Libby and Lawrence Karr. The 12th winner of the Gerrity was the runner-up in the 2019 installment of the memorial race when he finished second to stalwart Mcwicked at Saratoga two summers ago. Incredibly, Gingras and Burke are the twelfth different driver and trainer to win the Gerrity since its inception in 2009.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a thirteen race matinee that kicks off at Noon.

 

 

Mike Sardella

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.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino