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.

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

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

Moonshine Kisses & Jay Randall

Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) continued his hot streak on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel when the Jackie Greene trainee rattled off his third consecutive win in the local Open Pace. The six year old, who has split his season between Saratoga and mostly Plainridge Park, put the swoop to the group once again in Saturday’s $16,000 Open when he went last to first with reinsman Jay Randall at the controls. Moonshine Kisses prevailed in last weekend’s Open Pace when he pulled off a last-to-first move to stop the timer in 1:53. In his repeat effort, the star pacer again overcame his outside post by cruising past his rivals late to score in 1:53.3 in what was his eighth victory of the 2022 campaign and his third in the local Open in the month of October. On Saturday, the Greene trainee paid $4.80 as the race’s 7-5 betting favorite. Pocket Of Terror A (Brett Beckwith) was the runner-up in the feature while longshot Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple in the race returned $14.80 and $179.50, respectively. Moonshine Kisses is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time set for noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Moonshine Kisses & Jay Randall

Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) drew the outside post for Saturday night’s try in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jackie Greene trainee is no stranger to winning Opens having done so on several occasions this season both locally and at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts. In Saturday’s installment of the $16,000 feature, he got away last in the six-horse Open.

The fractions were quick up front as they went to the half in 56.3 and when the favored Alluneedisfaith N (Shawn Gray) revved up the engine, the Jackie Green trainee followed him. Alluneedisfaith N was the even money favorite in the feature having finished first or second in six of his seven starts since moving to the stable of Alicia Gray in early August. That one powered up into contention while Moonshine Kisses tipped off his cover around the final turn.

It was Moonshine Kisses who paced fastest of all in the stretch surging past his rivals to score his second local Open win of the month coming on to get it in 1:53. The six year old, who is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY, secured his seventh victory of the season in just fifteen tries. Alluneedisfaith N lengthened his streak of finishing first or second when he was the runner-up Saturday to Moonshine Kisses completing a $13.80 exacta.

Talking Tom (Jimmy Devaux) finished third in a $56.50 triple. Jay Randall was the winning driver behind Moonshine Kisses.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Alluneedisfaith N & Shawn Gray

Alluneedisfaith N (Art Major) has been a force since joining the stable of trainer Alicia Gray this August. On Saturday, the New Zealand invader won the local Open Pace for the second time and extended his streak of finishing first or second to five weeks. Alluneedisfaith N was the 4-5 betting favorite in Saturday’s Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel and driver Shawn Gray marched the public’s choice out to the lead in a first quarter in 28.1.

As if that fraction wasn’t soft enough, the veteran got even more of a breather before clicking off a half in 59.1 and from there the race seemed like it was over. Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) drew post seven in the seven-horse feature and had the daunting task of trying to close in a race with such soft fractions up front. Optical Illusion N drew even with Alluneedisfaith N late in the mile and those two squared off in the stretch before the favorite held strong to prevail in a mile paced in 1:54.3.

Optical Illusion N hit the board for the sixth time in his last seven tries in the Open when he finished second on Saturday to complete a $24 exacta. Keystone Dakota (Brett Beckwith) earned the show spot to round out a $76.50 triple. Alluneedisfaith N now has four wins and two seconds in seven starts since joining the Gray stable. The eight year old is owned by Doug Overhiser of Florida.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee starting at noon. There will be a $1,486 carryover in the Pick Five pool with the Pick Five starting in the afternoon’s first race.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Moonshine Kisses & Jay Randall

No trainer has won the Open Pace more times in the last decade at Saratoga Casino Hotel than Jackie Greene. The track’s two-time leading trainer splits her time between Saratoga and Plainridge as she has several top-flight, Open caliber pacers. On Saturday evening, Greene’s Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) was the 2-5 betting favorite in the local Open Pace as the six year old made his return to town off a victory in the Plainridge Open last week.

Driver Jay Randall took back early with the public’s odds-on choice on Saturday but with the first half going in just 57.2, it didn’t necessarily shape up to be a closer’s race. Moonshine Kisses picked up the cover of rival Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) who has become a force in the Open this summer and was coming off a win in last week’s installment of the $16,000 feature. The outer tier thrived and as Optical Illusion N wore down the leader, Moonshine Kisses tipped off his cover and came charging hard in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:52.4 to record his second local Open win of the year and his sixth victory overall in thirteen seasonal starts.

Optical Illusion N was the runner-up while Patrikthepiranha A (Brett Beckwith) closed to be third. Moonshine Kisses, who is owned by Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY, paid $2.90 to win as the big favorite and led an exacta and triple that returned $11.80 and $36, respectively. The victory was the sixth at the Spa this season in the Open Pace for Jackie Greene.

Live racing continues on Sunday with a matinee beginning at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Talking Tom & Chris Long

Talking Tom (Artspeak) won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time in his career on Saturday night doing so in upset fashion. The Perry Simser-trained pacer drew the rail just one week removed from a strong-closing third place finish in the $16,000 feature. Driver Chris Long powered out from the rail on Saturday with Talking Tom who was dismissed at odds of 12-1.

As the five year old approached the half-mile pole, rival Velocity Smoke (Phil Fluet) came powering up to his outside and cleared in a half that went in 57.1. Talking Tom then rode the leader’s coattails as the pacesetter was confronted by the race’s 2-5 betting favorite Moonshine Kisses (Jay Randall). Velocity Smoke was holding firm until mid-stretch when his two rivals got the better of him.

Talking Tom charged hard in the passing lane as Moonshine Kisses gave one last surge towards the wire but it was the Simser trainee who emerged victorious in a mile clocked in 1:53, a win time that serves as a new lifetime mark for him. Moonshine Kisses finished second to complete a $55 exacta while Velocity Smoke earned the show spot and rounded out a $194 triple.

Talking Tom, who moved over the $100,000 mark in career earnings with the win, is owned by his trainer Perry Simser in partnership with Dennis Nye of Saratoga Springs.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with eight NY Sire Stakes Excelsior Finals each going for a purse of $50,000. First post time is set for noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Velocity Smoke & Phil Fluet

Saturday’s card at Saratoga Casino Hotel was highlighted by a rare double feature. A pair of $16,000 Opens for pacers served as co-features and while each field was comprised of just six horses, both races resulted in some impressive efforts. An Open first-timer stole the show as Bob Uhl’s Velocity Smoke came into Saturday night as a winner of two straight in the conditional ranks but having never raced against top-flight competition in his career.

Coming into the try off back-to-back wins from off the pace that each came in 1:53.1, Velocity Smoke once again was a closer on Saturday as reinsman Phil Fluet got a cover trip for the Uhl trainee who fanned off the cover at the head of the stretch. When he did, he was all business and Velocity Smoke powered past the favored Lake Charles (Luke Hanners) to prevail in a seasonal best 1:52.2.

The Open first timer paid $9.70 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta with Lake Charles second that returned $28. Talking Tom (Chris Long) rounded out a $60 triple. Velocity Smoke is co-owned by his trainer Bob Uhl of Ballston Spa and Steve Delligan of Schenectady.

Unlike the winner of the other co-feature, Moonshine Kisses (Sunshine Beach) is no stranger to the Open Pace. The Jackie Greene-trained stalwart made his return to the Spa on Saturday and was heavily endorsed by the betting public. Bet down to odds of 1-5, Moonshine Kisses took back in the early going as the tempo was hot.

Former Spa Pacer of the Year Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) was looking to repeat on the lead but the backfield got into motion late in the mile and driver Jay Randall fanned to the far outside turning for home with Moonshine Kisses. The Greene-trained pacer made a sweeping move in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:52 in what was the first local Open Pace victory of the season for the talented six year old. Moonshine Kisses is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY.

Live racing continues in Saratoga on Sunday evening beginning at 6:45pm. There is a Pick 5 carryover of $1,131 with the Pick 5 starting in the first race.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Crockets Cullen N & Larry Stalbaum

Crockets Cullen N was Saratoga Casino Hotel’s Pacer of the Year in both 2019 and 2021 (there were no awards in ’20 due to the shortened season) and although he has had solid showings against the track’s top horses in ’22, the veteran didn’t have an Open victory on his ledger this year heading into Saturday night’s start. Larry Stalbaum owns, trains and drives the classy eleven year old who is the winningest horse in the local Open Pace over the course of the last three years.

On Saturday, Crockets Cullen N drew post two while competing in the $16,000 feature and was aggressive from the get-go. Stalbaum moved him out to the early lead where they traveled unopposed through a first half in 56.2. The favored Alluneedisfaith N (Shawn Gray) rode the pocket behind the leader while last week’s Open winner Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) made his move heading toward the three-quarter pole.

The trio of New Zealand invaders slugged it out in the stretch but it was Crockets Cullen N who would not be denied, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 to record his fifth victory of the campaign but just his first in Open company.

Alluneedisfaith N, the 2-5 betting favorite, had to settle for second while Optical Illusion N earned the show spot. Crockets Cullen N paid $22.40 to win in the upset in the $16,000 feature. The exacta and triple returned $50 and $190, respectively. With the earnings from his Saturday score, he moved his career bankroll to over the half million dollar mark.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser