Take A Gamble & Leon Bailey

It was opening day for the 2023 campaign on Saturday evening and an eleven race card got the season started on a cold night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Invader Take A Gamble (Bettor’s Delight) came to town off back-to-back wins in 1:52 at Yonkers and drew the outside post in the $18,200 Open Pace on Saturday. Leon Bailey piloted the Jared Bako-trained pacer who cut the mile in the season’s first feature. Leading in a first half of 56.4, Take A Gamble was met with the challenge of Spa first timer Rocknroll Runa A (Larry Stalbaum) when got past the leader turning for home. In the stretch though, Take A Gamble rallied back and reclaimed the lead late in the mile before hitting the wire first in 1:54.2. Longshot Optical Illusion N (Chris Long) shook loose in the lane and charged hard to be second while Rocknroll Runa A tired late and wound up as the third-place finisher in the Open. Take A Gamble, who is owned by Stephen Klunowski of Ontario, Canada, paid $6.40 as the race’s favorite and led an exacta and triple that returned $112 and $424, respectively.

Live racing will take place on both Sunday and Monday afternoon with first post time set for noon for each of the matinees.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Hudson Phil & Billy Dobson

Hudson Phil and driver Billy Dobson won the first open pace of 2022 in 1:55. Hudson Phil is trained by Jackie Greene.


Melissa Simser