Mach Le More A & Jimmy Devaux

Amanda Kelley has been the winningest trainer in the Open Pace thus far this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Her stable came into Saturday night with eight wins in the feature for pacers and added another one to tally. Mach Le More A (Mach Three) prevailed in his previous try in the Open when he set a lifetime mark scoring in 1:52. Following a week off, it was back into the $16,000 feature for the Aussie invader who had leading driver Jimmy Devaux at the controls. Devaux blasted Mach Le More A out at the start and got to the top in a reasonable 28.1 before clicking off a half in 56.4. The seven year old still appeared strong through three quarters of 1:24.2 and his rivals proved no match for the Kelley trainee in the stretch as he paced away from them to stop the timer in 1:52 to match the lifetime mark he set in his previous start. Nuttin But Finesse (Brett Beckwith) sat the pocket and finished second while Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) surged to come on for third. Mach Le More A paid $9.10 to win in recording his third Open score of the season.

Kelley’s Lake Charles (Well Said) is the winningest horse in Opens this year at the Spa and dropped down into Winners Over company on Saturday night. Competing in a $13,750 event for pacers, Lake Charles put in pretty much a carbon copy effort from that of stablemate Mach Le More A as he assumed command from the get-go and went on to wire his field in 1:52.1 at odds of 3-1. Lake Charles, who like Mach Le More A is owned by Scheigert&Alliesracing LLC, was driven to victory by Shawn Gray.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Optical Illusion & Chris Long

Optical Illusion N (He’s Watching) came into Saturday night riding a modest win streak at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A winner of two in a row, the New Zealand invader in is the midst of his first season in the U.S. and has found a home in the Lisa Zabielski stable. The six year old had eight wins to his credit in 2022 when he made his debut in the Open Pace on Saturday night. Assigned the rail following back-to-back jacks down in company, Optical Illusion N was aggressive from the get-go in the $16,000 feature as driver Chris Long would not relinquish the early lead. After being challenged by a parked out rival in a first quarter of 27.3 and a first half of 55.4, the Zabielski trainee didn’t get much of a breather heading to three quarters either as the favored Hudson Phil (Billy Dobson) came knocking on the door of the leader. Those two sparred around the final turn but Optical Illusion N proved to be tough as nails as he dug in to win in 1:52.3 for a victory in his first ever Open try. Hudson Phil was a strong second while Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. Optical Illusion N paid $10.00 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $36.20 and $144, respectively. Optical Illusion N is owned by his trainer Lisa Zabielski in partnership with Kim Zabielski. The score was the first in local Opens this season for both Zabielski and reinsman Chris Long.

Live racing continues on Sunday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Renée Casavant

Lake Charles & Leon Bailey

On Saturday evening, Lake Charles (Well Said) became the second horse to win as many as five Opens this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel when the Amanda Kelley trainee prevailed in the $16,000 Open Pace. Lake Charles powered out from post position five on Saturday to make the lead but was quickly confronted by the race’s favorite whose attempted quarter move was rebuffed. The five year old Lake Charles sizzled through a first half in 55.1 before being met with the challenge of Apex Seelster (Jimmy Devaux) who hit the board in all four of his local starts heading into Saturday’s try in the feature. Lake Charles drew clear again in the stretch before hanging on to win in 1:52. Apex Seelster was a strong runner-up while longshot American Zest A (Larry Stalbaum) came on to finish third. Lake Charles paid $8.40 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $42.20 and $435.50, respectively. The victory was the fifth in Open company at the Spa this season for Lake Charles who matched pacing mare Chasethecloudsaway as the winningest Open horses in the 2022 campaign. Saturday’s winner is owned by Scheigert&Alliesracing LLC of Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga and will feature a Pick 5 carryover of $1,374 with the Pick 5 beginning in the matinee’s first race. Post time is set for Noon.   

Mike Sardella 

Photo: Melissa Simser

Belmont Major N & Leon Bailey

Belmont Major N won Saturday night’s feature pace for trainer Amanda Kelley. Driver Leon Bailey steered the 6 year old gelding to the win in 1:51.3.

Melissa Simser
Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Vel Mr Nice Guy & Billy Dobson

Vel Mr Nice Guy won Saratoga Casino Hotel‘s Saturday Night Open Pace in his first start at Saratoga for trainer Melissa Beckwith. The four year old gelding was driven to the win by Billy Dobson in 1:52.2

Watch live racing HERE.

Melissa Simser

Apex Seelster & Jimmy Devaux

Apex Seelster (Big Jim) is in the midst of a career year and on Saturday night, the Monticello invader looked to prevail in Saratoga Casino Hotel’s Open Pace for the first time. The Ken Koch-trained pacer came to town as a winner of three consecutive tries in the Monticello Open and after scoring in the $13,000 Winners Over in his Spa debut, Apex Seelster finished second in last weekend’s Open despite making a break before the start. On Saturday, the six year old drew post five in the eight-horse Open and wound up coming first-over on the race’s leader Lake Charles (Leon Bailey).

The winningest Open horse in the 2022 campaign at the Spa, Lake Charles left to overcome post eight and after getting a first half in 56 seconds was approached by Apex Seelster who looked to grind the leader into submission. In the meantime, Mikibytheseaside (Luke Hanners), who came into the race off an Open win of his own, sat the pocket behind the dueling leaders who brought their battle into the homestretch.

Those three fought it out to the wire where Apex Seelster emerged victorious in a mile clocked in 1:52.1 on a chilly evening in the Spa City. Mikibytheseaside finished second at odds of 12-1 while Lake Charles held third. The winner paid $4.60 and led an exacta and triple that returned $52.50 and $312, respectively. Apex Seelster is owned by Tom Milici of Montgomery, NY.

Live racing at Saratoga continues on Sunday afternoon with a Noon start to the Father’s Day matinee.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Im Sir Blake A & Shawn Gray

Im Sir Blake A (Alta Christiano N) came into his local debut off a three week layoff on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Erv Miller-trained seven year old is in the midst of a career season that has seen him pile up over $120,000 in earnings while competing primarily at Yonkers Raceway. The seven year old made his Spa debut in Saturday’s $16,000 Open Pace and was the assigned the outside post in the five-horse feature. Veteran Artful Way (Billy Dobson) cut the mile in the feature and was pushed to the limit by a first-over bid from the favored Belmont Major N (Leon Bailey) while Im Sir Blake A followed his cover into the final turn. The invader powered up to take over the lead in the stretch and had enough left to withstand a late bid from Apex Seelster (Jimmy Devaux) who wound up coming up second-best to Im Sir Blake A who paid $5.50 to win as the 8-5 second choice in the wagering. The exacta with Apex Seelster returned $17 while the triple, which was completed by Belmont Major N, came back $29.60. Im Sir Blake A, who is owned by Doug Overhiser of Shorewood, IL, paced the mile in 1:51.2, a final time that serves as the fastest for any horse this season at Saratoga. He was driven to the Open score by Shawn Gray.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at the Spa with NY Sire Stakes action highlighting a 13-race card. First post time is set for Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Mikibytheseaside & Billy Dobson

Mikibytheseaside (Always B Miki) was a winning machine upon coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel late last season. Trainer Andy Sardella acquired the young pacer in the fall of 2021 and wound up resting the then three year old after he scored victories in his first three local starts. After beginning his ’22 campaign with yet another victory in early April, Mikibytheseaside entered the Open. The rising star was the runner-up in his first three starts in the $15,000 Open Pace before hitting a brief lull. The four year old Sardella trainee drew the rail for Saturday’s installment of the feature for pacers and despite being installed as the 3-1 second choice in the morning line was dismissed at odds of 7-1. Yonkers invader Picard A (Jimmy Devaux) set sizzling fractions on the front end and although Mikibytheseaside was part of the early speed tussle, he popped the pocket heading towards the three-quarter pole. The young pacer ground the leader into submission turning for home before holding off a late charge from rival Belmont Major N (Leon Bailey) in the stretch to record his first Open victory. Belmont Major N closed to finish second while the favored Points North (Luke Hanners) earned the show spot. Mikibytheseaside paid $16.00 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $46.20 and $108, respectively. The winner is owned by Mike and Bill Pozefsky of NY who recorded double on the card as their Gokudo Hanover (Shawn Gray) prevailed in a $9,350 event for claiming pacers.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for 12 Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Lake Charles & Leon Bailey

Winning the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel is starting to look easy for Lake Charles (Well Said) as he added another victory to his tally on Saturday night. Trainer Amanda Kelley has recorded more wins in the Open Pace than any other trainer in 2022 when Lake Charles won the $15,000 feature for the fourth time of the season. Starting from post six in a six-horse Open, Lake Charles wasted little time moving out to the front end and never faced much of a challenge while going coast-to-coast in 1:52.1. The public’s 1-2 betting favorite held off pocket-sitting longshot American Zest A (Larry Stalbaum) who finished second while Keystone Dakota (Luke Hanners) earned the show spot. Lake Charles’ score was one of three on the night for his connections as owner Scheigert&Alliesracing, LLC, trainer Amanda Kelley and driver Leon Bailey also scored with multiple Open Pace winner Some Waratah A, who went wire-to-wire in an $11,500 conditional race on Saturday, and Belmont Major N, who prevailed in the $13,000 Winners Over. Bailey piloted four winners on the card in total. Kelley’s six wins in the Open Pace this season are far more than any other conditioner in the ’22 campaign at the Spa.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that begins at 12 Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Lake Charles & Leon Bailey

Lake Charles (Well Said) continued what has been a terrific start to the season in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel for trainer Amanda Kelley when the five year old pacer won the featured race on Saturday evening. Lake Charles enjoyed a strong 2021 campaign at the Spa winning the Open three times in his first local season out of the Kelley stable, including two of the final three installments of the feature for pacers on the year. His successes spilled right over to ’22 as Lake Charles scored an Open win in both February and March at Saratoga before stopping the timer in 1:51.4 for a victory in a $22,500 race for top-flight pacers at Plainridge a couple of weeks ago.

On Saturday night, driver Leon Bailey powered Lake Charles out to the front end and despite posting first-half fractions of 27.1 and 56 seconds had plenty left for the final half en route to a wire-to-wire win in the $15,000 Open. Somebeach Baron (Shawn Gray) sat the pocket and finished second while Mikibytheseaside (Jay Randall) earned the show spot in a sizzling mile paced in 1:513. Lake Charles paid $4.60 to win as the 6-5 favorite and led an exacta and triple that returned $27.20 and $82.50, respectively. The Open Pace win was the fifth for the Kelley stable who secured victories this season with Mach Le More and Belmont Major N in addition to three Open scores with Lake Charles in the first few months of the ’22 campaign at Saratoga. Lake Charles is owned by Scheigert and allies racing LLC of Saratoga Springs.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that begins at 12 Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser