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

Repeal Or Replace & Jimmy Devaux

Longtime local superstar Artful Way (Artistic Fella) made his return to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night. The Jackie Greene trainee last raced at the Spa in late March when he prevailed in the Open Pace. The ten year old recorded another Open win at Plainridge Park last month but then returned to town off a clunker. Artful Way was one of the 8-5 co-favorites in Saturday’s $15,000 feature and moved right out to the early lead with Billy Dobson guiding the way.

Repeal Or Replace (So Surreal), who took late board support to be the race’s other 8-5 shot, left to sit the pocket to Artful Way as the three-time Saratoga Pacer of the Year set fractions of 27.2 and 57 seconds in the first half. Leading driver Jimmy Devaux popped the pocket around the final turn and the battle was on as the co-favorites traded strides in the stretch before Repeal Or Replace took over under the shadow of the wire. Artful Way came up second best while longshot Somebeach Baron (Shawn Gray) finished third in his local debut.

Repeal Or Replace is owned by Karma Racing Inc of Parkland, FL and trained by John Podres. The win in the Open Pace wasn’t the first in the local career of the five year old who scored in the Spa’s featured race for pacers last November. Paying $5.30 to win on Saturday night, Repeal Or Replace led an exacta and triple that returned $19.40 and $78, respectively. The win in the Open was one of four on the evening for Jimmy Devaux as he padded his lead in the local driver standings while seeking to repeat as the track’s leading driver after winning his first Spa title in 2021.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time of 12 Noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Mega Miki & Leon Bailey

On an evening that saw an historic upset in the Kentucky Derby, the featured race at Saratoga Casino Hotel consisted of a shocker of its own. The 2-5 betting favorite in the $31,900 J.P. Morel Memorial Pacing Series Final was JM’s Rockin. This Monticello invader had not only gone eight for eight in the win column this year but hadn’t trailed at any point in a mile this season. Making every pole a winning one en route to put together the incredible win streak, JM’s Rollin was poised to once again cut the mile in the Series Final. Behind the gate though, the race’s big favorite made an untimely and extended break taking him out of the mix at the get go. The Final became wide open at that point and two-leg winner Mega Miki (Leon Bailey) took to the first-over path approaching the half. A closer in each of his consecutive victories heading into Saturday night, Mega Miki posted a career-best matching 1:55 win in leg two of the series when he sprung an upset at odds of 8-1 with Bailey in the bike. In the Final, the four year old Joel Flanders trainee came a back half in under 57 seconds before drawing away from his rivals in the stretch to become the ninth winner in the history of the J.P. Morel Memorial Series. 43-1 shot Lannister Hanover (Wally Hennessey) charged hard late to finish second while leg one winner Pound For Pound (Shawn Gray) closed to be third in a race that was a longshot bettor’s delight. The winner paid a middling $12.80 on top but the exacta and triple returned a bulky $631 and $4,721, respectively. Mega Miki is owned by Joel and Karen Flanders of Argyle, NY.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12 Noon. There will be a Pick Six Jackpot of $7,619. The Pick Six is a $.20 wager.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Record Year & Billy Dobson

Record Year, trained by Jaymes McAssesy and driven by Billy Dobson, won Saturday night’s feature at Saratoga in 1:53.2

Melissa Simser

Keystone Dakota & Wally Hennessey

photo by: Cheyanne Mandy

Hudson Phil & Billy Dobson

Hudson Phil prevailed in the first installment of the Open Pace this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel in early February. The Jackie Greene trainee has been a force at the Spa for the last few years and is once again establishing himself as a top-flight pacer in the early stages of the ’22 campaign. After springing an upset on opening weekend, Hudson Phil had a second, a third and a fourth in the local Open before hitting the board in consecutive starts at Yonkers Raceway. On Saturday night, the seven year old was back in town and wound up as the 8-5 betting favorite in the $15,000 Open Pace at the Spa. Billy Dobson piloted the Greene-trained pacer who sat back in the early going as several rivals slugged it out in the first half. After watching the first half go in 56 seconds, Hudson Phil started to make his move and tipped three-wide approaching the three-quarter pole before swooping the group and opening up a big lead. Hudson Phil drew away from the competition to win by almost seven lengths in 1:53 to record his second Open win of the season. Mikibytheseaside (Jay Randall) made his Open Pace debut on Saturday and finished second despite drawing post eight while Elite Retreat (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. Hudson Phil paid $5.30 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $17 and $164.50, respectively. The winner is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY who now have four victories in the Open Pace this year, two with Hudson Phil and two with local superstar Artful Way. While Dobson scored the victory in the Open, Leon Bailey was the evening’s driving star as Vernon Downs’ back-to-back top reinsman drove five winners on the Saturday card.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon. There is a Pick Five carryover of $2,460, a Pick Six jackpot carryover of $1,624. First post time is set for Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Mikibytheseaside & Jay Randall

With no Open Pace on the docket, the $13,000 Winners Over for pacers was the feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night. Mikibytheseaside (Always B Miki) made his 2022 debut in the feature coming off a pair of qualifiers in which he went coast-to-coast. The Andy Sardella trainee came to the Spa last fall and rattled off victories in his first three local starts before taking the winter off. On Saturday, he was the 9-5 second choice in the wagering when driver Jay Randall pointed him out to the lead in the Winners Over race. Following a reasonable first half that went in 57.3, the four year old cruised through a third quarter in 27.3 while hounded by the favored Oregon Trail (Billy Dobson) who was first-over. Mikibytheseaside put that rival away in the stretch and reported home a winner in 1:54 in his return. Oregon Trail was a game runner-up while Northern Rein (Leon Bailey) earned the show spot. Mikibytheseaside paid $5.90 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $19.20 and $240, respectively. The winner is owned by Mike and Bill Pozefsky of New York.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser