Rocknroll Runa A Wins Open Pace

Rocknroll Runa A (Rock N Roll Heaven) won the final two installments of the Open Pace contested in 2023 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and trains the Aussie-bred invader who enjoyed a monster ’23 campaign that saw him earn more than $230,000 by way of thirteen wins. The first Open Pace of the 2024 was contested on Saturday evening on an opening day card that consisted of ten races. Rocknroll Runa A was moved to the lead in the early going by Stalbaum who sat behind his stable’s star in Saturday’s $15,000 feature.

The seven year old cruised unopposed through a first half in 57.1 but was challenged past three-quarters by Pickup Man Hanover (Shawn Gray) who popped the pocket to take on the favored leader around the final turn. Rocknroll Runa A proved up to the task as he stopped the timer in 1:53.3 to win the season’s first Open. Pickup Man Hanover settled for second best while Seventh Secret (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. Rocknroll Runa A paid $3.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $17 and $86.50, respectively.

Stalbaum completed a Saturday night double when his Crockets Cullen N prevailed in a $10,500 race for condition pacers. A former Pacer of the Year at the Spa, Crockets Cullen N made the first start of his thirteen year old season a winning one as he proved an impressive nearly three-length winner in a mile clocked in 1:55.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino HotelSaratoga Springs, New York

Seventh Secret Highlights Devaux’s Six Wins

Seventh Secret (Allamerican Native) recorded his third Open Pace victory of the season at Saratoga Casino Hotel when on Saturday night he went coast-to-coast for driver Jimmy Devaux who had a monster evening. The Lisa Zabielski-trained Seventh Secret has been saddled with terrible posts for months after recording a pair of wins in the local Open heading into Saturday when he drew post four in the $15,000 feature.

Devaux blasted the twelve year old off the car early and sizzled through a first quarter in 27 seconds. The veteran pacer cruised through a half in 56.3 without facing a challenge and appeared strong through three quarters in 1:25. The 8-5 betting favorite coasted in the stretch to win decisively by better than three lengths. Uncle Jord A (Shawn Gray) sat the pocket to finish second in the feature while Talking Tom (Chris Long) hit the board for the third consecutive week in the Open by earning the show spot.

Seventh Secret, who is owned by Mark Salerno of Felton, DE, won for the seventh time this season and third time in the Open Pace. Devaux, who is putting the finishing touches on his third straight driving title at the Spa, added six more wins to his bulky total on the Saturday card. Devaux and Zabielski teamed up for a pair of winners as their Initial Concept joined his stablemate Seventh Secret in recording Saturday scores.

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

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Addison Hanover Takes Open Pace

Addison Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) came to Saratoga Casino Hotel this summer to compete out of the stable of the meet’s leading trainer Brett Derue. Addison Hanover has been a winning machine since coming to the Spa and climbed the class ranks all the way up into the Open in recent weeks.

A beaten favorite when a third-place finisher in last Saturday’s (Nov 4) installment of the Open Pace, the Derue-trained five year old was once again heavily backed by the betting public in this week’s $15,000 feature. Driver Billy Dobson wasted little time moving the favorite to the lead quarter-moving Addison Hanover to take over from Talking Tom (Chris Long) in a 26.4 first quarter.

The favorite stood tall in a first half clocked in 56.1 before checking in at three quarters in 1:24.2. Feeling just mild pressure throughout, Addison Hanover powered away to win by better than two lengths while stopping the timer in 1:52.2, a new lifetime mark for the five year old. Talking Tom sat the pocket to finish second for the second consecutive week while Century Endeavor (Brett Beckwith) earned the show spot.

Addison Hanover paid $4.40 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $9.40 and $23.60, respectively. The winner is owned by Picarazzi, Derue and Bullard who scored two victories on the card as their Squadron Seelster pulled off a mild upset earlier in the evening in a conditional race for pacers. Dobson piloted both Derue trainees to their Saturday scores.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee set to kick off at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino HotelSaratoga Springs, New York

Jackie Greene Triples At Saratoga

Trainer Jackie Greene dominated the action on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The two-time leading trainer recorded three wins on the card including a victory in the evening’s featured race. Im No Outlaw N (Bettor’s Delight) drew post four for his try in the $16,050 Open Pace and was put in gear from the get-go by driver Jay Randall. The eight year old New Zealand import traveled unopposed in a first half that went in 57.1 and remained untested through three quarters of 1:25.4.

When Randall pushed the button on Im No Outlaw N, the speedy pacer responded cruising out to a decisive lead in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 to record his first Open win since coming to Saratoga last season. Talking Tom (Chris Long) got the pocket ride behind Im No Outlaw N and finished second while Addison Hanover (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot in his second ever start in the Open Pace. Im No Outlaw N, who is owned by the Kellogg Races Stables and Jackie Greene Stables, paid $8.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $21 and $100.50, respectively.

Greene kept piling up the wins on the evening as she registered impressive victories with her Ace Of Aces and Ahi Sunshine who each won for the first time since moving to the Greene barn in October. Both Ace Of Aces and Ahi Sunshine’s victories were so impressive that they actually scored in faster times on Saturday than did the Open winner, prevailing in 1:53 and 1:52.1, respectively. Billy Dobson piloted both Ace Of Aces and Ahi Sunshine to their Saturday scores.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee set to begin at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino HotelSaratoga Springs, New York

Rocknroll Runa A Returns In Open Pace

Rocknroll Runa A (Rock N Roll Heaven) last won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel back in February. After getting his season off to a strong start, the six year old has gone out of town and competed throughout much of the spring and summer for owner/trainer Larry Stalbaum. At one point this summer, Rocknroll Runa A rattled off three consecutive victories in the Yonkers Open Pace before competing in the Kane Invitational at Batavia. Following a win in the Batavia Open last week (Sept 30), it was back to the Spa on Saturday for the Stalbaum stable star who drew post seven in the seven-horse Open Pace. Stalbaum piloted Rocknroll Runa A in the $15,000 feature and left to find an early spot in fourth. The veteran reinsman was aggressive approaching the half and powered into the lead in a half mile that went in 56.2 over a track labeled ‘sloppy’. One of the two even-money shots in the Open, Rocknroll Runa A was asked to crank up the speed after clicking off three quarters in 1:24.3 and the response was instant. What resulted was win number nine on the season for the Aussie invader who stopped the timer in 1:52.3 and subsequently moved his 2023 earnings to over the $180,000 mark. Last week’s Open winner Hestherightstuff (Billy Dobson) closed well to be second on Saturday while even-money shot Moonshine Kisses (Jay Randall) powered home in the stretch to finish third. Rocknroll Runa A led an exacta and triple in the feature that paid $28 and $66, respectively.

Live racing continues on Sunday with a matinee set to begin at noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Seventh Secret Shines In Open Pace

Seventh Secret made his Open debut at Saratoga Casino Hotel earlier in the month and the veteran hit the board in two of his three starts in the regular Saturday feature heading into this weekend’s action. On Saturday, the Lisa Zabielski-trained twelve year old drew post eight for his try in the $15,000 Open Pace. Jimmy Devaux piloted Seventh Secret who was dismissed at eye-popping odds of 89-1 in what appeared on paper to be a wide-open feature. The action was hotly contested from the start in the feature as Seventh Secret got away last and was close to a dozen lengths away behind the leader in the opening quarter. While the deficit began to close a bit for the Zabielski trainee in the race’s middle half when three-quarters came up in 1:24, Seventh Secret remained eighth and last at that point. Closing on the far outside but still sixth at the top of the stretch, Seventh Secret hit his best strides and completed a swoop of the group by storming home in the race’s fastest final quarter before coming on to win in 1:53. A win mutuel of $181.50 resulted in the major shocker that saw Im No Outlaw N (Jay Randall) finish second and Pickup Man Hanover (Luke Hanners) earn the show spot. A $2 exacta returned $2,398 while a 50 cent triple came back a hearty $5,512.50. Seventh Secret, who is owned by Mark Salerno of Felton, DE, now owns 39 career victories and more than $627,000 in lifetime earnings. The win was one of four on the evening for leading driver Jimmy Devaux and one of a three for Zabielski who scored later in the night with her Datguyna Greensuit (Bettor’s Delight) and Juxlivin My Dream (Relentless Yankee) who each went wire-to-wire with Devaux in tow.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

 

Derue Records Training Double

Trainer Brett Derue has been atop the trainer standings at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the majority of the 2023 season. On Saturday night, the meet’s leading conditioner enjoyed a big night in which he saw a pair of his trainees record big wins. Derue’s Soul Assassin (Malicious) won his first Open Pace on August 19th when he set a new lifetime mark with a 1:51.4 victory. This week, driver Mitch Cushing once again sat behind Soul Assassin as he moved first-over in a race that saw historic fractions in the early going. The race’s favorite Pickup Man Hanover (Luke Hanners) clicked off a first quarter of 25.4, the fastest first panel in the history of Saratoga Harness. The leader continued to roll past a half in 54 seconds before Soul Assassin made his move on the leader. Soul Assassin toughed it out overland before stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for his eighth win of the season. Last week’s Open winner Century Endeavor (Brett Beckwith) closed to be second to the four year old Derue trainee on Saturday while Seventh Secret (Jimmy Devaux) hit the board for the second consecutive week in the $16,050 feature when he earned the show spot on Saturday. Soul Assassin, a 3-1 shot in the morning line, was dismissed at odds of 11-1 and paid $25.40 to win. The exacta and triple in the Open returned $106 and $341.50, respectively. The win in the Open was one of two on the evening for Derue whose Addison Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) set a lifetime mark recording a 1:52.3 score with reinsman Billy Dobson in the bike.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Century Endeavor Takes Open Pace

Century Endeavor (Shadow Play) finished a strong second in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel two weeks ago when he drew the rail for his try in the feature. On Saturday night, the Melissa Beckwith trainee once again had the pole position in the Open and utilized it to his full advantage. Brett Beckwith piloted Century Endeavor to a wire-to-wire victory for the eight year old’s first win in the local Open. After powering out to a first quarter in 26.3, the veteran pacer got a bit of a breather before reaching the half in 56.2. The 6-1 shot kept rolling along and never faced much of a challenge en route to his 1:52.4 score. Seventh Secret (Jimmy Devaux), a 34-1 longshot, sat the pocket to the winner and finished second while Hestherightstuff (Billy Dobson) toughed out a first-over journey to finish third in the $16,050 Open. Century Endeavor, who is owned by Howard Jacobs of West Orange, NY, paid $15.60 to win in his first feature score and led an exacta and triple that returned $238.50 and $536, respectively. For trainer Melissa Beckwith, who sits second in the local trainer standings at the Spa this season, the win for Century Endeavor was her stable’s first Open Pace victory of the year.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyenne Mandy

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Uncle Jord A Upsets In Open Pace

On an evening that saw several big upsets at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Uncle Jord A was a longshot winner in the feature on Saturday night. Alicia Gray trains Uncle Jord A (Rock N Roll Heaven) who came into the evening with three victories in the local Open to his credit in 2023 but only one of which came in the last four months. In Saturday’s installment of the $17,000 Open Pace, Uncle Jord A was the longest shot in the morning line while drawing post position six. The race featured fast fractions of 27 and 56.2 in the first half and as the favorites duked it out, a host of longshots began to close in. With six horses separated by only four lengths turning for home, the scramble in the stretch was on. When the dust settled it was Uncle Jord A emerging with a 1:53.3 victory in a race in which he was dismissed at odds of 15-1. Talking Tom (Billy Dobson) closed to be second at 12-1 while 18-1 shot Pickup Man Hanover (Luke Hanners), last week’s Open winner, came on to earn the show spot. Uncle Jord A paid $33.40 to win and led big exotics which included a $309.50 exacta and a $4,100 triple. Uncle Jord A’s victory was his fourth in the Open this year for owner Doug Overhiser of New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

New York County Fair Finals Complete

New York County Fair Finals Complete

Veteran reinsmen Wally Hennessey and Claude Huckabone Jr. each scored a pair of victories among the eight New York County Fair Circuit Finals that took place on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Hennessey piloted the winners of the $15,000 divisions for two year old trotting colts and three year old pacing colts. Freshman Promises Met (Met’s Hall) made his debut out of the stable of the meet’s leading trainer Brett Derue who purchased the two year old along with Steve Picarazzi leading up to Friday’s Final. Promises Met completed Hennessey’s double when he went coast-to-coast in 2:04.2 following up Wally’s score behind Universe Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) in the evening’s opener for trainer James Rothfuss.

Claude Huckabone Jr. experienced both ends of the spectrum on Friday as the veteran horseman guided his Crazy Fool (Crazy Wow) to victory at odds of 1-9 in the three year old trotting colt and gelding Final before sitting behind Primetime Jay (Roll With Joe) who prevailed in the Final for three year old pacing fillies while dismissed at odds of 68-1. Huckabone Jr. co-owns Primetime Jay with trainer Victoria LaBelle.

The other $15,000 Fair Finals were won by Angel Express (Conway Hall) in the three year old filly trot division, Koup Kruiser (So Surreal) in the two year old colt and gelding pace, Kim’s Choice (Courtly Choice) in the two year old filly pace and Ms Titan (E L Titan) in the two year old filly trot.

Live racing continues on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a thirteen-race card set to get underway at 6:45pm.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York