Big Box Hanover & Matthew Athearn

Big Box Hanover (Uncle Peter) has been the early season’s force at Saratoga Casino Hotel and on Sunday afternoon, the top caliber trotter was at it again. Larry Stalbaum owns and trains Big Box Hanover who was a nominee for Trotter of the Year at Saratoga last season and is well on pace to have an even bigger campaign in 2023. Coming into Sunday’s start in the $17,000 Open Trot, Big Box Hanover already owned three victories in the local feature this year despite being assigned an outside post almost weekly. In fact, the six year old went last to first in back-to-back starts earlier this month to record victories before finishing third in last Sunday’s (Mar 19) installment of the Open. This week, young reinsman Matt Athearn again took Big Box Hanover back to last in the early going but didn’t waste much time in getting the razor-sharp trotter underway. Flushing out the cover of weekly rival Dewey Arnold (Jimmy Devaux) approaching the half mile pole, Big Box Hanover wound up fanning three-wide heading to three quarters before taking over the lead in mid-stretch. The 6-5 betting favorite went last to first for the third time in four starts to secure his fifth win of the ’23 campaign and fourth in the local Open Trot. Reign Of Honor (Shawn Gray) closed well to finish second while Dewey Arnold earned the show spot. The exacta and triple in the feature paid $27.60 and $74.50, respectively. Driver Matt Athearn piloted three winners on the Sunday card in what has been a breakout first two months of the season at the Spa for the 24 year old.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a matinee beginning at noon.

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Big Box Hanover & Matthew Athearn

To go last-to-first in a race is a daunting task on a half mile track for any horse. To do it against a top-flight field of Open horses is even more of a tall order. Last Sunday (March 5), Big Box Hanover (Uncle Peter) did just that when he swooped the group to score in the $17,000 feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Larry Stalbaum-trained trotter was dismissed at odds of 27-1 when he recorded his second win in the local Open this season. This Sunday (March 12), Big Box Hanover once again was tasked from coming from last after drawing post eight in his attempt to repeat in the feature.

Young reinsman Matt Athearn, who drove the six year old to victory last week, again sat behind Big Box Hanover as they once again got away last in the eight-horse Open. On Sunday, Big Box Hanover was third over after a first half that went in 57.3 and again made a late sweeping move to take over the lead in the stretch. The Stalbaum trainee stopped the timer in 1:56.1 for his fourth win of the season and third score in the local Open in ’23. Dewey Arnold (Jimmy Devaux) was the runner-up to Big Box Hanover for the second consecutive week while Abruzzo (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot.

The three-time Open winner paid $16.60 on Sunday and led an exacta and triple that returned $57 and $195, respectively. Post eight, no problem for Big Box Hanover!

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Jessica Hallett

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Big Box Hanover & Larry Stalbaum

Big Box Hanover (Uncle Peter) has been a solid force in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel since coming to town last year. This season, the Larry Stalbaum trainee has been a picture of consistency and came into Sunday’s try in the feature with three Open wins to his credit this year but while finishing in the top three in 21 of his 31 starts in ’22.

Big Box Hanover finished second or third in four consecutive starts in the Open before drawing his best post in months on Sunday afternoon. The five year old wound up being the betting public’s 3-5 favorite in the $16,000 Open and Stalbaum flashed speed from post four with the talented trotter. Yielding in the early going to Majestic Fire (Luke Hanners), Big Box Hanover sat the pocket in a first lap that went in 58 seconds.

Majestic Fire, who won the Open two weeks ago, was in complete control through three quarters in 1:26.2 but Big Box Hanover popped the pocket around the final turn. Longshot Quadratic Bluechip (Chris Long) came surging up the rail in the stretch but it was Big Box Hanover who hit the wire first to register his fourth Open score of the season and eighth victory overall in the ’22 campaign. An earner of six figures for the third consecutive year, Big Box Hanover’s fourth Open win came in 1:56.1 on Sunday.

The Open winner is owned by the Red, White and Blue Racing Stable of Matamoras, PA. Quadratic Blue Chip was the runner-up on Sunday to complete a $20.40 exacta while Majestic Fire wrapped up the $95 triple in the feature.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Cash Me Out & Phil Fluet

Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) loves to win and did what he loves once again on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Kyle Spagnola-trained trotter is one of the winningest horses of all time at the Spa and the veteran is showing no signs of letting up. With one victory under his belt in 2022, Cash Me Out was back into the featured race for trotters last week when he finished fourth. On Sunday afternoon, the eleven year old was the 2-1 second-choice in the wagering in the $15,000 Open Trot and flashed early speed to get the lead with driver Phil Fluet at the controls. Cash Me Out cruised unopposed through a first half in 59.4 and really felt just mild pressure after checking in a three-quarters in 1:28.3. The millionaire highstepper then kicked away turning for home while under just mild encouragement from Fluet to secure another victory in the Open stopping the timer in 1:57.1. The win was number 71 in the career of Cash Me Out who is owned by Mike Traylor of Ballston Spa, NY. Longshot Bold Creation (Leon Bailey) finished second while Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) earned the show spot to hit the board in the Open for the seventh time in his eight seasonal starts. Cash Me Out paid $6.70 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $76.50 and $219.50, respectively.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a matinee beginning at Noon.

 

Mike Sardella
Photo: Melissa Simser

Dewey Arnold & Jimmy Devaux

Dewey Arnold (Deweycheatumnhowe) rattled off back-to-back victories in the Open Trot in early March at Saratoga Casino Hotel before taking a couple of weeks off and making his return on Sunday afternoon. Assigned post eight in his attempt to three-peat, Dewey Arnold was one of three 2-1 co-favorites in the $15,000 feature for high-steppers. Driver Jimmy Devaux took the Dave Dewhurst trainee back at the start coming away seventh only due to an early breaker in the race. Dewey Arnold moved to the outside approaching the half but couldn’t flush any cover before coming after the race’s leader Madhatter Bluechip (Brett Beckwith), another of the race’s co-favorites. Dewey kept plugging away and though it appeared the task would be too difficult, the four year old star proved otherwise surging in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:56.4 to complete his hat trick. Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) continued his strong season by closing to be second while Madhatter Bluechip had to settle for the show spot.

Dewey Arnold, who is owned in tandem by Dewhurst and Philip Hale, now has seventeen wins in his 35 career starts and is just shy of the $300,000 in lifetime earnings. On Sunday, he paid $6.40 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $33.40 and $134.50, respectively. The victory in the Open was one of five on the day for Devaux who currently sits second in the driver standings in the early stages of the ‘22 campaign at the Spa.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that kicks off at noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Cash Me Out & Phil Fluet

With no Open Trot on the docket, there were co-features for Winners Over trotters on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. All eyes were on the track’s defending Trotter of the Year as Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) made just his second start of the season. The Kyle Spagnola trainee was the 6-5 betting favorite in his division of the $13,000 Winners Over and wasted no time moving out to the lead. Driver Phil Fluet set comfortable fractions for Cash Me Out who wound up powering away from his competition in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:57.1 to record his first win of the year and 70th in his amazing career. The eleven year old, who is owned by Mike Traylor of Ballston Spa, NY, is poised to head back into the Open in the coming weeks. On Sunday, he paid $4.50 to win. The victory was one of two on the card for conditioner Kyle Spagnola.

The other division of the $13,000 co-features went to another horse who recorded his first victory of the 2022 campaign. Grinder (Andover Hall) had been off since last May when he made his seasonal debut earlier this month. The six year old didn’t get his season off to the strongest start but on Sunday made a late move on dueling leaders before surging in the stretch. Young reinsman Brett Beckwith moved Grinder just at the right time and the Amanda Kelley-trained trotter got up in the final stride to win by a head in 1:57.3. He paid $10.40 to win in the mild upset. Grinder is owned by Scheigert&alliesracing LLC of Saratoga Springs.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a matinee beginning at Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Bluffinner & Jordan Derue

Bluffinner (Credit Winner) was claimed at Yonkers by Jordan Derue in January. The five year old trotter enjoyed a six-figure season in 2021 and has been off to a solid start to his ’22 campaign. After being a beaten favorite in his debut at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Bluffinner rattled off back-to-back jacks for Derue including one victory in the $13,000 Winners Over.

Last week, he made his debut in the Open Trot and was backed by the betting public to the tune of 4-5 odds. The Derue trainee was a non-factor in his first start in the feature and finished fourth.

On Sunday afternoon, Bluffinner drew post seven in the seven-horse Open and was thus dismissed at odds of 22-1. Derue left a bit with the longshot and found a spot in fourth in the early going. With the favored Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) setting comfortable fractions on the engine, a first-over task appeared to be a tough one but that’s the path Derue took with his speedy trotter. Bluffinner fought gamely on the outside as Gigfy dug in.

In the meantime, Squee Hanover, who was the pocket-sitter, closed up in the inside in the stretch as the dueling leaders traded strides. Bluffinner surged one last time at the wire before coming on to score in 1:56, paying $46.20 to win in the big Open upset.

Gigfy finished second while Squee Hanover had to settle for third. The exacta and triple with the 22-1 shot on top returned $148 and $269.50, respectively. Bluffinner is owned by Derue in partnership with the FBP Racing Stable of Hinsdale, NH.

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

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

Dewey Arnold & Jimmy Devaux

Dewey Arnold (Deweycheatumnhowe) scored his second consecutive victory in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sunday when the Dave Dewhurst trainee gutted out a first-over journey to secure the win. After a bit of a slow start to his 2022 campaign, Dewey Arnold has now toughed out back-to-back difficult journeys en route to his consecutive victories in the $15,000 Open Trot. Jimmy Devaux piloted the four year old former New York Sire Stakes star who toughed out Sunday’s win in 1:56.1 despite drawing the outside post in the feature. Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) held on to finish second while Gettin Messi (Shawn Gray) came on to earn the show spot. Dewey Arnold, who is owned by Philip Hale and Dave Dewhurst, paid $6.00 to win as the race’s second choice in the wagering and led an exacta and triple that came back $38.60 and $177, respectively.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga beginning at noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Powerscourt & Mickey McGivern

Powerscourt (Credit Winner) won his first ever Open Trot on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The six year old was a New York Sire Stakes star early on in his career and in recent seasons has taken to facing top-level trotters at the Spa. Just two weeks removed from a mild upset victory in a $13,000 Winners Over trot, Powerscourt drew post two for Sunday’s try in the $15,000 trotting feature.

Mickey McGivern pilots Powerscourt for trainer Cheryl McGivern and sat fourth throughout the first 5/8 of a mile on Sunday before taking his shot at local trotting stalwart Squee Hanover approaching three-quarters. Powerscourt, who was dismissed at odds of 28-1, charged past the leader before holding off a late bid from fellow longshot Hot Wheelz (Luke Hanners) in the stretch to score in 1:57.4. Xcuseme (John Stark Jr), who finished second in last Sunday’s Open, earned the show spot to continue his strong start to the 2022 campaign.

Powerscourt paid $59.50 to win in the big Open upset and led a hefty exacta and triple that came back $592 and $2,346, respectively. The winner is owned by Charles Foster, William Carroll and Mike Sentiwany, all of New York. A McGivern double was completed when young trotter Titan On The Rail ( E L Titan) went back-to-back on Sunday. The four year old matched his win time from last week when he stopped the timer in 2:02.1 with Mickey McGivern in the sulky. Titan On The Rail’s upset came at odds of 7-1.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a matinee starting at Noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Gigfy & Alek Chartrand

A fixture in the Open over the course of the last couple of seasons, Gigfy (Broadway Hall) has been the star among trotters in the opening month of the meet at Saratoga Casino Hotel. On Sunday afternoon, the Brian Mattison trainee made it look easy prevailing in the feature. Gigfy was the betting public’s 4-5 favorite in the $15,000 Open Trot and wasted no time taking the lead. Driver Alek Chartrand powered the speedy trotter to an early and easy lead and from there, it was over. The eight year old cruised unopposed through a first half in 59 seconds and never faced an anxious moment before stopping the timer in 1:56.2. The win was his second in three starts in the Open this year with a second-place finish sandwiched in between the victories. Longshot Xcuseme (John Stark Jr) sat the pocket to the winner and wound up as the runner-up while Powerscourt (Mickey McGivern) rounded out the triple. The exacta and triple with the favorite on top paid $36.80 and $341, respectively. Gigfy is owned by Gerald D’Alessandro of Ocala, FL and Bridgette Mattison of Watervliet, NY. With the two Open wins in opening month, Gigfy has already surpassed his total from 2021 when he recorded just one victory in the feature for trotters.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a President’s Day matinee set to kick off at Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser