Perfect Vixen & John Stark Jr.

Perfect Vixen, a 3yr old filly by Muscles Yankee, won Sunday afternoon’s John Mongeon Sr Memorial Trot Final. After winning 2 out of three legs of the series she trotted to victory in the $33,400 final in 1:55.4. Perfect Vixen is trained by Scott Mongeon and was driven by John Stark Jr.

Melissa Simser

Perfect Vixen & John Stark Jr.

The start to the season hasn’t been perfect for the Scott Mongeon-trained Perfect Vixen (Muscles Yankee) but it’s been close. The three year old filly came into the John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trotting Series as the one to beat after winning four races in five starts in the 2022 campaign. The clear favorite in the ninth annual installment of the Mongeon Memorial Series, Perfect Vixen set a lifetime mark in leg one scoring in 1:56.2 with John Stark Jr. in the sulky. After drawing post eight, the filly had to settle for a third-place finish in leg two while squaring off against a strong group of competitors. On Sunday, Stark wasted very little time moving the race’s 1-5 betting favorite out to the lead where she never encountered an anxious moment before scoring in 1:56.3 to cement her role as the one to knock off heading into next Sunday’s Series Final. Titan On the Rail (Mickey McGivern) closed well to be second and finished his legs of the series with a win and a pair of seconds. Gavinator (Brett Crawford) earned the show spot.

In the other $10,000 division of the series’ third leg, Charlatan Hanover (Uncle Peter) powered out to the early lead and the leg two runner-up rolled to victory from there. Wally Hennessey piloted Charlatan Hanover to the front-running win as the Gary Levine trainee punched his ticket to next Sunday’s Final behind a 1:58 score. The win was one of four on the afternoon for Hennessey.

Live racing continues on Monday afternoon at Saratoga and will feature a Jackpot in the Pick Six that sits at $6,358 beginning in race eight. First post time is set for 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

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

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

Squee Hanover & Billy Dobson

Last year marked the breakout season for Squee Hanover (Crazed) as the Andy Gardner trainee won the local Open Trot seven times. After finishing up his campaign in red-hot fashion, Squee Hanover took about a month and a half off before returning to the Open last Sunday (Feb 6). The six year old finished third in his seasonal debut and on Monday afternoon Squee Hanover looked to get back into the win column while participating in the $15,000 feature. Billy Dobson was the regular reinsman for Squee Hanover during the majority of his late season hot streak in ’21 and has gotten off to a great start to his 2022 campaign in the sulky. Dobson powered Squee Hanover out to a pretty easy lead on Monday and from there, it was over. The Gardner stable star loves the front-end and held firm on the engine before trotting away from his rivals in a mile clocked in 1:56.3 to record his first Open victory of the year. Last week’s Open winner Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) charged hard in the stretch to get up for second while Xcuseme (John Stark Jr) earned the show spot. Squee Hanover was one of two 8-5 co-favorites on Monday and subsequently paid $5.40 to win. The exacta and triple in the trotting feature returned $20.80 and $74, respectively. Squee Hanover, who is owned by the Exceed Stables of Lamar, PA, gave his trainer Andy Gardner one of his three winners on the Monday card.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon with a matinee carded in place of the regular Sunday matinee which didn’t occur due to it being Super Bowl Sunday. First post time Tuesday is set for Noon.

 

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser

Im Not Vanilla & Brett Beckwith

Monday afternoon featured two divisions of the first leg of the “Bullet” Bob Meyer Memorial Trotting Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The series is the trotting compliment to the Charlie Hoffman Pacing Series which kicked off on Sunday at the Spa. The series’ formerly called the “Holiday Series” have been renamed this year to honor the two longtime fixtures at the Spa. The Bob Meyer Trot first leg had two divisions on Monday with each division going for a purse of $10,000. With late board backing, Jackie Cantine’s Im Not Vanilla (Chocolatier) was the 3-2 betting favorite in the first division contested on the matinee card. Driver Brett Beckwith sat patiently in the early going with Im Not Vanilla as the race’s leader Riverofroyalty (Brett Crawford) carved out the fractions. Riverofroyalty built what looked to be an insurmountable lead around the final turn but that’s when the eleven year old veteran Im Not Vanilla shifted gears and came storming home in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:59.4. The victory was the third on the season for Im Not Vanilla who is owned by Jeff Cantine of Ballston Spa, NY.

The other leg of the series saw Amazing Sevens (Chapter Seven) go coast-to-coast in 2:01. Driver Phil Fluet worked hard to get the Margaret Spagnola-trained trotter to the lead in the early stages on Monday. Amazing Sevens got a strong middle-half breather while just mildly contested by the race’s favorite Itsoneofthose (Jimmy Devaux) before drawing away to win in 2:01. Jeter’s Way (Brett Beckwith), another Cantine trainee, finished second while Itsoneofthose had to settle for third. Amazing Sevens completed a grand slam for driver Phil Fluet who piloted two winners for both Margaret Spagnola and Kyle Spagnola, including one in the $15,000 Open Trot with Kyle’s Cash Me Out. Fluet now sits just two victories away from reaching the 1,000 win plateau for his career after his huge Monday afternoon in the sulky.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon with a first post time set for noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Squee Hanover & Billy Dobson

Over the course of the last two months, Squee Hanover (Crazed) has been the dominant force among local trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In the midst of his breakout campaign, Squee Hanover headed into Monday’s try in the $15,000 Open Trot with victories in three of his last four Open tries and in four of his last six attempts in the trotting feature. On Monday, Billy Dobson sat behind the Andy Gardner trainee who drew post six in the six-horse Open and came from off the pace. Squee Hanover rushed up first-over after a first lap that went in 57.3. The razor sharp five year old served as cover for Yonkers invader Madhatter Bluechip (Jimmy Devaux) who chased the favorite throughout but came up second-best in a mile clocked in 1:55.4. For Squee Hanover, it was the fifth Open Trot win of the season and the eleventh victory in ’21 overall. Madhatter Bluechip was the runner-up while Oh So Pine (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple, with the 6-5 favorite on top, came back $13.60 and $53.50, respectively. Squee Hanover is owned by Exceed Stables of Lamar, PA. For the second consecutive day, Dobson piloted four winners the card.

Live racing continues at Saratoga on Tuesday afternoon with a noon start to the action.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Winneress & Stephanie Jacobs

Sunday’s card at Saratoga Casino Hotel had a bit of a “halftime show” as a Racing Under Saddle event was featured in the middle of the matinee program. Seven trotters took part in the $5,600 event which was named the “Race to End Breast Cancer” in conjunction with breast cancer awareness month. The racing under saddle or “RUS” is also known as Monte Racing and is wildly popular in Europe. Instead of racing with the sulky attached, horses in RUS have the riders on top similar to thoroughbred racing. The seven trotters who participated in the event split the purse equally but it was Winneress who prevailed with rider Stephanie Jacobs guiding the seven year old trotter to victory in a mile clocked in 2:04.3. Winneress flashed early speed but sat patiently behind leader Slated To Win (Maria Buchanan) throughout before making his move approaching three quarters. At that point, Winneress and Slated To Win traded strides until the former drew clear in the stretch to prevail. Winneress, who is owned by Anthony Verrusso of Whitesboro, NY and trained by Symon Spicer, was presented in the winner’s circle with a black and pink blanket in recognition of his victory in the “Race to End Breast Cancer”. Slated To Win was second while Armbro Hall (Cathy Gearwar) finished third in the non-betting event. Other participants, in order of finish, were Lugar (Vanessa Karlewicz), Pine Tab (Ashley Eldred), Railroad Lane (Sietske Dijkhof) and Summer Storm (Sophie Engerran).

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino