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

Gertrude & Andy Miller

Tuesday afternoon’s card at Saratoga Casino Hotel featured New York Sire Stakes action for two year old trotting fillies. There were three divisions for the freshman trotters that went for purses of between $47,000 and $49,000. Gertrude (Devious Man- Ophelia- Broadway Hall) made her lifetime debut a winning one in impressive fashion in the first stakes race of the day. Andy Miller piloted the freshman filly for trainer Julie Miller and wasted no time moving out to the early lead with her. The race’s 3-5 betting favorite, Gertrude went coast-to-coast in 1:57.4 highlighted by a final half in 57.4 en route to breaking her maiden in her first career start. The talented high-stepper had to hold of formidable foe Seven On The Rocks (John Stark Jr.) in the stretch before reporting home a length and a quarter winner. Gertrude is owned by the Andy Miller Stable Inc. of Millstone Township, NJ.

Bomb Hugger (Chapter Seven- Stylemaker- Cantab Hall) remained undefeated on Tuesday when she went coast-to-coast to secure her first career stakes victory and move her lifetime record to two-for-two. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, Bomb Hugger made her first start out of the stable of trainer Melissa Beckwith in the $47,966 division of the NYSS and had little difficulty going the distance on the engine. Gettinmystepsin (Andy Miller) sat the pocket to the winner and put in a bit of a threat in the stretch before settling for second in her first career start while Cranberry Lake (Wally Hennessey) earned the show spot. Bomb Hugger stopped the clock in 1:58.2 in her first stakes victory for owners Thestable Bomb Hugger of Guelph, ON, Canada.

The final NYSS race for two year old fillies went the way of Joviality S (Chapter Seven-Pasithea Face S- Muscle Hill) who wound up being the fastest filly of the day after scoring in 1:56.4 in her $48,867 division. Brian Sears was in to pilot the Marcus Melander-trained filly who left no doubt as she secured a decisive victory as her race’s 7-5 betting favorite. Joviality S made her lifetime debut on Tuesday and moved out to the front end at the get-go and appeared comfortable every step of the way. The freshman filly is owned by Courant Inc. of Delray Beach, FL.

The next installment of the NYSS to be contested at Saratoga is set for Wednesday July 14th when three year old colt pacers come to town. Live harness racing continues at Saratoga Wednesday (July 7) afternoon with a Noon first post.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Exarch & Jim Devaux

Exarch (Cantab Hall) has established himself as a formidable Open trotter at Saratoga Casino Hotel in recent weeks and on Monday afternoon, the six year old won the trotting feature for the second consecutive week. Exarch was the runner-up two weeks ago (June 7) in his debut in the local Open and followed it up with a pocket-sitting score last Monday (June 14). In this week’s installment of the $14,000 Open, Exarch was assigned the outside post and blasted out at the start under the guidance of reinsman Jimmy Devaux. Parked out in the early going, Devaux went pedal to the metal with Exarch who didn’t stop until he reached the top getting to the lead in a demanding first quarter of 27.1. Released at odds of 7-2 in an evenly bet featured race, Exarch cruised through a half in 56.3 before being confronted by millionaire trotter Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) who took the leader to task. Those two slugged it out toe-to-toe throughout the entire final half before Exarch put him away in the final strides. Stopping the timer in 1:56.1, Exarch won for the fifth time this season and third time in the last five starts since moving to the stable of trainer John Gerow last month. The rising star among local trotters paid $9.60 to win and led an exacta with Cash Me Out second that came back $40.20. Brady Bunch (Steve Genois) closed to finish third and round out a $148.50 triple. Exarch is owned by the Fortune Valley Stable of Ballston Spa, NY.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga. The carryover in the Jackpot Pick Six has climbed to $2,901. The Super High Five Jackpot is up to $4,982 and that wager takes place in the final race on every program. Both bets are 20 cent wagers. First post is set for Noon.

 

 

Mike Sardella
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Reign Of Honor & Denis St. Pierre

Reign Of Honor (Father Patrick) made his Open Trot debut on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Tiffanee Staley trainee was beaten as a 1-5 betting favorite two weeks ago when he came up second-best while racing at the Spa for the first time. Last week (May 31), the five year old avenged that defeat with a decisive score in an $11,250 race for conditional trotters. This week it was up into the $14,000 Open for Reign Of Honor who was backed by the betting public to the tune of even money with Denis St. Pierre in the sulky. The favorite left a bit at the start but still had to come from off the pace in the Monday feature. With upset minded Exarch (Jimmy Devaux) on the engine setting fast fractions, Reign Of Honor followed second-over cover and tipped off that cover following three-quarters that went in 1:24.4 on a hot afternoon in upstate NY. Exarch held strong but didn’t have the power to turn away Reign Of Honor in the stretch as the favorite surged by before stopping the timer in 1:55, the fastest clocking of the season for a trotter at the Spa. Reign Of Honor now owns three wins in nine seasonal starts and has amassed over $470,000 in just 48 lifetime starts. Exarch was a strong second on Monday while dismissed at odds of 9-1 while Winning Legends (Justin Huckabone) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple in the Open paid $27.20 and $101.50, respectively. Reign Of Honor is owned by Randy Zane of Laval, QC, Canada.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for Noon. There is a $4,288 carryover in the Pick Five pool for Tuesday. The Pick Five begins in race one on the matinee card.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Cash Me Out & Phil Fluet

It was familiar ground for Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) on Monday afternoon when the veteran trotter made yet another trek back to the winner’s circle at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The ten year old high-stepper recorded his 62nd career win in Monday’s $15,000 Open Trot as reinsman Phil Fluet put the Kyle Spagnola-trained trotter on the front-end in the Memorial Day feature and the millionaire cruised from there. Cash Me Out had to work hard in the early going before clicking off a first quarter of 27.1. After settling in on the engine, Cash Me Out went to the half in 57 seconds and held firm every step of the way before scoring in 1:56.3. The win was the fifth of the year for Cash Me Out and the third in the local Open Trot this season joining Gruden as the only three-time winners in the local trotting feature in 2021. With the earnings from his win, Cash Me Out moved his career bankroll to over $1.25 million for owner Mike Traylor of Ballston Spa, NY. Gigfy (Alek Chartrand) closed up the inside to finish second on Monday while longshot Navarone Hanover (Chris Long) earned the show spot. One of the race’s two even-money shots, Cash Me Out led an exacta and triple that paid $22.40 and $147, respectively.

Live racing continues at Saratoga on Tuesday afternoon with a first post time of Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Dewey Arnold & Jim Devaux

Monday’s matinee card at Saratoga Casino Hotel was highlighted by the 8th annual John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trotting Series Final. The two legs of the Series were dominated by Dewey Arnold (Deweycheatumnhowe) who wound up as the public’s 1-9 betting favorite in the Final. Dave Dewhurst trains Dewey Arnold who has been a revelation in his three year old season. A solid trotter as a two year old, Dewey Arnold has had a breakout campaign in 2021 and came into Monday’s $32,900 Final on a five-race win streak. After crushing the competition in both of the legs of the Series, Dewey Arnold would likely have been a big-time favorite regardless of post position but after drawing the rail for the Final was as big of a favorite as you can have. Dewey Arnold moved out to the early lead under the guidance of reinsman Jimmy Devaux on Monday and it was lights out from there. The rising star cruised to a nine-length romp in 1:55.4 to complete the Series sweep. Battle Queen (Billy Dobson), who was the runner-up to Dewey Arnold in both legs of the Series, again came up second-best to him in Monday’s Final after getting the pocket ride behind the winner. Longshot Royal Soldier (Dan Cappello Jr), a leg two winner, earned the show spot in the Final. Dewey Arnold, who is co-owned by his trainer Dave Dewhurst and Philip Hale, of New Hartford, NY, will enter stakes season on a tear after securing his sixth straight victory. The win was one of two for Dewhurst and Devaux on the afternoon as four year old mare Sweet Sofie T (Conway Hall) cruised to a front-running score in a $10,150 race for trotters.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with the $32,200 J.P. Morel Memorial Pacing Series Final highlighting a 12-race card. There is a $4,372 carryover in the Pick Five pool heading into Tuesday. The Pick Five starts in the afternoon’s first race which is scheduled for Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Gruden & Billy Dobson

Gruden (Muscles Yankee) scored for the second consecutive week in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Monday afternoon. Billy Dobson pilots the Monica Krist-trained trotter and wasted no time moving him to the front in this week’s $12,000 feature. Enjoying comfortable fractions on the engine, Gruden didn’t face much of a threat before powering away to win in 1:57.3 while the favorite at odds of 4-5. Stone In Love (Brian Cross), who finished third in last week’s Open, sat the pocket to the winner on Monday and finished second while local legend Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) had to settle for the show spot. Gruden, who has been a picture of consistency at the Spa early on in the campaign, has now vaulted himself towards the top of the group of local trotters after his second consecutive score in the Open. For the second straight week, Dobson piloted Krist trainees Gruden and Lazzaro to Monday scores. Both trotters are owned by Rick Dobson of Howell, Michigan. The win completed a natural hat trick for Billy Dobson who piloted three straight winners on the card. Gruden took the bulk of the public’s money in the wagering this week despite the fact that Cash Me Out was back in town to compete. The exacta in the six-horse feature paid $9.70 and the triple with Cash Me Out third came back $19.80.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon starting at Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Cheyanne Mandy

Gruden & Billy Dobson

The Monica Krist stable had two horses in on trotting day at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Monday afternoon. Gruden led the charge from her stable and was the public’s 8-5 betting favorite in the matinee’s $12,000 Open Trot. Gruden got the pocket trip behind Gigfy (Alek Chartrand), a razor-sharp trotter who was aggressive in the feature and did prove up to the task. Gigfy cut the mile but was hounded throughout, parking out a rival in a first half that was clocked in 56.2. All the while, Gruden was in behind the dueling leaders and when he got clearance after three quarters in 1:26, popped the pocket and cruised past Gigfy before drawing away in the stretch. Billy Dobson piloted Gruden to the better than four-length victory in the feature. Gruden paid $5.40 to win and led an exacta with Gigfy second that came back $26. Stone In Love (Brian Cross) made a break behind the gate but rallied late to finish third and complete a $69.50 triple. The win for Gruden was one of two on the day for his connections. Owner Rick Dobson, of Howell, MI, had a double as his Lazzaro (Explosive Matter) was a repeat winner earlier in the card in a $6,600 trotting event for Krist with leading driver Billy Dobson in the sulky.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Cash Me Out & Phil Fluet

Winning Opens is something Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) has pretty much always done. The Kyle Spagnola trainee won the Open Trot nine times in his 2019 Horse of the Year campaign at Saratoga Casino Hotel before adding another three local Opens to his tally in the ’20 season. It only made sense that in the first Open Trot contested this year that Cash Me Out prevailed on Monday afternoon. Phil Fluet piloted the veteran trotter who cruised to victory on opening day of the meet (March 1st) when in a conditional race. In the season’s first installment of the $11,000 Open Trot on the season, Cash Me Out was the public’s 4-5 betting favorite while assigned post six in the six-horse feature. The post didn’t bother the millionaire trotter who marched out to the early lead and just cruised once he got there. When it was all said and done, Cash Me Out stopped the timer in 1:58.1 on a windy afternoon in Saratoga to record his first Open score of the year in what was his 60th lifetime win. The local star is owned by Mike Traylor of Ballston Spa, NY. Longshot Yonkers invader Freddie Mac (Jay Randall) sat the pocket to the winner and finished second to complete a generous $68.00 exacta while Gruden (Billy Dobson) came up third-best to complete a $198.50 triple. The win was one of two on the day for Spagnola whose If Not Why Not (Muscle Mass) also made good as an odds-on favorite on Monday, cruising to a wire-to-wire win in a $6,450 trotting event with driver Brett Crawford at the controls.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino