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

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