Surreal Feeling & Alek Chartrand

It isn’t often that a horse who wins a featured race in back-to-back weeks at Saratoga Casino Hotel winds up going off at 5-1 odds in his or her next try against a similar group. That was the case on Wednesday afternoon when Surreal Feeling (So Surreal) was somewhat ignored by the bettors in the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Open as she pursued a hat trick. Alek Chartrand picked up the catch-drive behind the Dale Lawton-trained mare whose early speed is so strong that she had no trouble making it to the top even from post position seven. Surreal Feeling paced the first half in 57.4 and was relatively untested through three quarters of 1:26.1. The six year old mare, who loves to win, did it again as she kicked away from her rivals in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:55 for an open-length score. The victory was the fourth in a row for Surreal Feeling including three straight in the Spa feature for distaffers. Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) sat the pocket to the winner before finishing second while Thats Incredible (Brett Crawford) earned the show spot. Surreal Feeling paid $13.80 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $147 and $880, respectively. Trainer Dale Lawton, of Verona, NY, co-owns Surreal Feeling with Chris Lawton, of Vernon, NY. The win in the feature was the first in an Open this season for reinsman Alek Chartrand who is in the midst of a terrific start to the 2021 campaign.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Shecouldbegood N & Jay Randall

For the second consecutive afternoon, trainer Rob Harmon won the feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Harmon, who races at numerous tracks throughout the northeast, has a high percentage in his starts at Saratoga over the course of the last few years. Most often, Harmon trainees that come to town do so to compete in features. With no Open on the card, the $10,000 Winners Over for fillies and mares served as the Wednesday feature. Shecouldbegood N (Well Said) made her local debut on Wednesday for Harmon who teamed up with his regular Spa driver Jay Randall. The eight year old mare made a relatively easy lead in the Winners Over and reached the half in a comfortable 58.4 before being confronted by the race’s favorite Berazzled (Billy Dobson). Those two went toe-to-toe as the field bunched up past three quarters in 1:26.3. Shecouldbegood N put away the favorite around the final turn but next up was pocket-sitting Misty Memory N (Jimmy Devaux) who took her shot in the stretch. The chase proved futile. Shecouldbegood N was the longest shot in the race when she stopped the timer in 1:55.4 to score in her local debut and give Harmon and Randall the feature winner at the Spa for the second straight day. Shecouldbegood N paid $15.20 to win and led an exacta with Misty Memory N second that paid $99. Thats Incredible (Shawn Gray) came on to finish third and complete a $126.50 triple in the five-horse feature. Randall, who piloted the feature winner for the second consecutive day, also scored a victory on Wednesday behind Bontz N for trainer Gary Levine in what served as the “undercard” to the feature for fillies and mares. Bontz N, maybe the track’s top distaffer over the past few seasons, paced the fastest mile of the day as she stopped the clock in 1:55 in what was her third victory of the season.

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

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Surreal Feeling & Jim Devaux

Owners Chris and Dale Lawton have thrived in the ladies’ features in the early stages of the 2021 racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Central New York-based ownership team owns both top-flight mares Racine Bell and Surreal Feeling. Over the course of the last three Wednesdays at the Spa, those distaffers have recorded victories in a trio of features. Racine Bell, who is trained by Dave Dewhurst, won the local Open on March 17 when she scored with Brian Cross in the sulky. Surreal Feeling (So Surreal) has always enjoyed success at the Spa and the Dale Lawton trainee returned to town last Wednesday (March 31th) to compete in the $10,000 Winners Over for pacing mares. She had little difficultly going wire-to-wire in that one with Jimmy Devaux at the controls. This week, the six year old was assigned post six in the six-horse feature for the ladies but wasted no time moving out to the early lead. Surreal Feeling was hounded throughout the entire second-half of the mile by rival Berazzled (Billy Dobson) who was making her debut in the local Open but held strong in the stretch to prevail in a win photo scoring in 1:54 in the feature. For Surreal Feeling, it was victory number 24 in 71 lifetime starts. Berazzled was a strong second while Thats Incredible (Jay Randall) finished third. The exacta and triple in the feature paid $8.90 and $27.20, respectively, with the 1-5 favorite on top. The win in the feature was one of three on the card for Jimmy Devaux who currently sits third in the driver standings for the ’21 season.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of Noon.

Mike Sardella
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Surreal Feeling & Jimmy Devaux

There are two things that pacing mare Surreal Feeling  (So Surreal) seems to really like. The six year old loves to win and she loves Saratoga Casino Hotel. On Wednesday, those two things came together and the Dale Lawton-trained distaffer recorded a wire-to-wire win in the $10,000 featured race for fillies and mares. Surreal Feeling came to town off a career-best victory last week at Pocono Downs where she romped in 1:51.1, a new lifetime mark. On Wednesday, the mare who has won a local Open in each of the last two seasons worked hard early showcasing her speed in a 27.2 first quarter. From there, she didn’t face much of a challenge in a half of 57.2 before clicking off three-quarters in 1:25.4. Jimmy Devaux asked the classy mare for her best around the final turn and though rival Pammy Jo (Shawn Gray) made progress in the stretch, the chase was futile. Surreal Feeling stopped the timer in 1:54.2 to record what was her 23rd win in 70 career starts. The 2-5 betting favorite on Wednesday, Surreal Feeling led an exacta with Pammy Jo second that returned $8.40. Longshot Thats Incredible (Billy Dobson) finished third to round out a $41.40 triple in the six-horse feature for the ladies. Trainer Dale Lawton co-owns Surreal Feeling with Chris Lawton of Vernon, NY.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga and will feature a growing jackpot in the Jackpot Pick 6. The Pick 6 jackpot is up to $7,534 and will be awarded to whoever holds the unique pick 6 ticket that day. If no one is the lone winner, a portion of the pool will be paid out to anyone who hit the pick 6 and the remainder will go to the jackpot as that continues to build. First post time on Monday is set for Noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Certified Ideal & Shawn Gray

The ladies take center stage at Saratoga Casino Hotel every Wednesday afternoon and while there was no Open for fillies and mares contested this week, the matinee’s featured race did wind up with a stretch duel between two distaffers who between them have almost a million dollars in career earnings. Invader Certified Ideal (Western Ideal) came to town for trainer Sheena Mcelhiney and drew post seven in the $7,200 featured race for pacing mares. Though the eleven year old has piled up over $700,000 in earnings over the course of her illustrious career, Certified Ideal hasn’t had a big winning way about her in the last couple of years. Reinsman Shawn Gray sat behind the veteran who ten days ago won for the first time since 2019 when she went coast-to-coast at Pocono Downs. In that start, the classy mare displayed early speed and powered away from her rivals while on the engine. Gray attempted a similar plan on Wednesday with Certified Ideal who was pointed right out to the early lead in her return to Saratoga. The veteran laid down fast fractions, reaching the half in 56 seconds before checking-in at three quarters in 1:25.2. Certified Ideal finished the job, stopping the timer in 1:55.3 to record her second victory of the season. The race’s favorite Glenferrie Blade A (Mark Beckwith) got the pocket trip behind the winner and stuck with her for most of the mile before turning for home where Certified Ideal busted it wide open. Glenferrie Blade A wound up as the runner-up while Misty Memory N (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot for the fourth consecutive week in her four local tries. Certified Ideal was dismissed at odds of 12-1 paying $26.80 to win and leading an exacta and triple that returned $78.50 and $214.50, respectively.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon (March 29) at Saratoga with first post set for Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Racine Bell & Brian Cross

Racine Bell (So Surreal) was up into the Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Wednesday at Saratoga Casino Hotel off a decisive victory in the $10,000 Winners Over for distaffers last week. The Dave Dewhurst-trained mare, who won the Open twice in 2020, drew post six in the six-horse Open this week and was asked for early speed from driver Brian Cross to overcome the outside post. The four year old former NY Sire Stakes stalwart worked hard to get to the top but made the front after a 27.3 first quarter. Cross gave the race’s 1-2 betting favorite a bit of a second-quarter breather as they reached the half in 57.2. Without facing a legit challenge, Racine Bell drew off from her rivals clicking off three quarters in 1:26 while opening up what wound up being an insurmountable lead. Pammy Jo (Shawn Gray), the runner-up to Racine Bell both last week and in the Open contested two weeks ago, wound up coming from off the pace to be second once again on Wednesday. The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) sat the pocket to the winner but got outpaced heading to three-quarters before ending up finishing third. Racine Bell reported home a two-length winner and led an exacta and triple that paid $4.60 and $14.60, respectively, in a chalky feature. Racine Bell is owned by Chris and Dale Lawton of New York.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon and will feature some carryovers/jackpots for bettors to shoot for. There is a Pick 5 carryover of $4,005 starting in the first race of the day. The jackpots in the Jackpot Pick 6 and the Jackpot Super High 5 continue to grow as well. They sit at $4,150 for the Jackpot Pick 6 and $4,704 for the Jackpot High 5.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Racine Bell & Brian Cross

Racine Bell (So Surreal) has been a winning machine over the course of her young career. The Dave Dewhurst trainee was a New York Sire Stakes star in her first two racing seasons, amassing over $285,000 in earnings in her two and three-year-old campaigns. The talented mare made her 2021 debut at Saratoga Casino Hotel last Wednesday (March 3) in the Fillies and Mares Open and finished a solid third. This week, Racine Bell was the public’s even money favorite in the $10,000 Winners Over for distaffers and reinsman Brian Cross moved the talented mare right out to the early lead in the five-horse feature. Racine Bell clicked off a first half in 57.2 before powering away from her rivals behind a 27.4 third quarter to open up an insurmountable lead. The four year old stopped the timer in 1:54 for her first victory of the year and her 11th in 27 lifetime starts. Pammy Jo (Shawn Gray), the runner-up in last week’s Open, came up second-best once again. Bontz N (Billy Dobson) finished third. Racine Bell accounted for one of two wins on the card for her owners Chris and Dale Lawton of New York and trainer Dave Dewhurst who also teamed up for a victory with young trotter Me Three (Chapter Seven) who broke her maiden on Wednesday with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky.

Live racing resumes next Monday afternoon with jackpots continuing to build in the Jackpot Pick 6 and Jackpot Super High 5. The Pick 6 jackpot currently sits at $2,569 while the Super High 5 jackpot is at $3,068.

 

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Robyn Camden & Jay Randall

Invader Robyn Camden (Art Professor) has won at a high percentage in her somewhat limited tries at Saratoga Casino Hotel over the course of the last few years. On Wednesday afternoon, the Rob Harmon trainee was the 3-5 betting favorite in the season’s first local Open. Starting from post five in the five-horse Fillies and Mares Open, Robyn Camden got away last and sat patiently throughout a first half that went in 58.3. Longshot Pammy Jo (Shawn Gray) surged first-over approaching the half and Robyn Camden followed that distaffer’s cover into contention. When Pammy Jo cleared approaching the three-quarter pole, Robyn Camden shifted gears. The six year old mare confronted and then bypassed Pammy Jo in the stretch before edging away late to win in 1:55.2. Pammy Jo was a strong second while Racine Bell (Brian Cross) finished third in the first installment of the season of the $11,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Robyn Camden, who is owned by Jason Osullivan of Dublin, IR, paid $3.50 to win and led an exacta that returned $24.40. Jay Randall was the winning driver behind Robyn Camden who now has 31 wins in 67 lifetime starts. Harmon and Randall also teamed up for a victory on Wednesday with pacing mare Mamama Moonshine (Rockin Image) who made her local debut a winning one, going coast-to-coast in 1:57.2 in a $7,200 race.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga (March 7th) with first post time set for Noon.

 

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino