Tuesday marked the start of the eighth annual J.P. Morel Memorial Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The $10,000 per division series, which went on hiatus in 2020, saw a dominant force emerge as Unique Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) scored decisively in Tuesday’s first leg. The four year old Melissa Beckwith trainee came into the series off back-to-back victories which came by a total of more than eighteen lengths. Wally Hennessey piloted Unique Beach on Tuesday and moved the 1-9 betting favorite out to the early lead. The rising star never faced an anxious moment before pacing away from his rivals to score by four lengths in 1:55.4. Longshot Hot Joe (Phil Fluet) closed to be second while Thor And Dr Jones (Greg Merton) held on to finish third. Unique Beach, who is owned by William Hartt of Carmel, ME, came into the series as the one to beat and came out of leg one as its dominant force.
The other division of the first leg of the J.P. Morel Memorial Pace went the way of Furious Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) who prevailed for leading trainer Gary Levine and reinsman Shawn Gray. Furious Beach lasted on the lead while hanging on to score in 1:59.2. 65-1 shot The Best Tyme Ever (Alek Chartrand) finished second while King Spencer (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. The victory was one of four on the card for Gray and two for Levine. There is one more leg of the series set to be contested next Tuesday (May 18th) leading up to the Final which will go for a purse of upwards of $30,000.
Live racing continues on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino