On what was a big afternoon for her connections, Way Too Sweet (Rockin Image) pulled off the upset in the Bunny Lake Pace Final on Monday afternoon at Saratoga. Andy Gardner sits second in the trainer standings at the Spa this year and on Monday, the conditioner scored a hat trick. Gardner’s Way Too Sweet was a leg three winner in the Bunny Lake Pace but was faced with the task of defeating Racey Rach N (Chris Long) in the $34,200 Series Final. Racey Rach N rattled off an incredible eleven consecutive wins upon coming to Saratoga this summer but showed a bit of vulnerably for the first time when defeated in her leg three try last week.
The Lisa Zabielski-trained Racey Rach N was the 1-9 betting favorite once again on Monday afternoon and sat the pocket to rival Captain’s Star (Shawn Gray) in a first half that went in 58 seconds. Way Too Sweet and driver Jordan Derue powered up first-over and dueled with Captain’s Star for the majority of the second lap before wearing the leader down turning for home. Racey Rach N pulled the pocket around the final turn and swept up three-wide in the stretch to square off with Way Too Sweet before ultimately coming up just shy in a mile clocked in 1:55.3.
Way Too Sweet, who is owned by George Tackley and Wendy Storrier, recorded her fifth and biggest victory of the season, paying $23.80 to win. Racey Rach N had to settle for second and completed a $45 exacta while Captain’s Star earned the show spot to round out a $211 triple. The score in the Series Final was one of four in sulky on the afternoon for Jordan Derue who also guided his Always Watching to a victory in the Fillies and Mares Open as well as piloting a pair of winners for his brother trainer Brett Derue. Way Too Sweet adds her name to the short list of Bunny Lake Pace Series’ winners that started last year when North Country swept the first annual series.
Photo: Melissa Simser