Wednesday marked the kickoff of the 7th annual John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trotting Series. There were lifetime marks set in all three divisions of the first leg of the series, each of which went for a purse of $10,000. John Stark Jr’s Xcuseme (RC Royalty) came into Wednesday two-for-two on the season and on paper appeared to be the one to beat in the series heading into the first leg. Xcuseme wasted little time moving out the lead as his race’s 1-5 betting favorite and never faced an anxious moment en route to scoring a career-best victory in 1:57.1. He was the fastest of the series’ winners on the day by a significant amount.
Living Proof I Am (Phil Fluet) was aggressive in the early going in his division of leg one and found himself on the front-end for the first time aided by his inside post position. The Andy Byler-owned and trained trotter had hit the board in five of his seven starts on the year heading into his try in the Mongeon Trot in which he held off the late charge of rival Pumping Irony (Steve Genois) en route to a career-best win in 1:58.3.
The final division of the day went the way of Lisa Zabielski’s Aerial Flight (Conway Hall). Overcoming her outside post, Aerial Flight sat the pocket to the race’s favorite Powerscourt (Mickey McGivern) and surged by him in the stretch to prevail in 1:58.4, another lifetime best win time for a Mongeon Trot participant. Leg two of the Mongeon Memorial Trot will take place next Wednesday with a $30,000+ Final set for the following week.
Live racing continues on Thursday at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00 noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino