Day At The Track

Hennessey/Beckwith win five straight at Saratoga

10:31 AM 22 Sep 2018 NZST
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Happy Heart, harness racing
Happy Heart and driver Wally Hennessey use the passing lane to beat Spreester to the wire. It was on of six winners on the night for Hennessey.
Melissa Simser-Iovino photo

Driver Wally Hennessey and trainer Melissa Beckwith achieved a feat that may have never been done before when they teamed up for wins in five consecutive harness races on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

The evening's $15,000 feature saw Beckwith's Happy Heart draw the rail for her first attempt in the Fillies and Mares Open in quite some time at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Wally Hennessey piloted Happy Heart for the first time last week and the mare went coast to coast in a conditional race.

Hennessey was back in the sulky on Friday evening and he wound up getting a pocket ride for Happy Heart who rode the coattails of the favored Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) who was on the engine. Spreester paced a first half in 56.4 before checking in at three quarters in 1:25.1 while confronted by rival Rock N Roll Rosie (Jimmy Devaux).

As those two squared off, Happy Heart sat patiently in the pocket before shaking loose in the passing lane. Happy Heart and Spreester went toe-to-toe for a few strides before Happy Heart got up to win the photo in the $15,000 Friday feature.

The Melissa Beckwith trainee went off at odds of 6-1 in her first victory in the local Open. Returning $14.40 to win, Happy Heart led an exacta with Spreester second that paid $46.20. Rock N Roll Rosie earned the show spot. Hennessey and Beckwith teamed up for five consecutive winners on the card as pacing mares Sports Delight, Media Queen N and Fade To Gold and trotter Glide In The Wind joined Happy Heart in recording victories in successive races on Friday evening, a feat we have never seen before at Saratoga and one that may be hard pressed to ever occur again.

Hennessey drove winners in six consecutive races on Friday as he piloted trainer John Mac Donald's Stonebridge Frosty to a wire-to-wire score following the five straight with Beckwith trainees in an historic night for the Hall of Fame reinsman and meet's leading conditioner.

Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm.

by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

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