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With no Open Trot on the docket, the $12,500 Winners Over for trotters was the feature on the Sunday harness racing card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The race’s favorite was Ulster (Glidemaster), the 2018 Trotter of the Year at the Spa, who was making just his third start of the season. The Amanda Facin trainee finished a strong second in his seasonal debut two weeks ago in the Open but faded in his last start after enduring a difficult journey. Ulster’s regular driver Jay Randall was at the helm once again on Sunday as the veteran high-stepper cruised out to an easy lead. After clicking off a first half of 58.3, Ulster was approached by rival Mugshots Bro (Jimmy Devaux) who rushed up first over to confront the favorite. Those two did battle for a half mile before Ulster put his competition away and recorded the win in 1:56.1, his first victory after his award-winning ’18 campaign. Mugshots Bro was a strong second while Triumphant’s Chip (Steve Genois) came on to be third. Ulster was the 3-5 betting favorite on Sunday and led an exacta and triple that paid $11.60 and $45.60, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for Noon. There will be a carryover of $4,469 to the Pick Five pool on Wednesday with the Pick Five starting in the matinee’s first race.     Mike Sardella

Sandy Sue (Shark Gesture) joined the Jimmy Nickerson harness racing stable earlier this month and the four year old mare finished second in her first start in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In the two weeks that followed her local debut, Sandy Sue didn't factor in the feature which led to her being assigned the rail for Thursday's try in the $15,000 Open for distaffers. Leading driver Billy Dobson sat behind Sandy Sue who went off at odds of 7-2 in the five-horse feature and took advantage of her inside post to cut the mile on Thursday. After pacing a first half in 57 seconds, Sandy Sue felt just mild pressure from the race's favorite Coveredndiamonds (Jay Randall) before scampering away around the final turn. Pocket-sitting Spreester (Jimmy Devaux) closed up the rail in the stretch but it was too little, too late as she ended up as the runner-up to Sandy Sue who stopped the timer in 1:53.4 for her first win in the local Open. Sandy Sue paid $9.00 to win and led an exacta with Spreester second that returned $49.80. Coveredndiamonds N had to settle for third. Defending driving champion Billy Dobson is having another huge year at Saratoga in 2019 and added three more wins to his total on Thursday's matinee. Live racing resumes at the Spa on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

Hudson Phil (Shanghai Phil) became the second harness racing horse to win the Open Pace as many as three times this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel when the youngster went coast-to-coast on Saturday night. Hudson Phil joined his stablemate Artful Way as the only three-time Open Pace winners this year and did so in career-best fashion. Jay Randall piloted the Jackie Greene trainee and moved him out to the early lead in the $15,000 installment of the Open Pace. Hudson Phil never faced an anxious moment as he coasted to the wire-to-wire win in 1:50.2, a career-best clocking for the four year old pacer. Victorious in an Open at Plainridge last month, the rising star was the 6-5 betting favorite in Saturday's score as he recorded his fourth victory of 2019. Carolina Beach (Mark Beckwith) closed to be second while Deetzy (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot. The exacta and triple with the favorite on top returned $24.20 and $91.50, respectively. Hudson Phil, who is a new addition to the Open at the Spa this year, has become a force in the first few months of the season and has accounted for three of the six Open Pace victories for Jackie Greene trainees in '19. The win was the 15th in just 46 career starts for the up-and-coming pacer who appears to be hitting his prime. The clocking of 1:50.2 is the fastest for any horse thus far this season at Saratoga. Hudson Phil is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables of Queensbury, NY. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Plainville, MA --- After five non-winning starts in the Open trot, Namesmuscle did the drop and pop on Friday (May 24) to win the $12,000 conditioned feature for the diagonally gaited at Plainridge Park. Namesmuscle (Matt Athearn) took early command and rebuffed a quick bid from Fluff Me Up (Jay Randall), seating that one by the quarter. With the field in single file, the group marched to the half in :57.3 where Front Street (Mitchell Cushing) pulled first over with Sortie Hanover (Drew Campbell) right on his tail. As the race progressed to three-quarters Front Street was unable to get closer than a length to the leader so in the far turn, Sortie Hanover went three wide around him to continue to track down Namesmuscle. But Namesmuscle had slipped away with a two-length lead and trotted smartly on the front to the wire where he won in 1:55.2, which tied his lifetime mark. It was the second win of the year for Namesmuscle ($4.00) who has now bankrolled $21,720 in 2019 for owner William Phipps. Gretchen Athearn trains the winner. When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Memorial Day Monday (May 27) there will be a $5,273 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

There were three harness racing events for New York sired trotters contested on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel which served as co-features. Going for purses of $9,000 per division, the favorites did not thrive. Jackie Greene's Grammy Winner (Credit Winner) was the heaviest bet and fastest of the winners of the three divisions as the four year old mare went coast-to-coast in a career-best 1:56.4. Jay Randall piloted Grammy Winner who was coming off a start in which she was parked the mile. A five-time winner in 2018, Grammy Winner held off a late charge from her race's favorite Xcuseme (John Stark Jr) who closed sharply but came up second-best. Grammy Winner paid $8.10 to win in the mild upset. Grammy Winner wasn't the only trotter to set a lifetime mark in the afternoon's co-features as Im Tp's Crazed Bro (Crazed) posted a career-best effort in his $9,000 division for New York sired trotters. Brian Cross aggressively moved the Scott Mongeon trainee out to the early lead and the sophomore high-stepper held firm to register his fourth win in the '19 campaign. Stopping the timer in 1:57.1, I'm Tp's Crazed Bro sprung the upset at odds of 6-1. Dave Dewhurst's Tournament (Deweycheatumnhowe) also was dismissed at odds of 6-1 as he repeated on Wednesday. Jimmy Devaux piloted the four year old who was forwardly placed early to overcome post eight. Tournament surged up the inside and scored by the slimmest of margins, prevailing in 1:58 for the second consecutive week. When live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga, there will be a Pick Five carryover of $8,021. The Pick Five begins in the matinee's first race. First post time is set for 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Trainer Jose Godinez has brought several different distaffers to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open over the last few years. Last week, his Westsluckycam prevailed in the $15,000 harness racing feature for the ladies as she went coast-to-coast with Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky. On Thursday afternoon, Godinez unveiled his Shezallapples A (Sportswriter) for the first time in the ladies feature at the Spa. The six year old Australian invader came to town as a winner in three of her last four starts and was subsequently the Open's even money betting favorite after she drew the rail. Aldrich put Shezallapples A on the lead and after cruising unopposed in a first half clocked in 56.3 was met with the challenge of Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) who rushed up first-over. Shezallapples A proved up to the task, drawing clear in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 besting Coveredndiamonds N who was the runner-up and third place finisher Queen Elsa (Steve Genois). The win was the second straight in the Fillies and Mares Open for Godinez and was his stable's third victory in the ladies' feature at the Spa in the last five installments of it. Sally Fletcher A prevailed in an April Open for distaffers for Godinez and Aldrich. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

Plainville, Ma --- Trainer Heidi Gibbs and driver Ron Cushing brought their big guns Bettors Fire N and Mach Doro A to Plainridge Park to make their first starts since the Levy series at Yonkers Raceway in April and both horses fired in a big way, winning the top two pacing classes at the harness racing track on Monday afternoon (May 13). Bettors Fire N won the $16,000 Open Handicap pace with the fastest mile of the meet to date. Cushing left from post four with Bettors Fire N and dropped in second behind Avatartist (Mark Eaton) who was on a mission to the quarter in :25.4. But shortly after that panel he tugged the right line and Bettors Fire N was out and on the move, drawing alongside Avatartist at the half and by the three-quarters clearing in 1:22.1. He paced sharply around the last turn and after Cushing tapped the disk once at the top of the stretch, Bettors Fire N was on cruise control and the big horse motored home to win in 1:50.1. Bettors Fire N ($5.80) scored his 48th lifetime win and pushed his earnings to just under $790,000. The winning time was also a new lifetime mark. Earlier in the card stablemate Mach Doro A stood out in victory in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace. Mach Doro A got away last while fellow countryman Lettucerockthem A (Jay Randall) was the keeper of the quarters. After stopping the clock in :26.4, :56 and 1:24.1 Lettucerockthem A was doing a good job of holding off a three-horse outer flow that tracked him since the three-eighths. But as they were fanning off the final turn Mach Doro A was wound up from the back of the pack, tipping four-wide under a hand drive. He cleared the leaders at the top of the lane and cruised home as Cushing sat chilly to win handily in 1:52.2. Mach Doro A                                 --Tom Melanson photo Mach Doro A ($8.00) paced his back-half in :55.3 on the rim and also took a new lifetime mark for his effort. Both horses are owned by Kevin Sywyk, Frank Ranaldi and their driver Ron Cushing. Shawn Gray led all drivers on Monday with a Grand Slam performance. He scored with Spark A Dream (1:58.3, $2.20), Deetzy (1:52, $8.00), Modern Yankee (1:56.2, $3.60) and Beachchip Hanover (1:54.3, $4.00). Gray sits in first place this meet for dash wins with 33, six ahead of the second place Mitchell Cushing. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 16) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

With the New York Sire Stakes season having kicked off this week, a couple of three year old trotting fillies who competed in harness racing stakes competition last season and may be prepping to do the same in 2019 prevailed at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday afternoon. Trainer Bob Gale is based out of central New York but often competes at Saratoga and on Wednesday, his RC's Lady Royale (RC Royalty) drew the rail for her try in a $7,500 trotting event for New York sired high-steppers. Having finished a fast second on Sunday afternoon at the Spa, RC's Lady Royale was the public's 1-5 betting favorite as she went coast-to-coast on Wednesday with Jay Randall in tow. The filly who earned over $15,000 as a freshman in '18 has come back strong to begin her '19 campaign set a lifetime mark with her score in 1:59.3 and appears poised for a solid season in Excelsior Series competition. Somermusic'chapter (Chapter Seven) raced in the Sire Stakes last season and though the Dan Daley trainee was winless as a freshman, she did earn over $17,500 in just seven starts. With lasix added and hopples off, Somermusic'chapter made her sophomore debut on Wednesday and driver Gerry Mattison was in to drive for Daley. The three year old filly powered up first-over and cruised past her race's favorite before drawing away to break her maiden in 2:00.2 to kick off her season in style. The first installment of the NYSS at Saratoga will take place on May 26th with the three year old trotting fillies competing at the Spa on Sunday June 9th. Melissa Simser

Plainville, MA --- The Saratoga, New York based harness racing trio of the Kellogg Racing Stables, trainer Jackie Greene and driver Jay Randall shipped two of their big guns to Massachusetts and came away with wins in both feature paces at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 29). The day's main event was the $16,000 Open Handicap pace and Hudson Phil brought his A-game for the win and set a new lifetime mark along the way. Leaving from post four, Hudson Phil exploded for the lead and set torrid fractions of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before Starznheaven (Shawn Gray) engaged him at the top of the stretch. But Hudson Phil had plenty left in the tank as he came home in :28.1 to win by one-half length in 1:50.2. A 4-year-old son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, Hudson Phil ($5.40) scored his third victory of the year, 14th of his career and pushed his lifetime earnings over a quarter-million dollars with $253,677 now in the bank. Then in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace, Some Attitude came in 0-for-7 in 2019 and went home with the win, the purse and his fastest mile in two years. Some Attitude watched as Avatartist (Mark Eaton) took command, but came right out to retake just past the :26 quarter. From there he set fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.2, which were almost identical to his earlier-winning stablemate. After swinging around the last turn Some Attitude was under light urging and paced home in hand, holding off all late charges to win in 1:51.1. Some Attitude                                  Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson After three consecutive second-place finishes, Some Attitude ($5.80) finally got across this year and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $203,530 in the process. Although Randall added one more win with Weekend Fling ($20.40) to end his day with a hat trick, Shawn Gray was the top dog again for wins scoring a Grand Slam on the card. Gray won with Opus Blue Chip (1:53.2, $3.00), Jo Pa's Artist (1:56.1, $6.40), Late Night Joke (1:52.1, $18.40) and Flem N Em N (1:52.4, $8.80). The four-win performance hoisted Gray into first place for dash wins at the Plainridge meet with 21, two ahead of Mitchell Cushing who had the lead entering the day. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 2) with post time set at 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Bobs Hope (Donato Hanover) has become the “host” of the Sunday matinees this season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Amanda Kelley harness racing trainee returned to the Spa in March from a successful winter stint at Pompano in Florida. The seven year old former claimer put his immediate stamp on the Open Trot when he prevailed in his first start back at Saratoga, parlaying a pocket trip to victory at odds of 5-1. Ever since then, Bobs Hope hasn’t gone off anywhere close to 5-1 but he has just kept winning. On Sunday, he was the public’s even money favorite as he looked to score his third consecutive victory in the $15,000 local feature. Driver Jay Randall moved Bobs Hope out to the early lead and from that point on, it was smooth sailing. The rising trotting star cruised to a nearly three-length win in 1:56 for his fourth victory in the local Open and sixth overall this season. Longshot Windsun Missile (Brett Crawford) got the pocket ride to Bobs Hope and finished second while CR Blazin Beauty (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Randall has been the regular driver for the Trotter of the Year at Saratoga in three of the last five seasons and may well be again as Bobs Hope has simply dominated the Open Trot in the early portion of 2019. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon with first post time set for 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

There were three divisions of the second leg of the Virginia O'Brien Memorial Pacing Series contested on Thursday's matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Each division for harness racing fillies and mares went for a purse of $10,000 as the distaffers had their last chance to earn points towards next week's $30,000+ Final. A series that appeared wide open heading into it has proven to be just that as there was no repeat winner in the two legs of the series and none of the favorites in their races prevailed on Thursday. The fastest winner of the second leg was Mississippi Charm (Mach Three) who set a lifetime mark as she overcame a long first-over journey to prevail on Thursday in a career-best 1:56. Jay Randall piloted the Andy Sardella trainee who made a break as her race's public choice in leg one but avenged with a resounding victory in the second leg, drawing away to win by two and a half lengths. Besting the race's 1-5 betting favorite Jayda Nicole (Billy Dobson), Mississippi Charm likely punched her ticket to next week's final with her best career performance in which she paid $8.30 to win. The win one was of three on the card for Randall. Reflexionofroyalty (American Ideal) continued her winning ways in leg two as she secured her fifth victory in eight seasonal tries. Jimmy Devaux sat behind the Allen Sisco-trained four year old who came from well off the pace to spring the upset at odds of 7-1. Reflexionofroyalty paid $16.80 in her most recent score. Unusual Clarity (Betterthancheddar) sprung a mild upset of her own as Mark Beckwiith piloted the Paul Minckler-trained mare to the series victory. Getting up to win in 1:56.1, Unusual Clarity recorded the fastest of her three seasonal scores as she followed the leg two trend of winners coming from off the pace to prevail. Unusual Clarity returned $9.80 to win as she secured her spot in next week's final. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. There is a Pick Five carryover of $1,977 to Saturday night's pool with the Pick Five beginning in the evening's first race.   Mike Sardella

Bobs Hope (Donato Hanover) scored his second Open Trot harness racing victory of the year at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sunday afternoon. Jay Randall piloted the Amanda Kelley trainee and was aggressive from the get-go retaking the lead with Bobs Hope on last week’s Open winner Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray). The seven year old trotter never faced an anxious moment after reclaiming the lead and coasted to an open length victory in 1:55.1 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the Spa City. Bobs Hope’s paid $6.10 to win in his second victory in the $15,000 trotting feature this season. Mandeville (Jimmy Devaux) toughed out a first-over trip to finish second while Wings Of Royalty had to settle for third. Bobs Hope, whose win was the fourth in his last five starts, led an exacta and triple that returned $29.20 and $60.50, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:00pm.    Mike Sardella

Round The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) has been nothing shy of sensational since being acquired by owner-trainer John Macdonald at the beginning of October. The three year old filly went three-for-three at Vernon Downs with Macdonald in the sulky before coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel towards the end of last month. Jay Randall picked up the drive and sat behind Round The Beach as she scored convincingly in 1:53.4 in her Spa debut. The filly secured her sixth consecutive victory last weekend when her trainer piloted the rising star to victory despite a step up in class. This Friday night, Round The Beach was vaulted into the Fillies and Mares Open for the first time and was tasked with taking on some terrific mares. Randall was aggressive in the early going and moved Round The Beach to the top in a first quarter clocked in 27.2. The filly traveled unopposed throughout the middle half and after checking in at three quarters in 1:25.1 stepped on the gas when met with the challenge of pocket-sitter Betabcool N (Bruce Aldrich Jr). Meanwhile, the race's odds-on favorite Seventimesavirgin (Billy Dobson) began working closer while trying to pull off a last-to-first move in the feature. Round The Beach again proved up to the task as she extended her win streak to seven since the move to the Macdonald barn, wiring the field in 1:54.1 in the $18,000 Friday feature. Round The Beach, who paid $9.30 in her Open score, kept reinsman Jay Randall red hot. The Saratoga veteran piloted four winners on Thursday afternoon and has had a terrific 2018 as a whole. Betabcool N was the runner-up in the feature while the favored Seventimesavirgin had to settle for third. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

2018 has been a renaissance year at Saratoga Casino Hotel for veteran driver Jay Randall. The 57-year-old reinsman has surged up into fifth place in the local driver standings in what has been his best season in quite some time. On Thursday afternoon, Randall piloted two of the three winners in co-featured $11,000 races for New York sired trotters. The Amy Dowd-trained Cherry Peep (Conway Hall) prevailed last week when Randall got a pocket trip for the three year old filly who surged up the passing lane en route to recording a victory in 1:59.1. On Thursday, Randall once again situated Cherry Peep into the pocket before closing up the inside to stop the timer in 1:59.1 in a near carbon copy of last week's win. Randall piloted Grammy Winner (Credit Winner) to a wire-to-wire score in the second co-feature of the day as the Todd Buter-trained trotter handled her step up in class without difficulty. The three year old filly won out of the non-winners of two race lifetime condition and moved into the winners of two but not more than five featured class where she went coast-to-coast on Thursday, scoring in 1:59 with Randall in tow. The win was the first of back-to-back jacks on the card for Buter and Randall who teamed up for a score with veteran trotter Stitch In Time on the matinee program. Randall completed a Thursday grand slam when he piloted Jordan Derue trainee Love Yourself (Rock N Roll Heaven) to a first-over score. The sophomore pacer overcame his outside post, prevailing despite a difficult journey in a 56.3 back half en route to the win which wrapped up a monster day for Randall in what has been a sensational '18 campaign for the local reinsman. The third co-feature on the card went the way of Notmeitsyou (Chapter Seven) who overcame his outside post to shake his recent seconditis for trainer-driver Phil Fluet. Notmeitsyou lasted on the lead in what was the fastest of the co-features on Thursday, scoring in 1:58.3 to break his string of five consecutive second-place finishes. Live racing continues on Friday at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

The $20,000 Open Pace was comprised of just five horses on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel following a pair of scratches. Amanda Kelley's Mar Nien A (Rock N Roll Heaven) had been first or second in all of his local starts since coming to town in September and on Saturday night was the public's 3-5 betting favorite in the feature. Jay Randall, who has become the regular reinsman for Mar Nien A, wasted no time moving the favorite out to the lead in the Open and once he got there, Mar Nien A never faced an anxious moment. The Australian invader cruised to a 1:52.3 victory on Saturday, his second score in the Open since coming to town and his fourth win in six starts since the move to the Kelley stable. JK Panache (Shawn Gray) continues to be a force in the feature and was the runner-up to the big favorite on Saturday while longshot Itsonlyrocknroll A (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. The exacta paid $9.00 and with the field condensed to just five participants, there was no triple wagering. Though Mar Nien A is too late of an addition to the Spa to be considered for any of the end of the season awards, the six year old certainly looks like he will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday nights for quite some time. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time of 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The John MacDonald-Jay Randall combination has been red hot at Saratoga Casino Hotel and on Friday night, the combo went two-for-two. MacDonald sent pacing fillies Round The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) and Tatiana Seelster (Mach Three) to town and for the second consecutive Friday evening went two-for-two with that pair of lady pacers. Round The Beach went coast to coast in a conditional race that was contested for a purse of $8,000 to extend her win streak to five since being acquired by Macdonald in October. The heavily favored filly had little difficulty cruising to the score in 1:54.3 over a sloppy track at the Spa. The mile was the fastest of the night, roughly a second and a half faster than the evening's feature for distaffers. Tatiana Seelster also went wire-to-wire with Randall in the sulky as the three year old overcame a monster move from a rival who nearly cleared the favored filly around the final turn before a late rally saw her draw clear before scoring in 1:56.3. Tatiana Seelster, another recent addition to MacDonald's barn, won for the fifth time in six starts since joining her new stable in September. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

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