Obrigado went from last to first to record his third consecutive victory in the local Open Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday. Acquired by trainer Paul Kelley last offseason, Obrigado (Boy Band) came to town after a 2013 campaign in which he went an incredible thirteen for thirteen in the win column. Assigned the outside post in the Friday's $17,000 Open, Obrigado got away last but put in a big backside brush and despite a wide journey charged past his rivals in the stretch to win a photo with longshot Just Make Believe (Stephane Bouchard) who had to settle for second. You Rock My World (Shawn Gray) finished third in his first start in the local Open in a race clocked in 1:55.4. For Obrigado, it was the Third Straight win in the local feature and fourth on the season. Kim Crawford has been the regular driver for the four year old trotter throughout his time at the Spa. In 34 career starts, Obrigado now has 25 victories. Live racing continues on Saturday night with NY Sire Stakes highlighting the card. There are two non-betting races scheduled to begin at 6:30pm with first post time for the wagering part of the program beginning at 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Obrigado became a rare trotter to win back to back Opens at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as he outclosed his rivals on Friday night in the $17,000 feature. The Paul Kelley trainee set a lifetime mark last Friday with a 1:55.3 score and this week had to overcome the outside post. Kim Crawford sat patiently behind Obrigado (Boy Band) and asked him for his best around the final turn. Fanning four wide in the lane, Obrigado trotted by his rivals to record the 1:56 victory. Count Speed (Wally Hennessey), another closer, came on to be second while the favorite Political Desire (Billy Dobson) had to settle for third. Obrigado has now won 24 of his 32 lifetime starts and three local features in nine tries here in 2014. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Obrigado (Boy Band) prevailed for the first time in the local Open Trot on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. After going thirteen-for-thirteen last season out of town, Obrigado made his local debut in April. The Paul Kelley-trained trotter once again got a pocket trip in Friday's $18,190 Open but this week surged by the front running favorite in the stretch. Kim Crawford piloted Obrigado to his first local score, prevailing in 1:56 for a new lifetime mark. Dismissed at odds of 6-1, Obrigado won a photo with favored Political Desire (Billy Dobson) while last week's feature winner Count Speed (Wally Hennessey) closed for third. Obrigado now has recorded 22 wins in 28 career starts. by Mike Saradella, for Saratoga Raceway
Count Speed (Majestic Son) prevailed on Friday night in the local Open for the first time this season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Dan Hennessey-trained trotter was one of the nominees for Trotter of the Year last year at the Spa and returned to town in April fresh off an Open victory at Pompano Park. Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey piloted Count Speed on Friday for the first time since coming back to town and the veteran reinsman wasted no time putting the five-year-old on the front end. Parking out a rival along the way, Count Speed had plenty left in the tank to secure a 1:58.3 win over a sloppy track and through the rain. Pocket sitter Obrigado (Kim Crawford) was the runner up in the $17,000 feature while Political Desire (Billy Dobson) overcame a tough trip to earn the show spot. For Count Speed, it was the fourth win on the season after a 2013 campaign in which he scored nine victories. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Order By Don (Andover Hall) won a thriller on Friday night in the Final of the John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trotting Series at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Installed at the race's 8-5 favorite in the morning line, Order By Don had won three consecutive races before making an untimely break in leg two of the series. Drawing the rail for the $18,200 Final, Order By Don was a bit cautious early and wound up moving second over at the half behind Makes Me Crazy (Claude Huckabone Jr), who was backed by the public to the tune of being the 7-5 favorite. Makes Me Crazy cleared the lead heading to three quarters but failed to hold off the challenges from Order By Don and Jackie Goldstein. The Tony Ciuffetelli owned and trained Order By Don wound up poking his nose up in time to stop the clock in 2:00.1 and record his fourth victory in seven seasonal tries. Jackie Goldstein (Kim Crawford) got up for second while Makes Me Crazy faded a bit late to finish third. Order By Don was piloted to the win by Jordan Derue who recorded three victories on the Friday night card. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Political Desire did on Friday night what no other harness racing trotter has done in over a month at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Rene Allard trainee defeated standout trotter Slugfest. Slugfest brought a four race Open win streak into Friday's $17,000 feature. Political Desire (Tom Ridge) made his local debut a winning one for driver Billy Dobson after sitting the pocket behind Obrigado (Kim Crawford) as that one dueled with the favored Slugfest (Jay Randall). Political Desire closed up the passing lane and stopped the timer in 1:56.4 matching Slugfest's time from last week as the fastest of the season for a trotter. Slugfest had to settle for second this week while Obrigado held on for third. Political Desire returned $20.20 to win while pulling off the mild upset. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post time. Melissa Simser
Count Speed (Majestic Son) has become a formidable force in the Friday Open Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway over the past year. The Dan Hennessey-trained trotter marched out to the early lead in the $17,000 Friday feature. The five-year-old highstepper never had an anxious moment and cruised away from his rivals to record a 1:56.4 victory over a track labeled "good". Last week's Open winner Obrigado (Kim Crawford) closed up the inside to be second, overcoming post position eight. Longshot Through The Night (Shawn Gray) completed the triple which returned a hearty $459 despite the fact that the winner went off as the race's even money favorite. Count Speed was one of the nominees for Trotter of the Year last year after having a breakout 2013 campaign at the Spa and is back at it again this season. Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey piloted Count Speed to his fifth win in eleven seasonal tries. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Slugfest (Conway Hall) continued his Open Trot dominance on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Maureen Salino-trainee scored his fourth consecutive win in the local feature behind a 1:56.4 victory from post eight. Jay Randall piloted Slugfest to the fastest time of the season for any trotter at the Spa. Despite winning three straight Opens, Slugfest was dismissed at odds of 7-1. Obrigado (Kim Crawford) was the runner up for the second straight week behind Slugfest while Just Make Believe (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot just as he did in last week’s Friday feature. The exacta returned $84.50 and the trifecta came back $356. Slugfest became the first horse in several seasons to win four consecutive Opens at Saratoga. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Slugfest prevailed for the third consecutive week in the Friday night Open Trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Maureen Salino-trained trotter has started out his season on a tear. After finishing second in his first start back in March, Slugfest (Conway Hall) has rattled off three straight wins on the front end with driver Jay Randall in the sulky. This week, the local trotting star had to overcome post position eight on Friday but marched out to the early lead in :28.4 and never looked back before stopping the timer in 158.1. Pocket sitter Obrigado (Kim Crawford) finished second while Just Make Believe (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Slugfest returned $8.00 to win as he completed his hat trick. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
A J Corbelli moved his local win streak to two on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway with a convincing score in the evening’s Open Pace. Billy Dobson sat behind the six year old pacer and they marched out to an easy lead at the get-go. The race’s 1-5 favorite never had an anxious moment before the final sixteenth of a mile when Duc Dorleans (Stephane Bouchard) took a run at him but it was too little too late for that rival. A J Corbelli stopped the timer in 1:54.1 to go two-for-two at the Spa this season in the $15,000 Open Pace. Duc Dorleans was a clear second while Screenplay (Kim Crawford) finished third. A J Corbelli is trained by Rene Allard. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway
Chairman Shawn Wiles wants to remind members that the USTA District 8 Membership Meetings along with the District 8 and New York Sires Stakes Awards Dinner will be held at Tioga Downs on Sunday, October 27. The informative programs are run under the aegis of the United States trotting Association and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. “During the membership meetings there will be a discussion of the proposed rules and suggested by-law changes and we’ll have a Q and A period ” Wiles said. Joining Wiles will be the USTA’s Ellen Harvey. “I’ll have the usual USTA list of activities and some of them I know more about than others, so I can give a summary of those with which I am most familiar and answer some questions,” Harvey added. Also present at the USTA Meetings will be District Directors, Jason Settlemoir, Mark Ford, Ray Schnittker, Mike Kane, Bruce Tubin and Kim Crawford. The General Membership Meetings will begin at 5:00PM. At 6:30PM there will be a Cocktail Party hosted by Tioga Downs, Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Vernon Downs followed at 7:30PM with the Banquet Dinner and Awards Ceremonies. The membership meetings and discussions are free to all USTA District 8 members. However, tickets to the Banquet and award ceremonies are $30 per person. The top horses in the New York Sires Stakes program along with the best owned by USTA District 8 members will be awarded beautiful trophies. But the highlight of the awards presentations will be the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal which will be awarded to Wanda Polisseni. Those who plan on attending the awards dinner must remember to make reservations (518-785-5858) prior to Wednesday October 23 and then make checks payable to HHBNYS and mail to: Harness Horse Breeders; 400 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110 by John Manzi for USTA/NYSS
For the third consecutive Wednesday night, nobody hit the Pick Five at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Long shot Roadshow Star (Kim Crawford) pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year at the Spa by swooping the group in the evening’s seventh race and no doubt eliminating many from Pick Five contenion The five year old mare made it look easy in the stretch as she drew away to win in a career best 2:00.1 in the $4,600 conditional-claimer for trotters. She went off at 81-1 odds and paid $165.00 to win. There was a carryover of more than $2,500 heading into Wednesday’s Pick Five so that number will move up to just shy of $4,500 for next week’s wager. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by MIke Sardella for Saratoga Raceway
Bettor’s Reward (Bettor’s Delight) rewarded many of the bettors on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the 7-5 co-favorite recorded his first ever victory in the local Open. Stephane Bouchard piloted Bettor’s Reward for trainer Janice Connor and after sitting third throughout lap one, moved the five year old to the outside past the half. The speedy pacer surged past the race’s favorite and opened up a convincing lead turning for home before stopping the timer in 1:52.4. Kelly’s Noah (Kim Crawford) finished second while invader Dallenbach Hanover (Jordan Derue) earned the show spot in the $19,260 Open Pace. With the victory, Bettor’s Reward moved his career earnings to just a bit shy of the $300,000 mark. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella
Screenplay pulled off the upset in Saturday night's (october 13) harness racing open pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
Kelly's Noah made his first seasonal trek to the harness racing winner's circle on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The James The James Harvey owned and trained standout is the back to back winner of the track's Pacer of the Year award and made his 2012 debut last week.
The $18,500 open trot at Saratoga Casino and Raceway appeared wide open as none of the favorites from the previous few weeks' harness racing features were competing on Friday night.