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Stoneridge (Cash Hall) completed a hat trick for harness racing driver Frank Coppola Jr. on Thursday at Saratoga Casino Hotel.   The Harvey Stein trainee was dismissed at odds of 31-1 in the $9,950 co-feature for New York Sired trotters despite the fact that she won in the same class in her previous local start in April.   The four year old dominated her rivals after getting a first over journey before drawing away to win by almost seven lengths in a career best 1:58.3.   Stoneridge led the biggest exacta of the season to date at the Spa as fellow longshot Meshugana Miss (Bruce Aldrich Jr) finished second to comprise an exacta that paid $2,898.   Coppola piloted all three of his Thursday winners to new lifetime marks as he scored with pacers Think Bigger in 1:55.3 and Captain American in 1:55.2.   Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella

Every year there are series’ that take place in the springtime that honor the memory of different horsemen and women that were instrumental in the 75 year history of harness racing at Saratoga. Last week, there were three series’ that kicked off featuring some of the top young horses at the Spa honoring the memory of past horsemen John Mongeon Sr. and JP Morel and the “first lady” of Saratoga Harness Virginia O’Brien. The series’ are for trotters and pacers that are five year olds and younger and have yet to achieve any kind of big time success thus far in their young careers. The John Mongeon Sr. Memorial series got underway on Thursday afternoon. This is the fourth installment of the annual series that honors the longtime Saratoga horseman. Trotters that are 5-years old and younger and were non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime (with an extra allowance for mares) as of March 21 were eligible for the series. The Mongeon series attracted enough young trotters to allow for four divisions of the first leg which each went for a purse of $7,500. Band Winsome was the fastest of the leg one winners on Thursday as the mare who was faced with tackling a rival who went off as the 1-5 favorite wound scoring impressively after her major danger made a break at the start of the race. Band Winsome, who was the only of the leg one winners to not go coast to coast for her victory, stamped herself as perhaps the one to beat in the Mongeon after scoring in 1:58.3 on Thursday. HMS Firecracker overcame post position eight in his division of the Mongeon to prevail in 1:59.2. The 4-year-old trotter is one to watch in the series as he has found a home for himself over the past month or so since joining the stable of conditioner Andy Sardella. HMS Firecracker followed up a second place finish in his debut for his new trainer with three consecutive victories after scoring wire-to-wire in leg one of the Mongeon. A Jersey Contract and Palmers Pride were the other series winners as they each prevailed on the front end on Thursday. A Jersey Contract was making just his second start of the year when he cruised to victory after having two of his chief challengers make breaks. After a solid two year old season in which he recorded a pair of victories, A Jersey Contract certainly offers major upside as the series moves forward. Palmers Pride was the “slowest” winner of leg one but could still be the one to beat among the young trotters. Don Sherman trains and drives Palmers Pride who is just now in his first season of racing despite the fact that he is five years old. While the late bloomer Palmers Pride’s victory came in just 2:00.2 on Thursday, the trotter has already recorded a 1:58.4 score this year and now has three wins, two seconds and a third in his six career starts. Leg two of the series will take place on Saturday with horses having their final chance to record points toward the Mongeon Final on Sunday May 15th which is set to go for a purse of $28,700. Friday night kicked off the annual Virginia O’Brien Pacing Series. It is only fitting that the series which honors the memory of one of the most influential women in track history is comprised of fillies and mares. There were three divisions of the first leg of the O’Brien for lady pacers who were non-winners of three races or $25,000 lifetime as of March 21. Unlike leg one of the Mongeon where two of the winners were the favorites, none of the favorites prevailed in the first leg of the O’Brien. Four-to-one shots Frontier Sarah and B B Royale each secured Friday victories in 1:55.4 while longshot Harlot’s Dream lit up the toteboard while dismissed at odds of 50-1. Brian Cross co-owns, trains and drives the mare Harlot’s Dream who came from well off the pace to pull off the big time upset. While the race certainly set up for a closer, Harlot’s Dream had to earn the win by bypassing the race’s favorite Southwind Marilyn in the stretch. Southwind Marilyn was the only one of the favorites in leg one of the O’Brien to finish in the top three in their respective divisions. If the first leg is any indication of what the rest of the series will bring, we could be in store for some really good races as the O’Brien series moves towards the second leg next week with the $27,500 Final scheduled for Saturday May 14. Longtime local driving standout JP Morel passed away in 2012 and the annual pacing series in his honor kicked off on Saturday night. There were just two divisions of the first leg of Morel Series. In The Huddle went coast to coast with Kim Crawford in the sulky, prevailing in a career best-matching 1:55. It was just the third start of the season for In The Huddle who was by far the faster of the two winners in the series’ first leg. Brigadoon brought a three race win streak into the Saturday series, a streak that dates back to last year. Billy Dobson pilots the three year old pacer who continued his winning ways as he scored for the fourth consecutive time, stopping the timer in 1:56.3. There was no dominant force in either division of the first leg of the Morel pace which should make for an interesting leg two as they head towards the series final set for Saturday, May 14. The track will feature a rare doubleheader this Saturday on Kentucky Derby day and the matinee portion of the doubleheader will consist of mostly series races. The Mongeon, O’Brien and Morel Series’ second legs will all take place on the Saturday afternoon card as the trotters and pacers get their final chance to qualify for the series’ finals that will be contested the following weekend. Live racing takes place this week on Thursday starting at 4:00 and continues on Friday night beginning at 6:45 p.m. The lone doubleheader for the season is set for Saturday and there will be a Sunday matinee as well. First post for the afternoon race cards is 12:15pm while Saturday night’s program will kick off at 6:45pm, soon after the completion of the Kentucky Derby. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line! Reprinted with permission of The Saratogian

Crazy About Pat, driven by Shawn Gray and trained by Paul Kelly, took Sunday afternoon's harness racing feature at Saratoga.   The Crazed colt trotted to the victory over a mile and 1/16th in 2:05.   Live racing continues onThursday afternoon beginning at 4pm. Mike Sardella  

Real Illusion (Real Desire) scored in Saturday's Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The six year old pacer was making his first start for trainer Jose Godinez after a claim last weekend and Real Illusion paid immediate dividends for his new harness racing connections by scoring in the $15,000 feature.   Bruce Aldrich Jr. piloted Real Illusion who wound up first over in a race that featured first half fractions of 26.0 and 54.0.   Real Illusion stopped the timer in 1:59.3 in the 1 1/16 mile Open as the race's 7-5 betting favorite.   Grand Galop Semalu (Mark Beckwith) was the runner up in the Saturday feature while Whogoesfirst (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot.   The exacta with 26-1 longshot Grand Galop Semalu second returned $74.50 and the triple paid $334.   Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a pick five carryover of $2,731. The matinee begins at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Campanile (No Pan Intended) went coast to coast in Friday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel.   The Chris Marino-trained mare has been the most consistent force among local distaffers over the course of the last few years and continued her winning ways in Friday's $13,000 Winners Over pace.   Campanile powered out to the lead in a first quarter of 27.2 in the 1 1/16 mile feature.   The gutsy mare dug in late and had enough left to hold off a late charge from rival Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) who wound being the runner up for the second consecutive week in the Winners Over.   Longshot Jets Are On (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot.   It was the third win in the local feature this season and the sixth on the year for Campanile who thrived out of town this winter as well.   Austin Siegelman piloted the seven year old mare to victory for owner Mike Casalino Jr.   Siegelman scored four winners on the card.   Live racing continues on Saturday at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella

It was an afternoon of harness racing favorites prevailing on Thursday at Saratoga Casino Hotel.   That was until longshot Imacrazynewyorker (Crazed) posted not only the biggest price of the year at the Spa but the biggest win payoff in a couple of seasons.   Imacrazynewyorker pulled off the upset in Thursday's $9,950 feature for New York Sired trotters at odds of 102-1.   Heading into Thursday's tilt, the John Hallett-trained trotter had not finished on the board in 2016 but that all changed after a second-over trip led to the major upset.   Mark Beckwith piloted Imacrazynewyorker to victory in 2:00.2.   The win price was an eye-popping $206 for the longshot who led an exacta with the favored Meshugana Miss (Bruce Aldrich Jr) second that came back $496.   The race's triple paid $2,702 with third place finisher Kinda Naughty (John Stark Jr).   Live racing continues on Friday at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella

Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) got the money for the second consecutive Sunday afternoon in the feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Kyle Spagnola trainee wound up first over in the $15,000 Open Trot and the five year old highstepper cleared the lead around the final turn before holding off the charge from local trotting star Slugfest (Jay Randall). After recording wins at Yonkers and the Meadowlands in 2016, Cash Me Out has now gone back to back at the Spa with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. With the second place finish, Slugfest has now finished first or second in five of his last six tries in the local feature. Flyhawk Thriller (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Cash Me Out was the race's 3-2 betting favorite and led an exacta with Slugfest that paid $27.60. The race's trifecta returned $110.50. Cash Me Out stopped the timer in 2:02.1 in the 1 1/16 mile feature. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for 4:00pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Caution Signs (Dream Away) parlayed the pocket ride to victory in Saturday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jose Godinez-trained pacer powered out to the early lead in the $11,000 1 1/16 mile Winners Over pace at the Spa before yielding for the pocket ride behind rival Pappy's Pal (Jim Devaux). Pappy's Pal held the lead until about ten yards before the finish line when Cautions Signs surged up the passing lane to score in 2:00.2 in the elongated distance feature. Pappy's Pal came up second best while Whogoesfirst (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Caution Signs had late board backing and wound up as the race's 2-5 betting favorite. His win was the second on the card for trainer Jose Godinez and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. who also teamed up for a victory with veteran pacer RU Ready To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover). Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Bettorhaveanother (Bettor's Delight) became the first horse to win from post position one in a 1 1/16 mile feature thus far this season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jackie Rousse trainee powered out from the inside post and made it to the front end in Friday's $11,000 Winners Over pace for fillies and mares. The Friday victory for Bettorhaveanother was her second of the season to go with two second place finishes in her five local starts in 2016. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted the four year old mare to the win in a time of 2:00.4 in the 1 1/16 mile feature. Bazooka Terror (Larry Stalbaum) was the runner up to the race's even money betting favorite while Jenna's Patriot (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. Bettorhaveanother is owned by Janie Martin and the Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The African (Crazed) continued his strong spring season on Thursday afternoon as the four year old trotter prevailed in the $9,300 feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Trainer Dave Dewhurst started the week in seventh place in the local trainer standings and continued his recent hot streak as The African rolled to victory in the feature for New York Sired trotters. Bet down to odds of 1-9, The African lived up to the hype as he cruised to a nearly four length victory in a career best 1:59.1 with Billy Dobson in the sulky. The African has now hit the board in five straight starts. Dewhurst, a Vernon Downs regular, has enjoyed a strong spring season at the Spa due in large part to the successes of his young trotter. The win completed a Thursday hat trick for Billy Dobson who piloted three winners on the Thursday card. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Spinarama (Cam's Card Shark) went the distance on the front end to secure his another victory in Saturday night's Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. One of the winningest horses in the local feature in 2015, Spinarama is off to a strong start to his '16 campaign as he recorded his third win in six seasonal tries on a beautiful Saturday night in the Spa City. Stephane Bouchard moved the race's 6-5 favorite out to early lead in the 1 1/16 mile Open, a lead that the seven year old pacer would not relinquish. Caution Signs (Bruce Aldrich Jr) sat the pocket to the winner and wound up second best in the $15,000 feature while Pappy's Pal (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot. The 1 1/16 mile distance was covered in 1:58.3 by Spinarama who gave Bouchard one of his four winners on the night. The veteran reinsman, who also scored in Friday night's feature behind pacing mare Ella V Horse, is currently the meet's leading driver. Spinarama was the race's 6-5 betting favorite and led an exacta and triple that returned $16.40 and $64, respectively. Spinarama is owned by Mike Casalino Jr. and trained by Chris Marino. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that begins at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) went coast to coast in Friday's harness racing feature for pacing mares at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Andy Sardella-trained, Stephane Bouchard driven distaffer set close to identical fractions on the front end as she did two weeks ago when she prevailed in the Winners Over. On Friday night, Ella V Horse held off the late challenge from pocket-sitting Little Santamonica (Jim Devaux) before stopping the timer in 2:00 in the 1 1/16 mile feature. Little Santamonica, who scored in the $12,000 Winners Over a few weeks back, had to settle for second while My Spring Fling (Bruce Aldrich Jr) came on for third. The race's favorite at odds of 2-1, Ella V Horse secured her third win of the season. The exacta paid $21.40 while the triple came back $142.50. Ella V Horse is owned by Mike and Bill Pozefsky of NY and Myron Ekstein of Henderson, NV. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Kinda Naughty (Conway Hall) matched her lifetime mark in Thursday evening's co-feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Trained by Steve LaBelle and driven by John Stark Jr, Kinda Naughty moved aggressively to the lead in Thursday's $9,300 co-feature for New York Sired trotters and hung tough in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:58.4 to match the career best time she set last season at Yonkers Raceway. The four year old mare was dismissed at odds of 12-1 as she recorded her first victory in what was her third start of the season. Driver Jimmy Devaux was the sulky star of the day at the Spa as the veteran reinsman piloted five winners on the card including two for trainer Dave Dewhurst. Devaux scored with a trio of longshots on the afternoon as I Am Will (Yankee Skyscraper), Linda's Choice (Conway Hall) and One Chaser (Ice Chaser Won) went off at odds of 16-1, 13-1 and 11-1, respectively. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Slugfest (Conway Hall) moved his career bankroll to over the half million dollar mark with a win in Sunday's feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Trotter of the Year at the Spa in both 2014 and 2015, Slugfest is again off to a strong start this season. The Maureen Salino-trained trotter secured his second win of the campaign in the $15,000 Open Trot as he moved out to the early lead in the 1 1/16 mile feature. Cruising through fractions of 27.1, 56.3 and 126.2, Slugfest dug in in the stretch to hold off the challenge of pocket sitter Flyhawk Thriller (Stephane Bouchard) before prevailing in 203.1 in the 1 1/16 mile trot. Flyhawk Thriller was the runner up while Pop I (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Slugfest returned $7.70 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $41.40 and $168, respectively. Slugfest is off to a great start to his season as he looks to become the first horse to ever be named Trotter of the Year three times at the Spa. The earnings from his Sunday win moved the seven year old's career bankroll tally to over $503,000. Jay Randall piloted Slugfest to his Sunday score. Live racing resumes on Thursday at Saratoga with a first post time set for 4:00pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - JK Panache (Art Major) scored his first Open Pace victory of the season on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Dave Dewhurst-trained pacer recorded six wins in the local Open in 2015 but started out this season competing in sub-Open classes. JK Panache wound up first over in the $15,000 Open and battled frontrunning Spinarama (Austin Siegelman) for better than a half mile before putting that one away in the stretch. The win for JK Panache came in 1:59.2 in the 1 1/16 mile feature. Caution Signs (Bruce Aldrich Jr) closed up the rail for second while Spinarama earned the show spot. JK Panache returned $5.70 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $21.80 and $69.50, respectively. The seven year old pacer was driven to the Open win by Shawn Gray. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Bettorhaveanother (Bettor's Delight) scored in the feature for her red hot connections on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jackie Rousse-trained mare had finished second in two of her first three starts of the season and on Friday night took her shot on the front end in the 1 1/16 Winners Over pace for distaffers. Bettorhaveanother drew away late to score in 2:01.3 in the $13,000 feature while at odds of 7-2. Pocket sitter It's A Miracle (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) finished second while Elm Grove Inarush (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. It was one of a pair of victories on the card for Rousse and driver Frank Coppola Jr. who also teamed up for a victory with pacing mare Happily Ever After (Well Said) and are currently the hottest trainer-driver combo at the track. Bettorhaveanother and Happily Ever After are owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables and Janie Martin. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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