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Slugfest (Conway Hall) scored in the harness racing season's final feature on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The track's Trotter of the Year in both 2014 and 2015 didn't have quite the same kind of year in '16 but the Maureen Salino trainee was still a solid threat this season. In Sunday's $18,000 Open Trot, Slugfest was guided first over by his regular driver Jay Randall and cruised by his rivals to secure an open length victory in 1:58.1 over the sloppy going. The favorite Cash Me Out (Jim Devaux) won the place photo while a well-beaten second as Cincinnati Miss (Frank Coppola Jr) came on to finish third. It was the sixth win of the year for the seven year old Slugfest who paid $10.70 to win. Frank Coppola Jr. wrapped up his eleventh driving title at Saratoga while Melissa Beckwith was the top trainer for the fourth time as the 2016 racing season concluded on Sunday at the Spa. Live racing will return on Sunday February 19th with a matinee starting at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

The final Open Pace of the year at Saratoga Casino Hotel yielded its biggest harness racing upset of the season. Mariner Seelster (Camluck) pulled off the shocker in the $18,000 Saturday night feature by surging up the passing lane to win at odds of 55-1. Mark Ford owns and trains the seven year old pacer who was the clear longshot in the race but prevailed in the end, stopping the timer in 1:53 to register the upset. Invader Lucan Hanover (Stephane Bouchard) cut the mile and held on for second while Texas Terror N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot after a scramble in the stretch. Mariner Seelster, who was driven to victory by Greg Merton, paid $113 to win and led a big exacta and triple that returned $877 and $2,877, respectively. Closing day for the 2016 racing season is Sunday with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Racing will resume on Sunday February 19th with matinees scheduled for that day and the following afternoon on President's Day. Mike Sardella

Moveoutofmyway (Dontgetinmyway) parlayed his pocket ride to victory in the harness racing 2016 Holiday Pace Final on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Driver Billy Dobson yielded to the favored Mayfield Hanover (Dragon Again) in the early going and Moveoutofmyway rode the leader's coattails throughout before pouncing on him in the final 1/16 of a mile. Mayfield Hanover, the 3-5 public choice, was looking for a clean sweep of the series which consisted of two legs that led up to the $16,050 Friday final. Moveoutofmyway, who is trained by Monica Krist, stopped the timer in 1:55.4 on a cold night at the Spa. Mayfield Hanover (Mark Beckwith) had to settle for second while JK Pearls Delight (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Moveoutofmyway paid $7.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $8.80 and $44.80, respectively. The $10,000 Holiday Pace Consolation was won by RD Donethat for trainer George Merton and driver Dan Cappello Jr. It was the third winner on the card for the Saratoga Hall of Famer Cappello. Live racing continues on Saturday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Under The Stars (Yankee Glide) came from the clouds to win the harness racing 2016 Holiday Trot Final at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday evening. Frank McMahon trains the nine year old veteran campaigner whose second place finish in leg one of the series propelled him to Thursday's final. Phil Fluet piloted Under The Stars who got a second over trip behind the race's favorite Golden Stroke (Stephane Bouchard), the only trotter to score victories in each of the legs of the series heading into the $15,450 final. When Golden Stroke was tiring, Fluet guided Under The Stars to the far outside as front-running Tagmaster (Tony Ciuffetelli) was started to falter on the lead. Under The Stars got up to win in 2:00.1 on a cold December evening in Saratoga and did so at odds of 8-1. My Friend Charlie (Mark Beckwith), dismissed at odds of 10-1 came charging hard for second while Tagmaster held on to earn the show spot. Under The Stars returned $19.60 to win and started an exacta that paid $147 and a triple that came back $570. There are three race cards remaining in the 2016 campaign at Saratoga with racing on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6:45pm and on Sunday with a matinee that kicks off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Artful Way (Artistic Fella) worked hard early and hung tough late as the harness racing four year old won the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the eighth time on the season. Frank Coppola Jr. went pedal to the metal with Artful Way early on as the speedy pacer worked past his rivals to make the lead in a brisk quarter of 26.4. Without getting much of a breather, the front-runner for Pacer of the Year at Saratoga held strong throughout while faced with the challenge of first over longshot Gibson Blue Chip (Jimmy Devaux). While Artful Way has been a winning machine this year in the feature, his eighth Open score of the year was his first since September. The race's 1-2 betting favorite stopped the timer in 1:52 on a cold night in Saratoga to best runner-up Gibson Blue Chip and third place finisher Bet You (Stephane Bouchard). The exacta and triple paid $27.40 and $206, respectively. The victory was the tenth overall this year for Artful Way who has followed up his 2015 campaign very well with his second consecutive season of ten wins and over $100,000 in earnings. Artful Way is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC of Queensbury, NY. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

So Nice (Ponder) continued her late season dominance of the harness racing distaffers at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. The Amber Buter-trained mare was the race's 2-5 favorite in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open and despite being assigned the outside post in the five horse feature made the lead in a matter of strides. After having things her own way in lap one, So Nice powered away from her rivals in the final half to win in 1:52.1 by three and a half lengths. Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) added another to her tally of second place finishes in the feature this year as she rounded out a $12 exacta in the five-horse Open. The win for So Nice, who was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith, was her fifth in the local feature this year, second only to Velocity Vespa who has recorded six victories in the Friday feature for distaffers in 2016. So Nice is owned by Tyler Buter of Middletown, NY and Stephen Oldford and the Gene Oldford Farms of Michigan. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Riverofroyalty (RC Royalty) set a new lifetime mark in Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Spagnola-trained three year old is enjoying a solid season in which she has now prevailed five times. Riverofroyalty was the 8-5 betting favorite in the $9,950 featured race for New York sired trotters and moved first over on Starlingmoon (Billy Dobson) who rode a three race win streak into Thursday's tilt. Riverofroyalty powered past that rival but was met with a late challenge from longshot Gotalottacredit (Jim Devaux) who wound up coming up second best while Starlingmoon held on for third. Riverofroyalty's fifth career victory came in 1:58.2 to give her a new lifetime mark. The filly was piloted to the win by Frank Coppola Jr who is now less than two weeks away from securing his 11th driving title at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Friday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Cash Me Out (Jim Devaux) overcame post 8 to win Sunday's feature trot at Saratoga for harness racing trainer Kyle Spagnola. The time for the mile was 1:56.3   Racing resumes on Thursday with a 4pm post time.   Mike Sardella  

Limelight Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) made his Saratoga harness racing debut a winning one on Saturday night in the $18,000 Open Pace. The Ron Burke trainee is enjoying another terrific year and brought his talents to the Spa for the first time to take part in the Saturday feature. Assigned the outside post, Limelight Beach blasted out to the early lead in a 26.3 opening quarter but driver Stephane Bouchard gave the five year old pacer a bit of a second quarter breather before he faced his first legitimate challenge in the stretch. Limelight Beach cruised away in the final strides to prevail in 1:51.3 on a chilly December night in the Spa City. Artful Way (Frank Coppola Jr) came on to finish second while JK Panache (Mark Beckwith) had to settle for third. Limelight Beach was the race's 6-5 favorite in the betting and led an exacta and triple that paid $32.20 and $84.50, respectively. Burke had a training triple on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella  

Truth And Liberty (Total Truth) scored a first over victory in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Bob Lounsbury-trained distaffer had been a factor in the local Fillies and Mares Open on several occasions this fall but has recently endured some breaking trouble. The four year old mare made her return to the Spa following a try at the Meadowlands last week and drew the rail in the evening's $9,400 feature for the ladies. Bruce Aldrich Jr piloted Truth And Liberty and rolled her first over approaching the half and the mare took it from there. Truth And Liberty stopped the timer in 1:54.1 in recording her tenth win of the season. Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) was the runner up to the favored winner as she finished second for the fourth consecutive week while Bye Bye Michelle (Dan Cappello Jr) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

The 2016 Holiday Trotting Series kicked off on Thursday at Saratoga Casino Hotel for harness racing trotters who had compiled seasonal earnings of $12,500 or less as of 10/31/16. There were two divisions of the series each going for a purse of $6,000. Golden Stroke (Yankee Glide) worked hard early and moved to the lead while aggressively piloted by Stephane Bouchard in the first division on Thursday. The Eve Bergeron-trained trotter held on late to win in 1:59.3 for his second victory of the year. Golden Stroke had finished second or third in four of his previous six starts before becoming the public's 6-5 favorite in leg one of the newly contested series at the Spa. Tony Ciuffetelli's Tagmaster (Tagliabue) was the fastest of the leg one trotters as the 12 year old circled the field to prevail going away in 1:59.1 in the second division. Ciuffetelli owns, trains and drives the veteran high-stepper who surged past his rivals after making a big three wide move en route to his fourth win of the year and third in his last four starts. Leg two of the Holiday Trotting Series will take place next week with the final being contested during closing week of the '16 racing season. The Holiday Pacing Series kicks off on Friday night. First post time on Friday is set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Cincinnati Miss (Kadabra) sprung the upset in the Sunday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. With no Open Trot this week, the $13,000 Winners Over was the harness racing feature on the thirteen race matinee card and it was a longshot bettor's delight. Cincinnati Miss, the race's lone mare, tipped off her cover and charged hard late to win a tight photo with fellow longshot Aventure (Tony Ciuffetelli) as well the favored Twisted Pretzel (Mark Beckwith) in a mile clocked in 1:55.4. It was the eighth victory of the season for the Brett Derue-trained Cincinnati Miss who continued a big weekend for the meet's leading driver Frank Coppola Jr. who is now just a few weeks away from securing his eleventh Saratoga driving title. Cincinnati Miss paid $26.00 to win in the upset and led an exacta with 31-1 shot Aventure that returned $250.50. The triple came back $659. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a first post time of 4:00pm. Mike Sardella

For the second consecutive night, driver Bruce Aldrich Jr and trainer Jose Godinez teamed up for the winner of the harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. After recording a win in Friday's feature for fillies and mares, the Aldrich-Godinez tandem prevailed with RU Ready To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover) in Saturday's $18,000 Open Pace. The eight year old pacer who had been the runner-up in each of his last two tries in the Saratoga Open started from post three in Saturday's installment of the feature and wound up picking up cover in a race that was primed for closers to thrive. With first half fractions of 26.4 and 55.3 setting the table for the closers, RU Ready To Rock tipped off his cover turning for home in what wound up being a blanket finish. All eight horses finished within two lengths of each other with the top four finishers only separated by a total of a neck. RU Ready To Rock pulled off the upset at odds of 11-1 and bested Macherati (Mark Beckwith) and Ronny Bugatti (Jim Devaux) who ran second and third. RU Ready To Rock stopped the timer in 1:52.3 while recording his first Open win of the season at the Spa. The exacta and triple in the wide open feature paid $123 and $711. RU Ready To Rock is owned by Anthony Nicometo and the Blindswitch Racing Stable of New York whose Dilly Dali scored in the $10,060 Friday feature for distaffers. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella  

Dilly Dali (Dali) went coast to coast in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel on what was a big night for driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. Aldrich motivated class-dropping Dilly Dali to move out to the early lead in the $10,060 conditional/claimer for fillies and mares, a lead she would never relinquish. One week removed from a third place finish in the Open for distaffers, Dilly Dali recorded the wire to wire win in 1:54, holding off late bids from Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) and fellow Open dropper Bye Bye Michelle (Dan Cappello Jr), who finished second and third, respectively, en route to her eighth score of 2016. The Jose Godinez-trained mare was a big favorite in the betting while backed to the tune of 2-5. She led an exacta and triple that returned a chalky $9.10 and $16.00 in what wound up being a six horse race after three scratches shrunk the field down significantly. The victory was one of three on the night for Aldrich which was second only to Frank Coppola Jr's five-win evening. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Bet You (Bettor's Delight) went back to back in the Saturday feature as the young harness racing pacer came from well off the pace to prevail in the $16,000 Open Pace at Saratoga on Saturday night. After winning his first local Open last week, the Heidi Rohr-trained Bet You got away fifth in the six horse feature and as the fractions were hot on the lead, the rejuvenated pacer sat patiently before making his move in the final quarter. Bet You emerged from a scramble in the stretch with a victory in 1:52.3. Border Control A (Jim Devaux) came from last to finish second while Lettucerockthem A (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. The four year old Bet You hadn't factored in his first three tries in the local Open but has now rattled off consecutive victories to bring his seasonal win total to ten. Bet You, who was driven to the score in the feature by Stephane Bouchard, paid $13.00 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $84 and $528, respectively. Bet You is owned by Tom Dillon of Anson, ME. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

So Nice (Ponder) continued to bolster her credentials for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night as the Amber Buter-trained distaffer prevailed in the harness racing feature. So Nice was the 1-5 betting favorite in the five horse Fillies and Mares Open and moved out to the early lead in a sizzling 26.4 opening quarter. Driver Mark Beckwith gave So Nice a bit of a breather in the middle half but around the final turn, pocket sitter Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson) powered out of the two hole. The race's longshot at 15-1, Milky Way Rae actually poked a nose in front midway through the stretch but the gutsy veteran So Nice rallied back just before the wire and emerged with a victory by the slimmest of margins. So Nice paced in 1:52.4 to record her tenth win of the year to go with eight second place finishes in what has been a sensational 2016 season for the six year old mare. Milky Way Rae had to settle for second in her debut in the Open while Dilly Dali (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. So Nice has certainly emerged as the favorite for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year while in the midst of what has been an extremely consistent campaign for the Buter trainee. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

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