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Clear Idea (American Ideal) returned to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday afternoon to compete in the local Fillies and Mares Open. The Blake Macintosh-trained mare has been a winning machine throughout her career and prevailed in her lone try in the local Open back in August. On Thursday, Clear Idea had Phil Fluet piloting and was the public's odds-on choice in the wagering despite being assigned post six in the six-horse feature. With several leavers in the race, Clear Idea had to be taken back to last in the early going. She remained there in a first half that went in 57.1. The tempo quickened heading to three quarters and when it did, Clear Idea had a hard time keeping up to her cover while second-over. Come Get The Cash (Jay Randall) closed in first-over on the race's tiring leader and when pocket-sitting Bye Bye Felicia, last week's Open winner, flew up the passing lane, it appeared those two were poised to tell the tale. Classy distaffer Clear Idea shifted gears a bit again in the stretch and surged up on the outside approaching the wire. When the dust settled, it was Clear Idea that emerged victorious in 1:55.3 over a track labeled 'sloppy.' Bye Bye Felicia was the runner-up while Come Get The Cash earned the show spot to keep her sensational "on the board" streak alive. The victory for Clear Idea was number 21 in 83 career starts for the five year old Macintosh trainee and was the second on the day for Fluet who won the undercard to the feature guiding longshot Surreal Feeling (So Surreal) to an upset score in the $14,000 Winners Over for fillies and mares. Surreal Feeling paid $33.40 to win while hanging on in 1:56.1. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

John Stark Jr's Xcuseme (RC Royalty) will head into next week's final of the John Mongeon Memorial Trotting Series as the big favorite. The three year old trotter cruised to his fourth consecutive harness racing victory on Wednesday's matinee card going back-to-back in the two legs of the series and staying undefeated in 2019. Xcuseme made pretty easy work of his competition as he coasted to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:58.1, the fastest time of the leg two winners. While Xcuseme was the most decisive of the leg two winners in the Mongeon Trot, he wasn't the only repeat victor. Living Proof I Am (Prayer I Am) also went back-to-back in the series' legs as he got up in the final strides on Wednesday to score in 1:58.3, matching his win time from last week which was a career best. Phil Fluet piloted the Andy Byler trainee to both of his series' scores. The other division of the second leg was won by Pumping Irony (Muscle Mass). The Eve Bergeron-trained trotter cruised to victory as the public's 1-5 betting favorite on Wednesday with Steve Genois in the sulky. A runner-up to Living Proof I Am in leg one, Pumping Irony recorded a convincing romp in 1:59 to punch her ticket to next week's final which will go for a purse of more than $30,000. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Phil Fluet has thrived in Wednesday co-features in the early part of the 2019 harness racing season at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The veteran trainer-driver has piloted a host of his trainees to victories in the $9,000 races for New York sired trotters that have become the regular features on Wednesday matinees in the early stages of the '19 campaign. With horses such as Lady Macbeth and Notmeitsyou prevailing in multiple tries at that level this year, Fluet had another of his trainees add his name to the list of Wednesday feature winners this week as Kapow (Conway Hall) sprung the upset. Dismissed at odds of 41-1, Kapow picked up cover heading to three quarters and surged past his rivals in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:59.1 to be the fastest winner among the pair of co-features. Kapow, who paid $84.50 to win, had a second and third-place finish to his credit this season but Wednesdays' victory was his first of the campaign. Amazing Sevens (Frank Coppola Jr) went coast-to-coast in the other co-feature on the matinee card as the Margaret Spagnola trainee also recorded his first win of the year, scoring in 2:00.2. Fluet's Lady Macbeth came into that race off consecutive wins before taking a month off following an injury and finished third to Amazing Sevens. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Thursday afternoon with action starting at 12:00pm.   Mike Sardella

Veteran trotter Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) became a harness racing millionaire on Sunday afternoon as the superstar reached the career milestone after winning the feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Needing to win in his previous start to hit the million dollar mark, Cash Me Out came up second-best as the race's odds-on favorite. In Sunday's installment of the $15,000 Open Trot, Cash Me Out sat patiently in last in a field that was reduced to five participants following a scratch. Driver Phil Fluet moved the even money favorite to the outside approaching the half mile pole and while things didn't look very good for him heading to three quarters, Cash Me Out just kept plugging away. After collaring the leader in the stretch, the veteran was met with the challenge of rival Aberforth (Billy Dobson) who defeated him when they last squared off in the first shot Cash Me Out had at reaching millionaire status. Just when it appeared that Aberforth was going to get the best of the longtime Spa regular, he went offstride. Cash Me Out emerged victorious in 1:57.2 for his second Open Trot victory of the season and with the earnings from the win became racing's newest millionaire. A trotter that began his career as a star of the New York Sire Stakes, Cash Me Out has been owned since the beginning by the Traylor Racing Stable of Ballston Spa, NY. Kyle Spagnola, the trotter's current conditioner, is just the third trainer to ever have Cash Me Out come out of his barn. Aberforth was disqualified for the break in the stretch and subsequently Aplomb Hanover (Jordan Derue) was placed second on Sunday while longshot Justice Jet (Jay Randall) moved up to third. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:00pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Wednesday's matinee program at Saratoga Casino Hotel featured a trio of $9,000 events for New York sired trotters and for the second time in as many weeks, harness racing trainer-driver Phil Fluet thrived. Last week, Fluet scored one win and a couple of second-place finishes with his trainees but on Wednesday, he recorded a pair of winners. Lady Macbeth (Deweycheatumnhowe) was a repeat winner as she overcame a difficult trip to go back-to-back. Lady Macbeth was caught four-wide around the final turn but came charging hard to get past her rivals and stop the timer in 2:00.4. Her stablemate Notmeitsyou (Chapter Seven) has been a picture of consistency since coming to Saratoga last year and on Wednesday kept his long streak of finishing first or second going as he parlayed his pocket ride into a 2:00.2 score for Fluet. Lady Macbeth was her race's 7-5 betting favorite while Notmeitsyou's victory came while sent out at odds of 2-5. The Maureen Salino-trained Bonamassa (Muscle Mass) cruised to a wire-to-wire score in the final of the three co-features as the four year old mare prevailed in 1:59.4, the fastest time of the co-featured trotting races on the card. Brett Crawford piloted Bonamassa to her second win in three starts on the young season. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a Pick Five guarantee of $5,000 and a $25,000 guarantee to the triple pool in race five. First post time for the matinee is set for 12:00pm. Mike Sardella

Dragin The Wagon (Angus Hall) became the fourth different horse to win the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel in the last four installments of the regular Sunday feature when he went coast-to-coast. Phil Fluet trains and drives Dragin The Wagon who had finished second a handful of times this season but had yet to secure a victory in the local Open heading into Sunday's try in the $20,000 feature. Fluet moved the veteran trotter out to the early lead in what became a five-horse Open following a scratch. Dragin The Wagon enjoyed comfortable first-half fractions and after clocking lap one in 58.2 wasn't challenged until three quarters when the race's favorite Cash Me Out (Mark Beckwith) came out of third to pressure the leader. Dragin The Wagon proved to be too tough for his rivals on Sunday as he dug in to score his first local Open win of the season, stopping the timer in 1:57 over a track labeled 'good.' Cash Me Out came up second-best for the second time in as many Sunday's while Mandeville (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. Dragin The Wagon paid $9.70 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta with the favorite second that returned $21.60. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15pm start to the matinee. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

There were five divisions of the first leg of the Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series contested on Monday's matinee card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Each division went for a purse of $10,000 and was comprised of trotters five years old and younger with lifetime earnings of less than $40,000 ($50,000 for fillies and mares.) Barn Star (Conway Hall) was the fastest among the leg one winners of the series as trainer-driver Phil Fluet, who acquired the three year old trotter recently, piloted him to a first-over win in 1:57.1. The sophomore debuted for new connections off a 1:57.1 victory at Batavia and matched that effort on Monday afternoon while the public's 2-5 betting favorite. Invader Silver Buckeye went coast-to-coast in his local debut on Monday as he cruised to victory in a career-best 1:57.4 with leading driver Billy Dobson in the bike. The Rene Allard-trained Silver Buckeye took advantage of a couple of his rivals making breaks in the mile en route to his score in the first leg of the series. The win was one of four on the card for Dobson. Maureen Salino's Bonamassa (Brett Crawford) and Melissa Beckwith's Coach Cummings (Mark Beckwith) were mirror images of each other in the series' first division as they pulled off upsets. Both sophomores stopped the timer in 1:59.3 and did so as longshot winners while dismissed at odds of 13-1. The final division of the day went to Shortie Joe who toughed it out first-over for trainer-driver John Stark Jr. Shortie Joe prevailed in his third start at the Spa following runner-up finishes in his first two local races. Leg two of the Derue Memorial Trot will take place on Sunday afternoon with the $38,200 Final being contested the following Sunday, October 21st. Live racing resumes on Friday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Syaratoga Raceway  

Tropical Storm Bi (Yankee Glide) parlayed his pocket ride to victory in Sunday's Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Tony Ciuffetelli trainee drew the rail in the $14,500 feature and driver Phil Fluet set up shop in the pocket behind the race's favorite Uva Hanover (Billy Dobson). Uva Hanover set comfortable fractions on the lead as a rain began to fall in Saratoga. First over threat Crazycat (Bruce Aldrich Jr) couldn't get by the front-running favorite but Tropical Storm Bi could. Once he got into the passing lane, Tropical Storm Bi surged by before drawing off to prevail in 1:57 for his second Open win of the season. The six year old gelding paid $7.70 to win. Last week's Open winner Crazycat was the runner-up on Sunday. Uva Hanover finished third while a beaten favorite for the second consecutive week. Tropical Storm Bi owns the fastest time of the year for any trotter at Saratoga as he scored in a dazzling 1:54.3 on a Sunday afternoon in May and has since established himself as a force in the local Open. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Monday's matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel featured some big upsets by trotters. Miss Flora (SJ's Caviar) set her lifetime mark at the Spa last year when she trotted to a 1:55.4 score and on Monday made her return to town to compete in a $8,500 trotting event. The Mario Dessureault-trained Miss Flora was piloted by Phil Fluet and was dismissed at odds of 17-1 when she sprung into early action. The six year old mare made an easy lead and made it look easy going coast-to-coast to prevail in 1:56.2. Miss Flora paid $37.20 to win in her upset. While Miss Flora did surprise on the Monday card, she wasn't the biggest longshot to prevail, not by a longshot. A J Destiny drew the outside post in a low-level conditional trot and driver Barry Segel blasted the veteran trotter out to the early lead. A J Destiny cut the mile and never gave way before stopping the timer in 1:59.3 to score at odds of 29-1. While the $61.50 win payoff was the highest of the day, there was yet another big upset in a trotting race on Monday as Jackie Cantine's Im Not Vanilla shook loose late and got up to win in 1:57.3 at odds of 25-1. Im Not Vanilla returned $53.50 in his upset victory on a day where being a longshot was no problem for a host of trotters at Saratoga. Live racing resumes on Friday evening at the Spa with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Harness racing driver Phil Fluet had a big day on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The veteran trainer/driver had a win and a second in the co-featured trotting races on the matinee card. Scarey Karie (Conway Hall), who spent much of her summer competing in the New York Sire Stakes, came into Thursday's $10,250 co-feature with earnings of over $60,000 for the year. Scarey Karie had little difficulty scoring a first-over victory on Thursday in 1:58.4 Fluet trains and drives the sophomore filly. Fluet's Item Eyes had a difficult journey in the other co-feature but did well to come from well off the pace to finish second to Mind Your Manners (Mickey McGivern). This mile for New York sired trotters went in the exact same 1:58.4 as did the other co-feature earlier in the day. Fluet had a driving double on the card as the Paul Zabielski-trained Best Shot N (Bettor's Delight) continued his local dominance. The New Zealand-bred pacer, who came to USA and to the Spa earlier this month, moved his record to three-for-three behind a career-best victory in 1:54.2. Fluet, who won the Johnny Page Award for top breakthrough driver at the Spa in 2014, currently sits seventh in the driver standings this season. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Scarey Karie (Conway Hall) prevailed in the $9,950 harness racing co-feature on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Phil Fluet trains and drives the filly who was fresh off a second place finish in a $40,000+ New York Sire Stakes try in her last start. On Thursday, Fluet moved the odds-on favorite out to the early lead, a lead she would never surrender. The sophomore stopped the timer in 1:58.1 for a new lifetime mark in the co-feature for New York sired trotters. In just twelve career starts, Fluet's Scarey Karie now has four wins and four seconds en route to more than $72,000 in earnings. Starlingmoon (Stephane Bouchard) pulled off the upset for the second straight week in the other co-feature as the Andy Byler-trained trotter came from well off the pace to prevail in a career best 1:58.2 at odds of 10-1. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 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

Stirling Electra (Roll With Joe) pulled off the harness racing upset in Saturday night's $31,000 Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series Final at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Phil Fluet trains and drives the three year old filly who sprung the shocker in leg one of the series, swooping the group at odds of 40-1. Following a sixth place finish in leg two, Stirling Electra was dismissed at odds of 9-1 in Saturday's Final and got away last in the eight horse field as a host of leavers squared off in the early going. With a late power surge around the final turn, Stirling Electra set her sights on leader Southwind Ricardo (Jim Devaux), the only horse to secure victories in both series' legs heading into the Final. Southwind Ricardo opened up a pretty big lead around the final turn but it was Stirling Electra who poked her nose up in time to win it in 1:55.3. Southwind Ricardo came up second best while Silverhill Lover (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Stirling Electra went last to first and paid $21.40 to win. The exacta and triple returned $114 and $806, respectively, in the third annual Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Harness racing trainer/driver Phil Fluet won both halves of the Thursday co-features at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday night. There were two divisions of the $8,000 featured trot for New York Sired highsteppers and Fluet piloted home a favorite and a longshot winner. Mo Titos Blue Chip (Crazed) scored in the evening's opener as she set a new lifetime mark in 1:59.4. The race's 3-5 betting favorite, Mo Titos Blue Chip recorded her second victory of the year. The Fluet-trained Financial Focus (Crazed) was up against a 1-5 favorite in her division of the featured trotting events on Thursday. After coming away third in the early going, Fluet guided Financial Focus up to challenge the big favorite Cupid (Mark Beckwith) around the final turn before getting the best of him by a head at the wire. The two year old Trotter of the Year at the Spa last year, Financial Focus was dismissed at odds of 14-1 on Thursday as she put in her career best performance winning in 1:59. Fluet, who was named the Johnny Page and Peerless McGrath Award winner in '15 for top breakthrough driver and trainer, respectively, is having another solid campaign in his second full year competing at the Spa. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

Dions Prayer (Like A Prayer) set a lifetime mark in Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga.  Phil Fluet moved Dions Prayer out to the early lead in the $9,300 feature for New York Sired Trotters and the Andy Byler trainee powered away to win by more than five lengths in a career best 1:57.2. The race's 8-5 betting favorite on Thursday, Dions Prayer recorded her third win in ten seasonal tries. Deadhead Royalty (Don Sherman) closed for second while Kinda Naughty (John Stark Jr.) earned the show spot. It was one of two wins on the day for driver Phil Fluet who piloted his Mo Titos Blue Chip (Crazed) to victory on the afternoon card. Live racing continues on Friday evening with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Bell I No (Rock N Roll Heaven) chose a good time to put in a career performance as the Bert Belanger-trainee prevailed in the $28,600 Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series Final on Saturday night at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga. The three year old pacer was the last horse to qualify for the Series Final after securing just a third and a sixth place finish in the two $7,500 legs. On Saturday night, Bell I No raced like anything but a longshot as he moved first over on the favored First Delight (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and raced evenly with that one for a quarter of a mile before powering past in the final 1/16. Bell I No, who was driven by Phil Fluet, stopped the timer in a lifetime best 1:54 in a race that had a purse just a couple hundred dollars less than he had made in his young career coming into the Series Final. Montera (Frank Coppola Jr) came into the Final on a five race win streak but had to settle for second on Saturday night while First Delight held on for third. Bell I No returned $20.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $105 and $295, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time of 12:15pm. Mike Sardella    

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