Day At The Track
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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

Her Own Land (Blissfull Hall) set a lifetime mark in Friday night's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In her first start off the claim for trainer Andy Sardella, Her Own Land, an Open winner earlier in the season, moved out to the early lead in Friday's $10,500 feature for fillies and mares. Despite posting sizzling fractions of 27.2 and 55.2 in the first half, Her Own Land had something left late in the mile. The six year old mare stopped the timer in 1:52.3 which goes down as a new career mark. Sometimes Graceful (Wally Hennessey) sat the pocket and was the runner-up while Keene Olivia (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Her Own Land was the even-money favorite and led an exacta and triple that paid $15.60 and $82, respectively. The win was number six on the season for Her Own Land, who was driven to victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr. Aldrich piloted three winners on the Friday card. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

Bye Bye Michelle (Stonebridge Regal) prevailed in the $10,600 feature for harness racing filly and mare pacers at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. Dan Cappello Jr. piloted the Andy Sardella-trained mare who drew the rail in the optional $20,000 claimer for distaffers and powered the six year old out to the early lead. Despite setting fast fractions throughout, Bye Bye Michelle scooted away from her rivals late in the mile before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 on a chilly night in the Spa City. The three mares other than the winner that showed Open lines on the program finished second, third and fourth as Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr), Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) and Dilly Dali (Bruce Aldrich Jr) finished behind Bye Bye Michelle who recorded her eighth win of the season. Sardella went two-for-two on the night as his Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) went coast to coast in 1:54.4 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky in the optional $10,000 claimer for fillies and mares on Friday night. Both Bye Bye Michelle and Ella V Horse are owned by Mike and Bill Pozefsky and Myron Ekstein. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) scored a wire-to-wire win in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Stephane Bouchard pointed the nine year old mare out to the front end in the $13,000 1 1/16 mile Winners Over for Fillies and Mares and despite fast fractions of 26.1 and 55.4 in the first half had plenty left for the stretch drive. Ella V Horse turned back the late challenge from Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) before stopping the timer in 1:59.3 for the 1 1/16. Campanile (Austin Siegelman) was parked out for the duration of the race and still toughed it out to finish third. It was the second victory of the season for Ella V Horse, who was the race's co-favorite in the wagering at odds of 2-1. The win was the second on the evening for trainer Andy Sardella whose Im A Nice Girl (The Panderosa) set a lifetime mark on Friday night. Stephane Bouchard was the evening's sulky star as the veteran reinsman piloted six winners on the card. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) scored a front-running harness racing victory in Friday's $18,000 Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Andy Sardella-trained mare won the feature for distaffers last month but in just her second try in the Open dug in to prevail on Friday with Stephane Bouchard in the sulky. The eight year old mare has done her best work on the front end lately and posted first half fractions of 27 and 56.1 before pacing a 56.4 back half en route to a score in 1:53. The race's favorite Carolsideal (Billy Dobson) came charging hard late to be second while West Liberty (Jason Ryan) toughed it out following a first over journey to be third. Ella V Horse, who went over the $200,000 mark in career earnings with the victory, returned $8.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $34.60 and $216, respectively. The win was one of four on the card for Bouchard. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Ella V Horse (Royal Mattjesty) went coast to coast on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to prevail in the local harness racing feature for Fillies and Mares for the first time. Stephane Bouchard piloted the Andy Sardella-trained mare and following a third place finish in last week's $15,000 Winners Over pace for distaffers, moved the eight year old out to the early lead. After enjoying a hassle-free first half that went in 57.2, Ella V Horse stepped on the gas in the final lap and cruised to a wire-to-wire score in 1:52.3. It was the fourth victory in the last five starts for the mare who was claimed two weeks ago by owners Mike and Bill Pozefsky and Myron Eckstein, all of the scores coming while on the front end. Campanile (Austin Siegelman) was a pocket sitting second on Friday night while Super Soph (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Ella V Horse returned $9.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $25.80 and $53.50. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Credit Score (Credit Winner) cruised to victory in Thursday's featured claimer at the harness racing meeting Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The nine year old trotter dropped into the $7,500 claiming level for the first time and driver Alek Chartrand got the call to pilot the veteran for trainer Andy Sardella and owner Julie Asmussen, wife of thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen. Credit Score, the race's 6-5 betting favorite moved right out to the front and extended his lead throughout the mile before drawing off to win by more than five lengths in 1:57.3. It was the ninth victory in eighteen seasonal tries for Credit Score who was claimed out of Thursday's race. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm.                                       Mike Sardella  

Deliciouslynaughty (Mach Three) poked her nose out in time to win a close photo in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Stephane Bouchard piloted the eight year old mare for trainer Andy Sardella and worked out a second over journey for the race's 7-5 betting favorite. Fanning three wide around the final turn, Deliciouslynaughty charged hard in the final strides to photo with longshot Palm Beach (Wally Hennessey) who wound up finishing second in the $15,000 Spa Mares I Handicap. The race's front-runner Mcever (Billy Dobson) held on for third. It was the ninth victory of the year for the veteran Deliciouslynaughty who stopped the timer in 1:54.2 in Friday's feature. Live racing continues on Saturday night with the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace highlighting a program with more than a half million dollars in purses. Track record holder Dancin Yankee returns to the Spa for the first time since dazzling in 1:48.4 to win last year's Gerrity. There is a commemorative t-shirt giveaway with the purchase of the Saturday Saratoga program. First post time is set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  

Brussel Sprout (Glidemaster) continued his winning streak on Thursday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway in the evening's $8,000 featured race. The five-year-old trotter came into Thursday's tilt on a three-race win streak and recorded his fourth straight score on the front end in his first start off the claim for trainer Andy Sardella. Brussel Sprout was the public's 1-5 favorite in the betting and raced like it as he never had an anxious moment en route to the 1:58.3 victory over the 'off' track after an evening of rain in the Spa City. Leading driver Billy Dobson piloted Brussel Sprout to the score and added four wins to his already lengthy lead in the driving standings as the 30 year old reinsman in well on his way to yet another driving title. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Leg two of the SHHA Claiming Series for trotters took place on Friday night at Saratoga as horses competed for points towards next weekend's marathon final. Donttellmywife (Malabar Man) jogged for the second consecutive week in the series as Bruce Aldrich Jr.put the 1-9 favorite on the lead in the early stages of the mile and a quarter long trot. Donttellmywife cruised to a win of almost ten lengths in 2:30.2 for the longer distance. Claimed out of leg one of the series by conditioner Andy Sardella, Donttellmywife won for the eleventh time in nineteen seasonal tries. The series' favorite was claimed back on Friday night by trainer Melissa Beckwith who will send him out in next weekend's $10,000+ Final to be contested at a distance of a mile and a half. Psyched (Jay Randall) won the other division of the second leg of the series after outclosing the favorite Stormont O My (Shawn Gray) in the stretch to prevail for his new connections. Trainer Jody Weidman will bring Psyched into next weekend's series final as one of only four horses to record wins in the SHHA Claiming Series legs. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Run To Vegas continued her win streak on Tuesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the claming pacing mare again proved dominant. Coming into the evening as a winner of five consecutive races, Run To Vegas (Astreos) moved out to the early lead and did not look back before drawing away to a convincing victory in 1:56.2. Stephane Bouchard piloted the mare for owner-trainer Andy Sardella. The Run To Vegas win was one of five on the night for the veteran Bouchard who also made trips to the winner’s circle with pacers Perfect Play, Lucky Times and Allie Oakley and trotter Sandbyurman. The 46 year old Bouchard currently sits in third in the local driver standings. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05 pm first post. by Mike Sardella

Legal Litigator rode his hot harness racing streak right into the open pace on Saturday night at Saratoga.

Southwind Inferno (American Ideal) came on late to win the evening's featured harness racing event at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Wednesday June 27).

A pair of amateur driving races highlighted the Sunday (June 10) matinee harness racing program at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Monday , August 15th was an extremely difficult day in southeastern New York. The rains began slowly and picked up steadily around 1pm then moving to an all-out deluge forcing Monticello Raceway to cancel it's harness racing meeting after the fifth race was completed. However, prior to the cancellation, two of the three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes late closers for sophomore colt pacers went to post with Bettor's Reward prevailing in the first and Southwind Inferno winning the second.

A $10,000 Preferred Pace and two $12,200 New York Bred late closers highlighted the Saturday night harness racing program, closing out the first week of live harness racing at Batavia Downs Casino.

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