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Carolina Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) won last week's Open Pace in career best fashion at Saratoga Casino Hotel and was subsequently assigned the outside post in Saturday's most recent installment of the $14,500 feature. On Saturday night, Wally Hennessey picked up the catch drive behind Carolina Beach whose primary game is early speed. Hennessey had thoughts of leaving but with too much speed inside of him, backed off with the four year old and settled in fifth in the six-horse Open. Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) made the early lead but was confronted almost immediately by parked out rival O'sundland (Larry Stalbaum) who finally made it to top in a sizzling half paced in 54.3. Panocchio didn't sit for long and was quickly back out to confront the weary O'sundland who started to fade past three-quarters in 1:22.3. All the while, the race's odds-on favorite Carolina Beach was patiently waiting to pounce. Hennessey pulled up the backstretch and Carolina Beach swooped the group before drawing away to win in 1:51.3 for his third Open Pace victory of the year and second in as many weeks. Panocchio was the runner-up on Saturday while longshot Babinga Wood (Jimmy Devaux) came on to be third. For Carolina Beach, who is trained by Melissa Beckwith, paid $3.00 as the race's big favorite and led an exacta and triple that came back $9.90 and $62, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15pm start to the matinee. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Driver Billy Dobson reached the 4,000 win plateau on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. At just the age of 34, Dobson has piled up victories at an incredible rate since coming to Saratoga about a decade ago. The Michigan native quickly became one of New York's top catch-drivers when he moved east and found a home at Saratoga. Dobson won his first local driving title in 2010 and went on to be the top driver at the Spa for five consecutive seasons. Though 2014 was the last time he was the track's leading reinsman, Dobson has continued to finish in the top three every year since. Here in '18, Dobson is not only back atop the driver standings at Saratoga but has been dominant throughout the first four months of the season. Dobson, who is currently driving to the highest percentage of any year in his career to date, piloted young pacer Short Term to his third consecutive victory in the Friday opener to move his career total to 3,999. Dobson sat behind the Jim Nickerson-trained Osprey Blue Chip in the evening's tenth race and the track's leading driver made history. Osprey Blue Chip cruised to an open length score in 1:54.4 for Dobson who made his 4,000th career trek back to a winner's circle. At just 34, Dobson achieves the 4,000 win milestone at such a young age that there is no telling how high that win total will go over the course of the remainder of what has already been an illustrious career. Congratulations to Billy Dobson on his historic achievement. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

SARATOGA, NY - He doesn't drive often but "Jungle Jim" Hathaway visited the winner circle in his first seasonal drive when the Ballston Spa resident bided his time with EJ's Last Dance with his sites set on catching Tough Get Going before the race was completed. And they did. At the wire they were a two lengths to the good in a 1:58.4 clocking at Saratoga Harness on Friday, (June 15) in the $6000 CKG Billings trot. For Hathaway it was his first driving victory since 2015. Eight trotters lined-up behind the mobile gate and when the wings folded four horses went for the lead but it was Tough Get Going ("Smokin' Joe" Faraldo) who was the strong horse and had command in the stiff :28 first quarter. "Smokin' Joe kept the pedal to the metal and they were three lengths in front at the half as the timer flashed :57.2.At this point the eventual winner, who started from the pole position, was third along the pylons and looking to move up. As Tough Get Going passed the third stanza the lead had opened to five lengths. But as he rounded the final turn his strides shortened and "Jungle Jim" hurried EJ's Last Dance alongside the leader and when they headed down the short stretch Jim Hathaway had victory in site as his trotter gained command and went on to a two length triumph. 18-1 longshot,Tough Get Going, held on for second while Justice Jet, second choice in the wagering, rallied from far back to finish a close third for "Bullet Bob" Davis. Aventure ("Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli) went off as the favorite but he flattened-out and finished fourth. EJ's Last Dance, a 6-year-old Conway Hall mare,is owned by Scheigert Racing Stable and trained by Amanda Kelley. Sent away at odds of over 8-1 the trotter paid $18.40. Next Billings action will be at Scioto Downs on Tuesday, June 19. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Amazing Sevens (Chapter Seven) outclosed his rivals to prevail in Thursday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Spagnola-trained four year old was only lightly raced last year after having a strong freshman campaign in 2016. This season, Amazing Sevens has displayed his early-career form and on Thursday was the public's even money favorite in the $9,000 feature for New York sired trotters. Frank Coppola Jr. sat behind Amazing Sevens as they sat patiently off the pace before picking up cover heading to the half. Amazing Sevens fanned off his cover around the final turn and powered past his competition to prevail by almost four lengths in a mile clocked in 1:59.3. It was the third win in eight seasonal tries for Amazing Sevens. Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Last season, Twisted Pretzel was named Trotter of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel after winning thirteen times at the Spa with six of his victories coming in the Open Trot. Although 2018 hasn't been as strong as '17 was thus far for Twisted Pretzel, the veteran trotter did come into Sunday's feature as a three-time winner this season with one victory in the $14,500 Open. On Sunday, Twisted Pretzel (Crazed) drew the rail and went off at odds of 7-2 with Mark Beckwith in the sulky. The eight year old Spa regular took advantage of the inside post in the feature and cruised out to the early lead. After setting fractions in the first lap of 27.3 and 57.1, Twisted Pretzel didn't face his first test until three quarters when longshot Mugshots Bro (Frank Coppola Jr) rolled up first-over to challenge for the lead. Those two battled throughout the final quarter before Twisted Pretzel drew off late to win in 1:55.2, a seasonal best win time for the track's defending top trotter. Mugshots Bro, who won his first career Open two weeks ago, was the runner-up on Sunday while the favored Tropical Storm Bi (Phil Fluet) earned the show spot. Twisted Pretzel paid $9.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $68 and $179.50, respectively, in the six-horse Open. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Back in March, the Melissa Beckwith-trained Carolina Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) won his debut in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The gelding was only lightly raced in 2017 but has put together a strong four year old campaign here in '18. On Saturday night, Carolina Beach went off at odds of 7-2 while starting from post three in just his third try while competing in the $14,500 Open. After working hard in a 26.4 first quarter, Mark Beckwith gave Carolina Beach a bit of a second quarter breather before reaching the half in 55.4. From there, Carolina Beach drew away from his rivals to win by five and a half lengths in 1:51.2, a new lifetime mark in just the 31ststart of his career. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) was the race's favorite and had to settle for a second-place finish while longshot Manny (Phil Fluet) earned the show spot. Carolina Beach, who went four-for-eight in the win column in '17, has now recorded eight victories in his sixteen seasonal starts in 2018. Carolina Beach paid $9.00 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $24.20 and $141.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. By Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Tempus Seelster (Big Jim) owned three wins in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel when she drew the rail in Friday night's feature. Billy Dobson is the regular driver for the five year old Jim Nickerson-trained mare who was again tasked with defeating the weekly Open favorite Spreester. Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) got away last in the six-horse feature while Tempus Seelster cut the mile. After first half fractions of 27.2 and 56.1, Tempus Seelster dug in when approached by a first over Glenferrie Bronte N (Bruce Aldrich Jr). All the while Spreester was second-over, following her live cover into a striking spot. Tempus Seelster was confronted by both mares turning for home but would not be denied, stopping the timer in 1:52.4 for a new seasonal mark. Spreester wound up as the runner-up in the $14,500 Open while a beaten favorite for the fifth consecutive week. Glenferrie Bronte N earned the show spot. Tempus Seelster paid $5.30 as the betting public's 8-5 second choice. The exacta and triple came back $14.60 and $58.50, respectively. Dobson piloted four winners on the card, two of which for Nickerson. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Out of town conditioner George Ducharme often brings some of his young horses to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete, most times early in the year before the start of Sire Stakes season. On Thursday afternoon, Ducharme brought his The Veteran (Muscle Mass) to town to compete in the $9,000 feature for New York sired trotters. The Veteran finished third in last year's New York Sire Stakes Final on the Night on Champions in October and prevailed in his most recent start heading into Thursday's tilt as he set a lifetime mark winning in 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs in the Empire Breeders Classic Consolation. Frank Coppola Jr. catch-drove the three year old trotter on Thursday and sat back patiently with the public's 1-9 betting favorite before making a late move around the final turn. The Veteran made it look easy and cruised to victory in 1:57.2 to move his trainer's record to four wins and a second in just six local starts at the Spa in 2018. The Veteran is poised to make another run at the New York Sire Stakes and will begin that campaign in the coming weeks. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday evening with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

It was a monster afternoon for trainer Jose Godinez and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. on Sunday at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Godinez had five trotters in to go on the thirteen race matinee card and had the services of Aldrich for all of them. That top-flight tandem teamed up for four wins on Sunday led by the Godinez stable's top trotter Crazycat. Crazycat (Crazed), who is co-owned by Godinez and Aldrich, is a two-time Open Trot winner this season at Saratoga but after running into a bit of a cold spell, dropped in company on Sunday to compete in a $9,500 conditional trot. Crazycat was the public's even money betting favorite as he toughed-out a first-over victory in 1:55.2. The five year old trotter's win completed a grand slam for his connections as Godinez and Aldrich teamed up for victories with veteran On The Podium and with four year olds Mr Powers and CR Blazin Beauty, the latter who won for the third consecutive week at the Spa. With the big day on Sunday, led by his barn's top highstepper, Godinez moves into second in the local trainer standings. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Defending harness racing Horse of the Year Artful Way (Artistic Fella) made his return to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night to compete in the $14,500 Open Pace. The Jackie Greene trainee owned three local Open victories in 2018 before going out of town to compete for the last two months. On Saturday night, Artful Way was assigned the outside post position in the Open in his return to town but that became post five after a scratch. Frank Coppola Jr. powered the six year old star out to the early lead and despite going a first quarter in a sizzling 26.2 and a half in 55 seconds, Artful Way paced away from this rivals to win in an eye-popping 1:50.2. The win time was the fastest for any horse at Saratoga this year. Texas Terror N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) sat the pocket to Artful Way on Saturday and wound up as the Open's runner-up while invader Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. Artful Way was the betting public's 3-5 favorite in what was not only his fourth victory in the local Open this season but his eighth 2018 score overall. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

One of a few Yonkers invaders to compete in the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Barynya A (Blissfull Hall) went coast to coast in her local debut with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. Barynya A came to the Spa as a winner of three of her last four starts but faced a strong group of distaffers in the Fillies and Mares Open on Friday night. Devaux blasted the Ettore Annunziata-trained eight year old out early and after making the lead in a first quarter in 27 seconds, never looked back. The race's top two betting favorites, Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) and Diamondtoothgertie (Phil Fluet), moved in tandem towards the leader in the $14,500 feature but neither could get to the Australian invader who has found a home at Yonkers. Barynya A paced her final quarter in 27.4 and stopped the timer in 1:52.1 in a mile that was the fastest for a mare this year at Saratoga. Spreester finished second in the feature and is still yet to be worse than third in her nine starts since returning to the Spa this spring while Diamondtoothgertie had to settle for third on Friday night. In the mild upset, Barynya A paid $11.00 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $40 and $80, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. 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

There were three divisions of the $59,000+ New York Sire Stakes for three year old filly pacers contested on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The award winner as the top two year old pacing filly in the country made the first start of her sophomore campaign on Sunday in a $59,100 division of the NYSS. Youaremycandygirl (American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane-Somebeachsomewhere) won all the big races she competed in in 2017 and following three qualifiers, made her seasonal debut on Sunday at Saratoga. Matt Kakaley piloted the Ron Burke trainee who wound up going off as the public's 2-5 betting favorite. Her task was a difficult one as Youaremycandygirl squared off against last year's NYSS champion Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie-Cam's Card Shark) who drew the rail for Sunday's seasonal stakes debut. Youaremycandygirl appeared poised for an historic effort when she opened up a lead of a dozen lengths in a first half in an eye-popping 53.3! After checking in at three quarters in 1:22.2, her strides were noticeably shortening and the superstar filly faded sharply around the final turn. It was the Ed Hart-trained longshot Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom-Artsplace) who charged hard in the stretch and stopped the timer in 1:52.2 for the upset victory with Bruce Aldrich Jr in the sulky. Alexis Faith, who made a brief break early in the mile, recovered to finish second. Youaremycandygirl plummeted back late and wound up finishing last in her first try of 2018. Ubettergo Go (Art Major-Ubetterthink Think-Bettor's Delight) was an ultra-impressive winner on Sunday as Mark Macdonald piloted the Blake Macintosh trainee to a wire-to-wire score in a fast 1:52.3. Fellow Canadian invader Pueblo Blue Chip (American Ideal-Casino Miss-Cam's Card Shark) scored in her $60,200 division on Sunday behind a front-running effort in 1:54.3 with Jim Morrill Jr. in the sulky. Live racing continues on Monday afternoon as a matinee card is scheduled for the Memorial Day holiday. First time is set for 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Beat The Drum (Tell All) was tasked with overcoming the outside post in Saturday night's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Don Billings trainee was claimed for $50,000 at Yonkers last month and has fared pretty well downstate since the claim before coming to town for the first time to compete in Saturday's $14,500 Open Pace. Jimmy Devaux piloted Beat The Drum, who was relegated to last in the early going. The seven year old sat back patiently as the fractions in the first half went in 27 and 56.1. Carolina Beach (Mark Beckwith) was on the engine while seeking his second Open win of the season but after checking in at three quarters in 1:24, faced a host of challengers. bRocky (Billy Dobson) raced first-over and finished second while Carolina Beach held on for third. Beat The Drum returned $12.80 to win in the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that paid $68 and $451, respectively. The feature score was one of three wins on the card for Don Billings and Jimmy Devaux who also teamed up with victories with claiming pacers Curator and Up Front Napoleon. Devaux piloted four winners on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon when the New York Sire Stakes kick off at the Spa with three year old pacing fillies taking center stage. First post time for the matinee is set for 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Lovineveryminute (Western Paradise) took her second crack of the season at the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night. The Rene Allard trainee tried going wire-to-wire in her first start in the $14,500 feature for distaffers earlier in the month but faded late in the mile to a sixth-place defeat. On Friday night, Lovineveryminute blasted off the car early and yielded to the race's favorite Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr). The track's most dominant lady pacer of 2018, Spreester had gone five for seven in the local Open coming into Friday night's try and was thus the 3-5 betting favorite in the race. After cruising through a first half of a quick 56.1, Spreester got tested by a first-over Diamondtoothgertie (Phil Fluet). Those two squared off for better than a quarter of a mile and all the while Lovineveryminute was waiting patiently for the open stretch. Driver Jordan Derue guided Lovineveryminute into the passing lane and the seven year old surged past her rivals to win in 1:52.3, the fastest clocking for any pacing mare thus far this year at Saratoga. Diamondtoothgertie finished second while Spreester had to settle for third. Lovineveryminute returned $7.70 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $24.60 and $59, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Trainer Paul Kelley unveiled a trio of young filly trotters on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The top flight conditioner focuses mainly on young horses and thus hadn't had any of his trainees compete at the Spa thus far this season before Thursday's matinee card. Kelley's Byway (Muscle Mass) got his day started win a victory when the three year old filly went coast to coast in 1:59.3 to break her maiden with Billy Dobson in the sulky. The meet's leading driver also piloted Kelley's Fast Love (Chapter Seven) to a wire-to-wire win when she cruised to a 1:59.4 score to break her maiden. Kelley looked for the Thursday hat trick when his The Russian Spy (Credit Winner) competed in a $7,500 non-winners of two race lifetime or $25,000 lifetime trot. The Kelley stable moved to three-for-three on the day when The Russian Spy jogged by open lengths in 1:57.3. Kelley has his group of young trotters prepped and ready for New York Sire Stakes season which has just gotten underway. The first NY Sire Stakes to be contested at Saratoga will be on Sunday afternoon (May 27th) when three year old pacing fillies are featured on the fifteen-race program. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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