by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Casino Hotel
Saratoga Springs, NY — There were five divisions of the first leg of the Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series contested on Monday’s (Oct. 8) matinee card at Saratoga Casino Hotel.
Each division went for a purse of $10,000 and was comprised of trotters 5-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 3-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 leg 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 (Oct. 21).
Live racing resumes on Friday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45 p.m. first post.