from harness publicists across North America
The Friday (Oct. 5) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Saratoga Casino Hotel, Harrah’s Philadelphia and Vernon Downs.
Happy Heart captures mares feature at Saratoga
Saratoga Springs, NY — Happy Heart (Woodstock) was the longest shot on the board in Friday night’s feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Melissa Beckwith trainee was making her third consecutive start in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open and was dismissed at odds of 26-1 despite having won the Open two weeks ago.
Mark Beckwith piloted Happy Heart and moved her first over on leader Sally Fletcher A (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) heading to the half. When the pocket sitter could not keep up, Happy Heart found her way into the two-hole and rode the coattails of Sally Fletcher A who paced three-quarters in 1:24.4.
While the co-favorites in the race were not making up much ground while coming from the back of the pack, Sally Fletcher A and Happy Heart wound up squaring off in the stretch and were noses apart at the wire. Happy Heart got up in time to spring the upset in a mile clocked in 1:53.1, a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old mare.
In her seventh win of the season, Happy Heart paid $54.50 to win, the biggest price of any winner in a Filly and Mare Open contested at Saratoga this year. Sally Fletcher A was second in a $219.50 exacta while co-favored Spreester completed a $420.50 triple in the six-horse feature.
Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45 p.m.
— Mike Sardella
On a special Friday night card of racing at Harrah’s Philadelphia, the Shadow Play mare Skippin By was used hard to get the early lead, but she showed in the last quarter she had ample energy in reserve, taking the $18,000 featured pace for distaffs in 1:50.1. Skippin By was hustled out of the gate by driver George Napolitano Jr., as both Monica Gallagher and Hold It Hanover also left the switch with alacrity. After Hold It Hanover backed off to a three-tuck at the eighth, Skippin By pressed her case and got the lead after working to the quarter in :27. But after middle splits of :55.3 and 1:23, Skippin By powered off from her rivals with a :27.1 kicker, winning by 2-3/4 lengths over Monica Gallagher and raising her lifetime tally to $868,409 for trainer Nick Surick and Cornerstone Stock Farm. The 8-year-old mare Regil Elektra recorded her 48th lifetime victory, sending her earnings to $1,073,923, with a victory in 1:52.1, last half :55.3, in the $14,500 distaff pace co-feature. Driver Tony Morgan moved from the pocket with the victorious daughter of Mach Three in front of the stands, getting around early leader Future Headlines easily, then dashed home from there to be a 1-1/2 length winner over that rival for trainer Keith Armer and the Fred Monteleone Estate. Regil Elektra was also the fifth in a consecutive line of horses who paid $6.00 or less — without being the favorite. Harrah’s will pick up the action again on Sunday at 2:05 p.m., with a $25,000 winners over pace for females heading a strong card. There will also be a special live offering of racing on Columbus Day Monday at 12:25 p.m., with more than $200,000 on the line for John Simpson Sr. stakes for 3-year-old colts of both gaits.
McKenzie’s Star (John MacDonald) charged late to capture the first of two $6,000 featured trot races at Vernon Downs on Friday. Hanrahan (Jeff Long) led to the first quarter in :27.3. Gimme The Cash (Claude Huckabone III) took over and led the group to the half in :57.1 and three-quarters in 1:26.2. McKenzie’s Star ($9.70) was fifth after three-quarters. Owned by Allie Howard and trained by Joe Skowyra, she made a three-wide move in the stretch to run down second place finisher Gimme The Cash to score the victory in 1:56. Hanrahan was third best. McKenzie’s Star is an 8-year-old mare by Donato Hanover. It was her fourth win of the season. She now has 32 career victories. John MacDonald had two other driving wins on the night. He got his other wins with Kissesfromheaven ($6.60) and Mean Leen ($9.70). If Not Why Not (Roman Lopez) took the other featured trot. Cash N Chrome (Claude Huckabone III) went to the front to hit the first quarter in :27.4. If Not Why Not ($8.50) took over by the top of the backstretch. Owned by Michael Polansky and trained by Margaret Spagnola, he led the way to the half in :57.4 and cruised to three-quarters in 1:27.1. Cash N Chrome looked poised to make a run at him in the stretch but If Not Why Not was too strong and won easily in a lifetime best of 1:56. Cash N Chrome settled for second money. Flamingo Pete (Jennifer Lappe) finished third. If Not Why Not is a 3-year-old colt by Muscle Mass. It was his second win this season and his seventh career victory. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (Oct. 6) with a 13-race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.