Saratoga Springs, NY — Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were featured at Saratoga Casino Hotel as part of the New York Sire Stakes on Tuesday night (Aug. 27). The track record for freshman geldings fell when the longshot in a four-horse race lit up the board in historic fashion.
Trainer Jim Campbell brought driver Greg Merton to town to pilot Hobbs (Credit Winner-Cruella De Ville) who had finished second or third four times in his seven career tries. Hobbs was winless coming into the evening and though he squared off against just three rivals, his opponents each came in with strong resumes.
After an early break by Bourbon Express, the race’s favorite in the $75,350 division for freshman high-steppers, Hobbs wound up in the pocket spot behind Barn Holden (Andy Miller) who had won three of his six starts in NYSS competition in 2019. Hobbs popped the pocket around the final turn and won the battle in the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:57. The win time serves as a new track record for a 2-year-old gelding trotter at Saratoga, a mark previously held by Clive Bigsby (Jim Morrill Jr.) who scored in 1:58 in a Sire Stakes race in the ’17 campaign.
Though Hobbs broke the record for 2-year-old gelding trotters on Tuesday, the fastest freshman of the night was Trond Smedshammer’s Chaptiama (Chapter Seven-Crediama) who cruised through a dazzling wire-to-wire effort in 1:56 to record the first win of his young career. After settling for second-best three times in his first five lifetime starts, Chaptiama wasn’t going to take no for an answer and wound up a decisive winner at odds of 2-1 for Smedshammer. Beerthirty K (Mike Simons) was the runner-up in the $76,750 division of the NYSS while the favored Berkery J (Jason Bartlett) had to settle for third.
While his 1:56 was much faster than Hobbs’ winning time, Chaptiama’s clocking didn’t serve as a track record as the fastest 2-year-old colt in Spa history is Gimpanzee who set a mark of 1:55.4 as a freshman trotting colt last season.
Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05 p.m. first post.