Saratoga Springs. NY — Trainer-driver John Stark Jr. went on a bit of a tear at Saratoga Casino Hotel previous to the short hiatus the track took during the week of Labor Day. The veteran horseman had a strong week or two at the Spa before his C And T’s Credit (Credit Winner) won the $50,000 Excelsior final contested at Tioga Downs last Friday (Sept. 11).
On Monday afternoon (Sept. 14) at the Spa, Stark recorded another training double as his trotter-led stable saw one horse go over the $100,000 mark in career earnings and another break his maiden.
JNR Express (Conway Hall) set a lifetime mark on Sept. 2 when he and Stark went coast-to-coast for their third victory together on the season. On Monday, the 4-year-old stepped up in class off his career-best 1:56.1 victory and again made his way to the winner’s circle.
Stark asked the 3-5 betting favorite for early speed and JNR Express captured a pretty easy lead. He was hounded by rival Mugshots Bro (Jay Randall) throughout almost the entire second half of the mile before drawing clear to win in 1:58.3. Navarone Hanover (Jimmy Devaux) sat the pocket to the winner on Monday and wound up as the runner-up while Mugshots Bro earned the show spot.
With the earnings from his victory in the $4,800 conditioned race, JNR Express boosted his lifetime bankroll over the $100,000 mark for owners James DeArmond and Russell Young.
Earlier in the day, Stark guided his Magnetar (Muscle Hill) to an upset score as the 5-year-old late-blooming trotter broke his maiden in 1:59 at odds of 9-1. Magnetar is owned by Irony Alliance LLC.
Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that kicks off at Noon.