McAssey, Gray double up at Saratoga; Dobson and Levine honored

Saratoga Springs, NY — Trainer Jaymes McAssey and driver Shawn Gray teamed up to score a double on closing day at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Tuesday (Nov. 24). The young conditioner and the veteran reinsman won the final feature of 2020 with Always Mindy, who made her local debut a winning one in the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open.

Always Mindy was victorious on debut at Saratoga Casino Hotel in Tuesday’s distaff pacing feature. Cheyanne Mandy photo.

In a race filled with early speed, Always Mindy sat back patiently while odds-on favorite Racine Bell (Jimmy DeVaux) — who sought her third consecutive Open win — controlled a :55.2 half. The fractions took their toll on Racine Bell, and Always Mindy surged past her in the stretch to stop the timer in 1:53.4. Racine Bell was second while Come Get The Cash (Jay Randall) finished third.

Always Mindy, a 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin, is owned by Greg Gardiner. She returned $17.80 to win.

McAssey and Gray completed their Tuesday double when another Plainridge invader — Gottalovemyshadow (Shadow Play) — scored in 1:55.3 as the 1-5 favorite in a $4,250 distaff pace. McAssey owns the 6-year-old Shadow Play mare who won for the seventh time in 23 seasonal tries.

Gray drove pacer Nagle to victory to trainer Amanda Kelley later in the card to complete a hat trick.

Before the race card began, Billy Dobson and Gary Levine were recognized as leading driver and trainer, respectively, for the 2020 campaign. Dobson earned his eighth local driving title while Levine took home the first Saratoga training title of his career.

Racing is set to resume at Saratoga in March 2021.

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