Saratoga Springs, NY — Sunday’s matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel consisted of a double feature. With Saturday night racing not beginning until next week, the regular Saturday feature joined Sunday’s (Feb. 24) Open Trot as highlights of the afternoon card.
The Open Pace was contested for a purse of $16,050 and a familiar winner of it prevailed on Sunday. JK Panache (Art Major) is a perennial Pacer of the Year nominee at Saratoga and on Sunday recorded his first win of the season.
The 10-year-old JK Panache, in his second start of 2019, toughed out a first-over trip to score in 1:54.2. The Dave Dewhurst trainee was piloted to the mild upset in the co-feature by Shawn Gray. JK Panache went off at odds of 6-1 as he recorded his 64th lifetime win. Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) finished second while Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot.
In the trotting half of the co-feature, the heavily favored Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) was looking to become a millionaire. The Kyle Spagnola trainee had to win in order to move his career earnings past the $1 million mark and throughout the mile, it sure appeared that it would happen.
Longshot Aberforth (Frank Coppola Jr.) had other thoughts, though, and powered past the race’s favorite in the final eighth of a mile before drawing clear to score in a career-best 1:57.2. Aberforth paid $81.00 to win in the Open upset and led an exacta with Cash Me Out that returned $164.50. The triple with Zagster (Billy Dobson) came back $561. Aberforth, who recorded his first career win in an Open on Sunday, is trained by Vern Beachy.
Live racing resumes on Wednesday at Saratoga when a $5,000 guarantee in the Pick-5 pool and a race five $25,000 triple pool guarantee highlight the wagering options on the matinee card. Those guarantees will take place on Thursday’s afternoon program as well. First post each day is 12 p.m.