Zabielski and Long team up for pair of winners at Saratoga Casino Hotel

Saratoga Springs, NY — Trainer Lisa Zabielski and driver Chris Long teamed up for a pair of winners on the Saturday (March 11) card at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

Zabielski and Long won their first Open of the year when Optical Illusion N (He’s Watching) prevailed in the $16,000 feature.

Optical Illusion N prevailed in 1:52.1. Jessica Hallett photo.

Long retook the lead heading to the opening quarter with the race’s 4-5 betting favorite and set a fast tempo with the Zabielski trainee who rattled off fractions of :27 and :56 in lap one.

Optical Illusion N was tasked with fending off a strong first-over bid from Belmont Major N (Jimmy Devaux), a task in which he succeeded, holding off that rival to prevail in 1:52.1. Belmont Major N went a long way overland to finish second while Rocknroll Runa A (Matt Athearn) earned the show spot.

A nominee for Pacer of the Year in 2022 at the Spa, Optical Illusion N’s victory was his first in the Open this season. He led an exacta and triple that paid $39.80 and $215, respectively. The 7-year-old New Zealand invader, who won 12 times in ’22, is owned by Kim Zabielski and his trainer Lisa Zabielski.

Long and Zabielski teamed up later in the card for a victory with Mount Royal who scored in leg one of the Step Up To The Plate claiming series for pacers.

Long piloted three winners on the Saturday card.

Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.

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