Saratoga regular Artful Way left the friendly confines of the Spa this week in lieu of a New England road trip to race the best resident pacers in Massachusetts. And as he heads back to New York, he’ll be taking with him a souvenir photo of his win in the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 6).
Riding a a two-race win streak, Thisjetsabookin (Shawn Gray) left like he owned the place to take the lead. Nestled in second for the ride was Artful Way (Jimmy Whittemore) and the rest of the field seated behind them. Thisjetsabookin paced to the half in :54.3 unfettered by his rivals until halfway up the backstretch, when Starznheaven (Greg Merton) pulled from fourth and started to advance to the front.
Starznheaven drew even with Thisjetsabookin at the three-quarters and went by him coming out of the last turn. But as soon as he did, Artful Way pulled from second and started to chase him down. Heading down the lane, the two horses paced side by side, with both drivers rocking and knocking. After battling for the last sixteenth, Artful Way finally got up on Starznheaven just before the wire and won by a head in 1:50.1. The time reflected his best work of the year.
With his tenth win of the season in the books, Artful Way ($5.40) has eclipsed the century mark in earnings, boasting a bankroll of $101,667 in 2018 for owner Kellogg Racing Stable and trainer Jackie Greene.
Whittemore did some damage in the secondary featured $12,000 conditioned pace with Tioga Downs regular Major Leaguer, who went gate-to-wire on the front end without issue to win by three in 1:51.1. Owned by his driver, Major Leaguer ($4.60) collected his fifth win of the year for trainer Dennis Whittemore.
Whittemore completed a driving hat trick with Poisonous ($10.20), who led the entire race to win by six lengths in 1:51.2, which was a new seasonal mark.
Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 7) at 4 p.m.--By Tim Bojarski/Plainridge