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Mystic Player game in Saratoga upset

August 29, 2008
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Overlooked by the wagering public at odds of 14-1, Mystic Player utilized a perfect pocket trip to upset the featured $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway on Thursday, covering the mile in 1:56.

Driven from post one by Dan Cappello Jr., Mystic Player settled comfortably along the pylons in second place as odds-on favorite Whycantiforgetyou (Frank Coppola Jr.) took the field through fractions of :28.3, :58.2, and 1:26.3.

After turning back a first-over challenge from Dandy’s Jewel (Brian Allen), Whycantiforgetyou entered the stretch with a one-length lead, but had no answer for the late charge of Mystic Player, who sprinted down the passing lane to reach the front in the final yards and tally a three-quarter length triumph.

Mystical Player returned $30.80, $5.20, and $3.30 for the victory. Whycantiforgetyou paid $2.30 and $2.70 for second, while S F Hazey (Mark Beckwith) brought in $7.70 for third.

Owned by Ellen McNeil, and trained by John McNeil III, Mystic Player halted a 10-race losing streak with her Thursday victory, and has now visited the winner’s circle three times during her 2008 campaign.

Saratoga Raceway hosted five $10,800 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes Late Closer series for 3-year-old pacing fillies on Thursday, with the fastest mile of the night belonging to Gray Major, who took the opening event of the evening in 1:57 for Purple Haze Stables LLC, trainer Jessica Okusko, and driver Howard Okusko.

Additional Sire Stakes Late Closer series winners on the program included Lesley’s Jlo Belle (1:58), Penny Pincher (1:57.4), Natural Spring (1:57.2), and Dream Delight (1:58). (Saratoga)
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