Bontz N & Shawn Gray

Bontz N & Shawn Gray

Her most recent trips to the winner’s circle were separated by more than three months but on Thursday afternoon Bontz N (American Ideal) recorded her third consecutive victory in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. A nominee for Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year in 2019 in her first season at the Spa, Bontz N has enjoyed a strong start to her ’20 campaign winning on Thursday for the third time in just four tries on the season. Shawn Gray, who pilots the nine year old mare for owner April Aldrich of Greenfield Center, NY and trainer Gary Levine, was aggressive at the start of the $8,500 feature powering the star mare out to the early lead while overcoming their assigned outside post in the seven-horse Open. Cruising through a first quarter of 27.2, Bontz N paid a stiff price to the get to top but soon got a breather that saw her reach the half in 57 seconds. Longshot Pasultimatedelite N (Jordan Derue) came first-over on Bontz N and took over the lead past three-quarters in 1:25.1. While the upset minded Pasultimatedelite N got by Bontz N, she never got clear and those two turned for home together while joined by other closing rivals. Bontz N rallied before stopping the timer in 1:54.2 to secure her third consecutive win in the Open, a streak that started back in March. Another 2019 nominee for top distaffer at the Spa, Spreester (Phil Fluet) came charging hard in the stretch to finish second while Pasultimatedelite N earned the show spot. Despite coming in on a winning streak, Bontz N paid $11.80 to win and with the race’s two biggest longshots finishing second and third, the exotics paid very well. The exacta in the feature returned $162.50 while the triple came back $559.

Live racing resumes on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12 Noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

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