Thursday afternoon marked the return of racing at Saratoga Casino Hotel with a thirteen-race program on a beautiful June day in the Spa City. With only about a month of the scheduled season being contested in 2020 heading into Thursday, trainer-driver Alek Chartrand had just ten starts as a trainer and six as a driver under his belt on the year. The return card was a big one for the 35 year old Chartrand who enjoyed his best day of the “young season” as he not only recorded a pair of victories but secured both wins with horses who had drawn post position eight. The dazzling mile of the day came from a Chartrand trainee who was making just his second lifetime start. My Pal Joe (Roll With Joe) raced only once as a freshman in 2019 but came into Thursday’s event for maiden pacers off an impressive 1:56.3 romp in a qualifier contested last week. Chartrand powered My Pal Joe out from his outside post and made it to the top. The sophomore dominated his group of fellow three year olds before scoring a decisive eleven-length win in an eye-popping 1:53.4.
Chartrand’s Onspeed N (Bettor’s Delight) also drew the unfortunate task of starting from post eight on Thursday when she made her local debut. Dismissed at odds of 16-1, Onspeed N pulled off the upset in her first Spa start as she parlayed a pocket trip to a win in 1:57.1. Onspeed N, a new addition to Chartrand’s stable, paid $35.60 to win on Thursday. Trainer Jaymes McAssey and driver Jordan Derue teamed up for a pair of victories on the matinee card as well with Derue piloting three winners in total.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a thirteen-race card set to kickoff at 12 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino