Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots champion Artful Way prevailed in his first try in the local feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night.
The Jackie Rousse-trained three-year-old won the Open Pace while competing in it for the first time since coming to town in October.
After moving aggressively to the early lead in :26.3, Artful Way kept rolling along on the front end, clicking off middle half fractions of :55 and 1:23.1 en route to victory in 1:51.4. Invader Dynamic Youth (Billy Dobson) was the race’s favourite and moved first over on Artful Way, but didn’t make much of an impact before fading late to a fourth-place finish. Longshot Duel In The Sun (Cambest) came charging hard in the stretch to be the runner-up in the final $18,000 Open Pace for 2015 while Theseyesrcrying (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) came on for third.
Artful Way, who was driven to victory by Frank Coppola Jr., was dismissed at odds of 10-1 while second-place finisher Duel In The Sun went off at odds of 31-1. The exacta with the longshots returned $387.50 while the triple came back $2,016.
The Artistic Fella gelding is owned by Kellogg Racing Stables and Janie Martin.
Saturday night served as closing night for the ’15 racing season with live racing set to resume in March of 2016.
(Standardbred Canada with files from Saratoga Raceway)