Always Watching, the clear-cut favourite for the Filly & Mare Pacer of the Year Award at Saratoga Casino Hotel, returned to her winning ways on Monday afternoon (Nov. 20).
Jordan Derue owns, trains and drives the five-year-old distaffer, who is in the midst of her second consecutive six-figure campaign at the Spa. The star mare won the Open four consecutive times before a rare try in which she did not factor heading into a Monday start in the $15,000 Fillies & Mares Open in which she drew post six.
Derue wasted little time moving his talented mare out to the front-end, powering her out to the lead at the start. Surging to the top in a 27-second first quarter, Always Watching had her way on the engine cruising through a half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4.
As the 9-5 second choice in the wagering had her way on the front, rival Way Too Sweet (Jimmy Devaux) tracked her every move from the pocket. Fresh off her career-best win, which came in 1:54.1, Way Too Sweet played 'follow the leader' and took her shot at the top one in the stretch.
The chase proved to be futile as Always Watching was strong in the stretch en route to her ninth victory of the season and eighth in the local ladies’ Open. Way Too Sweet finished a strong second to complete a $26 exacta while longshot Won Surreal Deal (Brett Crawford) rounded out a $244.50 triple.
Always Watching, the dominant force among lady pacers at the Spa this season, now owns 25 wins in 80 lifetime starts.
Live harness racing continues at Saratoga on Tuesday afternoon with a matinee set to begin at noon.
(Saratoga Casino Hotel)