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Twisted Pretzel Trots Top Open Victory

Published: July 9, 2017 9:16 pm ET

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Twisted Pretzel has been the most consistent trotter all year at Saratoga Casino Hotel and on Sunday (July 9), the Scott Mongeon trainee won for the eighth time in 2017.

Starting from the outside post in the $14,500 Open Trot, Twisted Pretzel flashed some early speed and wound up situated in fourth in the early going. Jimmy Devaux moved the rising trotting star first-over approaching the half and after he took over, Twisted Pretzel took off. Met with the late challenge of the favoured Tirade Hanover (Bruce Aldrich Jr.), Twisted Pretzel held firm and scored in 1:55.1.

The final time served as a new lifetime mark for the seven-year-old son of Crazed and also matched the fastest time for any trotter this year at Saratoga.

Tirade Hanover was a strong second in his local debut while Boli (Wally Hennessey) kept his “on the board” streak alive by finishing third.

Twisted Pretzel was dismissed at odds of 9-1 and returned $21.20 to win. The exacta and triple came back $59.50 and $185, respectively.

Twisted Pretzel is owned by Steven and Laura Stewart of Petersburgh, New York.

Harness racing’s greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Saratoga for a trotting contest on Sunday and, when it was over, newcomer Evan “Hoagy” Hoagland emerged victorious with Tapit in a 1:58.2 clocking.

Earlier this year, “Hoagy” was driving in qualifying races in order to earn the right to compete in pari-mutuel races. After showing his abilities, the judges granted him a provisional license.

With 14 previous pari-mutuel drives where he garnered four seconds and three thirds, the 15th drive was a charm for the 21-year-old when his first pari-mutuel win came in the Billings trot at his home track in upstate New York.

Sent off as second choice from the four-hole in the eight-horse contest, Hoagland found room along the pylons in third position before the field trotted by the first panel in a swift :27.4. As the field headed to the halfway point in :57.3, Hoagland moved Tapit first-up and progressed toward the lead, which they finally gained as the three-quarter timer flashed l:27.2. When the field headed for paydirt, Tapit was well in charge and coasted home an easy four-length winner.

Despite road trouble, “Bay State Bob” Kenney and Top Of Page came from fifth at the three-quarters and negotiated their way clear to rally for second money. Third-place went to the betting favourite, The Franchise, driven by Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff.

In winning the Billings trot, Tapit paid $8. She scored a seasonal-best clocking and increased her lifetime earnings to over $102,000. The six-year-old Justice Hall mare is owned by Hoagland Racing LLC and trained by Kyle Spagnola

Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15 p.m. first post.

(With files from Saratoga Casino Hotel & Billings Series)

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