Trainer Brett Derue has been atop the trainer standings at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the majority of the 2023 season. On Saturday night, the meet’s leading conditioner enjoyed a big night with big wins from two of his trainees.
Derue’s Soul Assassin won his first Open Pace on Aug. 19 when he set a new lifetime mark with a 1:51.4 victory. This week, driver Mitch Cushing once again sat behind Soul Assassin as he moved first-over in a race that saw historic fractions in the early going. The race’s favourite, Pickup Man Hanover (Luke Hanners), clicked off a first quarter of :25.4, the fastest first panel in the history of Saratoga Harness. The leader continued to roll past a half in :54 before Soul Assassin made his move on the leader. Soul Assassin toughed it out overland before stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for his eighth win of the season.
Last week’s Open winner, Century Endeavor (Brett Beckwith), closed to be second while Seventh Secret (Jimmy Devaux) hit the board for the second consecutive week in the $16,050 feature when he earned the show spot on Saturday.
Soul Assassin, a four-year-old son of Malicious, was a 3-1 shot in the morning line but was dismissed at odds of 11-1 at post time. He paid $25.40 to win. The exacta and triple in the Open returned $106 and $341.50, respectively.
The win in the Open was one of two on the evening for Derue, whose Addison Hanover set a lifetime mark recording a 1:52.3 score with reinsman Billy Dobson in the bike.
Live harness racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that begins at noon.