Sardella’s Column

Emotional Conclusion to Derue Series


Saratoga Casino and Raceway hosted a pair of series’ this fall to honor the memory of two horsemen who have passed away in recent years. The Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series wrapped up on Saturday one night after the start of the Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series. As discussed in this column a couple of weeks ago, the second annual Jim Derue Memorial featured young trotters who squared off for two straight Friday nights earning shares of the $7,500 per division purse and points towards Saturday’s Final. The legs of the series were very competitive which was evidenced by the fact that no horse won two both legs. Very rare in series’ such as this one, there were six divisions of the Derue Trot heading into the final and all six races had different winners. The six victors were joined in the $30,400 Final by Scottish Blue, who was a runner up in both legs of the series and Spaced Out, who had a second and a third place finish in the qualifying legs. With no repeat winners coming into Saturday night, the Final was a wide open and very good betting race. 
             The morning line favorite on Saturday was Teach Me To Bucky. Coming out of the Heidi Rohr barn, Teach Me To Bucky is in the midst of a strong freshman campaign in which he had scored five victories in nine starts heading into Saturday’s Final. One of the wins came in the second leg of the series in which the three year old trotter set a lifetime mark while outclosing his rivals in 1:57.4. The win came one week after being a non-factor at even money in leg one. Bruce Aldrich Jr. piloted Teach Me To Bucky, who wound up being the public’s choice in the wagering, as he started from post four on Saturday night.
             Golden Stroke was the closest thing to a repeat winner that the series saw. His pocket sitting score in leg one came in 1:57.3 and was the fastest of any of the series races before Saturday night. The leg one score for Golden Stroke was his third straight since adding trotting hopples and the young highstepper came up just shy of completing a grand slam when he lost a photo to Keystone Wallace in the series’ second leg. Stephane Bouchard sat behind Golden Stroke in the final. The afore mentioned Keystone Wallace drew the rail for the $30,400 Series conclusion after ending up second best in the first leg before pulling off the mild upset against Golden Stroke. Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey sat behind Keystone Wallace, a horse that he himself owned right up until selling him before the start of the Derue Trot. 
             Scottish Blue may have been the hardest luck horse in the qualifying legs of the series as he was the runner up both times after getting extremely difficult trips in both. Much like Keystone Wallace, Scottish Blue was sold right before the series started and wound up getting yet another tough journey ahead as he drew post eight in the final. These four trotters were joined by Spaced Out, Jackie Goldstein, Montana Skies and The Lindy Treaty to compete in what was, for most of them, the biggest race in their young careers.
             Golden Stroke made a break while leaving at the start of Saturday’s Final and Keystone Wallace wound up moving out to the early lead. Aldrich made his move with Teach Me To Bucky approaching the half mile pole and the favorite surged past Keystone Wallace before opening up what looked to be a comfortable lead past three quarters. Longshot Montana Skies, the race’s lone lady, took dead aim on Teach Me To Bucky turning for home but the plot was thickening as The Lindy Treaty came closing quickly in the passing lane. The development here is that The Lindy Treaty’s driver was none other than Jordan Derue, the son of Jim Derue for whom the series was named. Most horses from the Beckwith stable are piloted by Mark Beckwith but on this night, Jordan Derue got the call. The Lindy Treaty surged up the rail and got by Teach Me To Bucky in the final strides to secure the incredible victory. An emotional Derue returned to the winner’s circle for the presentation made in honor of his father Jim who passed away in 2012 after a long and valiant battle with cancer. The win was one of three on the night for conditioner Melissa Beckwith as The Lindy Treaty wrapped up an extremely competitive series with a very emotional victory which came in a career best 1:56.4 for the three year old trotter. Teach Me To Bucky was the runner up, Montana Skies earned the show spot while Scottish Blue rounded out the superfecta with a fourth place finish. The Lindy Treaty joins last year’s champ Jelectric as winners of the Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series. The $12,500 Consolation race as part of the series was won by Morning Joe and Stephane Bouchard who scored by five lengths at odds of 2-5. 
             Friday night marked the kickoff of the Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series. Kamal was a longtime horseman who competed for a large part of his career here at Saratoga. With similar qualifications that the trotters had to compete in the Derue Trot, the Kamal Series featured young pacers who were battling for purses of $7,500 per division and points towards the $28,800 Final set to be contested on Saturday November 1st.  In the three divisions, there was a pair of upsets in the first leg of the Kamal series as Jokes Jet scored at 11-1 in 1:55.3, the fastest time of the first leg. Leading driver Billy Dobson secured victories in the other divisions with longshot Villiam Tell and the favored Rock N Joe. Leg two of the series will take place on Friday night with the final and $12,500 Consolation being contested in two weeks.  
             Live racing takes place every Thursday through Saturday night starting at 6:45pm and on Sunday afternoons beginning at 12:15pm. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!  

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