JNR Express & John Stark Jr.

Trainer-driver John Stark Jr. went on a bit of a tear at Saratoga Casino Hotel previous to the short hiatus the track took during the week of Labor Day. The veteran horseman had a strong week or two at the Spa before his C And T’s Credit (Credit Winner) won the $50,000 Excelsior Final contested at Tioga Downs last Friday (Sept 11). On Monday afternoon at the Spa, Stark recorded another training double as his trotter-led stable saw one horse go over the $100,000 mark in career earnings and another break his maiden. JNR Express (Conway Hall) set a lifetime mark on September 2nd when he and John Stark Jr. went coast-to-coast for their third victory together on the season. On Monday, the four year old stepped up in class off his career-best 1:56.1 victory and again made his way to the winner’s circle. Stark asked the 3-5 betting favorite for early speed and JNR Express captured a pretty easy lead. He was hounded by rival Mugshots Bro (Jay Randall) throughout almost the entire second half of the mile before drawing clear to win in 1:58.3. Navarone Hanover (Jimmy Devaux) sat the pocket to the winner on Monday and wound up as the runner-up while Mugshots Bro earned the show spot. With the earnings from his victory in the $4,800 conditioned race, JNR Express boosted his lifetime bankroll to over the $100,000 mark for owners James DeArmond and Russell Young of New York. Earlier in the day, Stark guided his Magnetar (Muscle Hill) to an upset score as the five year old late-blooming trotter broke his maiden in 1:59 at odds of 9-1. Magnetar is owned by the Irony Alliance LLC of Gansevoort, NY.

Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee that kicks off at 12 Noon.

Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino

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