Story by John Manzi
Lightning struck again at Monticello Raceway. For the second time in less than two weeks a track record not only fell but was lowered twice on the same race card.
Some of the country’s top 3-year-old pacing fillies were on hand on Tuesday afternoon, August 28 to compete in three $54,125 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. When they were completed the former track mark for their age and gait of 1:53.3, set in 2007 by Omen Hanover and driver Daniel Dube, was initially lowered to 1:52.4 by Handsoffmycookie.
Then four races later Romantic Moment eased that standard when she was victorious in 1:52.3. A third split was won by another top filly, Major Look in 1:53.3.
“It was definitely an exciting afternoon for racing fans, not only with top fillies here but with top drivers too,” noted Eric Warner the track’s director of racing. “There are seasons that go by without any new marks and then to have a track record fall twice on one day is amazing, especially when it happened in sire stakes action two weeks ago with the 2-year-old pacing fillies.”
Railbirds were treated to the expertise of driver Tim Tetrick who was on hand to drive Handsoffmycookie. And right from the get-go there was little doubt that the Art Major-Observe Me filly would prevail.
Leaving from the three hole Tetrick took Handsoffmycookie to the front and led the field by the quarter in a solid :27.3 with George Brennan and New York Kitty chasing him in the two-hole.
The leaders raced one-two by the half in :56.3 and were still in that order as they paced into the final turn.
From there it was all Handsoffmycookie who opened up daylight with every stride and finished six lengths ahead of JK Fine Art and driver Ron Pierce. New York Kitty hung on for the show dough.
Trained by Scott DiDomenico for the Jfe Enterprises, Handsoffmycookie returned a $2.40 win mutual and raised her seasonal earnings to $261,895.
Similar to what happened when the NYSS freshman fillies raced here on August 16, the initial track record didn’t last long when Brittany Farms Romantic Moment circled the double-oval in 1:52.3 for Yannick Gringas.
Sent off ten cents on a dollar, the daughter of American Ideal-Time N Again took command early and never was challenged as she slipped through fractions of :28, :56.2, and 1:24.4 before pouring on a :27.4 final stanza to record a four- length victory over Ramalama and driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. Third place went to Brownsville Bomber in rein to Jason Bartlett.
Trained by Jimmy Takter, Romantic Moment scored her sixth triumph in just nine starts and raised her seasonal bankroll to $555,573, currently fifth best in North America.
In the final $54,125 split, the Kevin McDermott-trained, Major Look and driver Jeff Gregory, started slowly and were six lengths behind at the quarter as Shelliscape (Jason Bartlett) and Bettor B Lucky (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) battled for the lead. The former gained command in :27.2 and then led the five others by the half in :56.3 at which point Gregory set sails first-up with Major Look. They gained ground slowly and at the third stanza were in third position just 1½ lengths off the leader. On the final turn, Shelliscape still had command but trouble was coming. In the lane Bettor B Lucky and Major Look charged by the leader and raced head to head with Gregory’s filly getting the nod at the wire. Shelliscape held on for third money.
Owned by Joseph Balkunas, Mark Giordano and Anthony Pancella, Major Look paid $4.10 for win. It was the filly’s seventh triumph of the season which raised her earnings to $256,242.
A trio of $12,700 splits in the Excelsior Series also for sophomore pacing fillies supplied a solid undercard. Winners included: Blows Me Away (1:55.4-Jimmy Marohn. Jr.); Canamerica (1:57-John Stark, Jr.) and Twin B My Way (1:56-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.)
Geri Schwarz photo
Tim Tetrick and Handsoffmycookie return triumphantly to the winners circle after the three-year-old filly set a new track record of 1:52.4 in a New York Sire Stakes race on August 28. Four races later, the “cookie” crumbled as Romantic Moment wired the field in 1:52.3 to set the new standard.