New York Sire Stakes invaded Yonkers Raceway Thursday night, with the $335,804 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies.
Centralia Hanover (Yannick Gingras) served up a 22-1 upset in the opening ($111,268) event. Leaving from post position No. 6, she wound up pocketed to just-over-ever-money Brownsville Bomber (Jim Morrill Jr.), who retook soon after a :27.2 quarter-mile.
A 57-second half and a prompted (by Zellweger Hanover [George Brennan]) 1:25 three-quarters left "Brownsville" with a length-and-a-quarter lead turning for home. However, that one could not stave off the winner, who ducked inside and edged away by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:53.3. The bottom of the ticket went to Vanity Fairest (Pat Lachance).
For "Centralia," a daughter of Art Major trained by Mark Harder for co-owners W Springtime Racing and Rick Phillips, she returned $46 (fifth choice among the half-dozen) for her first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $79, with the triple returning $560.
The second ($111,268) grouping saw Gingras sweep the $73 early sire stakes double with prohibitive fave Romantic Moment in 1:52.4.
In play early from post position No. 5, Romantic Moment worked around JK Fine Art (Morrill Jr.), then easily held sway through intervals of :28.1, :57.3, 1:25.4 and 1:52.4. She defeated JK Fine Art by 2 3/4 lengths, with New York Kitty (Brennan) third.
For Romantic Moment, an American Ideal lass owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Hall-of-Famer-in-a-few-days Jimmy Takter, she returned $2.20 for her third win in five '12 tries. The exacta paid $4.90, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $10.20.
"She's for real," Gingras said of Romantic Moment. "Last start (second to American Jewel in the final of Mohawk's Fan Hanover) was the first time I drove her, and she was grabby, but raced very well. Tonight, she was very relaxed, and no problem."
Defending statebred champ Handsoffmycookie (Tim Tetrick, $2.60), back here for the first time since handily winning the $176,484 Lismore earlier this month, made short work of the third and final ($113,268) division.
Leaving from post No. 2, she yielded to Eightunrdolarbill (Brennan) before grabbing the right at the :28.1 opening quarter. From there, a 57-secod half, 1:26 three-quarters and 1:53.2 finale. Eightunrdolarbill chased to the wire, beaten a measured half-length, with Ramalama (Eric Goodell) third and Ryder Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett) fourth
"For "Cookie," a daughter of Art Major owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $4.10, the triple returned $15.60 and the superfecta paid $57.50. She has now won 11 of her 16 career starts (5-for-5 here) with earnings just shy of $740,000.
"She loves this track,” DiDomenico said. "I've never been around a horse like her with a determination to win. She's eligible to the Mistletoe Shalee, but I'm going to speak with the owners and we may just keep her in sire stakes.” (Yonkers)