Three-Year-Old Filly Pace
The Co-Leaders: Romantic Moment, a filly by American Ideal, out of Time N Again, by Jate Lobell, owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter; and Handsoffmycookie, a daughter of Art Major, out of Observe Me, by Cambest, owned by JFE Enterprise and trained by Scott Di Domenico.
Given that Romantic Moment and Handsoffmycookie won separate $119,859 New York Sire Stakes divisions at the same prohibitive odds of 1-20 at Saratoga Harness on Sunday, it’s fitting that they finished tied for the top spot in the New York Sire Stakes point standings heading into the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Final on the Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway Sept. 22.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Takter said Monday. “We’re going to have to change drivers, which you don’t want to do. Yannick (Gingras) had a commitment that night, so Brian Sears will drive.”
At Saratoga on Sunday, Gingras drove Romantic Moment to a 1-¼ length victory over Ramalama in 1:52.1.
Despite her outstanding record -- seven wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts this year -- Romantic Moment has been racing in the shadow of her stablemate in Takter’s barn, the world champion American Jewel, who continues to race in open stakes rather than the New York Sire Stakes. “Without a doubt, American Jewel is a better horse in my opinion, but this filly (Romantic Moment) is getting better and better,” Takter said. “She hasn’t done much wrong this year. I’m very excited about the rest of her year.”
Di Domenico hasn’t stopped being excited about Handsoffmycookie since last year when she posted nine victories and three seconds in 12 starts, capturing the New York Sire Stakes Final to earn the New York Sire Stakes Championship for 2-year-old filly pacers.
She improved her record this year to five victories and two seconds in nine starts by winning the second division at Saratoga by a head over Bettor B Lucky, in 1:53.1, with Tim Tetrick driving.
“She was good last year, but she’s negotiating the turns a little better this year,” Di Domenico said Monday. “She’s a little handier this year. She’s just a really good horse. No matter what she has to overcome, she gets the job done. She amazes me. I wouldn’t trade her for anybody.”
Three starts back, Handsoffmycookie finished fourth by 2-¼ lengths at 47-1, to Romantic Moment, who won the Valley Forge Final by three-quarter lengths as the 2-1 favorite.
Romantic Moment and Handsoffmycookie each finished with 250 points for the New York Sire Stakes “regular season” in undoubtedly the deepest New York Sire Stakes division. They were followed by Major Look (200), Eighthunrdolarbill (182), New York Kitty (166), JK Fine Art (130), Zellweger Blue Chip (122.5), Brownsville Bomber (116.5), Ramalama (110) and Bettor B Lucky (95).
“We were talking about it on the plane back yesterday,” Di Domenico said. “There’s six to eight really good horses in this division. It’s unbelievable.”
So who wins the final?
“Whoever trips out will be the winner,” Di Domenico said.