Yonkers, NY --- Yonkers Raceway hosted its first New York Sire Stakes event of the season Monday night (May 21), with the $339,040 Hugh Grant Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings.
The defending sire stakes champ, Heston Blue Chip ($2.10), made short work of his first paid work night of the season. Leaving from post position No. 4 in the $66,848 first division, he strolled through intervals of :27, :55.4, 1:24.2 and 1:52. The final margin was 3-3/4 lengths over Gable Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald), with Twin B Hollister (Brian Sears) third.
For Heston Blue Chip, an Art Major colt owned by Ken Jacobs, it was his 12th win in 14 career starts. The exacta paid $9.60, with the triple returning $19.20.
"He was very impressive for his first start," Tetrick said. "I never had to ask him."
Driver and trainer doubled their pleasure when pole-sitting Forever Just ($3) held sway in the $68,048 second grouping. Retaking from JK Panache (Jason Bartlett), he fought back against a stubborn, first-over foe in Domethatagain (Dan Noble in his local driving debut). Forever Just prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1, with an early-skipping Ideal Romance (Sears) third.
For Forever Just, a son of Bettor's Delight co-owned by Fred Wallace and Stake Your Claim Stable, it was his second consecutive NYSS win. The exacta paid $27.60, the triple returned $61 and the superfecta (JK Panache) paid $128.50.
David Miller then picked up the baton, taking a back seat to the evening's next two statebred winners.
Breakin' The Law ($3.80) won the third ($68,048) event -- his sixth consecutive victory -- while Escape The News ($6.40) was sharp in the fourth ($68,048) division. Both won by 1-1/2 lengths.
The former, an Artiscape gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, JJK Stables and Panhellenic Stable Corp., prevailed in 1:53.2. The latter, also an Artiscape gelding, is a homebred for co-owners Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms. It was his first win in three tries this season after a $232,000 frosh resume.
Monday night's final ($68,048) Grant division was won by Coral Snake (Sears), who prevailed in the passing lane in 1:53.2. Unraced at 2, and in his sire stakes debut, Coral Snake outgamed Steelhead Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) by three-quarters of a length for his second win (both local) in as many tries -- both in identical times. Major Bombay (Bartlett) was third.