Yonkers Raceway hosts its first New York Sire Stakes event of the season Monday night, with the $339,040 Hugh Grant Pace for three-year-old colts and geldings.
A quintet of divisions proved quite formful through the mist (and later steady rain), with driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano asserting themselves early.
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 four 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.
"He was very impressive for his first start," Tetrick said. "I never had to ask him."
Driver and trained 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 Bettors Delight co-owned by Fred Wallace and Stake Your Claim Stable, it was his second consecutive (NYSS) win in three 2012 tries.
Dave Miller then picked up the baton, taking a back seat to the evening's next two statebred winners.
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 two, and in his sire stakes debut, Coral Snake out-gamed 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.
For Coral Snake, a son of Bettors Delight owned by West Wins Stables and trained by Casie Coleman, he returned $4.90 as the second choice.