Trainer Linda Toscano and driver Tim Tetrick teamed up for a New York Sire Stakes double with three-year-old pacing colts Heston Blue Chip and Union Man Hanover during Wednesday's afternoon harness racing card at Monticello Raceway.
The 15-race program featured three divisions of the $160,000 NYSS and six divisions of the Excelsior Series. As was expected, NYSS standout Heston Blue Chip, with Tetrick at the controls, cruised to an easy two length victory in a 1:52.4 clocking in his $53,271 five-horse division. Union Man Hanover won his $54,271 NYSS split in 1:52.3, also for Tetrick, and Coral Snake and driver George Brennan toured the Mighty M oval in 1:53.2 taking home the lion’s share of the $53,271 NYSS purse offered in the other division.
With the short field, Tetrick sent Kenny Jacobs' Heston Blue Chip to the front as the gate folded and cruised along unchallenged through first half fractions of :28.4 and :58.1. After the half, Tetrick just lifted the lines and Heston Blue Chip paced away reaching the third stanza in 1:26.1 and then poured on a :26.3 last quarter en route to an easy victory, the colt’s second in as many tries this year. Steelhead Hanover and driver Jimmy Morrill Jr. finished second while Twin B Hollister and Montrell Teague took home the show dough.
Needless to say, Jacobs, who is always around when his stock performs, was smiling from ear to ear.
“I guess I got a real bargain when paid $30,000 for him as a yearling," chuckled Jacobs, who prides himself in picking out his own colts at the sales. "I don’t want to jinx him, but I believe he’s an even better horse than my namesake, Kenny J.”
Tetrick, who has always been the colt’s regular driver, is also high on him.
“He’s very good,” he said Tetrick after the win. “I’m glad I baby raced him.”
With only win and place wagering allowed in the race, Heston Blue Chip paid $2.20 and $2.10. But the mutuel payoffs couldn’t tell the whole story because over $143,000 was wagered on the winner to place, which is probably the biggest ‘bridge jump’ at Monticello in decades.
Tetrick also won another NYSS split when he guided Union Man Hanover to a 1:52.3 triumph. When the prohibitive favourite Breakin The Law got interfered with by a breaking horse on the first turn, Gable Blue Chip and Mark MacDonald took the lead and cut all the fractions with Tetrick and Union Man Hanover on MacDonald’s helmet all the way. In mid-stretch Tetrick moved his colt out to challenge and they rallied to collar the leader for a neck victory. Lawgiver Hanover and Morrill Jr. finished third.
Union Man Hanover is owned by Stake Your Claim Stable, Bay’s Stable and DJ Baer. Both of the aforementioned NYSS winners are trained by Linda Toscano.
Because of the odds-favourite being off the board, strange payoffs ensued in the six-horse race. The winner paid $18.20, $8.60 and $15, Gable Blue Chip paid $10.80 and $29 while Lawgiver Hanover’s show payoff was $12.80.
George Brennan came back to where his career began and made winning look easy when he stalked the leaders for the first three-quarters and then hustled Coral Snake to a length triumph in 1:53.2 in the final $53,271 NYSS split. Larry Stalbaum and Art Of Temptation closed to be second while the early leader Racing Rocky faded and finished third in the five-horse race.
Owned by the West Winds Stable and trained by Casie Coleman, Coral Snake paid $2.80 for win.
Also on the card were six $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series, formerly the late closers. Jason Bartlett won three and Morrill Jr. won two. Bartlett connected with Arts Delight (1:56), Bettors Arena (1:55.4) and Bettorific(1:55.2). Morrill’s wins came behind Ideal Griff (1:54.4) and Fireyoruguns (1:54.2).
In all, $824,756 was wagered on the card.
(With files from Monticello Raceway)