09/23/2012 10:34AM

Harness: Short rest no problem for Major Bombay in New York Night of Champions

Derrick Giwner
Major Bombay, shown warming up at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio on Thursday, shipped to New York to race at Yonkers on Saturday night.

The road leading to Saturday’s $1.8 million New York Night of Champions was different for most of the finalists in the eight season-ending races. Of the lot, only Major Bombay had raced in Ohio just two days before the big night. That first heat fifth-place finish at the  Delaware County Fair  on Thursday may have been the difference that allowed the 3-year-old colt to pull off the biggest upset on the star-studded program.

Major Bombay shocked 1-5 favorite Heston Blue Chip and six others in capturing the $225,000 final for 3-year-old pacing colts, the last of the eight championship races contested consecutively at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday. Andy Miller used the pole to his advantage, setting the field in line early and never letting up in a 1:52 2/5 shocker over a rain-soaked surface. Breakin The Law, despite breaking in the stretch,  rallied back for second with the favorite struggling from second over to finish third.

“We put him on the truck at 7 a.m. Friday,” said Tony Alagna, Major Bombay’s trainer. “He got back to Gaitway Farms [New Jersey] at 4  p.m. and we gave him some fluids.”

The decision to race Major Bombay twice in three days was a joint one between Alagna and the owners. The team had spaced out the colt’s 3-year-old races and gave themselves an option since Major Bombay had already qualified for the New York Sire Stakes final.

“We figured both of these races were on half-mile tracks and we might draw well in one place and poorly in the other,” Alagna said. “Then we drew well in both places.”

Despite landing post 2  at Delaware, Major Bombay was caught behind dull cover and finished fifth to eventual Jug winner Michaels Power in the first heat.  That made the decision for the parties much easier since Major Bombay had drawn the coveted pole position for the $225,000 final at Yonkers.

Alagna scoffed at the notion that there was something wrong with racing twice in three days.

“I’ve seen them race three heats at Delaware in one day. I really don’t see the problem with this. I told the owners maybe I’ve been too easy on this colt,” Alagna said with a laugh.

Sent off at 8-1 Major Bombay paid $18 while winning for the fourth time in 14 starts this year.

The rain may have played a role in Coraggioso’s major upset in the 3-year-old colt trot final. Coraggioso, ably driven by Brian Sears, left briskly from post 6  and had control of the pace through a  28 1/5-second  opening quarter during a downpour. With 3-5  favorite Archangel parked early from post 8, his driver Jim Morrill Jr. found a tuck near the quarter and sat patiently as the pacesetter cut fractions of  58 and 1:27 1/5.

Morrill put Archangel on the attack down the backstretch the final time and the pair was gaining rapidly on the leader but midway on the final turn Archangel made an uncharacteristic  break in stride and effectively took himself out of contention. Coraggioso, bred and owned by the partnership of New York Racing Association  announcer Tom Durkin and Joseph Spadaro, scored a three-length victory as the 9-2 third choice in the field. A Penny Earned  rallied for second t 56-1. Coraggioso trotted the mile in 1:57 1/5 in winning for the seventh time in 14 starts this season.

His trainer, Gates Brunet,  pulled off a sweep of the 3-year-old trotting finals when Cowgirl Hall went wire-to-wire in the division for trotting fillies. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. used Cowgirl Hall leaving and found himself in a one-horse race for the lead when 1-2 favorite Win Missy B made a break in stride. Cowgirl Hall  was able to set comfortable fractions and score decisively in 1:57 1/5 over the still dry surface. Kristins Victory and Anandamide finished second and third.

Cowgirl Hall’s victory was the third in Sire Stakes final competition for driver Morrill. Earlier in the evening, he scored a close victory with Fashion Blizzard in the $225,000 2-year-old colt trot. Fashion Blizzard held off a bid by Tirade Hanover in a 1:57 4/5 mile.

Morrill also scored with Summertime Lea in the division for 2-year-old pacing fillies. The Ron Burke-trained Summertime Lea  was given a pocket trip and rolled past pacesetter Hit The Curb to score in 1:55 1/5. Bred by Yonkers Raceway president Tim Rooney, Summertime Lea won for the eighth time in nine career starts.

The sport’s leading driver, Tim Tetrick,  took home top prize in two championship divisions. First he scored with You Want Me in the 2-year-old filly trot final, giving the fillies sire Credit Winner a sweep of the juvenile events. You Want Me worked out a pocket trip and then cleared inside and gained a close decision in a 1:59 4/5 mile. Paul Kelley trains the filly.

Tetrick came back to score for trainer Linda Toscano in the 2-year-old colt pace. Doctor Butch, a son of Art Major,  dominated this division scoring in 1:53 1/5 for owner Ken Jacobs.

Driver Brian Sears also scored a double in championship races,  guiding Romantic Moment in a cakewalk against 3-year-old pacing fillies. Romantic Moment figured to have a tough time after landing post 6 in a field that included top stakes fillies Major Look (post 1) and Handsoffmycookie (post 2), but neither of those fillies put up much resistance early, allowing Sears to reach the quarter in :27 3/5 and the half in a well rated  57. Romantic Moment, a daughter of American Ideal,  paced her final half in  56 1/5, completing the mile 1:53 1/5. Jimmy Takter trains the eight-time winner in 2012 for Brittany Farms.