11/30/2008 1:00AM

Here Comes Rita takes Montauk after delay


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A gate malfunction at Aqueduct that pushed back the start of the featured Montauk Handicap by 31 minutes also forced the track to cancel the ninth race on the program.

New York Racing Association officials deemed it too dark to run the last race, which had its post time pushed back until after 4:30 p.m. Rainy conditions made it very dark earlier than normal Sunday.

Post time for ninth was originally listed at 4:12, but the eighth race, the Montauk, wasn't run until 4:15 because of the gate problem.

Due to the cancellation, the final race was considered an "all-win" in all multiple-race wagers.

Thus, those bettors who correctly selected the first five winners in the pick six were automatically declared winners. The pick six returned $9,084. Those who had 4 of 5 received a consolation payout of $180.50.

Refunds were given for all win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers on the ninth race.

In the $81,825 Montauk, Here Comes Rita took over from pacesetting Twistaway at the quarter pole and splashed her way to a 2 1/4-length victory over Point Me To It. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to My Dinah in third.

Here Comes Rita, a 3-year-old daughter of Raffie's Majesty owned by Thomas Michael Murray and Vincent Murray and trained by John Morrison, won for the third straight time. She covered 1 1/8 miles in the slop in 1:54.40 and returned $10.60 to win.

Racing moves to Aqueduct's inner track beginning Wednesday.