06/02/2017 10:19PM

Saratoga Harness: Tequila Monday takes fastest New York Sire Stakes division

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Melissa Simser-Iovino
Tequila Monday picked up her second stakes victory in less than a week

Tequila Monday, who won the Lismore at Yonkers against open company on May 27, came back on short rest to win one of four New York Sire Stakes divisions for sophomore pacing fillies on Friday night at Saratoga Harness.

Brian Sears guided Tequila Monday to the 1:52 4/5 decision in the third $44,975 split, taking her around Double Down Jo (Stephane Bouchard) prior to the 27 2/5 opening quarter before setting sail through a half in 56 3/5 and three-quarters in 1:25.  Roaring To Go (Brett Miller), who was the favorite in the Breeders Crown final last year (finished fourth) came out of the pocket to challenge Tequila Monday in the lane, but wound up 2 1/2 lengths in arrears at the line in her 2017 debut.  Ann Hill (Dan Cappello Jr.) checked in third.

Chris Oakes trains Tequila Monday, an American Ideal filly, for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey.  Last year's New York Sire Stakes champion is now six-for-nine in her career, and she has banked $291,078.  The 1-5 favorite, Tequila Monday paid $2.40 to win.

Back in the opening $44,975 flight of the evening, Queen Josephine (Mark MacDonald) led through stations of 28 1/5, 58 1/5, and 1:26 4/5, but pocket-sitting Playing Favorites (Billy Dobson) came to the outside in the lane and went by the pace-setter, scoring by three-parts of a length in 1:55 1/5.  Major Master Piece (Jim Morrill Jr.) collected third.

Playing Favorites is a daughter of Roll With Joe trained by Jenny Melander for owners Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Charles Rowe.  Winless in nine rookie tries, Playing Favorites has a pair of tallies from three efforts this season to go with career earnings of $35,087.   Playing Favorites was the 5-2 second choice and returned $7.20 to win.

Obvious Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) made her first appearance in the New York Sire Stakes program a winning one, taking the second $45,775 section in 1:53 2/5.  She made a first-over move into the lead at the 1:25 2/5 three-quarters, then pulled away in the final panel on her way to a three length victory over Marquesa Seelster (Frank Coppola Jr.).  Oceania (Dan Dube) brushed from eighth and last to third at the wire.

Another filly by Roll With Joe, Obvious Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Nlg Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski.  Obvious Blue Chip is now a three-time winner in her life to go with a bankroll of $87,093.  Obvious Blue Chip was the 2-5 choice and paid $2.90 to win.

Rounding out the sire stakes champions for the evening was Artrageous (Miller), who took the $44,975 nightcap in 1:55 4/5.  She strolled through tepid splits of 28 4/5, 59, and 1:28 before coming home in 27 4/5 to defeat Clear Idea (Sears) by about a length.  St Helena (MacDonald) wound up third.

Artrageous, a daughter of Art Major, is co-owned by trainer Andrew Stafford and her breeders Bonnie Benson and John Johannsen.  This was the filly's fourth career victory, and she has now put away $128,992.  Artrageous was the 9-5 favorite and returned $5.70 to win.