05/28/2016 8:41PM

Yonkers: Missile J starts from post eight but finishes first in Art Rooney Pace

Mike Lizzi
Missile J picked up his first career stakes win in Saturday night's Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers

Brian Sears had the power, and he used it wisely on Saturday night, guiding Missile J to victory in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway. Missile J, a 1-5 proposition as part of an entry with Artmagic, scored going away in 1:53 while winning for the fifth time in eight career starts.

Artmagic and George Brennan led the field out with a blistering 27 3/5 opening quarter over the "good" track that still drying out after a pre-race downpour. Sears and Missile J left alertly from the eight-hole and dropped in third behind Rodeo Rock.

Brennan and Artmagic were on their own loose on the lead, and following a 56 1/5 half-mile Brennan kicked on the accelerator and shifted into high gear, losing the pocket-sitting Rodeo Rock in short order. Sears didn't waste much time, vacating the three-hole and quickly advancing towards the pacemaker. On the final turn after a wicked 27 2/5 individual third quarter, Artmagic began to weaken, and Missile J was full of himself, rolling by to win quite convincingly.

Artmagic tired in the stretch, and longshot Tailgunner Hanover and Ray Schnittker rallied boldly for second with Yankee Artillery third ahead of Artmagic and Manny as the final check-getters.

Trained by Linda Toscano, Missile J, an American Ideal gelding, is owned by Ken Jacobs (KJ Stable) and Purple Haze Stables.

"He got a little aggressive on me on the front-end last week," said Brian Sears. "So I was happy to take him off-the-pace tonight, and he responded."

For trainer Linda Toscano, who confided that Missile J had been entered in the January sale at the Meadowlands but pulled out at a late hour, the victory was an affirmation of her talent.

"Good things come to those who wait," said Toscano, looking back towards Missile J's 2-year-old season that didn't work out quite so well. "We'll go in the New York Sire Stakes now, and he's in a couple of Grand Circuit races."

Jordan Stratton's big season at Yonkers continued as he guided Kryptos to victory in the $100,000 Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was reserved early as Soft Idea and Jason Bartlett stepped out quickly and set the table with fractions of 27 4/5 and 56 3/5.  Stratton pulled the Nik Drennan-trained filly to the outside into the third turn and put serious pressure on the leader through a 1:25 third panel.

Into the stretch Kryptos swelled up and rolled by, and then easily marched on under continuous urging to score in 1:53 3/5. Apple Bottom Jeans and Montrell Teague, an early leader in the race, managed to find room to the inside and closed sharply for second with Dime A Dance hanging late despite a very lively cover trip.

Now a winner in eight of her first nine starts, Kryptos is owned by Joseph Davino, Drennan Stable and Brad Shackman. Kryptos returned $4.90 to win as a co-7-5 favorite.

"Nik was confident," said Stratton after the race. "He told me if I gave her a clear path she'd be all right."