07/14/2017 9:45PM

Yonkers: Sears strikes twice in New York Sire Stakes

Mike Lizzi
Tequila Monday bounced back from a dull eighth-place finish in the Lynch final to take her New York Sire Stakes flight Friday

Harness racing's newest Hall of Famer, driver Brian Sears, guided Tequila Monday and Ann Hill to victories in two of the three $56,833 New York Sire Stakes divisions for 3-year-old pacing fillies on Friday night at Yonkers Raceway.  Clear Idea won the other split, scoring her fourth consecutive win in the process.

Racing over a track labeled good and on Lasix for the first time, Tequila Monday left well from post six and took over the lead from World Apart (Jason Bartlett) at the 28 second opening panel.  Tequila Monday would go on to reach the half in 56 4/5 and the three-quarters in 1:25, then kicked away from World Apart through the lane under no urging to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:53 4/5.  Carly Girl (George Brennan) finished 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 nine-for-14 in her career, and she has banked $376,959.  The 1-5 favorite, Tequila Monday paid $2.50 to win.

In the next section Obvious Blue Chip (Bartlett) was the 1-5 choice, but she got caught in an early speed battle with Playing Favorites (Brett Miller) and wound up getting command past a 26 4/5 opening quarter over the off-going.  Bartlett rated a kind middle-half (56 4/5 and 1:25 2/5), but Obvious Blue Chip retreated in the lane, with 11-1 Ann Hill and Sears sweeping by off a second-over trip to prevail by a length in 1:55 4/5.  Queen Josephine (Matt Kakaley) was the runner-up after a first-over try, and Planet Rock (Dan Dube) brushed from seventh and last at three-quarters to third at the wire.

Trainer Richie Silverman also co-owns Ann Hill, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, with Neal Oksenberg.  This was her fifth lifetime victory, and she has now earned $87,330.  She returned $25.40 to win.

“We purchased her after last season and pointed her for the sire stakes,” Silverman said. “She’s a beautiful filly, not a killer, but very handy. I’m lucky to have her.”

The final sire stakes clash saw Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) win in 1:54 4/5 after leading through fractions of 28, 58, and 1:26 2/5.  She fought off first-over challenger and even-money favorite Roaring To Go (B. Miller) in the final quarter to score by half a length, with Touchamatic (Brennan) rallying wide for third.

“She’s just been getting better and better with each start,” MacDonald said. “She went a big mile at Vernon (NYSS, 1:52) last month and hasn’t turned in a bad race since.”

Blake MacIntosh trains and co-owns Clear Idea, a filly by American Ideal, with Hutt Racing Stable.  Clear Idea now has seven wins in her racing career, and she boosted her bankroll to $138,675.  She was the 9-5 second choice and paid $5.80 to win.

--quotes courtesy of Yonkers Raceway--