Ellie's Moment Takes Big A's Rare Treat

John and Joan Phillips' Ellie's Moment opened her 2003 campaign Wednesday by running down favored front-runner Pocus Hocus to win the $77,075 Rare Treat Handicap for fillies and mares at Aqueduct Park.

Originally scheduled for Monday's Presidents' Day
card, the 1 1/8-mile Rare Treat was moved to Wednesday when racing was canceled as a result of what's being called the fourth worst blizzard in New York City's history.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite under partially sunny skies, Pocus Hocus and jockey Javier Castellano set the pace in the Rare Treat of :23 3/5; :48 1/5 and 1:12 2/5, finally shaking off the persistent Miss Splash. But Ellie's Moment and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan came through with a strong rally that produced a 6 ½-length victory in 1:51 on the fast inner dirt track.

The victory was the sixth in 12 starts for Ellie's Moment, a 5-year-old daughter of the late Kris S.

"This was our objective this winter; to get a stakes win into her," said winning trainer Jimmy Toner, whose charge returned $5.90 to win. "She's been so good to us and has done almost everything we've asked. I still don't know how good she is. It's always one layoff after another. Maybe now, we can get into some sort of rhythm with her.

Ellie's Moment's mission was made easier with the scratch of Martha's Music, who had won four straight. Because of the rough weather earlier in the week, she couldn't ship from Philadelphia Park.

Still, the winner had a lot going for her.

"She ran good," Bridgmohan said. "She was there every step of the way. She really had a lot of momentum coming off the turn, and I basically just got her outside to give her a clear path. As soon as I said it was time to go, she really responded. She's classy."

Wishful Splendor was third.

(Chart, Equibase)