Empire Breeders Classic Trots Set For Friday Matinee

Sir Pinocchio
Published: June 12, 2024 03:40 pm EDT

Vernon Downs will host the 2024 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for New York-sired sophomore trotting colts and fillies on a Friday, June 14 matinee card with post time at 12:15 p.m. 

With seven fillies entered, the EBC filly stakes will go as a single division for a purse of $193,400 USD in race seven.

The favourite's role goes to the streaking R Melina, who has won all three of her seasonal starts in New York Sire Stakes events while adding $137,123 to her career bankroll, which has surpassed a half-million dollars for owners Doug and Rosalind Paul as M And L Of Delaware and partners Rita Armitage and James McLane racing as Alabama Harness Associates.

The Chapter Seven filly has dominated New York and boasts a few Grand Circuit scores along the way, but the path to victory here is complicated by several fillies who had successful seasons while competing at the highest level in 2023.

She races out of the John Butenschoen stable and regular driver Tyler Buter will be along for the ride on Friday.

The colt stakes is split into a pair of $101,500 USD divisions.

Race five features Sir Pinocchio (Jason Bartlett), who has captured three of five starts this year, including the Dexter Cup (pictured above), while amassing $162,409 for trainer Ed Hart and owner Carolyn Atherton, who also bred the son of Mets Hall.

Competition-wise, Situationship has won his only seasonal start and will contend for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. A leader in the regional division, Situationship had a Grand Circuit presence while banking $137,092 for Knutsson Trotting, Little E LLC and Tomas Andersson last year.

Keep Asking's (Tyler Buter) current form makes him a contender for trainer George Ducharme and partners Bill Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Jim Winske.

Dame Good Time set a track record of 1:51.1 in a NYSS at Vernon during his most recent start for trainer Travis Alexander and is the horse to beat in race six. The homebred Chapter Seven gelding posted a Grand Circuit win in the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile for John Cummins, and driver Scott Zeron has stuck right with him.

The main opposition is inside here, as both Bargain (Yannick Gingras for Nancy Takter) and Wild Ticket (Dexter Dunn for Marcus Melander) had six-figure seasons as freshmen.

These races are made possible by a joint sponsorship between The Agriculture & NY State Horse Breeding Development Fund, NY Stallion Owners and Tioga & Vernon Downs, which provide more than $480,000 USD in funding for the stakes. 

The supporting stakes are a pair of NYSS divisions for three-year-old pacing colts along with four Excelsior splits.

(Vernon Downs)

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