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Courtly Choice Takes Empire Classic

Published: August 19, 2018 3:43 pm ET

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Courtly Choice ($2.80) earned another major victory for his Canadian connections in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 18) $272,025 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs.

The Classic (race eight), restricted to three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, gave Courtly Choice his eighth win of the season and 10th of his career, including his 1:47.1 score in the Meadowlands Pace. The son of Art Major floated forward from post 5, but was out-sprinted to the first turn by Hitman Hill (Brett Miller). Courtly Choice advanced steadily in the two-path to clear at the end of a :26.4 first quarter before maintaining a solid pace to the half in :54.4.

Courtly Choice was forced to a :26.2 third split to fend off an emerging first-over challenge from American History (Yannick Gingras), but at no point seemed in danger of being eclipsed. Courtly Choice was driven clear off the home turn to a 1:48.3 mile and kept the chasing American History 2-3/4 lengths behind. Real Surreal rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third, four lengths farther back.

Blake MacIntosh trains Courtly Choice for the Hutt Racing Stable, Mac and Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Farms.

In the $143,000 Roll With Joe (race six), Western Fame ($32.20) swept from last to first to upset as the longest shot on the board in 1:48.4.

Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) cleared Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller) on approach to the first turn and controlled early fractions of :26.2 and :54.4. Up the backstretch, the 6-5 favourite faced pressure from stablemate All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley), and the two Ron Burke trainees duelled through a :26.2 third quarter while Andy McCarthy angled Western Fame third-over from last in the field of five.

While Rockin Ron would have enough to keep All Bets Off at bay turning for home, Western Fame got the last word with a ferocious four-wide stretch kick. The five-year-old Western Ideal entire lunged off the cover of runner-up Dealt A Winner (David Miller) to prevail by a head. Rockin Ron held for third.

Jimmy Takter trains 15-time winner Western Fame for owner-breeder Brittany Farms LLC.

The $270,425 Empire Breeders Classic (race seven) for New York-sired three-year-old pacing fillies saw William Donovan's Youaremycandygirl ($2.20) coast to a facile 1:50.4 triumph.

The millionaire daughter of American Ideal, fresh off wins in the Adioo Volo and Shady Daisy, had to work through the first three-sixteenths of the mile to clear Im Trigger Happy (Jim Marohn Jr.), but was uncontested the entire journey after a :27.3 first quarter. Yannick Gingras rated Youaremycandygirl through a :29 second split before using a :26.4 third sectional to leave her seven rivals in her wake. She amassed a five-length lead off the home turn, and completed her 15th career win 3-1/2 lengths clear with plenty in reserve. Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.) split rivals out of traffic in the final 50 yards to narrowly beat Im Trigger Happy for third.

Ron Burke trains Youaremycandygirl, who has won six of 10 races this season.

Shartin N ($3.30) continued her dominance among older pacing mares with a 1:50 score in the $161,000 Artiscape (race nine), her 14th in 18 starts this season.

The Roses Are Red and Lady Liberty winner brushed from fourth with a circuit to go in order to clear early pacesetter Caviart Ally (McCarthy), but had to work some to seize control with nine-sixteenths to go. After gaining the point and setting middle fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.2, Shartin N began to edge away off the final turn, but Caviart Ally was poised to give chase from the pocket. Shartin N and Tim Tetrick held their ground to win by three-quarters of a length over Caviart Ally, while Apple Bottom Jeans (Marohn) circled three-wide off the cover of a stalled Pure Country (Gingras) to take third.

Jim King Jr. trains Shartin N for Richard Poillucci and JoAnn Looney-King.


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