A trio of prestigious pacing events will share top billing at Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon (August 28), as the Empire Breeders Classics for New York-sired three-year-olds and the Artiscape for top distaffers will feature a total of more than $650,000 in purses.
In the $239,225 filly division of the Empire Breeders Classic (which has been carded as Race 7), elimination winners Penpal and No Clouds Bluechip will square off against seven others. Penpal (Post 5), a daughter of American Ideal, vaulted off the cover of Dime A Dance en route to a narrow 1:51.3 victory over ‘sloppy’ going. Trainer Pat Lachance is once again listed to drive the four-time winner, whose greatest success on the national stage came in her runner-up performance in the Mistletoe Shalee. No Clouds Bluechip (Post 3) captured the other elimination in pillar-to-post fashion and earned her sixth career win, clocked in 1:53. Brett Miller was aboard for last week's odds-on win, and he is again nominated to drive the Roll With Joe filly for trainer John Berger.
Colts and geldings will square off in a $240,475 EBC final (Race 8). American Passport (Post 3) found new life in two recent Southern Tier appearances after failed bids in the Adios and the Cane Pace. The Tony Alagna-trained American Ideal colt repelled pressure en route to a 1:51 triumph in his elimination last week, and Scott Zeron is once again nominated to drive (he is also listed on Craftship). The five-time winner will face the likes of Rooney winner Missile J (Post 2, Tim Tetrick) and last week's other elimination winner, Redneck Rally (Post 5, Andy Miller), whose 39-1 upset over the likes of the heavily-favoured Roll Away Joe stunned many.
A full field of 10 pacing mares is due to line up in the $200,000 Artiscape (Race 9). Despite the presence of millionaires Venus Delight (Post 2, Jason Bartlett) and Anndrovette (Post 5, Tim Tetrick), Ontario-based Lady Shadow has taken the distaff division by storm with wins in the Golden Girls and the Lady Liberty. The five-year-old Shadow Play mare's 2:00.3 victory in the Golden Girls earned her the overall world record for pacers at the one and one-eighths-mile distance. Yannick Gingras has been nominated to drive the 22-time winner for trainer Ron Adams.
While the three top-dollar events bring the Sunday card to a close, a trio of W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions will provide for a healthy undercard. An octet of two-year-old trotting colts and geldings will vie for $55,780 in the Judge Moore (Race 1), while ten trotting fillies will contest a pair of $29,190 Meda splits (Races 3 and 5).
First-race post time for Tioga’s nine-dash Sunday card is 1:30 p.m.. Full coverage on the Tioga Downs Racing Network is due to begin at 1:05 p.m.