Stars Out Sunday At Tioga

Published: June 19, 2020 11:11 am EDT

Tioga Downs will host a huge Grand Circuit stakes card on the evening of Sunday, July 21 with first post of 4:00 p.m.

Headlining a 13-race program with total purses of $490,500 is the $164,000 Roll With Joe Open Pacing Stakes (RWJ). The 10 horses entered for the RWJ have combined career earnings of more than $10 million.

In something of a surprise move with the first leg of the Graduate Series on the same card, Chris Ryder has entered last season's Dan Patch Award winning sophomore pacing colt Bettors Wish (Dexter Dunn) into the Roll With Jie where he'll face older rivals in his first seasonal start. Ryder shares ownership of the son of Bettors Delight with Art & Leah Zubrod's Fair Island Farm and the Bettors Wish Partners.

Leading the competition is a powerful four-pronged Ron Burke entry of This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras), Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick), Filibuster Hanover (TBA) and Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Last year's older Breeders Crown winner American History (Joe Bongiorno) will begin from post 10 in the second tier for trainer Tony Alagna.

The opening leg of the Graduate Series for pacers drew 26 entries and gets underway with three $50,000 divisions carded as Race 4, 6 & 9.

That fourth race is a doozy with double Dan Patch Award-winning filly Warrawee Ubeaut (Gingras) taking on male rivals in her first foray as a four-year-old mare. She's had a pair of good qualifiers to prepare and will start from post three for trainer Burke who owns the Sweet Lou lass with Phil Collura, J&T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Her rivals include 2019 O'Brien Award winner Century Farroh (TBA), winner of last week's Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Last year's Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi (Brian Sears) makes his seasonal bow in race six. Trainer Bill MacKenzie brings the Somebeachsomewhere horse into the Graduate with a single qualifier some three weeks ago and has drawn post seven. Vincent Ali, Jr and Alma Iafelice own Southwind Ozzi. He'll face off with the horse that beat him in that qualifier, sub-1:50 qualifying winner Hurrikane Emperor (Mark MacDonald).

Dancin Lou (Dexter Dunn) comes in hot to the 10th race off his imposing 1:50 win in the Meadowlands open last Saturday. Trainer Tahnee Camilleri brought him back fit and has the Breeders Crown winner sharp for his first stakes go of the year. A friendly post three draw can only help his chances against seasonally undefeated post nine starter Covered Bridge (Gingras listed).

The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) program gets underway with a pair of $55,000 divisions of the sophomore filly trot on the card. Though small in size at five fillies each in the two divisions (races 5 & 10) the quality is certainly present.

Last year's NYSS champ for the division, Hypnotic AM (Sears) signaled her readiness with a scalding, in-hand 1:51.1 qualifying win at The Meadowlands last Friday. Trainer Marcus Melander returns to New York's Southern Tier where he and Sears swept the trotting Graduate legs just a week ago. Melander and owner Anders Strom as Courant, Inc. have found a pretty good spot to launch her 2020 campaign.

Three NYSS Excelsior A divisions and a pair of Excelsior B's round out the exciting and very customer-friendly twilight card at Tioga on Sunday.




I think the Bettors Wish connections made a mistake by entering their horse in The Roll With Joe rather than The Graduate. There are only 2 preliminary legs of The Graduate, rather than the originally scheduled 4, and there are 26 horses entered in it this week. That means that if Bettors Wish doesn't win in the next leg of the series, on 7/4, it's very unlikely that he'll qualify for the rich $250,000 final on 7/11. And it's not like he's dodging more difficult competition by competing in The Roll With Joe - these are the fastest older horses on the planet.

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.