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McWicked, Shartin To Tioga

Published: August 15, 2019 9:41 am ET

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Tioga Downs has an action packed day set for Sunday (Aug. 18) with the Grand Circuit stakes Roll With Joe FFA Pace, Artiscape FFA Pace for mares, Miss Versatility for trotting mares and the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for New York sired three-year-old pacing colts and fillies.

The $170,000 Roll With Joe (race seven) features 2018 Horse Of The Year McWicked, who will be pleased to not see this season’s division leader Lather Up among the competition. At the ripe old age of eight, McWicked can still make his own luck, remains a formidable opponent for anyone, and will likely be the public’s choice. Brian Sears has the drive for trainer Casie Coleman and Ed James' SSG Stables.

The $137,000 Artiscape (race five) saw only four rivals drop in to take on the current “Queen of the Course”, Shartin N. While her story may by now be familiar to racing fans, Shartin N's ability is clearly extraordinary. She became the fastest female Standardbred ever via her 1:46.4 win at The Meadowlands in the Lady Liberty, the 12th success in 13 tries this season for Shartin N and owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and driver Tim Tetrick. Jim King Jr. is the trainer.

The third of four Miss Versatility preliminaries (race four) carries a $40,000 purse and offers eight solid trotting mares, with last week’s Joie De Vie winner Custom Cantab right back at Tioga to take on seven worthy rivals. Custom Cantab overcame a bad post, slight interference early on and a first-over move into Atlanta to win impressively at long odds last Sunday. She will likely not offer that type of value this time around, as she begins from the rail for Dave Miller and trainer Chris Beaver, who owns her in partnership with Don Robinson and RBH Ventures.

Zero Tolerance (Dave Miller) is clearly the girl to beat in the $232,700 EBC filly final (race eight). She has ruled the New York Sire Stakes scene all season and raced competitively in Grand Circuit stakes as well. Joe Holloway trains Zero Tolerance for Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz.

The $238,200 EBC colt final (race nine) could be a showcase for a small-town colt with big talent to shine. There may be no defence strong enough to thwart Hickfromfrenchlick, who starts from post one for Matt Kakaley. Since paired with Kakaley, the “Hick” is shooting 100 per cent from the field while needing no assists or picks, as he’s taken it right down the floor from the word go each time. The money is on the line here, and it’s a chance to show just how clutch the Ray Schnittker-trained colt is under pressure. Nolamaura Racing LLC and TC Spatorico share ownership with Schnittker.

First post on the Sunday card is 1 p.m.

(Tioga Downs)

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