by Dustin Ross, Regional Racing Operations Manager, Tioga Downs & Vernon Downs
Nichols, NY — Heston Blue Chip and Bettor’s Edge captured the two eliminations of the Empire Breeders’ Classic races on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs.
In the first elimination Heston Blue Chip (Tim Tetrick) was the overwhelming favorite and settled in fourth as the field went by the quarter in 26. As the field headed towards the half-mile mark, Breakin The Law (Yannick Gingras) pulled from third to begin the first-over journey with Heston Blue Chip pressed tight on his helmet.
Lawgiver Hanover (Mark Macdonald) continued to cut out the fractions by three-quarters in 1:22, but the field was quickly circling the leader around the final turn. Tetrick tipped Heston Blue Chip three-wide off cover and easily opened up for his second straight win at Tioga Downs in 1:50.4. Breaking The Law (Yannick Gingras) secured second despite a tough trip, while Ideal Romance (George Brennan) closed late for third. Also qualifying for next week’s final was Bet On The Law (Jim Morrill Jr.).
In the second elimination David Miller put Bettor’s Edge on the front end through some favoring fractions of 26.3, 56.2, and 1:24.1. Around the final turn the field was tipping three and four wide trying to make up ground, but it was a sprint to the wire with Bettor’s Edge winning the battle in 1:51.2. Getting up for second in the three horse photo was Major Bombay (Andy Miller), finishing third was Forever Just (Tim Tetrick). Finishing fourth and qualifying for next week’s final was Lifeimittatesart (Yannick Gingras).
Coral Snake (George Brennan) and American GI (Andy Miller) finished fifth in the eliminations and in the draw for the final spot in next week’s final; Coral Snake has drawn in leaving American GI as AE1.
Ten 3-year-old pacing fillies were entered into the Empire Breeders’ Classic race on Thursday morning so no eliminations were necessary. All ten pacing fillies will move directly to the final on Sunday, August 12 with a post time of 1:30 pm. The ten fillies for the EBC include – American Jewel, Bettor B Lucky, Brownsville Bomber, Eighthunrdolarbill, Handsoffmycookie, Hearts N Flowers, Ramalama, Romantic Moment, Ryder Blue Chip, and Shelliscape.