Empire Breeders Classic pacers hit Tioga Sunday

Nichols, NY — Tioga Downs will host the top New York-bred sophomore pacers in Sunday’s (Aug. 23) Empire Breeders Classic finals. Purses for the races are funded by the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, New York Farms that stand stallions, along with Tioga and Vernon Downs and payments made by the owners of the eligible horses.

Hen Party was a narrow winner in last Sunday’s eliminations. Fred Brown photo.

Hen Party (Andy McCarthy, post two) is the top chick in the $223,500 filly pace, race seven on the card. The Roll With Joe lass is the New York Sire Stakes point leader with three wins in the state-bred program and looked nifty winning in 1:50 in last Sunday’s eliminations for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Crawford Farms Racing.

Chief among her eight rivals are the winner of the other elimination, Pettycoat Business, and So Rude, who missed picking up Hen Party by about an inch last week.

The $240,600 colt event required no elimination with all 10 horses lining up for race eight in a what shapes up to be a very even contest.

While Splash Brother, Groovy Joe and Major Betts have been generating headlines in the NYSS events, a strong case could be made for Roll With JR who has been following the Grand Circuit trail and chasing the division’s best this summer.

A winner in the Bluegrass Stakes last fall at The Red Mile, Roll With JR actually gets what could be considered class relief in the EBC and a new driver in Scott Zeron for trainer Jeff Cullipher, who owns the colt in partnership with Tom Pollack as Pollack Racing.

The NYSS will be represented on the card by three divisions of freshman trotting fillies and four Excelsior divisions.

The fun starts at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

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