Vernon, NY — New York’s finest 3-year-old trotters will converge on Vernon Downs Friday afternoon (June 17) to contest the Empire Breeders Classic, sponsored by the The Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, NY Stallion Owners, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.
Seven daughters of the state’s leading sire of trotters, Chapter Seven, will face the starting gate in race five for a purse of $187,500.
Joviality S has been superb throughout her career with victories in the New York Sires Stakes final, Breeders Crown final and Goldsmith Maid last year at two resulting in earnings just shy of $900,000 for the interests of Anders Strom via his nom de course of Courant, Inc.
She has come back powerfully at age 3, with a pair of NYSS wins including a shockingly easy career best of 1:51.2 in her last over the Vernon oval on May 30. Brian Sears returns to the scene of his early lessons to drive Joviality S from post position five for trainer Marcus Melander.
The competition is led by Crawford Farms’ accomplished Valentina Blu, who consistently brings her “A” game and has earned over a third of a million dollars in her young career for trainer Tony Alagna. Andy McCarthy plots her from post seven.
The EBC colts number eight and will come along in race seven for an identical amount of $187,500.
Branded By Lindy (Yannick Gingras) currently sits atop the “Road to the Hambletonian” poll and has had one over the course with a 1:54.2 win last week in what was his first start of the season. He is the fastest of the field with a record of 1:52 taken at The Red Mile last fall for trainer Domenico Cecere. Lindy Farms bred and owns the precocious Chapter Seven colt who carries the Antonacci family’s hopes for another Hambo win.
Slay (Alagna/Tim Tetrick), Justice (Ake Svanstedt) and Cool Papa Bell (Sears/Jim Campbell) will present legitimate competition for the EBC hardware.
NYSS 3-year-old filly pacers are on the undercard and racing gets underway with the matinee post time of 12:15 p.m. on Friday.