Honorable Daughter heads Empire Breeders Classic elims

by Dustin Ross, regional racing operations manager, Tioga/Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY — World champion Honorable Daughter leads the list of 12 New York bred trotting fillies set to go on Saturday night (May 16) at Vernon Downs in the eliminations of the $225,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classic.

USTA/Mark Hall photo

Honorable Daughter will make her 3-year-old debut on Saturday night at Vernon Downs.

Drawing post position two in the first elimination, slated for race number six, Honorable Daughter’s trainer Larry Remmen has listed Jim Morrill, Jr. for the driving assignment. Morrill steered her to victory in her second career start in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway on July 9, 2008.

The daughter of Malabar Man-Honorable Mother posted nine wins and a second in 11 starts as a freshman for earnings of more than $835,000. Her mile of 1:55.1 over a sloppy track at Dover Downs in last year’s Matron Final established a world record for 2-year-old trotting fillies on a five-eighths-mile track. Honorable Daughter was sold in the 2007 Lexington Selected Sale for $32,000 by Paolo Rasanelli and John Siena of Middletown, New York.

The 2008 New York Sire Stakes champion for freshman trotting colts, Donttellmywife, headlines a group of 11 3-year-old trotting colts in the one elimination slated for race number seven on Saturday night. The gelded son of Malabar Man-Nowerland Sweet T was a perfect seven-for-seven on his freshman campaign and banked more than $220,000 without ever leaving the Empire State. George Ducharme trains Donttellmywife, and also co-owns with partners Nicola Olivia and Shannon DiAntonio. Jeff Gregory, who steered Donttellmywife to six victories last year, has been listed on the driving assignment.

In the second elimination for the 3-year-old trotting fillies, Matchplay Volo will look to add on to her short undefeated resume from post position one. Also trained out of the Larry Remmen Stable, Matchplay Volo is known more for her dam (millionaire trotting mare Stroke Play) than what she has done on the track. However, in her first career start she showed plenty of promise, trotting home a final quarter in :27.1 to break her maiden in 1:56.4. Norman and Gerald Smiley share ownership of Matchplay Volo with Mystical Marker Farms LLC, who purchased the trotting filly for $130,000 at the 2007 Lexington sale.

Vernon Downs races on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with a post time of 6:55 p.m. and will also host a special Memorial Day race card on Monday, May 25, featuring the $500,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classic finals with a post time of 1:30 p.m.

The fields for Saturday night’s Empire Breeders Classic eliminations are as follows:

Race 6-Purse $12,500-3-year-old trotting fillies
1-1-New Hampshire Girl-Ray Schnittker-Ray Schnittker
2-2-Honorable Daughter-Jim Morrill, Jr.-Larry Remmen
3-3-Porque-Jeff Gregory-Linda Toscano
4-4-Calchips Finisher-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
5-5-Sister Marcy-William Bailey-David Dewhurst
6-6-Beachcomber-Wally Hennessey-Jan Johnson

Race 7-Purse $12,500-3-year-old colt and gelding trotters
1-1-Spin Spanky Spin-Dan Daley-Dan Daley
1A-8-Dillar A Dollar-Dan Daley-Dan Daley
2-5-Russell Hill-Jim Morrill, Jr.-Jimmy Takter
2A-6-Oliver Kiss-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
3-2-Tip The Tide-Howard Okusko, Jr.-Jessica Okusko
4-3-America-Andrew McCarthy-Richard Norman
5-4-Danger Hall-Jeff Gregory-Jonas Czernyson
6-7-Donttellmywife-Jeff Gregory-George Ducharme
7-9-Calchips Brute-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
8-10-Brother Nick-Ray Schnittker-Ray Schnittker
9-11-South Jersey Flash-Steven Reisenweaver-Steven Reisenweaver

Race 8-Purse $12,500-3-year-old trotting fillies
1-1-Matchplay Volo-Jim Morrill, Jr.-Larry Remmen
2-2-Contag Way-John Stark, Jr.-John Stark, Jr.
3-3-Social Butterfly-Ray Schnittker-Ray Schnittker
4-4-The Ice Queen-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
5-5-Becca Won-Howard Okusko, Jr.-Sam Serianni
6-6-Snowblind Lindy-Jeff Gregory-Linda Toscano

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