Day At The Track

Tioga Stakes to host richest card of the season

02:52 AM 18 Aug 2018 NZST
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Dealt A Winner, harness racing
Dealt A Winner heads the $143,000 Roll With Joe
Fred Brown photo

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will present the richest card of its 2018 season at the "Jewel of the Southern Tier" on Sunday offering nearly $1 million in purses on the day.

The featured stakes include the $550,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) 3-year-old pacing finals, the $161,000 Artiscape and $143,000 Roll With Joe for FFA mare and horse pacers respectively and the 3rd leg of the $60,000 (divided) Miss Versatility for trotting mares.

The Miss Versatility split into a pair of six mare fields as they continue to accumulate points toward the $110,000 final at the Delaware County Fair on Little Brown Jug Day, September 20. Broadway Donna, Celebrity Ruth, Ice Attraction and Barn Bella head up the contestants for Sunday's races.

The EBC fillies (race 7) are led by Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) who continued her current form spree with an effortless 1:51 romp in her elimination last week. She leaves from post 6 for trainer Ron Burke and owner Bill Donovan in the $270,425 final.

Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice (Dave Miller) has been tabbed as the morning line favorite in the $272,025 EBC colt pace final. He's won 7 of 10 starts including an impressive 1:49 elimination success last week and stands at nearly a half million dollars in seasonal earnings for trainer Blake MacIntosh who shares ownership with Hutt Racing, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Farms. Courtly Choice starts from post 5 in the 8th race.

American History (Gingras) endured a long uncovered grind to win the other elimination, albeit 2 seconds slower than Courtly Choice. He's been sharp recently and has landed post 3 for this race permitting the driver options to secure the type of trip needed to win. Tony Alagna trains American History, the fastest sophomore of the 2018 season by virtue of his 1:47 Meadowlands clocking in June for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing.

All of the top older mares are in town for the Artiscape (race 9) with division leader Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) seeking to continue her season-long dominance over her rival distaffers. She won 13 of 17 starts and collected over $680,000 for owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King with the Matchmaker, Roses Are Red and Lady Liberty on her seasonal resume. Jim King, Jr is the trainer.

The pacing horses number but five in the Roll With Joe and include last year's winning pair in Dealt A Winner and driver David Miller. The now 6-year-old is rounding into form of late and recently eclipsed the $1 million mark in career earnings for owner Jeffrey Snyder. Mark Silva conditions Dealt A Winner who will face stiff competition from a pair of Burke entries in Rockin Ron (Gingras) and the ageless All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley).

Post time for the big card at Tioga is 1:15 pm.

by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs

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