by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Sunday (August 3) afternoon's second Empire Breeders Classic elimination for New York-sired three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will shape up to be a clash of the titans, with classic winners He's Watching and JK Endofanera squaring off in the tenth race on the card.
He's Watching, fresh off his 1:46.4 Meadowlands Pace triumph, drew the inside post in the field of seven, and retains the services of driver Tim Tetrick. The David Menary-trained son of American Ideal missed the board just once in his 14-race career (in his Rooney elimination at Yonkers), but has quickly returned to the form he showed as a two-year-old, where he went undefeated in eight races over his freshman campaign.
The race also drew North America Cup winner JK Endofanera, who lines up from post 3 in rein to Brian Sears. Before a first-over bid in the Meadowlands pace left him fading in the late stages, he rallied well off cover to score a 1:48.4 win in the North America Cup at Mohawk. The Ron Burke-trained son of Art Major has proven victorious in five of seven races on the season.
The top four finishers from the Empire Breeders Classic eliminations, in addition to one fifth-place colt and filly, will advance to next week's finals.
In addition to Tim Tetrick and Brian Sears; top drivers Yannick Gingras, David Miller, and Scott Zeron will participate on the Sunday stakes card at Tioga, competing not only in the Empire Breeders Classic eliminations, but also in the Tompkins-Geers events carded for two-year-old pacers.
Post time for the Sunday program at Tioga Downs is 1:30 p.m. EDT, with a pair of non-wagering Tompkins-Geers events to commence at 1:00 p.m.