by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
While North America Cup winner JK Endofanera ($2.50) coasted home in 1:50.1 to win his $54,072 Geers Stake division on Sunday (August 17) at Tioga Downs, the top story of the afternoon saw Father Patrick gamely outkicked by Datsyuk ($52.00) in their $36,036 division of the Arthur Tompkins Memorial.
After an uneventful start, Yannick Gingras sent Father Patrick to the fore, floating clear of Hillustrious (David Miller) with little effort involved through a :57 half mile. The 16-time winner accelerated up the backstretch through a :27.4 third quarter, but Hillustrious was able to keep with him from the pocket. Meanwhile Datsyuk, waiting in the wings thus far, commenced a two-wide rally on the far turn, taking a narrow lead in the final 100 yards en route to a hard-fought 1:53.1 victory. Father Patrick, whose next appearance is slated to be the Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs, was a narrowly beaten second, and Hillustrious held even for third off his pocket trip.
Trainer-driver Charlie Norris co-owns Datsyuk with Leonard Buckner. The Explosive Matter gelding's 1:53.1 mile was the fastest ever at Tioga Downs trotted by a three-year-old gelding.
The earlier Tompkins division for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings saw Nancy Johansson trainee Resolve ($4.40, Corey Callahan) elevated to a win after just missing Sumatra (Brett Miller) in a 1:54.1 mile, as Sumatra was found guilty of a pylon violation upon exiting the final turn.
The Tompkins Memorial for three-year-old trotting fillies saw a field of three contest their $46,572 division off the pari-mutuel card, with Stephen Farrell's Mistresswithmuscle pulling clear for an 11-length win in 1:56.1. Yannick Gingras handled the driving duties for trainer George Ducharme.
Additionally, Tompkins divisions were held for two-year-old trotters of each sex, with Jolene Jolene ($2.10, David Miller) taking her $28,571 split in a track record-equaling 1:55.2 mile. The Jonas Czernyson-trained daughter of Muscle Hill angled wide on the approach to the far turn, pulling clear of Crunchess Finale (Dan Rawlings) for a 4-1/2 length victory. Other two-year-old Tompkins winners included fillies Allerage Star (1:55.4, Corey Callahan) and Dynamite Dame (2:00, David Miller) while trotting colts Muscle Diamond (1:56.2, John Campbell) and Habitat (1:56.4, Yannick Gingras) prevailed in their splits as well.
The Geers Stake for three-year-olds drew a lone division for each sex, with JK Endofanera posting a solid 1:50.1 win in the $54,072 colt division. The son of Art Major controlled the terms throughout, parrying a challenge from the first-over Doo Wop Hanover (Scorr Zeron) before holding off pocket rival Bushwacker (David Miller) by 1-1/2 lengths. Yannick Gingras handled the driving duties for trainer Ron Burke.
The $50,572 filly division went to Katie Said ($6.70), who was sent three-wide on the far turn by Marcus Miller to pass the dueling Uffizi Hanover (David Miller) and 4-5 favorite Precocious Beauty (Doug McNair) for a 1:52.1 victory. Rockingcam Park (John Campbell) chased off cover to take second, while Empire Breeders Classic winner Precocious Beauty faded late to third. Julie Miller trains Katie Said, a three-year-old daughter of Well Said.
Live racing resumes at Tioga with a special Monday (August 18) evening card. First post for the 12-race program is set for 6:15 p.m. EDT.