by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Facing seven rivals and a track bias which played in the favor of stalkers and closers, Lyonssomewhere ($40.20) held sway from odds-on favorite He's Watching for a 1:49.4 victory in the $437,325 Cane Pace, the featured event on a star-studded Labor Day (September 1) card at Tioga Downs.
Embroiled in an early duel with Luck Be Withyou, Yannick Gingras pushed to the fore with Lyonssomewhere on the first turn, but was pushed through a taxing :53.3 first half mile. With JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) commencing a first-over rally off the clubhouse turn, Ron Pierce elected to vacate the pocket with Luck Be Withyou, pushing the pace harder still with three-eighths to go. While Lyonssomewhere responded to the challenge, Luck Be Withyou faded into the far turn, forcing JK Endofanera three-wide past three-quarters in 1:21.3. Meadowlands Pace winner and 2-5 favorite He's Watching (Tim Tetrick) was ultimately forced four-wide before he could unleash his kick, but was four lengths in arrears approaching the top of the stretch. Despite a gallant effort in the final yards, He's Watching could not catch the longtime pacesetter Lyonssomewhere, who held sway by half a length over He's Watching. Doo Wop Hanover rallied from last to take third.
Jimmy Takter trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere for Geoffrey Lyons Mound.
The undercard featured the $124,325 Shady Daisy for three-year-old pacing fillies, with Also Encouraging ($7.40) rallying down the grandstand side off a fourth-over trip to beat Katie Said (Marcus Miller) and Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras) in 1:52 after Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) was worn down on the far turn after setting torrid fractions. David Miller handled the driving duties aboard the Western Terror filly for trainer Casie Coleman.
Additionally, top distaff trotters contested a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event, with Charmed Life ($19.60) establishing a new overall trotting track record in a 1:52.2 effort, kicking cover to beat Classic Martine (Tim Tetrick) and Frau Blucher (Ron Pierce). Jody Jamieson drove the four-year-old daughter of Majestic Son for trainer David Menary.
The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third.
Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Thursday (September 4), with first post set for 6:15 p.m. EDT.