by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
Vernon, N.Y. -- A special Sunday (June 19) night card at Vernon Downs features over $450,000 in purses for top New York-sired 3-year-old trotters as a pair of Empire Breeders Classic events share top billing on the 10-race program.
Elimination winners Fad Finance and Earn Your Wings both look to upend last year's Sire Stakes superstar Non Stick in the $234,375 Filly Classic, carded as race seven. Fad Finance (post 5, 3-1 part of entry) stayed in close attendance to a strong early pace, pouncing on the then-undefeated Non Stick at the eighth pole and holding off a late charge from Straight A Student in 1:54.1. Trainer Trond Smedshammer also drives the daughter of Credit Winner. Earn Your Wings (post 6, 2-1 part of entry) likewise pounced late off a tracking trip in her elimination, sprinting off to a 1:54.4 victory over Swinging Royalty and Open Access. Jason Bartlett once again drives the Credit Winner filly for trainer Anette Lorentzon.
In the $222,975 Classic for colts and geldings, Sir Royson (post 7) has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The son of Crazed prevailed in both of his New York Sire Stakes races so far this season, winning from both on the lead and from off the pace. Jim Marohn, Jr. drives the five-time winner for trainer Linda Toscano. Among his eight rivals are Dexter Cup winner Dante (Åke Svanstedt, post 9) and last year's Sire Stakes runner-up Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley, post 3).
Camels and ostriches make their annual stop at the Miracle Mile on Sunday evening as well for a pair of non-wagering exhibition events after the second and fifth races. The camels and ostriches, from Hedrick's Animal Farm in Kansas, will compete in the early part of the card, as they do at many events nationwide. Post time for the Father's Day card is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.