Odds-on favorites upended in Vernon EBC filly elims
Vernon, N.Y. -- Commanding favorite Non Stick was handed her first career defeat in her Empire Breeders Classic elimination on Friday (June 10) at Vernon Downs, while Fad Finance ($22.60) and Earn Your Wings ($18.20) copped minor upsets in the preliminaries for next week's marquee trotting event.
In the first $12,500 elimination, trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt sprinted to the fore with 1-10 favorite Non Stick, and the pair were unchallenged through splits of :26.4, :56.4, and 1:25.3. At head-stretch, the then-undefeated daughter of Lucky Chucky faced pressure from the two who most directly tracked her, as Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) emerged from the pocket and Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) fanned deeper yet. Fad Finance vaulted to a narrow lead in mid-stretch, battling to maintain a lead over Straight A Student for a 1:54.1 triumph. Non Stick and Lindylicious (Chris Lems) rounded out the top four in the first elimination.
Smedshammer also trains Fad Finance, a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg, and the Rojan Stables.
In the second elimination, Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) took full advantage of a pocket trip, swinging out at head-stretch to duel clear of pacesetter Swinging Royalty (Lems) for a 1:54.4 win. Open Access (Matt Kakaley) rallied belatedly into third, while Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) held fourth.
Anette Lorentzon trains Earn Your Wings, also a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the SRF Stable.
Of the two fifth-place finishers in the eliminations, Dazzling Dollars draws into next week's $234,375 final.
The following ten 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings advance directly to the $222,975 Empire Breeders Classic final: Dante, Just For Today, Omaha Set Hut, Reve Royale, Sir Royson, Smalltownthrowdown, Southern Palms, Sweet Royalty, Thats a Bad Boy, and The Royal Harry.
Both finals will be part of a special Sunday evening card at Vernon, on Father's Day, June 19.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (June 11). Post time is set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.