Vernon, N.Y. -- Trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt swept Sunday (June 19) evening's Empire Breeders Classic finals at Vernon Downs, as Non Stick ($7.50) and Dante ($11.60) both took full advantage of pocket trips en route to victory.
In the $234,375 Filly Classic, Non Stick avenged defeat in her elimination, but was anything but conservative in the early stages. The 3-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky circled three other leavers en route to a :26.1 first quarter before yielding to Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) on the backstretch. Non Stick never lacked for racing room, drafting behind middle splits of :54.3 and 1:24.2 before vacating the pocket at head-stretch to avoid being boxed by the gradually-gaining Swinging Royalty (Brian Sears). Non Stick vaulted to the lead upon cornering and subsequently parried Swinging Royalty's stout late bid, prevailing by a head in 1:54. Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) stalked live cover and rallied belatedly for third.
Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick with Little E, LLC.
The $222,975 Classic for colts and geldings likewise saw the victor sprint clear, yield, and retake off the far turn, as Svanstedt sent Dexter Cup winner Dante to the fore from post 9 through a :26.2 initial quarter before stablemate The Royal Harry (Mark MacDonald) charged up from third to control the terms with five-eighths of the mile remaining. Dante angled off the pegs after a :57 middle half to once again take charge from his stablemate, vaulting clear by three in head-stretch. Just For Today (Bartlett) mounted good belated gains from the second flight, working into a clear second but missing Dante's 1:52.3 mile by 1-1/2 lengths. Thats a Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) likewise emerged from off the pace to claim third.
Courant AB owns Dante, a 3-year-old son of Credit Winner.
A sizable on-track crowd enjoyed camel and ostrich races as part of the Father's Day festivities at the Miracle Mile.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (June 23), with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.