Saturday, June 7, 2014

‘Empire’ championships highlight hopefuls at Vernon

The Empire State is once again in a spotlight, with its top colts and fillies competing in the Empire Breeders Classics (EBC) this Sunday, June 8, at Vernon Downs.  

The filly EBC carries a purse of $217,725, with three August-classic hopefuls competing for a piece (Glowngold, Beauty Of Gray and Slice Slice Baby). The nine gals lining behind the gate for this event make it a wide-open affair with value in many of our options. Of the two elimination winners, Crediama appears to have the most value. She won her elim impressively, sweeping by horses to take the lead and draw clear to a 3-length victory. That effort shows she has awakened and could be even stronger heading into the final. Slice Slice Baby might offer a good price in the exotics, with her closing ability compensating for her draw of post 9. Keying her with the favorite, likely to be Avalicious, might provide for a nice trifecta.

A trio of eligible colts comprise the nine-horse field in the $215,125 colt EBC final for the boys--Karets, Explosive Action and Rocky De Vie. Karets and Explosive Action won their eliminations last week, assuring them as probable favorites in this race.

Yet, the Trond Smedshammer-trainee Hallanet has shown promise in his two starts of 2014. Finishing third in a sires stake at Tioga, he followed it with a third-place effort to Karets in his elimination. Hallanet had made a move to the lead around the half, which could be the culprit for his faltering, although he was only a neck from victory. He draws well to get a stalking trip, something he needs to have any chance to win.

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail blog for updates and races involving eligibles through July and for live coverage from TwinSpires on Hambletonian day. Read race results at the special section archived at the Hambletonian Society web site. 

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