08/09/2012 3:43PM

Tioga Downs: American Jewel should shine in Empire Breeders Classic

Ken Weingartner
American Jewel hopes to get back on track this Sunday.

The elite of the New York-bred 3-year-old pacing crop will be on hand at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 12 in the Empire Breeders Classic. A $270,400 final for colts and a $250,850 event for the fillies highlight a 12-race card which gets underway at 1:30 pm.

The star attraction on the card and perhaps the best NY Bred in training is American Jewel. The daughter of American Ideal-Trim Hanover has won 4 of 6 starts in 2012 and set a world record (1:48 2/5 – Mohawk Racetrack) along the way.

American Jewel will start from post 3 while part of a Jimmy Takter-trained entry with the also talented Romantic Moment (post 5). The “other” Takter filly has an identical 4 for 6 record but has yet to pace a sub-1:50 mile and sports a lifetime bankroll ($434,252) that pales in comparison to her stablemate ($1,199,905).

While the entry will be odds-on, quite a few of the other eight fillies signed on have strong credentials.

Handsoffmycookie (post 7) has never been worse than second in 17 career starts. The Scott Di Domenico trainee took a month off from pari-mutuel action but tuned up with a 1:54 2/5 qualifying mile at Yonkers Raceway.

Eighthunrdolarbill is another with a nearly perfect record. The Bettor’s Delight-sired lass has 7 wins and 2 seconds in 9 career trips to the track.

When American Jewel finished second in the Mistletoe Shalee at the Meadowlands on July 14, it was Bettor B Lucky who was only a half-length behind her at the wire in third. The Ron Burke-conditioned filly starts from post 2 with a chance at an upset.

The EBC final for colts sports a star in his own right. Heston Blue Chip has devoured his NY-sired competition in 2012. His only loss in eight starts came against the nation’s best 3-year-olds in the Meadowlands Pace, where he lost by only two lengths.

A career winner of 18 races in 21 starts, Heston Blue Chip lays over his eight foes in Sunday’s tenth race. Driver Tim Tetrick, who has a chance at a big payday since he also drives American Jewel, will steer Heston Blue Chip from post 2.

Heston Blue Chip’s trainer, recent Hambletonian-winning trainer Linda Toscano, might have the second choice in the wagering as well. She sends out Bettor’s Edge from the rail and Forever Just from post 6. Bettor’s Edge, like stablemate Heston Blue Chip, won his EBC elimination last week.

Burke has a chance at an upset in the colt division with Breakin The Law. The nine-time winner in 2012 was a solid second behind Heston Blue Chip in last week’s eliminations.

The Empire Breeders Classic events go to post as races 9 and 10 on the program and kick off the track’s pick four.