08/13/2017 6:02PM

Tioga Downs: Sophomore pacers set fields for Empire Breeders Classic finals

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Fred J. Brown
Art Scene (middle) overcame a first-over trip to hand Funknwaffles (inside) a rare defeat in New York

Empire Breeders Classic eliminations for 3-year-old pacers of both sexes took place on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs, and while the favored fillies delivered, a pair of public choices were defeated on the colts side of the ledger.

The biggest surprise occurred in the second $12,500 elimination for colt pacers as 15-1 shot Art Scene (Scott Zeron) wore down 1-9 favorite and leader Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) in the lane to win by a neck in 1:51 2/5.  Music Is Art (Tim Tetrick) finished another neck back in third to also secure a spot in the final.

"Down the backside I just didn't want to ask him for too much because I knew we were coming at the best horse in the race," relayed Zeron.  "I just wanted to let him run his own race.  Around the last turn I felt like he was strong enough, and down the lane Corey and I went a good duel.  He felt great.  We were stepping pretty hard down the lane."

Art Scene, who was sixth against open company in the Cane Pace, is an American Ideal colt trained by Tony Alagna for co-owner/breeder Brittany Farms and co-owners Alagna Racing LLC., In The Gym Partners, and Americam Art Stable.  Winless in one start last year, he has a pair of victories from nine tries in 2017, and he has earned $43,682 lifetime.  He paid $33.20 to win.

In A Single Bound didn't post as big an upset numbers-wise, but he did topple odds-on Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) in the first colt elimination, prevailing in 1:50 4/5.  Driven by Billy Dobson, In A Single Bound was on point at the 27 3/5 opening quarter, then released Miso Fast before the 55 3/5 half.  Miso Fast was still the boss at the 1:23 4/5 three-quarters and around the final bend, but Dobson angled out in the lane and In A Single Bound went by, winning by a quarter of a length.  Outkast Blue Chip (David Miller) came in third.

"That's exactly what I was hoping for (a pocket trip behind Miso Fast)," said Dobson.  "Yeah, he shows a lot on the front-end, but he's probably better off a helmet.  You take him off a helmet, he wants to dig.  He's a good horse, that's all I can say about him."

Monica Krist trains In A Single Bound, a gelded son of Roll With Joe, for owners Dennis and Simone Noud.  This was In A Single Bound's 12th career victory, and he has now banked $128,988.  He returned $5.70 to win as the 9-5 second choice.

The final colt elimination saw Uffizi (Tetrick) click off fractions of 27, 56 2/5, and 1:23 4/5, but 6-5 favorite Heaven's Gait (D. Miller), who worked out a second-over trip behind Chip Walther (Brian Sears), was three-wide to get the lead at the top of the lane, and he would pull away to score by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:50 4/5.  Chip Walther was the runner-up, and Talent Soup (Brett Miller) finished third.

"He felt loaded the whole way," offered David Miller.  "He was very-sharp acting and just waiting for me to ask him.  He feels very good and he fits in with these horses really good.  He can really scoot."

A Rock N Roll Heaven colt, Heaven's Gait is trained by Nicholas Devita for owner/breeder John Cummins.  This was the colt's ninth victory in his career, and he has now put away $146,659.  He paid $4.40 to win.

Here is how the field will line up for next Sunday's colt pace final.  The elimination winners drew for posts between one and six, with an open draw for the rest.

1-In A Single Bound
2-Heaven's Gait
3-Art Scene
4-Miso Fast
5-Music Is Art
6-Chip Walther
7-Talent Soup
8-Outkast Blue Chip
9-Funknwaffles

Over on the filly side, Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) posted her seventh straight victory in their first elimination.  She fronted the field of nine past a 27 1/5 first quarter, a 56 4/5 half, and a 1:24 3/5 three-quarters, then held on to beat Roaring To Go (B. Miller) by a neck in a 1:52 effort.  Obvious Blue Chip (Zeron), Gurl Band K (Tetrick), and Ameraway (Callahan) finished third through fifth, and Ameraway was the fifth-place finisher that ultimately drew into next Sunday's final.Fred J. BrownClear Idea hasn't lost a race since June 2

"She gets a little lackadaisical on the front-end and kind of waits on horses a little bit, but she's always got a little fight and sticks her neck out at the wire," said MacDonald.  "Roaring To Go had a lot of pace and was flying up the rail, but (Clear Idea) likes to fight.  She's actually a little bit better off a helmet, but she's won six or seven in-a-row, and she's so sharp it's hard not to put her (on the front)."

Blake MacIntosh trains and co-owns Clear Idea, a daughter of American Ideal, with Hutt Racing Stable.  Clear Idea now has ten wins lifetime, and she boosted her bankroll to $231,641.  She was the 1-2 favorite and paid $3.10 to win.

Tequila Monday (Sears), who had to settle for runner-up finishes behind Clear Idea in their last two meetings, got away from her today and won in 1:51 flat.  She grabbed control just past the 27 second opening quarter and would not be passed from there, scoring by 2 1/4 lengths over a first-over American Sara (Zeron).  Shepulledthegoalie (D. Miller) and Candlelight Dinner (B. Miller) rounded out the fillies to advance to the final from this elimination.

Tequila Monday, an American Ideal filly, is trained by Chris Oakes for owners North Fork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.  Last year's New York Sire Stakes champion is now ten-for-17 in her career, and she has banked $411,942.  The 1-5 favorite, Tequila Monday paid $2.70 to win.

This is how the fillies will line up for their Empire Breeders Classic final next Sunday:

1-Tequila Monday
2-Clear Idea
3-Obvious Blue Chip
4-American Sara
5-Candlelight Dinner
6-Ameraway
7-Roaring To Go
8-Shepulledthegoalie
9-Gurl Band K