08/20/2015 11:17PM

Tioga: Empire Breeders Classic a turning point for Divine Caroline

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Fred Brown
Divine Caroline posted a career best 1:49 4/5 win in her Empire Breeders Classic elimination.

Tioga Downs is the place to be on Sunday as two Empire Breeders Classic finals and the $150,000 Roll With Joe highlight a stellar card of racing at the Nichols, New York track.

While the Roll With Joe appears to be a wide-open event, a pair of horses stand out in the two EBC finals. One of those is the Joe Holloway-trained Divine Caroline in the $269,000 split for 3-year-old filly pacers.

Despite earning $270,468 during her 24-race career, Divine Caroline has been somewhat unspectacular. Her 13-3-4-4 record looks great on paper but even Holloway admits that the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Loving Caroline has yet to live up to her potential.

“Most of her life she has been an underachiever,” said Holloway.

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For a filly that has found ways to lose in winnable situations this year, last week Empire Breeders Classic elimination effort was somewhat refreshing. Driver David Miller flashed good speed to get away in the pocket and Divine Caroline finished up with a big burst of speed when sent to the rim just before the three quarter marker to win going away in 1:49 4/5.

The huge elimination mile by Divine Caroline was a career best and perhaps will be a turning point for her career. “That’s kind of what I’m hoping for,” said a chuckling Holloway. “If it repeats this week, the answer would be yes.”

Even going back two starts to her second-place finish in the Shady Daisy on August 8 at the Meadowlands, you could see that Divine Caroline was making progress.

“Stacia (Hanover) is smaller and quicker and got the jump on her,” said Holloway of the loss.

On Sunday Divine Caroline faces an accomplished but statistically slower group than she has seen over the summer. Installed as the 2-1 morning line choice, Miller will guide Divine Caroline from post two in the field of nine.

Fellow elimination winners Band Of Angels and Moremercy Bluechip are the second and third choices on the early line starting from posts three and four, respectively.

In The Arsenal is the lead dog in the $290,000 colt and gelding EBC final. Leaving from post two as part of a coupled entry with Betting Exchange, the Kelvin Harrison trainee is 8-5 on the morning line on the power of his easy 1:49 3/5 elimination win the previous week.

Six older pacers led by 6-5 favorite State Treasurer signed up for the Roll With Joe. Also driven by David Miller, State Treasurer is off an open-length 1:47 win in the U.S. Pacing Championship on August 8 at the Meadowlands. The coupled team of Clear Vision and Foiled Again check in as the main contenders for the top prize.

Post time for the 13-race Tioga card, which also includes five divisions of the Reynolds series for 2-year-olds, is 1:30 p.m.