08/28/2016 4:25PM

Tioga: Fresh Cut pulls the upset in Empire Breeders Classic for colt pacers

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Fred J. Brown
Fresh Cut has now won four of his last five starts

Fresh Cut, who had won four times on the New York Excelsior circuit this year, stepped up to face New York's best 3-year-old colt pacers in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs the last two weeks, and after a second-place finish in his elimination, he did one better in the $240,475 final Sunday afternoon, winning in 1:51 1/5.

Driver Marcus Miller had Fresh Cut, who was dispatched at odds of 17-1, on top at the 26 4/5 opening quarter, but heavily-favored American Passport (Scott Zeron) rolled first-over out fourth as they raced in the frontstretch the first time, and he would clear Fresh Cut for the first position before the half, which went on the board in just 55 seconds.

American Passport would go on to hit three-quarters in 1:22 2/5, and since he hadn't faced a first-over challenge while on the lead, it figured he'd be able to seal the deal.  However, Fresh Cut was brought to the outside as they turned for home, and he would surge by the public choice to regain the lead.  Stolen Glimpse (Yannick Gingras) also came with a late bid, but had to settle for second, a length behind the winner, and American Passport saved third.

"I think it worked out good for him," Miller said about Fresh Cut's experience in the Excelsior Series.  "He just kept getting braver and braver throughout the season, and he just was ready at the right time to get the big money.

"He was really good last week.  He kind of got stuffed in a little bit in the last turn, and I think I might have shut off his air coming off the last turn.  I thought if his trip worked out similiar, which it ended up being about exactly the same, and I could move him just a little bit sooner, he'd probably have more go, and he did."

Marcus's father Erv Miller trains Fresh Cut, an American Ideal colt, for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable.  This was his ninth victory from 23 career tries, and he has now banked $198,522.  He paid $36.00 to win.