08/29/2013 11:18PM

Tioga: Sears looks to slay Captaintreacherous again with Vegas Vacation in the Cane Pace

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Vegas Vacation is coming off a 1:48 3/5 win at Tioga.

When they line up behind the gate for the $360,212 Cane Pace at Tioga Downs on Monday, Captaintreacherous will be the heavy favorite. While he is the horse to beat, driver Brian Sears, who scored the upset over the Captain with Sunshine Beach in the Battle Of The Brandywine on August 17, hopes that lightning strikes twice when he steers Vegas Vacation.

Perhaps Vegas Vacation’s resume doesn’t stack up to the lofty standards set by Captaintreacherous, but the son of Bettor’s Delight is ranks a healthy third in earnings against his fellow sophomore pacing rivals. Plus Vegas Vacation has only missed the board once in 11 seasonal starts, sporting an 11-6-3-1 record.

Sears like his horse but respects the Captain.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch the Cane Pace and the best drivers in North America at Tioga Downs on Sunday]

“I think [Vegas Vacation] is in the top three or four (3-year-old pacing colts),but Captaintreacherous is in a class by himself,” said Sears despite his recent success against his rival.

In Vegas Vacation’s most recent race he overcame a tough uncovered trip to win the $257k Empire Breeders Classic by almost two lengths in 1:48 3/5 over the Tioga surface. While it was another strong effort from Vegas Vacation, it was another race where he raced from off the pace. In an age where early speed is dominant, the Casie Coleman trainee has never sprinted off the gate in 27 seconds or lower.

“That is just not his thing,” said Sears on Vegas Vacation’s ability to show early speed. “The trip has to come to him. He doesn’t have the quick speed to make his own trip.”

Without the early speed to take charge and having Captaintreacherous likely to control the race from post two, Sears acknowledged that a first-over trip could be in his future once again with Vegas Vacation. And that might be a better spot than the pocket since there is no passing lane at Tioga.

If Vegas Vacation or any of the other six foes facing Captaintreacherous have any hope of winning, something will have to go wrong for the Captain and right for them.

“Someone would really have to soften [Captaintreacherous] up for us to win from off the pace,” said Sears.

The most likely to rock the boat early is Word Power. The Larry Remmen trained colt has displayed the ability to sprint off the gate on occasion. But driver Jim Morrill, Jr., who will steer from post five, could just as easily hope for a cover trip from Vegas Vacation.

On paper, the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, will go through Captaintreacherous. Despite coming off a narrow defeat, he might have put in his best race of the year in the Battle Of The Brandywine. He battled gamely uncovered and showed heart right through the wire. With the loss still fresh in his mind, there is little doubt that driver Tim Tetrick will be aggressive in this spot and look to control the race.

The Cane Pace is carded as race 10 on a 12-race program at Tioga on Monday, which also offers the $122,212 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Shebestingin headlines a field of eight talented young ladies from post one.

Fans will get the chance to wager on the top drivers in the sport as they compete in the seventh annual $40,000 Drivers’ Championship. The series, which began at Vernon last Sunday and is currently led by driver Jim Marohn, Jr., covers five races on the program. First race post time is 1:30 pm.

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