08/11/2013 5:23PM

Tioga: Vegas Vacation, Shebestingin set track records in Empire Breeders Classic

Ken Weingartner

Vegas Vacation emerged with a powerhouse performance in Sunday’s $257,250 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. The altered son of Bettors Delight was locked in a vicious speed duel with pacesetter and second choice Sunfire Blue Chip for the better part of the final half with Vegas Vacation emerging victorious in 1:48 3/5, a track and stakes mark and equaling the world record over a five-eighths mile course.

The race unfolded with Sunfire Blue Chip and Sir Carys Z Tam hustling hard for the early lead with Sir Carys Z Tam gaining it before the quarter but quickly relinquishing to the second choice Sunfire Blue Chip at the quarter in :26 4/5. Driver Brian Sears, behind the 4-5 favorite Vegas Vacation, waited until past the quarter to get on the move and he methodically worked his way towards the front past a sensible :54 4/5 clocking.

From that point it was a two horse race as Sunfire Blue Chip and driver Yannick Gingras kept to the inside and Sears and Vegas Vacation attacked on the outside. With a three-quarter mile in 1:21 3/5 Vegas Vacation took charge coming off the final turn and sprinted off to a 1:48 3/5 mile for trainer Casie Coleman.

Sunfire Blue Chip held on to second with Sir Carys Z Tam a creditable third.

“We’ll give him some time off,” said Coleman following the race. “I’d like to get him some New York Sire Stakes starts so he could be eligible for the final. We’ll bring him back for the Cane (eliminations at Tioga on August 25).”

Driver Brian Sears didn’t mind having to go without cover with Vegas Vacation. “It’s really his kind of trip especially over this track,” said Sears.

Vegas Vacation paid $3.60 to win.

Earlier in the afternoon Shebestingin set a track and stakes record scoring effortlessly in the $250,750 Empire Breeders Classic for three-year-old pacing fillies. Driver Dave Miller allowed the daughter of Bettors Delight to settle in fourth early and then made a bold move to gain control before a :55 opening half. From that point Shebestingin simply took off losing first over challenger Social Scene down the backstretch and leaving early leader Ballineen in her wake on the final turn. The 1:49 final time eclipsed the mark of 1:49 2/5 by See You At Peelers taken in the same race in 2011 and equaled the world record for three-year-old fillies on a five-eighths mile track.

“I think she’s as good as anyone in the division,” said Joe Holloway the winning trainer following the race. Holloway did recognize current division leader I Luv The Nitelife as a horse his filly will have to beat in order to earn number one billing. The two could hook up again next Saturday (August 17) in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Shebestingin paid $2.50 as the heavy favorite with Ballineen, a 51-1 shot, holding the place spot ahead of Road Bet.

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