06/18/2015 6:43PM

Vernon: Campbell goes for upsets in Empire Breeders Classics

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Barn Doll will likely be a heavy favorite in the Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old fillies.

While bettors will be focused on heavy favorites Barn Doll and the entry of Habitat and Crazy Wow in a pair of rich Empire Breeders Championship races at Vernon Downs on Sunday afternoon, driver John Campbell will be looking to pull off some upsets. The Hall of Fame driver will have to overcome post eight with both Jewels In Hock and Fashion Creditor to visit the winner’s circle.

Starting in the $248,275 final for 3-year-old fillies, Jewels In Hock appears to have a special relationship with Campbell. In four starts this year with his soft hands at the controls, the daughter of Credit Winner-Jewels Galore has three wins and one second-place finish. Her other four starts in 2015 have resulted in four breaks.

[VERNON DOWNS: Watch Sunday's Empire Breeders Classic finals and NYSS--Live on DRF!]

“Sometimes you get along well with a horse, but I think it is more coincidence in this instance,” said Campbell about his good fortune behind the filly.

Jewels In Hock finished a solid second just 2 1/2 lengths behind Barn Doll in last Sunday’s elimination and Campbell was pleased with the performance.

“I was very happy with her last week but Barn Doll was just exceptional,” said Campbell, who admits Jewels In Hock continues to be a work in progress. “She’s had some minor problems and Linda (Toscano, trainer) has been making adjustments with her equipment to get her to handle the way we want.”

Whether or not Jewels In Hock will be able to best 2-1 morning line choice Barn Doll—the NY Sire Stakes champion from 2014—is another story. The Steven Pratt-trained son of Conway Hall has won three straight starts after a narrow loss to start his year in mid-May. Jeff Gregory will drive from post four.

Should she fail to succeed in upsetting in the seventh race on Sunday, Campbell is unlikely to lose faith in Jewels In Hock.

“She has the potential to go with everybody and is looking stronger all the time,” said Campbell when asked about her overall ability.

While the 9-2 morning line Jewels In Hock has a puncher’s chance in the first EBC final, Campbell’s charge in the $255,325 3-year-old colt finale, race nine on the program, has his work cut out for him.

Fashion Creditor, who will be driven by Campbell for the first time in his 14-race career, is coming off a seventh-place finish in a NY Sire Stakes race at Vernon on June 6. Prior to a 1:55 3/5 third-place finish in a qualifier at the Meadowlands on May 30, the gelded son of Credit Winner made breaks in both of his starts.

Campbell, who says he knows nothing about the horse yet, admits that sometimes that is a good thing.

“Sometimes if you get something ingrained in your head that you have to race a horse a certain way, you may overlook what the horse can do,” said Campbell.

The road to the winner’s circle goes through the Ron Burke-trained coupling of Habitat and Crazy Wow. Habitat, starting from post six with Jim Morrill, Jr. in the bike, has won three of four races in 2015 and earned $534,407 as a freshman. Crazy Wow, a two-time winner in three starts this year, is coming off a NY Sire Stakes race where he broke at the start and overcame a 20-plus length margin to pick up the victory. Yannick Gingras drives Crazy Wow from post 11 in the second tier.

The pair of Empire Breeders Classic finals are part of a 14-race card at Vernon that kicks off at 1:15 p.m. and includes 10 NY Sire Stakes races.