05/31/2013 11:50AM

Vernon: To Dream On set for 2013 debut in Empire Breeders Classic

Derick Giwner
To Dream On won 8 of 9 starts and the Breeders Crown in 2012.

The highly anticipated 3-year-old debut of freshman trotting superstar To Dream On will occur Sunday at Vernon Downs in an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic.

To Dream On quickly tabbed herself as a special filly, winning her initial qualifier by 22 lengths. The Jimmy Takter trainee went on to post 8 wins in 9 starts as a rookie and earn $727,320, capping her season off with a Breeders Crown victory.

To Dream On qualified twice (5/4 & 5/25) at the Meadowlands to prepare for her seasonal debut, but the noticeable three week gap between morning efforts could certainly raise some eyebrows. The daughter of Credit Winner-Satin Pillows was actually in the paddock on May 11 but never competed.

“She was kicking in the trailer and was a little swollen in her hind legs,” said Takter, who said the filly is “coming along well” despite suffering a small cut due to the incident.

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Minor setback aside, the Empire Breeders Classic was always the first dance on To Dream On’s card. After Sunday’s race and hopefully a start in the final on June 9, the plan becomes a bit cloudy. And for those that wanted a showdown with the boys, that might not be in the cards.

“I don’t know,” said Takter, a bit hesitant about committing. “She is staked for a couple of races, but probably not; definitely not the Hambletonian. I don’t want her going two heats on the same day against the boys.”

To Dream On (Yannick Gingras, post 4) will face six other modestly accomplished young ladies in the third race on the Vernon card, the first of two eliminations where the top four (and one fifth-place finishers) will advance to next week Sunday’s $237,600 final.

The Vernon program also features a group of 19 colts and geldings vying for a spot in the male version of the $259,900 EBC Final.

In the first elimination (race 7), Fashion Blizzard and Tirade Hanover get to resume a possible rivalry that began when the former scored a nose-long triumph in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final at Yonkers Raceway last September.

The spotlight in race 9, the second EBC division for the boys, will be on Royalty For Life (Tim Tetrick, post 9). Trained by Greg Ducharme, Royalty For Life was a strong second behind the undefeated Wheeling N Dealin in last year’s Breeders Crown and has reeled off three 10-plus length qualifying wins at Vernon to prepare for his possible road to the Hambletonian.

First race post time for the Sunday Vernon card is 1:15 pm.