06/09/2017 8:18AM

Vernon: Ducharme trio looks to make noise in EBC eliminations

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Frances Balzer
Stick With Me Kid has won three of four starts in 2017.

Spending just $16,000 at a yearling sale for an unproven trotter doesn’t generally land one a stakes horse, but when trainer George Ducharme listened to long-time owner Paul Fontaine he agreed that it was worth spending on a son of Deweycheatumnhowe in the 2015 Lexington Selected sale.

“Paul really liked the colt. I looked at him and I liked his conformation,” said Ducharme of Stick With Me Kid, one of 13 and the least expensive horse entered in Friday’s Empire Breeders Classic eliminations at Vernon Downs.

Ducharme has entered three in the event but believes that Stick With Me is likely his best.

“He’s come back very well,” said Ducharme. “I know he only won one race last year but I think he’s matured and understands what to do.”

Stick With Me Kid has an interesting pedigree that perhaps got overlooked at the yearling auction. His dam, Chelsea Hall, was the fourth and last foal of E L Chelsea, who in turn is a full sister to $1.8 million winner Cameron Hall as well as Courtney Hall, the dam of current New York sire E L Titan.

Stick With Me Kid has won three of his first four starts as a sophomore, with his most recent effort a 1:54 triumph in New York Sire Stakes action at Vernon on Memorial Day. In that Sire Stakes division, Stick With Me Kid bravely held off last year’s Grand Circuit stakes winner Bill’s Man, a colt he meets again on Friday night.

Brian Sears was in the bike in every start this year and will guide Stick With Me Kid in Friday’s fourth race, a $12,500 preliminary from post three.

In addition to morning line favorite (6-5) Bill’s Man, who gets underway from post two, Stick With Me Kid will have to deal with a solid Julie Miller-trained entry in Money MacIntosh (post 1) and Top Flight Hall (post 4).

Ducharme will have an entry in the second Empire Breeders division and that may prove necessary as his tandem will be in against Julie Miller’s top New York-bred Devious Man, a NYSS winner in 1:53 3/5 in his season’s debut on Memorial Day.

The Ducharme duo could post a serious threat in this division, especially if DW’s Revenge continues his ascent up the class ladder.

“He won the New York Fair final last year and I got him from Sally (owner Cartier) when I came north this spring,” said Ducharme.

A son of Archangel, DW’s Revenge has won all four of his starts for the new connections, with Ducharme putting him in the Excelsior division of the Sire Stakes to test the waters.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom for this horse yet,” said Ducharme. “He came home in 27 seconds in the Excelsior.”

The victory gave Ducharme the belief that the gelding was ready for the big time and Brian Sears once again will be at the lines from post three.

Patton joins DW’s Revenge as an entry and the Conway Hall sophomore also appears to be heading in the right direction, fresh off a 1:54 3/5 victory in the Excelsior.

After a below par 2-year-old campaign, Ducharme decided to castrate Patton. “I probably should have done that sooner,” Ducharme said.

The biggest problem for Patton last year was that he wasn’t all that handy over the half-mile track, a place where a majority of the NYSS races are held. Ducharme believes that problem may be in the past.

In addition to Devious Man, the 2016 New York Sire Stakes champion, this field also includes Dexter Cup champion Lord Cromwell, most recently second to Devious Man in the NYSS on Memorial Day. Lord Cromwell regains John Campbell for the Empire Breeders Classic trials. The Hall of Fame driver is in his last month of active driving as he is set to retire to become the Executive Director of the Hambletonian Society.

Lord Cromwell has won two of his first three starts as a sophomore for trainer Eddie Hart. He’ll get underway from post six.

Ducharme is also looking forward to racing his 2-year-olds beginning on Friday at Vernon. “I like a couple of the R C Royaltys,” Ducharme said.

The Vernon Downs Friday program offers 13 races including New York Sire Stakes divisions for sophomore pacing fillies. First post is 6:45 p.m.