06/05/2014 9:59PM

Vernon: Smedshammer has a strong pair in Classic Finals

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Trond Smedshammer's Hallanet (2) was on the short end of a three way photo last week that went to Karets (5).

Once a force in all the major trotting races in North America, trainer Trond Smedshammer now focuses his attention on the lucrative New York circuit. The 47-year-old has a strong duo lined up for the Empire Breeders Classic trot finals on Sunday evening at Vernon Downs.

In the $217,725 final for 3-year-old fillies, Smedshammer sends out Crediama from post two with Tim Tetrick taking the return call after steering the daughter of Credit Winner-Mama B to victory in her elimination. Crediama came first-over that night and easily blew past the 2-5 favorite Glowngold for the victory in 1:55 4/5.

“She was very good. If she races the same way on Sunday, she’ll be tough,” said Smedshammer.

Crediama won just one race as a rookie and looking back, the veteran trainer finally is able to put his finger on where it all went wrong.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch the top 3-year-old NY Bred trotters and the full Vernon Downs Sunday card on DRF!]

“She started off good and won her first race at Tioga in (1):57 and change, but then something happened to her. I wasn’t exactly sure. It was something at the barn. A lot of my 3-year-old now have fever rings and a lot underperformed after they got going. It must have been a virus or something,” said Smedshammer.

On Sunday, Crediama faces an impressive group of young fillies that includes fellow elimination winner Avalicious (post 4), and runner-ups last week Glowngold (post 1) and Annies List (post 3).

Smedshammer will send out Hallanet in the $215,125 final for the colts. In last week’s elimination, Hallanet brushed to the front with Smedshammer in the bike and was cruising to an easy victory when the walls came crashing down a few yards from the wire. The Cash Hall-Spin The Planet product had a four length lead in the stretch and wound up third, a neck shy at the wire.

“He just got real lonely on the lead. He wasn’t tired or anything,” said Smedshammer on the sudden stop by Hallanet. “I don’t think he has ever been on the front, and in an open bridle he just started looking around and pulled up.”

At the time Smedshammer was upset because the loss cost him the chance to pick his post in the final, but luck was with him when the colt drew post two in the nine-horse final. While the trainer won’t make any equipment changes, he is hoping a cover trip will fix any issues the 3-year-old may have experienced.

The horse to beat is undoubtedly Expressive Action. Now perfect in two starts this year, the John Grasso trainee scored an easy 1:55 3/5 victory in his elimination. Mike Simons will drive the colt from post four.

The horse that defeated Hallanet in their elimination was Karets. Despite making an uncharacteristic break at the head of the stretch, the colt by American Mike was quickly gathered up by Tim Tetrick and charged home to get the win. He’ll leave from post three on Sunday.

Although Vernon Downs and the Empire Breeders Classic is a far cry from the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, Smedshammer is content as a New York specialist while he bides his time hoping for the right youngster to come along.

“I just have to gradually get better horses again,” said Smedshammer. “I reached the top and I didn’t reinvest a lot to stay on top. I’ve just been playing it low key. New York is a good program and I don’t have that big of an ego that I need to be on top.”

The Empire Breeders Classic finals are scheduled as races six and nine on the 11-race Sunday night program at Vernon. Post time is 6:45PM.