With eight entrants for the Cane Pace heading straight to the $437,325 final on Labor Day, a quartet of Kindergarten Classic events headline this Sunday afternoon's card at Tioga Downs.
Freshman trotting fillies contest races 8 and 10 on the 13-race card, with the latter division attracting Tompkins-Geers winner Allerage Star (post two) and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (post six).
Four-time winner Mission Brief has amassed quite a résumé already, taking the New Jersey Sires Stakes and Merrie Annabelle finals, both in dominant front-end fashion, while taking a mark of 1:52.2 with Yannick Gingras in the bike. Gingras is once again listed to drive the daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena for trainer Ron Burke.
Allerage Star (Angus Hall-Starry Eyed), the other multiple stakes winner in the field, drew off to a four-length win in her Tompkins-Geers division last week, taking a mark of 1:55.4 in rein to Corey Callahan. Her other victory came in a Kindergarten division at the Meadowlands, holding off Dynamite Dame for a 1:57.2 win. Scott Zeron has been nominated to handle the driving duties by trainer Jessica Okusko.
The first division for fillies, carded as race eight, features George Ducharme trainee Bee The Queen (Donato Hanover-Bee Line), who was a chasing fourth in her prior Kindergarten effort at the Meadowlands, turning in a 1:55.4 effort. With two of her seven rivals making their career debuts, she looks to be the filly to beat.
The 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings contest races four and six with the stakes-placed Wheels Ah Smokin a top contender in the first division.
The Chuck Sylvester-trained son of Muscles Yankee-QuickCreditmost recently finished third in his Tompkins-Geers division at Tioga, and was fourth to Habitat in a prior Kindergarten Classic division at the Meadowlands. Ron Pierce has been assigned to drive Wheels Ah Smokin, who starts from post five.
The field also drew Jimmy Takter trainee Falk On Hill S (Muscle Hill-Unbelievable F) from post four, who looks to rebound from a break in his Kindergarten split at the Meadowlands earlier in the month.
Takter sends out Kindergarten winner French Laundry (Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi) in the second Kindergarten division, who kicked clear to an impressive 1:55.3 Meadowlands win earlier in the month. Usual driver Gingras is down to drive the two-time winner and they start from post four.
Among French Laundry's six rivals is Party On The River (post seven), a Kadabra-Benn's Riverdancecolt who took his 1:58.3 mark in an Ontario Sire Stakes event. Mark MacDonald is listed to drive for trainer Patti Harmon. (Tioga Downs)