Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vernon gets ready for season opener

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - by Jim Moran, for Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY --- Vernon Downs will begin its 57th pari-mutuel season with live racing starting at 6:55 p.m. this Friday and Saturday nights. The track’s 90-card campaign will extend through November 27.

Track superintendent Tony Rossi had a look of satisfaction on his face Tuesday morning (April 13) as he watched Diamond Stick Pin and Wake Up Little Gus uncork the fastest pacing and trotting miles, respectively, of the young qualifying season.

With Howard Okusko, Jr. doing the teaming for his wife, trainer Jessica Okusko, Diamond Stick Pin posted a 1:53.2 triumph in Tuesday’s second race, while Robert Moran, steering for owner and trainer Bette Jean Calice, urged Wake Up Little Gus to a 1:56.4 score in the third race.

“We’ve had good weather of late, and the track has shaped up nicely,” Rossi explained. “We resurfaced it yesterday and, after today’s four races, I’d say we’re good to go for Friday night’s opener.”

Downs Doings: Okusko, who also finished first with the trotter Dusty Diamond in Tuesday’s first contest, oversees a 46 horse stable at Vernon, including 17 2-year-olds…Conducting a double-draw on Tuesday, racing secretary Shane Hoehn had more than enough horses for this weekend’s two programs when he opened the entry box. “Everyone is looking forward to getting the live racing underway,” he stated…The Downs will present live racing on Friday and Saturday evenings only during its initial three weekends. Thursday programs will be added starting May 6…Additional information regarding the track and its casino can be obtained at