Vernon, NY --- Whata Winner tied the season’s trotting standard, while Jesse’s Messenger remained undefeated after nine career starts in separate divisions of the $104,763 John F. Simpson Memorial Stake for 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs on Saturday night.
|Whata Winner sparkled for driver-trainer Jimmy Doherty in his division of the John Simpson, Sr. Stakes on Saturday|
Trainer Jim Doherty drove for his ownership partners Thomas Dillon and Terrax, Inc. as the gelded son of Credit Winner-Whata Chippie earned his third victory in four season’s starts and lowered his lifetime speed-mark by 2-2/5ths seconds. The time also set a new track record for sophomore trotting geldings. Jacob’s Winner established the previous best mark of 1:56.1 in 2007.
The highly regarded Jesse’s Messenger notched her season’s debut in the win column following a 1:55.4 performance in Saturday’s $25, 844 first flight of The Elma. The smooth-striding daughter of Jailhouse Jesse--Laser Messenger drew off from her six rivals in the third race and was well in hand at the finish. Mike Simons drove for trainer Kent Sherman and owner Daryl Sherman as the all-time winner of $134,639 earned a personal-best speed badge.
The $25,344 second division of The Elma went to Impressive Kemp, who powered through the stretch to defeat the pacesetting Muni’s Blue Chip by a head, in 1:57.4. Michael Vanderkemp did the steering for trainer Noel Daley as the quick-footed 3-year-old daughter of Credit Winner--Emilie Cas El scored in her season’s debut and secured her second career victory for owner John Edward Cloutier.
The 1:52 clocking on Saturday by Tuffofthetoughest was just four-fifths seconds off the Vernon all-time record for older pacing horses, set by Goin To The Beach in 2002. The veteran pacer J T Arturo picked up his 64th lifetime victory with a 1:53.1 effort for Marks in Saturday’s final event
Chris Lems and Josh Marks recorded driving doubles during Saturday’s 11-race card.