Saturday, June 5, 2010

Marks Hits 1,000

Josh Marks earned his 1,000th career victory while driving Brick to a 1:55.2 tally in Friday night’s $8,100 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.

The talented 27-year-old horseman urged Brick to the front as the starting gate pulled away and he kept the veteran gelding on the front end through splits of :28, :57.3 and 1:26.2 en route to a one length triumph over the betting favorite, Howd That Feel, in the week’s top Miracle Mile trotting contest. As the crowd’s second wagering choice, he paid $7.10 to win.

It marked the third win in the past four starts for the eight-year-old son of Conway Hall-Tees, who secured a fresh speed mark and his 29th lifetime score. Trainer Tracy Brainard owns the career-winner of $136,636.

Marks, the son of veteran trainer Arnie Marks and his wife, Mary Ann, grew up in the Vernon Downs backstretch. He earned his initial driving victory at the Downs on May 10, 2001 and was the harness track’s leading provisional pilot that season with 34 first-place finishes, a track record. The Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School product received his A (regular) license on October 11 of that year.

Marks, the leading race-winning reinsman at Vernon in 2008 with 114 credits, is currently tops in dashes won at the meeting with 55 victories. He presently ranks seventh on the track’s all-time list for drivers of “two-minute” horses with 473.

Nick Salvi, Vernon’s director of racing, congratulated Marks in the winner’s circle following the seventh session.

Marks won three of Friday’s 10 races. His other first-place finishes were with Asabi Hanover and Blue Cam Rock.

Through 19 programs here this season, Marks has chalked up three driving doubles, six triples, three four-win cards, two five-win programs, one six-win night and a seven-win outing on May 20 that tied the track’s single-program record.