Friday, August 6, 2010

Bet the Ranch Sets Lifetime Mark With Miracle Mile Score

Skad’s Winner and Bet The Ranch were co-featured victors during Thursday night’s 11-race program at Vernon Downs.

Skad’s Winner eked out a 1:56.2 triumph in Thursday’s $10,000 sixth race, the week’s top Miracle Mile trotting contest, while Bet The Ranch uncorked a 1:51.1 tally in the $11,000 ninth event, the week’s MM-1 handicap for female pacers.

Bill Bailey steered Skad’s Winner for trainer Ann Yurenka and owner Mary Apker.

The sure-footed 5-year-old son of Broadway Hall-Angela Lane closed from fourth in the final quarter to move past the pacesetting Armbro Doyle with a head bob in the final stride.

The nose decision marked the fourth season’s score and 11th all-time for the gritty gelding that has earned more than $208,000 during his productive career.

Howard Okusko, Jr. was behind Bet The Ranch, guiding the quick-striding 5-year-old mare to a solid, front-striding score three races later.

The 3-1/4-length verdict resulted in a personal best record, the sixth local victory and 26th lifetime triumph for the bay daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Silksandiamonds, who is registered to Edwin Gold and Conrad Zurich.

Defending conditioning champ Jessica Okusko (Howard’s wife) trains the career winner of $216,917.

Former Downs provisional champ Chris Lems continued his hot streak, recording three first-place driving and training triumphs (Yessir Thatsmybaby, Onedayatatime and Won Night Stand), while the meet’s current driving kingpin Josh Marks also recorded three victories, two (Cool Touch and Striking Rich) for owner and trainer Scott West.

DOWNS DOINGS—After 46 Vernon programs, Bet The Ranch is just one win behind the pacer Up Front Rudy for top honors in equine victories, while Cool Touch is currently tied at five with Fox Valley Majesty for most tallies by a diagonally-gaited performer…There will be no live racing at the Downs on Friday (Aug. 6) due to a Clint Black concert at 8 p.m. However, the track will offer its regular simulcasting slate in the lower clubhouse…Live racing returns at 6:55 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 7).