Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Defending driving champ Jimmy Whittemore celebrated his 28th birthday with five first-place finishes, including a 1:55.2 triumph with Keep It Fair in Thursday night’s $10,800 featured 10th event at Vernon Downs.

After registering earlier victories with Streeter, Lovely Magic and Final Time, owner Whittemore kept Keep It Fair ($3.60) back in fourth place while Won Night Stand led the field though the three-quarter mark in 1:27.3 on a sloppy track.

After moving up to second in the final bend, the Maine native urged his 4-year-old charge to the front entering the homestretch and they drew off for a five-length score in the weekend’s top Miracle Mile test for female pacers.

It was the fifth season’s score and seventh lifetime tally for the bay daughter of Art Major-Direct Service, who raised her lifetime winnings to $104,365. Whittemore’s father, Dennis, does the conditioning.

Whittemore went on to capture the 11th race with Lekka to record his second five-win outing at the 76-program meeting.

Drivers Ruel “Dude” Goodblood, Jr. and Claude Huckabone, Jr. also posted a pair of victories during Thursday’s 12-race card.

DOWNS DOINGS—Whittemore’s previous five-win outing was Sept. 18…Only leading driver Josh Marks has won more races (seven) on a single Vernon program this season…Whittemore currently trails Marks by 20 wins with 14 programs remaining in the track’s 57th season…Fox Valley Majesty’s win in Thursday’s ninth event (Huckabone steering for owner and leading trainer Tracy Brainard) was his eighth at the meet, tops among trotters and tying him with the pacers Up Front Rudy and Saranac Hanover for most equine tallies to date…Friday night’s 12-race line-up includes four $30,000 New York late-closing championship finals for 2-year-olds. First post will be at 6:55 p.m.