Saturday, November 13, 2010

Leading Trainer Brainard Sweeps Friday Co-Features

Keep It Fair displayed speed and stamina while winning Friday night’s $13,200 featured pacing contest in 1:52.4 at Vernon Downs.

With Jack Rice at the controls for trainer Tracy Brainard, Keep It Fair ($2.80) advanced from fourth at the quarter to first before the half, and then kept on digging until she had defeated newcomer Snapper in Friday’s seventh race, the week’s top Miracle Mile contest for female representatives of the lateral gait.

The half-length tally was the third in succession, sixth at the meeting, eighth in 2010 and 10th all-time for the 4-year-old daughter of Art Major-Direct Service, who is shared in ownership by Brainard and Andrew Herzog.

Brainard, this year’s leading trainer after 87 local programs with 67 first-place finishes, also owns and conditions Brick ($18.00), who turned a pocket trip into a 1:56.2 victory in Friday’s $10,800 ninth race, the weekend’s top Miracle Mile trot.

Claude Huckabone, Jr. did the teaming as Brick idled behind the pace-setting Queen Creek until the final furlong, and then rallied to earn a ½-length decision over the mile cutter.

It was the fourth season’s score (all at the Downs) and 30th lifetime win for the 8-year-old son of Conway Hall-Tees.

Defending driving champ Jimmy Whittemore posted three tallies during Friday’s 10-race card, while Leon Bailey, the track’s top provisional reinsman for the second straight season, also secured a pair of first-place finishes.

DOWNS DOINGS—Brainard, who won Vernon’s 2008 training title with a single-season record 101 triumphs, currently leads defending champ Jessica Okusko by 11 wins in this year’s conditioning contest…Whittemore now needs nine victories during the remaining three Vernon programs to retain the dash-winning driving championship that he earned for the first time here last season…Saturday night’s 10-race card, which features the week’s premier Miracle Mile pacing events, will begin at 6:55 p.m…The Downs is offering live harness racing on Friday and Saturday nights through November 20.