Thursday, December 29, 2011
With 2011 winding down, we decided to look back at the 58th season of racing at Vernon Downs and select our top 5 races of the year.
#5 New York Sire Stakes - July 9th
She was the darling of the summer and See You at Peelers brought her gaudy winning streak to Central New York in early July. Fresh off her wins in Canada, See You at Peelers moved to the front around the first turn and never looked back, pacing under the wire in a track record time of 1:51.1 with driver Marcus Johansson. It was her 19th straight win and her second track record at Vernon Downs.
#4 Muscle Hill Open Mare Trot - September 2nd
Labor Day weekend kicked off with the biggest night of racing on the Vernon Downs calendar. The co-main event featured North America's fastest trotting mares and the ladies did not disappoint. The field included multiple divisional champion Buck I St Pat, track record holder Autumn Escapade and defending race champion Yursa Hanover. But a new star was fastest when Action-Broadway trotted fastest to win in 1:54.2 with Vernon native Brian Sears in the sulky. Action-Broadway was voted a Dan Patch divisional award winner.
#3 Turn Back the Clock Rewind Races - November 5th
When the calendar reached November, the clocks were turned back an hour and so were the races at Vernon Downs. For the first time in track history, two races were conducted in the opposite direction. Race Secretary and track announcer Scott Warren dubbed the two races, one trot and one pace, the Turn Back the Clock Rewind Races. Both events were conducted at 7/8 mile. Famous Image and Mike Eaton were victorious in the trot while Brian Connor and Noble Wabbit took the pace.
#2 Empire Breeders Classic Final - May 30th
The colt trotters stepped out on the track on Memorial Day chasing a big payday. Dejarmbro finished 2011 with more than $900,000 in earnings, but he was upset in the final stride by the late Whatever It Takes in a thrilling renewal of the EBC.
#1 Credit Winner Open Trot - September 2nd
San Pail was nearly flawless in 2011, winning 14 times from 16 starts with earnings of more than $1.2 million. One of his 14 wins came at Vernon Downs when he got past Lucky Jim in the shadow of the wire to win the Credit Winner in an all-time track record time of 1:51.1. Randy Waples traveled in from Canada for his regular seat behind San Pail, who has been named the top aged trotter and is the favorite to take down Horse of the Year honors. For now, his performance in the Credit Winner is good for our top race of 2011.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Vernon Downs today announced they have donated $2,500 worth of toys to Toys For Tots.
Every Monday in December, guests were able to donate points they accrued from their gaming activities.
Together, Vernon Downs and their guests were able to fill a truck full of toys which were presented days before Christmas to representatives of the Marines and the Syracuse Branch of Toys For Tots.
Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events.
The property employs almost 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a recently expanded Events Center.
It is located near Routes 5 and 31 in Vernon, NY.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Vernon Downs recently concluded its 58th season of live racing with impressive increases in wagering handle, bucking nationwide trends.
Live on-track handle increased 4% over 2010 while export handle went up a staggering 35%.
"We're very pleased with the successful 2011 meet and would like to thank our customers and horsemen for their support throughout the year," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Regional Vice President of Racing and Simulcast. "Our substantial increase in live and export handle shows the continued growth of a quality racing product that has been well-received both on track and throughout North American simulcast facilities and advanced deposit wagering platforms."
Racing Secretary Scott Warren was instrumental in putting together full, competitive races throughout the 90-day season, his first at the Central New York oval.
An all-time track record performance by San Pail in the $218,000 Credit Winner Open Trot topped the list of impressive stakes performances during the meet.
The 7-year-old, likely Horse of the Year, posted a 1:51.1 win over former champion Lucky Jim for co-owner/trainer Rodney Hughes and partner Glenn Van Camp.
Other stakes highlights of the season included a track record win by See You At Peelers, her 19th straight win during her much celebrated 22-race winning streak.
Kenneth Sommer's Action-Broadway won the meet's premier mare trot, the Muscle Hill, in 1:54.2.
Gym Tan Laundry broke the track record for 2-year-old gelding trotters with his 1:55.3 score in the $200,500 Kindergarten Classic for the Adam Victor & Son Stable and Lady Andi took the $182,500 filly division in 1:57.3 for trainer Larry Rathbone.
Racing returns to Vernon Downs in April 2012, pending regulatory approval.
For more information on Vernon Downs, visit their website at www.vernondowns.com.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
1. Jimmy Whittemore 108 wins
2. Rick Plano 81 wins
3. Frank Milby 78 wins
4. Chris Lems 67 wins
5. Claude Huckabone, III 43 wins
6. Howard Okusko, Jr 38 wins
6. Roman Lopez 38 wins
8. Frank Davis 35 wins
9. Jack Rice 32 wins
10. Brian Connor 31 wins
10. Leon Bailey 31 wins
1. Tracy Brainard 56 wins
2. Rick Plano 49 wins
3. Jessica Okusko 35 wins
4. Dave Dewhurst 33 wins
5. Roman Lopez 29 wins
6. Dennis Whittemore 28 wins
7. Dan Daley 25 wins
The fleet-footed pacer Western Tsunami wired five feisty foes in 1:51.3 to capture the $10,000 featured eighth event as Vernon Downs closed out its 58th live harness racing season on Saturday night (Nov. 19).
With Brandon Simpson sulky-sitting for trainer Tracy Brainard in the 90-card meeting's final Open contest, Western Tsunami ($7.00) sped through splits of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23.4 en route to a three-quarter length decision over Restless Yankee.
Saturday's score was the first at the Downs this year, the fourth in 2011 and 39th all-time for the 8-year-old son of Western Hanover-Ron's Girl, who is shared in ownership by Brainard and her partner Andrew Herzog.
The win pushed the gritty gelding's lifetime earnings to more than $307,800.
Former provisional driving champion Leon Bailey earned three victories during Saturday's card, while drivers Simpson, Brian Connor and trainer Brainard were each credited with a pair of first-place finishes.
During Saturday's 10-race card, former track driving champions John Stark, Jr. and the late Gary Gibson were inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association's Hall of Fame for 2011.
Jason Settlemoir, vice-president of racing and simulcasting for both Vernon and its sister track, Tioga Downs, and a 2011 UNYC Hall of Fame inductee himself, presented championship checks to the meet's leading driver, Jimmy Whittemore (108 wins), and trainer, Brainard (56 victories).
Also recognized during the program was Track Superintendent Tony Rossi, whose well-manicured seven-eighths-mile oval yielded 1,079 miles in 2:00 for faster during the April 15 to Nov. 19 campaign, including the fastest trotting mile in the track's history, a 1:51.1 effort by San Pail on Sept. 2.
The Vernon all-time 1:49.4 pacing standard was equaled for the third time in 2011 by Go Go Solano on Nov. 12.
A total of 15 track records were set or equaled during the seven-month meeting.
The pacer Hay Goodlooking was the winningest equine of 2011 locally with eight wins, while DL Cruiser and Enlightened tied as the top race-winning trotters with seven scores each.
"We had a very good race meeting this year at the Downs," said Settlemoir during the program. "I'd like to thank all of our customers and the horsemen who support us and the great sport of harness racing year after year in central New York. We look forward to another live meeting starting in mid-April next year, pending regulatory approval."
DOWNS DOINGS - Settlemoir also wished the track's fans and horsemen a happy and healthy holiday season... Truman Gale emerged as Vernon's top provisional driver for 2011 with 20 triumphs... All of the track's simulcasting during the off-season (afternoons and evenings) will be conducted in Vernon's hotel simulcasting center... A fireworks display was conducted after the evening's 10th race... Additional information regarding the track, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Mr. Avalanche brushed by the favorite Scorpion Moon in late stretch to win Friday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.
With Chris Lems handling the lines for trainer Paul Drante, Jr., Mr. Avalanche ($10.80) drafted along in the pocket behind the mile-cutting, crowd choice Scorpion Moon until the final furlong, and then scurried to the front to win the week's Open trot by a neck in 1:57.
Friday's first-place finish was the fourth at the Downs this season, the seventh in 2011 and the 12th all-time for the 5-year-old son of Striking Sahbra-Epoque Effe.
Jeremy Godfrey owns the career-winner of $65,274.
The win was one of four during Friday's 12-race card for Lems, currently fourth on the meet's driving chart with 67 tallies.
The 24-year-old reinsman captured the Early Double with the pacer On That Note and trotter Brilliant Thunder, and then won the fourth event with the trotter Rhythmic Moves before earning his initial four-bagger of Vernon's current campaign.
DL Cruiser (1:59.1) and Enlightened (1:59) each tied at seven for most trotting victories at the meet after finishing first in the evening's eighth and 12th races, respectfully.
The eight-time winning pacer Hay Goodlooking is tops in equine scores with one program remaining in the track's 58th season.
DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional drivers Truman Gale, Josh Kinney and Michael Miller posted their 20th, eighth and sixth wins, respectively, during Friday's program... The Downs will conclude its 2011 live-racing season with tomorrow night's 10- race card that includes the week's $10,000 Open pace in race eight. First post will be at 6:55 p.m. Former Downs driving champions John Stark, Jr. and the late Gary Gibson will be inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of the U. S. Harness Writers Association's Hall of Fame during Saturday's program. The harness track's 90-card campaign will end with a fireworks display following the evening's last race... Additional information regarding the track, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Vernon Downs is set to kick off its final weekend of live racing action this weekend beginning on Friday night with a 12-race card at 6:55 pm.
The 90-day race meet then concludes on Saturday night with 10 races beginning at 6:55 pm, followed by a fireworks display immediately following live racing.
"We have had a very good race meet this year at Vernon Downs and would like to thank all of our customers who support us year after year in the Vernon area," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast. "We look forward to another great race season in 2012, and would like to wish all of our customers and horsemen a happy and healthy holiday season."
Saturday night's 10-race card will feature a six horse $10,000 Open pace led by Up Front Tim T from the Mark Ford Stable.
Coming off of two recent starts in the $75,000 claiming ranks, Up Front Tim T sports a record of six wins in 28 seasonal outings good for earnings of more than $106,000.
Vernon Downs leading reinsman, Jimmy Whittemore, will do the driving from post position number one.
For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at www.vernondowns.com.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Go Go Solano tied the all-time track pacing standard at Vernon Downs with a blistering 1:49.4 performance on a clear, but chilly Saturday evening (Nov. 12).
A 1:51 winner here at age three, Go Go Solano was assigned the outside eight post by racing secretary Scott Warren for Saturday's $10,000 Open contest.
With Greg Merton doing the teaming for trainer Jordan Rubin in race eight, the favorite Go Go Solano ($3.40) battled with Mystical Valentine for the lead past a :27-second opening quarter, took command going to the half (timed in :55.2), drew off past the third split in 1:22.4, and then tossed in a :27-second closing kicker to win by 7-3/4 lengths.
The sizzling showing tied Vernon's 58-year-old pacing standard that was set by My Little Dragon in 2008 and equaled by Stonebridge Wish in 2010.
In addition to dropping his personal best time by 1-1/5 seconds, the fast paced mile tied the track's aged pacing standard that Stonebridge Wish established on June 5th of last year.
It also marked the 16th track record performance of the season at the central New York 7/8ths-mile oval.
In addition to being his first Vernon score of 2011, it was the fifth season's victory and 14th lifetime win for the 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Real Excitement, who is owned by Richard Lombardo and Howard Taylor.
The rapid-striding gelding increased his career earnings to $609,605.
Go Go Solano's effort was one of four first-place finishes during Saturday's 11-race card for driver Merton, who also captured the seventh race with the pacer You Bet Your Glass, the ninth event with the pacer One More Day and the final contest with the pacer Spartacus Jim.
Driver Roman Lopez and trainer Arnie Marks were also credited with doubles during the track's 88th program.
DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional driver Chris McCracken earned his fourth win at the meet following a gate-to-wire effort behind Bill McCracken's trotter Crestwood Katch Me in race six... Only two more live racing programs remain in Vernon's 58th season... The Downs will offer live racing again next Friday and Saturday, ending its 90-card campaign on Nov. 19 with a spectacular fireworks display. First post each evening will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The veteran trotter Scorpion Moon earned his 79th career victory with a 2:00 triumph in Friday night's $8,000 featured eighth race at Vernon Downs.
Claude Huckabone, III did the teaming for trainer Tracy Brainard as the favorite Scorpion Moon ($5.30) rallied from last at the half to fifth at the ¾-mile marker.
Competing over a track rated "good" due to persistent snow and rain, the 10-year-old gelding closed from second in the stretch to catch and pass the pace-setting fourth wagering choice, Unshakeable, by one length at the finish.
Friday's tight tally was the third this season (all at the Downs) for the son of Armbro Scorpion-Angie's Nugget, who is shared in ownership by Brainard and Andrew Herzog.
The gritty bay battler is currently a career winner of more than $867,500.
Two-time defending driving champion Jimmy Whittemore delivered his ninth triple of the 87-program meeting, while top trainer Brainard, along with owner Herzog, scored twice during Friday's 10-race card.
Huckabone, III and Joe Nassimos also posted twin driving victories.
DOWNS DOINGS - With three programs remaining in the track's 58th season, Whittemore has 107 driving victories, while Brainard, seeking her second conditioning crown in a row and third overall, has 54 first-place credits... Top provision driver Truman Gale hiked his win total at the meet to 19 after a score behind Greg Robinson's trotter Enlightened in Friday's second race. The victory tied the 9-year-old gelding with Canouan and DL Cruiser at six for most local trotting tallies thus far in 2011... Tomorrow night's 11-race line-up, which includes the week's $10,000 Open pace in race eight, will begin at 6:55 p.m... Vernon will offer live racing on Friday and Saturday next weekend, ending its 90-card campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association is proud to announce that John Stark, Jr. and the late Gary Gibson will be inducted to their Upstate New York Harness Racing Hall of Fame representing Vernon Downs.
John Stark, Jr. comes from a harness racing family. His late father, John, and sisters Cindy, Laurie and Jodi have all had successful careers in the sport. He started working in the barn when he was only 4 years old and began his driving career in 1977 when he was 18. Stark was synonymous with Vernon Downs through the mid-1980s. He was the top provisional driver in both 1977 and 1978. He later won both the dash-winning (124) and percentage (.350) driving titles in 1985. He added dash titles in 1986 (158), 1987 (127) and 1988 (188), as well as additional percentage championships in 1987 (.307), 1988 (.358), 1997 (.472), 2001 (.471) and 2003 (.449). He was also the track’s top trainer for wins in 1987 (64) and 1988 (76), and percentage in 1987 (.362) and 1988 (.365).
Stark raced at several tracks after leaving Vernon in 1989 and was equally successful wherever he went. He captured a dash title at Muskegon and both dash and earnings titles at Fairmount Park and Saratoga Raceway.
Stark achieved his greatest success in the sport training and driving the remarkable pacing filly Bunny Lake. At two, the daughter of Precious Bunny was flawless in NYSS action, capturing four legs and then going wire-to-wire in 1:58.3 in the $150,000 final.
In her 3-year-old campaign Bunny Lake scored 18 consecutive victories and earned $1,146,219, the most money (at the time) ever banked by a pacing female in a single season. Stark drove her to victories in the $150,000 New York Sire Stakes Final and the $812,292 Breeders Crown Final. Bunny Lake was selected as the 2001 Horse of the Year, as well as Pacer of the Year and 3-year-old filly pacer of the year.
Bunny Lake retired with 47 career wins and $2,843,476 in purse money. Her lifetime mark was 1:49.
Other top horses over the years for Stark include Total Composure, Commanche N, Battle Front, Teeth Of The Dog, Getting Personal, Adadot, Mimz, Hamilton White and Algiers Hall.
To date, John Stark, Jr. has amassed 4,088 driving wins and $20,961,807 in purse money, as well as 1,328 training wins and $15,675,191 in purse money. He is the consummate horseman and is still going strong.
Gary Gibson followed his uncle, Avery, into the Standardbred sport. After working for both the Fred Haslip Stable and the Webster Farms training facilities in western New York, Gibson began his driving career on the Buffalo Raceway/Batavia Downs circuit. Following success at those half-mile tracks, the young trainer/driver made a seamless transition to Vernon Downs’ chute-attached three-quarter-mile oval in the early 1970s with the stated goal of becoming a Grand Circuit reinsman.
Developing into one of Vernon’s most sought after catch-drivers, Gibson went on to capture four race-winning titles at the Downs (1979-1981 and 1997). He also ranks among the central New York track’s all-time leaders in total victories and 2:00 driving credits. In 1991, his best year statistically, “Gibby’s” black, gold and green colors visited the winner’s circle 125 times and he earned $396,469 in purses.
Gibson achieved both his Grand Circuit goal and his ambition to drive in harness racing’s top trotting race, the Hambletonian, when he piloted JD’s Tryst in the second division of the 1982 edition. He also achieved notoriety and success in the New York Sires Stakes program.
Gibson’s quiet personality translated well to his driving style. He had a natural ability to sit patiently with a trotter, but he was equally adept with pacers. Respected and well-liked by his fellow horsemen, Gibson’s motto was “You’re only as good as your last drive.” He was noted for his pleasant, easy-going personality, quick wit and his unique laugh.
Some of the many recognizable horses that Gibson drove include Honest Hobby Horse, Romy The Governor, Midnight Occasion, White Rock Fella, JJ’s Apollo and Rapunzel’s Star.
During his career, he amassed 2,999 wins and $7,279,567 in purse money.
Gary Gibson died Oct. 6, 2006, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Syracuse following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 62.
The ceremony for John Stark, Jr. and the family of Gary Gibson will be held trackside at Vernon Downs on Saturday (Nov. 19).
You can view pictures and biographies of all 21 inductees of the Upstate New York Harness Racing Hall of Fame by clicking this link.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Mystical Valentine delivered a strong stretch kick to capture Saturday night's $10,000 Open pace, while the trotter Famous Image and pacer Noble Wabbit each established Vernon Downs records for going 7/8ths-of-a-mile - the wrong way around the track.
With Leon Bailey steering for trainer Dave Dewhurst, Mystical Valentine ($16.60) idled in second early in the ninth race, got shuffled back to third around the final turn, and then unleashed a spirited speed-spurt in the final furlong to post a 1:53.1 victory over the favorite, Restless Yankee.
The 5-year-old gelding's three-quarter-length tally was his second in succession, sixth at the meet, eighth this season and 21st all-time.
Philip K. Hale owns the bay son of Dream Work-Sneakheravalentine, who increased his career bankroll to more than $319,200.
In conjunction with daylight savings ending, Racing Secretary Scott Warren carded both a trot and a pace to be raced once around Vernon's 7/8ths mile oval in the opposite direction from harness racing's counter-clockwise standard.
The fifth and sixth events on Saturday's 12-race card were dubbed the "Turn Back The Clock Rewind Races."
Famous Image, owned, trained and driven by Michael Eaton, collected his fourth win in a row after a 1:47 effort in the $5,000 fifth race, while Noble Wabbit, owned, trained and driven by Brian Connor, snared his second score in succession with a 1:42.3 tally in the $5,000 sixth event.
The record-setting performances marked the 15th time that new standards have been authored during the track's 58th season.
Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore earned his eighth triple in 86 programs, while Dan Daley, who carded a "hat-trick" here on Friday night, secured a pair of Saturday scores.
DOWNS DOINGS - Only four more live programs remain during the track's 58th campaign. Vernon will offer a Friday and Saturday schedule only for the final two weekends of its 90-card campaign, ending live racing on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Yankee Manny survived an overland journey to snare a 1:57.2 triumph in Friday night's $8,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.
Facing seven formidable foes, Yankee Manny ($7.80) moved up steadily from fifth at the quarter to third at the half and second entering the stretch, building up a two-length lead in the process.
The Dan Daley-driven Hallin Cash escaped from traffic in the final eighth and unleashed a strong stretch brush, but came up a half-length short of the winner at the finish.
The favorite, Scorpion Moon, finished third.
The win was the fourth at the meet, eighth this season and 19th all-time for Yankee Manny, a 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Yankee Minuet, who is owned by Brian P. Green.
He's now a career-earner of $98,902.
Yankee Manny's determined effort provided trainer/driver Frank Davis with his eighth two-win sulky-sitting outing at the 85-program meeting.
He had won the previous race with the pacer Pounne De Luxe (1:55.3).
Daley, who captured the evening's first two events with the trotters Spin Spanky Spin (1:59.1) and Double D Fine (1:59.3, added another first-place finish with the trotter Tap Tap Dance in the fourth event to secure his first triple of the track's 58th season.
DOWNS DOINGS - First-time Vernon starter Ryan Lems won Friday's third race with the pacer Bam's Hottie, who paid $115.50 for finishing first. Lems is the cousin of Downs regular Chris Lems... Only five more live programs remain during the track's 58th campaign... Saturday's 12-race line-up includes a pair of 7/8ths-mile races going clockwise around the track, plus the week's $10,000 Open pace in race nine... Vernon has switched to a Friday and Saturday schedule only for the final three weekends of its 90-card campaign, ending live racing on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
With the upcoming daylight savings upon us this weekend, Vernon Downs race secretary, Scott Warren, has decided to shake things up and for the first time in the track's 58-year history, two races on Saturday night will be raced in the opposite direction.
Dubbed the "Turn back the clock" rewind race, eight trotters and eight pacers will race at a distance of 7/8th's of a mile in the opposite direction as they normally go.
The rewind races have been carded as race number five for the trotters and race number six for the pacers, each for a purse of $5,000.
"We had a great response from our horsemen at Vernon for these two events, and are looking forward to giving our fans something a little different to come see this weekend at Vernon Downs," said race secretary Scott Warren.
Vernon Downs has switched to its November schedule of two race days a week, and kicks off its two-day race weekend on Friday, November 4th with a post time of 6:55 pm.
Closing night of the 2011 race season at Vernon Downs is on Saturday, November 19th and will be capped off with a fireworks display following live racing.
For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at www.vernondowns.com.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Maryann Plano's Hay Goodlooking became the winningest equine performer after 84 season's offerings at Vernon Downs following his 1:53.1 score in Saturday night's $10,000 featured Open pace.
Facing six select rivals in race nine, the favored Hay Goodlooking ($4.60) went right to the front for driver/trainer Rick Plano and cut fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24.3 before earning a neck triumph over the fast-closing newcomer El Ringer.
While turning in the fastest mile during Saturday's chilly 10-race card, Hay Goodlooking secured his second win in a row and eighth at the meeting, giving him a one-win edge over fellow side-wheeler Rosa Villa.
It marked the ninth win in 2011 and the 25th all-time for the 5-year-old son of Art Major-Monique's Legacy, who bumped his career bankroll to more than $405,300.
The win was one of three during the evening for Plano, who finished his Vernon stay with 81 first-place driving wins and 49th training tallies, both figures good enough for second place on the meet's driving and conditioning charts, respectively.
He will be shipping his superb stable to Florida's Pompano Park early next week.
Maryann Plano's pacer Dot's Bigboy also finished first during the program, giving her an owner double, while leading driver Jimmy Whittemore and trainer/driver Roman Lopez also delivered a pair of victories.
DOWNS DOINGS - Whittemore raised his win total to 101 following catch-driving scores behind the pacers Major's Centerfold and Spartacus Jim... Canouan and DL Cruiser are tops in trotting tallies at the meet with six scores each... There were three dead-heat finishes during the evening, two for second place... The Vernon based 2-year-old colt trotter Royal Shyster finished fifth in his class with trainer Dan Daley driving during Saturday night's Breeders Crown competition at Canada's Woodbine Racetrack... Only six more live programs remain during the track's 58th season... Vernon will switch to a Friday and Saturday schedule only for the final three weekends of its 90-card campaign, ending live racing on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Gym Tan Laundry and Lady Andi earned champion status as a result of their respective divisional victories in Friday night's $383,000 Kindergarten Classic Series finals for 2-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs.
Gym Tan Laundry ($5.40) lowered his personal record and the track's standard for freshman geldings on the diagonal gait to 1:55.3 with his bold-striding score in Friday's $200,500 fifth race, while Lady Andi ($4.90) dropped her win-mark to 1:57.3 with a splendid performance over eight female rivals in the $182,500 seventh session.
Brian Sears, who drove both title-winning trotters, also finished first with the trotter Unshakeable in race nine to earn his second driving triple at the 83-program meeting.
Gym Tan Laundry, who had lowered the Vernon record for frosh high-stepping geldings to 1:57.1 with his preliminary round tally here on Oct. 21, rallied overland from fourth in the early going to gain control of the male division in the final turn, and continued on to a two-length triumph over the crowd favorite Vic Smith, part of a Julie Miller-trained entry that included Southwind Austin, who finished third.
Friday's first-place finish gives the consistent son of Yankee Glide-Fresh Face a 4-2-1 summary line and earnings of $146,917 after seven career outings for the Adam Victor & Son Stable.
The favorite Lady Andi got away third in her flight, advanced to second at the half (reached in :58.3), took the lead nearing the three-quarter mark and raced on to a 1-3/4-length victory over the third choice, Can't Have My Moni.
All In The Muscles finished third, with the second betting choice, Maven, finishing fourth.
Lady Andi, whose previous win occurred here earlier in the season, improved her season's current performance line to 2-2-4 and bankroll to $139,988 after 11 appearances for the M&L Stable of Delaware, Inc. and the Little E LLC Stable of New York City.
Larry Rathbone trains the brown daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Lifter.
The Ray Schnittker-trained-and-driven Winning Fireworks converted a pocket-sitting trip into a 1:56 triumph in Friday's $10,000 eighth event, the week's Open trot.
The brown son of Credit Winner-Fireworks Hanover closed quickly in the stretch to defeat the Julie Miller-trained favorite, The Chancellor, by 1-1/2 lengths.
It marked the fifth current victory (first at the Downs) and ninth lifetime tally for the career-winner of more than $282,400, who is also owned by the Adam Victor & Son Stable.
DOWNS DOINGS - Noted driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jessica Okusko each chalked up a pair of wins during Friday's 10-race card... Only seven more live programs currently remain in the track's 58th season... Saturday night's 10-race program, which includes the week's $10,000 Open pace in race nine, will get underway at 6:55 p.m... Saturday's program book will not only include the Vernon races, but also the Breeders Crown championship card, which will be simulcasted into the Downs from Canada's Woodbine Racetrack... Vernon has now switched to a Friday-Saturday weekly schedule only, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Friday, October 28, 2011
RD Blues took advantage of the pylon path to post a 1:58.1 victory in Thursday night's $4,300 feature for female pacers at Vernon Downs.
With Jack Rice doing the teaming, RD Blues ($6.10) drafted along in the pocket behind the pace-setting Won Night Stand until the stretch drive, then slipped through along the inside and eked out a neck tally on a "sloppy" track.
Thursday's tally was the first locally, the fourth this season and 12th all-time for the 5-year-old daughter of Park Place-Rainy Day Blues.
Maria Rice (Jack's wife) conditions the career winner of more than $110,000 for the Rice Racing Stable and the Brothers IV Stable.
Rick Plano delivered three winners during Thursday's nine-race card, earning his eighth Vernon hat-trick this year and increasing his win total to 78 and taking over second-place in the track's driver standing from Frank Milby, who has 76.
Jimmy Whittemore is the current leader with 98.
DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional driver Mickey Holiday earned his first local victory behind Ashley Holiday's pacer Lyonsmontanajune, trained by Sherri Holiday, in Thursday's second race. It was his third career victory... Malevich Hanover and Enlightened each recorded their fifth Vernon victories on Thursday, one behind the current trotting win-leaders Canouan and DL Cruiser... The pacers Hay Goodlooking and Rosa Villa are the co-winningest equines at the 82-program meeting with seven scores apiece... Friday night's 10-race card will include the $200,500 Kindergarten Classic final for 2-year-old male trotters in race five, the $182,500 KC championship contest for filly trotters in race seven and a $10,000 Open trot in race eight... Only eight more live programs remain in the track's 58th season... The Downs will now switch to a Friday-Saturday schedule only, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Nine freshman trotting colts and nine freshman trotting fillies will look to add a serious chunk of change to their 2011 bankrolls on Friday night at Vernon Downs in the Kindergarten Classic Finals.
Andy and Julie Miller will send out a pair of trotting colts in the $200,500 Kindergarten Classic Final for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters with Southwind Austin and Vic Smith.
Both freshman trotters have already banked over $100,000 each and have combined for 10 victories on the year.
Andy will drive Vic Smith, who has been no worse than third in eight seasonal starts this year for the Andy Miller Stable and Baron Racing, while Steve Smith will drive the other Julie Miller entry, Southwind Austin, whose worst finish in 10 starts has also been a third.
The entry has been listed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for race number five and will go head-to-head with Frank Antonacci and Noel Daley's three-horse entry.
In the $182,500 final for 2-year-old trotting fillies, Maven, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite drawing post position number nine.
Jonas Czernyson trains the daughter of Glidemaster–M Stewart for W J Donovan, who has piled up seven wins in 10 seasonal outings, good for more than $140,000 in seasonal earnings.
Her main pilot this season has been Yannick Gingras, who will make the trip to Vernon, New York to guide the filly in race number seven.
The fields are below for the Kindergarten Classic Finals:
$200,500 Kindergarten Classic Final
2-year-old colt and gelding trotters
# PP HORSE DRIVER TRAINER
1 1 Gym Tan Laundry Brian Sears Noel Daley
1A 7 World Cup Frank Antonacci Frank Antonacci
1B 8 Blazed Tim Tetrick Frank Antonacci
2 3 Southwind Austin Steve Smith Julie Miller
2A 6 Vic Smith Andy Miller Julie Miller
3 2 Catman Dude Chris Lems Larry Rathbone
4 4 Kingapore Ray Schnittker Ray Schnittker
5 5 A Penny Earned Jim Morrill Jr. George Ducharme
6 9 Highland Yankee Frank Milby Bruce Saunders
$182,500 Kindergarten Classic Final
2-year-old filly trotters
# PP HORSE DRIVER TRAINER
1 1 All In The Muscles Andy Miller Julie Miller
2 2 Pretend To Be Nice Jack Rice Kimberlie Miller
3 3 American Saint Rick Plano Charlie Norris
4 4 Can't Have My Moni Tim Tetrick Frank Antonacci
5 5 Lady Andi Brian Sears Larry Rathbone
6 6 Aldebaran Malibu Frank Milby Jonas Czernyson
7 7 Sterling Volo Jan Johnson Jan Johnson
8 8 Bridge The Way Wim Paal Henrik Lundell
9 9 Maven Yannick Gingras Jonas Czernyson
Vernon Downs kicks off its three-day race weekend on Thursday night, followed by live racing on Friday and Saturday, all with a post time of 6:55 pm.
For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at www.vernondowns.com.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Maryann Plano's veteran pacer Hay Goodlooking used a bold backstretch speed-brush to become a contender, and then continued on to secure a 1:53 victory in Saturday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.
With husband Rick at the controls, Hay Goodlooking ($13.40) got away last in the six horse Open field, before accelerating from fourth to second around the final turn.
After a brief battle with the pace-setting favorite, Diamond Stick Pin, entering the homestretch, the gritty gelding drew off to a half-length triumph over the on-coming Thanks For Stoppin.
The second wagering choice, Samandar, finished third.
The energetic effort by Hay Goodlooking gives him seven scores at the 81-program meeting, tying him with fellow pacer Rosa Villa for most equine tallies at the Downs thus far in 2011.
It was the eighth season's score and 24th lifetime win for the bay son of Art Major-Monique's Legacy, who raised his career earnings to more than $400,000.
Hay Goodlooking's first-place finish gave Rick Plano his seventh three-win outing at the meet.
He also won with Maryann's trotter Damian Carlos N (1:57.2), and Real Sparks (1:54.1), a pacer he conditions for Dan and Jacalyn Boddie.
In a non-betting division of the C.K.G. Billings contest for amateur drivers of trotters prior to Vernon's 12-race pari-mutuel program, Anthony Verruso closed from fourth in the final quarter behind Sam's Honeybee to post a 1:59.2 triumph over the nearest of their nine rivals.
Carl Gillespie conditions the 5-year-old mare for owner Verruso.
Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore and driver/trainer Roman Lopez each chalked up twin tallies during the wagering program.
DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional driver Josh Kinney earned his sixth win at the meet after a 1:55.4 effort by the pacer Joey P in Saturday's second race... With Frank Milby doing the steering, the pacer Excellence In Arts collected his third victory in a row for owner/trainer Ron Miller and his partner, Leo Lashomb, with a career-best 1:55.4 showing in the evening's last race... The Downs will present Thursday-Saturday night racing for the final time in 2011 next week, before switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Here's a look at the updated Driver/Trainer Standings:
Jimmy Whittemore 98
Frank Milby 76
Rick Plano 75
Chris Lems 62
Claude Huckabone, III 37
Howard Okusko, Jr. 35
Frank Davis 32
Roman Lopez 30
Jack Rice 28
Brian Connor 27
Leon Bailey 26
Tracy Brainard 51
Rick Plano 47
Dave Dewhurst 29
Jessica Okusko 29
Dennis Whittemore 27
Roman Lopez 23
Dan Daley 21
Gym Tan Laundry turned in a track record performance, while Vic Smith, Maven, American Saint and Bridge The Way continued to pay dividends to their owners during Friday night's $50,000 leg of the Kindergarten Classic (KC) Series for 2-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs.
Gym Tan Laundry lopped one-fifth-of-a-second off the previous track standard for freshman trotting geldings with his 1:57.1 score in Friday's second male division, while the colt Vic Smith continued his consistent ways with a 1:56.2 tally in the first male KC clash.
Maven produced the fastest filly score of the KC's fourth leg, a 157.4 triumph in the middle distaff division, while American Saint earned a 1:58.2 win record in the sixth race, and Bridge The Way lowered her speed standard to 1:58.4 in Friday's first flight.
Gym Tan Laundry turned a two-hole trip into a career-best score, while improving his overall record to 3-2-1 after six starts in Friday's fifth event.
James Rattray did the steering for trainer Noel Daley and the Adam Victor and Son Stable as the bay son of Yankee Glide-Fresh Face improved on the Vernon mark for his age, sex and gait that had been established by Classic Conway on Sept. 24 of this year.
Vic Smith closed from third in the stretch to earn his sixth score in eight official appearances in Friday's second race.
Andy Miller drove the bay son of Yankee Glide-PJ Naomi for trainer Julie Miller and the Andy Miller Stable/Baron Racing Stable partnership.
The capable colt also sports a second-place finish and a third this season.
Maven's come-from-behind triumph in race three improved her summary line to 7-1-1 following 10 trips to the track.
Frank Milby did the teaming for trainer Jonas Czernyson as the bay daughter of Glidemaster-M Stewart hiked her winnings to more than $140,900 for owner W. J. Donovan.
Milby earned a double during the evening after piloting American Saint to her initial pari-mutual win.
The bay daughter of Like A Prayer-Baby American has also produced three seconds and two thirds in nine outings for trainer Charlie Norris and owner Robert J. Key.
With Wim Paal sulky-sitting for trainer Henrik Lundell, Bridge The Way raced like she was the best, and proved it with a front-striding, maiden-breaking tally.
The bay daughter of Conway Hall-Bridget Blue Chip-Credit Winner has also chalked up a second-place finish and a pair of thirds after six showings.
Red Light became a two-time winner at the 80-program meeting following a 1:55.3 victory in Friday's $10,000 ninth event, the week's Open trotting contest.
Claude Huckabone, III did the chauffeuring for top trainer Tracy Brainard and her partner, Andrew Herzog.
It marked the fourth current tally and 11th lifetime win for the 4-year-old son of S J's Photo-Miss Lovely, who increased his career bankroll to $170,141.
DOWNS DOINGS - Driver Leon Bailey won with the Dan Daley-trained trotters Hallin' Cash and Tap Tap Dance during Friday's 11-race card... Saturday's 12-race pari-mutual program will be preceded by a non-betting leg of the C.K.G. Billings Series for amateur drivers of trotters at 6:30 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Harlem Rockturne regained her title as Queen of the Pacing Hill at Vernon Downs following a 1:54.1 victory in Thursday night's $10,000 featured 10th event.
Leading dash-winner Jimmy Whittemore did the teaming for his father, trainer/owner Dennis Whittemore, as Harlem Rockturne ($4.60) raced aggressively throughout the mile contest, closing from second in the stretch to defeat the favorite, All About Kisses, by nearly two lengths.
Thursday's tally was the sixth in the last eight outings for Harlem Rockturne and her fourth in the track's female Open pace.
The 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Capericorn has collected five of her nine season's scores over Vernon's 7/8ths-mile oval, raising her career total to 10.
She's now a lifetime winner of more than $82,000.
Canouan's 1:58 triumph in Thursday's $5,500 first race was his sixth of the season locally; tying him with DL Cruiser for most trotting tallies after 79 of this year's scheduled 90 programs.
Frank Milby drove for owner/trainer Laurie Stark and her partner, Thomas Eichas.
The pacer Rosa Villa currently leads in equine wins at the meet with seven.
Rick Plano picked up four driving victories on Thursday, raising his win total for the meet to 71, two shy of Milby's second-place total.
Chris Lems logged three driving and two training wins during Thursday's 12-race card.
DOWNS DOINGS - Two-time defending champ Whittemore leads in driving victories with 96... Gus and Alan Johnston's freshman pacing colt Moonlight Ranson earned his first trip to the winner's circle after a 1:57.2 mile with Plano piloting for trainer Ray Van Dreason in Thursday's third event... Friday's 11-race card includes five divisions (three for fillies) in the $50,000 fourth preliminary round of the Kindergarten Classic Series for 2-year-old trotters, plus the week's $10,000 Open contest for square-gaiters. First post will be at 6:55 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Vernon Downs horseman Dan Daley knows all about success at the Breeders Crown. He captured the 2-year-old colt trot with champion Master Lavec in 1999 and finished second a year later with CJ's Secret.
Daley held another strong hand five years later with the super fast RC Royalty, but blames himself for the colt's fifth place finish at the Meadowlands.
"I choked him way down and let a horse go that I shouldn't have," said Daley. "But that's the way it goes sometime."
Daley will seek redemption at Woodbine Racetrack with the best colt in RC Royalty's 17-foal first crop, Royal Shyster.
The New York Sire Stakes champion has nine wins and three seconds from 12 freshman starts with earnings of more than $225,000, not bad for a colt Daley plucked out of the 2010 Morrisville College Yearling Sale for a mere $14,000.
"His dad was a really good horse, but he's actually more manageable and he's going to go on and be a top, top horse," said Daley. "There aren't too many two-year olds that can just trot a quarter in 27 seconds at the drop of a hat. He's a good horse and wants to be a great horse."
Royal Shyster scored the easiest of wins in the $175,000 New York Sire Stakes Final at Saratoga on October 1, stretching his winning streak to seven.
The streak came to a surprising halt last Friday with a runner-up finish in a division of the Simpson Stakes at Vernon Downs. Daley said the colt emerged from the race a little sick, but will be ready for the Breeders Crown.
"I don't usually go to the Breeders Crown unless I've got a legitimate shot and I think he does so we're going to race him."
** A video replay of Royal Shyster's win in the New York Sire Stakes is available by clicking the following link: NYSS Final
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Heston Blue Chip, Forever Just, Blackjack Princess and Up Front Sharon were each divisional winners in Saturday's $62,534 John Simpson, Sr. Memorial Stake for 2-year-old pacers, while Tim Tetrick teamed five first-place finishers during a raw and rainy fall evening at Vernon Downs.
The Linda Toscano trainees Heston Blue Chip (1:54.4) and Forever Just (1:55) won segments of the $31,924 Simpson contest for male members of the lateral gait, while the Mark Ford conditioned youngsters Blackjack Princess (1:55.4) and Up Front Sharon (1:55.4) posted their victories in the event's $30,610 filly flights.
Heston Blue Chip (American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip), the track's season's speed leader for freshman colt side-wheelers on the basis of his 1:52.4 New York Sires Stakes score here on Sept. 24, extended his winning streak to six with a bold-going effort over a "sloppy" track in the 10th of 12 pari-mutual races.
The solid score, which provided Tetrick with his fifth win, improved the gifted colt's summery line to 10 wins and a second-place finish in 11 starts for local owner Ken Jacobs.
The career-winner of more than $273,900 is the 2011 NYSS champion for his class as the result of a 1:53.3 victory in his previous start at Saratoga on Oct. 1.
Forever Just (Bettor's Delight-Forever Cam) improved his summary line to 7-4-1 following 12 official trips to the track after Tetrick steered him to a fast-closing 1:55 triumph in Saturday's fifth event.
Fred Wallace and the Stake Your Claim Stable hold the registration papers on the capable colt, who now sports a $188,689 bankroll.
Tetrick was also at the controls behind Blackjack Princess (Cam's Card Shark-Happy Doris) in the sixth event as the frisky filly converted a draft-along trip into a tight tally over Arodasi.
It marked her fourth official win in succession and gave the bay side-wheeler a 5-4-2 performance line after 12 appearances.
Robert O. Di Nozzi owns the career winner of $102,750.
Up Front Sharon (American Ideal-Jeff Diamond) earned her front-ending, 4-3/4 length tally in a non-betting contest between the second and third pari-mutuel races.
Jim Morrill, Jr. did the sulky-sitting for owner-trainer Ford and his partner, C. Ed Mulinax, as the steady-going filly advanced her record to 3-3-1 and winnings to more than $78,000 after eight starts.
Tetrick also finished first with the pacer Dot's Bigboy (1:56.3) and Open pace winner Diamond Stick pin (1:54) to tie Frank Milby, Chris Lems and Rick Plano for most Vernon victories on a single season's program after 78 racing cards.
Ford ended the evening with three training tallies, while Toscano, drivers Morrill, Jr., Milby and Brian Sears were each two-time Saturday winners.
DOWNS DOINGS - There are now just 12 programs remaining during Vernon's 58th season... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Classic Conway, Quit Smoking Now, Cowgirl Hall, Exercise To Go and Autumn Escapade all performed with distinction during a rainy, blustery Friday evening at Vernon Downs.
Classic Conway and Quit Smoking Now were each divisional winners in Friday's $63,734 John Simpson, Sr. Memorial Stake (JSSMS) for 2-year-old colt & gelding trotters, while Cowgirl Hall and Exercise To Go each captured filly trotting flights.
Autumn Escapade, one of the sport's top older mare trotters, earned her second local score with a 1:55.2 effort in Friday's $10,000 Open trot.
The brilliant 6-year-old daughter of Victory Sam-Winning Colors K followed up a 1:53.2 victory in Vernon's $25,000 leg of the Miss Versatility series on Sept. 9 with a 1:54.4 score in the barn-storming event's $90,000 championship clash at Delaware, OH on Sept. 22.
David Miller did the teaming for trainer Jonas Czernyson as the current career winner of $778,652 secured her 26th all-time tally for David and Misty Miller with a front-striding, 1:55.2 outing over a "sloppy" track in Friday's 10th event.
Classic Conway (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee), Vernon's season's speed leader for 2-year-old trotting geldings on the basis of a 1:57.2 track record triumph back on Sept. 24, became a two-time winner at the meeting with a fast-closing 1:58.4 mile in the first (Super Bowl) segment of the $31,024 JSSMS for male proponents of the diagonal gait.
Stephane Bouchard did the steering for trainer Janice Connor and area owners Albert C. and Michelle C. Crawford.
Quit Smoking Now (Donato Hanover-Smokeslikeachimney) nailed down his third current victory (first locally) and snapped New York Sires Stakes champion Royal Shyster's seven-straight winning streak with a determined 1:57.1 achievement in the second colt/gelding clash.
David Miller drove for noted trainer Cassie Coleman and the Norman Smiley, Gerald Smiley, Theresa Gentry Silver and TLP Stable ownership contingent.
Competing for purse money only (due to a scratch of entry-mate Silica), Cowgirl Hall (Cash Hall-Centerfold Hall) closed from fifth in a :28-second final quarter to defeat the favorite, Maven, in the second session of the $32,710 JSSMS for female high-steppers.
Former three-time Downs driving kingpin Brian Sears did the sulky-sitting for trainer Gates Brunet and the Deborah Brunet (Gate’s wife), Theodore Gewertz, Michael Rosenthal and Jean Brunet ownership group.
It was the second local tally and fourth season's score for the present winner of more than $52,800.
Exercise To Go (Muscles Yankee-Lhasa Lhasa Lhasa) came from off the pace and earned her first career victory with a 2:01.2 outing in the other Davidia Hanover division, with Miller sitting in for trainer Czernyson and owner Thomas Dillon.
Miller collected three driving victories during Friday's 12-race card, while Sears, driver Jim Morrill, Jr. Czernyson and trainer Brunet each posted a pair of first-place finishes during the track's 77th program.
DOWNS DOINGS - Leading Vernon driver Jimmy Whittemore celebrated his 29th birthday with a 1:59.1 triumph behind his dad's (trainer Dennis Whittemore) trotter Saver in Friday's 11th event... Saturday's 13-race slate includes four divisions of a $62,534 JSSMS for 2-year-old pacers, plus the week's $10,000 Open test for local proponents of the lateral gait. First post will be at 6:55 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Ocean's Motion went from last to first before recording a 1:51.3 victory in Thursday night's $10,000 featured first race at Vernon Downs.
Competing against five quick-footed foes in the week's Open contest for female pacers, Ocean's Motion ($4.10) was last at the quarter, fifth at the half and fourth entering the final two furlongs.
The 4-year-old daughter of Camotion-CR Charisma powered up in the stretch and drew off to win by more than six lengths.
Veteran teamster Chuck Connor, Sr. did the steering for his wife, trainer Janice Connor, and owner Robert J. Lovett as the career-winner of more than $126,000 secured her second local score, sixth season's tally and 13th lifetime victory.
Ocean's Motion's time bettered her previous win-mark by 2/5ths-of-a-second and was just one-and-2/5ths seconds off the track record for her age, sex and gait, set by Armbro Dancer in 2007.
Greig Watson's Play Right and Canouan, shared in ownership by Thomas Eichas and trainer Laurie Stark, each recorded their fifth current Vernon victories during Thursday's 11-race program, and are now just one tally shy of the meet's trotting leader, DL Cruiser, with 14 programs remaining in the track's 90-card campaign.
Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore and, runner-up Frank Milby, each recorded a pair of first-place finishes during Thursday's card; while top provisional driver Truman Gale chalked up his 18th win at the meet.
DOWNS DOINGS - Play Right and the pacer Southwind Trini, owned by Maryann Plano and Paul Bulinski, each extended their current winning streaks to three during Thursday's card... Southwind Trini also became a five-time winner at the meet... Becoming two-time winners at the Downs this season were the pacers Ocean's Motion, Lover's Delight, Emma's Lily, Works For Me, Mc Tbone Ida and the trotter Pa John... Friday's 12-race card, which begins at 6:55 p.m., will feature four divisions of a $63,734 John Simpson, Sr. Memorial Stake for freshman trotters (two for each sex), plus the week's $10,000 Open trot... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Vernon Downs kicks off its three-day race weekend tonight (Thursday, October 13) at 6:55 pm leading into its stakes filled weekend featuring the 2-year olds in the John Simpson Stakes on Friday and Saturday night.
Friday night plays host to the freshman trotters led by NYSS champion Royal Shyster for the colts.
Dan Daley brings Royal Shyster into Friday night looking to work on his seven-race win streak that he has compiled since the beginning of August.
In their last out, the 2-year-old son of RC Royalty–Spin The Planet left aggressively in the $175,000 New York Sire Stakes Final and never relinquished the lead winning by more than two lengths.
Royal Shyster sports a record of nine wins and two seconds in 11 seasonal outings for more than $224,000 in earnings.
In the filly division, Maven headlines the second division for driver David Miller and trainer Jonas Czernyson.
The 2-year-old daughter of Glidemaster–M Stewart is coming off back-to-back wins at Lexington, including her last out in a $109,100 division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:56.3.
Maven has found the winner's circle on six of eight occasions in 2011 good for earnings of more than $131,000.
Saturday switches gaits and welcomes the freshman pacers looking for late season glory in the Simpson Stakes.
New York sensation and 2011 Sire Stakes champion, Heston Blue Chip, headlines for the colts coming off of an impressive first over romp in the Sire Stakes Final two weeks ago.
Linda Toscano trains the 2-year-old son of American Ideal–Shot Togo Bluechip for owner Ken Jacobs, and regular driver Tim Tetrick will be in town to do the driving.
Two divisions for 2-year-old pacing fillies will be contested Saturday night, one slated for race six, while the other will be raced as a non-wagering event after race number two.
Post time for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is 6:55 pm.
For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at www.vernondowns.com.
Monday, October 10, 2011
With 75 of 90 racing days completed, defending driving champion Jimmy Whittemore looks well on his way to repeating. Meanwhile, defending training champion Tracy Brainard continues to top the standings, but Rick Plano is making a furious bid to take over the top spot. Plano arrived at Vernon Downs well after the start of the season following the end of the season at Cal Expo. Here are the driver and trainer standings through the end of racing on October 8th.
1. Jimmy Whittemore 92 wins
2. Frank Milby 68 wins
3. Rick Plano 66 wins
4. Chris Lems 58 wins
5. Claude Huckabone, III 35 wins
6. Howard Okusko, Jr 33 wins
7. Frank Davis 32 wins
8. Jack Rice 27 wins
8. Roman Lopez 27 wins
10. Brian Connor 25 wins
1. Tracy Brainard 49 wins
2. Rick Plano 42 wins
3. Dave Dewhurst 27 wins
4. Jessica Okusko 26 wins
5. Dennis Whittemore 25 wins
6. Roman Lopez 20 wins
7. Howard Okusko, Sr. 19 wins
8. Chris Lems 17 wins
8. Dan Daley 17 wins
The favorite Mata Harry rewarded his backers with a 1:54 victory in Saturday night's $10,000 Open-1 pacing feature at Vernon Downs.
With leading driver Jimmy Whittemore doing the urging in the evening's ninth event, Mata Harry ($3.90) raced on the lead through splits of :26, :55.4 and 1:25.1 en route to a neck decision over the fast-closing Mackenzie's Bliss.
Saturday's score was the sixth at the 75-program meeting for the bay son of Armbro Operative-Down East Lady, one less that the current equine race-winning pacesetter Rosa Villa.
It was the 37th lifetime triumph for the career-winner of $439,220, who is trained by Dennis Whittemore (Jimmy's father) and owned by Elliot Misshula.
Driver Rick Plano continued his hot hand, piloting four first-place finishers during Saturday's 10-race card and raised his win total for the weekend to 10.
The talented 59-year-old horseman won with the pacers Dot's Big Boy (1:53.4), Lucky Land (1:52.1), Bigtown Hero (1:51.1) and Most Happy Lavros (1:53.1) to obtain his second four-win outing of the meet and raising his current driving victory total here to 66, third to Whittemore's pace-setting total of 92, and two behind Frank Milby's second-place total of 68.
He also advanced his training total to 42, seven behind the current conditioning leader Tracy Brainard with 15 programs remaining in the track's 58th season.
DOWNS DOINGS - Bigtown Hero's career-fastest win was his third in succession and the fastest mile of the evening. His time was just 4/5ths-of-a-second off the track record for 3-year-old gelding pacers, set earlier this season by Fantaddy. The promising bay son of American Ideal has now recorded five wins in 10 career starts... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending this year's 90-card campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The trotter Yankee Manny continued to display winning form in a 1:55.1 performance during Friday night's $10,000 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.
Trainer Frank Davis was at the controls as the favorite Yankee Manny ($3.20) flashed to the front early in the week's Open-1 contest for square-gaiters and maintained his advantage to the finish, holding off the surging Mr. Avalanche by one-half of a length.
Friday's first-place finish was the third in a row for the 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Yankee Minuet, who now sports seven current victories and 18 lifetime tallies.
The career winner of $93,302 is owned by Brian Green.
The final time was 1/5th-of-a-second off the record mile that the bay gelding produced here last Friday.
Salome Marvel converted a pocket-sitting trip into a 1:56.2 triumph in Friday's $6,500 secondary feature, race nine, with Frank Milby doing the teaming for trainer John McNeil, III and owner Ben McNeil.
Rick Plano continued his hot hand, winning with the trotters L’Argent Hall (1:58.4) and Enlightened (1:58.3) to notch his 11th driving double of the meet, his sixth victory of the weekend and his 62nd after 74 current Vernon programs.
Driver Claude Huckabone, III and leading trainer Tracy Brainard also combined for a pair of first-place finishes during Friday's 10-race card.
DOWNS DOINGS - Conrad Zurich's promising sophomore trotter Petraeus earned his initial pari-mutuel victory with Howard Okusko, Jr., sitting in for his wife, trainer Jessica Okusko, guiding the son of Credit Winner-Lorrain Blue Chip to a 2:01.1 tally in Friday's sixth session... Saturday night's 10-race card, which includes the week's $10,000 Open-1 pace in race nine, will begin at 6:55 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending this year's 90-card campaign on Nov. 19... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Rick Plano began his trek towards a four-win evening with a 1:54.2 effort behind the pacer Southwind Trini in Thursday night's $6,500 featured first race at Vernon Downs.
Competing in the week's top test for female side-wheelers, Southwind Trini ($6.10) challenged for the lead off the starting gate, took command with a two-wide move entering the backstretch, and then continued on to a half-length decision over the pocket-sitting RD Blues.
Thursday's tally was the second in a row and fourth this season for the fleet-footed 3-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Tattoo Hanover, who is shared in ownership by Rick's wife, Maryann, and Paul Bulinski.
Plano, currently third in races won at the 73-program meeting and second in training tallies, went on to finish first with Real Sparks (1:53.3) in the second race, New York Scooter (1:56) in the fourth event, and Patty's Courage (1:56) in the final contest to record his initial four-win outing of the current campaign.
He had a five-win night here last Saturday (Oct. 1).
Chris Lems, currently fourth in driving victories here this season, and Joe Nassimos, each posted twin tallies during Thursday's 10-race card.
DOWNS DOINGS - Plano, who didn't arrive from California until after Vernon's 58th season was well underway, currently sports 60 driving wins and 38 training tallies... Friday's 10-race program, which includes the week's $10,000 Open-1 trot in event seven, will begin at 6:55 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending this year's 90-card campaign on Nov. 19... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Rick Plano put on a driving clinic at Vernon Downs on Saturday, winning five of the evening's 12 races, including the fastest mile during the card with his wife's pacer, Bigtown Hero.
After scoring with Devil's Bargain, CJ's On Target, Hay Goodlooking, and Brilliant Thunder, Plano piloted Bigtown Hero to a convincing 1:53.2 triumph over a rain-soaked, "good" track in Saturday's 10th event.
The 59-year-old horseman urged Maryann Plano's 3-year-old gelding into the lead after the opening quarter and the bay son of American Ideal-Art Account kept charging until he had racked up a solid 15-length victory.
As the favorite, he paid $3.30 for the win, his second at the meet and fourth in nine career outings.
Plano's five wins tied him with Frank Milby and Chris Lems as the only reinsmen to have reached that plateau after 72 current programs.
The win also enabled him to tie Lems at 56 victories for third place on the meet's dash-winning chart.
Lems logged a pair of first-place finishes (with the pacers he trains and drives, Gentlemen Heir and Mackenzie's Bliss) during Saturday's program to keep pace with the surging Plano, who recorded eight victories during the three-night weekend.
DOWNS DOINGS - Plano is currently second in training tallies at the meet with 35, 12 off the pace being set by defending conditioning champ Tracy Brainard... Plano, an area native, didn't arrive from his former home base in California until well after Vernon's 58th campaign was underway... Provisional driver Josh Kinney earned his fifth win at the meet behind the pacer Hobby Art Benka in Saturday's 11th event... The Downs will offer live racing at 6:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday next week... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.