Sunday, April 10, 2011

Newcomer Dry Gulch Tops Second Set of Vernon Downs Qualifiers

Newcomer Dry Gulch paced to a 1:53.1 victory as Vernon Downs completed its second qualifying card in preparation for the harness track’s 58th season that will begin next Friday night (April 15).

With Jack Rice driving for the track’s defending training champ Tracy Brainard, Dry Gulch gained the lead just before the half, timed in :58.3, and then recorded the fastest clocking of Saturday’s 10 practice performances.

The win was one of three on the day for Brainard.

Shared in ownership by Brainard and Andrew Herzog, Dry Gulch has posted three wins in six pari-mutuel starts during the current campaign.

The 4-year-old gelding earned his 1:50.2 speed mark at Florida’s Pompano Park on Feb. 21.

Saturday’s other speedy qualifying winners included the pacers Blueridge Betty (trainer Joe Nassimos driving) in 1:55.3, Speedy Valentine (two-time provisional champion Leon Bailey teaming for trainer Wayne Hughes) in 1:57.3, and The Grey Bullet (once again Bailey sitting in for Hughes) in 1:57.3.

Ten-time Downs driving champ Howard Okusko, Jr. also chalked up a pair of victories during the program.

DOWNS DOINGS—Vernon will offer pari-mutuel racing at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during April.

Thursday programs are planned to start on May 5…This Tuesday (April 12) has been designated “Media Night” with festivities in the track’s Gold Cup Room starting at 6 p.m.

Qualifying races will begin one hour later...

New Racing Secretary Scott Warren will conduct a double draw for opening weekend on Tuesday (April 12) with the entry box due to close at 10 a.m...

All stall application forms are due in Vernon’s racing office Monday morning (April 11)...

The track’s initial qualifying card was held on April 2...

Additional information regarding Vernon Downs and its casino can be found at