Monday, May 2, 2011

Mystical Valentine Zooms to Feature Win

The pacer Mystical Valentine shrugged off a rise in class and captured Saturday night's $10,000 Open feature at Vernon Downs.

Fresh off a 1:54.2 tally in Open-2 competition here last week, Mystical Valentine ($19.00) zoomed out for the early lead, then drafted along behind Diamond Stick Pin until the stretch drive, where he battled back to the top and held off the on-rushing He's Gorgeous by three-quarters of a length in Saturday's 10th contest.

Diamond Stick Pin finished third in the 1:51.2 mile.

It was the second win in succession and the fourth in seven season's starts for the 5-year-old son of Dream Work-Sneakheravalentine, who now sports 17 lifetime victories and winnings of $267,277.

Frank Milby, sitting in for former track training champ Dave Dewhurst and owner Philip K. Hale, completed a driving double during the 12-race card.

Ten-time Downs driving champ Howard Okusko, Jr. was credited with three wins during the track's sixth live program, while driver Jack Rice and trainer Tracy Brainard each recorded a pair of first-place finishes.

DOWNS DOINGS - Mystical Valentine's 1:51.2 clocking was just 1/5th-of-a-second off the meet's fastest mile, set by the pacer Dry Gulch on April 23... Mystical Valentine, who owns a 4-1-1 summary line after seven current outings, joined fellow pacers Dry Gulch, Semjac Legacy, Johnny Midnight, and the trotters Fancy Shot, Cello Hanover, Oven Ready, Pacific Wave and Order By Texas as two-time winners during April... Provisional driver Truman Gale earned his initial win of 2011 here behind the pacer By All Means in Saturday's second race... The pacers Boardmaster and Fox Valley Shyboy gave Vernon its first dead-heat for win at the meet in Saturday's fourth race... Next week, Vernon will offer live racing at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season and its casino can be obtained at