Friday, June 24, 2011

Fox Valley Sage Goes from Last to First in Thursday Night Feature

Stephen Farrell, Jr.'s Fox Valley Sage went from last to first during Thursday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Trainer Ralph Andersen did the driving in the week's Open for female pacers as Fox Valley Sage ($20.80) started out in eighth place, advanced to sixth at the half, third entering the final furlong, and then powered through the stretch (a :27.2 final panel over a "good" track) to defeat the pace-setting Eagle Hilarious by a head in 1:53.3.

It was the third season's score (second at the Downs) and 24th lifetime victory for the 7-year-old daughter of Richess Hanover-Pink Cadillac, who increased her all-time winnings to more than $266,000.

The Wiz Kid's Stable's Head First and Tracy Brainard's Justice Wyoming each extend their winning streaks to three during the track's 28th program.

Dominic Marusco's Sam's Lil' Kim collected her second win in succession.

Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore earned his seventh driving double of the local campaign, while driver Brian Connor and trainer Laurie Stark teamed up for first-place finishes from the trotter DL Cruiser and pacer Head First.

DOWNS DOINGS - In spite of the rainy evening, six of Thursday's 10 winners earned fresh speed marks… Provisional driver Shawn McDonough delivered his fifth win at the meet after teaming Nicholas Mastrodonato's trotter Stonetag to a 1:58.4 tally in Thursday's 10th event... Friday's 10-race card, featuring the week's top trotting test, will commence at 7:05 p.m... In July, Vernon will switch back to a 6:55 p.m. post time...Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.