Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lems Wins 5

Mr. Avalanche stretched his winning streak to three and helped driver Chris Lems achieve a five-win outing with a 1:58.2 showing in Friday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Facing seven select rivals in the week's Open-1 trot, Mr. Avalanche ($19.60) was directed to the front from the number four post by Lems and the gritty gelding remained there throughout, defeating Mystic Splendor by more than two lengths over a track rated sloppy.

Friday's first-place finish was the third locally, the sixth this season and the 11th all-time for the steady-striding 5-year-old son of Striking Sahbra-Epoque Effe, who is trained by Paul Durante, Jr. and owned by Jeremy Godfrey.

The career winner of $43,787 was competing in Vernon's top trotting test for the first time.

Lems, third in dashes won at the Downs this season, raised his win count to 39 after also scoring with the freshman trotter Catman Dude (2:04.1) in the third race, the sophomore filly pacer Excited Ideal (1:58.1) in the sixth session, the veteran trotter Duke Of Wellington (1:59.4) in race seven and the 2-year-old pacing colt Fresh Dream (2:00.2) in the eighth event.

He tied Frank Milby as the only drivers to have won five races on a single Vernon program after 44 programs in 2011.

The Roman Lopez owned, trained and driven Mr. Web Page became the winningest trotter at the meet after snaring his fifth season's score with a 1:57.1 effort in Friday's second race.

Trainer Jim Graham (Excited Ideal and Fresh Dream) also garnered a pair of victories during Friday's 10-race card.

DOWNS DOINGS - Catman Dude's victory in Friday's third race made him the initial 2-year-old trotting colt to finish first in pari-mutual competition thus far this season at the Downs... Fresh Dream became the first 2-year-old pacing colt to capture a betting race at Vernon through July 29... Jennifer Ancone of Syracuse won the Miss Vernon competition at the track on Friday night... Saturday's 10-race card, which includes the week's top pacing attractions, will begin at 6:55... Vernon has announced that, until further notice, all simulcasts on Sunday (afternoon and evening) will be conducted in the lower clubhouse at the track (not in the new simulcast center at the recently renovated Vernon Downs hotel)... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.