Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sri Panka Squeezes Through to Win Saturday Feature

Joseph Appler's pacer Sri Panka used the inside route to post a 1:54.3 victory in Saturday night's $8,000 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.

Sitting second for most of the week's Open-2 contest, Sri Panka ($8.50) found himself hemmed in behind the pace-setting Johnny Midnight and other rallying contenders heading down the stretch.

Driver Frank Davis, sitting in for trainer John Gagnon, Jr., had no choice but to try and maneuver his charge through tight quarters in the lower pylon path and, together, they managed to squirt through and post a 1-1/4 length victory over Johnny Midnight.

It marked the initial win in this class, the second victory at the meet, fourth first-place finish of the season and the 12th all-time for the 5-year-old son of The Panderosa-Road To Pandalay, who now sports career earnings of $134,726.

Leading provisional driver Truman Gale earned his 15th score at the meet after winning with the pacer Mr. Express (1:55), while leading driver Jimmy Whittemore finished first with the pacers Fox Valley Lee (1:54) and Forty Carrots (1:53.3) to secure his Downs leading 12th double of the 45-card campaign.

DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional pilot Brandon Loomis logged his second career victory after teaming the pacer Bettordays R Cumin to a 1:56.2 record and a $19.00 win payoff in Saturday's eighth event... The Downs will present live racing at 6:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday next week... 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.