Saturday, July 2, 2011

Whittemore Wins Four

The pacers Pickmeamerigold, Rock Man, as well as drivers Jimmy Whittemore and Howard Okusko, Jr. all bathed in the limelight during Friday night's harness program at Vernon Downs.

Pickmeamerigold posted a front-striding, 1:55 victory in Friday's $6,000 featured ninth race, the week's top test for female side-wheelers.

Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Joe Cordisco and owner Holly Cordisco as the 5-year-old daughter of American Gigolo-Whip City Gal garnered her second score of the season and 13th all-time.

Rock Man, a promising son of Art Major-Gone Dancing owned by Linda Manzi and trained by Howard Okusko, Sr., motored to a 1:56.2 "maiden" victory for chauffeur Howard Okusko, Jr. in Friday's $3,000 third event, the first pari-mutuel contest for 2-year-old Standardbreds at the Downs this season.

Two-time defending champ and current leader Whittemore also won with the pacers Townie Guy, Dandy Do Right and Kissing Camels to record his fifth four-win performance in 31 current local programs.

Okusko, a 10-time Vernon driving champion, also finished first with the trotter Tip The Tide and pacer I'madeadhead to chalk up his second triple of the 2011 campaign at the Downs.

Former training champ Jessica Okusko also visited Vernon's winner's circle twice during the 10-event card.

DOWNS DOINGS - While posting 58 victories, Whittemore has collected eight driving doubles, five triples, as well as the five four-baggers during Vernon's 58th season... No driver has won more than four races on a single local program thus far this year... In addition to Rock Man, the sophomore trotting colt Splendid Cash (Chris Lems driving for trainer Fletcher Davis and owner Carol Davis), also earned his initial pari-mutuel win on Friday night... In addition to Saturday's 10-race program, which starts at 6:55 p.m., the Downs will present its third fireworks spectacular of the season following the conclusion of live racing... A 1:15 matinee program is planned for Monday, July 4... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.