Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kindergarten Classic Series Kicks Off Friday Night


Vic Smith emerged as the standout performer in Friday night's $60,000 opening round of this season's Kindergarten Classic series for 2-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs.

Competing in the $10,000 first race for male proponents of the diagonal gait, Vic Smith was urged to the front by Andy Miller and didn't look back en route to a convincing 1:56 triumph that proved to be the fastest mile by a freshman high-stepper through 56 local programs.

Friday's career-best tally was the fourth in succession for the undefeated bay son of Yankee Glide-PJ Naomi, who is trained by Julie Miller and owned by the Andy Miller and Baron Racing stables.

Lady Andi was the swiftest winner in the event's filly flight, rallying from third at the half and closing from second in the stretch to record a 1:59 maiden-breaking victory, with local driver Chris Lems doing the steering for veteran conditioner Larry Rathbone.

It was the fourth career start for the brown daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Lifter, who is shared in ownership by the M&L Stable of Delaware and the Little E LLC Stable.

Friday's other first-place finishers in the colt/gelding division were A Penny Earned, in 1:57.4 for driver Howard Okusko, Jr., trainer George Ducharme and his ownership partners Paul Fontaine, Nicola Oliva and Alfred Ross, and Gym Tan Laundry, in a maiden-breaking 2:00.1 performance with James Rattray doing the teaming for trainer Noel Daley and the Adam Victor & Son Stable.

Additional filly scores were posted by She's All In, in a maiden-breaking 2:00 effort with Miller sitting in for trainer Rick Plano and owner Richard C. Plano, and Sandra Volo, in a fast-closing 2:01.2 effort for owner, trainer and driver Jan Johnson.

The Howard Stable's 5-year-old trotter Grey Ice delivered his second straight score in Friday's $10,000 10th event, the week's Open-1 contest.

Jimmy Whittemore drove for trainer Guy Howard as the grey gelding collected his fourth season's score and 11th lifetime win.

Miller, Lems, Okusko, Jr. and Whittemore all logged twin tallies during Friday's 12-race card.

DOWNS DOINGS - The Kindergarten series will continue with a pair of legs at Kentucky's Red Mile before returning to Vernon for a fourth leg and the championship finals... Gym Tan Laundry became the fastest 2-year-old trotting gelding of the season locally after his 200.1 score in Friday's $10,000 eighth event... Other impressive 2-year-old winners during Friday's program were the trotting colt Muscolo, in a career-best 1:57.4 for driver and trainer Ray Schnittker, and the pacing filly Canamerica, with trainer and part-owner John Stark, Jr. doing the steering... Saturday's 12-race program, which includes a pair of New York Sires events (three divisions of a 3-year-old colt/gelding pace and four flights of a late-closing contest for 3-year-old filly trotter), plus the week's Open-1 pace, will begin at 6:55 p.m... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.