Friday, September 16, 2011

5 in a row for Harlem Rockturne

Harlem Rockturne continued her superiority in the female Open pacing class with a 1:53.3 victory in Thursday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Competing as the favorite from the seven post position, Harlem Rockturne ($4.80) sat patiently behind the pace-setter, newcomer Slomotion, and pocket-sitter, Eagle Hilarious, until the final quarter, and then was let loose by driver Jimmy Whittemore and she prevailed by more than two lengths.

Thursday's tally was the fifth in succession and fourth at the Downs, tying fellow side-wheeler Rosa Villa and the trotter Mr. Web Page for the longest local equine winning streaks after 64 programs.

It marked the eighth win this season and the ninth all-time for the steady-going 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Capericorn, who is owned and trained by Whittemore's father, Dennis.

The career-winner of more than $74,000 came within one-fifth of a second of her speed mark, earned here on Aug. 25.

Whittemore, the two-time defending driving champ and current leader with 87 first-place finishes, also won with the pacers Swift Escape (1:58.2) and Laugh Away (1:54.4) to chalk up his meet-leading seventh triple of the local campaign.

Drivers Frank Milby, Rick Plano, as well as trainers Dennis Whittemore and Mary Fisher picked up a pair of victories during Thursday's 12-race card.

DOWNS DOINGS - The 2-year-old trotting filly The Sorceress secured her maiden-breaking win after a 2:01.1 performance in Thursday's sixth event. Driver/trainer John Stark, Jr. shares ownership of the Muscles Yankee-Oh Oh It's Magic-offspring along with E. Carlyle Smith, David Smith and Jim Giannuzzi... The Downs will present a 12-race program tomorrow night (Sept. 16) that includes an Open-1 trot, four divisions of New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old filly pace and a like number of flights of a NYSS-sponsored late-closing contest for first-year colt & gelding pacers. First post will be at 6:55 p.m... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.