Sunday, September 11, 2011

For A Dancer Still Perfect and now a track record holder

Vernon Downs celebrated its second track record performance of the weekend after the undefeated For A Dancer delivered a 1:56 performance in a division of Saturday's $121,591 New York Sires Stake that trimmed one-fifth of a second off the previous local standard for 2-year-old trotting fillies.

Competing in the final flight of the state sponsored event, that was inherited from Tioga Downs due to extreme weather and flooding conditions in the Southern Tier, For A Dancer took charge of the non-betting contest after a :27.4 opening quarter and remained in command to the finish, defeating Anandamide by more than three lengths.

The time was a fresh mark for the bay daughter of Conway Hall-Fluttering Wings, and it kept her season's summary line unblemished after seven starts.

Jeff Gregory did the teaming for trainer Joe Holloway and the Bluestone Farms.

Upside Hanover had authored the previous 1:56.1 frosh filly trotting record with Brian Sears driving on Sept. 2.

Saturday's other victorious fillies in the non-betting NYSS feature were Lima Playmate (Credit Winner-Pacific Legacy), in 1:58.4 for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker and his ownership partner, the Lima Playmate Stable; and Borrow And Spend (Credit Winner-Armbro Déjà vu), in 1:59.3 for trainer/driver Schnittker and his ownership partner, the Borrow & Spend Stable.

Saturday's NYSS success was the fifth win in a row and the eighth in 10 trips to the track for Lima Playmate, while Borrow And Spend secured her fourth score in 11 appearances.

In another non-betting race prior to the track's wagering card, Joe Bongiorno steered Bo Didley N to a fast-closing 2:01.3 victory in Vernon's $3,000 leg of the C.K.G. Billings Series for amateur drivers of trotters.

Scott Mongeon conditions the 9-year-old gelding for owner Barbara Bongiorno.

Driver Rick Plano recorded three first-place finishes during Vernon's 10-race parimutuel program, including a 1:51.4 triumph with Pacinello in the week's $10,000 Open-1 pace.

The current Downs record-holder (aged pacing horses) closed like a gate in the wind during the final furlong to collect his fourth win at the meet, sixth score in 2011 and 26th all-time.

The career-winner of more than $282,000 is owned by the D & E Racing contingent.

Driver Chris Lems also logged a pair of victories during the track's 63rd betting program.

DOWNS DOINGS - Autumn Escapade had established a 1:53.2 record for older trotting mares in Vernon's $25,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series on Friday evening... Saturday's sixth race was dedicated to long-time track employee Tommy Saurez, who will be retiring at the conclusion of Vernon's 58th season... The Downs will offer live racing at 6:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday next weekend... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.