Saturday, October 15, 2011

2-year-old trotters in the Simpson Stake spotlight

Classic Conway, Quit Smoking Now, Cowgirl Hall, Exercise To Go and Autumn Escapade all performed with distinction during a rainy, blustery Friday evening at Vernon Downs.

Classic Conway and Quit Smoking Now were each divisional winners in Friday's $63,734 John Simpson, Sr. Memorial Stake (JSSMS) for 2-year-old colt & gelding trotters, while Cowgirl Hall and Exercise To Go each captured filly trotting flights.

Autumn Escapade, one of the sport's top older mare trotters, earned her second local score with a 1:55.2 effort in Friday's $10,000 Open trot.

The brilliant 6-year-old daughter of Victory Sam-Winning Colors K followed up a 1:53.2 victory in Vernon's $25,000 leg of the Miss Versatility series on Sept. 9 with a 1:54.4 score in the barn-storming event's $90,000 championship clash at Delaware, OH on Sept. 22.

David Miller did the teaming for trainer Jonas Czernyson as the current career winner of $778,652 secured her 26th all-time tally for David and Misty Miller with a front-striding, 1:55.2 outing over a "sloppy" track in Friday's 10th event.

Classic Conway (Conway Hall-Classic Yankee), Vernon's season's speed leader for 2-year-old trotting geldings on the basis of a 1:57.2 track record triumph back on Sept. 24, became a two-time winner at the meeting with a fast-closing 1:58.4 mile in the first (Super Bowl) segment of the $31,024 JSSMS for male proponents of the diagonal gait.

Stephane Bouchard did the steering for trainer Janice Connor and area owners Albert C. and Michelle C. Crawford.

Quit Smoking Now (Donato Hanover-Smokeslikeachimney) nailed down his third current victory (first locally) and snapped New York Sires Stakes champion Royal Shyster's seven-straight winning streak with a determined 1:57.1 achievement in the second colt/gelding clash.

David Miller drove for noted trainer Cassie Coleman and the Norman Smiley, Gerald Smiley, Theresa Gentry Silver and TLP Stable ownership contingent.

Competing for purse money only (due to a scratch of entry-mate Silica), Cowgirl Hall (Cash Hall-Centerfold Hall) closed from fifth in a :28-second final quarter to defeat the favorite, Maven, in the second session of the $32,710 JSSMS for female high-steppers.

Former three-time Downs driving kingpin Brian Sears did the sulky-sitting for trainer Gates Brunet and the Deborah Brunet (Gate’s wife), Theodore Gewertz, Michael Rosenthal and Jean Brunet ownership group.

It was the second local tally and fourth season's score for the present winner of more than $52,800.

Exercise To Go (Muscles Yankee-Lhasa Lhasa Lhasa) came from off the pace and earned her first career victory with a 2:01.2 outing in the other Davidia Hanover division, with Miller sitting in for trainer Czernyson and owner Thomas Dillon.

Miller collected three driving victories during Friday's 12-race card, while Sears, driver Jim Morrill, Jr. Czernyson and trainer Brunet each posted a pair of first-place finishes during the track's 77th program.

DOWNS DOINGS - Leading Vernon driver Jimmy Whittemore celebrated his 29th birthday with a 1:59.1 triumph behind his dad's (trainer Dennis Whittemore) trotter Saver in Friday's 11th event... Saturday's 13-race slate includes four divisions of a $62,534 JSSMS for 2-year-old pacers, plus the week's $10,000 Open test for local proponents of the lateral gait. First post will be at 6:55 p.m... The Downs will continue with a Thursday-Saturday night schedule for the remainder of this month, before to switching to a Friday-Saturday slate during the first three weekends in November, ending its 58th campaign on Nov. 19. First post each night will be at 6:55... Additional information regarding the track's 2011 season, its casino and newly-renovated hotel can be obtained at, and on Facebook.