Monday, October 10, 2011

Favored Mata Harry Takes Saturday Feature; Plano Wins 4 More

The favorite Mata Harry rewarded his backers with a 1:54 victory in Saturday night's $10,000 Open-1 pacing feature at Vernon Downs.

With leading driver Jimmy Whittemore doing the urging in the evening's ninth event, Mata Harry ($3.90) raced on the lead through splits of :26, :55.4 and 1:25.1 en route to a neck decision over the fast-closing Mackenzie's Bliss.

Saturday's score was the sixth at the 75-program meeting for the bay son of Armbro Operative-Down East Lady, one less that the current equine race-winning pacesetter Rosa Villa.

It was the 37th lifetime triumph for the career-winner of $439,220, who is trained by Dennis Whittemore (Jimmy's father) and owned by Elliot Misshula.

Driver Rick Plano continued his hot hand, piloting four first-place finishers during Saturday's 10-race card and raised his win total for the weekend to 10.

The talented 59-year-old horseman won with the pacers Dot's Big Boy (1:53.4), Lucky Land (1:52.1), Bigtown Hero (1:51.1) and Most Happy Lavros (1:53.1) to obtain his second four-win outing of the meet and raising his current driving victory total here to 66, third to Whittemore's pace-setting total of 92, and two behind Frank Milby's second-place total of 68.

He also advanced his training total to 42, seven behind the current conditioning leader Tracy Brainard with 15 programs remaining in the track's 58th season.

DOWNS DOINGS - Bigtown Hero's career-fastest win was his third in succession and the fastest mile of the evening. His time was just 4/5ths-of-a-second off the track record for 3-year-old gelding pacers, set earlier this season by Fantaddy. The promising bay son of American Ideal has now recorded five wins in 10 career starts... 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 this year's 90-card 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.