Monday, October 24, 2011

Plano Takes Saturday feature with Hay Goodlooking; Tightens Trainer Race

Maryann Plano's veteran pacer Hay Goodlooking used a bold backstretch speed-brush to become a contender, and then continued on to secure a 1:53 victory in Saturday night's $10,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

With husband Rick at the controls, Hay Goodlooking ($13.40) got away last in the six horse Open field, before accelerating from fourth to second around the final turn.

After a brief battle with the pace-setting favorite, Diamond Stick Pin, entering the homestretch, the gritty gelding drew off to a half-length triumph over the on-coming Thanks For Stoppin.

The second wagering choice, Samandar, finished third.

The energetic effort by Hay Goodlooking gives him seven scores at the 81-program meeting, tying him with fellow pacer Rosa Villa for most equine tallies at the Downs thus far in 2011.

It was the eighth season's score and 24th lifetime win for the bay son of Art Major-Monique's Legacy, who raised his career earnings to more than $400,000.

Hay Goodlooking's first-place finish gave Rick Plano his seventh three-win outing at the meet.

He also won with Maryann's trotter Damian Carlos N (1:57.2), and Real Sparks (1:54.1), a pacer he conditions for Dan and Jacalyn Boddie.

In a non-betting division of the C.K.G. Billings contest for amateur drivers of trotters prior to Vernon's 12-race pari-mutuel program, Anthony Verruso closed from fourth in the final quarter behind Sam's Honeybee to post a 1:59.2 triumph over the nearest of their nine rivals.

Carl Gillespie conditions the 5-year-old mare for owner Verruso.

Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore and driver/trainer Roman Lopez each chalked up twin tallies during the wagering program.

DOWNS DOINGS - Provisional driver Josh Kinney earned his sixth win at the meet after a 1:55.4 effort by the pacer Joey P in Saturday's second race... With Frank Milby doing the steering, the pacer Excellence In Arts collected his third victory in a row for owner/trainer Ron Miller and his partner, Leo Lashomb, with a career-best 1:55.4 showing in the evening's last race... The Downs will present Thursday-Saturday night racing for the final time in 2011 next week, before 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.

Here's a look at the updated Driver/Trainer Standings:
Driver Standings:
Jimmy Whittemore 98
Frank Milby 76
Rick Plano 75
Chris Lems 62
Claude Huckabone, III 37
Howard Okusko, Jr. 35
Frank Davis 32
Roman Lopez 30
Jack Rice 28
Brian Connor 27
Leon Bailey 26

Trainer Standings:
Tracy Brainard 51
Rick Plano 47
Dave Dewhurst 29
Jessica Okusko 29
Dennis Whittemore 27
Roman Lopez 23
Dan Daley 21