Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Rewind Races" Highlight Saturday Night card


Mystical Valentine delivered a strong stretch kick to capture Saturday night's $10,000 Open pace, while the trotter Famous Image and pacer Noble Wabbit each established Vernon Downs records for going 7/8ths-of-a-mile - the wrong way around the track.

With Leon Bailey steering for trainer Dave Dewhurst, Mystical Valentine ($16.60) idled in second early in the ninth race, got shuffled back to third around the final turn, and then unleashed a spirited speed-spurt in the final furlong to post a 1:53.1 victory over the favorite, Restless Yankee.

The 5-year-old gelding's three-quarter-length tally was his second in succession, sixth at the meet, eighth this season and 21st all-time.

Philip K. Hale owns the bay son of Dream Work-Sneakheravalentine, who increased his career bankroll to more than $319,200.

In conjunction with daylight savings ending, Racing Secretary Scott Warren carded both a trot and a pace to be raced once around Vernon's 7/8ths mile oval in the opposite direction from harness racing's counter-clockwise standard.

The fifth and sixth events on Saturday's 12-race card were dubbed the "Turn Back The Clock Rewind Races."

Famous Image, owned, trained and driven by Michael Eaton, collected his fourth win in a row after a 1:47 effort in the $5,000 fifth race, while Noble Wabbit, owned, trained and driven by Brian Connor, snared his second score in succession with a 1:42.3 tally in the $5,000 sixth event.

The record-setting performances marked the 15th time that new standards have been authored during the track's 58th season.

Leading driver Jimmy Whittemore earned his eighth triple in 86 programs, while Dan Daley, who carded a "hat-trick" here on Friday night, secured a pair of Saturday scores.

DOWNS DOINGS - Only four more live programs remain during the track's 58th campaign. Vernon will offer a Friday and Saturday schedule only for the final two weekends of its 90-card campaign, ending live racing 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 www.vernondowns.com, and on Facebook.