Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 5 Races of 2011

With 2011 winding down, we decided to look back at the 58th season of racing at Vernon Downs and select our top 5 races of the year.

#5 New York Sire Stakes - July 9th
She was the darling of the summer and See You at Peelers brought her gaudy winning streak to Central New York in early July. Fresh off her wins in Canada, See You at Peelers moved to the front around the first turn and never looked back, pacing under the wire in a track record time of 1:51.1 with driver Marcus Johansson. It was her 19th straight win and her second track record at Vernon Downs.

#4 Muscle Hill Open Mare Trot - September 2nd
Labor Day weekend kicked off with the biggest night of racing on the Vernon Downs calendar. The co-main event featured North America's fastest trotting mares and the ladies did not disappoint. The field included multiple divisional champion Buck I St Pat, track record holder Autumn Escapade and defending race champion Yursa Hanover. But a new star was fastest when Action-Broadway trotted fastest to win in 1:54.2 with Vernon native Brian Sears in the sulky. Action-Broadway was voted a Dan Patch divisional award winner.

#3 Turn Back the Clock Rewind Races - November 5th
When the calendar reached November, the clocks were turned back an hour and so were the races at Vernon Downs. For the first time in track history, two races were conducted in the opposite direction. Race Secretary and track announcer Scott Warren dubbed the two races, one trot and one pace, the Turn Back the Clock Rewind Races. Both events were conducted at 7/8 mile. Famous Image and Mike Eaton were victorious in the trot while Brian Connor and Noble Wabbit took the pace.

#2 Empire Breeders Classic Final - May 30th
The colt trotters stepped out on the track on Memorial Day chasing a big payday. Dejarmbro finished 2011 with more than $900,000 in earnings, but he was upset in the final stride by the late Whatever It Takes in a thrilling renewal of the EBC.

#1 Credit Winner Open Trot - September 2nd
San Pail was nearly flawless in 2011, winning 14 times from 16 starts with earnings of more than $1.2 million. One of his 14 wins came at Vernon Downs when he got past Lucky Jim in the shadow of the wire to win the Credit Winner in an all-time track record time of 1:51.1. Randy Waples traveled in from Canada for his regular seat behind San Pail, who has been named the top aged trotter and is the favorite to take down Horse of the Year honors. For now, his performance in the Credit Winner is good for our top race of 2011.