Sunday, April 29, 2012

Diamond Stick Pin wins season's first Open Pace

Local favorite Diamond Stick Pin lowered the local season's speed standard to 1:52 with his explosive victory in Saturday night's $9,500 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Off as the second wagering choice, Diamond Stick Pin rallied from third in the early going, began to challenge entering the homestretch and then closed with momentum to defeat the on-rushing Home Again Dragon by 1-1/2 lengths.

Saturday's score was the second in six season's starts for the 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Silksndiamonds, who is shared in ownership by Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables.

Diamond Stick Pin's 21st lifetime victory gave driver Chris Lems and trainer Jessica Okusko three first-place finishes during Saturday's 12-race card.

Okusko's other win credits were provided by the pacer Major's Centerfold (1:58.1) and trotter Belles Of Churton (2:01.4).

Defending dash-winning champ Jimmy Whittemore also posted a hat trick during the track's second pari-mutuel program.

DOWNS DOINGS—Lems sports a pair of three-win outings after two official nights of competition over Vernon's 7/8ths-mile oval…Mickey Holiday joined James Dodson and Josh Kinney on Vernon's provisional driving chart following his 1:55 win behind the pacer Rush Of Fools in Saturday's seventh event…The track's basic Thursday-Saturday night weekly schedule begins on May 3…Additional facts regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at