Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Qualifiers Recap

Veteran horseman Roman Lopez appeared in mid-season form while winning six of Friday's 16 qualifying races at Vernon Downs.

In preparation for its 59th campaign, which officially begins in two weeks, the central New York harness track featured eight trotting and a like number of pacing races starting at 11 a.m. on a clear morning and over a fast track.

Lopez, who has been a trainer and driver at the Downs for several seasons, began his successful string with a 1:58.2 win behind the pacer Miracle Freeluck in Friday's first race.  The 52-year-old reinsman shares ownership of the 7-year-old son of Coal Luck along with Mitchell Frair of Sherrill.

Lopez also finished first with the trotter La Braba in race four, the trotter Forever Bachelor in race six, the pacer Precious Medal in race nine, the pacer White Jade in race 13 and the trotter Glorious Winner in race 14.

Robert Siemski's pacer Winbak Your Kash turned in Friday's fastest mile, a 1:57.3 victory, with Howard Okusko, Jr. teaming for his father, trainer Howard Okusko, Sr.

A total of 107 Standardbreds competed in Friday's practice races over Vernon's 7/8ths-mile oval.

The Downs will hold qualifying sessions at 11 a.m. next Friday (April 20), and at 6:55 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24 (Media Night at the track), before beginning its official 90-card campaign at 6:55 on Friday night, April 27.

DOWNS DOINGS--Additional information regarding the track's 59th season and its casino can be obtained at