Friday, May 11, 2012

Aries Angel wins Thursday feature; Ziegler Hanover extends winning streak to three

Aries Angel wins the Thursday feature for driver/trainer Rick Plano
The pacer Aries Angel displayed fast form in winning Thursday night's $9,500 feature, while the trotter Ziegler Hanover became the first three-time winner of the season at Vernon Downs.

Competing against seven speedy rivals in the week's Open test for female practitioners of the lateral gait, Aries Angel ($9.80) challenged for the lead off the starting gate, took command after the quarter, and then forged a one-length victory in Thursday's 10th contest.

Trainer Rick Plano was in the sulky as the 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Aries Conquest collected her fifth season's score and 18th lifetime tally.  Rick's wife, Maryann, owns the career-winner of more than $124,500.

The win was one of two during Thursday's 11-race card for Plano, who was the runner up in races won on last year's driving and training charts at the Downs.

The gritty claimer Ziegler Hanover ($4.70) extended his local winning streak to three with a solid 1:56.3 score in Thursday's $5,200 eighth event.  Chris Lems drove for trainer and part-owner Dave Dewhurst as the 7-year-old son of Andover Hall-Xqsmwa improved his current record to three wins and a second-place finish after four outings.  Anthony R. Farina shares ownership of the 14-time career winner, who sports more than $224,500 in lifetime winnings.

Lems, the track's current driving leader with 14 first-place finishes, posted three wins during the evening, as did two-time defending titleist Jimmy Whittemore.

DOWNS DOINGS—Thursday's fastest mile was a career-best 1:53.4 effort by the sophomore filly pacer Canamerica in the second race. Trainer John Stark, Jr., a part-owner, drove for Eloise Luchsinger, E. Carlyle and David Smith…Dewhurst, Jessica Okusko and Tracy Brainard, who all posted wins during Thursday's card, are deadlocked atop the track's training chart after six nights of competition with five victories each…Vernon will present an 11-race program that includes the week's $9,500 Open trot (sixth race) at 6:55 p.m. on Friday (May 11).…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at