Sunday, May 6, 2012

Diamond Stick Pin is a repeat winner in Open Pace


The productive pacer Diamond Stick Pin was a repeat winner in Saturday night's $9,500 Open feature at Vernon Downs.

With Claude Huckabone, III steering for trainer Jessica Okusko, Diamond Stick Pin ($5.70) turned in a gritty performance in Saturday's sixth race, rallying from sixth (last) in the early going and exploding from fourth at the top of the stretch to nip the front-striding Restless Yankee by a nose in the 1:51.4 mile.

The time bettered the season's local speed standard by one tick of the timer, and improved Diamond Stick Pin's current record to three victories in seven starts.  It was the 22nd lifetime tally 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.  His career winnings now stand at $427,100.

The first-place finish was one of two on the evening for Huckabone, who also won with the Kenneth Daniels-owned pacer One More Day in race one.

Veteran reinsman Rick Plano, last season's runner-up on both the driving and training charts at the Downs, collected four wins during Saturday's 12-race card.  The 60-year-old Frankfort-native won with the pacers Devil's Bargain, Dynamic Rayzer, Joba Jovi and trotter Neon Dream to record the first four-win performance by a driver at the five-night meeting.

DOWNS DOINGS—Chris Lems leads all drivers in races won after five Vernon programs with 11…Defending champ Tracy Brainard, Jessica Okusko and Dave Dewhurst are tied atop the training chart with four wins each…Michael Miller tied Josh Kinney, James Dodson and Mickey Holiday at one on the provisional driver's list after his 1:59.1 tally behind the Lew Miller-owned trotter BJ's Superman in Saturday's eighth event…Vernon will offer live racing at 6:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday next week.…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.