Sunday, June 3, 2012

Diamond Stick Pin is back on top

Diamond Stick Pin re-established himself as pacing King-of-the-Hill following his narrow victory over newcomer Melvyn in Saturday night's $9,500 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Two-time defending Downs driving champ Jimmy Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Jessica Okusko in the week's Open contest as Diamond Stick Pin ($5.70) drafted immediately behind the pace-setting Poker Hat until the half, timed in :55.2. 

After Melvyn came a callin' from fifth to take the lead entering the final furlong, Diamond Stick Pin shook loose from the pocket and closed like a gate in the wind to snare a nose triumph in 1:51.1, equaling his career-best win mark.

The fast-closing finish was his third in Open competition at the 17-program meeting, his fourth in 11 current outings and the 23rd all-time for the 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Silksndiamonds, who is shared in ownership by Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables, Conrad Zurich and Edwin J. Gold.  The career winner of $438,933 hasn't finished worse than second in five starts at the meet dating back to April 28.

Whittemore finished Saturday's 12-race card with three tallies, tying with Rick Plano, who also recorded a triple, at 21 for second place on this season's dash-winning chart.  Chris Lems, the current driving leader with 30 first-place credits, recorded a pair of Saturday scores.  

DOWNS DOINGS—Defending champ Tracy Brainard is again the meet's leading trainer with 22 tallies…Driver Dan Daley recorded his 999th driving victory behind the trotter Alarming Quick (1:58.3) in Saturday's third race…Miracle Freeluck, a three-time winner at the meet, became the first pacing claim at the Downs this season after trainer Lonny Hale plucked him out of the sixth race for $7,500.  It was the largest of four claims at the track thus far this season…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at