Sunday, July 22, 2012

Forty Carrots shines in Saturday feature

The stalking pacer Forty Carrots rallied late to win Saturday night's $8,000 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.

Luke Plano, doing the catch-driving for trainer Ray Van Dreason for the first time, guided Forty Carrots ($16.80) into the two slot behind the pace-setting Mystical Valentine early in Saturday's featured "Winners Over" contest.  The determined duo then drafted along until the final furlong, where the 5-year-old horse unleashed a strong closing kick that enabled him to defeat the mile cutter by a neck in a 1:52 mile.

Although Saturday's score was the first locally this season for the bay son of Riverboat King-Mathamonics, it marked his 10th victory of 2012 and his 24th all time.  The career earner of $267,599 is shared in ownership by Richard Clair and Lance Gordon.

The Plano family captured eight of Saturday's 11 races.  Father Rick collected six scores for the third time at the 40-program meeting, while son Luke landed in the winner's circle on two occasions. 

The elder Plano ended Vernon's four-night live racing schedule with 10 triumphs and currently leads Chris Lems by 16 victories in the track's 2012 driving derby.  He also snared five training tallies during the week to pull within six scores of defending champ Tracy Brainard.  

DOWNS DOINGS—One of Rick Plano's Saturday scores was for trainer Brainard, while two others were behind pacers owned by his wife, Maryann…Luke Plano's initial double at the meet came in races six (Rodeo Du Ruisseau) and seven…Provisional driver Brandon Loomis of Oneida secured his third win of the meet after teaming Heather Macmaster's 4-year-old pacer Renier De Vie to a 1:56.2 tally in race two…Richelle Reynolds was named Miss Vernon Downs for 2012 in a promotional contest during Saturday's program…The Downs will offer live racing at 6:55 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday next week…Vernon's pari-mutuel department will present afternoon and evening simulcasts at the track Wednesday-Sunday starting tomorrow (July 22), and continuing through Labor Day (Sept. 3).  Monday and Tuesday simulcasts will continue to take place in the hotel at Vernon Downs…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at