Friday, July 27, 2012

My Buddy Hall Lee becomes winningest horse at Vernon Downs meet

Ritascape became the fastest 2-year-old pacing filly of the 43-program pari-mutual meeting, while the trotter My Buddy Hall Lee became the winningest local equine of 2012 during Friday night's 10-race program at Vernon Downs.

Making just her second official start, Ritascape displayed fast form during her come-from-behind 1:56.3 victory in Friday's third event, while My Buddy Hall Lee extended the meet's longest winning streak to five with his 1:57.1 triumph in the evening's sixth session.

With Jimmy Whittemore driving for trainer Homer Hochstetler, the favorite Ritascape ($3.20) rallied from third in the final quarter and closed from second in the stretch to satisfy her backers.  The time was 2/5ths-of-a-second slower than her qualifying win here on June 29.  The bay daughter of Artiscape-Rita J is shared in ownership by South Of The Tracks Racing, Inc., Connie and Homer Hochstetler.

The crowd's wagering choice My Buddy Hall Lee ($5.60) also came from behind to continue his winning skein and separate himself from nine other four-time winners at the meet.  Roman Lopez guided the 4-year-old son of Roadshow Hall-Exclusive Lee into contention with a three-wide move from seventh on the backstretch, and then rushed him home from third in the stretch to catch and nip the pace-setting Jam And Jelly by a head. 

My Buddy Hall Lee's tally was his fifth of the season and sixth all-time.  Leopold Sawyers conditions the gritty gelding for owner Brett Tessler.

The 3-year-old gelded pacer Head Of The Barn recorded the evening's fastest mile, a career-best 1:56 triumph in race nine.  Trainer Frank Milby did the teaming for owner Irwin Samelman as the son of Cambest-Head Of The House compiled his first career victory.

Lopez, driver Frank Davis and trainer Hochstetler each achieved two wins during the program.     

DOWNS DOINGS—Vernon's current colt mark for 2-year-old pacers is 1:57.2, set by Delaware Hanover (Milby driving) on June 23…Saturday's 11-race program, which includes the week's $10,500 Open pace, will begin at 6:55 p.m. and featured the track's annual T-shirt giveaway…The Downs will host a New York Sire Stakes sponsored contest for 2-year-old filly pacers on Wednesday night, Aug. 8… Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at