Friday, August 17, 2012

Mia's Star wins for sixth time at 2012 season

Mia's Star became the season's winningest equine on the lateral gait after a 1:53.1 spin around the 7/8ths-mile oval at Vernon Down on Thursday night (Aug. 16).

Mia's Star ($4.90) slugged it out with the favorite, Southwest, throughout Thursday's $6,800 ninth race, giving up the lead entering the stretch driver, and then fighting back in the final strides to earn a 1-1/4-length triumph.

Thursday's tough tally was the third in succession, sixth at the 54-program meeting, ninth this season and 14th all-time for the game-going 4-year-old mare.  Defending driving champion Jimmy Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Enio Barrera and owner Clayton Faurot, Sr. as the bay daughter of Mach Three-Queen Verda increased her career bankroll to $52,315.

The trotter My Buddy Hall Lee has also recorded six first-place finishes at the Downs this year.

Current driving leader Rick Plano, who achieved his 6,000th career win here the previous evening, posted three wins on Thursday's 10-race card, and now leads in driving doubles, triples and four-win outings at track in 2012.  The 60-year-old horseman completed the card with 89 driving victories and 47 training tallies.

Whittemore also won with Andrea Pratt's trotter Hall Of Mirrors to chalk up his 10th double at the Downs this season, while 10-time Vernon driving champion Howard Okusko, Jr., who is battling back from off-the-track injuries suffered earlier in the campaign, also visited the winner's circle on two occasions during the program.

DOWNS DOINGS—Okusko, who celebrated his 50th birthday the previous evening, currently has 1,996 career driving victories.  He is the track's all-time leader in two-minute drives with 1,155…In addition to leading in the three driving categories already mentioned, Plano is tied at one with noted catch-driver Jim Morrill, Jr. in five-win outings at the meet…Morrill and Tim Tetrick are the only reinsmen to have achieved six scores on a single Vernon program thus far in 2012…Friday's 10-race line-up with begin at 6:55 pm… Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at