Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rick Plano posts 6,000th career win

Plano pictured with son Luke, wife Maryann, and Race Secretary Scott Warren
Scorpion Moon, the 53-program meet's fastest trotter, secured his third straight score, while Rick Plano recorded his 6,000th career driving victory during Wednesday night's 10-race program at Vernon Downs.

Fan favorite Scorpion Moon ($2.90) captured his second straight Open contest with a front-striding 1:53.3 triumph in Wednesday's $11,000 featured seventh race, while Plano posted his meet-leading 86th first-place finish to reach the prestigious milestone behind his wife's (Maryann) pacer Bigtown Hero in the evening's fourth event.

Wednesday's win behind Scorpion Moon was one of four on the night for noted catch-driver Jim Morrill, Jr., who provided leading trainer Tracy Brainard with three victories on her birthday. 

Fresh off a career-best and local season's swiftest 1:52.3 mile in this top class for diagonally-gaited performers here last week, Scorpion Moon obtained his ninth season's score (fourth at the Downs) and 88th lifetime win.  Brainard and Andrew Herzog own the gritty 11-year-old gelding, who raised his all-time earnings to more than $926,300.

Plano, a native of Frankfort (NY) who began his harness career here back in 1973, before going on to achieve success at Ohio's Northfield Park and on the California circuit, returned to the Downs a few season's back and has been a leading driver and trainer here ever since.  The 60-year-old horseman has accumulated more than $23.6 million in official purse money during his productive career.

After finishing first with the trotter Double D Fine in Wednesday's first race and the pacer Townie Guy in race six, driver Claude Huckabone, Jr. obtained his fourth double of the meet.    

DOWNS DOINGS—Morrill, Jr. chalked up his second four-win credit here in less than a week.  He also registered a four-win outing at Vernon on Aug. 11…The 47-year-old reinsman currently ranks fourth in Vernon's driver standings for 2012 with 40 first-place finishes.  He will represent the Downs  in the track's $50,000 Driving Championship here on Sunday, Aug. 26…Defending training champ Brainard presently leads Plano 49-45 on the meet’s conditioning chart…Joan Coogan's 3-year-old trotting colt Talaquah posted his initial pari-mutuel victory with Joe Nassimos teaming for trainer Joan Roach in Wednesday's third contest…Thursday's 10-race card will begin at 6:55 p.m… Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.