Saturday, September 22, 2012

Four Damsals captures Friday night feature

Four Damsals unleashed a strong stretch kick to capture Friday night's $8,400 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Howard Okusko, Jr. was at the controls as Four Damsals ($9.90) kept an eye on the pace-setting Man O Matic from fourth at the quarter and half, and from third past the three-quarter mile mark.  The 4-year-old daughter of Cr Excalibur-Lotstoliveupto closed from second in the final furlong to overtake Man O Matic and then trot on to a 2-1/4 length tally over the on-rushing Dreamanotherdream.

Friday's first-place finish was the fifth this season (all at the Downs) and the seventh all time for the battlin' brown mare, who is owned by trainer George Ducharme and his partners, Steven and Patricia Diamond. She's now a career-earner of more than $145,600.

The win was one of three during Friday's 12-race program for Okusko, who also snared a pair of first-place finishes here on Thursday night. 

Leading trainer Tracy Brainard also collected three triumphs during the card, all of them driven by newcomer Jonathan Roberts (Mr. Hallowell in the fourth, Up Front Ben in the seventh, and Trust My Heart in the nightcap).

DOWNS DOINGS—Okusko's other tallies were behind Sweet Sally (2:00.2) in race one and Donna's Scape (1:56.3) in race 10.  It was the initial pari-mutual victories for both Standardbreds…Driver Jimmy Whittemore scored twice during Friday's program, tying Rick Plano at 14 for the lead in driving doubles at the 72-program meeting…Leading driver Plano increased his win count to 111 and his training total to 58 (four scores behind Brainard's total of 62) with a first-place finish behind the trotter He'smyman (1:56.4) in Friday's second session…Tomorrow night (Sept. 22), Vernon will offer a 13-race live program starting at 6:55 p.m., as well as a full-card simulcast from Yonkers Raceway of this season's rich New York Sire Stakes championship program…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.