Saturday, September 29, 2012

Late Bloomer Series debuts at Vernon Downs

A Penny Earned used a powerful closing kick to finish first in Friday's $8,500 Junior Open trot at Vernon Downs, while Celebrity Obsesion chalked up the fastest flight in the night's $42,000 leg of the track's new Late Bloomer Series for three and 4-year-old trotters.

A Penny Earned drew off in the stretch (final quarter in :28.3) to record a solid six-length score in Friday's $8,500 eighth event, stopping the timer in 1:55 over a track labeled sloppy to record a personal best win-mark. 

Chris Lems held the lines as the 3-year-old son of Conway Hall-Penny Dream delivered his second season's victory and seventh all-time tally, while bumping his career earnings to more than $189,100 for trainer George Ducharme and his ownership partners Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine and Nicola Oliva.

With Vernon's leading driver Rick Plano doing the teaming, Celebrity Obsesion turned a pocket trip into a 1:56.1 triumph in Friday's $6,000 first race, earning a 1:56.1 record, his second season's score and fourth lifetime victory for trainer Susanne Strandqvist and owner Sam Stathis.

Friday's other Late Bloomer Series winners were Liborio in 1:58.1, Zanna Royal in 1:58.3, Mrs. D in 1:58.4, Miss Eva Cash in 1:59.2, Helios in 2:00.1 and Painite in 2:00.2.

Driver Dan Daley captured the final three events of Friday's 13-race program to record his initial driving triple at the 75-program meeting, while Chris Lems also piloted three winners for the 10th time at the meet.  

DOWNS DOINGS—A Penny Earned, Mrs. D, Mr. Avalanche, Up Front Ben, Small Bills and Liborio all became two-time winning trotters at the meet as a result of their Friday first-place finishes…Saturday night's 12-race card, which includes an $8,500 Junior Open pace in the eighth event, will begin at 6:55 p.m…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at