Monday, September 24, 2012

No Monkeys Allowed gets up late to win Saturday feature



No Monkeys Allowed pounced on the pace-setting Restless Yankee in the final stride to pull out a head victory in Saturday night's $8,400 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.

Brian Connor was at the controls as No Monkeys Allowed ($8.70) moved up from fourth at the quarter to third on the outside at the half, timed in :55-seconds over a track labeled "sloppy."  Having rallied to second with about 850 yards of real estate remaining in the mile contest, the gritty bay gelding got up with a head bob at the finish to secure his third local score, seventh season's victory and 15th lifetime win.
The 1:51.2 clocking equaled his lifetime record and advanced his career earnings to $193,116.

The first-place finish was one of two during Saturday's 13-race program for Connor, trainer Edgar Clarke and owners Robert J. Orr and Garry J. Jonas.  Their pacer Placeitonluckydan (Connor teaming) captured the evening's 10th event in 1:53.1.

Vernon's second leg of the C.K.G. Billings Series for amateur drivers of trotters was won by David Yarock, who guided his trotter Guiding Light to a 1:58.2 triumph over Gate Keeper (local horseman Vladimir Melnichenko doing the steering) in Saturday's $4,000 third race.  The come-from-behind tally was the first this season and 14th all-time for the 8-year-old son of Dream Vacation-Lighthouse, who is conditioned by Jim Doherty, Jr.

Leading driver Rick Plano collected three victories during Vernon's 73rd program, as did driver Roman Lopez, who scored twice with horses trained by Sam Serianni (Skyway Major and Centerfold Lady). 

Driver Jonathan Roberts, who posted three wins in his Downs debut on Friday evening, bounced back with a pair of first-place finishes on Saturday.  

DOWNS DOINGS—The track's initial 2012 Billings leg was won by Anthony Verruso (driving Sam's Honeybee) back on Aug. 18…Vernon will continue with live harness racing at 6:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday next week…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.