Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plano honored as leading horseman of 2012

The gritty gelding Western Tsunami toughed out a 1:50.3 victory in Saturday night's $11,000 Open pace, while Rick Plano was honored as the leading horseman of the 59th harness racing season at Vernon Downs.

Taking on four fleet-footed foes in Saturday's featured first race, Western Tsunami ($8.10) stalked the race's pace-setters—Sheer Brilliance at the quarter and Pacinello for most of the remainder of the mile---before rallying from fifth in the final quarter to overtake the Plano-piloted Pacinello and pull out a one-length triumph.

Rick Plano with race secretary Scott Warren and wife Maryann
Western Tsunami, who has only finished off the payoff board once in his last nine trips to the track, earned his fourth Vernon victory of 2012, his sixth season's score and 46th lifetime tally.  Jonathan Roberts did the teaming for trainer Tracy Brainard and her ownership partner, Andrew Herzog, as the 9-year-old son of Western Hanover-Rons Girl increased his career winnings to $360,620.  The time was just two-ticks of the clock off of his all-time speed mark, earned three seasons ago.

Roberts went on to capture Saturday's fifth race with the Hale Storm Stable's pacer Stettin Hanover and record his fourth driving double at the 88-program meeting. 

Plano posted victories with the pacers Moonlight Ransom (1:51.3), Lucky Sniper (1:53.2) and trotter Dipietrantonio (1:58.3) to conclude his current Vernon venture as the leading driver with 159 first-place finishes and top trainer with 78 tallies.  He will be shipping his strong stable to Florida's Pompano Park early next week, missing the final two programs (Nov. 2 and 3) of the track's season.

Former Downs training champ Lonny Hale was also credited with a pair of first-place finishes during Saturday's12-race card.  

DOWNS DOINGS—Josh Kinney, who steered the Jessica Okusko-owned and trained trotter Oldmanandthesea to a lifetime-best 1:58.3 victory in Saturday's second race, tied Michael Miller at six for most wins among provisional drivers at the meet...Vernon will offer live racing at 6:55 p.m. next Friday, and at 6 p.m. on Saturday to complete its current 90-card campaign…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ma Chere Hall and Banco Solo capture Kindergarten Classic Finals

Ma Chere Hall and Banco Solo each earned champion status as a result of their impressive victories in Friday night's $408,500 finals of the 2012 Kindergarten Classic Series for 2-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs.

Ma Chere Hall, who tied the Vernon record for her age, sex and gait with a 1:56 clocking in last Friday's fifth and final KCS preliminary leg here, followed that remarkable score up with a 1:54.3 mile in the $202,500 filly flight to establish a new Downs standard for her class.

Ma Chere Hall wins Kindergarten Filly in track record time
Banco Solo's 1:55.3 victory for driver Jeff Gregory in the $206,000 male title test proved to be a personal best effort, and the fastest mile by a freshman colt trotter at the 87-program meeting.  The previous 1:55.4 speed standard was shared by Lauderdale, a divisional winner in this event last week, and Royalty For Life, who established the mark on Aug. 25.

Competing as part of a three-filly Jonas Czernyson stable entry in Friday's sixth session, Ma Chere Hall and driver Corey Callahan drafted along behind stablemate Shared Past, who cut fractions of :27-seconds, :57, and 1:25.4.  The fleet-footed daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Margarita Hall used a speed spurt in the final 16th to earn a head triumph over the Yannick Gingras-steered pace-setter. 

Friday's first-place finish by Ma Chere Hall marked the third this season for the career-winner of $145,101, who is shared in ownership by Walnut Hall, Ltd., Aldebaran Park, Inc. and Joe Sbrocco.

Banco Solo scores with Jeff Gregory
Banco Solo's speedy score was his second locally and seventh in 10 season's starts.

"I just happened to pick up the drive behind him from trainer Kenneth Oscarsson last week and it has worked out well for both of us.  He's a very nice colt," said Gregory, a former Vernon regular, who is now one of the Standardbred sports leading catch-drivers. 

The fast-closing, 1-1/4 length triumph by the brown son of Master Glide-Silver Thatch over All Laid Out (Jim Rattray driving) raised his career winnings to $157,481 for Atlantic Trot, Inc.

Friday's $8,500 Junior Open trot was won by Aruba Vacation, who wired seven select rivals with a 1:56 performance in race eight.  Jim Morrill, Jr. did the steering for trainer Guy Howard and the Howard Stables.

Truman Gale, last season's top provisional driver at the Downs, steering Cash In Watsu and Photo Master to victories, earned his second driving double of the meet during Friday's 11-race program.      

DOWNS DOINGS—Morrill, Jr., another one of the sport's leading catch-drivers, earned his 64th victory despite limited appearances at the Downs in 2012…Saturday's 12-race line-up, which includes an $11,000 Open pace in race one, will begin at 6:55 p.m…Just three more live racing cards remain during the track's 90-card campaign…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at

Friday, October 26, 2012

High Speed Life upsets Thursday night feature

High Speed Life wired six select foes to capture Thursday night's $11,000 Open for female pacers at Vernon Downs.

With trainer Roman Lopez doing the driving in Thursday's featured first race, High Speed Life ($23.40) beat back an early challenge from Windows On Line (Rick Plano piloting) before taking command and cruising to a 2-1/2 length tally over her chief and only challenger.

Thursday's triumph was the sixth locally, the ninth this year and 30th all-time for the speedy 6-year-old daughter of Lease On Life-Nano, who is owned by Lopez and Mitchell A. Frair.  She's now a career-winner of $507,780.

Trainer Lopez went on to record a 1:55.3 victory behind the Brian Earl Doolittle-owned pacer Cruising West in race nine, chalking up his 10th driving double of the track's 59th season.

Leading driver Rick Plano also posted a pair of first-place finishes during the track's 86th program, as did driver Jonathan Roberts and trainer Tracy Brainard.

DOWNS DOINGS—The late-blooming 3-year-old pacer R U For Me improved her summary line to 6-1-1 after nine career outings following a 1:54.1 score for driver Howard Okusko, Jr. in Thursday's fifth event.  Eric Felter conditions the steady-striding filly for owners Joseph Bien and Kathryn Wood…The 2-year-old trotter I'm A Pop Star (2:00.1) and 3-year-old pacer P L Finest (1:56) each earned their initial pari-mutuel victories during Thursday's 12-race card…The win by P L Finest resulted in the fourth provisional driving tally for trainer Leslie Hale…Friday night's (Oct. 26) 11-race line-up includes the $202,500 final of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-old filly trotters in race six, and the $206,000 championship clash in the KCS for freshman male members of the diagonal gait in race seven.  An $8,500 junior Open trot is also slated for race eight.  Friday's first post will be at 6:55 p.m…Just four more live racing cards remain during the track's 90-card campaign…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kindergarten Classic finals on tap Friday night at Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs is gearing up for more than $400,000 up for grabs in the Kindergarten Classic finals on Friday night for freshman trotters (Post Time: 6:55 pm).

Leading the way in the $202,500 Kindergarten Classic final for 2-year-old trotting fillies is a three-part entry trained by Jonas Czernyson led by Shared Past (1B) and Yannick Gingras.

The 2-year-old daughter of Chocolatier – Armbro Déjà vu has hit the board in eight of her 11 starts this season with one win coming at The Meadowlands in 1:55.4. Shared Past will look to vault her way over the $100,000 earnings mark with any check in the final as she currently sits at $98,387 for owner W J Donovan of Florida.
Ma Chere Hall establishes a new track record last week

Her stable mate, Ma Chere Hall, established a new track record at Vernon Downs for 2-year-old trotting fillies last week in the final leg with a front end score in 1:56. Corey Callahan will be re-united with the 2-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe – Margarita Hall from post position number seven.

In the $206,000 final for 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, Pine Credit (Lewayne Miller) has been made the 3-1 morning line favorite. Pine Credit qualified for the Breeders' Crown final finishing fifth in last weekend's elimination, but opted to go to the Kindergarten Classic Final at Vernon Downs.

Lewayne Miller will once again get the assignment behind Pine Credit who has posted five wins in 12 seasonal starts good for more than $136,000 in earnings and a mark of 1:54.3 taken at The Red Mile. The duo will start from post position number four for trainer Erv Miller in the seventh race of the night on Friday at Vernon Downs.

Below are the fields for the Kindergarten Classic Finals:

Race 6:
$202,500 Kindergarten Classic Final – 2 year old filly trotters
#          PP        HORSE                      DRIVER                                TRAINER
1          4          Déjà vu Too                 Jonathan Roberts                      Jonas Czernyson
1A       7          Ma Chere Hall              Corey Callahan                        Jonas Czernyson
1B        8          Shared Past                  Yannick Gingras                       Jonas Czernyson
2          1          Southwind Cocoa         Tim Tetrick                               Linda Toscano
3          2          Drink The Wine            Jeff Gregory                             Richard Norman
4          3          Right Away                  Jim Morrill Jr.                           Ray Schnittker
5          5          Miss Steele                   Andy Miller                              Julie Miller       
6          6          True Day Dream           Dan O’Mara                            Dan O’Mara
7          9          Silver Credit                 Charlie Norris                           Randy Beeckman

Race 8:
$206,000 Kindergarten Classic Final – 2 year old colt trot
#          HORSE                                  DRIVER                                TRAINER
1          Picture This                              Rick Plano                                Charlie Norris
2          Jacks To Open                         Jim Morrill Jr.                           Paul Kelley
3          Text Winner                             Charlie Norris                           Charlie Norris
4          Pine Credit                               Lewayne Miller                        Erv Miller
5          Banco Solo                              Jeff Gregory                             Kenneth Oscarsson
6          San Donato                              John Campbell                         Jim Campbell
7          Sailer Eddie                              Tim Tetrick                              Chris Oakes
8          All Laid Out                             James Rattray                           Noel Daley
9          Lauderdale                               Corey Callahan                        Jonas Czernyson

Vernon Downs begins its three-day stretch of live racing on Thursday, October 25 at 6:55 pm, for more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at .

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kindergarten Classic Final Point Standings

True Day Dream leads the standings in the Filly Division
After the Kindergarten Series' fifth and last preliminary leg on Friday night, point standings toward eligibility to the finals is available on the Vernon Downs website. The top nine that declare will race in the final and there is a $10,000 consolation offered.  There is no entry fee required.

The final purse pools are $206,000 for the colts and $202,500 for fillies. The purse for the consolations, if they fill, will come from the total in the final pools. Conditions require a minimum of two leg starts to be eligible for either.

Horses must be declared for finals and/or consolations by 9am Tuesday, Oct 23 by calling the Vernon race office at (315) 829-6825. The condition sheet is also on the website.

No Monkeys Allowed captures Open Pace; Plano wins 6

No Monkeys Allowed was all business in winning the featured $11,000 Open pace, while Rick Plano posted victories in half of Saturday night's 12 races at Vernon Downs.

Rallying from fourth in the early going, No Monkeys Allowed ($13.40) advanced to third entering the payoff patch, and then pounced on the leaders Western Tsunami (Jonathan Roberts driving) and Pacinello (Plano) in the final-sixteenth to earn a 1-1/4 length triumph in a career-best 1:50.3 performance.

No Monkeys Allowed wins 4th race in 2012 at Vernon
Brian Connor drove for trainer Edgar Clarke in the evening's first race as the 5-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover-Weeping Wanabe earned his fourth tally at the 85-program meeting, his eighth win of 2012 and his 16 lifetime score.  Robert J. Orr and Garry Jonas own the swift-footed gelding, who raised his lifetime earnings to $200,956.

Plano, the current leader in driving wins with 153 and training tallies with 77, procured first-place finishes in the third, fifth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th events to lift his victory count for the three-night weekend to 11.  Saturday's six scores ties (Tim Tetrick and Jim Morrill, Jr.) for the most tallies by a teamster during the track's 59th season.

Trainer Clarke completed a double in the Early Double when the trotter Scarlet Spurs (Roman Lopez steering) secured a lifetime-best 1:58 victory in Saturday's second race for the Jamie Marra Racing contingent. 

DOWNS DOINGS—Two of Plano's Saturday scores were training tallies, giving the 60-year-old horseman a 77-71 advantage over Tracy Brainard, the defending training champ, with five programs remaining in the track's 59th season, that continues at 6:55 p.m. Thursday –Saturday next week and on Nov. 2 and 3…Jim Morrill, Jr. leads in six-win outings at the meet with four, while Plano has done it twice and Tetrick once…The Vernon record for most wins on a single program is seven, shared by Morrill, Jr. (2008) and Josh Marks (2010)…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at