Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012 season concludes

Tioga Thunder set a track record for trotters racing 7/8ths-of-a-mile clockwise during Saturday night's 13-race card as Vernon Downs completed its 59th season.

Competing in Saturday's second race, a “Turn Back The Clock Rewind Race,” Tioga Thunder had owner and trainer Adam Capizzano at the controls as he went right to the front at the start and wired seven other practitioners of the diagonal stride, stopping the timer in 1:45.3.  The previous 1:47 record for this event and gait had been established by Famous Image last year.

Two other 7/8ths-mile rewind races were conducted during the track's 90th program, both on the pace.  Dunkirk Beach missed the pacing standard for this event by one tick of the timer with his 1:42.4 performance in race eight, while Mata Harry posted a 1:44.2 clocking in race four.

Drivers Chris Lems, Jonathan Roberts, Roman Lopez, Lewayne Miller, trainer Lonny Hale, plus owners Dr. Michael J. Kessler and the Speed To Burn Racing Stable were each credited with a pair of victories during Saturday's action.

The 14-year-old campaigners Crowbar Hotel, owned by trainer Gene Denney and his wife, Lynne, and Camviction, registered to trainer Lynn Whitmer and her husband, Charles, Jr., were recognized in retirement ceremonies after the second and eighth events, respectively.  The trotter Crowbar Hotel is a career winner of more than $106,000, while the home-bred pacer Camviction has recorded earnings of nearly $75,000.

Twelve different track records were set or tied during the April 27-Nov. 3 meeting, with the fastest pacing mile a 1:48.3 sizzler turned in by He's Gorgeous on May 19.  The fastest trotting mile was a 1:51.2 effort by Hot Shot Blue Chip on Sept. 7 in the Credit Winner Open trot.

The winningest pacer at the meet was Steuben Ruthless with eight first-place finishes, while the top trotter in tallies was Whispur with seven scores.

Rick Plano, who was the runner-up in both driving and training here last season, ended up finishing first in both categories this season.  The 60-year-old horsemen won 159 races and chalked up 78 conditioning credits.  The Frankfort-native led in driving doubles with 18, triples with 16, four-win program with six, tied Jim Morrill, Jr. in five-win performances with two, and joined Morrill, Jr. and Tim Tetrick as the only reinsmen to hit the six-win mark during the meet.

Provisional pilots Josh Kinney and Michael Miller tied at six for top honors in that developing category.

More than 1,100 miles in 2:00 or faster were recorded during the season, raising the track's all-time total to 22,785.

"We would like to thank all of our customers and the horsemen who help support Vernon Downs racing year after year, and we look forward to seeing all of them again next season," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

DOWNS DOINGS—Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.