Monday, November 18, 2013
2013 season is third straight seasonal increase
For the third consecutive season, Vernon Downs experienced a double-digit increase in export handle, the amount of money wagered at off-track locations on races at Vernon Downs. For the 2013 season, which concluded November 9, export handle was up 17 percent. In the past three seasons, the export handle has increased a total of 63 percent.
"Posting a third straight handle increase reaffirms that the horseplayers across North America are in favor of full competitive fields and a strong stakes program," said Scott Warren, Director of Racing. "We worked very hard this year to expand the reach of our simulcast signal into new markets like California, and this season showed that the effort of our entire staff continues to pay off."
Export handle increased 175 percent on Empire Breeders Classic day in June, 110 percent on Credit Winner/Muscle Hill night in September and 26 percent on Drivers' Championship/Zweig Memorial night in August.
"A tremendous amount of credit needs to go to Scott Warren who continues to put together full, competitive fields that drive our handle in the positive direction," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing. "A big thank you also goes to the horsemen and fans that supported Vernon Downs racing in 2013."
On the track, more history was made during the track's 60th anniversary of racing.
Vernon Downs based Royalty For Life captured the $1.5 million Hambletonian in August; harness racing's most prestigious race held at the Meadowlands. Royalty For Life then came back to his home track and won Vernon's Zweig Memorial over a field of star-studded 3-year-old trotters.
Canadian trotter Intimidate broke the all-time Vernon Downs track record with his thrilling win in the Credit Winner Open Trot in September in a final time of 1:51.
In June, the largest on-track crowd of the season, nearly 6,000, witnessed the first ever camel and ostrich races in Vernon Downs history.
Rick Plano finished the season as the track's runaway leading driver and trainer. The 62-year-old Central New York native achieved the feat for the second straight year.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Just as he did in last week's top test for representatives of the lateral gait, the favorite Arockin' Hanover saved the best for last and secured a 1:51.2 victory in the final $12,000 Open pace of the 60th Anniversary season at Vernon Downs.
Truman Gale did the teaming for trainer Jason Robinson in Saturday's 10th event, as a Arockin' Hanover laid back in fifth place as the speedy JK Panache paced the solid seven-horse field through splits of :26.1, :55.1 and 1:24.1 through three quarters of the mile. Taking the overland route from fifth place on the backstretch, Arockin' Hanover rallied to get the lead at the top of the stretch and then accelerated away from his six speedy foes to defeat Western Tsunami by nearly three lengths.
Saturday's come-from-behind score marked the third win in succession (second at the Downs) , the ninth this season and the 21st all time for the 5-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover-Artaffection, who has rustled up more than $100,200 in 33 starts for owner Robert D. Main. His career bankroll currently stands at $383,133.
John MacDonald delivered four driving victories during Saturday's 13-race card, while chauffeur Claude Huckabone, III posted a driving triple, and trainer John Mc Neil, III a double.
Rick Plano repeated as the winningest driver (130 scores) and trainer (51 tallies) during the 88-program meeting. Gary Clark emerged as the leading provisional pilot.
The trotter Ziegler Hanover was the meet's winningest equine with 10 triumphs, while the pacer Hot Cowboy led his gait with seven scores.
Thirteen track records (seven on the diagonal gait and six on the pace) were re-set or tied during the meet, which began on April 12. The season's swiftest pacing mile was a 1:49 performance by Pontiac Luck on Aug. 31, while a brilliant 1:51 effort by Intimidate in the season's Credit Winner Open on Sept. 6 was the fastest trotting mile in the track's history.
|Little Santamonica and Chris Lems|
Little Santamonica posted a gate-to-wire victory in the final $12,000 fillies and mares Open pace on Friday night at Vernon Downs.
Chris Lems did the teaming for trainer Jordan Hope as Little Santamonica led through splits of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.3 en route to a 1:52.4 decision over Bijou Theater in Friday's second session. It was the first local score, but the seventh season's tally for the 5-year-old daughter of Little Steven-Tonianne, who is owned by Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon. The brave-hearted brown mare now sports 17 career victories and earnings of more than $108,500.
Lems, the local campaign's second-leading reinsman after 87 programs, earned four first-place finishes during Friday's 11-race card to reach the 100-win plateau. Driver Truman Gale also visited Vernon's Blue Chip Farms winner's circle four times during the program, while driver Adam Capizzano and trainer Robert C. Gale each recorded two victories.
DOWNS DOINGS—Driver Brian Mattison was unseated when the pacer Prince Pendant fell during Friday's ninth contest and reportedly suffered a hand injury…The 3-year-old pacer Steuben Huckleberi notched his first pari-mutuel win after Capizzano steered him to a 1:58 triumph in Friday's 10th event…The Downs will conclude its 2013 campaign with a special 6 p.m. first post on Saturday (Nov. 9). There will be a 60th Anniversary Season coffee mug giveaway, while supplies last, during the night and a spectacular fireworks display following the evening's 13th and final race.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Extended by a weekend as a result of the dates lost to the EHV quarantine in May, the 2013 live racing season at Vernon Downs comes to a close with the upcoming Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9 cards.
Racing Secretary Scott Warren has listed the year's final open pace and trot to go on Saturday night, which also features a coffee mug giveaway and the customary fireworks show to close out the season.
Post time on Friday will be the standard 6:45pm with Saturday's races beginning at 6:00pm.
Check the Vernon website for further details.
|Arockin Hanover and Truman Gale|
Newcomer Arockin Hanover captured the $12,000 Open pace; Noble Wabbit lowered his odd-distance record for 7/8ths-of-a-mile in the "Turn Back The Clock Rewind Race," while drivers John MacDonald and Truman Gale each recorded four victories during Saturday night's 13-race program at Vernon Downs.
The Saratoga-shipper Arockin Hanover went off as the second choice in Saturday's featured seventh session. As the favorite Sheer Brilliance cut fast fractions of :26.3, :55 and 1:22.4, Arockin Hanover drafted along back in fourth place. Entering the homestretch, Arockin Hanover revved up and closed like a gate in the wind to not only overtake the pace-setter, but draw off to an eye-popping 3-3/4-length tally in 1:51.
The fast-closing finish by the speedy 5-year-old gelding resulted in his second win in succession, eighth this season and 20th all time. Gale did the driving for trainer Jason Robinson as the bay son of Rocknroll Hanover-Artaffection raised his career bankroll to more than $377,100 for owner Robert D. Main.
Entering Saturday's $4,500 fourth event as the Vernon record-holder for a 7/8ths-mile clockwise pace off a 1:42.3 effort in 2011, Noble Wabbit rallied overland from fifth in the early going, advanced to third entering the stretch and then powered home to defeat the pocket-sitting Prince Polaris by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:39. It was the first win in 2013 for the 10-year-old bay gelding, but his 37th lifetime score. MacDonald did the teaming for trainer George Ducharme and owner Heather Reese as the productive son of Precious Bunny-Noble Lady Avalon increased his lifetime earnings to $154,487.
Gale, for the second time during the 86-card Downs campaign, collected four wins on a single program, while it marked the first occasion for MacDonald, a newcomer to the track this season.
Dave Dewhurst, the meet's second-leading trainer with 37 tallies, also harnessed two first-place finishers during the rainy evening.
DOWNS DOINGS— Gary P. Clark, the track's leading provisional pilot at present, recorded his fourth local score after a 1:54.4 trip behind the pacer New York Kitty (owned by he and Fay Clark) in Saturday's second session…The Kenneth Daniels-owned sophomore trotter Southwind Tule chalked up his first pari-mutuel victory following a 2:02.1 performance for trainer and driver Claude Huckabone, III in Saturday's $3,400 third event…Only two live racing dates remain during the track’s 88-card campaign that continues through Nov. 9…Vernon's program for Friday, Nov. 8 will start at 6:45 p.m., but the card for Saturday, Nov. 9, will begin at 6 p.m., and include a coffee mug giveaway, while supplies last, and a spectacular fireworks display to conclude the track’s 60th anniversary season….A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.
Well Built, Skates N Plates, JK Molly, Bikini So Teeny and Bakersfield were all divisional winners in Friday night's $88,844 John Simpson Memorial stakes for 2-year-olds at Vernon Downs
|Well Built wins the Simpson Stakes|
The favorite Well Built captured the $14,396 opening division of the Simpson stake for male members of the trotting persuasion with a strong-striding 1:59.3 victory in Friday's first race. Jim Meittinis did the steering for trainer Chris Ryder as the bay colt rallied from third at the quarter into the top spot before the half, and then remained in charge en route to a 1-1/4 length score over the second-choice, Resolve. It was the second win, coupled with a trio of second-place finishes in nine starts for the strong son of Muscle Hill-Working Girl, who has earned nearly $36,900 this season for co-owner Ryder and his partner Robert Mondillo.
In the $14,396 second division of the freshman colt and gelding trot, race three, Skates N Plates front-ended his way to a 1:56.3 score over the crowd's choice, Starsaboveallerage, who finished a half-length back in second. It was the first career triumph for the bay son of Revenue S-Pleasure Skate, who now spots a 1-2-1 summary line and earnings of $26,233 in 13 outings for owner Robert J. Key. Chris Lems did the teaming for trainer Paul Reid.
JK Molly, who owns the fastest mile by a 2-year-old pacing filly here in 2013 on the strength of a 1:52.1 performance back on Sept. 6, secured her second Vernon victory and improved her performance line to 5-1-2 after 10 trips to the track following a 1:54 score in Friday's $26,766 fifth contest. The tomboy filly advanced from second into the lead early in the mile and continued on to a front-ending 1:54 tally over the favorite, Ideal Helen. Roman Lopez did the piloting for trainer Ron Burke as the daughter of Art Major-Heather's Western raised here career winnings to $128,766 for the 3 Brothers Stables.
Fourth choice in the wagering, Bikini So Teeny turned in a career-best 1:56.4 showing in race seven, the $27,366 filly trot. Trainer Charlie Norris was at the controls as the daughter of Yankee Glide-Momsgotitgoinon gained the upper hoof going to the half and continued on to record a head triumph over the second-choice, Ruby. The favorite, Annie's List, ended up third. It marked the maiden victory for the bay filly, who also displays a pair of second-place finishes, a third and winnings of $29,149 after 11 starts for owners Carrie Norris, Neal Goldman and Harold "Bud" Coughlin.
In the $27,591 2-year-old male pace, race 10, the crowd's pick, Bakersfield, raced like he was the best, and then proved it with a gate-to-wire 1:54 victory. Andy Miller did the honors for trainer Jimmy Takter as the quick-striding son of American Ideal-Ride The Skies dominated through splits of :28.4, :58.2 and 1:26.4 en route to a 1-1/4 length tally over second choice Beat The Drum. It was the third tally, coupled with a second and two third in 11 tries for the career-winner of more than $51,100, who is shared in ownership by the Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco and John Fodera.
In Friday's $12,000 ninth race, the week's Open trot, newcomer Picture This rallied from third entering the stretch drive and came on in a :28.4 final quarter to defeat The Triple Lindy by a neck. The fast-closing finish resulted in the fifth season's score and the sixth lifetime win for the career-winner of more than $305,700, who is owned by Leonard Buckner.
The win behind Picture This gave trainer and driver Norris a triple during Friday's 12-race program. Chris Lems logged his meet-leading 23rd double of Vernon’s 85-card campaign, while two win performances were also registered by Roman Lopez, and trainer/driver Claude Huckabone, III.
Friday, November 1, 2013
|Economy Terror and Stephane Bouchard|
The favorite Economy Terror instilled dread into her six female pacing opponents before carving out a.3 Open victory on Halloween night (Thursday, Oct. 31) at Vernon Downs.
Leaving from the assigned outside post position in Thursday's featured ninth event, the Pocono Downs ship-in Economy Terror, competing over a rain-soaked, sloppy track, was sent to the front by driver Stephane Bouchard as the starting gate pulled away and she was never seriously threatened en route to a 4-1/2-length tally.
The bold-going triumph was the third this season and the 16th overall for the 4-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Mattatonic, who earned aspeed-badge at Pocono last season. Chris Oakes conditions the career winner of more than $1,570,700 for Pennsylvania owners Chuck Pompey, Howard A. Taylor and Edwin J. Gold.
Bouchard also finished first with the Robert Siemski-owned pacer Winbak Your Kash (.1) in Thursday's $9,600 eighth event to earn his first driving double of the 84-program meeting. Drivers Chuck Connor, Jr. and Claude Huckabone, III also delivered two tallies during the 12-race card.
DOWNS DOINGS—Vernon will present a 12-race program at www.vernondowns.com.that will include five divisions of an $88,844 John Simpson Memorial stake for 2-year-olds of both sexes on the trotting and pacing gaits…In addition, there will be a $12,000 Open trot in race nine…The Downs will also offer simulcast wagering on the 2013 Breeders Cup thoroughbred championship races on both (first post ) and ( ) afternoons…Only four live racing dates remain during the track's 60th anniversary season that continues through …First post times on will be at ….A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The John F. Simpson Memorial stakes, a Grand Circuit event for two-year-old pacers and trotters makes a stop at Vernon Downs on the evening of Friday, November 1.
The freshman trotting colts start the show in races one and three dubbed the "Super Bowl", with a pair of five horse fields each for a purse of $13,271. Trainer Chris Ryder has a Muscle Hill contender in each division and has an ownership position in both.
Well Built has had a consistent if unspectacular campaign and broke maiden in a Vernon overnight event just last week. Jim Meittinis is listed to drive the colt on Friday evening for Ryder and partner Robert Mondillo.
Muscle On In is the more accomplished of Ryder's pair, having won the Harold Dancer Memorial and NJ Futurity at Freehold this fall. He has earned more than $60,000 for the partnership of Ryder and Mondillo along with Max Wernick. Chris will drive this one from post four in the abbreviated field.
Trotting fillies go for $25,716 in race seven, named for the grand dame Davidia Hanover where Ruby looks like the one to beat. She is an Explosive Matter filly trained by Erv Miller for Patrick Quaid and James Bafia who comes to the Simpson off a solid fourth in the Breeders Crown final. Meittinis catches the drive on her from the advantageous post two.
The "Bret Hanover" (race ten) is comprised of six pacing colts and geldings racing for $25,341. Beat The Drum is a Tell All colt who's won a few stakes this summer, including the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs and took a 1:53- record winning a NJSS leg at The Meadowlands. He's made just shy of $90,000 for trainer Staffan Lind who owns him in partnership with Bender Sweden, Inc. Jim Meittinis has the drive on this morning line choice as well.
The filly pace, christened the "Razzle Hanover", boasts a competitive field of six with JK Molly and Ideal Helen the most accomplished.
|JK Molly winning a NYSS at Vernon earlier this season|
JK Molly was a factor all summer in the NYSS program, earning over $115,000 and took a fast 1:52.1 mark right here at Vernon in early September for owners the 3 Brothers Stable. Ron Burke trains and Roman Lopez has the drive on the Art Major lass.
Ideal Helen has had a successful season in the Garden State with seven wins and nearly $120,000 earned for owner/breeder D. R. Van Witzenberg. She counts the Review Stakes, NJ Futurity and Babic Filly Stake among her conquests while in the care of Erv Miller. Chris Lems will plot her course from the outside.