Friday, April 5, 2013

First qualifying program at Vernon Downs for 2013

Seventy-eight Standardbreds were declared to start in Friday morning's initial qualifying session of the 60th harness racing season at Vernon Downs.

41 pacers and 34 trotters actually participated in the 14 non-betting practice races over the track's 7/8ths-mile oval in preparation for Vernon's opening on Friday, April 12.  Three other harness horses were scratched.

The Turn N Burn Stable's veteran pacer Bullish Blue Chip compiled Friday's fastest clocking, a 1:58.1 winning performance in the eighth event.  Josh Kinney drove for trainer Jessica Okusko.

Friday's swiftest trotting mile was recorded by Man O Matic, who captured the day's fifth race in 1:59.1 with Claude Huckabone, III doing the teaming for trainer Tracy Brainard and owner Howard Taylor.

The Downs will begin the first of its 90 programs at 6:45 p.m. next Friday night.  This year's first post is 10 minutes earlier than in 2012.  The eighth-month campaign is set to continue through Nov. 2.

DOWNS DOINGS—The Downs has slated additional qualifying sessions at 6:45 p.m. next Tuesday (April
 9) and at 11:00 a.m. on Friday (April 12)…Vernon will offer live racing on Friday and Saturday evenings only through May 4…Thursday nights will be added starting May 9…A complete racing and stakes calendar can be obtained on the Vernon Downs website ( are also encouraged to visit the track's Facebook page for additional/promotional information.