Saturday, June 8, 2013

14-year-old horse posts fastest mile on rainy Friday night

The pacer How Forever Feels produced the fastest mile during Friday night's 11-race program at Vernon Downs.

Chris Lems did the driving over a rain-soaked, good track in Friday's fifth race as How Forever Feels forged up from third in the early going to gain a lead before the half that he wouldn't relinquish.  The gritty 14-year-old gelding continued on to a 2-1/2-length tally in 1:53.3 for trainer Lonny Hale and owners Dr. Michael J. Kessler and the Speed To Burn Racing Stable. 

Competing in his last season of pari-mutuel competition, the bay son of Stand Forever-Highland Tranquil now sports 47 career victories and earnings of $360,000.

Two races later, the ownership group's 7-year-old pacing mare Canaco Star, also conditioned by Hale, converted a pocket trip into a unchallenged 1:54.2 triumph with Jimmy Whittemore doing the teaming.
It was the third victory at the 19-program meeting and the 30th overall for the lifetime winner of $117,678.

Lems and Whittemore would each go on to post driving doubles, while leading reinsman, Rick Plano, and his chief challenger, Roman Lopez, would chalk up a triple and a double, respectively.  Trainer Leopold Sawyers also secured wins from his pacers G.P.S. Legacy (1:54.2) and Real Art (1:55.1).

DOWNS DOINGS—Lems and John MacDonald are tied for the lead in driving doubles at the meet with seven each…Lopez is tops in three-win programs with six, followed by Plano with five…Plano, the track's defending driving and training champ, is the only horseman to have recorded four wins on a single Downs program thus far this season, and he's accomplished the feat on two different occasions…Bruce Berg's quick-footed pacer Moving Up Fool earned his initial pari-mutuel victory (1:56) in Friday's third event…Live racing will continue with a 10-race Vernon card at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, preceded by simulcast wagering on the Belmont Stakes thoroughbred race 10 minutes earlier…The 2013 Empire Breeders Classic championship races for 3-year-old male and female trotters will be contested at the Downs on Sunday (June 9) during a 12-race card that will begin at 6:45 p.m.…A revised racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at