Friday, June 21, 2013

Bells Are Ringing wins fourth straight

The swift-footed pacer Bells Are Ringing, and former track driving champion Jimmy Whittemore shared the limelight at Vernon Downs on Thursday night (June 20).

Bells Are Ringing wins 4th straight with Jimmy Whittemore
Bells Are Ringing extended her meet-leading winning streak for representatives of the lateral gait to four with a quick-striding 1:51.4 triumph in Thursday's $6,500 featured ninth event, while Whittemore won four of the evening's 12 races.

With Whittemore doing the steering for trainer Neal Russo in Thursday's ninth contest, Bells Are Ringing took over the lead from Steuben Ruthless after a blistering :25.4 opening quarter, and then paced the field through additional splits of :55, and 1:23.2 en route to her fourth win at the 25-program meet.  The swift showing resulted in a fresh win-record and the 11th lifetime victory for the 5-year-old bay daughter of Cam's Card Shark-Heavenly Sign, who is owned by Cassie Russo and Andrew J. Gannon.

In addition to his winning performance with Bells Are Ringing, Whittemore also finished first with Canaco Star in the fourth contest, Small Bills in the fifth and Maxnifizent in the nightcap to earn his second four-bagger of the track's 60th season.

The 1:52.2 lifetime-fastest win by the Lonny Hale-conditioned Canaco Star was her third in succession and fifth at the meet, tops among pacers, and placed the steady-going 7-year-old mare in a tie with the trotter Hold On Tightly for most Standardbred scores at the Downs thus far in 2013. 

Driver John MacDonald delivered two victories during Thursday's racing, while Hale and Dennis Whittemore (Jimmy's father) each hustled up a pair of training tallies.

DOWNS DOINGS—The trotter Laettner and pacer Sukura each earned their initial pari-mutuel victories during Thursday live racing…Roman Lopez's win behind Sukura resulted in his 19th training credit at the meet and placed him in a tie atop the conditioning chart with Rick Plano...Friday's 12-race card will include Ostrich and Camel races after the fourth and eighth pari-mutuel events, respectively…Saturday's 13-race program will include two regular New York Sire Stakes races for 3-year-old filly pacers, plus six state-sponsored Excelsior Series events for practitioners of the same age, sex and gait…A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at