Sunday, June 2, 2013

Leah's Ex equals lifetime mark in Saturday feature win

The productive trotter Leah's Ex flashed fast foot at the finish of Saturday night's $6,200 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs and ended up equaling her lifetime win-mark with a 1:54.3 score.

Leah's Ex matches her lifetime mark
Multiple Vernon driving champion Jimmy Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Angus MacDonald and owner Neal Chilson as Leah's Ex moved up steadily from fifth at the quarter to second entering the final furlong.  The fast and frisky 5-year-old mare accelerated in the final strides to catch and defeat the pace-setting favorite, She's All In, by one length.

The fast-closing tally was the second this season and 12th all-time for the bay daughter of Cr Excalibur-Lynden Leah, who raised her career bankroll to $101,909.

Saturday's swiftest score was a 1:51.4 triumph in the second race by the nimble-footed pacer R U For Me, who earned a fresh speed badge and her first win-credit of the current campaign.  Ten-time track driving champion Howard Okusko, Jr. did the steering for trainer Eric Felter and owners Joseph Bien and Kathryn Wood, both of Rome, NY.  It marked the eighth lifetime tally for the aggressive 4-year-old mare.

Rick Plano, Vernon's leading driver and trainer after 16 programs with 34 and 18 such credits, respectively, earned his sixth double of the meeting. 

Driver Chris Lems logged his second triple of Vernon's 60th season, while newcomer John MacDonald recorded his meet-leading seventh two-win performance during the 13-race program.  Owner Maryann Plano was also credited with two first-place finishes (Ulay Boko and Ideally Magic) during the evening.  

DOWNS DOINGS—Bill Okusko drove the Nancy Kipp-bred-and-owned trotter Gansevoort to his first career victory after a 1:58.2 performance in Saturday's third race…Maryann Plano's veteran trotter Ulay Boko became the second-winningest equine at the meet after notching his fourth Vernon victory of 2013 in race five.  Fellow trotter Hold On Tightly is the current Downs pace-setter with five first-place finishes…The Downs will continue with live racing at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, with the 13-race program featuring four $12,500 elimination races for the $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old trotters…A complete racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at