Friday, July 5, 2013

For You Almostfree Sets a new track record on Friday night

For You Almostfree sets a new track record

The favorite For You Almostfree displayed his superiority with not only a career-best 1:53 performance, but also a track record mile for aged trotting horses on Friday night at Vernon Downs.

Competing in the rain and over a track rated "good" in Friday's ninth race, For You Almostfree lagged behind in third to the half (timed in :55.1), before accelerating to second as the field of five Open-1 trotters entered the stretch drive.  With Greg Merton doing the catch-driving for trainer John Mc Dermott, the nifty newcomer powered through the final quarter to catch and pass the mile-cutter, A Penny Earned, who finished third, and then hold off a late brush by Spring Goal to earn his fourth current victory and his 12th lifetime tally.

The explosive finish by the 5-year-old brown son of Glidemaster-Pizza Dolce trimmed 1/5th-of-a-second off the former Vernon standard for aged trotting horses, set by Spring Goal back on May 10th, and it lowered his previous-best win mark by three full seconds.  It also represents the fastest mile by a representative of the diagonal gait at the 32-program meeting. The lifetime earner of nearly $267,000 is shared in ownership by the J.E.T Dream Stable, Robert Pucila, Michael Cohen and the Jonathan Klee Racing contingent.

It was one of three tallies during Friday's 10-race card for Merton, an occasional driver at the track.

Vernon's leading driver and trainer Rick Plano posted a pair of first-place finishes, including a 1:54.3 victory behind his trotter She's All In during Friday's $8,000 Open-2 contest, while the track's third-leading reinsman, Chris Lems, secured his fifth score of the weekend, and his meet-leading 12th driving double.

DOWNS DOINGS—After 32 current programs, Plano leads in races won with 59 and training tallies with 26…Jocelyn Lavigne earned her third training credit of the weekend and moved into second place on the track's conditioning chart with 22 wins…Back To The Track weekend continues on Saturday at the Downs, featuring a Breakfast With The Pros promotion in the Vernon Downs hotel's Mr. G's restaurant at 10 a.m., followed by qualifying races at 11 a. m., plus a 12-race pari-mutuel program at 6:45 p.m.  Other events include a handicapping contest, $1 programs and food items, plus rides in the starting gate and free photos in the Winner's CircleA 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