Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bells Are Ringing takes Thursday feature as Whittemore wins 3

Bells Are Ringing emerges to win again

Bells Are Ringing rallied late to earn a hard-fought 1:53.4 triumph in Thursday night's $10,000 feature for female pacers at Vernon Downs.

Leaving from the outside seven slot against six slick proponents of the lateral gait in race eight, Bells Are Ringing worked her way up in the outside rally route from fourth at the quarter until she was a challenging second in the final furlong.  With Jimmy Whittemore urging on the veteran bay mare, she dug down in the final strides to not only get the lead, but thwart the on-rushing favorite Artic Byrd by a head.  The pace-setting Table Games finished third.

It marked the fifth local victory this season for the gritty daughter of Cam's Card Shark-Heavenly Sign, tying her with fellow pacers Canaco Star, Ideally Magic, and the trotters Hold On Tightly, Don Dinero, Ulay Boko and Glorious Winner for most equine victories after 43 programs of the track's 60th-anniversary season.

It was the 12th lifetime victory for the career-winner of $69,358, who is conditioned by Neal Russo, and owned by Cassie Russo and Andrew J. Gannon.

The win was one of three during Thursday's 11-race card for multiple Downs piloting champion Whittemore, who has been coming on strong of late after a slow season's start. 

Leading driver (84 wins) and trainer (31 tallies) Rick Plano, Vernon's defending champ in both categories, earned a double, as did his chief racetrack rival Roman Lopez.   

DOWNS DOINGS—Plano actually secured a training triple during Thursday's program as his son, Luke, teamed the stable's 3-year-old trotting filly Zorianna to a 1:58.4 maiden-breaking score for D & E Racing, Inc. in race three…His wife, Maryann Plano, is a registered owner on the pacers Stand Up Comic (1:54.1) and Hector's Passion (with Paul Bulinski), who was also a first-time career winner after a 1:56 performance… Another initial pari-mutuel winner during Thursday's card was the homebred 2-year-old pacing colt Big Bad Max, who chalked up a 1:57.2 tally with Brian Connor steering for trainer George Ducharme, and the Michelle C. and Albert C Crawford, James Crawford, IV and Tom Glenn Harmer ownership contingent in race nine…A $131,774 New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters is slated for tomorrow night's 13-race card, which begins at 6:45, while the track will offer simulcast wagering on the Aug. 3 Hambletonian program from The Meadowlands, which begins at 11:50 a.m…Saturday night's live 12-race Vernon program will also start at 6:45…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