Sunday, August 11, 2013

Northern Companion wins for the fourth time in 2013 in Vernon Downs Saturday feature

Northern Companion

Dorothy Zarza's Northern Companion advanced from last to first to capture Saturday night's $10.000 Open pace feature at Vernon Downs.

Trainer Robert Hoffman was in the sulky as Northern Companion started out dead-last.  The gritty 5-year-old gelding stayed in sixth place through the half, as the favorite JK Panache cut out the mile.  The bay son of Cambest-Smoke It Out rallied three wide from fourth around the final turn and kept on charging until he caught the determined pace-setter in the final sixteenth, and then zoomed on to a 1-3/4-length victory.

Saturday's score was the fourth locally and the ninth this season for the career-winner of $160,532, who now sports 29 lifetime win-credits.

Leading driver Rick Plano posted four tallies during Saturday's 13-race card, including a 152.1 triumph with the Maurice Bazinet-owned-and-trained sidewheeler Ideally Magic in the fourth race.  It was the sixth win at the 48-program meeting for the rugged 11-year-old gelding, tops among representatives of the lateral gait, and tying the trotters Glorious Winner and Ulay Boko for most victories by equine performers at the 2013 meeting through Aug. 10.

John MacDonald, a newcomer to the Downs this season, recorded his 12th driving double of the track's 60th anniversary campaign.

DOWNS DOINGS—Plano, who raised his win total for the meet to 93, leads in four-win performances here this season with six…The Downs will offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next weekend, with first post each evening 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