Monday, August 26, 2013

Royalty For Life wins Zweig Memorial, Marohn Takes Round 1 of Drivers' Championship

Royalty For Life with Brian Sears
Hometown hero Royalty For Life, along with Mistery Woman and driver Jim Marohn, Jr., all shared the limelight during Sunday night's special 13-race card at Vernon Downs.

Royalty For Life, the recent Hambletonian winner who is stabled in trainer George Ducharme's barn in the Vernon backstretch, came up big again by capturing Sunday's $360,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial clash for 3-year-old male trotters in 1:53.1.

Mistery Woman won the $150,000 Zweig Memorial filly trotting contest in 1:52.1, while Marohn, Jr. earned top honors and $10,000 for completing the initial round of this season's 7th-annual All-Star Driving Challenge by winning two of the event's four Vernon races and compiling 27 points. 

Leaving from the outside nine post in Sunday’s 10th race, Royalty For Life went right to the front for former Vernon resident Brian Sears and cut soft fractions of :27.1, :58, and 1:26 without any serious challenges from his eight top-shelf competitors.  Then, when Corky came-a-callin' entering the final furlong, the powerful 3-year-old colt shifted into another gear (like top-quality horses do) and spurted to a 1-1/2-length triumph.

It marked the fifth victory in nine season's starts for the bay son of Rc Royalty-Bourbon 'n Grits, who has earned $834,850 this season.  The lion's share of the purse increased his career winnings to more than $1.2 million for owners Alfred Ross, Raymond W. J. Campbell, Jr. and Paul Fontaine.

Mistery Woman and David Miller
Mistery Woman started our cautiously for driver David Miller in Sunday's seventh session, remaining in fifth-place to the half, timed in :55.3.  The bay sophomore daughter of Donato Hanover-My Dolly's Dream rallied on the outside from there, advancing to fourth entering the last quarter and cranking out a :28-second final split to defeat entry-mate Shared Past by one length. 

Sunday's career-best score improved the steady-striding filly's current summary line to 3-2-3 after nine trips to the track and hiked her career winnings to $329,200 after 15 lifetime starts for the Misty Miller, William J. Donovan, Millstream, Inc. and Aldebaran ownership contingent.  The Jonas Czernyson-conditioned youngster lowered her win-mark by 4/5ths-of-a-second in the gritty performance.

Marohn, Jr., representing Tioga Downs as its current dash-winning leader and two-time champion (2009 and 2012), earned a second-place finish (Steuben Lone Pine) and two tallies (Bullet Speed and Mc Tiny's Hope) in Vernon's four championship races and amassed a 10-point lead over Canadian reinsman Jody Jamieson entering the final leg of the championship, which will take place at Tioga Downs on Monday afternoon, Sept. 2.

The other point-earners in the Vernon competition were Tim Tetrick with 18 points, Sears with 17, Ron Pierce, last year’s winner in this contest, 10, Yannick Gingras, six, Rick Plano, three, David Miller, two and Corey Callahan, one.

Thistle DHU won the Zweig consolation 3-year-old filly trot in 1:54.1 with Brett Miller doing the teaming for trainer Del S. Miller and owner William J. Donovan, while Lindy's Tru Grit got home first in the male consolation race, finishing in 1:54.4 with Tetrick teaming for trainer Frank Antonacci, the Lindy Racing Stable and Robert A. Rudolph.

Newcomer Outrageous Art produced a shocking 1:49.3 victory in Sunday's $10,000 12th contest, the $10,000 Open pace.  Part-owner Gingras did the teaming for trainer Ron Burke and his ownership partners the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC and Joseph Di Scala, Jr. as the 6-year-old son of Artsplace-Righteous led from start to finish, equaling his lifetime speed-mark and securing his 11th season's score in 21 official trips to the racetrack.   

DOWNS DOINGS—Jamieson won Sunday's first three races, but only the third event earned him 10 points in the driving duel…Sunday's other winner in the driving competition was Tetrick behind the pacer Legacy N Diamonds (1:51.2) in the evening's ninth race…Tetrick, who has been the Standardbred sport's money-winning leader for an unprecedented six straight seasons, hasn't earned a title in this driving event through six previously appearances…A 1:53.1 triumph by Hot Cowboy (Truman Gale steering in race 13) was his sixth of the 55-program meeting, tying him with Ideally Magic for most equine tallies on the lateral gait thru Aug. 25.  The trotter Ulay Boko tops the current equine win chart with seven first-place finishes…Live harness racing resumes Thursday-Saturday this weekend, first post at 6:45 p.m.  In addition, there will be a special 1:15 p.m. matinee program on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2)…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 www.vernondowns.com.