Friday, August 16, 2013

Whittemore wins 3 including Thursday feature with Hot List

Hot List wins Thursday's feature

Hot List converted a text book trip into a 1:52 victory in Thursday night's $10,000 Open for female pacers at Vernon Downs.

Leaving from post position one as the race's second wagering choice, Hot List drafted along behind the pace-setting favorite Abbey Road Hanover through splits of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.1 before pulling the pocket in the final furlong and defeating the  mile-cutter by one length at the finish.

Thursday's tally was the first locally, third this season and 14th all-time for the Ray Van Dreason-trained 5-year-old mare, who is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Joseph Di Scala, Jr. and Cynthia Lynn Massari.  The bay daughter of McArdle-Only Gossip is currently a career winner of more than $204,000.

Thursday's feature-race first-place finish was one of three during the 10-race card for former Downs driving champ Jimmy Whittemore.

Driver Howard Okusko, Jr., celebrating his 51st birthday during the track's 49th program, also collected three wins during the evening, while his wife, Jessica, picked up a pair of training credits. 

Joe Nassimos realized his initial driving double of the meet after scoring with the trotters DL Cruiser in race one and Double-A Gloria in race three.

DOWNS DOINGS—Lady Jake's career-best 1:55 victory for the Okusko-duo in Thursday's fourth event was just 2/5ths-of-a-second off the local season's fastest mile by a 2-year-old pacing filly, set by Misty Major on July 25.  The promising filly is owned by the M&L stable of Delaware and Canada's Century Spring Farms…DL Cruiser ($4,500) became the 13th successful claim of the meet in race one…The Downs will begin an 11-race card at 6:45 p.m. on Friday night…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