Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grey Ice takes Friday feature, 1 of 4 wins for driver Fern Paquet, Jr.

Grey Ice holds off his rivals to win

Grey Ice helped driver Fern Paquet, Jr. achieve a four-win performance while capturing Friday night's $8,000 featured trot, and an American team defeated a German quartet, 107-101, in the sixth and final leg of a barnstorming amateur driving challenge during the 73rd program of the current campaign at Vernon Downs.

Competing against six skilled rivals in Friday's seventh session, Grey Ice advanced from fifth at the quarter to a challenging-second at the half, timed in :56.3.  The 7-year-old gelding took charge entering the track's final turn and remained on the front end to the finish, scoring in a career-fastest 1:54.3 clocking.  He defeated Enrico AS, the closest of his rivals, by 1-1/4 lengths. 

Friday's first-place finish was the second locally, the sixth this season and the 22nd overall for the grey son of The Icepan Cometh-The E Street Pan, who raised his career-earnings to $189,472.  Paquet did the piloting for trainer Guy Howard and the Howard Stables.

Rompaway Brandon and Andreas Schwarz
Paquet also finished first with the trotters Jaipur (1:57.2) in Friday's third race, Step Up (1:57.2) in the eighth event and guided the sophomore pacer Hayuneverknow to a 1:56.4 initial pari-mutuel score in the evening's 11th event.  It marked his initial four-win outing of Vernon's 60th anniversary season.

Three-time Downs driving champ Jimmy Whittemore also posted a pair of victories during Friday's 11-race card.

Trailing 70-56 entering the first of two divisions of the Vernon leg, the German team got a 1:56.1 victory from Andreas "Andy" Schwarz, who steered the trotter Rompaway Brandon in Friday's second race, helping to close the gap to 85-83 entering the evening's fourth race.

Extreme Yankee and Vladimir Melnichenko
In the deciding dash of the "friendship competition," Vladimir Melnichenko urged the trotter Extreme Yankee on to a fast-closing 1:59.4 triumph, which enabled the Americans to pull-out a 107-101 overall victory. 

Other members of the American team taking part in the Vernon competition were Bernard Boland, Simeon Hunsdon and George Bonomo, while rounding out the German squad were Peter Platzer, Martina Bredlau and Christoph Pellander.     

DOWNS DOINGS—German driver Schwarz set a world record of 229 amateur driving victories in 1999, that is still noted in the Guinness Book of Records…Vernon will present an 11-race program on Saturday (Oct. 5) that will include a $10,000 Open pace in race two.  First post will be at 6:45 p.m.  There will also be a "Spin To Win" promotion during the evening…Only 15 racing dates remain during the track's 60th racing season that continues through Nov. 9…A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained