Sunday, October 6, 2013

JK Panache sizzles to 1:49.4 win on Saturday night

JK Panache (inside) wins in 1:49.4
Track record-holder JK Panache turned in a brilliant performance while posting a sizzling 1:49.4 win-clocking in Saturday night's $10,000 featured second race at Vernon Downs.

Former Vernon provisional driving champ Truman Gale did the teaming in Saturday's second race as JK Panache blazed through mile-cutting splits of :25.2, :54-flat and 1:22.3 en route to a neck triumph over No Monkeys Allowed. 

It marked the sixth local win, the eighth season's score and the 16th lifetime victory for the speedy son of Art Major-Paris Hanover, who is shared in ownership by former Vernon multiple training champ Dave Dewhurst and Philip K. Hale.  It was the fourth time the career-winner of $158,386 has beaten the 1:50 speed-barrier this season, including a 1:49.1 track record performance for 4-year-old pacing geldings here on June 22.

"He's not a very big horse, but he's got a huge heart," explained trainer Dewhurst after the race.  "I've had several chances to sell him, but my kids love him.  They call him 'licky', because he likes to lick their faces when they're around him.  He's just a nice, fast little horse."

Dewhurst earned his 31st conditioning credit after JK Panache's win, and is presently tied with Roman Lopez, for second place on the 74-program meeting's training chart. 

John MacDonald, a former driving champ at Canada's Rideau Carlton Raceway, recorded three wins during Saturday's 11-race program, while reinsmen Jimmy Whittemore, Chris Lems and trainer Ronald MacDonald each registered a pair of first-place finishes during the evening.

DOWNS DOINGS—Whittemore's win behind the Wayne Hughes-trained pacer Speedy Valentine in race 11 was his 88th of the Vernon season, tying him with Lopez for second place on the track's 2013 driving list…The double by Lems is his 20th of the meeting, one more than Rick Plano, the present Vernon leader in races won (130) and training tallies (51), who recently shipped his stable to Florida's Pompano Park for that track's fall, winter and early-spring campaign…Fans attending Saturday's card saw full-brothers Four One One and The Grey Bullet (each by Sealed N Delivered and out of Jammin Jenna) not only compete against each other in the third race, but both earning purse checks.  The 11-year-old grey gelding Four One One, owned by Utica's Robert Siemski, won the contest in 1:55, while his 8-year-old kid brother finished fourth for owner and trainer Hughes…The Downs will offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next week, with first post at 6:45 p.m…Only 14 racing dates remain during the track's 60th anniversary 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 at