Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Track Record holder A Penny Earned takes Friday feature

A Penny Earned and Chris Lems (near)

Track record-holder A Penny Earned raced aggressively on the front end throughout Friday night's $10,000 Open trot, and defeated the favorite, Mr. Web Page, in a 1:55 performance at Vernon Downs.

With Chris Lems handling the lines in Friday's second session, A Penny Earned flashed to the front off the starting gate and cut fractions of :27.2, :57.3 and 1:26.3.  He had enough effort and energy left at the end of the mile contest to hold off the fast-closing newcomer Mr. Web Page by a neck.

The determined effort by the bay battler resulted in his fifth local win, which includes a sparkling 1:53.1 all-time local standard for 4-year-old trotting horses on Sept. 2.  It also marked the sixth season's score and the 14th lifetime tally for the speedy son of Conway Hall-Penny Dream, who is shared in ownership by trainer George Ducharme (of Royalty For Life fame), as well as fellow New Englanders Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine and Nicola Oliva.  His career bankroll now stands at $256,126.

Roman Lopez posted three victories during Friday's 12-race program, while Jimmy Whittemore snared one score.  They finished the track's 76th program tied at 91 for second place on the 2013 season's dash-winning chart.

Drivers John MacDonald, Fern Paquet, Jr. and trainer John McNeil, III also secured a pair of first-place finishes during the evening.

DOWNS DOINGS—Vernon owner and trainer Art Conte received a welcomed 52nd birthday present from his trotter Hitontheflipside (MacDonald driving), who won Friday's 11th event in 1:57.4…The Vernon-based Royalty For Life, one of the sport's top sophomore trotting standouts this season, has captured the prestigious Hambletonian stake, as well as several other major events during the current campaign…Saturday night's 13-race card, which includes a $10,000 Open pace in race two, will begin at 6:45 p.m…The Downs will also offer simulcast wagering on the 2013 Breeders Crown elimination races from Pennsylvania's Mohegan Sun racetrack at Pocono Downs on Saturday evening…Only 12 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 www.vernondowns.com.