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Artic Byrd prevails in Vernon feature; McNeil scores first PM driving win
by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
Rallying off cover as the pacesetters ruthlessly wore each other down, Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell's Artic Byrd ($10.00) passed every other mare in the race en route to a 1:53 victory over sloppy going in Thursday (May 1) evening's $8,000 Fillies and Mares Miracle Mile 2-3 Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs.
Artic Byrd circles the field in pacing feature (Fotowon photo)
The six-year-old Art Major mare settled at the rear of the field initially before advancing two-wide on the backstretch to join the front flight prior to a :55 half mile. On the far turn, trainer-driver Truman Gale moved third-over with Artic Byrd, while pacesetting favorite Market Dynamics (Rick Plano) faced stiff pressure from the first-over Got the Munchies (John MacDonald) approaching head-stretch. Aided by live cover from Elleofnxample (Todd Frocione), Artic Byrd launched a four-wide stretch bid, pulling clear at will for a 1-3/4 length victory. Elleofnxample stayed on for second, while the pocket-sitting Steuben Ruthless (Fern Paquet, Jr.) squeezed through at the pegs to save third.
Ben McNeil scores his first driving victory (Fotowon photo)
Earlier in the program, Ben McNeil scored his first pari-mutuel driving win aboard Want More ($5.30), edging out Sudden Desire in 1:55.4 in a conditioned event for distaff pacers.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (May 2) evening, with the first of nine races slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.