Historic Vernon Downs will revisit its former glory on the afternoon of Sunday, August 26, the final day of the recreation of State Fair weekend. Being raced for the very first time at Vernon, the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial has attracted harness racing's very finest three year old trotters in the land.
Hambletonian winner Market Share heads the $350,000 Zweig Open division (race 10) where he will face New York's finest sophomore, last season's Breeders Crown winner Uncle Peter and 'Goodtimes' winner Beer Summit in his quest to add the Zweig title to his résumé.
The $150,000 Zweig companion filly race (#8) may be described as a throw down between two titans of the trot, Ray Schnittker and Jimmy Takter. Both have three entries and the common ownership coupling required in New York has reduced the field of nine to just three betting interests.
Takter sends out the formidable trio of On The Bright Side, Valdonna and Superstar Hanover, joined by Hambo Oaks winner Personal Style (Brittany Farms owned but from the Nifty Norman barn), into the melee versus Schnittker's battalion, led by world record holder Check Me Out coupled with Real Babe, Lima Playmate and Cowgirl Hall (Ted Gewertz owned interest with Gates Brunet the trainer) for a 4X4 battle royale. The odd girl out is Bob Key's accomplished million dollar winning Win Missy B for trainer Charlie Norris.
There are consolations for both of the above and the final round of the 2012 Drivers' Championship will span six of the thirteen races offered.
Post time is 1:15 PM on Sunday and the afternoon is filled with promise for youngsters both equine and human with a carnival, Jody Jamieson bobbleheads, T-shirts and a meet and greet with the celebrity drivers competing in the championship at 11:45. Check the Vernon website for further details.
by Nick SALVI