Day At The Track

Apparent winning trotter disqualified

01:37 PM 21 Apr 2019 NZST
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Vernon Downs
Vernon Downs

VERNON — A rainy opening night of the 66th harness racing season at Vernon Downs saw a disqualification in the featured $7,000 trot run as the fifth event on the program.

Only Passing Thru and driver Jimmy Whittemore were awarded first place due to a disqualification by Taco Tuesday, driven by Leon Bailey.

Track officials reported there was a big opening crowd, although the official attendance was unavailable.

Opening night featured a T-shirt and magnet giveaway, and a fireworks display was scheduled at the end of the racing program.

With rain falling throughout most of the night, the track was rated “good” for the first four events on the 11-race card but was changed to “sloppy” for the last seven.

In the featured event, Only Passing Thru made a three-wide move to challenge Taco Tuesday for the lead, and Taco Tuesday drifted wide causing interference. Taco Tuesday crossed the finish line first but was placed second for interference, with Warawee Preferred taking third.

A 5-year-old owned by Diane Whittemore and trained by Marrissa Chadbourne, Only Passing Thru won for the third time in 10 starts this season, returning $3.90. He now has 14 career victories. He had a winning time of 1:56.4.

Whittemore and Chadbourne combined for three wins on the night, also placing first with Blameitonthenight and Bold Fresh.

Whittemore was the track’s driving co-champion in 2018 along with John MacDonald, with each collecting 115 wins.

Mr Lucky Star and driver Roman Lopez rallied late to overtake favorite Barn Beast and driver Claude Huckabone Jr. to win the first division of the $4,000 Robert E. Keller Trotting Series in 1:56.1. The 4-year-old gelding is trained by Lopez for owners Joan Ellafrits and Lynn Wilson. It was his first win in two lifetime starts.

Irish Kate and driver Claude Huckabone III went gate-to-wire to win the second division of the Keller Series in 2:02.2. The 4-year-old mare, owned by Donald Cosgrove and trained by Angus MacDonald, won for the first time this season and for the fifth time in her career.

The Downs is back in action tonight with another 11-race card starting at 6:10.

For more racing information, visit 

Reprinted with permission of The Rome Sentinel

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