Newcomer Lord Burghley made his first Vernon Downs venture a winning one in Friday night's harness racing $12,000 featured ninth race. With Jack Rice doing the driving for owner and trainer Tracy Brainard, Lord Burghley ($4.40) raced on the lead throughout the week's Miracle Mile-1 contest for representatives of the diagonal gait and drew off in the lane for a three-length victory.
The career-best 1:54.2 performance resulted in the second win in succession, the sixth this season and the 16th overall for the 9-year-old bay son of-Lady Of Substance, who raised his career winnings to nearly $129,000.
Mystic Splendor continued his winning ways in the evening’s MM-2 confrontation, posting a front striding 1:56.3 victory in race eight that became his third first-place finish in succession and fifth in 2010. Howard Okusko, Jr. handled the reins for trainer Jessica Okusko, who owns the 4-year-old trotting horse with Kenneth Finnerty.
In somewhat of a unique occurrence, Mystic Splendor’s older full-brother Electronic Chip (-Mystic Virtue) captured Friday’s seventh session with a fast-closing 1:58.1 mile. Okusko also did the steering for his wife, Jessica, the 7-year-old gelding’s lessee.
In addition to the Okuskos, driver Jimmy Whittemore also collected a pair for wins during Friday’s 11-race program.
Whittemore trails leading driver Josh Marks 125-110 with 10 programs remaining in the track’s 57th season…Brainard enjoys a 62-54 lead over Jessica Okusko in current training triumphs…
Frank Davis earned his fourth provisional driving victory at the meet after a 1:54.2 effort behind his pacer Art’s Image in Friday’s fourth event…
Saturday night’s 12-race card, which features the week’s top MM pacing events, will begin at 6:55 p.m. and include a Pumpkin Patch giveaway…
Additional information regarding the track’s 2010 season and its casino can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.