Day At The Track

Claude Huckabone, III wins number 2000

04:25 AM 14 Nov 2010 NZDT
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Vernon Downs Racing Casino & Entertainment

Touch Of The Past won the $10,800 featured eight event, while 36-year-old local harness racing horseman Claude Huckabone, III achieved his 2,000th career driving victory during Saturday night's 10-race program at Vernon Downs.

Touch Of The Past ($4.70) closed from fourth in the final quarter and displayed the most lick in the lane to record a 1:52.3 victory in Saturday’s top Miracle Mile pacing contest, while Huckabone, son of Vernon veteran Claude Huckabone, Jr., converted a pocket-sitting trip behind his pacer Deau Best into a memorable 1:55.4 triumph in the second session.

Joe Nassimos did the teaming for trainer Howard Okusko, Sr. as betting favorite Touch Of The Past earned his sixth season’s score and 15th lifetime victory. Rocco Manzi and Paul Tandlmayer own the career-winner of more than $68,000.

Huckabone, who grew up in Vernon’s backstretch and posted his initial driving victory here, realized his 1,000th lifetime win at Monticello Raceway in 2004. “This is a nice milestone in my chosen career,” said the personable Utica (NY) native. “I’m glad I got this one here at Vernon, where it all began.”

Huckabone, who also finished first with Lu Ann Huckabone’s pacer Willfully in Saturday’s fifth race and the pacer Joan’s Bad Boy, owned by Bennett Velocci and John Alutto, Jr., in the sixth race, increased his win total for the meet to 47.

In addition to Huckabone’s triple, Ruel “Dude” Goodblood, Jr. collected a pair of victories during the track’s 88th program.


Huckabone is the owner and trainer of Deau Best…Tioga Thunder, the first youngster to be named by the fans in Tioga Downs’s “Name That Colt” contest a couple of years back, earned his “maiden” victory with owner and trainer Adam Capizzano doing the driving in Saturday’s opening event…The Downs with complete its 57th season with live harness racing next Friday and Saturday nights (Nov. 19 & 20). First post time will be at 6:55 both evenings…Additional information regarding the track’s 2010 season and its casino can be obtained at


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