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Barn Doll and Jewels In Hock went about their business as expected on Sunday afternoon (July 12) in the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the harness racing meeting at Buffalo Raceway but it was High Rise who did the unexpected by setting a new track record.   While Barn Doll and Jewels In Hock figured to challenge the 1:59.0 mark set by Glowngold in 2014, it was High Rise (Chris Lems) who smashed the mark for the sophomore filly trotters with a 1:58.2 time over the fast Hamburg half-mile oval in a division of the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series.   "That was a track record?" Lems asked when he returned to the winner's circle after the victory.   When he was told it was, a big smile broke out on his face and he just shook his head in disbelief.   He then said of High Rise, "She's a nice horse and she always gives her best and she gave her best today."   High Rise ($12.80) beat Nunkeri (John Campbell) by a length while Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) finished third.   Owned by Raymond Campbell and trained by George Decharme, High Rise (Conway Hall-RC Biscuit) has now won six times in eight appearances this season pushing her seasonal earnings to $28,800.   The heavily-favored Barn Doll ($2.10) took her $61,300 division of the Sire Stakes in 1:59.0 which tied the track standard before High Rise came along.   Waiting Room (Andy Miller) set the tempo with splits of 30.2, 1:00.3 and 1:30.2 but Barn Doll had a first over trip and eventually wore down the front-runner, pulling away by 1-1/2 lengths at the wire.   Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) took the show spot.   "She had no real problems," Jeff Gregory said of his trip with Barn Doll, now a winner of six straight races. "I kind of babied her around the turns but she was strong as usual."   Trainer and co-owner Steve Pratt said of Barn Doll, "She's gonna get a couple of weeks off now. She's been racing hard the past few weeks so she deserves a break."   Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stables LLC, who co-owns Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) along with Nancy Pratt, stated, "She needs a break. It's a long season."   Polisseni admitted she was nervous as usual about Barn Doll but felt good with Gregory in the sulky. "I always worry about my horses, all of my babies, when they race. But I love Jeff Gregory...he's my guy."   Barn Doll, now a winner of 13 of 16 lifetime starts, has pushed her seasonal earnings to $234,724 and $437,861 lifetime.   John Campbell took Jewels In Hock ($2.70) wire-to-wire in his $60,200 division of the Sire Stakes in 2:00.1.   It was Campbell's first drive at Buffalo Raceway since 1992 and the Hall Of Famer's first win here since 1990. She beat Lady Winona by two lengths while Zanna Blu (Jim Morrill Jr.) took the show spot.   Campbell said of Jewels In Hock's mile tour, "She controlled the race from the inside and did it all on her own."   She posted comfortable fractions of 29.1, 1:00.3 and 1:31.3 en route to the win.   When asked about returning to Buffalo Raceway after a 23-year absence, Campbell stated, "It's nice to be back and get a win. It's been a long time. I didn't race at Saratoga since 1988 and I went back there this year."   Campbell saw Jewels In Hock's owner Ken Jacobs in the winner's circle and said with a big grin, "Hey, this is a great place to meet up."   Jacobs said afterwards of getting Campbell to Western New York to drive Jewels In Hock. "I told I'd fly him up, that he's got the rail, he won't be going against Barn Doll and the purse is over $60,000." The sales pitch worked.   Campbell has now been aboard Jewels In Hock in her past six races and has four wins, a second and third place finish.   "You put him behind a trotter, that's why he's a Hall Of Famer," Jacobs said of Campbell.   Jewels In Hock (Credit Winner-Jewels Galore) now has five victories in 11 tries this season. She is trained by Linda Toscano has put in $117,770 in the bank in 2015 and $130,700 lifetime.   In the other $15,000 Excelsior Series 'A' division, Wanna Get Lucky ($5.20) scored for Lems in 2:00.2. Lems finished the day with a triple.   There was a local flavor with the winners in the $6,600 Excelsior B Series. John Cummings Jr. returned home and took Sweet Hana T to a surprising $13.60 win while former Buffalo Raceway regular Ray Schnittker took Kaliska to a popular $3.70 decision in 2:02.2.   Schnittker said after his victory, "It's always good to come home and get a win."   Racing will continue on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with a 13-race program scheduled. The New York Sire Stakes returns once again as the 2-year-old filly trotter invade along with the Excelsior A and B series.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   Brian J Mazurek

Vernon, N.Y. -- In a scratch-reduced field of five, A Penny Earned ($7.40) seized command early and never looked back, staving off a late challenge from pocket rival Waiting On a Woman for a 1:54.2 score in Saturday (July 11) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems sent the 6-year-old Conway Hall gelding immediately to the lead, clearing his four rivals through a :27.3 first quarter before rating a comfortable :58.2 middle half. At the top of the stretch, Waiting On a Woman (Claude Huckabone, III) attacked from the pocket, but A Penny Earned responded immediately, holding sway for a half-length victory. War Hero (Jimmy Whittemore) rallied from last to take third.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   Lems, who was honored before the card with the distribution of replicas of his black and silver colors to fans on course, earned five wins on the evening's 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 12) afternoon, with first post slated for 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Having captured the harness racing driving titles at Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs respectively in 2014, Chris Lems and Jim Marohn, Jr. will both be honored with a unique giveaway this weekend at the upstate New York tracks, as fans in attendance will receive shirts (while supplies last) depicting the colors of Lems and Marohn.   Lems's black and silver colors will be distributed to fans at Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 11) evening, with post time at the Central New York oval slated for 6:45 p.m.   Lems, a 28-year-old South Dakota native, maintains his spot atop the Vernon standings with 59 wins so far at the Miracle Mile.   His closest pursuers, John MacDonald and Jimmy Whittemore, are currently tied for second with 50 wins apiece.   Additionally, Lems leads all Vernon drivers in purse earnings on the season, with $317,060 amassed well before the midpoint of the 90-card campaign.   Marohn's white, teal, and black colors will be available to those in attendance at Tioga Downs for the Sunday (July 12) afternoon card, due to begin at 1:30 p.m.   Though primarily racing at the Meadowlands this year, Marohn has maintained a dominant presence at Tioga on a limited schedule, amassing 29 wins in 92 drives, enough to maintain fifth place in the standings.   His .470 Universal Driver Rating is the highest among all drivers with at least 30 starts at Tioga this season.   Both drivers will be available to sign autographs and visit with fans prior to the races on the days of their respective giveaways.   James Witherite

After an early push clear of her five rivals, Let's Go Higher ($2.40) looked every bit odds-on in the Independence Day (July 4) feature at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, taking the $10,000 Mares Open Pace in 1:52.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare crossed and cleared from her outside post rapidly, sent to the fore by Chris Lems with no reservations through a :26 initial quarter.   After backing down the pace through a :29.4 second quarter, she accelerated clear on the far turn, leaving the pocket-sitting Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) three lengths in arrears through a 1:23.3 three-quarter sectional.   She continued to extend her margin through the stretch, ultimately defeating her competition by four lengths.   The Filly Princess (Frank Davis) sustained a belated first-over bid to take second, just getting past an all-out Love You Bye in the final yards.   Heidi Rohr trains Let's Go Higher for owner Jesse De Long.   Jimmy Whittemore led all drivers with a hat trick on the 10-race card, teaming up with Drinkin N Dancin ($3.90, 1:54), Devil Child ($5.40, 1:52), and Country Chic ($5.20, 1:57.3).   Live racing returns on Sunday (July 5) afternoon, with post time slated for 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- With a sizable harness racing crowd on hand for the annual camel and ostrich races, Lutetium ($18.60) parlayed a pocket trip into a 1:53.2 upset victory in Saturday (June 13) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   Jimmy Whittemore secured the pocket with the 8-year-old Credit Winner gelding, out-sprinted only by 6-5 favorite Detroit Rapper (Greg Merton) through a :27.4 first quarter. Lutetium was the beneficiary of a middle-half duel, as A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) applied steady pressure to Detroit Rapper, softening the favorite up on the far turn. While A Penny Earned had nothing left at the top of the stretch and began to fade, Lutetium was able to wedge out of the pocket and push clear of the tiring pacesetter in mid-stretch. Lutetium prevailed ultimately by 1-1/4 lengths, holding clear of a late-closing War Hero (Fern Paquet, Jr.). March Awareness (John MacDonald) rallied from last to take third.   Mark Laidlaw trains Lutetium for owner Colleen Girdlestone.   While checking in at the rear of the field with A Penny Earned in the featured event, driver Chris Lems bagged five winners on the 11-race program, teaming up with David Dewhurst trainees Pounce K ($4.70, 1:54.2), Semper Fit ($5.90, 1:57.3), and Ideal Tan ($5.40, 1:55) in addition to George Ducharme trainees High Rise ($3.20, 1:55.4) and Lucky Ten K ($2.40, 1:57.4).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 14) afternoon, with the first of 14 races due off at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Under steady pressure through a :26.4 third quarter, Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher ($2.60) would not be denied, edging clear to a harness racing victory in Friday (May 29) evening's $10,000 Mares Open pace at Vernon Downs.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare cleared her four rivals immediately at race's outset, controlling the terms through a :27.3 initial quarter before rating a brief breather. Upon reaching the half in :57.1, Let's Go Higher faced stern pressure from the first-over Purity (Jimmy Whittemore), pushed on through a :26.4 third quarter before edging clear off the far turn. Let's Go Higher turned aside Purity at head-stretch, holding clear of the pocket sitting Southwind Trini (Greg Merton) by two lengths in 1:51.2. Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) narrowly held third over Always As Fast (Joe Nassimos) after tracking the front flight throughout.   Chris Lems drove Let's Go Higher for trainer Heidi Rohr. Lems scored a driving double on the evening's nine-race card, as did Jimmy Whittemore.   Live racing resumes at Vernon Downs on Saturday evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

First-over was the place to be in a pair of late closer finals at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs on Sunday (May 10) afternoon, as Hollywood Jess ($2.90) and Lilys Real Boy ($8.70) employed identical tactics in their respective victories. In the $15,400 Catherine Burton final for trotters, Chris Lems settled fourth with Hollywood Jess, stalking dueling leaders P L Humanity (Jimmy Whittemore) and Blue Skies Craze (Truman Gale) before commencing a first-over bit at race's midpoint. With P L Humanity rating a :56.3 half mile, Hollywood Jess advanced on the far turn, working her way to the lead just before reaching three-quarters in 1:25.3. As the three-year-old Conway Hall filly began to edge clear of a tiring P L Humanity, Blue Skies Craze angled wide from the pocket to give late chase. Hollywood Jess held sway by two lengths for a 1:55.2 score over Blue Skies Craze. Suzy Smart (Homer Hochstetler) made a late push to take third off a ground-saving trip. Trainer David Dewhurst co-owns Hollywood Jess with Philip Hale. Likewise in the $11,900 Anthony Farina final for pacers, eventual winner Lilys Real Boy drafted from fourth early on, commencing his move on the backstretch well after Hot Lemonade (half of the odds-on entry, John MacDonald up) pushed clear following a :26.3 initial quarter. With the pace still sizzling through a :54.3 half mile, Fern Paquet, Jr. steadily advanced on the far turn with Lilys Real Boy, nearing level terms with Hot Lemonade a quarter from home and subsequently kicking clear. The four-year-old Real Artist gelding drew off by 3-1/4 lengths, holding clear of a late-rallying Speaking Out (Chris Lems) for a 1:51.2 victory. I Won't Give Up (Claude Huckabone, III) was elevated to fourth after third-place finisher Fashion Maven was disqualified for causing interference to the second-over Tarport Andy in the stretch. Allie Berube trains Lilys Real Boy for owner-breeder Michael Biel.   On the Mother's Day undercard, JK Panache ($3.10, Chris Lems) withstood constant pressure for a 1:48.4 win in an $8,000 upper-level conditioned pace, holding off a late charge from pocket rival Dragon Fever (John MacDonald). Lems led all drivers with four wins on the ten-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (May 15) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m.   James Witherite

Nichols, NY -- Just a week off his 1:52.1 track record outing, Bourbon Bay ($3.10) delivered yet another scintillating harness racing performance, bottoming out his six rivals with a 1:52.2 triumph in Saturday (May 9) evening's featured $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs.   The four-year-old Sand Vic gelding wasted no time, establishing the early lead sharply and setting a torrid pace--one he would sustain for much of the mile. After cutting a pair of identical :27.2 quarter-miles, John Cummings, Jr. called upon Bourbon Bay to accelerate up the backstretch, opening up seven lengths on Detroit Rapper (Jim Meittinis) through three-quarter split of 1:21.3. While the :26.4 third quarter proved more taxing on his six pursuers, Bourbon Bay eventually tired in mid-stretch, trotting home in a :30.4 final quarter while still 7-3/4 lengths clear of his nearest rival. Wisenheimer (Tom Jackson) rallied wide of tiring foes in the final stages to take second, while Detroit Rapper tired to third after chasing throughout.   Bourbon Bay is under lease to his driver, while Megan Wilson handles the training duties of the 15-time winner.   Cummings scored a driving triple on the night, prevailing as well with Island Charm ($19.20, 1:59.3) and Hold On Tightly ($15.80, 1:56.4). Dan Clements recorded a hat trick as well, victorious aboard Typical Newyorker ($11.20, 1:58.4), Oho Diamond ($2.70, 1:58.1), and Write That Down ($5.80, 1:55.1).   A Penny Earned caps Lems grand slam at Vernon   Vernon, NY -- Driver Chris Lems had the hot hand at Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 9) evening, with a victory from A Penny Earned ($3.50) in the evening's $10,000 Open Trot headlining his driving grand slam.   After earning decisive open-length victories earlier in the evening with odds-on favorites High Rise ($2.40, 1:57.4), Silver Fox J ($3.80, 1:54.1), and Sweet Thing ($3.30, 1:55.3), Lems secured the pocket with A Penny Earned in the featured finale, drafting behind Lutetium (Jimmy Whittemore) through a sensibly measured pace of :27.4, :57.4, and 1:26.2. In mid-stretch, Lems vacated the pocket with A Penny Earned, pouncing in the final yards to prevail by a length in 1:54.1 over Lutetium. War Hero (Howard Okusko, Jr.) tracked the top pair throughout, staying on to hold third.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   Live racing returns to both Tioga and Vernon Downs tomorrow (Sunday, May 10), with afternoon cards at both locations. Vernon kicks off their 10-race Mother's Day program at 1:15 p.m., while the first of 12 races at Tioga is slated for a 1:30 p.m. departure.   by James Witherite, Tioga/Vernon Downs  

Vernon, NY -- Taking advantage of a perfect pocket trip, Kelly Hope's Little Santamonica ($4.10) employed potent closing kick en route to a 1:51.2 victory in the harness racing featured $10,000 Mares Open Pace on Friday (May 8) evening at Vernon Downs.   The seven-year-old Little Steven mare sprinted to the lead early, yielding to even-money favorite Southwind Trini (Greg Merton) just after a :27.3 initial quarter. With clear sailing from the pocket through a :56.4 middle half, Chris Lems started his bid with Little Santamonica in upper stretch, pushing clear immediately upon asking. The pair drew off in a :26.4 final quarter to defeat Southwind Trini by 1-1/2 lengths, while The Filly Princess (Roman Lopez) made a late push to take third.   Jordan Hope trains Little Santamonica, who earned her 33rd career win.   While Chris Lems teamed up with Table Games ($7.50, 1:53.4) later in the card to complete a driving double, John MacDonald earned top driving honors with three wins of the night. He teamed up with Odds On Cygnus ($6.80, 1:54.2), Pancakes ($11.80, 1:52), and My Lucky Word ($3.40, 1:58.1) for his driving hat trick.   Pacing mares likewise took center stage at Tioga Downs, with a pair of $6,800 co-featured conditioned events sharing top billing for the evening. The Perkins Racing Stable's Addys Way ($2.80) did not look back after an early push to the fore, sprinting away through a :27.4 third quarter en route to a 1:52.1 victory over K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.). Leading driver Mike Simons handled the driving duties aboard the Camluck mare for trainer Daniel Gill. The other co-featured event saw Elizabeth Bluechip ($11.60) sustain a late push off cover, just collaring Rosie de Vie (Henrik Lundell) in a 1:53.4 mile. Trainer Jeffrey Long was in the bike behind the late-rallying Bettor's Delight mare.   Live racing returns to both Vernon and Tioga on Saturday (May 9) evening. Post time at Tioga is 6:15 p.m., while racing at Vernon kicks off at 6:45 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon and Tioga Downs  

Vernon Downs hosted a pair of $10,000 Open events on their Friday (May 1) night 13-race harness racing card, with distaff pacer Purity ($6.00) and trotter A Penny Earned ($3.60) taking top honors for the night.   Five pacing mares contested the $10,000 Mares Open Pace in race two, with two of the five entering off wins in their most recent outings. Those two--Purity (Claude Huckabone, III) and Seascape Hanover (Jimmy Whittemore) ultimately squared off on the far turn, well after Purity was used hard in establishing the lead through a :54.3 first half mile. With three-eighths to go, Whittemore moved 3-5 favorite Seascape Hanover first-over out of third, sustaining an extended press but proving unable to collar Purity through the stretch. The four-year-old Always a Virgin mare prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:52 over Seascape Hanover, while Kardashian (Truman Gale) stayed on for third after pressing the pace early.   Kevin Hough trains Purity for owner Michael Casalino, Jr.   While the favorite could not quite prevail in the Mares Open Pace, the $10,000 Open Trot saw A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) wear down Lutetium (Jimmy Whittemore) for a scant 1:54 victory in the evening's eighth race. A Penny Earned secured the pocket early, outsprinted by Lutetium through a :26.3 initial quarter. Lutetium would race uncontested through an easy 58.4 middle half, but found himself bracing for the oncoming threat of A Penny Earned at the top of the stretch--and the threat of Big Chocolate (Homer Hochstetler), who drafted behind the top pair throughout before fanning three-wide off the far turn. Battling gamely through the stretch, A Penny Earned took the lead from Lutetium 70 yards from the winning post, subsequently withstanding a stand-side charge from Big Chocolate, who missed by a scant neck.   Winning trainer George Ducharme co-owns the six-year-old Conway Hall gelding with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   In addition to the evening's pair of Open events, four $4,000 divisions of the second round of the Catherine Burton trotting series were held. Only Hollywood Jess ($5.50, Chris Lems) swept her preliminary legs, battling stoutly with Write That Down (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through quite literally every step of a 1:57 mile before holding clear of a late-closing Azucar (Gaetan Brunet). Blue Skies Craze ($18.40, Truman Gale, 1:56.2), Tango Pirate ($15.20, Gale, 1:57.1), and Act of Valor ($3.30, Claude Huckabone, III, 1:58.4) also were triumphant in their splits. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 2), with first post slated for 5:10 p.m. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs 

A Penny Earned triumphs in Open trot, hat tricks for Lems and Dewhurst. After only mustering a fourth-place finish in his harness racing seasonal debut last week, A Penny Earned ($4.10) was quick to right the ship, taking Friday (April 24) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs in 1:56.2.   The six-year-old Conway Hall gelding secured the pocket early behind Grey Ice (Jimmy Whittemore), brushing to a clear lead just upon entering the clubhouse turn. After exerting himself a bit to assume command through a :28.2 first quarter, he faced no pressure through a :31 stroll through the second. He was forced to pick up the pace on the far turn, as defending Open winner War Hero (Howard Okusko, Jr.) offered up mild first-over pressure. A Penny Earned would not be denied tonight, kept to task by Chris Lems to hold clear of War Hero by 1-1/4 lengths. Jaipur (Fern Paquet, Jr.) was urged to take third in deep stretch after loosely tracking War Hero's cover on the far turn.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns the 22-time winner A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   The win was one of three on the night for Lems, who was also victorious aboard David Dewhurst trainees Hollywood Jess ($9.00, 1:59.4) and Kyler's Valentine ($5.10, 1:55.3) earlier on the card. Dewhurst's training hat trick was completed by The African ($14.00, 2:00), who was driven to victory by John MacDonald in the opener.   The African and Hollywood Jess earned their respective victories in two of four first-round divisions of the Catherine Burton Trotting Series, with each split carrying a $4,000 purse. The other two division winners were Deadhead Royalty ($6.20), driven by Howard Okusko, Jr. for a late-rallying 1:59.2 score, and Julmyra ($16.20), who pounced up the inside from a pocket trip in rein to trainer-driver Brett Crawford.   Live racing returns on Saturday evening, with a 13-race card slated to kick off at 6:45 p.m. EDT. A $10,000 Open Pace takes top billing, along with the first round of the Anthony Farina Pacing Series.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY - Trotters and distaffers headline Friday (April 17) evening's Opening Night harness racing program at Vernon Downs, with 21-time winner A Penny Earned making his return to the Miracle Mile in the featured $10,000 Open Trot.   The six-year-old Conway Hall gelding proved victorious in 7 of 26 races last year, staying close to trainer George Ducharme's central New York home base throughout. He took a seasonal mark of 1:53.3 while earning just over $60,000, and he's reunited with his regular driver from last season, defending Vernon Downs driving champion Chris Lems.   Lems has nine drives on the ten-race card, with three of them for last season's top trainer David Dewhurst. The pair will look to establish themselves atop their respective leader boards with Kyler's Valentine (race 1, 7-2 morning line), Ziegler Hanover (race 2, 5-2 ML), and Pounce K (race 6, 6-1 ML).   Fans are encouraged to arrive well before first post time of 6:45 p.m. EDT, as racing calendar magnets and T-shirts will be distributed starting one hour before the first race (while supplies last). Arriving fans can also meet their favorite drivers prior to the races, and all are welcome to remain for the post-racing fireworks display.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Despite racing from well off the pace, No Monkeys Allowed ($4.00) emerged victorious, uncorking a standside rally through the stretch for a 1:55 win in Saturday (October 4) evening's featured $6500 pace at Vernon Downs. The seven-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding had no hand in the pacesetting duties, as longshots Dragon Fever (John Macdonald) and Avantage (Daniel Harvey) disputed the early pace. After Avantage was used to clear in a :57 half-mile over sloppy going, he immediately found pressure from the first-over Moonlight Ransom (Jimmy Whittemore) on the far turn. Meanwhile, Fern Paquet, Jr. commenced his rally with No Monkeys Allowed from the back of the pack, fanning four-wide off the far turn. The response was instant, and No Monkeys Allowed kicked to the lead with a sixteenth to go, subsequently drawing clear for a four-length victory. Moonlight Ransom held second, and Dragon Fever checked in third. Edgar "Sparky" Clarke handles the training duties of 26-time winner No Monkeys Allowed for owner Robert Orr. Paquet and Chris Lems each scored three driving wins on the evening's 10-race card. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday, October 9. First post is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

While he employed vastly different tactics from his victory last week, the result was the same for Oh No Three O ($4.60) in Friday (October 3) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   The Paul Long-trained Ken Warkentin gelding floated forward from post 6, accelerating clear of Aruba Vacation (Aaron Byron) through a strong :27 first quarter before pulling the tempo back immediately. With three-eighths to go, and Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) commencing a mild but steady first-over gain, Oh No Three O accelerated clear to a three-length lead, holding that margin through mid-stretch. In the final sixteenth, Helios chased more stoutly, and Fern Paquet, Jr. kept Oh No Three O to task for a 1-3/4 length win, stopping the timer in 1:54. Pounce K (John Macdonald) stayed on after tracking cover to hold third.   Oh No Three O's victory was his seventh on the season, and the 16th for his career.   Chris Lems led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card, while Paquet scored a double on the evening.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 4), with first post slated for 6:45 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Karma Racing's Southwind Trini ($11.00) got the jump on her six rivals in Thursday (October 2) night's $10,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs, brushing to the lead upon arrival on the backstretch, kicking clear for a 1:51.3 triumph.   Now a 24-time winner, the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare was involved in stringing out dueling leaders Park N Orchard (Claude Huckabone, III) and Seascape Hanover (Aaron Byron) before settling just off a sizzling :25.4 first quarter.   Jim Marohn, Jr. then made his move with Southwind Trini on the backstretch, clearing easily through a more reasonable :54.3 half mile. With odds-on favorite Arodasi (Chris Lems) behind slowly developing cover at the back of the pack with a quarter mile to go, Marohn turned Southwind Trini loose, extending the lead to four lengths past mid-stretch.   Meanwhile, Arodasi--carried five-wide--charged gamely down the stand side to pass Dirty Girty (John Cummings, Jr.), who was carried four-wide after a mild first-over rally. The heavily backed Arodasi only could muster second, as Southwind Trini held clear by 2-1/2 lengths while kept to task. Dirty Girty stayed on for third.   Patti Harmon handles the training duties of Southwind Trini, who earned a new lifetime mark with her seventh win on the year.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 3) evening, with first post set for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Colby Jate (Jate Lobell-Cam Press Shania) scored the victory in the $10,000 featured pace on Saturday night at Vernon Downs.   Colby Jate (Aaron Byron) did not have an easy time getting to the front as there was a 4-way fight for the early lead. Only No Monkeys Allowed (Fern Paquet Jr.) did not try to get to the front in the field of five. However, once Colby Jate got to the front, matters were pretty much resolved.   He proceeded to lead all the way around the racetrack. The fractions were fairly fast, as well, as Colby Jate went the quarter in 25.4 seconds, the half in 54.2, and three-quarters in 1:22.3. JK Panache (Chris Lems) tracked the leader from the pocket, but was never able to get closer than a length away in the stretch. The final time for the mile was 1:50.4.   Colby Jate is owned by Friendship Stables LLC of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. The trainer is Mike Watson.   The complete order of finish was: Colby Jate, JK Panache, Avantage, No Monkeys Allowed, and Moonlight Ransom.   The CKG Billings Series for amateur drivers returned to Vernon Downs on Saturday night as well. It was a similar story to the feature as the winner went to the front right away and stayed there all the way. However, Armstead Kyra (Muscle Mass-Paus Awhile) was far from the favorite in the field, going off at 43-1 and paying $89 to win. Even with the favorite Choke Hold (Vladimir Melnichenko) finishing second, the exacta paid a whopping $882.   Armstead Kyra was driven to victory by Matt Zuccarello in a final time of 1:56.1. The fractions were 27.3 for the quarter, 58.1 for the half, and 1:26.3 for three-quarters.   Armstead Kyra is owned by Brenda Messenger of Monticello, New York and Scott Woogen of Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania. The trainer is Gary Messenger.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday night with an 11-race program. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs 

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