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Nichols, N.Y. -- Fast miles were the rule on Sunday (May 29) evening at Tioga Downs, as all nine races resulted in lifetime marks over the Jason Bluhm-conditioned 5/8-mile course. Among those lifetime marks was a track-record effort from Dayson ($3.40), who sprinted away from a collapsing pace in his $62,400 New York Sire Stakes event.   Dayson, a 3-year-old Conway Hall gelding, sat second-over off dueling leaders Dante (Oskar Florhed) and Free Willy Hanover (Trond Smedshammer) through fractions of :28, :56, and 1:24. As Free Willy Hanover's valiant first-over attempt started to fade on the far turn, Jim Morrill, Jr. angled Dayson three-wide on the far turn, and the response was instant. Dayson vaulted clear to an 8-1/2 length victory over Allerage Echo (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who rallied into his runner-up position from a third-over trip. Joyful (Mike Simons) gained late into third from well off the pace, while a softened Dante faded to fourth.   Dayson's 1:52.2 triumph was his ninth in 11 career starts, and shaved four-fifths of a second off Datsyuk's prior track record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. The Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Silva Stables, and Rossie Smith own Dayson.   In the other New York Sire Stakes event, Sir Royson ($4.10) brushed to the fore with a circuit to go, turning aside pocket rival Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) and holding off a late charge from 69-1 outsider The Royal Harry (Florhed) for a 1:54 victory, the fifth of his career. Linda Toscano trains the 3-year-old Crazed colt for R-and-I Farms, LLC.   For driver Jim Marohn, Jr. the win with Sir Royson was one of five on the night. "The Mighty Mite Part Two" also teamed up with Dee's Rocketman ($4.60, 1:52.1), Just For Today ($12.00, 1:56.2), Katch Kanna ($6.30, 1:57.1), and Moneydontbuyulove ($8.40, 1:56.4).   The night's sub-featured $25,200 Nichols True Value late-closing series final saw Erv Miller trainee Fresh Cut ($5.90) pounce from second-over off a contested pace, dueling on the far turn with the first-over Century Chancellor (Simons) to just prevail in 1:53.1. Morrill was aboard the 3-year-old American Ideal colt for the Bay Pond Racing Stable.   The 50¢ Pick 5 carries over to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card, with $772.79 of added money heading into the opening-race wager. First post for the nine-race Memorial Day card is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs    

Ake Svanstedt, Inc. and Little E, LLC's Non Stick ($2.70) remains undefeated in eight career starts after a comfortable two-length harness racing win in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes division on Saturday (May 28) evening at Vernon Downs.   Mark MacDonald wasted no time with the 3-year-old Lucky Chucky filly, working clear of Goosebump Hanover (Chris Lems) before exiting the straight. Non Stick was uncontested through splits of :28, :57.2, and 1:26, working clear of her seven foes on the far turn. At head-stretch, Goosebump Hanover vacated the pocket to give chase, but Non Stick maintained her clear lead throughout under just mild encouragement for a 1:55 triumph. Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) circled from the rear of the main group to take second, while Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) saved third off her cozy tracking trip. Goosebump Hanover lacked any late burst from the pocket, finishing fourth.   Ake Svanstedt trains Non Stick, who has amassed $226,532 thus far in career earnings.   Mario Mazza's Stick of Butter ($7.20) prevailed in her Sire Stakes division off an extended first-over bid, dueling clear of pacesetter Straight A Student for a 1:54.3 win. Trainer Francisco del Cid drove the Lucky Chucky filly.   Fair Winds Farm, Inc.'s Open Access ($33.80) also found the winner's enclosure, vaulting off cover and collaring Fad Finance and Swinging Royalty for a last-to-first 1:54.1 score. Charlie Norris drove the daughter of Credit Winner for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr.   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $246.95 will head to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card. Post time for the first of 12 races on Memorial Day is set for 1:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Longtime Ontario Signature Circuit driver Scott Coulter has quickly worked his way into prominence at Tioga Downs through the first month of the 2016 harness racing season. On Saturday (May 28) evening's nine-race card, the "Tan Tornado" copped a natural hat trick to lead all drivers.   In the evening's third race, the 45-year-old Ontarian teamed up with Littlebitaclass ($6.20), who vaulted off second-over cover en route to a 2-1/4 length win over first-level pacers in 1:54.3. Coulter followed up in the fourth race with 11-year-old trotter Red Zeppelin ($7.70), prevailing from the pocket in 1:56.4. Trevor Win For Us ($5.50) completed Coulter's hat trick in the fifth, sprinting off from his eight second-level pacing rivals for a 1:53.4 triumph.   The night's featured race, a $7,200 upper-level conditioned trot, saw owner-driver Corey Braden work Majestic Won ($14.00) to the fore with a circuit to go and never look back en route to a 1:56 victory. Stacey McLenaghan trains the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding.   Later in the card, King Royalty ($5.00, Mike Simons) and RG Riptide ($10.00, Mike Merton) shared a dead-heat victory in a $5,400 third-level pace, both working away from pacesetter Si Semalu and holding clear of a late rally from 3-5 Energy Shakes in 1:52.1.   The 50¢ Pick 5 on Sunday (May 29) evening's nine-race card will have a carryover of $398.32. A pair of $62,400 New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings share the spotlight with the $25,200 final of the Nichols True Value late closing series for 3-year-old pacers. First post is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

OK Heavenly ($26.80) sustained a first-over push through the far turn in Friday (May 27) evening's $8,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs, chasing down and reeling in odds-on pacesetter All Charged Up for a 1:50.2 victory.   Truman Gale settled OK Heavenly last but one in the field of five, having no part of the strenuous pace All Charged Up (John MacDonald) set. After early fractions of :26 and :54.2, All Charged up drew away from pocket rival Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) on the far turn. Love Live Laugh's failure to keep pace on the turn prompted a first-over bid from OK Heavenly, who gradually worked into second off the far turn. The 4-year-old Sportswriter mare sustained progress all the way to the winning post, collaring All Charged up in the final yards and besting her by half a length in the end. Little Santamonica (Frank Davis) escaped far-turn traffic trouble to save third.   Heidi Rohr trains OK Heavenly for the partnership of Steven Kouray, Donald DeLuca, and Peter Daratsos.   Jimmy Whittemore led all drivers with a hat trick, victorious with Gimme the Cash ($11.60, 1:52.4), Southern Girl ($14.40, 1:52), and My Future Ex ($9.00, 1:55.4).   Fillies contest Saturday Sire Stakes   Saturday (May 28) evening is headlined by a trio of New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old trotting fillies, carded as races 5, 7, and 9 on the 11-race card. Meadowlands standout Stick of Butter (Francisco del Cid), 2015 2-year-old NYSS champion Non Stick (Mark MacDonald), and locally-based Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) have all been installed as morning line favorites in their respective events. Post time is 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Pinned in the pocket through the far turn, Shutthefrontdoor ($4.90) only managed to wedge out from traffic in the final 60 yards, still collaring pacesetter K J's Caroline for a narrow 1:54.1 score in Friday (May 27) evening's $11,000 harness racing mares open pace at Tioga Downs.   Dan Clements yielded to the pocket early with the 5-year-old Well Said mare, enabling K J's Caroline (Justin Huckabone) to cross and clear before rating a tepid :59 half mile. On the backstretch, while Southwind Trini (Mike Merton) loomed first-over, K J's Caroline accelerated through a :27 third quarter before facing her stiffest competition at head-stretch. Off the corner, Southwind Trini pressed harder, Elm Grove Inarush (Greg Merton) fanned wide from second-over, and Shutthefrontdoor--with pace--was hard pressed for racing room. Shutthefrontdoor was able to wedge out in deep stretch, and her sudden burst of speed was enough for her to prevail. K J's Caroline just held second, while Elm Grove Inarush's stand-side rally earned her third honors.   Trainer Mike Sinclair co-owns Shutthefrontdoor with Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villeneuve.   Mike Merton led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, teaming up with Amber Buter trainees Headsaregonna Turn ($22.20, 1:54.3) and Cracker Coffee ($2.20, 1:53.3) as well as Rich Dane trainee Four Hour Nap ($5.10, 1:54.4).   Saturday (May 28) evening's nine-race card is due to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT, with a $318.82 carryover in the 50¢ Pick 5.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Harness racing owner-trainer Mike Sinclair's Heavenly Bet ($4.60, part of entry) overcame post 8 and controlled the terms through the middle of the race en route to a 1:55 score over her stablemate Winners Over in the $23,700 Gail's Diner Series Final on Sunday (May 22) afternoon at Tioga Downs.   While Winners Over (Dan Clements) was away most sharply in the field of eight, Scott Coulter gradually worked Heavenly Bet forward through a :27.3 first quarter mile before clearing with just over a circuit to go. The two would continue at the head of the field throughout, with Heavenly Bet spared of pressure due to a failed first-over bid by Ghost Runner (Tom Jackson). After intermediate fractions of :56.4 and 1:24.4 over good going, the 3-year-old Bettor's Delight filly faced a challenge from her stablemate on the far turn. Heavenly Bet proved superior of the Sinclair pair, holding sway by 3/4 length. Well Shaded (Fern Paquet, Jr.) emerged out of traffic to take third, while Shesgotthebeat--a winner in both her preliminary events--only could manage a fourth-place finish after she was compromised by badly stalling cover on the far turn.   The afternoon's other three featured events--an $11,000 Open Pace and two $7,500 second-round divisions of the Nichols True Value Series--all went to driver Tom Jackson, who led all drivers on the 13-race program with that natural hat trick. Meadows invader Nitro Seelster ($4.40) sustained a first-over push to reel in Believe This Bob for a 1:52 Open win, while Fresh Cut ($44.80, 1:54.2) and Le Gambe ($4.30, 1:54.1) prevailed in their respective Nichols True Value splits.   No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a $208.67 carryover to Friday (May 27) evening's program.   Tioga Downs offers four programs next week, with a 6:30 p.m. EDT first post on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and a 1:30 p.m. EDT Memorial Day card on Monday.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Neither favorite prevailed in New York Sire Stakes action at Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 21) evening, with harness racing 3-year-old trotting colts Smalltownthrowdown ($8.70) and Sir Royson ($42.00) prevailing in their respective $61,300 events.   In the first division, carded as race six, Smalltownthrowdown yielded to even-money choice Allerage Echo (Jim Morrill, Jr.) upon reaching the backstretch, vacating the pegs and dueling to a 1-1/4 length victory after enjoying a clear tracking journey. Trainer Dan Daley drove the Cash Hall colt to a 1:56 score over sloppy going, defeating Allerage Echo by 1-1/4 lengths. Third-place finisher A Jersey Contract (Jeff Gregory) was 2-3/4 lengths farther back.   Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford, IV, Donald renner, and Richard Lombardo own Smalltownthrowdown.   The compexion of the eighth-race second division changed entirely when 2-5 favorite Dayson (Morrill) broke stride at race's midpoint. Jim Marohn, Jr. worked Sir Royson out of traffic on the far turn, drawing off to a 3-1/4 length victory in 1:56 after reeling in pacesetter Sweet Royalty (Gregory) in upper stretch. The Crazed colt sprinted off through a :27.4 final quarter mile to defeat Dexter Cup winner Dante (Oskar Florhed) and Reve Royale (Chris Lems) for trainer Linda Toscano and owner R-and-I Farms, LLC.   Marohn led all drivers with three wins on the 12-race program, also teaming up with Southern Palms ($15.60, 1:57.2) and Uncle Mack ($21.40, 1:58.1) in $15,000 Excelsior A events.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (May 27) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

With odds-on favorite Prairie Fortune breaking in the stretch after sustaining first-over pressure for a joint lead, McKenzie's Star ($9.80) was able to circle the field en route to a 1:58.1 victory over sloppy going in Saturday (May 21) evening's harness racing featured $8,500 top-level trot at Tioga Downs.   Fern Paquet, Jr. retreated to the tail of the field with the 6-year-old Donato Hanover mare, waiting until pacesetter Warrawee Preferred (Jim Taggart, Jr.) faced pressure from Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) on approach to the final turn before vacating the pegs. McKenzie's Star made gradual gains after fractions of :28.4, :58.3, and 1:27.1, working closer on the turn before a three-wide bid by Dream Rocker (Aaron Byron) carried her four-deep in the stretch. McKenzie's Star circled the field, drawing off to defeat Dream Rocker by a length, while the worn-down Warrawee Preferred was a farther half length back in third.   Trainer Allie Berube co-owns McKenzie's Star with Jerry Clark.   Paquet led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, while John Cummings, Jr. tallied two triumphs.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 22) afternoon, with the first of 13 races due off at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Regina Dewhurst's Pounce K ($16.60) made sustained progress from race's midpoint en route to a two-length harness racing victory in Friday (May 20) evening's featured $7,500 top-level Miracle Mile Trot at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems was in no hurry with the 6-year-old Donato Hanover gelding, sitting last but one in the initial stages while Winding Hill (Jimmy Whittemore) engaged Ulster (Brian Russo) in a speed duel through fractions of :28 and :56.1. As the battle intensified on the backstretch, Pounce K began his extended uncovered bid, working into second on the far turn as Winding Hill claimed an outright lead. Pounce K ultimately reeled in Winding Hill at the eighth pole, stretching out his lead and holding two lengths clear of a resurgent Ulster for a 1:55 win. Walk the Floor (Angus MacDonald) rallied from last to take third.   Dave Dewhurst trains Pounce K, now a 20-time winner.   John MacDonald led all drivers with a treble on the 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a 12-race card on Saturday (May 21) evening, featuring a pair of New York Sire Stakes races for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. First post is slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon harness racing invader A Penny Earned ($6.80) employed a change of tactics on Friday (May 20) evening at Tioga Downs, stalking cover and lunging to the line for a 1:55.3 triumph in the featured $11,000 Open Trot.   After a slow start, Mike Simons pointed the 7-year-old Conway Hall gelding second-over on the backstretch, drafting with the live cover of Its Payday Friday (Dan Clements) after Lucid Thoughts (Tom Jackson) rated a :57 initial half. The favored pacesetter accelerated en route to the far turn, reaching three-quarters completion in 1:25.3, but he would ultimately be headed off the far turn by the steadily advancing Its Payday Friday. A Penny Earned angled off cover at head-stretch, battling to a half-length win in the last yards. Its Payday Friday held second narrowly over B L Class Act (John Cummings, Jr.), who mounted a stand-side rally after being shuffled to last on the far turn.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with the partnership of Ross, Fontaine, and Oliva.   Jeffrey Long and Jim Taggart, Jr. both recorded driving doubles on the eight-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (May 21), with the first of nine races slated for a 6:30 post time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

The J P Stables' All Charged Up ($4.60) made all the pace en route to a 1:51.2 triumph in Thursday (May 19) evening's harness racing featured $8,500 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs, and the 50¢ Pick 5 yielded a dividend of $3,044.75, the highest to date for the new offering at the Miracle Mile.   Trainer-driver John MacDonald wasted no time with All Charged Up, sprinting clear from midfield to clear Keene Olivia (Chris Lems) through a :26.3 first quarter before easing the tempo down through middle splits of :56 and 1:23.2. At no point did the 5-year-old Ponder mare face any pressure, in fact edging away off the far turn to amass four length clearance on Keene Olivia. While Keene Olivia labored amid her chase, Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) mounted a bid to take second in mid-stretch, checking in 2-3/4 lengths in arrears of All Charged Up in the end. Third-place finisher Keene Olivia and also-rans Kelli Rachelle, Shutthefrontdoor, and Little Santamonica were all covered by no more than a length.   For MacDonald, the win was one of two on the night. Chris Lems led all drivers with a hat trick on the 10-race card.   While favorites accounted for the last three winners in the night's 50¢ Pick 5 sequence, a 15-1 last-to-first upset by Tiger Boudoir (Truman Gale) in the first leg buoyed a $3,044.75 dividend. The Vernon Pick 5 is offered on the last five races of each card.   Trotting colts contest Sire Stakes Saturday   While an 11-race Friday (May 20) card is slated for a 6:45 p.m. post time, top New York-sired 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings will converge on the Miracle Mile on Saturday (May 21) evening in a pair of $61,300 New York Sire Stakes events. Allerage Echo (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley), first and second in last year's $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final, renew their rivalry in the sixth-race first division, while eight-time winner Dayson (Morrill) and Dexter Cup winner Dante (Oskar Florhed) headline the eighth-race second division.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Third-time harness racing starter Ideal Joey ($3.90) impressed at odds-on in his first-round $7,500 Nichols True Value Late Closing Series division on Sunday (May 15) at Tioga Downs, making all the pace and evading f the first-over Cenovis for a 1:53.3 triumph.   Mike Simons sprinted clear with the 3-year-old Roll With Joe gelding on entry to the first turn, assuming command from Diamond J (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :28 initial quarter before backing down the tempo with a circuit to go. Following a :57 half mile, Ideal Joey was nudged along by a steadily-advancing Cenovis through a :28.1 third quarter. Ideal Joey responded instantly to the pressure, edging clear on the far turn and ultimately prevailing by 2-1/2 lengths. Runner-up Cenovis held 2-3/4 lengths clear of the second-over JK Onaroll (John Cummings, Jr.).   John Butenschoen trains Ideal Joey for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable and William Wiswell.   The win for Simons was part of a Sunday afternoon driving grand slam. Justin Huckabone accounted for three wins on the 13-race program.   The other Nichols True Value division went to Le Gambe ($7.60), who pounced in upper stretch and worked clear of the dueling Century Chancellor (Simons) and Rocket J (Jim Marohn, Jr.) for a 1:56.4 victory. Mike Simons drove the 3-year-old Shadyshark Hanover gelding for owner Ronald Michelon and trainer Erv Miller.   In the overnight feature, a $9,000 top-level conditioned pace, Tony Dinges trainee Grande Seelster ($30.40, Scott Coulter) emerged out of traffic in the last 70 yards, wedging wide to overtake Murder He Wrote (Marohn) and Winyard Hanover (Simons) in the final yards of a 1:53.3 mile. Favorite P L Idaho (Clements) only could muster fourth after faltering mid-race despite a ferocious stand-side rally.   Off the track, Tioga Downs mainstay Floyd, a 22-year-old quarter horse, was honored on Sunday afternoon. Floyd, accompanied by longtime Tioga outrider Wendy Ross, will conclude his career at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden later this month at the 2016 Elitloppet.   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, the carryover for Friday (May 20) evening's card mounts to $498.30. First post on Friday is slated for 6:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Heavy pressure from Mel Mara could not faze 2015 Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki ($2.40), as he fought back from being headed in mid-stretch to take Saturday (May 14) evening's $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands for a second consecutive harness racing win.   The 5-year-old Always a Virgin entire made his push to the lead just after fellow Jimmy Takter trainee JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) worked clear of McWicked (Scott Zeron) in a :27.2 initial quarter. Upon taking command on the backstretch, Hall of Fame driver David Miller managed to slow the pace down enough to give Always B Miki a brief breather on the far turn before Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) mounted a first-over bid out of fifth. Despite Mel Mara's sustained press into the lead at the eighth pole, Always B Miki would not be denied, using a :26 last quarter to repel Mel Mara for a neck victory in 1:48.4. Mel Mara was a game second, while JK Endofanera labored from the pocket yet still held third.   Always B Miki, now a 20-time winner, is owned by the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.   Tim Tetrick led all drivers with three wins on the 12-race card, prevailing with Mindtrip ($2.80, 1:52), Missile J ($3.60, 1:51), and Union Man Hanover ($8.20, 1:50.4). Scott Zeron and Corey Callahan won two races apiece.   Total betting turnover for the 12-race card was $2,559,464. The final race 20¢ Jackpot High 5 carryover continues to climb, mounting to $222,459.18 for Friday (May 20) evening's program.   Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday (May 20), with post time slated for 7:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media

While favorites K J's Caroline ($4.20) and Its Payday Friday ($3.40) held sway on the lead in their respective $9,000 featured events on Saturday (May 14) evening at Tioga Downs, it was Shesgotthebeat ($32.40) who stole the show, springing a 15-1 upset to sweep her preliminary legs of the Gail's Diner Late Closing Series for the harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies.   The first $7,500 division of the Gail's Diner preliminary saw first-round winners Shesgotthebeat and Heavenly Bet square off, with 1-9 favorite Heavenly Bet (Scott Coulter) doing the heavy lifting through the middle half. After drafting intently, Jim Meittinis angled Shesgotthebeat off the pegs at head-stretch, dueling to a length victory in 1:55.1 over good going. Heavenly Bet was a vanquished favorite in the end, yet still 3-1/2 lengths clear of Ghost Runner (Tom Jackson), who chased in vain for third.   Shesgotthebeat, a 3-year-old daughter of American Ideal, is trained by Edward Hart for the Seafood Delight Stable, Kristie Leigh Farm, Inc., and Joseph Betro.   The other Gail's Diner division saw Stirling Electra ($10.80) duel with Winners Over (Dan Clements) for the entirety of the far turn, gutting out a half-length 1:57.3 victory under Corey Braden. Trainer Jennifer Davis co-owns the Roll With Joe filly with Joyce Nowicki.   In the co-featured $9,000 top-level trot and distaff pace, Its Payday Friday and K J's Caroline proved victorious while favored. Its Payday Friday, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding, held the first-over Prairie Fortune at bay for a 1:55.3 score. Owner Dan Clements handled the driving duties for trainer Ronnie Morales. The top mares pace saw K J's Caroline make all the pace, edging clear of Asset Management for a four-length triumph in 1:55.1. Jim Taggart, Jr. drove the 6-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare for trainer Gary Messenger.   The 50¢ Pick 5 was not hit, resulting in a $323 carryover to Sunday (May 15) afternoon's card. The first of 13 races is due off at 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

A Penny Earned ($3.00) lived up to odds-on billing in the harness racing featured trotting event Vernon Downs on Friday (May 13) night, posting a 1:54.2 mile to claim the winner's share of a $7,500 purse.   Chris Lems sent the 7-year-old Conway Hall gelding to the front from the outset, working clear of My Lucky Word (John MacDonald) through a :27.3 first quarter mile. After rating a :29.2 breather in the second quarter and dismissing of My Lucky Word, A Penny Earned was forced to accelerate by the first-over Winding Hill (Jimmy Whittemore), who pressed to within three-quarters of a length on approach to the far turn. A Penny Earned responded immediately to the challenge, ultimately edging clear to a two-length triumph, the 28th of his career. Winding Hill sustained his pursuit in second, while My Lucky Word was nine lengths detached in third.   Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.   John MacDonald led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, while Lems recorded a double.   The 50¢ Pick 5 once again went uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $1,101 to Saturday (May 14) evening's program. First post is slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

While her previous Vernon Downs appearance saw her give futile chase to Shutthefrontdoor, harness racing owner-trainer Jordan Hope's Little Santamonica ($6.00) was the one who could not be caught in Thursday (May 12) evening's $8,500 Mares Open Pace at the Miracle Mile.   Frank Davis was patient early with the California-bred, rating off dueling leaders Wanna Rock N Roll (Jimmy Whittemore) and All Charged Up (John MacDonald) through a :26.3 first quarter before brushing clear on the backstretch. After intermediate splits of :55.1 and 1:24.2, the 8-year-old Little Steven mare edged clear of All Charged Up to a 2-1/2 length lead at the eighth pole. While odds-on favorite All Charged Up made up part of that margin in the stretch, Little Santamonica's :27.3 last quarter was enough to keep her a length in front for a 1:52 score, the 42nd of her career. All Charged Up was two lengths clear of Looney Dune (Fern Paquet, Jr.) for second.   Hope and Davis also teamed up in the opener with Regally Blonde ($10.40), a 1:54.3 winner from the pocket in a $3,500 distaff pace. Additionally, Jimmy Whittemore notched a driving double on the 9-race card.   The 50¢ Pick 5 was not hit, due in large part to a narrow 79-1 upset by Steuben Bentley (2:01.3, Claude Huckabone, III) in the evening's sixth race, a $3,000 maiden trot. Friday (May 13) evening's Pick 5--starting in the fifth race--will have a $712.43 carryover added to the pool.   Vernon Downs is full swing into a three-nights-weekly schedule, racing on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with a 6:45 p.m. first post.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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