VERNON, NY—Northern Companion rallied in the homestretch to catch and defeat the pace-setting favorite Sheer Brilliance in Saturday night’s $10,000 Open pace at Vernon Downs. With trainer Robert Hoffman at the controls in Saturday’s featured second race, Northern Companion advanced from fifth in the early going to second entering the final furlong, and then kept digging until he had completed his objective, posting a 1:52.3 win over a rain-soaked “sloppy” track and a head triumph over the fan-favorite. It was the fifth local score, the 10th this season and the 30th all-time for the 5-year-old son of Cambest-Smoke It Out, who is owned by Dorothy Zarza. The hard-earned tally lifted the bay gelding’s lifetime earnings to more than $171,000. Hoffman also finished first with the Leopold Sawyers-owned and trained pacer GPS Legacy in Saturday’s 10th event to secure his second two-win outing at the 68-program meeting. Canadian-horseman John Macdonald delivered three first-place finishes during Saturday’s 13-race program, while driver Claude Huckabone, III, trainer Edgar Clarke and his owners, Robert J. Orr and Gary J. Jonas, also enjoyed two trips to the winner’s circle during the soggy evening. DOWNS DOINGS Driver Jimmy Whittemore guided the Ray Van Dreason-conditioned pacer Moonlight Ranson to a 1:52.2 triumph in Saturday’s seventh session for owners Gus and Alan J. Johnston that produced his 81st win at the meet, and moved the 29-year-old horseman into a second-place tie on the track’s current dash-winning chart with Roman Lopez… Harris Obrien’s 4-year-old trotter Smokin’ Barrie collected his first pari-mutuel victory after Huckabone, III, sitting in for trainer Dennis Lacey, guided the 4-year-old gelding to a 2:01 tally in Saturday’s third event… Vernon will continue to offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next weekend, with first post time at 6:45 each evening… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
VERNON, NY—Dorothy Zarza’s Northern Companion advanced from last to first to capture Saturday night’s $10.000 Open pace feature at Vernon Downs. Trainer Robert Hoffman was in the sulky as Northern Companion started out dead-last. The gritty 5-year-old gelding stayed in sixth place through the half, as the favorite JK Panache cut out the mile. The bay son of Cambest-Smoke It Out rallied three wide from fourth around the final turn and kept on charging until he caught the determined pace-setter in the final sixteenth, and then zoomed on to a 1-3/4-length victory. Saturday’s score was the fourth locally and the ninth this season for the career-winner of $160,532, who now sports 29 lifetime win-credits. Leading driver Rick Plano posted four tallies during Saturday’s 13-race card, including a 152.1 triumph with the Maurice Bazinet-owned-and-trained sidewheeler Ideally Magic in the fourth race. It was the sixth win at the 48-program meeting for the rugged 11-year-old gelding, tops among representatives of the lateral gait, and tying the trotters Glorious Winner and Ulay Boko for most victories by equine performers at the 3013 meeting through Aug. 10. John Macdonald, a newcomer to the Downs this season, recorded his 12th driving double of the track’s 60th anniversary campaign. DOWNS DOINGS Plano, who raised his win total for the meet to 93, leads in four-win performances here this season with six… The Downs will offer live racing Thursday-Saturday next weekend, with first post each evening at 6:45… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran
The pacer Northern Companion and driver Truman Gale were each prominent performers during Saturday night's 60th Anniversary celebration harness racing program at Vernon Downs.
First time local starter Northern Companion took to the big oval at Vernon Downs with style and speed to capture Saturday night's $10,000 harness racing featured Open pace.
Northern Companion, making his final start of the Pompano harness racing meeting before heading northward, paced his final three-quarters in 1:22.2 and rolled by the entire field in the stretch to score a decisive win for driver Rob Hoffman in 1:51.1 in Pompano Park's top pace on Saturday night.
Northern Companion resumed his winning ways at Pompano Park with a sharp winning harness racing performance in 1:51.3 on Saturday night.
Northern Companion, with harness racing driver Rob Hoffman in the bike, stretched his winning streak to three with a handy win in 1:51.4 over Freeneasy Hanover and Woodmere Ultimate in Pompano Park's Open I Handicap Pace on Saturday night.
Dorothy Zarza's Northern Companion overcame his assigned post position eight and, again, cruised to a harness racing victory in Pompano Park's Open Pace on Saturday night.
Northern Companion, a rags-to-riches harness racing star in 2012, will be honored by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association on Wednesday (Dec. 12) as the November Horse of the Month at the Isle Casino & Racing Pompano Park.
Most astute observers had written Northern Companion off when he trailed by nearly seven lengths at the halfway point of Saturday night's harness racing $11,500 Open Handicap Pace at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
Northern Companion turned the tables on Neptune Blue Chip Saturday night (September 22) at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park in the first $8500 Open Pace of the new meet. The 1:54.2 triumph avenged a defeat to the runnerup in a special $7500 harness racing match- race on closing night of the spring meet two months ago.
One of harness racing's great and rare spectacles, a match-race, has been carded for Saturday evening, July 28,as ahighlight of the closing program of the 2011-2012 meet at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
With the presence of Florida standout harness racing three year old pacer Keemosabe in the field a big upset transpired in the Saturday evening, May 19 feature for a $7,500 purse at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. Northern Companion, in rein to Robert Hoffman, used his customary closing rush to sweep to victory at 14-1.