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Despite finding herself in constant battle, Southwind Trini ($8.00) proved unwavering in Thursday (October 23) night's $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open-Preferred Pace at Vernon Downs, capping a driving hat trick for Jim Marohn, Jr.   Coming off victories in her last two Vernon appearances, the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare was hard used to clear JK Letitgo (Jimmy Whittemore) through a :26 first quarter.   The two were joined off the gate by 1-4 favorite Let's Go Higher (Chris Lems), who retreated to a tracking position before commencing her first-over bid on the backstretch. After forcing a :54.4 half mile, Let's Go Higher turned up the pressure on the far turn, gaining a narrow lead briefly, but Southwind Trini would not relent.   Off the far turn, she fought back to a 1-1/4 length lead, holding sway by three-quarters of a length for a 1:52.3 score over sloppy going. Thats My Dream (Claude Huckabone, III) finished third off a ground-saving trip, while JK Letitgo tired through the stretch after chasing the contested pace.   Patti Harmon trains Southwind Trini for Karma Racing, Inc.   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the night, teaming up with Flying Fish ($13.60, 1:57) and Ace of Pace ($2.80, 1:53.4) in addition to his victory in the evening's featured event.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 24) evening, with the first of 13 races slated for 6:45 p.m.    by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

VERNON, NY - On Friday, October 24, world champion colt Centurion ATM travels to Vernon Downs to headline three divisions of the Simpson Stakes for two-year-old trotters. Four other divisions featuring freshman filly trotters and colt and filly pacers make up the thirteen-race card that features purses totaling more than $140,000. Racing begins at 6:45 p.m. This year, Centurion ATM has been carving his path to stardom. In just his fourth career start on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, the two-year-old son of SJ's Caviar set a world record when he won the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial by more than three lengths in a time of 1:53.2. Centurion ATM, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, finished a close second and third most recently in a pair of starts during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile in Lexington. "He hasn't raced in three weeks and we needed to get a race into him because we didn't want to take him up to Canada," stated assistant trainer Bernie Noren. "He's our best two-year-old and we are pointing him for the Breeders Crown. We think Vernon Downs is a great track, especially for young horses." Owners Knutsson Trotting and Courant A B purchased Centurion ATM at the Harrisburg Sale last fall for $100,000. His siblings include Triumphant Caviar, a winner of nearly $800,000 and former Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Prayer Session. "He has the right look, the right conformation, and we knew we'd have to pay that much for a horse as good looking and with as good of a family as he has," continued Noren. "But his greatest asset is that he has the desire to win and a great set of lungs." While Centurion ATM's stable mate and trotter of the fastest mile in history, Sebastian K, didn't gain notoriety until he was an older horse, Noren said he sees at least one similarity between the two horses: "Centurion ATM broke the world record at the Meadowlands and also raced in Lexington barefoot, just like Sebastian K does." Sebastian K has earned nearly $3 million in purses in his lifetime. Noren said he looks forward to racing Centurion ATM this Friday at Vernon Downs to prepare for the $5.4 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event. After the Breeders Crown on November 21-22 at the Meadowlands, Noren said his young trotter will spend the winter in Florida to prepare for a run at The Hambletonian in August of 2015. Vernon Downs is a 61-year-old harness racing track in beautiful Vernon, New York, 40 minutes east of Syracuse. The racing season continues on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through November 1. For more information please visit vernondowns.com. by Justin Horowitz, for Vernon Downs

Vernon Downs is looking to conduct an all grey race on Friday, October 31 (Halloween night). Anyone interested should contact the Vernon Downs race office at (315) 829-6825 or email Director of Racing Scott Warren at swarren@vernondowns.com. The entry box will close Tuesday, October 28 at 9 a.m. The condition sheet will be available on Friday, October 24. Grey or roan horses are acceptable. With multiple grey horses stabled on the backstretch we are hopeful the race will be able to go and make Halloween night an exciting one in Central New York. From the Vernon Downs Race Office  

This Week: Messenger Stakes, Yonkers Trot, International Trot Preview, Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 24) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on Friday, Hoosier Park will offer Circle City races for 3-year-old trotters and pacers, There will be three divisions in the $90,000 3-year-old colt pace, three divisions in the $82,200 3-year-old filly trot, two divisions in the $74,300 3-year-old colt trot and two divisions in the $71,000 3-year-old filly pace. On Saturday (Oct. 25), Hoosier will race Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Each of the four divisions carries an estimated purse of $75,000. Rounding out the busy Friday of Grand Circuit racing, Vernon Downs will contest the John Simpson Stakes for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be three divisions in the $31,005 2-year-old colt trot, two divisions in the $26,816 2-year-old filly trot and single divisions in the $26,503 2-year-old colt pace and $25,616 2-year-old filly pace. Yonkers Raceway will offer five Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday night led by two Triple Crown events, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger for 3-year-old pacers. Also on tap will be the $250,000 International Trot Preview for older trotters, the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Woodbine will offer the Fall Four Stakes on Saturday featuring the C$565,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$521,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$464,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and the C$424,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: The Windy City Pace at Maywood Park was the featured event this past weekend on the extensive Grand Circuit schedule. Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick won the Windy City Pace. Big Boy Dreams won the $180,000 Windy City Pace on Oct. 17 in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:51. The Ron Burke trainee and New York Sire Stakes competitor notched his fourth win of the year in 10 starts. Big Boy Dreams took the field to a brutal :25.4 first quarter and a :54.1 half, with Let's Drink On It challenging the leader going to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. But Big Boy Dreams just continued to draw away in the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. He now has $168,495 in seasonal earnings for owner Dominic Rosato. It was "Elimination Saturday," on Oct. 18, with Yonkers Raceway hosting elims for three stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 eliminations. Nuncio, in play early from post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates, then strode home by 3-1/2 lengths through fractions of :28.4, :58, 1:26.4 and 1:56.2. Don Dorado was second, with Journey and Expressive Action third and fourth, respectively. Gural Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champion and the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado before finishing his four turns though panels of :28.4, 58.1, 1:27.2 and 1:56.3, a length faster than Resolve. Third went to King City, with Datsyuk getting the final place at the table. The $40,000 elim for the 59th Messenger -- nine sophomore colts/geldings to end up with eight -- was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red by a neck in 1:53 with McWicked a belated third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,890; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,002; 3. David Miller - 869.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 625.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 523. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,957.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,519; 3. Erv Miller - 396.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 312. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 431.4; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 386.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 277; 4. Brittany Farms - 254.45; 5. Robert Key - 232. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Hoosier will feature the Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-olds, the Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters. Vernon will offer the Artiscape for older pacing mares, the Muscle Hill for older trotting mares, and a pair of Kindergarten finals for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

USTA Directors from District 8 will be conducting their annual meeting and Awards Dinner Sunday, October 26th at Vernon Downs. The event is hosted by Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association. USTA directors who will be on hand are District 8 Chairman Shawn Wiles, Jason Settlemoir, Mike Kane, Kim Crawford, Ray Schnittker Mark Ford and Bruce Tubin. At the meeting the attending members will review this years Proposed Rule and Bylaw changes. On the slate are nine proposed changes, three of which pertain to the Racing Under Saddle (RUS). No Director elections are due this year. The dinner will honor District 8 horses and the district's Horse of the Year will be named that evening. Also being recognized is John Manzi, who is honored by being named this year's recipient of the prestigious Bruce Hamilton Memorial Award. The meetings will get underway at 5pm followed by a Cocktail Party at 6:30pm. The Banquet and Awards Dinner program will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets for the Dinner are $30 and anyone interested in attending should call Betty Holt at the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858.  

While he employed different tactics from last week, the result was the same for owner-trainer-driver John Macdonald's Dragon Fever ($11.80), who held narrowly for a 1:54 win in Saturday (October 18) evening's featured $6,500 top-level conditioned pace at Vernon Downs.   MacDonald sent the four-year-old Dragon Again gelding straight to the lead, working clear of Celebrity Scandal (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :26.3 quarter over sloppy going.   After rating a :29.3 second-quarter breather, Dragon Fever found himself nudged along by UF Bettors Hanover (Justin Huckabone) on the far turn. Still maintaining control of the terms through three-quarters in 1:24.4, Dragon Fever repelled the challenge of UF Bettors Hanover, drawing off by two in mid-stretch--but bracing for Celebrity Scandal's late kick. Dragon Fever prevailed by a scant neck, just holding off Celebrity Scandal.   The favored Moonlight Ransom (Truman Gale) was forced wide off stalling cover, rallying to take third.   Roman Lopez led all drivers with three wins on the 13-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (October 23) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Not only was Lady Clarabella ($5.90) the fastest among five $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary winners on Friday (October 17) evening at Vernon Downs, but she also established a new track record for two-year-old trotting fillies.   The daughter of Lear Jetta proved a handy winner in 1:54.2, protecting the lead early from A List Lindy (Charlie Norris), and controlling the terms through stout early fractions of :27.1 and :56.3. On the far turn, she faced some pressure from Gold Cora (Mike Simons), who circled three-wide en route to the far turn before challenging.   Lady Clarabella responded well, kicking clear by four in mid-stretch before she was taken in hand by David Miller for a 2-1/2 length triumph. Sarcy (Marcus Miller) rallied late to take second, while Gold Cora faded late.   Randy Beeckman trains Lady Clarabella for Paul Kinnear and Dreamland Farms.   Lady Clarabella's 1:54.2 trotting mile was one-fifth of a second faster than that of prior record holder Ma Chere Hall, who was the evening's $10,000 Open Trot winner.   Now a four-year-old, Ma Chere Hall ($2.50) pushed clear of Pounce K (John Macdonald) in a :26.3 first quarter, controlling the pace throughout before edging clear to a 2-1/4 length win under David Miller. The Jonas Czernyson trainee beat A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) and Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) in a powerful 1:52.4 effort.   The other four Kindergarten Classic winners on the evening were colts True Blue Stride ($14.00, John Campbell, 1:56.4) and Dapper Don ($47.00, Campbell, 1:56), while fillies Lindy Land ($18.40, Campbell, 1:56.1) and Sweet Thing ($3.70, 1:55.3, Charlie Norris) proved victorious.   The top point-earners through the five preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic series are eligible to the finals, to be held on Saturday, November 1.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Saturday (October 18) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Tracking a pressured pace from the pocket, Asset Management ($7.60) found room up the pegs to strike the front just in time, scoring a narrow win in Thursday (October 16) evening's $7,300 featured upper-level distaff pace at Vernon Downs.   The six-year-old Western Hanover mare settled right behind pacesetter Spotlight On (John Macdonald), but found herself locked in with three-eighths to go as newcomer Ace of Pace (Chris Lems) began a first-over push through a :55.4 half mile.   With racing room at a minimum after Spotlight On was nudged past three-quarters in 1:23.3, driver Fern Paquet, Jr. was force to find a seam up the inside off the turn with Asset Management. Asset Management responded as soon as room was available, taking a narrow lead in mid-stretch and holding off a late stand-side charge from Always Flash-n (Frank Davis). Spotlight On and Ace of Pace finished in a dead heat for third, just three-quarters of a length away from Asset Management's 1:52.4 victory.   Allie Berube trains Asset Management for J&M Racing.   While unable to convert in the feature with Ace of Pace, Chris Lems registered a driving grand slam on the evening. After a 9-3/4 length win with Paltrow Blue Chip ($6.40), he teamed up with Peanutbutternhoney ($15.40), Sweet Bettor ($10.20), and Kyler's Valentine ($5.70).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs tomorrow evening, with a 13-race card headlined by the final preliminary round of the Kindergarten Classic trotting series. Post time is 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs 

The fifth and last leg of the Kindergarten Classic series for freshman trotters will be raced on Friday, October 17 at Vernon Downs. Declarations must be made by 9:00am on Tuesday, October 14.   You may reach the Racing Office by calling 315-829-6825 and all pertinent info, including current point standings, is available on the Vernon Downs website.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs    

Charlene Long's Oh No Three O ($4.30) withstood a strong challenge from A Penny Earned, extending his winning streak to three with a 1:54.1 triumph in Friday (October 10) evening's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Vernon Downs.   Assigned the outside post in a field of seven, Howard Okusko, Jr. sent the seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding right to the front, pushing clear of Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) and Aruba Vacation (Aaron Byron) to establish an uncontested lead through a rated :56.4 half mile.   On the approach to the far turn, Oh No Three O saw his lead slip to a half-length, as A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) commenced a stout first-over challenge. The two were heads apart past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Oh No Three O would not be denied a Third Straight win, edging clear to a 1-1/2 length win. Helios chased at the pegs to hold second off his pocket trip, while A Penny Earned flattened to third.   Paul Long trains Oh No Three O, and the featured win was one of three driving scores for Okusko. Fern Paquet, Jr. also tallied a driving hat trick on the evening's 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 11) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs    

Karma Racing, Inc.'s Southwind Trini ($4.60) overcame a post 9 assignment en route to a decisive 1:51.2 triumph in Thursday (October 9) evening's $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs.   The six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare wasted no time achieving the lead, pushing clear of Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) through a :26.3 initial quarter before settling the pace down a bit. After a :55 half mile, the 6-5 favorite faced mild pressure from the first-over Carobbean Pacetry (Chris Lems). Southwind Trini kicked clear at will off the turn, drawing clear of Carobbean Pacetry to win by 3-3/4 lengths. Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) stayed even from second-over to hold third over a ground-saving Always Flash-n (Aaron Byron).   Jim Marohn, Jr. handled the driving duties aboard Southwind Trini for trainer Patti Harmon.   Aaron Byron led all drivers on the evening with three wins, teaming up with Elizabeth Bluechip ($7.20, 1:54.3), Sukura ($15.20, 1:56), and Got the Munchies ($16.00, 1:54).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 10) evening, with the first of 11 races scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

This Week's Harness Racing: Historic Series, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa., and American-National finals, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Thursday (Oct. 9) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with four divisions in the $100,680 Historic – Acorn for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Oct. 10) card at Philadelphia will feature a trio of divisions in the $104,178 Historic – Debutante for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Sunday (Oct. 12) card at Philadelphia offers three divisions in the $102,878 Historic – Goshen Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers and two splits in the $102,380 Historic – Harriman Cup for 2-year-old colt trotters. Balmoral Park will host eight American-National Grand Circuit stakes events on Saturday (Oct. 11). The card will feature the $227,000 3-year-old colt pace, the $203,000 3-year-old colt trot, the $179,000 open pace, the $173,500 3-year-old filly pace, the $166,300 open trot, the $150,000 3-year-old filly trot, the $86,000 2-year-old colt pace and the $61,150 2-year-old filly pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: The Kentucky Futurity, the second leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, capped off two exciting weeks of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile.   USTA/Mark Hall photo Nuncio and John Campbell captured the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile. Team Takter provided Red Mile fans with a thrilling stretch duel between stablemates Nuncio and Father Patrick who slugged it out to the wire, with Nuncio emerging victorious by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.3 in the 122nd edition of the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for sophomore trotting colts. Hall of Famer John Campbell steered Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle, to his eighth win of the season and his 13th career victory for owner Stall TZ, Inc. He now has $1,488,970 in career earnings. Nuncio had the lead from start to finish, trotting through splits of :27.2, :54.1 and 1:22.2 before Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) began to challenge him. It appeared that Father Patrick was going to trot right past Nuncio, but the latter dug in hard and held off his stablemate. Shake It Cerry put forth a dominating performance in the 49th edition of the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for driver Ron Pierce and trainer Takter. The 1-5 public’s choice, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig, pushed her career earnings to $1,562,205 for the Solveig’s Racing Partners. Shake It Cerry took the lead handily in rein to Pierce, trotting comfortably through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before drawing off in the stretch by 4-1/2 lengths. Vanity Matters (David Miller) made a bid first over going to the three-quarters and held on to be second, while Scream And Shout (Yannick Gingras) got up for third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 1,685; 2. Tim Tetrick – 850; 3. David Miller – 780.5; 4. Ron Pierce – 565.5; 5. Corey Callahan – 501. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,735.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,367; 3. Joe Holloway – 329; 4. Erv Miller – 311.5; 5. Tony Alagna – 310. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 388.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 346.35; 3. 3 Brothers Stable – 247; 4. Robert Key – 230; 5. Brittany Farms – 223.95. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Maywood Park, Woodbine Racetrack, Vernon Downs and Yonkers Raceway. Maywood Park will feature four races led by the Windy City Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Cinderella for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Abe Lincoln for 2-year-old colt pacers and the Galt for 3-year-old trotters; Woodbine will offer eliminations in four events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits (the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for fillies and the Governor’s Cup and Valley Victory for colts); Vernon will offer the fifth leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; and Yonkers has four sets of eliminations in stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gats, led by the Messenger, the final leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown, and the Yonkers Trot, the final leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown, along with the Lady Maud for pacing fillies and the Hudson Filly Trot for trotting fillies. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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

It's what the amateur drivers live for; steady action. And that was the case this past weekend for members of the C.K.G Billings Harness Racing Driving Series when there were races at Batavia Downs on Friday and at Vernon Downs and on Saturday. Races there followed an event at the Red Mile on Thursday (Sept 25) which was won by Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, as was reported earlier. But Oldford was at it again on Friday after he drove nine hours from Lexington to race at Batavia Downs in two Billings contests winning the second one with a catch-drive behind Allpointsbulletin in a time of 2:02.3. After leaving from the pole position Oldford's trotter took command with Dave "Poppa" Glasser ducking in behind him on the first turn with Somolli Crown. They raced one-two around the track with Somolli Crown tight on Oldford's back until the lane where Glasser rallied and the two trotters crossed the wire nearly simultaneously with neither driver sure as to who won. "Glasser and I were so busy trying to get our horses home that neither of us was sure who won it," Oldford said. "Glasser went back to the winners circle but when the judges posted my numbers I then circled back for the winners circle presentation." Third place went to 21-1 longshot Say It Best driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. After the race Oldford told trainer Andy Torre that he won a race the previous day at the Red Mile. "Andy told me he won there in 1958. Why, that was the year I was born," Oldford said incredulously. Allpointsbulletin returned a $6.60 win mutuel. He is owned and trained by Torre who will turn 80 years old on September 30. The first Billings event was a pace and it was won by Richard "Call Me Rick" Roach, a Michigander from Davison who notched his first driving victory of the season although he was victorious 134 times in the past. And with Oldford also from the Wolverine State it made a Michigander double. Roach had Windsong Destroyer from post five and he worked a pocket -trip as Dave "Poppa" Glasser cut the fractions with The Spartan. And although Glasser's pacer went a strong trip Roach came calling in the lane and Windsong Destroyer rallied to a length triumph over the pace-setter in a time 2:01.1. The betting favorite, Rammy Girl in rein to Tony "the Capo" Verruso, finished third with broken equipment. Windsong Destroyer, owned by Sharon Stockwell, paid $16.40 for win. On Saturday at Vernon Downs Mighty Matt" Zuccarello won the Billings trot there with 43-1 shot Armstead Kyra in a time of 1:56.1 "We had the five-hole and I left to get position but we ended up on the front end," Zuccarello explained. "We went a fast quarter (27.3) so once I got on the lead I tried to back off a bit so my mare would have something left at the end." After the half was trotted in :58.1 Choke Hold and Vladimir "Butch" Melnichenko pressed Armstead Kyra on the outside but Zuccarello's trotter had enough to stave off her, and all comers, in the lane to win by a full length over Choke Hold, the betting favorite. Permanent Joy came from way back to finish third for Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Understandably Zuccarello was thrilled after his fastest ride to the winners circle and he added; "I really appreciate (trainer) Gary (Messenger) allowing me to drive her (Armstead Kyra) and I hope I get a chance to drive her again." The winner is owned by Brenda Messenger and Dr. Scott Woogen. She paid $89.00, $21.00 and $15.00 across the board. John Manzi  

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