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Vernon, N.Y. -- Parkhill Horton ($24.60) took full advantage of a clear pocket trip in Saturday's $7,500 top-level harness racing Miracle Mile Trot at Vernon Downs, upsetting odds-on pacesetter Lucid Thoughts in 1:54.4.   Truman Gale secured the pocket from the outset with the 8-year-old Oaklea Julian gelding, yielding to Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) and drafting cozily through splits of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:25.3. Just above the eighth pole, Parkhill Horton vacated the pegs, reeled in Lucid Thoughts, and edged away to a 1-1/2 length victory while driven. Lucid Thoughts held second, while Winding Hill (Jimmy Whittemore) sustained a mild bid off the far turn to capture third.   Trainer Robert Gale co-owns Parkhill Horton with Jeffrey Agan and David Adsit.   The "New York Night Train" also took the evening's sub-featured $5,500 Miracle Mile trotting event in upset fashion with 15-1 longshot Painite ($33.60). Jocelyn Gale--Truman's wife--handles the training duties of the 7-year-old Plesac mare, who rallied down the grandstand side off a third-over trip to just collar 8-5 favorite Gaelic and Garlic (Claude Huckabone, III) in 1:55.1.   A 14-race Sunday evening card completes the racing week at Vernon Downs, with the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters sharing center stage with the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Ellen McNeil's Looney Dune ($7.10) made all the pace in her 1:51 triumph over five harness racing rivals in Friday (July 22) evening's $7,500 Mares Miracle Mile Pace at Vernon Downs.   Ben McNeil wasted no time with the 8-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, seizing control from Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) right from the outset before rating a :56 first half. On the far turn, Looney Dune accelerated, posting a :27 third quarter to evade a first-over challenge from Pancakes (Truman Gale). Despite Love Live Laugh's best efforts to keep pace from the pocket, Looney Dune edged clear to a two-length lead in upper stretch, holding that margin intact to the winning post. Runner-up Love Live Laugh was three farther lengths in advance of Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who made a belated push into third as the 2-1 favorite.   John McNeil, III trains Looney Dune, whose win was her second consecutive and third in four starts.   Chris Lems led all drivers with four wins on the 12-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 23) evening; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

With just a week before the eliminations for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, Broadway Donna and All The Time have emerged as the top contenders to capture one of the most treasured prizes in harness racing for 3-year-old fillies, but there is a lass in the Empire State that might very well travel to New Jersey to stake her claim to divisional honors. She is Fad Finance. “She is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks,” said Trond Smedshammer, her conditioner. “But she would have to win the Zweig (this Sunday) impressively for me to think about entering her. Vernon Downs is a nice track and it looks like we will have nice weather for the race this weekend, so they should be able to go in 1:54 to win. She would need to trot in the area of 1:53 for me to send her there so it is up to her.” A daughter of Credit Winner and the Sierra Kosmos mare Armbro Vanity, Fad Finance was purchased for $60,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg by Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg and Rojan Stables. The filly, who sports a career record of 14-7-3-1 and has quietly amassed $129,988 in purse money, will face eight rivals in the $140,000 Zweig Memorial Filly Trot at Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 24). Fad Finance will leave from post position two with Jim Morrill Jr. holding the lines. She is the 7-2 second selection on the morning line behind Julie Miller’s charge Womans Will (5-2) and will face stiff opposition from Paul Kelley’s Straight A Student (8-1), as well as Paul Reid’s Flowers N Songs (9-2), and George Ducharme’s Swinging Royalty (5-1). Fad Finance has won three of her six starts this year, with earnings of $83,038. She defeated 2015 New York Sire Stakes champion Non Stick in their $12,500 Empire Breeders Classic elimination on June 10 at Vernon Downs. Non Stick returned to dominate the $225.000 final the following week, but Fad Finance got the measure of her again on July 10 at Tioga Downs in a $40,600 New York Sire Stakes contest. Fad Finance followed that performance with a track-record-equaling 1:58.2 spin around Buffalo Raceway’s oval on July 17 in a $60,200 sire stakes split. It was a gritty effort, as the filly was locked in for most of the stretch and was able to put her nose down on the wire for her third win of the season. “I raced her in the Excelsior Series last year so she would learn some manners,” Smedshammer said. “She was on the line of being hot and I would try to keep her in the pocket to teach her some lessons. If you look at her lines you can see where she was on the front because she was aggressive and then would tire in the last quarter coming home. I think she is a better horse off the helmet and this year she is minding her manners. The only race we were not pleased with was the Empire Breeders Classic final (fifth). She was on the lead and went some fairly fast fractions before getting tired late. That’s when the other fillies passed her.” Despite Smedshammer’s admission that Fad Finance could be a bit headstrong, as many fillies can be, he was drawn to her because of his affiliation with her pedigree, which is excellent. This filly is a half-sister to Vanity Plates (Conway Hall, $164,878), who competed in the 2007 Matron final (sixth) and was eighth in that year’s eliminations for the Breeders Crown. Another half-sibling, Monkey Man (Glidemaster, $92,220) was talented enough to finish second to world champion Muscle Network in an $86,500 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile in 2013 and was the runner-up to the very talented Rose Run Parker in a $45,250 division of the Madison County Stake at Hoosier Park 22 days later. “I trained her mother,” Smedshammer said. “I actually picked her out as a yearling and bought her, then sold her to her current owners. She had ability and was very well-mannered, unlike many Sierra Kosmos horses. Unfortunately she had some soundness issues, but I knew she had some foals that had done well. I think Chris Ryder did well with one of her first fillies (Vanity Plates) so when this one was available (Fad Finance) I was looking forward to the opportunity to train one of her foals. The pedigree on her female side is very good.” Although Armbro Vanity only earned $63,365 on the racetrack and her dam, Armbro Haughty, collected $375 in her racing career, these mares hail from the tremendous Armbro Flight. In fact, Armbro Haughty was that Canadian superstar’s final foal. That blood courses through Fad Finance’s veins and demonstrates she may just very well belong with the elite in her division as 2016 draws to a close. “We will see what happens with her,” Smedshammer said. “She is eligible to things outside of New York, such as the Breeders Crown, and if she shows us she can mind her manners, we will allow her the opportunity to take on those kinds of fillies. She has improved this year and we hope she will continue to improve.” Below is the field for the $140,000 Zweig Memorial Filly Trot, in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Earn Your Wings-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-8/1  2. Fad Finance-Jim Morrill Jr-Trond Smedshammer-7/2  3. Lindylicious-Chris Lems-Gilbert Garcia-Herrera-8/1  4. Straight A Student-Mark MacDonald-Paul Kelley-8/1  5. Open Access-Matt Kakaley-Robert Baggitt Jr.-6/1  6. Womans Will-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2  7. Spicedbourbongirl-Jeff Gregory-Jeff Gregory-10/1  8. Flowers N Songs-Yannick Gingras-Paul Reid-9-2  9. Swinging Royalty-Tim Tetrick-George Ducharme-5/1 Earn Your Wings and Straight A Student will race as an ownership entry. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

A word of advice to Julie Miller's friends. As the harness racing trainer gets Milligan's School ready for his final Hambletonian prep event, don't post anything on her Facebook wall because you won't hear back until at least next week. Milligan's School is competing in Sunday's (July 24) $300,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial main event for 3-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs, and he has the complete attention of his trainer. "Not that I'm older or I'm wiser, I don't know about those kind of things, but I really try to just stay off social media at this point," Miller said. "I don't read a bunch of stuff. I need to focus on my horses, not what everybody else is doing. I really just try to zone in and let the external noise figure itself out." She also tries to keep things simple as the stakes grow higher. "I try not to over-think things," Miller said. "I just really try to stay on track. We have our goal and mission. When things are going right in my stable we do the same things, and it's the same when things are in a rough patch. I try not to let other things distract me from my goal and my purpose with my horses." The purpose on Sunday is not just for Milligan's School to compete, but to win his final race before the $1 million Hambletonian, which is Aug. 6 at the Meadowlands. A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Tori Ann, the horse has won three of six starts this year and earned $85,166. He has taken two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Consolation division, after a shoeing incident caused him to go off stride in his elimination. He was sixth last weekend in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, which was won by Marion Marauder. Milligan's School had a tremendous freshman campaign, with five wins, three seconds and two thirds, good for $302,560 in earnings in 16 starts. He won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Red Mile in Lexington; was second to Dog Gone Lucky (by a head) in the Matron Stakes; third in the Valley Victory final; and fifth in the Breeders Crown. "I would say things are pretty much status quo this year (compared to last)," Miller said. "He raced excellent last year. With how his schedule was this year he hasn't had many starts yet. We had a hiccup in the Earl Beal eliminations and that was kind of a missed opportunity, but we're looking forward." One thing that has changed is the horse's physical stature, which makes the trainer happy considering the competition. "Obviously I do think he's a little bigger and stronger than he was last year and he's going to have to be," Miller said. "That's a great division. Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder, they're just excellent horses. You're going to have to be not just 100 percent, but 110 percent because Frank and Marion are so dominant right now. I hope I can still compete with them. I don't want to race just for the money I want to race for the win." Milligan's School drew post four Sunday, which puts him in a good starting point. He is 5-1 on the morning line. The four-horse entry of Love Matters, Bar Hopping, Hollywood Highway, and Lagerfeld is the 9-5 favorite. Love Matters, Bar Hopping, and Lagerfeld are trained by Jimmy Takter while Hollywood Highway is from the Staffan Lind Stable. The horses are an entry because of common ownership. "It's that time of year, it's getting to be crunch time, this is why we work hard all winter long," Miller said. "He feels good, he's healthy. I feel like I've got him at the best that he can be. Hopefully we can count on that and make good. "Like everybody else, I don't know what's going to happen. The goal here is the Hambo, this is going to be a really good determination if he fits in there. I'm hoping for a good effort. There's a lot of money on the line. We've got a good position so I'm hoping he can make good on it. I hope he's at his best and he can work on a good trip." If it results in a trip to the Hambletonian, then things will be right on schedule for the Millers and Russia-based owner Natalia Stroy of Stroy Inc. When Julie and her husband Andy, the horse's driver, picked Milligan's School out at the Standardbred Horse Sale they did so with high hopes. He sold for $120,000. "I explained to Natalia that I think he's a stakes horse," Miller said. "That was the whole goal when we bought him, was to make him a stakes horse and so far he's fulfilling that promise. I told the owner I thought he'd be a top contender and at least a sire stakes horse and hopefully a Grand Circuit horse. He's blossoming into what we wanted him to be." Miller considers herself "pretty fortunate," noting that Milligan's School is a mild mannered horse that can lead or come off cover. "That's really one good thing about him," she said. "He's two fingers to drive and he's honest and he'll give you his best chance." And how does Andy like driving him? "I think he likes to drive anything that's winning," Julie said with a laugh. "I do think it's more special, because it's one we train in the barn. So that's a little bit more special. Andy gets on really well with the horse. We're just hoping for some good things." Following is the field for the Zweig: PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1. Love Matters-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/5 2. Hititoutofthepark-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-6/1 3. Bar Hopping-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-9/5 4. Milligan's School-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/1 5. Trolley-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller-2/1 6. Hollywood Highway-John Campbell-Staffan Lind-9/5 7. Lagerfeld-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 8. Blenheim-Chris Christoforou-Per Henriksen-8/1 9. Smalltownthrowdown-Dan Daley-Dan Daley-10/1 ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date - Track - Event - First - Second - Third May 7 - Freehold - Dexter Cup - Dante - Cufflink Hanover - Credevie May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Tyson - Edinburgh - Will Self May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Mikkeli Hanover - Granite State - Marion Gondolier May 7 - Pocono - PA All Stars - Hititoutofthepark - Lagerfeld - Cloud Nine Hanover May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Cufflink Hanover - Love Matters - Southern Cross May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Truemass Volo - Marion Gondolier - Hanks Tank May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Milligan's School - Hititoutofthepark - Desert Runner May 14 - Meadows - PASS - Lagerfeld - Tyson - Hollywood Highway May 20 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Bar Hopping May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Iron Mine Bucky - Steed - Hititoutofthepark May 21 - Meadows - Currier & Ives - Cufflink Hanover - Hollywood Highway - Truemass Volo May 27 - Meadowlands - NJSS - Mavens Way - Jack Vernon - Double L Lindy June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Hollywood Highway - Taco Tuesday - Sliding Home June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Lagerfeld - Truemass Volo - Dupree June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Milligan's School - Reigning Moni - Iron Mine Bucky June 2 - Philadelphia - PASS - Love Matters - Tight Lines - Alexander Hanover June 4 - Meadowlands - NJSS Final - Southwind Frank - Brooklyn Hill - Mavens Way June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Love Matters - Taco Tuesday - Desert Runner June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Trolley - Lagerfeld - Cufflink Hanover June 12 - Pocono - PASS - Hititoutofthepark - Hollywood Highway - Dupree June 18 - Mohawk - Goodtimes - Marion Marauder - Will Take Charge - Blenheim June 19 - Vernon - Empire Breeders Classic - Dante - Just For Today - Thats A Bad Boy June 26 - Buffalo - NYSS - The Royal Harry - Crazycat - A Jersey Contract July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Dominion Beach - Cufflink Hanover - Waitlifter K July 1 - Tioga - Tompkins-Geers - Hititoutofthepark - Blownoutofthewater - Steed July 2 - Pocono - Beal Memorial - Southwind Frank - Trolley - Bar Hopping July 14 - Yonkers - NYSS - Dante - The Royal Harry - Credevie July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Southwind Frank - Sutton - Love Matters July 16 - Meadowlands - Dancer Mem. - Marion Marauder - Bar Hopping - Iron Mine Bucky Hambletonian eligible winners in bold by Rich Fisher, USTA Senior Correspondent

Vernon, N.Y. -- Following a pair of victorious qualifiers at the Meadowlands, Kenneth Jacobs's Walner ($2.80) made his pari-mutuel debut a winning one, vaulting clear off a second-over trip in his $38,000 New York Sire Stakes event for harness racing 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Thursday (July 21) evening at Vernon Downs.   Tim Tetrick floated forward with the son of Chapter Seven and Random Destiny from the outset, but was parked through the initial stages at Meetmeinthemiddle (Jeff Gregory) worked clear from post 9 in a :28.4 first quarter before ultimately yielding to both Top Flight Angel (John Cummings, Jr.) and Money MacIntosh (Andy Miller). Meetmeinthemiddle re-emerged to push the pace after a :59 half mile, and Walner latched onto second-over cover through the far turn. While Money MacIntosh dug in to stave off Meetmeinthemiddle, Walner got the jump on them both, vaulting off dueling leaders in upper stretch and powering clear by 4-1/4 lengths to a sparkling 1:55.4 victory for trainer Linda Toscano.   Two other New York Sire Stakes divisions were part of the 12-race card at the Miracle Mile, with Stick With Me Kid ($16.00) and Such an Angel ($6.00) both proving victorious via extended first-over bids.   Stick With Me Kid made his move on the far turn, wearing down Optimist Blue Chip (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and subsequently holding off late charges from the second-over Annapolis Hall (Ray Schnittker) and odds-on favorite Devious Man (Andy Miller), who shook free from the pocket to give chase. Chris Lems drove Stick With Me Kid, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe and Chelsea Hall, to a 1:56.2 triumph for trainer George Ducharme.   Such an Angel used similar tactics in his 1:56.1 victory, but commenced his bid a fair bit earlier to overcome a midpack dispatch. John Campbell started to progress with the son of Credit Winner and Michelle's Angel just before the completion of a :58.2 half mile, and the Paul Kelley trainee maintained steady progress all the way to a mid-stretch lead over favored pacesetter Barn Winner (Jeff Gregory). Such an Angel dug in stoutly to hold off a late bid from Patton (Lems), who slipstreamed the eventual winner off the far turn.   Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 22) evening, with post time at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs    

Vernon, N.Y. -- Bar Hopping and Trolley, the respective runners-up in the Stanley Dancer and Earl Beal Memorial events, are set to square off in the $300,000 main harness racing event of Sunday (July 24) evening's Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs.   Bar Hopping, one of three Jimmy Takter trainees to make the ninth-race main event, arrives at the Miracle Mile after chasing Marion Marauder to take second in a $153,250 Dancer Memorial split at the Meadowlands on the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace undercard. While just a 2-time winner in 16 career tries, the son of Muscle Hill has amassed nearly a quarter million dollars in career earnings and top-four placings in the Beal and Goodtimes stakes as well. Tim Tetrick is nominated to drive Bar Hopping once again for the partnership of Christina Takter, the Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld.   Among the eight 3-year-old colts and geldings Bar Hopping will square off against is the lightly raced but mighty impressive Trolley, a son of Donato Hanover from the Erv Miller stable. Prior to a respectable effort to make belated gains from last behind divisional standout Southwind Frank in his Dancer split, he sustained pursuit of that same rival in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono on July 2. In just six starts, Trolley has amassed over $173,000 in career earnings. Marcus Miller once again drives Trolley for Paymaq Racing, Mathias, Gillis, and Willinger.   Pennsylvania Sire Stakes standouts Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan nominated) and Love Matters (Brett Miller), Ontario invader Blenheim (Chris Christoforou), and New York Sire Stakes contender Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) are other notable entrants.   Trotting fillies contest a $140,000 main event in race seven, with six of the nine entered mainly campaigning on the New York Sire Stakes circuit thus far this season--including Empire Breeders Classic runner-up Swinging Royalty. The marquee filly of the group is 7-time winner Womans Will (Andy Miller nominated), a dead-heat winner in the $95,250 Delvin Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands last week, sharing victory in 1:54.2 after making all the pace. Julie Miller trains the Donato Hanover filly for Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.   In addition to the Zweig events, 14 New York-sired 3-year-old pacing fillies will vie for a combined $120,400 in twin Sire Stakes events. Multiple stakes winners American Ivy (Andy Miller) and Soft Idea (Jason Bartlett) square off in race 5, while Time On My Hands (Bartlett) headlines the seventh race.   Post time for the 14-race Zweig card on Sunday evening is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon NY - The Dr Harry M. Zweig Memorial conditions follow the top money winners format. The Zweig conditions allow for multiple consolations of the stake to reduce the possibility of entry solely with the expectation of refund. There will be consolations for as many harness racing entrants as possible in declining order, measured by 2016 earnings (as recognized by the USTA).   Please read this Article of the conditions to be informed of the details.   The box for the Zweig will close at 9:00 tomorrow Wednesday, July 20. Questions may be directed to the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825.   "Racing Conditions: The Main Event will be limited to the highest money winning horses in 2016 of those that declare as of the published declaration date and time that equal the number of positions on the starting gate. The remaining declared horses will be eligible to the Consolations, segregated by 2016 seasonal earnings. USTA records (including currency conversions) on earnings shall be accepted as being official. There will be two (2) "also eligible" drawn for the Finals and the Consolations. Those horses designated as also eligible in the Main Event will be drawn into the Consolations, but may be eligible to draw into the Main Event no later than scratch time for the race. Horses eligible for the Main Event may not race in the Consolation. At least seven (7) horses must be entered for each Consolation or they may be canceled at the sole discretion of the Sponsor. If a Consolation race does not fill or if a declared horse fails to draw into either the Main Event or a consolation, all sustaining payments made as a three year old will be refunded to the owner at the time of entry, provided that the horse meets the current qualifying standards for the race meeting.   Entry Fee Main Event: Colts: $4,000 Fillies: $2,000 Entry Fee Consolation(s) Colts: $1,000/$500 Fillies: $500/$250   Vernon Downs    

Vernon, NY - Horsemen, please be advised that the box for the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial 3 YO Open & Filly trotting stakes at Vernon Downs will close at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 20. The condition sheet with all pertinent details may be found on the Vernon website.   The Zweig stakes and a NYSS for 3YO pacing fillies will highlight the card on the evening of Sunday, July 24. First post is 6:45 p.m.   Further information is available by calling the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825.   Horsemen are encouraged to make hotel reservations with Race Office concierge John "Brownie" Brown at (315) 829-6825. The sooner, the better.      

Vernon, N.Y. -- Despite odds-on favorite Dude's the Man making his best effort to sustain his bid after losing cover, the stakes winner could not reel in JK Panache ($9.70), who flaunted a strong late turn of foot despite pressure in Saturday (July 16) evening's featured $9,000 Open/Preferred Pace at Vernon Downs.   Truman Gale used a bold middle move with JK Panache to achieve control after a :55.1 half mile, forging clear with three-eighths to go after tracking from third in the early stages. Upon assuming the lead, JK Panache faced stiff pressure from Dude's the Man (Chris Lems) for the entirety of the far turn.   After sustaining that threat through a :27 third quarter, JK Panache opened up under a drive, sprinting off by 3-1/2 lengths for a 1:49.3 triumph. Titus Seelster (Jimmy Whittemore) was all-out to claim second in the last yards over a beleaguered Dude's the Man.   Trainer David Dewhurst shares ownership of 39-time winner JK Panache with Philip Hale.   For Gale, the win was one of two on the evening. John MacDonald's natural hat trick with Avogadro Hanover ($4.20, 1:54), Dancin Thea ($10.80, 1:57.3), and Forty Carrots ($5.00, 1:52.4) earned him top driving honors on the 10-race card.   Live racing returns to the Miracle Mile on Thursday (July 21) evening, with an all-stakes 12-race program featuring a $792.58 Pick 5 carryover and New York-sired 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Parkhill Horton ($12.20) made full use a pocket trip en route to his 1:56 triumph in Friday (July 15) evening's top-level $6,500 Miracle Mile Trot at Vernon Downs, pushing to the fore in mid-stretch and drawing clear to evade a pair of late challengers.   Truman Gale made an early push to secure the pocket with the 8-year-old Oaklea Julian gelding, tracking pacesetter Count Speed (John MacDonald) through fairly comfortable early sectionals of :29 and :58.2.   As Count Speed accelerated mildly through the far turn, Parkhill Horton stuck right with him before edging off the pegs with just over a quarter mile remaining.   The two dueled off the far turn, and Parkhill Horton pushed his head clear just inside the eighth pole, ultimately opening up to a two-length winning margin in 1:56.   Gimme the Cash (Angus MacDonald) split rivals late off a stalking trip to just take second over the mildly chasing Hallanet (Donald Dancer), while the worn-down Count Speed--while fourth--was barely nosed out for the runner-up spot.   Trainer Robert Gale shares ownership of 15-time winner Parkhill Horton with Jeffrey Agan and David Adsit.   Live racing continues at the Miracle Mile on Saturday (July 16) evening, with a 10-race card slated to commence at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY -- Second choice Looney Dune ($5.20) protected the early lead in a duel with 4-5 favorite Jinxy's Delight and sprinted away to a 1:52.1 triumph in Thursday (July 14) evening's featured $6,500 top-level Miracle Mile Mares Pace at Vernon Downs after rebuffing a second challenge off the far turn.   Ben McNeil put the now 36-time winner in play from the outset, pushing forward from midfield to duel with Jinxy's Delight (John MacDonald) on approach to the clubhouse turn.   The 8-year-old Bettor's Delight mare won the early battle, forcing Jinxy's Delight to the pocket through a :26.4 first quarter before maintaining control through intermediate splits of :55.4 and 1:23.2. A quarter mile from home, Jinxy's Delight made a bid out of the pocket, but Looney Dune accelerated clear off the corner while driven, ultimately prevailing by 5-1/4 lengths. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) narrowly collared the all-out Jinxy's Delight for second off a clear tracking trip.   The win was Looney Dune's second in three tries, and her third of the season. John McNeil III trains Looney Dune for owner Ellen McNeil.   John MacDonald and Chris Lems shared top driving honors on the 10-race card, each capturing four of the evening's races.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 15) evening, with the first of 12 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern. The 50¢ Pick 5 features a carryover of $254.26 on the last five races of the program.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Harness racing driver Chris Lems availed 5-4 favorite Titus Seelster ($4.50) a clear pocket trip off a fast pace in the featured $6,500 top-level Miracle Mile pacing event at Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 9) evening, making his winning move in the last eighth of a 1:49.4 mile.   The 5-year-old Artistic Fella gelding was the only one able to keep up with the blistering pace set by Modern Gesture (Jimmy Whittemore), drafting intently off splits of :25.1, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Just upon cornering for home, Lems tipped Titus Seelster off the pegs, urging him to the fore in mid-stretch and edging away by 1-1/4 lengths in the end. Runner-up Modern Gesture was a farther 9-1/4 lengths clear of Fox Valley Cadet (John MacDonald), who passed a tiring A Fool for Mark (Dustin Ingraham) for third. Abreathofreshart (Dan Daley) was the tail-ender for the entire mile after breaking at race's outset.   Jackie Rousse trains 16-time winner Titus Seelster for the Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC.   John MacDonald padded his lead in the driver standings with yet another hat trick, giving him 10 over the last three cards. MacDonald teamed up with odds-on choices Ring Leda ($3.20, 1:53.3), Columbia Lion ($3.60, 1:57.2), and Aloneinspades ($3.70, 1:52.3).   The 50¢ Pick 5 returned $550.50, buoyed by 8-1 winner JD's Brent N Sheree and 11-1 outsider Mr Wiskers both prevailing in the sequence.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (July 14) evening, with the first of 10 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- While the Vernon Downs winner's enclosure has seemingly become the domain of harness racing driver John MacDonald of late (and he won three of Friday (July 8) night's nine races), the "Prime Minister" would have to cede top honors to Chris Lems for the evening.   The South Dakota native won four of the night's events, beginning with a sweep of the early double aboard Total Freedom ($6.10, 1:58.3) and Manattack ($2.20, 1:55.2). Lems and MacDonald shared victory in the sixth, with Lems aboard favorite My Lucky Word ($3.60, 1:55.2) in the dead heat and MacDonald aboard Pegasus Point ($8.20). Lems would complete his grand slam with an outright win of the seventh aboard Lady Juno ($4.10, 1:59.1), teaming up with trainer Jessica Okusko for the second time on the night after prevailing with Manattack.   Explosive Man lunges up in feature   Lems's attempt at a fifth win on the night was cut short by a break in stride from Pounce K at the outset of the featured $6,500 top-level Miracle Mile trot, but the Hero Stables' Explosive Man ($5.20) was able to prevail while jointly favored. Trainer-driver Bob Krivelin angled the 4-year-old Explosive Matter gelding second-over on the far turn, working to the fore in the last yards off the cover of runner-up Parkhill Horton (Truman Gale) for a 1:56 victory.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 9), with the first of 10 races slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs 

Vernon, N.Y. -- Odds-on favorite All Charged Up ($3.70) took full advantage of a pocket trip in Thursday (July 7) evening's featured $8,000 Mares Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs, vaulting to the fore in the final sixteenth to lead a John MacDonald driving grand slam.   MacDonald protected the pocket with the 5-year-old Ponder mare, drafting behind Southern Girl (Chris Lems) through early splits of :27.1 and :55.3 before the pace heated up. With three-eighths to go, the first-over Super Soph (Brett Derue) forced the hand of Southern Girl, and as they accelerated through a :26.4 third quarter, All Charged Up hooked three-wide for the stretch drive.   While she had to work to achieve the lead in the last sixteenth, All Charged Up not only wore down the battling pacesetters, but also held off a late rally from Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who mounted a four-wide stand to take second. Super Soph checked in third after her uncovered push was outdone in deep stretch.   For All Charged Up, the 1:51.2 victory equalled a lifetime mark. Jan Gahagan and Peter de Rooy's J P Stables own All Charged Up, and driver MacDonald also trains the now 17-time winner.   MacDonald's four driving wins led the Miracle Mile colony on the 10-race card. In addition to his featured win with All Charged Up, "The Prime Minister" also teamed up with Always Flash-n ($9.90, 1:53.2), Stirling Electra ($2.90, 1:54), and Jinxy's Delight ($5.00, 1:52).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a nine-race program on Friday (July 8) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- The return to two turns suited Damon Blue Chip ($14.80) well on Independence Day, as the harness racing 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding took advantage of a pocket trip to capture Monday's (July 4) featured $8,000 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs in going-away fashion.   Damon Blue Chip was prominent from race's outset, out-sprinted only by Pantheon Hanover (Chris Lems) through a :26.2 first quarter. Despite Pantheon Hanover's best attempts to sprint off at head-stretch after middle splits of :54.1 and 1:22.1, trainer-driver John MacDonald and Damon Blue Chip kept up their pursuit before pulling the pocket at the eighth pole. Damon Blue Chip sped by to a two-length lead in the end, capturing his second Vernon win in as many local starts in 1:49.3. Memory Game (Jimmy Whittemore) rallied up the pegs to take second from a fading Pantheon Hanover, while Modern Gesture (Truman Gale) stayed on to save third.   The J P Stables of Ontario own Damon Blue Chip, now a 33-time winner. For Damon Blue Chip, the 1:49.3 mile was good for a lifetime mark, and for MacDonald, the driving win was the foundation for a hat trick on the day. Chris Lems shared top billing among drivers, also winning three of the afternoon's 12 races.   No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a $261.58 carryover to Thursday (July 7) evening's card. Post time for the first of 10 races at the Miracle Mile is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Fresh off his Canada Day hat trick, driver John MacDonald registered another three-win night on Saturday (July 2) at Vernon Downs--but he had to share top honors with Chris Lems over the course of the nine-race card.   MacDonald held sway narrowly with the favored Count Speed ($4.60) in the featured $5,500 Miracle Mile Trot, controlling the pace and prevailing over the first-over Walk the Floor in 1:55.2. The "Prime Minister" also trains the 7-year-old Majestic Son gelding for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil. MacDonald's other two driving wins on the night came aboard Doug Miller trainee Shoemaker Hanover ($7.80, 1:58.1) and Dave Dewhurst trainee Choke Hold ($4.80, 1:56.2).   Lems drove the longest-priced winner of the night in Fox Valley Photog ($46.00, 1:57) as part of his hat trick, also teaming up with Winbak Meadow ($9.40, 1:58) and the impressive Swinging Royalty ($2.20, 1:54.1), who sprinted off to a 15-length triumph in a $3,600 trotting event for young distaffers.   After a dark day on Sunday, Vernon Downs will offer a 12-race Independence Day card. Post time on Monday (July 4) is slated for 1:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs

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