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Sunday, on the July 26 Zweig Memorial card at  the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, a solid field of eight monte/RUS trotters faced the mobile barrier in an exhibition contest. They engineered a North American seven-eighths mile track standard of 1:59s by the winner Funny Photo (6h Classic Photo-American Jean-American Winner). Sophie Engerran piloted Funny Photo for trainer Andy Gardner and co-owners Mo Coo Inc. and Jonathan Klee Racing. The Patty Jones bred campaigner closed the record mile with a :29.4 final panel and has earned $89.061 with 11 wins in 92 sulky-starts. Glorious Winner (7g Credit Winner-Fox Valley Flan-Vaporize), a career winner of over $108,000, was nine lengths in arrears second for Ashley Eldred with Iron Will (9g Credit Winner-Armbro Archer-SJ’s Photo) home third for Heather Reese. Iron Will, with career earnings of over $276,000, held the previous seven-eighths time badge of q, 2:02s at Vernon this summer. Sweetie’s Secret was fourth for Emma Wahlberg and the top four to the line were clocked in 2:01s or better. Fractions were :29.1-1:00.1-1:29.1-1:59s. Funny Photo led throughout, from post two, with De Nada (Jocelyn Gale aboard) second to the half-mile station. Iron Will surged to second by the three-quarters after which Glorious Winner closed stoutly to finish second, after being sixth at the half. Winning rider Sophie Engerran, with monte experience in France, explained in post-race interview the fan popularity of monte racing in France and throughout Europe, and the ability of standardbreds to adapt to combined monte and sulky racing activity due to training and exercise under saddle. Be on the lookout for monte racing near you and experience the unique thrill of trotters under saddle. Thomas H. Hicks

Nichols, N.Y. -- In conjunction with a United States Trotting Association initiative to boost purses for horses just beginning their racing careers, Tioga and Vernon Downs have elevated purses for select races, effective Friday, July 31, 2015.   Tioga Downs will increase purses for maiden, non-winners of two, and non-winners of five events by approximately 15 per cent. Those races will now be contested for $4,800, $5,600, and $6,400 respectively (formerly $4,200, $4,800, and $5,500).   Likewise, Vernon Downs will boost purses for maiden, non-winners of three, and non-winners of five races by approximately 10 per cent. Those races now will carry purses of $3,300, $4,000, and $5,600 respectively (formerly $3,000, $3,600, and $5,100).   For more information and current condition sheets, visit and   by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

When Yannick Gingras makes an appearance at a harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, he has a strong tendency to be mightily successful on the racetrack.   Such was the case on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, when he swept the filly and colt divisions of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial stakes.   In the $185,000 Zweig for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Gingras settled Mission Brief ($2.60, part of entry) into the third spot out of her midpack post, tracking Wild Honey (John Campbell) and Magic Marker (Brian Sears) through a :27 initial quarter before brushing to the fore at race's midpoint.   Just as Wild Honey slackened through a :56.1 half mile, Mission Brief charged past, opening up her lead to two lengths on the far turn.   The daughter of Muscle Hill and Southwind Serena would hold that margin through a :55.3 final half, defeating Wild Honey in 1:51.4.   Magic Marker stayed on to be third, while Gatka Hanover (Brett Miller) rallied mildly off cover to take fourth.   Ron Burke trains Mission Brief for the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, the J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. Now a 12-time winner, Mission Brief has amassed $791,417 in career earnings.   Mission Brief     A mere hour after Mission Brief asserted herself in the $185,000 Zweig division for 3-year-old trotting fillies, Pinkman ($2.10, part of entry) found room up the inside to strike late from a pocket trip in the $370,000 Zweig event for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.   Beginning from post 7 as part of a four-horse Jimmy Takter-trained entry, Pinkman left strongly, stringing out Habitat (Brian Sears) in the early going before yielding to stablemate Canepa Hanover (Takter) after a :27.3 initial quarter.   The gelded son of Explosive Matter and Margie Seelster drafted comfortably behind his stablemate through a :56.1 middle half, but was boxed at the apex of the far turn when Habitat attempted a first-over bid.   With racing room at a premium in upper stretch, Pinkman found room up the inside, passing Canepa Hanover in the final sixteenth.   He prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:52, a stakes record.   Canepa Hanover held second, while Workout Wonder (Daniel Dubé) rallied late to take third past Wings of Royalty (Tim Tetrick).   Also taking career win number 12, Pinkman stretched his career bankroll to $1,187,139 for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman.   Pinkmam   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 31) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

White Bliss ($2.60), the rare white Standardbred which drew $240,000 from Knutsson Trotting, Inc. at the 2013 Harrisburg sale, broke her maiden on Saturday (July 25) evening at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   The 3-year-old Art Major colt left strongly from post 8, settled into the pocket behind DW's Bullet through a :28.3, and subsequently brushed to the fore upon reaching the backstretch.   After rating a 1:00.1 middle half, Oskar Florhed opened up the advantage with White Bliss, pulling clear to defeat DW's Bullet by 4-1/4 lengths in 1:56.3.   Ake Svanstedt trains White Bliss, who accelerated home in :27.4 to record his first career victory.   Drivers Truman Gale and Chris Lems each recorded three wins on the evening's 12-race program.   Gale prevailed with mid-price victors Glorious Winner ($18.20, 1:56.3), Sucrose Hanover ($12.20, 1:52.3), and Ozymandias ($14.40, 1:56.2), while Lems teamed up with the more strongly backed Drinksforthehouse ($7.60, 1:55), Vintage Fenom ($5.20, 1:54.2), and RG Riptide ($6.60, 1:54).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 26) afternoon, with the Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters headlining the day's on-track action.   Post time is 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- John MacDonald was the star of the Friday (July 24) night show at Vernon Downs, winning four races on the evening's 11-race harness racing card. In addition to victories aboard Elettrizzante ($12.00, 1:57.3), Martinique ($3.10, 1:53.3), and Table Games ($3.30, 1:54.1), the 33-year-old reinsman teamed up with Express Jet ($9.90) in the evening's featured $7,000 conditioned distaff pace.   Away the best in a field of six, Express Jet ceded the lead to Southwind Serenity (Truman Gale) after a :27.4 initial quarter, drafting comfortably from the pocket with no shortage of racing room through the race's middle stages. As Southwind Serenity accelerated off the far turn through three-quarters in 1:25, Express Jet worked to stay in close pursuit. In mid-stretch, the 6-year-old Jereme's Jet mare took the lead from the longtime pacesetter, edging clear and subsequently holding off the late-charging Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) by three-quarters of a length for a 1:53.1 triumph.   MacDonald, who recorded a training double in addition to his driving grand slam, trains Express Jet for the J P Stables and Crawford Partners, LLC.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 25) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon NY - The Grand Circuit comes to upstate New York bringing harness racing's finest three-year-old colt and filly trotters to ply their trade in the $630,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial on the Sunday, July 26 matinee card at Vernon Downs. This year's race serves as an important prep for the 2015 Hambletonian, a fortnight hence.   Hall of Fame horseman Jimmy Takter has entered four Hambo hopefuls from his armada of sophomore square-gaited stalwarts in the 41st edition of the Zweig. Pinkman, Canepa Hanover, Uncle Lasse and Whom Shall I Fear comprise the Takter presence and will race as an imposing coupled entry in the $370,000 Main Event (race nine) for colts.   Last year's top freshman trotter Pinkman (Yannick Gingras) eclipsed the $1 million mark in career earnings while winning a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman last week at The Meadowlands. He took the $500,000 Beal final in World Record time and is but a half-length from perfection in six tries this season.   Canepa Hanover (Takter) has flashed brilliance, specifically a pair of sub-1:52 wins this spring, but broke in the Goodtimes final and had missed a month before his well-meant third to Pinkman in the Dancer. He is the whole package, looks combined with the big pedigree and is diligently working off the $300,000 yearling sale promise made to owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Brixton Medical and Christina Takter.   Uncle Lasse's (Brett Miller) season would be unblemished, had he not suffered a head defeat at the hands of Pinkman in that Beal final. He's talented, consistent, fresh and ready for his push at the title for Solveig's Racing Partners and Goran Falk.   Whom Shall I Fear (John Campbell) cost the most, $475,000, and has accomplished the least to this point. He remains a work in progress for his eponymous ownership group.   The $76,000 consolation race for colts goes as the third with a couple of talented, well connected  colts using it as their final exam before the August 8 Hambletonian.   Muscle Diamond (Campbell) was second to the aforementioned Pinkman in last year's Breeders Crown final and was considered to have a legitimate shot at the sophomore title by many winter book enthusiasts. Horse racing however, is fraught with peril and trainer Brett Bittle has been forced to react to a series of nagging issues with his star colt. With but a single start and a handful of qualifiers on Muscle Diamond's sophomore résumé, time is dangerously close to running out on this year's Hambo dreams for his owners, the Kellers and the Bittles.   Iron (Tim Tetrick) holds the hopes of another family steeped in Hambletonian tradition and this season has run the gamut of emotion for trainer Frank Antonacci. Handled carefully at two, Iron has shown the speed you need to win the classics but thus far not the grit. He needs a confidence builder, as do the connections, KR Breeding, Robert Rudolph and Frank Baldassare.   The $185,000 Zweig Filly trot will continue the saga of the enigmatic Mission Brief (Gingras). Her well documented transition from freshman to sophomore took a welcome positive turn in last week's Del Miller Memorial where she showed marked improvement in a narrow 1:52 defeat. Sunday's race will help her connections to make the difficult choice of Hambo or Oaks for their enigmatic prodigy. Part of a three-pronged Ron Burke entry, Mission Brief races for the interests of her trainer as Burke Racing along with Our Horse Cents, J&T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi.   The Harry M. Zweig Memorial honors the late Dr. Harry Zweig, a distinguished veterinarian, and his numerous contributions to the state’s equine industry. In 1979, by amendment to the pari-mutuel racing and wagering law, the New York State legislature created the Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research to promote equine research at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The Harry M. Zweig Committee was established for the purpose of administering the fund and is composed of individuals in specified state agencies and equine industry positions and others who represent equine breeders, owners, trainers, and veterinarians.   Also on the bill are the ever-popular Budweiser Clydesdales, available throughout the afternoon and slated to perform after the fifth race. Racing Under Saddle is on the program as well, they're off between races three and four.   Post time is 1:15 pm at the Downs on Sunday.   Vernon Downs Media Relations Department

Harness racing action on the Grand Circuit is really in full swing now. This Week: Joe Gerrity Memorial, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Zweig Memorial and Zweig Filly, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will be held this weekend at four different racetracks. Action begins on Friday (July 24) at Meadowlands Racetrack with three $10,000 divisions of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old trotting colts and two $10,000 divisions of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old trotting fillies. On Saturday (July 25), Saratoga will host their marquee event, the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial for older pacers, while The Meadows will offer a trio of $25,000 eliminations for their marquee event, the Devlin Miller Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers. The busy weekend concludes on Sunday (July 26) as Vernon Downs will offer the $370,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters (and $76,000 consolation), as well as the $185,000 Zweig Filly for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack hosted seven lucrative Grand Circuit events this past Saturday, led by the $706,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds. They all had a clear shot at him, but none of the nine other pacers in the Meadowlands Pace could get past Wiggle It Jiggleit, as his 24-year-old driver Montrell Teague gave a fist pump and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:47.4 at The Meadowlands Wiggle It Jiggleit is owned by Montrell's father, George Teague Jr. and is trained by Clyde Francis. Montrell is the youngest driver ever to win the classic race. The son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover started his season at The Meadowlands in the dead of the winter of 2015, racing in series and taking each in stride with progressively stronger performances. For the season, Wiggle It Jiggleit has now won 14 of 15 starts, with earnings of $978,742. His lone loss was a second place finish to Wakizashi Hanover in the North America Cup. In the Meadowlands Pace, Montrell Teague had Wiggle It Jiggleit on cruise control to the wire in 1:47.4. Dude's The Man ranged up on the outside to get past Wakizashi Hanover for the second place money in the final strides. Also on the stakes loaded Saturday card, JL Cruze (John Campbell) won for the 12th consecutive time, capturing the $443,300 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters by a neck over Resolve in a world-record 2:04.2 for 1-1/8 miles. Shake It Cerry finished third. It was JL Cruze's third consecutive world-record effort, following his 1:49.4 win in the Graduate Series final and 1:51 triumph in the Sun Invitational. The previous record for 1-1/8 miles was 2:05.3, set by Your So Vain in last year's Hambletonian Maturity. JL Cruze, trained by Eric Ell, has won 16 of 18 races this year and earned $612,788. He had five wins in 17 races prior to this season. He was purchased for $37,000 at the November Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale by owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) won the $430,600 William Haughton Memorial for older male pacers by a neck on Saturday at The Meadowlands in a time of 1:48.1. He's trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. and owned by Bamond Racing. It was only the second win of the year for the 5-year-old son of Mach Three-Beach Dancer in 12 starts. Lifetime, he has captured 21 of 54 starts with a bankroll of $991,439. State Treasurer was a fast closing second and Foiled Again was just behind him in third. Pacesetter Luck Be Withyou finished fourth. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 303; 2. Tim Tetrick - 293; 3. Brian Sears - 275; 4. David Miller - 244; 5. John Campbell - 203. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 405; 2. Jimmy Takter - 260; 3. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 228; 4. Ray Schnittker - 187; 5. Rene Allard - 158. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 195.5; 2. Burke Racing - 102.5; 3. George Teague Jr. Inc. - 100; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 94.3; 5. Ray Schnittker - 74.9. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadows and Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadows will host eight Grand Circuit events, led by the final of the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old pacing colts. Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations for six lucrative stakes, led by the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters. Paul Ramlow

After reeling off three straight sub-:27 quarters, JK Panache ($5.20) not only had amassed a comfortable margin over his four rivals, but he tied Fireyourguns's 1:47.3 all-age pacing record at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs in Sunday (July 19) afternoon's $10,000 Open Pace.   Assigned the outside post in a field of five, JK Panache and driver Frank Davis vaulted clear of his four rivals through a sensible enough :26.3 initial quarter, subsequently using an eye-popping :53.2 middle half to bottom out the field.   After reaching three-quarters in 1:20, the leaders of the second flight began to tire, and 3-5 favorite Burkentine Hanover (Fern Paquet, Jr.) kicked cover to rally late.   He only could get to within 7-3/4 lengths of JK Panache, whose front-end 1:47.3 mile was simply too much for his competition.   That'll Be the Rei (Greg Merton) stayed on for third after a mild bid in upper stretch, while Ideal Fashion (Jimmy Whittemore) and Fiftyshadesdarker (John MacDonald) tailed off after giving futile chase through the middle stages of the race.   Trainer David Dewhurst co-owns JK Panache with Philip Hale.   Greg Merton led all drivers with four wins on the 11-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Friday (July 24) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- After making an authoritative brush to the lead at race's midpoint, Howard Gill's War Hero ($5.60) edged clear of his four harness racing rivals, posting a 1:53 victory in Saturday (July 18) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   A Penny Earned (Chris Lems), Mc Tiny's Hope (Ben McNeil), and Winding Hill (Truman Gale) all left more forcefully than the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding, who tracked from fourth through a :27 first quarter before his aggressive push clear midway on the backstretch. Just as A Penny Earned pulled the half back to :56.1, Jimmy Whittemore worked clear with War Hero and gradually opened on his foes. After posting a :27.3 third quarter, the Jessica Okusko trainee would ultimately amass a 2-1/2 length lead over A Penny Earned, scoring in 1:53. Distaffer Mc Tiny's Hope, while detached from the top pair off the far turn, finished an isolated third.   Whittemore earned a driving double on the 11-race card, as did John MacDonald.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 19) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- After repelling a challenge from odds-on favorite Hot List through the far turn, Let's Go Higher ($5.80) dug in to stave off pocket rival The Filly Princess in Friday (July 17) evening's $10,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare sprinted out to the lead through a :26.4 first quarter, rating a :30.1 breather on the backstretch before facing stern pressure on the far turn from Hot List (John MacDonald). After she was pushed to a :27.2 third quarter, Let's Go Higher edged clear in upper stretch--only to face a second threat. The Filly Princess (Frank Davis) found room to challenge from the pocket, but Let's Go Higher maintained a half-length advantage to the winning post, prevailing in 1:52.   Chris Lems drove Let's Go Higher for trainer Heidi Rohr and owner Jesse DeLong.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Saturday (July 18) evening. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

After working clear early to control the pace, JK Panache ($4.90) held off a stern challenge from Burkentine Hanover to prevail in Sunday (July 12) afternoon's $10,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Truman Gale sprinted to the fore with the 6-year-old Art Major gelding, clearing A Fool For Mark (Dustin Ingraham) through a :26.3 first quarter before rating a :28.4 second-quarter breather.   On the far turn, JK Panache sprinted clear through a :27 third quarter, amassing a three-length lead before 4-5 favorite Burkentine Hanover (Fern Paquet, Jr.) commenced his rally from the back of the pack.   While the pocket-sitting A Fool For Mark struggled to keep up, Burkentine Hanover cut steadily into JK Panache's lead in deep stretch, ultimately missing by just three quarters of a length.   JK Panache, a 1:50.2 winner, is owned by Philip Hale in partnership with trainer Dave Dewhurst.   John MacDonald and Fern Paquet, Jr. led all drivers with three wins apiece on the 11-race card, while Williams Hernandez teamed up with trainer Salvador Wenceslao for a pair of victories.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 17) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

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

Benefitting from wicked early fractions and a cozy second-over trip, Southwind Trini ($6.00) made good as the slim 2-1 favorite in Friday (July 10) evening's $10,000 Mares Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at  Vernon Downs.   Away fourth in the field of five, the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare was in no hurry to press Southwind Serenity (Truman Gale) through a torrid :53.3 initial half mile.   On the far turn, Greg Merton angled Southwind Trini to follow cover provided by The Filly Princess (Frank Davis), towed right up into second as Southwind Serenity was gathered in by the steadily-advancing The Filly Princess well past a 1:21.3 three-quarter sectional.   Southwind Trini sustained her bid off cover, putting 1-1/4 lengths on The Filly Princess in the end for a 1:50.2 triumph.   Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) recovered well to take third after she was shuffled to last on the far turn.   Rob Harmon trains Southwind Trini for Karma Racing, Inc.   Claude Huckabone, III led all drivers with three wins on the evening.   Live racing returns at Vernon on Saturday (July 11) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   Fans are invited to arrive early to receive their replica Chris Lems driving colors shirts (while supplies last), and to meet the defending Miracle Mile driving champion.   James Witherite

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

Taking advantage of a second-over trip and a torrid pace, the invading Burkentine Hanover ($28.20) edged clear late to take Monday (July 6) evening's $10,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs in 1:49.2.   The 5-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding tracked an early duel between Golden Receiver (Fern Paquet, Jr.) and Fireyourguns (Jimmy Whittemore), keeping right behind them as Fireyourguns worked clear of his double-millionaire rival through a :25.1 first quarter.   As JK Panache (Chris Lems) commenced a first-over rally after a 52.1 half mile, Billy Dobson angled Burkentine Hanover out to follow cover past the apex of the far turn.   Fireyourguns hit the three-quarter mark in 1:21, but was engulfed by JK Panache upon cornering for home.   At the same time, Burkentine Hanover fanned off live cover, working to the lead in mid-stretch and prevailing ultimately by three-quarters of a length.   JK Panache remained a game second, while Damon Blue Chip (John MacDonald) rallied from last to take third.   Pacesetter Fireyourguns, sent off the 1-4 favorite, faded through the stretch to finish at the back of the quintet.   Heidi Rohr trains Burkentine Hanover for Michele Nelson.   Later in the card, Dude's the Man finished a game second to Calvin B ($5.20, Dobson) in a $7000 upper-level conditioned pace.   Dude's the Man brushed to the lead from third after tracking a :28 first quarter, accelerating on the far turn through a :54.4 final half but ultimately giving way to his first-over rival in the final yards of a 1:51.1 mile.   The Jessica Okusko trainee made his final start before he competes in a Meadowlands Pace elimination on Saturday (July 11).   Chris Lems drove the 3-year-old American Ideal colt for owners M and L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (July 10) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- Fresh off her decisive triumph in the $248,275 Empire Breeders Classic, 3-year-old trotting filly Barn Doll ($3.50) rose to the occasion of her first effort against older harness racing company, rallying to the lead late in Sunday (July 5) afternoon's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   Jimmy Whittemore settled the daughter of Conway Hall well off the pace in the early stages, as Mikey Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) rolled through early sectionals of :27.3, :55.4, and 1:23. After pushing Mikey Hanover through a :27.1 third quarter, Barn Doll worked closer on the outside, taking charge in mid-stretch and drawing clear of Mikey Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths for a 1:53.1 score. Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) was elevated to second off a tracking trip as runner-up Mikey Hanover slipped inside the pegs for a moment while exiting the far turn, relegated to third as a result.   Trainer Steven Pratt co-owns Barn Doll with Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stables, LLC.   The win was one of four on the card for Whittemore, who captured the sub-featured $8000 Mares Open Trot as well with Barn Girl, edging clear of Painite for a 1:56.3 victory. Steven and Nancy Pratt also co-own Barn Girl, sharing ownership with the Out in the Country Stable, while Howard Okusko manages the 3-year-old Cash Hall filly's conditioning.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a special Monday (July 6) evening card, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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