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Vernon, N.Y. -- Employing a tracking trip through much of the mile, Connie Hochstetler's Southern Girl ($12.20) reached late to nose out even-money favorite All Charged Up in Thursday (August 4) evening's harness racing  featured $8,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   Jimmy Whittemore floated forward with the 4-year-old Sportsmaster mare to take third in the initial stages, drafting behind Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) and Super Soph (Chris Lems) through early splits of :26.2 and :55.3. On the far turn, Southern Girl found herself locked in, as All Charged Up (John MacDonald) commenced a first-over rally on approach to the quarter pole. Whittemore worked Southern Girl second-over upon cornering, and the pair ultimately swung three-wide as All Charged Up took command at the eighth pole. Southern Girl dueled strongly off cover to prevail by a hard-fought nose in 1:51. Looney Dune, the early pacesetter, was a worn-down third.   Homer Hochstetler trains Southern Girl, now an 11-time winner.   The evening's sub-featured $5,500 Miracle Mile pace for distaffers saw Embassy Seelster ($2.70) control all the terms and edge clear to a two-length victory over Jinxy's Delight in 1:51.2. Fern Paquet, Jr. drove the 6-year-old Modern Art mare for trainer Allie Berube.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 5) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- A powerful :26.3 closing quarter from Little Santamonica ($3.60) enabled her to amass a five-length margin of victory in Thursday (June 2) evening's featured $7,500 Miracle Mile Pace for Harness Racing distaffers at Vernon Downs.   The 8-year-old Little Steven mare sprinted clear from her assigned outside post before yielding to Wanna Rock N Roll (Truman Gale) at the completion of a :26.2 first quarter. Little Santamonica would enjoy a cozy and clear pocket trip through a rated :57.2 middle half before Chris Lems angled her out at head-stretch. At first asking, Little Santamonica sprinted off, making quick work of Wanna Rock N Roll and evading eventual runner-up Yes You Can (John MacDonald) by five lengths in a 1:50.3 mile. The Filly Princess (Andy Gardner) made similarly mild late gains to take third, while pacesetter Wanna Rock N Roll faded to finish last but one.   Jordan Hope owns and trains Little Santamonica. For Lems, the featured win was one of three on the night. Jimmy Whittemore also registered a hat trick on the nine-race card, with a pillar-to-post 1:53.1 effort from Gimme the Cash in the sub-featured $5,500 Mares Miracle Mile Trot one of his three wins.   The 50¢ Pick 5 was hit for $100.12.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (June 3) evening, with the first of nine races slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   James Witherite, Vernon Downs  

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

Vernon, N.Y. -- Including his last-to-first victory in Friday (September 11) evening's featured $8,000 Open II Pace, Jimmy Whittemore captured five driving wins on the Patriot Day harness racing program at Vernon Downs.   After parlaying a pocket trip to victory in the opener with Try This ($5.90, 1:57), the Maine Native passed all four of his rivals in the feature with Big City Jewel ($3.80). Whittemore settled the 4-year-old Artiscape gelding at the back of the compact field, having no part of the pace while Card Knock Life (Frank Davis) controlled the terms through a rapid first six furlongs in 1:22. As Sassy Hanover (Claude Huckabone, Jr.) failed to fire from the pocket, Big City Jewel was carried three-wide off the far turn, chasing valiantly after Card Knock Life and ultimately prevailing in the final sixteenth of a 1:50.2 mile. Damon Blue Chip stayed on from a tracking trip to take third.   Homer Hochstetler trains Big City Jewel for Kristofer Heim.   Following his sweep of the early double, Whittemore teamed up with Veal Marsala ($4.70, 1:54.4), Ziegler Hanover ($4.50, 1:55.2), and The Grey Bullet ($4.10, 1:54.4) to round out his five-win evening.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 12) evening, with post time at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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. -- 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

Vernon, N.Y. -- After being shoved three-wide by Painite on the entry to the far turn, Barn Girl ($10.00) made a push to the fore only to be collared by the offender in Saturday (June 27) evening's $8,000 Mares Open II Trot at Vernon Downs. Ultimately, Barn Girl was placed the winner ahead of Painite as a result of the aforementioned interference.   Jimmy Whittemore settled toward the back of the pack with the 3-year-old Cash Hall filly, racing well behind a :27.2 first quarter clicked off by Saint Patty's Doll (Greg Merton) and a :57.1 first half attended by the first-over Concentration (Chris Lems). Moving into the far turn, Barn Girl angled second-over, but was carried deeper out by Painite (Truman Gale), who vacated the pegs without clearance three-eighths from home. Nonetheless, Barn Girl sustained her rally, working to the lead in the final 150 yards before Painite swept to the grandstand side and narrowly finished first past the post. As a result of the interference on the far turn, however, Painite was relegated to second behind the offended Barn Girl, placed the winner in 1:56.1. Torches Star (Claude Huckabone, III) rallied from the back of the pack to take third over the pacesetting Saint Patty's Doll.   Howard Okusko trains Barn Girl for the Out in the Country Stable, along with Steven and Nancy Pratt.   Whittemore also won on the card with Misty Major ($7.20), earning a driving double on the 11-race card. Chris Lems and Greg Merton also each scored two wins on the program.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 28) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- With a sizable harness racing crowd on hand for the annual camel and ostrich races, Lutetium ($18.60) parlayed a pocket trip into a 1:53.2 upset victory in Saturday (June 13) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   Jimmy Whittemore secured the pocket with the 8-year-old Credit Winner gelding, out-sprinted only by 6-5 favorite Detroit Rapper (Greg Merton) through a :27.4 first quarter. Lutetium was the beneficiary of a middle-half duel, as A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) applied steady pressure to Detroit Rapper, softening the favorite up on the far turn. While A Penny Earned had nothing left at the top of the stretch and began to fade, Lutetium was able to wedge out of the pocket and push clear of the tiring pacesetter in mid-stretch. Lutetium prevailed ultimately by 1-1/4 lengths, holding clear of a late-closing War Hero (Fern Paquet, Jr.). March Awareness (John MacDonald) rallied from last to take third.   Mark Laidlaw trains Lutetium for owner Colleen Girdlestone.   While checking in at the rear of the field with A Penny Earned in the featured event, driver Chris Lems bagged five winners on the 11-race program, teaming up with David Dewhurst trainees Pounce K ($4.70, 1:54.2), Semper Fit ($5.90, 1:57.3), and Ideal Tan ($5.40, 1:55) in addition to George Ducharme trainees High Rise ($3.20, 1:55.4) and Lucky Ten K ($2.40, 1:57.4).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 14) afternoon, with the first of 14 races due off at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

After saving ground well behind a contested pace, UF Bettors Hanover ($6.10) found a seam in the final 70 yards, surging to the fore late in Sunday (June 7) afternoon's featured $7000 upper-level conditioned pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Jimmy Whittemore took the 5-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding off the pace initially, rating well off dueling leaders Walks of Life (Claude Huckabone, III) and Lilys Real Boy (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :54.3 initial half mile.   While continuing just worse than midfield the entire way around, UF Bettors Hanover found himself hard pressed for racing room on the final turn, when A Fool For Mark (Dustin Ingraham) circled three-wide off a stalled Lilys Real Boy and Card Knock Life (Truman Gale) followed that live three-wide cover to head-stretch.   Blocked at the pegs in upper stretch, UF Bettors Hanover had no shortage of pace, only able to use it in deep stretch when he found room to hook three-wide. His sudden turn of foot propelled him to a half-length win, beating Walks of Life in 1:51.4.   A Fool For Mark sustained his three-wide bid to hold third.   Trainer Scott West shares ownership of UF Bettors Hanover with Katie Currie.   Truman Gale led all drivers on the card with a grand slam, prevailing with Stettin Hanover ($20.20, 1:53.3), Flight Again ($4.70, 1:52.4), Tundra ($35.80, 1:52.1), and Vintage Fenom ($11.60, 1:54.1).   Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (June 12) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- Sent off the prohibitive 2-5 favorite, Barn Doll ($2.90) sustained a push to the fore on the far turn, drawing clear for a 1:54 triumph in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes event for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday (May 23) evening at Vernon Downs.   The daughter of Conway Hall and Headintheclouds settled in midpack early on, as Magic City (Jeff Gregory) cleared the lead through a :28 initial quarter. On the backstretch, Jimmy Whittemore angled Barn Doll second-over behind the cover of Frou Frou (Jim Morrill, Jr.), but was ultimately left uncovered after a :57.2 half mile as Frou Frou cleared. Despite no longer having the aid of cover, Barn Doll continued progressing, pushing clear on the far turn and drawing clear of Frou Frou by 3-1/2 lengths in the end. Stirling Debutant (Rick Zeron) sustained a move on the far turn to take third, just missing Frou Frou in a late battle for second.   Trainer Steven Pratt co-owns Barn Doll with Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stables.   Lock Down Lindy ($3.80, Rick Zeron, 1:54.3) and Concentration ($10.00, Chris Lems, 1:56.3) also proved victorious in their Sire Stakes divisions.   Vernon Downs is dark for racing on Sunday, but hosts a 13-race program on Memorial Day (Monday, May 25). Post time is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Michael Casalino's Purity ($6.60) was never in doubt, sprinting off through a :55.1 back half to soundly defeat her four rivals in Friday (May 22) evening's $10,000 harness racing Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   The four-year-old Always a Virgin mare had no trouble securing the top spot from her inside post, rating a soft :57.4 first half mile while facing nary a challenger. On the far turn, she edged clear of pocket sitting The Filly Princess (Chris Lems) and first-over Always As Fast (Joe Nassimos), opening up the margin to two lengths through a :27.2 third quarter. Off the corner, Purity continued to amass a clear advantage over the others, ultimately putting 6-3/4 lengths on The Filly Princess for a 1:53 triumph. Tiger Boudoir (Truman Gale) held third off a tracking trip.   Jimmy Whittemore drove Purity for trainer Jeff Lieberman. For Whittemore, the win was one of three on the night, also teaming up with Thats My Dream ($7.80, 1:57) and Incredible Gambler ($5.30, 1:54.2). John MacDonald also recorded a driving hat trick, victorious aboard Precious Rose N ($5.30, 1:56.2), Pancakes ($3.20, 1:55.4), and Sistas ($8.30, 1:59.1) on the 11-race card.   Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 23) evening, with the first of 11 races due for a 6:45 p.m. start. Three-year-old trotting fillies take center stage in New York Sire Stakes action, with 25 trotters contesting three divisions. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Saratoga shipper An Artist's Dream ($20.40) managed to escape the pocket in the final 150 yards of Friday (October 31) evening's featured $6,500 Four One One Pace for grey and roan horses at Vernon Downs, scoring a 1:52.2 minor upset.   Settling into the pocket amid a three-way pace battle with Ontario invader Zambuca Gass (John Macdonald) and top local mare Artic Byrd (Truman Gale), An Artist's Dream tracked blistering early fractions of :26 and :54.2. While close to the fast pace, the five-year-old Admirals Galley gelding was boxed in on the far turn, as Artic Byrd commenced a first-over bid, applying pressure on Zambuca Gass through three-quarters in 1:23 and in upper stretch. With Artic Byrd flattening, Jimmy Whittemore was able to wedge An Artist's Dream between rivals with 150 yards to go, taking the lead in deep stretch to beat the favored Zambuca Gass by a widening 1-1/4 lengths. The Grey Bullet (Joe Nassimos) made a late rally up the pegs to finish third off a ground-saving trip.   Ray Sharpe owns and trains An Artist's Dream, now a six-time winner.   The race was named for Four One One, a 12-year-old grey pacer who was honored earlier in the card with a special retirement ceremony. He and longtime trainer Wayne Hughes led the post parade for the evening's featured race.   The 2014 season at Vernon Downs wraps up on Saturday (November 1), with the first of 11 races scheduled for a special 6:00 p.m. EDT post time.   by James Witherite, for Vernon Downs 

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

Oh No Three O (Ken Warkentin-Melinda Hall) was sent off as the even-money favorite by the betting public in the $10,000 featured trot at Vernon Downs on Friday night and he rewarded their support with a win in 1:54.   Oh No Three O (Fern Paquet Jr.) trailed the field through the early fractions of 27.1 for the quarter and 55.3 for the half, while A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) was setting the pace. Oh No Three O benefited from live cover from Evil Urges (Jimmy Whittemore), who moved first-over as the field went up the backstretch. Evil Urges, in fact, made the lead as the field passed three-quarters in 1:24. A Penny Earned tried to fight back, but Oh No Three O made a strong charge down the outside to outfinish the field of five and score the victory. Evil Urges was home second. A Penny Earned was actually passed at the end by Helios (Claude Huckabone III) for third.   The complete order of finish was: Oh No Three O, Evil Urges, Helios, A Penny Earned, and Wild And Crazy Guy.   Oh No Three O is owned by Charlene Long of Vestal, New York. Paul Long is the trainer.   Live racing at Vernon Downs will resume on Saturday night with a 13-race program. The second race is the $10,000 Open Preferred feature pace. Pennsylvania invader Colby Jate (Jate Lobell-Cam Press Shania) is the 6-5 favorite in the field of five. Aaron Byron is scheduled to drive. Post time on Saturday night is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs Publicity

Mistresswithmuscle (Muscle Hill-Nicole's Promise) was sent off at less than even-money in the $5,100 harness racing featured trot at Vernon Downs on Friday night and she rewarded the faith of the betting public with a three-length victory in 1:55.4.   Mistresswithmuscle (Chris Lems) languished in mid-pack throughout the opening quarter of :27.1 while Laettner (Fern Paquet Jr.) led the way. She then moved aggressively once the field moved past the half-mile mark in :57.3 and took the lead on the far turn. From there, she led past three-quarters in 1:26.1 and went on to an easy victory.   Laettner actually rallied nicely after falling back through the field after holding the early lead to get second. Winbak Meadow (Roman Lopez) finished third.   The complete order of finish was: Mistresswithmuscle, Laettner, Winbak Meadow, Ilari, North Bay Hanover, Ski To The Max, Eightyfive Pop, and Makes Me Crazy.   Mistresswithmuscle is owned by Stephen Farrell of Ocala, Florida and trained by George Ducharme.   It proved to be an interesting evening of racing at Vernon Downs on Friday in one respect. Through the first eleven races on the 13-race card, there were eleven different winning drivers. The only repeat winner of the evening ended up being Dan Daley, who won the eighth race with No Bad Dreams after being caught three-wide on the far turn and the twelfth race with Daley Lovin by a three-length margin. When Jimmy Whittemore won the last race with Steuben Rudy, it meant that there were twelve different winning drivers in thirteen races.   Live racing resumes on Saturday night with a 13-race program that includes eight New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series races with purses totaling $360,000. First post time on Saturday at Vernon Downs is 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

Arodasi (Western Terror-Do Me Justice) rallied in the stretch to score a victory in the feature $10,000 Open Preferred Pace at Vernon Downs on Thursday night. Park N Orchard (Claude Huckabone III) actually stormed to the lead when the gate opened and dictated the pace of 28 seconds for the quarter, 56 seconds for the half, and 1:24.1 for three-quarters.   Arodasi (Joe Pavia Jr.), who had been in fourth place in the field of five throughout the early stages, moved to the outside at the top of the stretch and steadily wore down the leader to prevail in a final time of 1:52.3. Park N Orchard was able to hold on to second and Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) finished third.   The complete order of finish was: Arodasi, Park N Orchard, Love You Bye, Air Miles Hanover, and Asset Management.   Arodasi is owned by Peter Shank and AGC Stables of Florida, Joseph Barbera of New York, and Joe Pavia Jr. Stables of Pennsylvania. Driver Joe Pavia Jr. doubles as the trainer.   Live racing resumes at Vernon Downs with a 13-race program on Friday night. First post time is 6:45pm.    by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs

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