Vernon, NY — The defending Vernon Downs driving champion “Lightning” Leon Bailey had a night he will never forget as he drove seven horses to the winner’s circle on Friday (May 14).
Bailey steered Badix Hanover to an easy win in the featured $5,500 pace for one of those seven victories.
Badix Hanover charged out of the gate and went right to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.2. He slowed the pace down with a :29 second quarter to hit the half in :56.2. Peggy J (Jeff Sorenson) was the first to make a move coming first-over from third. She put on the pressure but Badix Hanover continued to lead, hitting three-quarters in 1:24.
As they made the turn for home Badix Hanover would not only have to fight off Peggy J but now Napper Tandy (Jimmy Whittemore) came charging late. The tough Badix Hanover had plenty left to win easily in 1:53.2. Nappy Tandy was second best while Peggy J had to settle for third.
Badix Hanover ($2.90) is a 9-year-old gelding by Western Ideal. He is owned by Bill Reepmeyer and trained by Bruce Lauer. It was his second straight win and his fourth in 2021. He now owns 33 career wins.
Bailey’s other wins came with Take A Chance ($8.80), Dream On A Roll ($19.20), Jericho Diva ($16.20), Natameri ($14.80), Discus Hanover ($4.80), and Golden Gun ($3.40). It was the most wins he ever had in a single night. He now has 17 victories at Vernon this season.
Shawn McDonough drives 1,000th winner
Shawn McDonough drove his 1,000th winner in the nightcap with P L Lester ($24.80).
The 30-year-old is a regular driver at Buffalo Raceway but he has been driving Friday nights at Vernon Downs all season.
He took P L Lester straight to the front and hit the first quarter in :27 and was first to the half in :56. Notwithoutafight (Stanley Zombick Jr.) came first-over and chased P L Lester all around the final turn. P L Lester hit three-quarters first in 1:24.1.
As they reached the stretch P L Lester found another gear and won easily in 1:53.4. It was his first win this season and 11th career victory. McDonough trains him for owner Kathleen Leuer.
Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (May 15) with a 10-race card starting at 6:10 p.m.
For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.