Exarch wins Vernon feature; Affrunti gets grand slam

Vernon, NY — Exarch (Leon Bailey) won the $5,500 featured trot at Vernon Downs on Saturday (June 15) in thrilling fashion.

Classic Express (Jimmy Whittemore) got the lead and led to the quarter in :28.1. Fringed (Dan Daley) came first-up to challenge heading down the backstretch, but Classic Express maintained a short lead to the half in :57.3 before Fringed took control and led to three-quarters in 1:26.1.

As they entered the stretch, the mad scramble was on. Fringed held a slight lead as Grand Slam Hero (Dylan Huckabone-Miller) slipped through on the inside Exarch ($8.00) then came flying late from the far outside, sneaking by to get the win in 1:57. Fringed had to settle for second; Grand Slam Hero finished third.

Exarch flew down the grandstand side to narrowly prevail in Vernon Downs’ featured trot on Saturday. Fotowon photo.

Exarch is a 9-year-old gelding by Cantab Hall owned by Albert Coppini and trained by Michael Collins. It was his third win this season and 24th career victory.

Frank Affrunti had a driving grand slam on the card, including three wins for trainer George Ducharme — Chaplind, Tempville and Villanah.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 16) with a 13-race card starting at 12:15 p.m. For more information, go to www.vernondowns.com.

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