from harness publicists across North America
Friday’s (July 5) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Vernon Downs, Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
Track record set by For You Almostfree in Vernon feature
Vernon, NY — The favorite For You Almostfree displayed his superiority with not only a career-best 1:53 performance, but also a track record mile for older trotting horses on Friday night at Vernon Downs.
Competing in the rain and over a track rated “good” in Friday’s ninth race, For You Almostfree lagged behind in third to the half (timed in :55.1), before accelerating to second as the field of five Open-1 trotters entered the stretch drive.
With Greg Merton doing the catch-driving for trainer John McDermott, the nifty newcomer powered through the final quarter to catch and pass the mile-cutter, A Penny Earned, who finished third, and then held off a late brush by Spring Goal to earn his fourth current victory and his 12th lifetime tally.
The explosive finish by the 5-year-old brown son of Glidemaster-Pizza Dolce trimmed one-fifth of a second off the former Vernon standard for older trotting horses, set by Spring Goal back on May 10, and it lowered his previous-best win mark by three full seconds. It also represents the fastest mile by a representative of the diagonal gait at the 32-program meeting. The lifetime earner of nearly $267,000 is shared in ownership by the J.E.T Dream Stable, Robert Pucila, Michael Cohen and the Jonathan Klee Racing contingent.
It was one of three tallies during Friday’s 10-race card for Merton, an occasional driver at the track.
Vernon’s leading driver and trainer Rick Plano posted a pair of first-place finishes, including a 1:54.3 victory behind his trotter She’s All In during Friday’s $8,000 Open-2 contest, while the track’s third-leading reinsman, Chris Lems, secured his fifth score of the weekend, and his meet-leading 12th driving double.
— Jim Moran
Shez Good Osborne was victorious in the $6,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace on Friday in Northfield Park’s tenth race. She is trained by Eric Hamlet for Northfield Park Wall of Fame owner Jerome T. Osborne. Hamlet called upon Keith Kash, Jr. to drive. Shez Good Osborne (Mantacular-Myopia’s Mop) started from post five. Kash had her perfectly placed in the pocket and followed the leader through fractions of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:25.4. Kash tipped the 6-year-old at the top of the stretch and bested the competition by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. Completing the race were Rockratese, Miss Two Punch, Haley Louise, Moonlite Delite, Fly To The Angels, Ribbons Of Color and Pebble Creek. It Must Be Magic was scratched. Shez Good Osborne now has 29 career wins and earnings of $134,754. She returned $21.20 to win. Tame The Dame was an upset winner in the evening’s ninth race. Frank Harris piloted the mare for owner/trainer Rick Gilbert. Tame The Dame (Bettor’s Delight-Radiant Heiress) rallied from off the pace to take the lead in the final strides and post a season’s mark of 1:56.1. Friday’s triumph increased Tame The Dame’s lifetime win tally to 14 and her career earnings to $38,513. Tame The Dame (51-1) was followed across the wire by Mcmerry Again (29-1) and Royal Cam Osborne (5-1). Tame The Dame returned $105.60 to win, the 4-3 exacta paid $960.40 and the 4-3-2 trifecta returned $4,061.80.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Dukecrest (Duke Of York) pulled off the upset in the $15,000 Friday feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Stephane Bouchard piloted the 5-year-old trotter to victory for trainer Sam Schillaci in the evening’s Open Two, which served as the feature with no Open Trot this week. Dukecrest rolled up on the outside at the three-quarter pole before clearing the leader Prime Interest (Mark Beckwith) in mid-stretch. Dukecrest stopped the timer in 1:56.1 for his second win of the season. Longshot Dangerismybusiness (Joe Bongiorno) was the runner up to 22-1 longshot Dukecrest. For Bouchard, his hot streak continued as the 46-year-old reinsman followed up his five win night on Wednesday with a three win evening on Friday’s card. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with the annual Back to the Track night starting at 6:45pm.