by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs publicity
cover photo by Curtis Salonick
Vernon, NY — It was a dazzling Friday night (Aug. 29) of action at Vernon Downs with the highlight being the return of Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream) to his winning ways in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial Trot.
|Yannick Gingras piloted Father Patrick to a 1:52.2 score in the Zweig.|
Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) assumed the lead almost immediately and led all the way home to win in an impressive time of 1:52.2. His entry-mate, Hambletonian runner-up Nuncio (John Campbell), tracked Father Patrick all the way but could never get the upper hand on him and had to settle for second. Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald), who had scored wins in four consecutive New York Sire Stakes races entering the Zweig, finished third after tracking the entry pretty much throughout the event.
The fractions for the Zweig Memorial were :25.4 for the quarter, :56 for the half and 1:25.2 for three-quarters.
Father Patrick is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, N.J., and the trainer is Jimmy Takter.
The complete order of finish for the Zweig Memorial was Father Patrick, Nuncio, Flyhawk El Durado, Resolve, Sumatra, Martiniwithmuscle, Expressive Action, Auspicious Hanover, and Skates N Plates.
|Shake It Cerry was a 1:53.4 winner for driver Ron Pierce.|
The $150,000 filly division of the Zweig was also held on Friday night and was won by Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig), who rallied up the inside in the stretch to pass rivals Heaven’s Door and Bikini So Teeny. Her victory came in a time of 1:53.4.
Shake It Cerry is owned by Solveig’s Racing Partners of East Windsor, N.J., trained by Jimmy Takter, and she was driven to victory by Ron Pierce.
The opening leg of the 2014 Tioga-Vernon Drivers’ Championship took place on Friday night and there was a tie for the top spot between Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points. This tie means that the two drivers will split the $10,000 prize for leading after the first round of the Championship.
Corey Callahan is third with 13 points and the defending champion Jim Marohn Jr. is fourth with 11 points. Points are awarded as follows: 10 points for a win, seven points for second, five points for third, three points for fourth, and one point for fifth.
The Drivers’ Championship will continue at Tioga Downs on Labor Day Monday with Round Two.
Live racing at Vernon Downs will resume on Saturday night with an 11-race program that includes three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts. Post time is 6:45 p.m.