The Saturday (Aug. 24) card at Vernon Downs contrasts the old and the new as trotting's "Grand Old Man" Arch Madness makes an appearance in the $10,000 Open Trot, whileseven divisions of State Fair races for freshman colts fill out the card.
Arch Madness seeks a little relief from battling the very best in the world as he closes in on $4 million in career earnings in the opener. His longtime companion Trond Smedshammer will drive for Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC.
Three splits of colt pacers go beginning in races two, eight and 11. Riverview Racing & Alagna Racing's Great American looks to break his maiden in the first split. Chris Lems will drive. The division two favorite is Deena Frost, Rick Phillips and John Fielding's Natural Leda. He's winless in five starts but catches a soft spot here with the meet's top driver Rick Plano aboard. Then in the last division, Lauren and Robert Tucker's Believeinthespirit ships back in from New Jersey, looking to follow up his impressive 1:53.2 win at Tioga. Roman Lopez has the drive.
Trotting colts begin in race five, where Bob Key's Karets is the oddsmaker's pick, dropping from Sire Stakes to Excelsior level with Rick Plano. Race seven contains the Purple Haze Stable's Hallanet. He was second in his career debut at Vernon a few weeks ago for Smedshammer. High Q is winless in four thus far, despite showing speed and consistency for trainer/driver Gates Brunet and owner Ted Gewertz in the tenth race. That same combo, along with partners Jean and Debbie Brunet, sends out the cleverly named Wild And Crazy Guy in the 12th. He has flashed high speed, including closing out a 1:57.2 win with a :27.1 final stanza in his last. (Vernon Downs)