The veteran Arch Madness began Saturday night's 13-race agenda with style and substance, trotting to a 1:52.3 victory in the $10,000 Open contest, which proved to be the fastest mile by a diagonally-gaited performer after 54 current programs at Vernon Downs.
Trainer Trond Smedshammer did the teaming in Saturday's first race as Arch Madness rallied overland from fourth at the half, swept into the lead around the track's final turn, and then on to a convincing 3-1/4-length triumph. It was the first win this season, but the 32nd all-time for the career-winner of nearly $3,930,000, who is owned by Marc Goldberg and the Willow Pond LLC.
Saturday's slate also featured seven Excelsior Series divisions in the $89,600 State Fair program for 2-year-olds, three for colt and gelding pacers and four for first-year male trotters.
With Roman Lopez at the controls, Believeinthespirit (Art Major) forged his way to a strong-striding 1:53.2 tally in the 11th event, which equaled his lifetime mark and missed the season's standard for freshman colt side-wheelers by one tick of the timer. (The 1:53.1 season's standard for this class was set by Jet Airway last night.) It was the second win in succession for the bay youngster, who is trained by Ed Lohmeyer and owned by Lauren and Robert Tucker.
Saturday's other 2-year-old colt pacing Excelsior Series winners were Great American (American Ideal), who scored in 1:53.3 in the second race, with Chris Lems steering for co-owner/trainer Tony Alagna and the Riverview Racing Stable, and Natural Leda (Bettor's Delight), who earned a 1:55 speed badge with Rick Plano teaming for trainer Mark Harder and the Deena Rachel Frost, John D. Fielding and Rick D. Phillips ownership group in the eighth event.
Elegante Attire's (Conway Hall) 1:57.4 score in the fifth race proved to be the swiftest score in Saturday's freshman male trot. Trainer John Stark, Jr. drove for owners E. Carlyle Smith, David Smith, Jim Giannuzzi and Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC ownership contingent.
Saturday's other Excelsior Series trotting winners were the colts Royal Max (Rc Royalty) in 1:59.1, Hallanet (Cash Hall) in 1:59.3, and Crazolo (Crazed) in 1:59.4.
Smedshammer secured three wins during the evening, two for Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. Drivers Lems, Stark, Jimmy Whittemore and owners E. Carlyle Smith, David Smith and Jim Giannuzzi were the recipients of two tallies each.
DOWNS DOINGS—First-time winners during Saturday's card were the trotters Elegante Attire, Hallanet, Royal Max, Crazolo, plus the pacers Great American and Natural Leda…A special Sunday program tomorrow night (Aug. 25) will feature the initial round of this season's 7th-Annual All-Star Drivers' Championship, as well as the $700,000 (est.) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. There will also be a Corey Callahan bobblehead doll giveaway, free drivers' championship T-shirts (both items dispensed while supplies last), as well as an iPad and Laptop computer giveaway…A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. (Vernon)