Newcomer Arockin Hanover captured the $12,000 Open Pace, Noble Wabbit lowered his odd-distance record for seven-eighths of a mile in the "Turn Back The Clock Rewind Race,” while drivers John MacDonald and Truman Gale each recorded four victories during Saturday night's 13-race program at Vernon Downs.
The Saratoga-shipper Arockin Hanover went off as the second choice in Saturday's featured seventh session. As the favorite Sheer Brilliance cut fast fractions of :26.3, :55 and 1:22.4, Arockin Hanover drafted along back in fourth place. Entering the homestretch, Arockin Hanover revved up and closed like a gate in the wind to not only overtake the pacesetter, but draw off to an eye-popping 3 3/4-length tally in 1:51.
The fast-closing finish by the speedy 5-year-old gelding resulted in his second win in succession, eighth this season and 20th all time. Gale did the driving for trainer Jason Robinson as the bay son of Rocknroll Hanover-Artaffection raised his career bankroll to more than $377,100 for owner Robert D. Main.
Entering Saturday's $4,500 fourth event as the Vernon record-holder for a seven-eighths mile clockwise pace off a 1:42.3 effort in 2011, Noble Wabbit rallied overland from fifth in the early going, advanced to third entering the stretch and then powered home to defeat the pocket-sitting Prince Polaris by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:39. It was the first win in 2013 for the 10-year-old bay gelding, but his 37th lifetime score. MacDonald did the teaming for trainer George Ducharme and owner Heather Reese as the productive son of Precious Bunny-Noble Lady Avalon increased his lifetime earnings to $154,487.
Gale, for the second time during the 86-card Downs campaign, collected four wins on a single program, while it marked the first occasion for MacDonald, a newcomer to the track this season.
Dave Dewhurst, the meet's second-leading trainer with 37 tallies, also harnessed two first-place finishers during the rainy evening. (Vernon Downs)