Driver Fern Paquet Jr. swept the evening's pair of $8,000 Miracle Mile feature events at Vernon Downs on Friday (April 25) evening, rallying to circle the field with Asset Management ($19.60) in the Fillies and Mares Miracle Mile 2-3 Pace, and prevailing in the nick of time aboard Jaipur ($8.20) in the Miracle Mile 2 Trot.
In a change of tactics from the last two weeks, Asset Management dropped to last, biding her time well off a pressured pace before mounting a three-wide rally at the top of the stretch. The six-year-old Western Hanover mare gobbled up ground willingly, eclipsing the pace-setting Market Dynamics (Rick Plano) in deep stretch, pulling clear for a 2-3/4 length win in 1:52.3, capped by a torrid :26.2 final quarter. Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) was a narrow third, flattening off a first-over bid.
Jaipur took a similar path to victory in the trotting feature, making a massive three-wide push in the final quarter mile, passing horses steadily en route to a slim triumph over the pacesetting House Money (Roman Lopez) for a 1:54.4 victory. Painite (Truman Gale) rallied late to save third after breaking at race's outset.
A trio of divisions of the Catherine Burton trotting series were contested, with Wild and Crazy Guy (1:56.1) and Driving Miss Crazy (1:56.2) giving Gaetan Brunet a training and driving double on the evening. Indira Blue Chip (1:57.1) prevailed in the non-wagering division for trainer-driver Ray Schnittker.
Absolutely Certain bobbled at the start of the $10,500 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (April 25) but overcame the slight miscue and left little doubt who was the best at the finish line in registering a half-length victory over Heartsaregonnaroll.
When the starting gate swung open, Absolutely Certain broke stride momentarily but driver Drew Monti did a great job getting him back on gait and keeping him in race. Settling in fourth after the misstep, Absolutely Certain ($9.70) went first over just before the half and chased the pacesetting Heartsaregonnaroll (Kevin Cummings) from there.
In the stretch, Absolutely Certain showed plenty of trot and breezed past the leg-weary Heartsaregonnaroll while the lukewarm favorite Ramblin Rick (Greg Merton) took the show position. The final time was 2:02.4 over the sloppy track.
The victory was the first in 11 starts for Absolutely Certain (Malabar Man-River Runs Wild). He is owned by Garry Martin and trained by Sue Stockwell. The win pushed the 6-year-old gelding's earnings to $13,782 in 2014 and $91,773 lifetime. (Vernon & Buffalo files)