Goddesss and Southwind Spirit each earned champion status as the result of their first-place finishes in Friday night's $433,500 finals of the 2013 Kindergarten Classic Series for 2-year-old trotters at Vernon Downs. Goddess gained a 1:56.3, front-striding victory in the $206,000 Kindergarten title test for 2-year-old filly trotters, while Southwind Spirit continued his superb season with a bold-striding 1:55 tally in the $217,500 event for freshman colt trotters.
Goddess, a $110,000 yearling purchase by the Kelly Racing Stable, Joe Sbrocco and William Weaver, III, went to the starting gate as the third wagering choice and was sharp from the start on a rain-soaked track. With John Campbell doing the steering for trainer Paul Kelley, Goddess powered through splits of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26 to defeat second-favorite Yoga by 1-1/4 lengths. It was the fourth season's score for the bay daughter of Donato Hanover-Macaria Hanover, who has also compiled a second and two thirds, plus earnings of $155,825 after 11 lifetime starts.
After Vernon's seven-eighths mile oval was downgraded to good for the ninth event, the crowd's choice Southwind Spirit shrugged off the damp conditions by carving out splits of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.1 to thwart third-choice Outburst by 1-3/4 lengths. Yannick Gingras did the teaming for trainer Ron Burke as the bay son of Muscle Hill-Spice On Ice improved his summary line to 6-3-1 after 12 official trips to the track.
Southwind Spirit, a $105,000 yearling purchase, has returned $310,925 on his investment to the Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Burke Racing Stable and Stable 45 ownership contingent.
In Friday's second session, a $10,000 Kindergarten Classic consolation clash, Starsaboveallerage also used front-striding tactics to vanquish the favored Skates N Plates by a nose in a 1:57.1. It was the third win, coupled with a trio of thirds-place showings, in nine starts for the bay son of Angus Hall-Starry Eyed, who has banked nearly $30,000 in 2013 for Jeff Gural's Little E LLC stable. David Miller did the teaming for local trainer Jessica Okusko.
Friday's $12,000 Open Trot was won by Grey Ice, with Dan Daley doing the piloting for trainer Guy Howard in race 10. The strong-striding 7-year-old gelding followed the pace-setting Mr. Web Page throughout the mile contest, before leaving the pocket in the stretch and spurting to a nose triumph over the mile cutter. The tight tally was the third locally, the seventh this season and the 23rd all-time for the gray son of the Icepan Cometh-The E Street Pan, who bumped her lifetime winnings to nearly $197,300 for the Howard Stables.
Fans were treated to triples by drivers Campbell, (David) Miller and trainer (Paul) Kelley, as well as a two-win effort by Gingras during Friday's 12-race program.
DOWNS DOINGS—Kelly's other victories came from trotters The Triple Lindy (1:54.4) in race four and Panamanian Hanover (1:57.2) in event 11. Campbell drove all of Kelley's first-place finishers… Owner/trainer Tony Schambach's 7-year-old trotting mare Edit Away earned her first career victory after a 1:57.2 performance for driver Claude Huckabone, III in Friday's third event…Saturday's 13-race program, which starts at 6:45 p.m., includes a $12,000 Open pace in race two…Only six live racing dates remain during the track's 60th anniversary season that continues through Nov. 9…A revised 2013, 88-program 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