Friday night’s "End of the Summer Showdown” program at Vernon Downs was one of speed and substance.
Intimidate captured the $214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot with a 1:51 performance that becomes the fastest mile by a trotter in the 60-year history of the track, and it serves as a new standard for 4-year-old geldings on the diagonal gait.
D’Orsay powered to a 1:52 triumph to win the $202,000 Muscle Hill contest and become the swiftest 4-year-old trotting mare here ever.
The season’s standard for 2-year-old pacing fillies locally was lowered twice, finally settling on a 1:52.1 clocking by JK Molly.
I’m The Pied Piper sped to a 1:50.2 victory in the night’s $10,000 Open pace that missed the track mark for 4-year-old pacing horses by just two ticks of the timer.
Hall of Famer Ron Pierce did the teaming behind Intimidate in Friday’s 11th event, closing from fourth in a :27.4 final quarter to catch and defeat the game Sevruga by ½-length. The time trimmed 1/5th-of-a-second off the previous all-time track trotting mark, set by the great San Pail in 2011. It was the fifth win in six current outings for the bay son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, who is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Canadians Judith Farrow and Les Ecuries Luc Blais, Inc. The gifted gelding is now a career winner of more than $564,700.
One race earlier, D’Orsay, competing as part of a two-trotter Jonas Czernyson stable entry, led early, caught a breather in second-place during the middle portion of the mile, and then rallied in the final stages of the contest to defeat the pace-setting Beatgoeson Hanover by three lengths, and secure her fourth victory in 10 current outings. It resulted in the seventh career victory for the bay daughter of Yankee Glide-Danae, now an earner of $302,085 for the Consus Racing Stable. It was one of three victories during Friday’s 12-race card for driver Corey Callahan.
JK Molly improved her season’s summary line to 4-1-1 after a career-quickest 1:52.1 effort in Friday’s ninth race, second and final flight of a $106,124 New York Sires Stakes test for 2-year-old filly representatives of the lateral-gait. Tim Tetrick teamed the bay daughter of Art Major-Heather’s Western for noted trainer Linda Toscano and the 3 Brothers Stable. The l-1/2-length tally improved the frisky filly’s career winnings to more than $111,200.
Friday’s first NYSS showdown was won by Sweetnsinful (American Ideal-Ali Badali), who reigned as the season’s swiftest frosh distaff sidewheeler locally for a few minutes after posting a career-fastest 1:52.2 score in the seventh race. Jimmy Whittemore did the steering for trainer Homer Hochstetler, an owner along with his wife, Connie, and James B. Michels. The sprightly filly now sports a 3-2-0 performance line and winnings in excess of $106,700 after six official trips to the track.
Making just his second Vernon appearance in Friday’s second race, I’m The Pied Piper took the lead after the opening quarter and was never seriously challenged thereafter, winning by three-quarters of a length and authoring one of the faster miles of Vernon’s 60th anniversary season. It was the fourth season’s score and 12th lifetime win for the fast-stepping son of Western Ideal-Lisjune, who reached the $200,000 plateau in career earnings for the Ron Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, JJK Stables and the Panhellenic Stable. Callahan did the chauffeuring for conditioner Ron Burke.
Friday’s stellar line-up also included three divisions of a $38,500 Excelsior series match-up for New York-bred first-year female pacers, the fastest of which was won by Spreester in 1:52.3. It was the second local tally for the bay daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree, who currently owns a 6-1-1 performance line after eight career outings. Frank Coppola, Jr. did the sulky-sitting for trainer Paul Zabielski and owner Kimberley Zabielski in the eighth event.
The evening’s other Excelsior series first-place finishers were Carlota Blue Chip (American Ideal-Bet Your Life), who earned her "maiden” 1:55.4 victory with Rick Plano piloting for trainer Trond Smedshammer and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables in race 12, and Hay Stacked (Art Major-Monique’s Legacy), who scooted to a 1:56.3 win-mark and her second season’s score in the sixth session, with Callahan at the controls for conditioner Ray Schnittker, an owner along with Theodore Gewertz.