A pair of EBC Final winners at Vernon
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Lola De Vie and Jurgen Hanover earned champion status, while JK Panache capped off Sunday night’s 12-race card at Vernon Downs with the fastest pacing mile of the 21-program campaign, and a track record for 4-year-old geldings.
With Jim Morrill, Jr. doing the teaming for trainer Chris Ryder in Sunday’s sixth session, Lola De Vie used a fast closing spurt in the final furlong to out-stride three determined rivals and capture the $237,600 Empire Breeders Classic final for 3-year-old filly trotters with a career-best 1:55.3 performance. It marked the third victory this season and the fifth win all-time for the bay daughter of Credit Winner-Fan Favourite, who raised her career winnings to $194,554 for her owner and breeder, the Joie De Vie Farm.
Three races later, Jurgen Hanover used similar tactics in the $259,900 EBC male clash, closing from second in the stretch to catch and defeat the mile-cutting Modest Prince by a length at the finish of a lifetime-fastest 1:53.4 effort. David Miller did the steering for trainer Donna Marshall as the bay sophomore son of Credit Winner-Yassi Hanover remained undefeated after seven season’s starts and improved his lifetime record to seven scores in nine trips to the track. The career winner of $118,813 is owned by Norman and Gerald Smiley and the T.L.P Stable.
Not to be out-shown, JK Panache took advantage of an opening :25.1 quarter by Checkinthebox in Sunday’s night-cap and, after taking charge before the half, zipped on to a convincing 1:49.3 triumph in the weekend’s $10,000 Open pace that not only proved to be the swiftest score of the current campaign, but a fresh record for 4-year-old altered sidewheelers. The sizzling mile trimmed 1/5th-of-a-second off the standard for this class that had been set by Melvyn last August. Chris Lems logged a double with the all-time fastest tally by the bay son of Art Major-Paris Hanover, who is registered to trainer Dave Dewhurst and his partner Philip K. Hale.
Ashes Cash captured one of five male divisions in the New York State Fair Excelsior Series for 3-year-old trotters in 1:54.3, while the fastest of four filly flights turned out to be a 1:56.3 showing by Royalty Free in Sunday’s opening race.
In addition to Lola De Vie, Morrill, Jr. also finished first with colt Viper Blue Chip and gelding Ruth-Like to secure his initial triple of the track’s 60th season.