Archangel stole the show in Friday night's Empire Breeders Classic elimination races at Vernon Downs, establishing a 1:53.4 track record for 3-year-old colt trotters.
Jim Morrill Jr. drove in the $12,500 event, the second elimination for New York-bred male members of the diagonal gait, as Archangel ($5.30) closed from fourth in the final quarter (personally timed in :27) to defeat the breaking Coraggioso by 1-1/2 lengths. The time was a lifetime mark for the black son of Credit Winner-Michelle's Angel, who earned his third victory (plus a second-place finish) in four starts, and increased his career bankroll to $172,670 for trainer Peter Arrigenna and his partners Alan C. Hainsworth and Clare M. Semer.
Vernon's previous 1:54 record for this age, sex and gait was set by Deweycheatumnhowe in 2008. It was one of six wins on Friday's 12-race program for Morrill, Jr., who also teamed six winners here on May 25. He is currently tied with Tim Tetrick for most driving wins on one program at the 16-card meeting.
The fastest filly flight went to For A Dancer ($3.00), who delivered a career-best 1:54.3 performance in Friday's $12,500 ninth race, which was just 2/5ths of a second off the track's female mark, established by Personal Banner in 1996. Jeff Gregory drove for trainer Joe Holloway and the Bluestone Farms. The bay daughter of Conway Hall-Fluttering Winds remains undefeated after three season's starts.
Also qualifying for next Friday's (June 8) $233,250 (est.) male EBC championship race here were War Cry Hall, the first division winner in a life's best 1:55.2 with Morrill, Jr. steering for trainer Ron Burke, and owners Joseph Di Scala, Jr., Cynthia Lynn Massari and the Burke Racing Stable, as well as Flyhawk Jester, A Penny Earned, Trouble, Delano, Coraggioso, Turbulent Flight and Southwind Austin. No Frosting will be the first also eligible.
For A Dancer and Anandamide, who captured the first distaff dash in a career-best 1:56.2 effort, with Morrill, Jr. sitting in for trainer Anette Lorentzon and the Acl Stuteri Ab contingent, will be joined in next Friday's $239,550 (est.) filly final by Lima Playmate, Moonglow, Fortunista, Cowgirl Hall, Borrow And Spend, Latte Hall and Fancy, with Vixy serving as the first also eligible.
Scorpion Moon dropped the fastest trotting mile clocking of the meet down a full second with his sizzling 1:53 victory in Friday's $9,500 seventh race, the week's Open contest. It marked the sixth win in 10 current outings and the 85th lifetime score for the 11-year-old gelding, who is shared in ownership by trainer Tracy Brainard and Andrew Herzog.
Brainard chalked up three training tallies during Friday's program, while former Downs driving champ Brian Sears secured a pair of first-place finishes.
DOWNS DOINGS—The trotters Come On Jerry (2:00.2) and Whimzical Britt (2:00.3) each won their initial pari-mutuel races during Friday's program… Saturday's 12-race card, which includes the week's $9,500 Open pace (race nine) will begin at 6:55 p.m…Driver Michael Miller posted his second provisional driving victory of the meet behind the trotter Pacific Wave (1:58.4) in Friday's second event…Additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.