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Vernon late-closer champs

October 28, 2006

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Manfinity, Prolific Pacer and Wanda’s Choice all became champions in late-closing series action at Vernon Downs on Friday night. Manfinity established a 1:57.3 track standard for 2-year-old colt trotters in the $14,000 final of the Vernon Fracas Series; Prolific Pacer produced a career-best 1:53 mile in the $23,400 Vernon Vitality title test for 3-year-old male pacers; while Wanda’s Choice came up with a lifetime fastest 1:55.2 mile in the Vernon Victory championship contest for 3-year-old filly pacers.

With Dude Goodblood catch-driving for trainer Larry Rathbone in the evening’s first race, Manfinity turned in a magnificent maiden-breaking performance, cruising into the lead after the half and trotting on to a convincing victory over the favored Magic. In gaining his first win in 11 starts, the brown son of Malabar Man increased his earnings to more than $56,000 for the M And L Of Delaware, Inc. ownership contingent. His time trimmed two-fifths of a second off the previous Vernon standard for freshman colt high-steppers, set by Cumin in 1989.

Prolific Pacer, shared by ownership partners George Wyman and the Purple Haze Stables, advanced from third at the quarter into the lead coming down the homestretch and out-hustled You Bet Your Glass to the finish line by three-quarters of a length in the 10th event. It was the second straight series score for the bay son of The Panderosa and his fourth tally in 16 current outings. He’s now a career winner of $26,564.

Prolific Pacer’s stablemate Wanda’s Choice, also registered to the Purple Haze Stables, was never worse than third throughout the 11th contest, kicking home from second in the final furlong to edge Big Scootn Ruby by a head, with the favored Midsummer Delight a half-length back in third. In posting her second series victory and fourth win at the Downs this year, the bay daughter of Magical Mike bumped her lifetime bankroll to $50,975.

Trainer Howard Okusko, Jr. guided both Prolific Pacer and Wanda’s Choice to their triumphs, securing his seventh two-win outing of the meet.

(Vernon release)

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