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Winning becoming a hobby at Vernon Downs

August 22, 2007

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Josh Kinney’s claiming pacer Hobby Art Benka became the winningest harness horse after 52 current programs at Vernon Downs following a 1:54.2 triumph that proved to be the fastest mile on Tuesday evening.
Competing in the $3,500 sixth race, Hobby Art Benka scurried to the lead from the outside seven slot and just kept trucking en route to a six-length score, which was his second in a row, seventh at the meet and eighth on the current campaign. The steady-going 6-year-old gelding has posted two victories and a second-place finish since Kinney claimed him for $4,000 on July 31.


Hobby Art Benka’s driver, Josh Mark, took a 58-56 lead over Howard Okusko Jr. in Vernon’s dash-winning derby for 2007, completing a double during Tuesday’s nine-race program, his 11th at the meet.  The local product also scored with the pacer Camvicious for owner-trainer Lynn Whitmer and her partner, Charles Whitmer Jr.


Hobby Art Benka’s trainer, Lonny Hale is the track’s top race-winning conditioner thus far this season.


Driver Ruel (Dude) Goodblood Jr. also recorded a double during Tuesday’s action, his fifth of the meet. He won with Lew Miller’s trotter Berndt My But and the Double Lucky Stable’s pacer Dodi Dillon.


In non-betting divisions of the Kindergarten Classic Series for 2-year-old pacers prior to the program, Marks steered Duke Did It to a 1:56.1 victory for trainer Christopher Oakes in the colt/gelding contest, while Frank Antonacci piloted Foolish Kiss to a 1:56.2 triumph for trainer Paul Buer in the filly flight.


Owned by the Duke Did It Stable and Susan Oakes, the brown son of Bettor’s Delight earned his fourth win in five career outings, while Foolish Kiss, a bay daughter of Art Major, produced her maiden-breaking victory for the Lindy Racing Stable.


DOWNS DOINGS—Duke Did It is the meet’s fastest freshman colt off a 1:55 performance on Aug. 4, while Foolish Kiss missed the track’s 2007 standard for fillies (held by Cross Creek Kassie) by two-fifths of a second. The gelding pacer Sterling Rocket is the local campaign’s fastest freshman off a 1:54.2 mile on Aug. 4…Hobby Art Benka, currently carrying a $5,000 claiming tag, has changed hands three times at the meet (Vernon Downs)
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