by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity
May 2014 Hoof Beats cover girl, Precocious Beauty, will be one of many stars to be on the track on Friday night at Vernon Downs. The Friday program includes three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, as well as eliminations for the Empire Breeders' Classic for three-year-old colts and three-year-old fillies. The stars will also be in the bikes on Friday night with the likes of Tim Tetrick, David Miller, Jim Morrill Jr., Matt Kakaley, and many others coming into Vernon to drive on the twelve-race program.
Precocious Beauty makes her official return to the races for 2014 on Friday night after participating in Qualifiers at Pompano Park in April and Mohawk Raceway in May. The imposing filly is owned by James Avritt Sr. of Lexington, Kentucky, trained by Gregg McNair and will be driven by Douglas Mcnair on Friday night. Precocious Beauty is hoping to recapture her 2013 form, which saw her win divisional honors for two-year-old female pacers at the Dan Patch Awards last season. She was a winner in seven of eleven starts last year, including a victory in the She's A Great Lady Stakes, earning purses of $446,692.
Precocious Beauty has been installed at 5-2 on the morning line in Friday's seventh race, but she appears to have plenty of competition coming her way from Blush Hanover, to be driven by Tim Tetrick. Blush Hanover has three wins in four career starts, two at Harrah's Philadelphia and has also scored a win and a second in two tries at The Meadowlands.
In the other two New York Sire Stakes divisions to be run on Friday night, morning-line favoritism goes to the horses on the rail. The 5-2 favorite in Race 8 is Sweetnsinful, driven by Jimmy Whittemore. Sweetnsinful is owned by Connie and Homer Hochstetler of Crete, Illinois and James Michels of Muncie, Indiana. Homer Hochstetler doubles as the trainer of Sweetnsinful. She was the winner of the Madison at Hoosier Park last October and paced a Qualifier at Vernon Downs on May 16 in 1:58.2. The favorite in Race 9 is Medusa, also listed at 5-2. Medusa is owned W.J. Donovan of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, trained by Paul Kelley and will be driven by Chris Lems, who was at the controls for all four impressive wins the filly has registered this season at Vernon Downs.
The Empire Breeders' Classic eliminations also are on the docket for Friday night at Vernon Downs. There are two eliminations for each division. The 7-5 morning-line favorite for the first division of three-year-old colt trotters is Lukas Hall, runner-up in the Simpson at The Meadowlands on May 9 and runner-up in a New York Sire Stakes race at Tioga Downs on May 23. Lukas Hall is owned by former New York Jets Wide Receiver Wayne Chrebet of Colts Neck, New Jersey and Little E LLC of New York, New York. Little E LLC is owned by Vernon Downs owner, Jeff Gural. The second division of three-year-old colt trotters is led by 9-5 choice, Expressive Action, winner of a New York Sire Stakes race on May 23 at Tioga Downs.
Expressive Action is owned by John Grasso Stable Inc. of Hawthorne, New York. Grasso is also the trainer, while the driver on Friday night is Mike Simons.
The three-year-old fillies also have two eliminations on Friday. A winner of a New York Sire Stakes race at Vernon Downs on May 17, Lady With Credit, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first division. Lady With Credit earned her first career win with that Sire Stakes score in 1:55.1. She is owned by White Birch Farm of Allentown, New Jersey, and trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer. The second division also features a New York Sire Stakes winner from this season at Vernon Downs. Glowngold is 6-5 on the morning line off of a two and a quarter length win in 1:56.1 on May 17. Glowngold is owned by the Andy Miller Stable of New Jersey, S. Demeter and Blue Chip Bloodstock, both of New York, and Highland Green Farms of Florida.
The Finals for the Empire Breeders' Classic races will be run as part of a special Sunday night program on June 8, which will also include the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers.The twelve-race program will kick off at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a first post time of 6:45pm.