by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
Not only was Lady Clarabella ($5.90) the fastest among five $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary winners on Friday (October 17) evening at Vernon Downs, but she also established a new track record for two-year-old trotting fillies.
The daughter of Lear Jetta proved a handy winner in 1:54.2, protecting the lead early from A List Lindy (Charlie Norris), and controlling the terms through stout early fractions of :27.1 and :56.3. On the far turn, she faced some pressure from Gold Cora (Mike Simons), who circled three-wide en route to the far turn before challenging. Lady Clarabella responded well, kicking clear by four in mid-stretch before she was taken in hand by David Miller for a 2-1/2 length triumph. Sarcy (Marcus Miller) rallied late to take second, while Gold Cora faded late.
Randy Beeckman trains Lady Clarabella for Paul Kinnear and Dreamland Farms.
Lady Clarabella's 1:54.2 trotting mile was one-fifth of a second faster than that of prior record holder Ma Chere Hall, who was the evening's $10,000 Open Trot winner.
Now a four-year-old, Ma Chere Hall ($2.50) pushed clear of Pounce K (John MacDonald) in a :26.3 first quarter, controlling the pace throughout before edging clear to a 2-1/4 length win under David Miller. The Jonas Czernyson trainee beat A Penny Earned (Chris Lems) and Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) in a powerful 1:52.4 effort.
The other four Kindergarten Classic winners on the evening were colts True Blue Stride ($14.00, John Campbell, 1:56.4) and Dapper Don ($47.00, Campbell, 1:56), while fillies Lindy Land ($18.40, Campbell, 1:56.1) and Sweet Thing ($3.70, 1:55.3, Charlie Norris) proved victorious.
The top point-earners through the five preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic series are eligible to the finals, to be held on Saturday, November 1.
Live racing returns to Vernon on Saturday (October 18) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.