by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
Express Jet leads MacDonald grand slam
Vernon, N.Y. -- John MacDonald was the star of the Friday (July 24) night show at Vernon Downs, winning four races on the evening's 11-race card. In addition to victories aboard Elettrizzante ($12.00, 1:57.3), Martinique ($3.10, 1:53.3), and Table Games ($3.30, 1:54.1), the 33-year-old reinsman teamed up with Express Jet ($9.90) in the evening's featured $7,000 conditioned distaff pace.
Away the best in a field of six, Express Jet ceded the lead to Southwind Serenity (Truman Gale) after a :27.4 initial quarter, drafting comfortably from the pocket with no shortage of racing room through the race's middle stages. As Southwind Serenity accelerated off the far turn through three-quarters in 1:25, Express Jet worked to stay in close pursuit. In mid-stretch, the 6-year-old Jereme's Jet mare took the lead from the longtime pacesetter, edging clear and subsequently holding off the late-charging Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) by three-quarters of a length for a 1:53.1 triumph.
MacDonald, who recorded a training double in addition to his driving grand slam, trains Express Jet for the J P Stables and Crawford Partners, LLC.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (July 25) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.