by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
War Hero evades his rivals in Vernon trotting feature
Vernon, N.Y. -- After making an authoritative brush to the lead at race's midpoint, Howard Gill's War Hero ($5.60) edged clear of his four rivals, posting a 1:53 victory in Saturday (July 18) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.
A Penny Earned (Chris Lems), Mc Tiny's Hope (Ben McNeil), and Winding Hill (Truman Gale) all left more forcefully than the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding, who tracked from fourth through a :27 first quarter before his aggressive push clear midway on the backstretch. Just as A Penny Earned pulled the half back to :56.1, Jimmy Whittemore worked clear with War Hero and gradually opened on his foes. After posting a :27.3 third quarter, the Jessica Okusko trainee would ultimately amass a 2-1/2 length lead over A Penny Earned, scoring in 1:53. Distaffer Mc Tiny's Hope, while detached from the top pair off the far turn, finished an isolated third.
Whittemore earned a driving double on the 11-race card, as did John MacDonald.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (July 19) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.