Vernon, N.Y. -- A pocket trip off intensifying pace pressure suited A Penny Earned ($4.70) well on Saturday (June 18) night, as he struck the front late to just prevail in the featured $8,500 Miracle Mile/Open Trot at Vernon Downs.
Chris Lems achieved the early lead with the 7-year-old Conway Hall gelding, but yielded the pacesetting duties to Winding Hill (Jimmy Whittemore) just after a :27.3 initial quarter. After a :57 half, A Penny Earned found himself boxed on the far turn as Walk the Floor (Angus MacDonald) pressed a :28.2 third-quarter from first-over and 5-4 favorite Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) slid out to follow that live cover.
After cornering, Lems found a seam up the pegs with A Penny Earned, rallying into the lead with 70 yards to go, ultimately collaring Winding Hill for a 1:54.1 triumph. Lucid Thoughts chased off cover to just take third from the leveled-off Walk the Floor.
Trainer George Ducharme co-owns A Penny Earned with Alfred Ross, Paul Fontaine, and Nicola Oliva.
Dan Daley and Truman Gale led all drivers with two wins each on the 11-race card.
A special Sunday (June 19) night card completes the racing week at Vernon Downs, with the Empire Breeders Classic trotting finals sharing top billing on the 10-race card. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.