Vernon, N.Y. -- Connie Hochstetler's Southern Girl ($9.00) earned her fourth win in five starts in the featured $7,500 Mares Miracle Mile Pace on Thursday (June 23) evening at Vernon Downs.
Chris Lems wasted no time with the 4-year-old Sportsmaster mare, posting a :26.4 first quarter to clear Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) and Looney Dune (Ben McNeil). Southern Girl controlled the pace through middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25, beginning to accelerate clear of her five rivals with a quarter mile remaining. She was kept to task as she sped up through a :27.2 closing frame, amassing enough clearance in upper stretch to hold clear of the late-rallying odds-on favorite All Charged Up (John MacDonald) by 1-3/4 lengths for a 1:52.2 win. The Filly Princess (Andy Gardner) held third after sustaining mild first-over gains.
Homer Hochstetler trains Southern Girl, now a nine-time winner. For Lems, the featured win was one of three on the nine-race card, as he also teamed up with Patton ($2.80, 1:59.3) and Royal Promise ($7.00, 1:59).
No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a carryover of $578.25 to Friday's (June 24) card. The first of 11 races at the Miracle Mile is slated for 6:45 p.m.