Vernon, N.Y. -- J A T O, the 4-year-old gelding who climbed rapidly from lower-level non-winners races to the Open ranks at Vernon Downs last fall, suffered his first defeat at the Miracle Mile in Friday (October 14) evening's featured $10,500 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Trot.
Despite a strong early push to the fore through a :27.3 initial quarter mile and a pressure-free :58.3 middle half, J A T O (Chris Lems) would ultimately be upended by pocket rival Waiting On a Woman ($3.10), who made his move off the pegs in mid-stretch and edged away to prevail by a length at the end of a 1:54.3 mile over fast going. J A T O held the runner-up spot, while Its Payday Friday (Ronnie Morales) sustained gradual uncovered gains to take third.
Waiting On a Woman was availed a clear trip throughout by local leading driver John MacDonald, lacking for racing room at no point in the mile. The 8-year-old Northern Bailey gelding captured his 56th career win for owner Michael Polansky and trainer Kyle Spagnola.
In the evening's sub-featured $7,900 distaff trot, Homer Hochstetler and Robert Buddig's Sweet Thing ($4.30) made every yard a winning one, holding sway of My Lucky Word for a 1:55 score. Fern Paquet, Jr. drove the 4-year-old Chocolatier mare for one of his three wins on the evening's 10-race card.
Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 15) with an 11-race card; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.