Vernon, N.Y. -- Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger's Lauxmont Capri ($10.20) pounced from the pocket to capture Saturday (November 5) evening's featured $7,900 Miracle Mile pacing event at Vernon Downs, and John MacDonald sewed up top trainer and driver honors for the 2016 season, which came to an end with a 12-race card.
The 6-year-old Red River Hanover gelding drafted behind 9-5 favorite Skip Jive (Jay Randall) through splits of :25.4, :54.2, and 1:23.1 before making his move just before cornering for home. Once Mike Merton moved Lauxmont Capri off the pegs, he pressed immediately and collared Skip Jive at the eighth pole, accelerating away and repelling a late bid from Modern Gesture (Truman Gale) to prevail by a length in 1:51.4. Skip Jive faded to third.
Gary Messenger trains 20-time winner Lauxmont Capri.
John MacDonald's 197 driving wins and 54 training wins through the season earned him top honors in both categories. MacDonald finished the meet 48 wins clear of the second-best driver Chris Lems and five clear of training runner-up Andy Gardner.
In the annual "Turn Back the Clock Rewind Race", contested clockwise over seven-eighths of a mile, Avogadro Hanover ($8.20) slid up the pegs after tracking a contested pace, reaching the lead in the last sixteenth of a mile and completing the single circuit in 1:40.3, a neck better than Ton of Luck (Merton) and the collared pacesetter Bring Them Home (Justin Huckabone).
The 2017 season at Vernon Downs is slated to begin in April; fans and horsemen alike are advised to consult www.vernondowns.com through the winter for updates.