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Late Bloomers Repeat; Plano Wins Five

Published: October 6, 2012 12:27 am ET

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Helios, Celebrity Obsession and Miss Eva Cash were repeat winners in the $36,000 second round of the Late Bloomer Series for three and four-year-old trotters, while Spring Goal captured the evening’s $8,500 Junior Open Trot, and leading driver Rick Plano posted five wins during Friday’s 13-race program at Vernon Downs.

Helios, owned by the Little E LLC stable, remained unbeaten after three career starts following Friday’s 1:56.1 lifetime-best triumph for driver Chris Lems and trainer Jessica Okusko in the second (race four) of six $6,000 Late Bloomer divisions. Celebrity Obsesion earned a 1:56.2 victory in the final flight (race 12), with Plano doing the teaming for trainer Susanne Strandqvist and owner Sam Stathis. Miss Eva Cash claiming a career-best 1:57 tally, with John Stark Jr. doing the steering for trainer Sam Schillaci and the Second Chance Stable in the night’s 10th event.

Friday’s other first-place finishers in Late Bloomer competition were Pollux Blue Chip (1:56.1) in race two, Mystical Muscles (1:56.2) in event six, and Getinonthesecret (1:56.4) in the eighth attraction.

With Plano doing the piloting, Spring Goal closed with a flurry to gain a neck decision over newcomer Winning Fireworks in Friday’s ninth contest. Owned by Maryann Plano, Rick’s wife, the four-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Maragoal Miss maneuvered up from fifth at the half to second entering the payoff patch and then rallied to overtake the pacesetting favourite, A Penny Earned (who ended up third) and the on-rushing runner-up. It was the fifth season’s score (second at the Downs) and ninth all-time victory for the career-earner of $143,797.

Having attained five wins on a single Vernon program for the second time in 2012, Plano increased his local win count to 128 and his training tally to 67, thus gaining a one-win lead over defending conditioning champ Tracy Brainard.

Also snaring multiple wins during the track’s 78th program were drivers Lems (two victories), Claude Huckabone, III (two), Dan Daley (two), plus a pair of conditioning credits, and trainer Okusko (two).

Saturday’s 13-race line-up, which includes an $11,000 Open Pace in race one, will begin at 6:55 p.m., and includes a pumpkin giveaway, plus cider and donuts for all patrons attending (while supplies last).

(With files from Vernon Downs)

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