Grand Slam For Lutetium

Published: April 12, 2014 12:29 am EDT

Coming off three consecutive wins in the Open ranks at Buffalo, Lutetium proved a gutsy 1:52.4 winner by taking a lifetime mark in Friday’s opening night feature - the $10,000 Miracle Mile 1 Trot - at Vernon Downs.

The seven-year-old Credit Winner gelding stayed true to his past strategy, clearing and setting a strong tempo, posting a :26.4 first quarter before facing pressure on the far turn from a first-over Mc Tinys Hope (John MacDonald). Lutetium responded strongly, digging in through the stretch to stave off Mc Tinys Hope by 1-1/2 lengths in a dazzling 1:52.4 victory in rein to Aaron Byron. Mc Tinys Hope held second, with the pocket-sitting Grey Ice (Fern Paquet, Jr.) staying on for third.

Mark Laidlaw trains the 24-time winner for owner Colleen Girdlestone. Lutetium paid $5.30 to win.

Byron swept the evening’s featured events, scoring an 8-1 upset win with Rocks N Bagels in the $8,000 Miracle Mile 2 distaff pacers. in first-over fashion, beating a re-rallying Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) and the mid-race pacesetting Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.) in a lifetime best 1:53.

The Opening Night card paid tribute to long-time race caller Jim Moran, who retired after calling the first race of the 2014 season. After the first race, Moran was recognized in the winner’s enclosure by staff, management, horsemen, and local dignitaries.

(Vernon Downs)