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Huckabone Scores First Pari-Mutuel Win

Published: April 14, 2013 12:17 am ET

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Lulus Boy paced the fastest mile of the fledgling harness season, while provisional driver Justin Huckabone earned his initial pari-mutual victory on Saturday night (April 13) at Vernon Downs.

Competing in the 10th event on Saturday’s 13-race card, Lulus Boy battled to a 1:52.1 score that made him the quickest of 23 winners during opening weekend of the track’s 60th season.

With newcomer John MacDonald doing the steering over a “good” track, Lulus Boy raced out to the early lead and then drafted along behind Checkinthebox, who showed the way through the middle portion of the mile. The hard-hitting six-year-old gelding eventually roared back to the front in the stretch and drew off for a three and a quarter length triumph.

It marked the initial victory in four current outings for the quick-footed son of Art Major-DDI, who is owned and trained by Ronald MacDonald of Russell, Ont.

John MacDonald also won the previous race with the Andy Gardner-owned and trained pacer Sadler Hanover (1:55.2).

Huckabone, an 18-year-old son of long-time Vernon veteran Claude Huckabone Jr., guided his pacer Powerful Love to a 1:57.3 career-best score in Saturday’s last event. The third-generation horseman urged the four-year-old pacing mare to the front entering the final quarter and on to a solid one length tally, her first in seven seasonal starts. Justin's dad conditions the bay daughter of Artiscape-Time Power.

Driver Roman Lopez, who earned a double on Friday night, recorded the first driving triple of the meeting on Saturday, scoring with the pacers Shaolin Master (1:57.4), Veto Hanover (1:53.1) and trotter Hold On Tightly (1:59). The 53-year-old horseman leads all drivers and trainers in first-place finishes after two Vernon programs.

Defending driving and training champ Rick Plano also posted a pair of tallies during Saturday’s competition.

(With files from Vernon Downs)

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