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Vernon Feature To Bet The Ranch

Published: May 8, 2009 11:38 pm ET

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Bet The Ranch became the eight-night meet’s first three-time winner with a 1:58.3 pacing performance in Friday night’s $9,000 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.

Howard Okusko, Jr., the season’s top local dash-winning driver with 13 first-place finishes, did the teaming for his wife, Jessica, as Bet The Ranch raced gamely on the front end throughout the week’s Open test for female sidewheelers and had just enough grit at the finish to hold off the closing Miss Robin’s Magic by a neck. He paid $5.30 for the hard-earned score, his third in four current outings.

Friday’s tally was the 12th career win for the four-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight-Silksanddiamonds, who is shared in ownership by Edwin Gold and Conrad Zurich.

The pacer Bille Bella Chick followed suit in the $3,200 eighth event, chalking up her third Vernon victory of 2009 with an impressive 1:56.2 pace-setting triumph for driver Chris Lems, trainer Lonny Hale and the ownership duo of Dr. Michael Kessler and the Speed To Burn Racing Stable.

Bille Bella Chicks 6 1/2-length tally gave Lems 12 first-place finishes at the meet, and his third driving triple of the local campaign. He also won with the pacers New York Scooter, in 1:58.3 for trainer Wayne Hughes and the Vincent Fitch and Donald Rosenthal ownership contingent, and Alwaysgetsherway,in 1:56.3 for trainer Angus Mac Donald and owner Ralph Del Priore, Jr.

Mac Donald also steered Catherine Burton’s trotter Crown Rules (2:00.3) and Choke Hold (2:00.3), a trotter registered to Daniel Altman, Kevin Ciarpelli and the MGM Racing Stable, to first-place finishes. It marked the Vernon veteran’s third driving double of the meet.

(Vernon Downs)

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