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Northern Companion Prevails At Vernon

Published: June 16, 2013 6:54 pm ET

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Northern Companion charged to a favourable result in Sunday afternoon’s Open Handicap Pace, while drivers Rick Plano, Jimmy Whitmore and trainer Lonny Hale also got to celebrate a successful Father’s Day at Vernon Downs.

Competing in Sunday’s $10,000 feature pace, Northern Companion battled briefly with the favourite Special Strides going to the quarter before taking charge at the half and continuing on to a head victory over the on-rushing P J Lucky in 1:51 flat.

Sunday’s score was the second locally, but the seventh this season for the speedy son of Cambest. He now sports 27 career wins and total earnings of $140,752. Trainer Robert Hoffman handled the bay battler for owner Dorothy Zara.

Defending driving champ Plano posted four wins on a Vernon card for the third time this season, winning the first, second, seventh and eighth events to take a 44-39 lead over Roman Lopez in the 2013 dashes-won derby. The 61-year-old horseman also added a training tally to earn a 19-18 advantage over his chief driving rival on the current condition chart after 24 programs.

Whitmore, a multiple Downs driving champ, followed suit with first-place finishes in Sunday’s third, fourth, ninth and 11th events to secure his initial four-win performance of the track’s 60th campaign.

Former Vernon conditioning champ Hale harnessed winners in races three, five and six, lifting his meet total to 16 and moving into third place in year’s trainer standings.

Leahs Ex earned her third straight local score with a come-from-behind 1:55.1 triumph in Sunday’s $8,000 Open 2 Trot. Whitmore did the steering for trainer Angus MacDonald and owner Neal Chilton.

A 1:54.1 tally by How Forever Feels in race three enabled the 14-year-old pacer to tie Candace Star at four for the most consecutive victories by a representative of the lateral gait through June 16

(With files from Vernon Downs)

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