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EBC Winners Lower Vernon Records

Published: June 9, 2012 12:37 am ET

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The superiority of New York-bred three-year-old trotters For A Dancer and Archangel was again apparent on Friday night at Vernon Downs by virtue of the fact that each was a track record-breaking winner in this season’s $472,750 Empire Breeders Classic divisional events.

For A Dancer remained undefeated in four season’s starts (two at Vernon) with a career-best 1:54 effort in the $239,500 EBC filly flight, while Archangel lowered his win mark for the second straight week with a sizzling 1:53.1 triumph in the $233,250 EBC colt clash.

Former Downs regular Jeff Gregory was again behind the favourite For A Dancer ($3.40) in Friday’s sixth session as the bay daughter of Conway Hall-Fluttering Wings followed Borrow And Spend off the starting gate, took the lead before the half, reached in :57.4, and continued on to a two-length tally over the closing Fortunista. It was the 12th score (coupled with a second and a third-place finish) in 15 lifetime starts for the career-winner of $436,879, who is trained by Joe Holloway and owned by the Bluestone Farms. She trimmed one-fifth of a second off the former 1:54.1 Vernon standard for her class, which was set by George Steinbrenner’s Personal Banner in the 1996 Breeders Crown final.

Archangel ($3.10), who has collected three of his four straight victories over Vernon’s seven-eighths-mile oval, improved his current record to four wins and a second-place finish in five starts with a lifetime-fastest 1:53.1 showing in race nine. The black son of Credit Winner-Michelles Angel was eased off the gate in fourth place by driver Jim Morrill Jr., took the lead with a sweeping overland move in the second quarter, and, when challenged by the pocket-sitting Coraggioso in the final furlong, accelerated to a one and three-quarter length triumph. The time clipped three-fifths of a second off the previous Downs standard that Archangel has posted with an elimination tally on June 1. The career winner of $288,701 now sports seven scores in 18 lifetime outings for part-owner/trainer Peter Arrigenna and his partners, Alan C. Hainsworth and Clare M. Semer.

Friday’s $9,500 seventh race, the week’s Open Trot, was captured by newcomer Speed Bomb, who earned a fresh win ark and established a Vernon record for aged trotting horses with his eye-popping 1:53.3 gate-to-wire victory. Jason Bartlett drove for trainer Ron Burke, the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the JJK Stable and Phillip Collura as the speedy nine-year-old bay son of Master Lavec-Mighty J C recorded his 41st lifetime score (third this term) and increased his all-time winnings to $821,428.

The previous 1:55.1 local speed standard for older trotting horses was set by Fight Cheer in 1999 and equalled by John Pauls Legacy in 2010.

Driver Rick Plano won four of Friday’s 12 races and chalked up three training tallies, while Gregory and Morrill, Jr. each piloted a pair of first-place finishers.

(Vernon Downs)

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