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Royalty For Life Wins His Hambo Prep

Published: July 28, 2013 12:36 am ET

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Chris Lems enjoyed a stupendous Saturday night at Vernon Downs, logging five first-place finishes, including feature race wins with the highly-regarded sophomore trotter Royalty For Life in the $13,200 Preferred Handicap and the fleet-footed pacer JK Panache in the week’s $10,000 Open event.

The five victories tied Lems with Rick Plano and Roman Lopez for most driving victories on a single Vernon program through July 27.

The 26-year-old horseman started his brilliant evening with a front-striding, 1:53 Preferred victory behind the George Ducharme-trained Royalty For Life in Saturday’s third race that tied the fastest mile by a diagonally-gaited performer at the 42-program meeting. The four and three-quarter length triumph by the bay son of Rc Royalty served as a solid tune-up for an expected start in the prestigious 88th Hambletonian Stake at the Meadowland Racetrack on Aug. 3. Saturday’s score was the second this season and the ninth all-time for the career-winner of $494,438, who is shared in ownership by Alfred Ross, Raymond Campbell, and Paul Fontaine.

Following a win behind his pacer Mackenzies Bliss in race seven, Lems urged the laterally-gaited speedster JK Panache on to an exciting 1:51.3 victory (good track) in Saturday’s 10th event. It marked the fastest mile of the rainy night, and the sixth season’s score for the track record-holder (four-year-old geldings), who is owned by trainer Dave Dewhurst and Philip Hale.

Lems completed his awesome evening with victories behind Linda Manzi’s pacer Touch Of The Past (1:53.2) in race 11, and the John Minckler-leased and trained side-wheeler Speed Skater (1:56) in race 12.

In addition to Lems’s heroics, leading pilot Plano picked up two win credits, as did driver John MacDonald and trainer Dewhurst.

(Vernon Downs)


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