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'Companion' Circles Top Vernon Pacers

Published: August 11, 2013 12:51 am ET

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Dorothy Zarza’s Northern Companion advanced from last to first to capture Saturday night’s $10,000 Open Pace feature at Vernon Downs.

Trainer Robert Hoffman was in the sulky as Northern Companion started out dead-last. The gritty five-year-old gelding stayed in sixth place through the half as the favourite JK Panache cut out the mile. The bay son of Cambest and Smoke It Out rallied three-wide from fourth around the final turn and kept on charging until he caught the determined pacesetter in the final sixteenth. He then zoomed on to a one and three-quarter length victory.

Saturday’s score was the fourth locally and the ninth this season for the career-winner of $160,532, who now sports 29 lifetime win-credits.

Leading driver Rick Plano posted four tallies during Saturday’s 13-race card, including a 1:52.1 triumph with the Maurice Bazinet-owned and trained sidewheeler Ideally Magic in the fourth race. It was the sixth win at the 48-program meeting for the rugged 11-year-old gelding, tops among representatives of the lateral gait, and tying the trotters Glorious Winner and Ulay Boko for most victories by equine performers at the 2013 meeting through Aug. 10.

John MacDonald, a newcomer to the Downs this season, recorded his 12th driving double of the track’s 60th anniversary campaign.

(Vernon Downs)

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