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'Escapade' Bests Buck I St Pat's Mark


Published: September 9, 2011 11:43 pm ET

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Autumn Escapade lowered the track record for older trotting mares to 1:53.2 with her gate-to-wire victory in Friday night’s $25,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series at Vernon Downs.

With David Miller doing the teaming for trainer Jonas Czernyson in Friday’s eighth race, the third and final series preliminary round, favourite Autumn Escapade ($3.80) flashed fast foot from the start, trotting through splits of :28 seconds, :57.2 and 1:26 en route to a three-quarter length triumph over the closing Action Broadway. Pembroke Heat Wave finished third.

In addition to improving on the former 1:54.3 Downs standard for aged mares on the diagonal gait (set by Buck I St Pat in 2009), Autumn Escapade earned her third season’s score--second in the series--and 24th lifetime victory. The gritty performance by the brown daughter of Victory Sam-Winning Colors K raised her career bankroll to more than $731,249 for Miller and Misty Miller. It also resulted in the third fastest trotting mile in the track’s 58-year history.

Previous Miss Versatility leg winners in 2011 included Autumn Escapade in 1:52.3 at Tioga Downs on June 19 and Action Broadway in 1:52.3 at the Meadowlands on July 29. The series top point producers will compete in the Miss Versatility final at Delaware, Ohio later this month.

Two races later, Miller piloted the Ray Schnittker-trained Flex The Muscle ($2.50) to a 1:54.3 triumph in Vernon’s last event, just missing the track’s 1:54 record for four-year-old trotting horses (established by Winning Master in 2010). Gaining the lead after the quarter, the bay son of Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall continued on to a solid score over Play Right in the week’s $10,000 Open-1 contest. It marked the fourth season’s win and 17th lifetime victory for the career winner of more than $587,100, who is shared in ownership by Schnittker, Jerry Silva and the Arden Homestead Stable.

(Vernon Downs)

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