The John F. Simpson Memorial stakes, a Grand Circuit event for two-year-old pacers and trotters, will make a stop at Vernon Downs on Friday, November 1.
The freshman trotting colts will start the show in Races 1 and 3, dubbed the ‘Super Bowl,’ with a pair of five-horse fields each for a purse of $13,271. Trainer Chris Ryder has a Muscle Hill contender in each division and has an ownership position in both.
Well Built has had a consistent if unspectacular campaign and broke his maiden in a Vernon overnight event just last week. Jim Meittinis is listed to drive the colt on Friday evening for Ryder and partner Robert Mondillo.
Muscle On In is the more accomplished of Ryder's pair, having won the Harold Dancer Memorial and NJ Futurity at Freehold this fall. He has earned more than $60,000 for the partnership of Ryder and Mondillo along with Max Wernick. Chris will drive this one from Post 4 in the abbreviated field.
Trotting fillies will battle for $25,716 in purses in Race 7, named for the grand dame Davidia Hanover, where Ruby looks like the one to beat. She is an Explosive Matter filly trained by Erv Miller for Patrick Quaid and James Bafia who comes to the Simpson off a solid fourth in the Breeders Crown final. Meittinis catches the drive on her from the advantageous Post 2.
The ‘Bret Hanover’ (Race 10) is comprised of six pacing colts and geldings racing for $25,341. Beat The Drum is a Tell All colt who won a few stakes this summer, including the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs and took a 1:53 record winning a NJSS leg at the Meadowlands Racetrack. He's made just shy of $90,000 for trainer Staffan Lind who owns him in partnership with Bender Sweden, Inc. Jim Meittinis has the drive on the morning line choice as well.
The filly pace, christened the ‘Razzle Hanover,’ boasts a competitive field of six with JK Molly and Ideal Helen the most accomplished.
JK Molly was a factor all summer in the NYSS program, earning over $115,000 and took a fast 1:52.1 mark right here at Vernon in early September for owners the 3 Brothers Stable. Ron Burke trains and Roman Lopez has the drive on the Art Major lass.
Ideal Helen has had a successful season in the Garden State with seven wins and nearly $120,000 earned for owner/breeder D. R. Van Witzenberg. She counts the Review Stakes, NJ Futurity and Babic Filly Stake among her conquests while in the care of Erv Miller. Chris Lems will plot her course from the outside.
First-race post time on Friday at Vernon is 6:45 p.m. The Vernon season is winding down with just one more weekend of live racing to go.
(With files from Vernon)