Vernon, NY --- Well Built, Skates N Plates, JK Molly, Bikini So Teeny and Bakersfield were all divisional winners in Friday night’s $88,844 John Simpson Memorial stakes for 2-year-olds at Vernon Downs.
Fotowon photo Well Built captured the opening division of the Simpson stake in 1:59.3 for driver Jim Meittinis.
In the $14,396 second division of the freshman colt and gelding trot, race three, Skates N Plates front-ended his way to a 1:56.3 score over the crowd’s choice, Starsaboveallerage, who finished a half-length back in second. It was the first career triumph for the bay son of Revenue S-Pleasure Skate, who now spots a 1-2-1 summary line and earnings of $26,233 in 13 outings for owner Robert J. Key. Chris Lems did the teaming for trainer Paul Reid.
JK Molly, who owns the fastest mile by a 2-year-old pacing filly here in 2013 on the strength of a 1:52.1 performance back on Sept. 6, secured her second Vernon victory and improved her performance line to 5-1-2 after 10 trips to the track following a 1:54 score in Friday’s $26,766 fifth contest. The tomboy filly advanced from second into the lead early in the mile and continued on to a front-ending 1:54 tally over the favorite, Ideal Helen. Roman Lopez did the piloting for trainer Ron Burke as the daughter of Art Major-Heather’s Western raised here career winnings to $128,766 for the 3 Brothers Stables.
Fourth choice in the wagering, Bikini So Teeny turned in a career-best 1:56.4 showing in race seven, the $27,366 filly trot. Trainer Charlie Norris was at the controls as the daughter of Yankee Glide-Momsgotitgoinon gained the upper hoof going to the half and continued on to record a head triumph over the second-choice, Ruby. The favorite, Annie’s List, ended up third. It marked the maiden victory for the bay filly, who also displays a pair of second-place finishes, a third and winnings of $29,149 after 11 starts for owners Carrie Norris, Neal Goldman and Harold “Bud” Coughlin.
In the $27,591 2-year-old male pace, race 10, the crowd’s pick, Bakersfield, raced like he was the best, and then proved it with a gate-to-wire 1:54 victory. Andy Miller did the honors for trainer Jimmy Takter as the quick-striding son of American Ideal-Ride The Skies dominated through splits of :28.4, :58.2 and 1:26.4 en route to a 1-1/4 length tally over second choice Beat The Drum. It was the third tally, coupled with a second and two third in 11 tries for the career-winner of more than $51,100, who is shared in ownership by the Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco and John Fodera.
In Friday’s $12,000 ninth race, the week’s Open trot, newcomer Picture This rallied from third entering the stretch drive and came on in a :28.4 final quarter to defeat The Triple Lindy by a neck. The fast-closing finish resulted in the fifth season’s score and the sixth lifetime win for the career-winner of more than $305,700, who is owned by Leonard Buckner.
The win behind Picture This gave trainer and driver Norris a triple during Friday’s 12-race program. Chris Lems logged his meet-leading 23rd double of Vernon’s 85-card campaign, while two win performances were also registered by Roman Lopez, and trainer/driver Claude Huckabone, III.