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Racing Roundup: Artic Byrd surges late to win at Vernon Downs
Thursday, July 10, 2014 - from harness publicists across North America

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Thursday's (July 10) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Vernon Downs, Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Artic Byrd surges late to win at Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY --- Artic Byrd (Art Major-Tundra Bird) rallied past the heavily favored De Vin Girl to score a win in the $8,000 feature race at Vernon Downs on Thursday night.

Fotowon photo
Artic Byrd was a 1:52 winner in the Vernon feature.

De Vin Girl (Rick Plano) was sent off at 1-9 by the bettors and led throughout the first three-quarters of a mile, setting solid fractions of :26.4 for the quarter, :55.1 for the half, and 1:23.4 for three-quarters. However, Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) managed to stay right with De Vin Girl during the early part of the race and was in prime position to overtake the leader as the field entered the stretch.

Artic Byrd produced a sustained drive through the stretch and made the lead with an eighth of a mile remaining, eventually winning in a final time of 1:52.

Artic Byrd now has a two-race win streak at Vernon Downs. She is owned by Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell. Truman Gale doubles as the trainer.

The complete order of finish was Artic Byrd, De Vins Girl, Upfront Secret, Always Flash-n and Asset Management.

The win in the feature race was part of an excellent start to the program for driver Truman Gale. He won the first race with Campanile Hanover in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:52.4 and followed that with the win in the feature. Gale then completed the hat trick with favored Blue Skies Craze in the third race, winning in 2:00.1.

Jimmy Whittemore also picked up a win on Thursday night with That's My Dream in the sixth race to continue his march to 1,000 lifetime victories. Whittemore currently has 994 wins for his career.

-- Michael Chamberlain

Northfield Park
Sparkling Yankee crossed the finish line faster than any mare in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open in 1:52 on Thursday. The clocking is a new track record for 5-year-old and up pacing mares, breaking the 1:52.1 set by Don’t Blame Her (Dan Noble) in 2011. Joseph J. Miller and Michael Yoder own Sparkling Yankee. Miller also trains the 6-year-old and called upon Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for the winning drive. Sparkling Yankee (Yankee Cruiser-Northmedo Tam) started from post four. She was content in fourth through the :26.1 and :54 sizzling initial fractions. Wrenn pulled Sparkling Yankee to the outside and she sustained a successful first-over bid through times of 1:22.4 and 1:52. The clocking placed her two lengths clear of her closest competitor at the finish. Sparkling Yankee now has nine wins in 22 starts this year. Thursday’s victory represents her 21st career score and bolstered her bankroll to $95,101. She returned $5.80 to win. She was one of five winners on the night for Ronnie Wrenn Jr.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway
That’s A No No (Keystone Nordic) continued the winning ways in what has been a sensational season for Jordan Derue at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. A previous Johnny Page Award winner for up-and-coming driver, Derue is having a breakout season as a trainer in 2014 and currently sits atop the trainer standings at the Spa. The 23-year-old horseman has ten more wins than his closest competitor in the standings (Heidi Rohr) and lengthened that lead just a bit on Thursday night. Derue purchased That’s A No No privately last month and has had a nice stretch with the 7-year-old since dropping him into the bottom level claimer. Last week, That’s A No No overcame post eight to become the pocket rocket for Derue and on Thursday went right out to the early lead despite once again starting from the outside post. That’s A No No faced a two-pronged challenge in the stretch but dug in to prevail in 1:59 for a seasonal mark in the $4,200 claiming event. Derue, who now has 50 wins locally as a trainer this season, has a training average just shy of .400.

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