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Sir Lehigh Z Tam turned in the fastest performance among the 81 New York-bred two-year-old distaff standardbreds competing in Friday night’s $128,300 State Fair racing program at Vernon Downs.

With Pat Berry doing the teaming for trainer Richard Ringler in Friday’s eighth event, a division of the $63,900 frosh filly pace, Sir Lehigh Z Tam rallied from fifth in the early going, closed from second at the head of the payoff patch, and then caught and passed the pacesetting Know It All in deep stretch to earn a career-best 1:53 win mark.

It marked the second Vernon victory and the third tally in five lifetime starts for the steady-going daughter of Art Major-Moss Blue Chip, who is registered to Pat Lachance, Ira Rosenblum and the M&M Harness Racing contingent.

Friday’s other first-place finishers in the filly pace were: JK Songsunblue (Art Major-Song Bird) in 1:53.3; Greatdayforamerica (American Ideal-Seasational) in 1:54; Ritascape (Artiscape-Rita J) in 1:54.1; and Mollie Mile (American Ideal-Little Betty) in 1:55.2.

On the trotting side of the ledger, You Want Me gave noted catch-driver Jim Morrill Jr. his fifth win during Friday’s 11-race program after her maiden-breaking 1:57.1 performance in race nine. It was also one of three tallies during the track’s 59th program for trainer Paul Kelley. William Weaver, III and the Kelly Racing Stable own the black daughter of Credit Winner-Annette Hall, who also sports a pair of second-place finishes and a third in five official trips to the racetrack.

The other female tallies on the diagonal gait were recorded by: Winbak Farm Graduate, Palm Beach Chic (Conway Hall-Back On Track) in 1:57.3; Isabella Gal (Rc Royalty-Tango Hall) in 1:58.1; Americash Express (Cash Hall-Neon Hall) in 1:58.4; and Playful Credit (Credit Winner-Pinery) in 1:59.

Former Vernon regular Jeff Gregory piloted a pair of first-place finishers during Friday’s program, as did defending track driving champion Jimmy Whittemore.

Isabella Gal, who owns the season’s fastest mile by a 2-year-old filly trotter at the Downs (a 1:56.2 tally on July 26) is the winningest member of Friday’s State Fair performers with four first-place finishes in seven starts.

Also earning maiden victories during the evening were Aspidistra Hanover, Americash Express, Playful Credit, Greatdayforamerica, You Want Me and JK Songsungblue.

The Downs continues its State Fair racing weekend on Saturday with New York-bred competition for two-year-old colt/gelding trotters and freshman male pacers. Saturday’s 12-race card will begin at 6:55 p.m. Vernon will conclude State Fair weekend with its initial $25,000 leg of the sixth annual Driving Championship at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 26). Dave Palone is the early points-leader after the event’s first round that was held at The Meadowlands racetrack in New Jersey on Aug. 17. Sunday’s 13-race card will also include colt and filly flights of the $700,000 (est.) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial three-year-old trot, and a Jody Jamieson bobblehead doll giveaway.

(Vernon Downs)