Winbak News


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Unshakeable and Sharpshootennorris tied for top honors in Thursday night’s $9,000 featured sixth race at Vernon Downs.


Unshakeable, leaving from post six in the week’s Open 1 Trot, went right to the front for driver Howard Okusko Jr. and cut fractions of :28.1 to the quarter, :58.4 to the half and 1:27.3 at the third station. Sharpshootennorris, assigned the outside eighth slot, raced on the outside throughout the mile, advancing from sixth at the quarter to third around the final bend.


With driver Roman Lopez urging the gritty gelding on, Sharpshootennorris continued to grind it out in the stretch and finally drew even with Unshakeable at the finish to record the meet’s first dead heat for win.


The 1:55.4 clocking is the quickest at the Downs by a diagonally gaited performer through 10 programs, and a new win record for Unshakeable, who earned his second score in six current outings for trainer Jessica Okusko and the Howard Okusko Jr., Conrad Zurich and Purple Haze Stables ownership group.


It marked the third win in a row, second at Vernon, for Sharpshootennorris, a career winner of more than $239,000, who is shared in ownership by trainer Tracy Brainard and Gerard Stuchbury. His 1:56.3 triumph for Lopez here on May 1 was the previous fastest trotting mile of the season at the Downs.


With Jimmy Whittemore at the controls, Winbak Dream captured Thursday’s $6,000 fifth event, the week’s Open 2 trot. The steady-striding 4-year-old mare raced on the front end throughout, stopping the timer in 1:56.4 to attain her second win in succession and third in five current outings for trainer and co-owner Joseph Flynn and his partner, Edward Flynn. It marked the 10th lifetime tally for the career winner of $202,506.


Okusko, the meet’s top dash-winner, also won the ninth race with Jennifer Signor’s veteran trotter Double D Fine to record his 17th first-place finish and a meet-leading fourth driving double. Driver Bill Bailey also chalked up a pair of first-place finishes during Thursday’s 10-race program, as did owner Signor and trainer Jason Signor. (Vernon Downs)