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Cup champion Lord Cromwell has the biggest win in his division so far this year, but he will have his hands full on Memorial Day (Monday afternoon) when he takes on last year’s New York Sire Stakes champion Devious Man in the second (race 6) of three divisions of the NYSS for three-year-old colt trotters at Vernon Downs. Each carries a purse of just under $40,000.


“He was a little immature last year,” said Lord Cromwell’s trainer, Ed Hart. “He had some medical issues. We gelded him in late spring but he had complications from that. It was just a variety of things. But he had shown some flashes of brilliance, so I turned him out over the winter for three or four months. He’s not a big horse so he gets around a half super. That’s his forte, quick speed. But he did surprise me that day.”


That day was the May 6 Dexter at Freehold, where Lord Cromwell’s dexterity served him well as he negotiated the half-mile track to the tune of a resounding 5-1/4 length score in 1:55. The son of Chapter Seven departs from Post 3 with Jason Bartlett driving and is 9-2 on the morning line.


“He’s not a big powerful horse and that worries me a little bit,” said Hart. “But he’s got a heart of gold and I’ll think he’ll be OK.”


Off a marvelous 2016 campaign that saw him win seven-of-12 starts -- including the NYSS Final -- and earn $308,233, Devious Man is the one Lord Cromwell will be going after in the sixth race (division two). The son of Credit Winner, who will be making his first start of 2017, established his lifetime-best of 1:53.2 at Lexington in the International Stallion Stakes on October 6 of last year. He is the 2-1 early choice from Post 4 for the trainer-driver team of Julie and Andy Miller.


In the first division (race 4), Bills Man is 5-1 on the early line from post 2 with Corey Callahan driving, but figures to be shorter at post time off a good-looking 1:53.2 score at the Meadowlands. “He faced older stock (last week) and won,” said trainer John Butenschoen of his Credit Winner progeny. “He had a good winter, his qualifiers went well and he did what we were hoping for in his first two starts of the year.”


The George Ducharme-trained Stick With Me Kid is the 9-5 favourite with Brian Sears in the bike. The Deweycheatumnhowe product, who will leave from Post 5, has won three times in 12 lifetime starts and has hit the board on 10 occasions.


Enterprise tops the third division in the ninth race for trainer Marcus Melander. The son of Chapter Seven will leave from Post 4 with Sears driving and is listed as the 2-1 favourite. The lightly-raced colt has won all three of his lifetime starts, including his two outings this year at the Meadowlands (on April 21 and May 5) in identical clockings of 1:54.2.


Post time at Vernon Downs on Monday is 1:05 p.m.