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Local favorite Diamond Stick Pin lowered the local season’s speed standard to 1:52 with his explosive victory in Saturday night’s $9,500 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs.

Off as the second wagering choice, Diamond Stick Pin rallied from third in the early going, began to challenge entering the homestretch and then closed with momentum to defeat the on-rushing Home Again Dragon by 1-1/2 lengths. 

Saturday’s score was the second in six season’s starts for the 6-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight-Silksndiamonds, who is shared in ownership by Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables.

Diamond Stick Pin’s 21st lifetime victory gave driver Chris Lems and trainer Jessica Okusko three first-place finished during Saturday’s 12-race card.

Okusko’s other win credits were provided by the pacer Major’s Centerfold (1:58.1) and trotter Belles Of Churton (2:01.4). Defending dash-winning champ Jimmy Whittemore also posted a hat trick during the track’s second pari-mutuel program.


Forty Carrots won the Saturday feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway for the second time in three weeks.

Kim Crawford trains and drives the 5-year-old pacer who showed early speed in the $17,500 Open and wound up sitting the pocket to the race’s odds-on favorite Sapphire City (Dan Cappello Jr).

Sapphire City set fast fractions, pacing to the half in 56 and was tested in the third quarter by a first-over Future Character (Rick Dane Jr).

All the while, Forty Carrots (Riverboat King) sat patiently in the pocket and moved into the passing lane in the stretch before coming on to win it in 1:53.

Future Character came on for second while Sapphire City held third.

Forty Carrots returned $8.80 to win in what was the seventh victory of the year for the Pompano Park-based pacer.