The stalking pacer Forty Carrots rallied late to win Saturday night’s $8,000 featured seventh race at Vernon Downs.
Luke Plano, doing the catch-driving for trainer Ray Van Dreason for the first time, guided Forty Carrots ($16.80) into the two slot behind the pace-setting Mystical Valentine early in Saturday’s featured Winners Over contest. The determined duo then drafted along until the final furlong, where the five-year-old horse unleashed a strong closing kick that enabled him to defeat the mile cutter by a neck in a 1:52 mile.
Although Saturday’s score was the first locally this season for the bay son of Riverboat King-Mathamonics, it marked his 10th victory of 2012 and his 24th all time. The career earner of $267,599 is shared in ownership by Richard Clair and Lance Gordon.
The Plano family captured eight of Saturday’s 11 races. Father Rick collected six scores for the third time at the 40-program meeting, while son Luke landed in the winner’s circle on two occasions.
The elder Plano ended Vernon’s four-night live racing schedule with 10 triumphs and currently leads Chris Lems by 16 victories in the track’s 2012 driving derby. He also snared five training tallies during the week to pull within six scores of defending champ Tracy Brainard.
One of Rick Plano’s Saturday scores was for trainer Brainard, while two others were behind pacers owned by his wife, Maryann.
Luke Plano’s initial double at the meet came in races six (Rodeo Du Ruisseau) and seven.
In other action, Richelle Reynolds was named Miss Vernon Downs for 2012 in a promotional contest during Saturday’s program.