Defending points champion steers pacer to Downs win

VERNON — While Vernon Downs drivers Chris Lems and Rick Plano were competing in a determined driving duel on Thursday evening, defending points champion Jimmy Whittemore steered Harlem Rockturne to a 1:53.2 triumph during the $9,500 featured sixth race.

Whittemore, who is a three-time dash-winning champion at the Downs, got away third with Harlem Rockturne in the week’s Open for female pacers and then flashed to the front and finished first by one length. In securing her second score at the 21-program meeting, the 5-year-old pacer chalked up her 12th lifetime victory and raised her all-time earnings to more than $103,200.

Plano, currently second in both driving and training victories at the meet, captured first with Damian Carlos N, fourth with Misdori and eighth with Sweet Fancy Moses during three racing events, while Lems countered with first-place finishes behind Witch Trials in the second, Here Comes Doodles in the fifth and Dream State in the seventh session.