09/05/2012 10:11AM

Vernon Downs: Credit Winner, Muscle Hill lack big fields, but not classy trotters

Ken Weingartner
Chapter Seven, who has won 4 of 5 this year, comes into the Credit Winner off a six-length victory in the Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

It is a case of quality over quantity at Vernon Downs on Friday night (Sept. 7). Although the track was offering $200,000 (Credit Winner) for older trotters and $191,000 (Muscle Hill) for aged trotting mares, only four and seven, respectively, dropped in the entry box for the two big events.

Despite the short 4-horse field, the Credit Winner packs some power. Three of the four combatants are millionaires and Hot Shot Blue Chip is a second-place finish away from reaching that plateau.

Chapter Seven headlines the quartet. The 4-year-old son of Windsong’s Legacy has won four of his five starts in 2012 while banking $506,475. He is coming off a dominating six-length victory in the Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia and is one start removed from a world-record-tying 1:50 1/5 mile in the Nat Ray at the Meadowlands.

Tim Tetrick will take his regular seat in the bike and line up in post three for trainer Linda Toscano.

“With the shorter field, you’re going to have all the horses right there bunched together, so you can’t make any mistakes,” said Tetrick to Ken Weingartner of Harness Racing Communications. “It’s going to be a more compact field and there are going to be fewer scenarios.”

The leading money winner ($757,543) in the field is Mister Herbie (post 4). The Jeffrey Gillis trainee has split two decisions with Chapter Seven and hooks up with that foe for the first time since the Nat Ray. Mister Herbie is fresh off an easy win in the Frank Ryan at Rideau Carleton.

Rounding out the field from post two is the elder statesman of the bunch, Arch Madness. The 8-year-old triple millionaire has not been seen in pari-mutuel action since July 21, but is coming off two sharp qualifiers at the end of August.

The field hardly matches the quality of the Credit Winner, but the Muscle Hill lured seven quality mares vying for a win and a chance to get in the picture for divisional year-end honors.

Despite coming off a lackluster effort, Cedar Dove should be the likely favorite come post time. The 4-year-old mare starts from post six with substitute driver Tetrick in the bike filling in for Ron Pierce, who is racing at The Meadows on Friday.

“I’ve watched her plenty,” Tetrick told Weingartner. “I already kind of know what Ronnie likes to do with her and hopefully if I kind of do the same thing it will work out. Watching horses, I learn how to beat them and how not to beat them, and if I do get to drive them, not change too much that throws them out of their routine.”

Cedar Dove has only missed the board once in 10 starts this year while amassing $208,637 for trainer Noel Daley.

The top 2012 earner in the field is Pembroke Heat Wave ($280,766). The Mark Ford student made most of her money in the $368,480 Armbro Flight at Mohawk in June and has the same number of wins as Cedar Dove with 11 more starts. Although her record is far from stellar, a win on Friday would have to stamp Pembroke Heat Wave (post 4) as the queen trotter so far this year.

Action-Broadway (post 7) is an interesting mare who could warrant some attention. Although the $500K-plus earner from last season hasn’t been able to get over the top versus stakes foes this year, her closing style is much more conducive to a larger track like the seven-eighths surface at Vernon.

Another with a strong closing kick is Beatgoeson Hanover. Starting from the cones, the Nifty Norman trainee is coming off a win last time in the Miss Versatility at Tioga where she beat all of the previously mentioned mares.

Longshots Four Damsals (post 2), Magic Wheel (post 3), and Unefoisdansmavie (post 5) complete the field.

The Credit Winner is scheduled as race 6 and the Muscle Hill as race 8 on the 10-race card at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. Post time is 6:55 P.M.