08/25/2013 9:23PM

Vernon: Royalty For Life back on top after Zweig victory

Lisa Photo
Royalty For Life rated kind fractions in his Zweig victory.

Royalty For Life got back on his game on Sunday night with authority. The Hambletonian winner added the $360,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs to his list of sophomore stakes victories, overcoming post nine in the process.

Brian Sears had Royalty For Life on the gate and moved swiftly to gain control through a :27 1/5 opening panel. With Colonial winner Spider Blue Chip making a break early, Royalty For Life was able to stall the half in a leisurely :58 flat.

Pine Credit made a long uncovered bid to challenge Royalty For Life as the pace accelerated in the third quarter. Once Royalty For Life passed the three quarters in 1:26 he sprinted off from the field.

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Corky, an early leader and in the pocket behind the winner much of the way, rallied late for second with Pine Credit holding resolutely for third.

Royalty For Life boosted his career earnings above $1.2 million for trainer George Ducharme and owners Alfred Ross, Raymond Campbell and Paul Fontaine.

The winner returned $4.70 as the 6-5 betting favorite in the field of nine.

“Behind the gate he was a little extra quiet tonight,” said winning driver Brian Sears. As for marching to the half in a pedestrian :58 seconds Sears offered, “we stole it.”

Earlier in the card Mistery Woman captured the $150,000 Zweig Memorial for three-year-old trotting fillies. The daughter of Donato Hanover followed live cover behind To Dream On down the backstretch and exploded in the stretch to surge past entrymate Shared Past in the deep stretch.

The race unfolded with Royal Assets and driver Ray Schnittker forcing early holes through a :26 2/5 opening quarter. Shared Past and driver Dave Palone made what appeared to be the winning move before the half and controlled the action through fractions of :55 3/5 and 1:23 3/5. Shared Past took off from the field at headstretch but proved powerless to stall Mistery Woman.

Mistery Woman, driven by Dave Miller, won for the third time this season in a personal best 1:52 1/5. Part of a three-play entry, the winner returned $3.60.

Shared Past finished second with Frau Blucher going a long trip for third.

Winning trainer Jonas Czernyson said following the race that the filly would be pointed towards the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final.

Jim Marohn Jr. captured the first leg of the “Drivers’ Championship” with two wins and a second among the four races on the program. The Tioga Downs leading reinsman scored with Bullet Speed in the evening’s fourth race and then came back with Mc Tiny’s Hope in the fifth race.

Marohn earned the $10,000 prize for winning the Vernon leg.

Tim Tetrick and Jody Jamieson scored wins in the other two “Drivers’ Championship” events. Marohn earned 27 points for his efforts with Jamieson finishing in second with 20 points.

The final and deciding leg of the championship will be contested at Tioga Downs on Monday, September 2.