It went down to the closing few strides for former Breeders Crown champion Corleone Kosmos to be caught in his return to racing action. The career winner of almost $2 million hadn't been been in a pari-mutuel event since last July 30 at The Meadowlands and he was the focus of the $14,000 weekly top class trotting feature on the Tuesday, April 6 program at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
Trainer Tom Haughton was in the bike and he moved the 9 year old S J's Photo-Rose Street Gal gelding to the lead at the quarter in 28.2. The 2008 Breeders Crown champion then posted the middle fractions of 57.3 and 1:26.1 with Keystone Thomas (Doug Brown) and Andover America (Bruce Ranger) lined up behind him.
On the final turn, Andover America was tipped out and a thrilling stretch drive ensued. Andover America was up in time to win in 1:54.2 over Corleone Kosmos, with pocket-sittler Keystone Thomas a very snug third on the inside.
"For Corleone Kosmos to be making that kind of comeback at nine years old is really something" winning driver Bruce Ranger said of his main foe in the event. "I was doubting whether I'd be able to catch Corleone Kosmos until really late in the stretch. It looked to me like 'Corleone' just got a little anxious in the
last couple strides and that's understandable since he's been away from the track for over eight months. Tommy (Haughton) had to take a hard hold in the last few yards when it looked to me like his horse tried to convert to the pace. No doubt about it he's a very classy horse. It's great to have owners in the game that would give their horse that kind of time off and Tom should be proud of the job he's done" Ranger added.
Even with Corleone Kosmos and last week's winner Keystone Thomas in the field, Andover America was sent off as the 1-5 favorite as a show of respect for Bruce Ranger. It was the 33rd career victory for Andover America and his first win in a month at the South Florida venue. The six year old Andover Hall-Armbro Array gelding is trained by Stewart Nemiro of the Ranger Stable for McTrade Enterprises of Davie, FL and this win pushed his career earnings to more than $310,000.
Micallef celebrates newborn daughter
On Wednesday morning, Pompano horseman Mike Micallef and his wife Anita celebrated the arrival of their second child, a baby girl weighing eight pounds. While mom and baby are reported to be doing well, Micallef himself was doing extremely well on the track on Wednesday evening.
The 38 year old horseman hailing from Dearborn Heights, MI has quickly become a nightly force in the South Florida driving and training colony in just his first full season since relocating from New York state. Micallef reined in three winners in the first six races of the Wednesday evening program.
Later this month, there's a one week pause in the action from April 17-24. Otherwise, post time is 7:05 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Tuesday cards are dropped for June and Monday programs are eliminated from the final month of the current meet in July. Free race night streaming and replays are available in the 'racing' tab
at www.theislepompanopark.com . (Pompano Park)