Commander K, smartly driven by Joe Pavia Jr., was sent to the lead as the gate's wings folded and wired the competition for the second straight week in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Trot on Wednesday night.
Owned by trainer Luca Derrico, the 5-year-old gelded son of Ken Warkenton carved out panels of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25 before digging in late to hold off the surging even-money favorite, Andover America, driven by Bruce Ranger, by three parts of a length in 1:54.4.
I'll Tell You What (Ingraham) was a fast closing third while Blushing Hanover and Spring Goal picked up the final two checks.
"He's got great gate speed,” said Pavia, "and he likes to dig in at the end of a mile…a great quality in any racehorse!”
Derrico claimed Commander K for $22,000 in late September and, in the nine starts he has had him, he's banked $23,700—about half of that in the past week.
Pavia added, "This horse seems to love being in the thick of the action and, if a horse like this one seems a bit headstrong, I like to give him racetrack so he doesn't lose interest.”
Commander K now sports a 6-7-6 scorecard in 30 starts this year, good for $86,010. He's banked $225,339 lifetime.
The Open 2 Trot went to Hallin Cash, "urged” to victory by trainer Dan Daley.
Owned by the Purple Haze Stables, the four year-old son of Cash Hall found some room late in the mile to squeeze on through between horses to score the narrow victory in 1:56.4.
"This horse doesn't seem to fond of the whip so I have to kind of urge him on,” said Daley. He's got great speed leaving and, when John's (Campagnuolo) mare—Dutchess Seelster—drifted out a bit, I was able to urge my horse to get the win. It turned out to be a good trip.”
The win was the fifth of the year for Hallin Cash and sent his yearly bounty over $50,000.
The track has also seen sharp increases in its Pick-4 handle since the introduction of the new 10 percent takeout.
Bolstered by a carryover of $4,733, there was $12,099 additional bet into the pool bringing the pool total to almost $17,000.
"There is no doubt that this industry low rate has begun to get the attention of racing fans both here and across North America,” said John Yinger, director of racing. "I expect the trend to continue, especially with the heart of our racing season approaching.”
The $2 Pick-4 combination of 5-5-5-3 paid $1,053.80. (Pompano)