Lugar captured the $10,000 featured trot on Wednesday night at Pompano Park while driver Stephane Lareau was the driving star on the strength of a grand slam performance.
The Florida-bred Lugar, handled by Tom Sells for trainer Mark Friedman and the Polo Stables, inherited the lead on the backstretch when favored She's All In, driven by Rick Plano, made a costly miscue, and went on to score a handy 1:59 triumph over Illusionsndreams (Andy Santeramo), off at 37-1 and Indiana Hall (Bryce Fenn), off at 154-1. Jon Win and I Love New York picked up the final two awards in the field of eight.
Lugar, usually on the engine early, showed his sharp early foot again and was in the garden seat through opening panels of :28.4 and :58.4 as She's All In was seemingly gliding along on a comfortable 1 1/2-length lead. Three-eighths out, She's All In jumped, allowing Lugar to seize command heading into the far turn and coasting home to the wire.
It was the eighth win in 25 starts for Lugar this season and vaulted his 2013 bounty to $54,426, his best season ever to go along with his mark of 1:55.
In a post-race interview, Sells said, "Sometimes luck plays a role in the outcome of a race and tonight was one of those nights. Rick's (Plano) mare rarely makes a break and it was being in the right place at the right time that helped us tonight. Lugar is a very nice horse, though, and Mark (trainer Friedman) has done a really nice job with him, having him ready for this first start back in over two months.”
The driving star of the night was Lareau, who drove four winners on the program.
Lareau began his festive night with a gate-to-wire win with Diane Hellen's Fiesta Camcun in 1:54.1; roared from way back in the lane to get his second win with Marcel Ouimet's My Friend Justin in 1:59.1; got his third win with a gate-to-wire performance with Claude Baril's My Man in 1:58; and completed his grand slam performance with Reverie Devictoire, owned by Jamie Marra Racing, in 1:57.4. (Pompano Park)