Northern Companion, with Rob Hoffman in the bike, stretched his winning streak to three with a handy win in 1:51.4 over Freeneasy Hanover and Woodmere Ultimate in Pompano Park’s Open I Handicap Pace on Saturday night.Handicapped with the outside post in the field of five, the 5-year-old gelded son of Cambest, off at 1-5 on the toteboard, roared to the lead at the outset and took the field to an opening panel of :27.2 before yielding to second choice Woodmere Ultimate, with Jason Dillander handling the lines, three-eighths into the mile.
Woodmere clicked off a :55.2 half and took the field into the backstretch with a lead measuring a length-and-a-half. With Northern Companion sitting chilly in the pocket, both Monet C C (Ranger) and Hay Goodlooking (Plano) both pulled allowing Freeneasy Hanover, with Wally Hennessey driving, to craftily take the short route on the inside. Northern Companion left the pocket just before the third station, reached in 1:24, took command with ease turning for home and widened his lead throughout the lane.
Hennessey’s move ultimately paid off as he nosed out Woodmere Ultimate on the wire, though four lengths away from the winner. Hay Goodlooking finished fourth while Monet C C picked up the "nickel.”
In a post race interview, driver Rob Hoffman said his charge has never been better. "I’d have to say that this was the best mile he’s ever raced,” he said. "He’s a freak of nature. I never asked him for anything tonight…he just did this all on his own.
Trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, the win was the third in four starts this year for Northern Companion. He’s now earned $117,677 lifetime. (Pompano)