It was the week that Joe Pavia Jr. and his connections retired their star mare Esmeralda Semalu to broodmare status, but they aren't wasting any time moving on.
In the $14,000 purse pacing feature on the Saturday program at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, Pavia stable member BN Bad was a most impressive winner. The 4-year-old Soho gelding paced back to his life's mark of 1:51.1 for a second straight week.
"I decided to start him back early this year, he won his first start but then got a little off on me until the end of January," Pavia said in a live post-race TV interview. "He was great last week in the class below this and even a bit better tonight."
BN Bad stepped to the front and controlled the pace to the half in :56.3. Coming first-over was Four Starz Bling, in rein to Bruce Ranger, the dominant performer in the Florida top class in January. BN Bad put away that challenge with a :26.3 third quarter sprint to the last turn in 1:23.1. In the final panel of :28, the longest odds entrant Dragon's Blood brushed in for the place prize at 25-1. There was a dead heat for third involving Sports Fanatic and Fox Valley Tyrese.
"I've got a little less than six weeks left here at the southern base at Pompano," Pavia says. "Classifying BN Bad won't be that big be a challenge once I get up north to Pocono. They write up to a non-winners of $18,000 in the last six there and BN Bad is also one of a few handy half-mile track horses that I could send over to Yonkers if need be."
"Also, I want to thank everyone that sent texts and emails about Esmeralda Semalu," added Pavia. "I got a lot of them this week. A lot of folks wondered why were retiring her now but this was our plan all along with Blue Chip Farms, for a breeding to Bettor's Delight, and we're sticking to the plan."
Pavia also trained and drove Gentleman Friend to a second-over trip 1:54.3 victory on the Saturday night card. The Western Hanover-Town Pro son was making the first start of his 4 year old season in a $7,000 purse conditioned test. The pacer arrived in Pavia's care from the Ray Schnittker barn last September but made only two starts before a four month rest. He campaigns for owners Paul Molter, AGC Stables, Peter Shank and Wai Shank.
A class drop was just what the doctor ordered for Dan Daley stable stalwart Daley Deposit Only. He was given relief to the winners over $7,500 lifetime level this week and responded with a front end win in 1:52.3. The Artiscape-Sassy Cessiann 6-year-old gelding pushed his lifetime bankroll to just under $270,000 with his 25th career win for Ann-Mari and Jared Daley, along with co-owners Richard Lombardo and Robert Pergament.
Rusty Tank was a closing second in rein to Bruce Ranger with Card Dealer turning in a strong two move effort for driver George Napolitano Jr. to finish third.
Daley Deposit Only hadn't tasted victory since Oct. 23 at Vernon Downs prior to the Saturday night dominant score at Pompano. (The Isle Pompano Park)