Maryann Plano's Premier, trained and driven by husband Rick Plano, pulled off a 19-1 shocker at Pompano Park on Saturday night, scoring a photo finish victory in the $10,000 Open Pace in 1:52.1.
The 6-5 toteboard favorite, Cruizin KC, driven by Mark O'Mara, was a neck back of the winner with the late charging Electric Lad and Jason Dillander teaming up for third at 37-1. McGreat finished fourth in the mile with Legal Dream, making his 2014 debut, fifth after a menacing move on the backside.
Premier, a 7-year-old gelded son of Artsplace, primarily known for his successes in gate-to-wire fashion, again used his blistering early speed to take command as the gate's wings folded but, this time around, got some cover after a :27.2 opener as McGreat, driven by Kevin Wallis, took command shortly after that initial quarter and took the field through subsequent panels of :54.4 and 1:22.4.
During that third quarter, with McGreat on top by a length and a half, Premier was cozily biding his time in the garden with Legal Dream on the attack on the outside and Who's Your Maddy making a double-bubble move briefly putting Cruizin KC in a blindswitch and Electric Lad hugging the pylons in fifth.
Turning for home, McGreat drifted out a bit allowing Premier the room he needed to rally with Cruizin K C widest of all and Electric Lad pinching on through the inside.
In a dramatic finish, Premier, though now surrounded by challengers, eked out the narrow decision for his third win in seven starts this year--his bankroll now at $20,990 this year and $147,633 lifetime. It was his 31st lifetime win in his 99th career start.
In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "We got a great journey tonight, especially getting cover through some demanding fractions. He's a game one, alright. He tries every step of the mile. The only thing I am disappointed about is that I didn't bet $10 on him myself!"
Not many patrons did as Premier was the second longest shot on the board and returned $40.80 to win, keying a trifecta that paid $1,002.00 for a $2 investment.
With that result, Sunday night's Pick-5 begins with a carry-over, thus adding yet another dimension to the highly anticipated match between Bruce Ranger and Rick Plano in the second round of the $20,000 Championship Drivers Challenge. (Pompano)