Village Jackson, a mere $8,000 claimer just six weeks ago, stepped up to the big time on Saturday night and repelled the late bid of favored Woodmere Ultimate to win the Open 1 Pace at Pompano Park in 1:52.1 on Saturday night.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Camluck has been steadily moving up the ladder in recent weeks, having won a $10,000 claiming pace three weeks ago and a $15,000 claiming event in a lifetime best 1:51.4 last week before this week's "Saturday Night Fight.”
Driven by Jason Dillander and leaving from post seven, Village Jackson got in an early tussle with Monet CC (Bruce Ranger) and Kommander Hawk (Matt Romano) and decided to relent and find a nice, cozy spot in third as "Hawk” took the field through a sizzling opening panel of :26.1 and subsequent half in :54.4. Midway on the backside, Dillander asked his charge to go…and "GO” he did, taking the lead with authority past three quarters in 1:23.2 with Woodmere Ultimate (Kevin Wallis) and Avantage (Dave Ingraham) taking up the chase.
From there it was only a matter of holding off those main contenders, which he did to score by a head over Woodmere with Avantage a length away. Bestnotlie Hanover (Joe Pavia, Jr.) close fastest of all to get fourth with Freeneasy Hanover picking up the final check.
In a post race interview, Dillander said, "This is the first time I've driven this horse and Geoff (trainer Howles) said he's been very good. He sure was tonight. Even after that stinger leaving, he really showed me something when I asked him on the backside. Late in the mile, he just refused to let anything pass him.”
Owned by Rick Howles, Village Jackson is now three-for-seven in the win column this year and has banked $14,956 in 2013.
The Open 2 Pace went to Bart Pope's Spring Again, handled by Andy Santeramo. The 7-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again earned his first victory of the year in seven starts with a 1:52.4 performance, taking the lead shortly after the opening panel in :27 and then carving fractions of :55.3 and 1:23.2 en route to his 26th lifetime win. He's banked $279,999 lifetime.
Neptune Blue Chip, handled by Bruce Ranger, found a seam in deep stretch to finish second a length away while the 2-1 favorite, Special Strides (Rick Plano), finished third. (Pompano)