Flight Exec, Who's Your Maddy and Nearly Uncle captured the trio of feature events highlighting the Saturday night card at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
Flight Exec, driven by Kevin Wallis for owner-trainer-wife Linda Wallis, took honors in the $10,000 Open. This five year-old son of Western Ideal garnered his second straight success in the top company and third win of the year. A strategic quarter move to the top was the key to victory and, after a :28.1 opener, Flight Exec proceeded on to post "soft" fractions of :57 and 1:25.4 en route to a two length win in 1:53.3 over Neptune Blue Chip (Andy Santeramo) and Cartoonist (Dave Ingraham) with Shamderock fourth and Avantage picking up the nickel in the five horse affair.
Said Wallis after the event, "Whenever you can get a horse the caliber of Flight Exec on the front end of things to a half in :57, your chances are always pretty decent. Dave's (Ingraham) horse (Cartoonist) was brushing strongly on the backside but, when my horse heard him, he kinda pricked his ears back and put it in another gear. He was sharp tonight."
Flight Exec now has three wins in five starts since his return to the racing wars just a month ago and the win pushed his lifetime bounty to $142,395--$17,358 this year in but seven starts. As the overwhelming favorite at 2 to 5, Flight Exec paid $2.80 to win.
The $7,500 Open 2 Pace went to Who's Your Maddy, also superbly handled by Kevin Wallis. The five year-old son of Artiscape was away in good order--third in his quintette--but made a sharp move prior to the opening panel and securing the top spot just past that pole in :28.4. After lolly-gagging to the half in :58.4 and strolling even a tad slower than that on the backside, Who's Your Maddy met a strong challenge from Melvyn (Mickey McNichol), brushing from last to take a short lead past the third station in 1:29.1.
Turning for home, Who's Your Maddy understandably had tons left in the tank and fought back sprinting home in :27.3--last eighth :13.1--to score the win measuring three-parts of a length over a very game Melvyn with millionaire pacer Hyperion Hanover (Andy Santeramo) third in the mile timed in 1:56.4. Maxine's Menace and Casey's Lil Harry completed the run-down.
For Who's Your Maddy, trained by Jim McDonald for Dan MacIsaac and Twenty Four Carrot Racing, it was his third success of the year in 17 starts, sending his 2014 bankroll to $23,925 and $118,319 lifetime.
As the 4 to 5 public choice, Who's Your Maddy paid $3.80 to win.
The $8,500 Final of the Isle Casino Racing Late Closer for Claiming Trotters went to Nearly Uncle for Mickey McNichol in 1:59. Owned and trained by Ted Berry, Nearly Uncle was the longest proposition on the tote-board in his quartette at 9 to 2 and scored a decisive win measuring 4 3/4 lengths over the late charging Anton K (Dave Ingraham). Miss Janine (Kevin Wallis) was third while Majestic Valley finished fourth.
The winner was well off the pace as the even money favorite, Miss Janine, sizzled opening panels of :28 and :56.1 with Majestic Valley, Nearly Uncle and Anton K strung out behind.. On the backside, Miss Janine began to feel the effects of her hard labor and the field began closing in with Majestic Valley leaving the pocked at the third station timed in 1:27.2 with Nearly Uncle double-bubbled and charging.
Turning for home, Nearly Uncle swept into the lead with authority and widened the advantage to the wire with Anton K edging past Miss Janine a couple of strides from the line for the second spot.
In a post race interview, driver Mickey McNichol said, "In a four horse field, I really thought that the fractions would be a lot slower, but the :56.1 half kind of played right into my horse's hands--I mean hooves. When the speed came back to us, he just went on by pretty easily."
It was only the second win of the year for Nearly Uncle and biggest payday since an Open win at Saratoga in August of 2012. He now has $130,851 lifetime--$9,943 this year. He paid $11.40 to win. (Pompano Park)