Auspicious Hanover, masterfully driven by Kevin Wallis, overcame the nine post and eight rivals to score a hard earned 1:54 victory in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Trot on Monday night.
His winning margin was a neck over the late charging Cashahallic, handled by Aaron Byron, with Diamond Dagger third for Mark O'Mara. Elin rallied for fourth while Gold Savage saved ground all the way from his rail post to pick up the nickel.
Auspiciois Hanover, a 4-year-old gelded son of Andover Hall, trained by Chris Oakes for owner Susan Oakes, was on the prowl early from his outside post looking for a spot mid-pack early and found one, nestling in fourth as Proud Moment overtook Cashahallic for early supremacy through an opening quarter of :27.2 before Cashahallic reclaimed shortly thereafter.
Three-eighths into the mile, Wallis was on the move again with Auspicious Hanover, taking command just a couple strides prior to a demanding half in :55.1. On the backside, Auspicious maintained his safe lead with Cashahallic right behind and Proud Moment now out and trying to mount a bid but stalling past three-quarters in 1:24.
In the lane, Auspicious Hanover, tiring from the demanding journey, was feeling the heat from Cashahallic with the latter's rally falling short in the photo. It was the ninth win of the year for Auspicious Hanover with the winner's share of the purse sending his 2015 bankroll to $94,377 and $310,776 lifetime.
In a post-race interview, driver Wallis, now less than 100 wins away from 10,000 lifetime, said, "I figured that the only way to get into the race was to leave and try to find a spot up close. I certainly didn't want to spot the field nine or 10 lengths early.
"I found a good spot early but this horse felt like he didn't want to be restrained, so I sent him to the top. Yes, he was tiring at the end but the wire came at the right time.”
As second choice on the toteboard, Auspicious Hanover paid $6 to win.
Pompano Park also hosted the second legs of two late closing events for pacers—the Success Cameo for claiming mares and the Sea Eagle, which turned out to be for claiming geldings.
The first division of the Success Cameo, named after driver-trainer Dave Legum's mare that competed at Pompano Park during its infancy, went to Mayabelle, driven by Jason Dillander, turning the tables on last week's first leg winner, Dakota Law, handled by Ed Hensley, in 1:54.2, a season's best effort.
Pacific Date, third last week in the opening leg, finished third again for Aaron Byron with Lily Rei fourth and Fair Voltage picking up the nickel in the septet.
Mayabelle, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle trained by Dale Gilmour for Karma Racing, was out alertly and took the field to the opening quarter in :28 before yielding to Dakota Law with the latter posting subsequent panels of :57.2 and 1:26.
Turning for home, Mayabelle left the coziness of the pocket and rolled on by a sixteenth out to score the one length victory—her third of the year in 24 starts—to send her 2015 earnings to $15,762 and $110,934 lifetime.
Off as the 8-5 second choice, Mayabelle paid $5.40 to win.
The second division was captured by Ruths Shadylady for Wallis in 1:54.4.
Rallying in deep stretch, this 6-year-old daughter of Geartogear, first, collared favored Sweet Bet (Wally Hennessey) and, finally, held off the late charging Come On Kathryn (Ed Hensley) to score by a half-length.
Trained by Fred Cohen for new owner Brian Calvert, Ruths Shadylady was fifth early on, tilting to the outside around the second turn and grinding forward the rest of the journey to record her 11th win of the year in a busy 38 starts—this after a winless 2014 season covering 24 starts. She's banked $26,577 in 2015.
Off at 2-1, Ruths Shadylady paid $6.80 to her faithful.
Division one of the Sea Eagle, named for the very first winner at Pompano Park on February 4, 1964, produced the first dead heat for win this season when the judges could not separate Yuma Hanover and Goldstar Raider at the wire.
In this 1:53.1 thriller, the first seven finishers in the octet were but two lengths apart at the wire with Yuma Hanover, driven by Aaron Byron, finding a very small seam mid-stretch to knife through for a share of the top prize while Goldstar Raider, handled by Mike Micallef, swung widest of all from last turning for home (and still last at mid-stretch) to nail his share in the last stride.
On The Green, with Rob Hoffman in the bike, was third, edging out My Buddy Mason for show honors. Allie's Dragon finished fifth.
Yuma Hanover, trained by Mike Hardy for owner John Stubits, is an 8-year-old son of Real Artist and won for the sixth time this semester and 24th lifetime to send his seasonal bounty to $20,636.
The necessity of sharing the first and second place awards prevented Yuma from going over the $150,000 in lifetime bounty—now at $149,551, instead of $150,239 had he been a clear winner.
Goldstar Raider, a Florida-bred son of Rock On, trained by Tim Maier for owner Denise Maier, earned his ninth win of the season to push his 2015 earnings to $28,342 and $141,833 career-wise.
Yuma Hanover, off at 14-1, paid $15 while Goldstar Raider, 7-1 on the board, paid $9 to win.
The final division of the Sea Eagle went to Mixed Media, driven by Wally Hennessey for new trainer-owner Tom Artandi, covering the mile in a lifetime best performance timed in 1:52.4. Terrorizer was second for Ed Hensley, a half-length back while the 3-5 favorite, Geared To Win, driven by Andy Santeramo, finished third, five lengths away.
Sturgeon Seelster finished fourth after being prominent early and Western Legend, cutting serious fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 before relinquishing to Geared To Win at the third station in 1:23.4, finished fifth.
The winner, meanwhile, followed live cover through the final half mile to wend his way into contention turning for home and then on to victory—his eighth of the year—to send his 2015 bankroll to $33,077 and just short of $300,000 lifetime--$297,139 to be precise.
Mixed Media paid $12.20 as third betting choice. (Pompano Park)