Diamond Dagger, Boli score at Pompano
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Diamond Dagger and Boli shared the spotlight at Pompano Park on Wednesday night, winning their respective $15,000 Open Handicap events for trotters.
Diamond Dagger, with Dave Ingraham in her sulky, captured the top event for the ladies by scoring a handy win measuring 2 1/4 lengths over Modern Mercury (Wally Hennessey) and Vicki All (J. D. Yoder)--the latter two in a photo for place honors. Favored Second Sister finished fourth while A TC Queenie picked up the final award in the sharp septet.
At the outset, both Second Sister (Jim Meittinis) and A TC Queenie (Rick Schaut) went in search of the lead with latter taking command from the former--but not for long as Second Sister retook command after the :28.4 opener and took the field half way through the mile in :57.4. On the backside, Vickie All went on a binge to stick her head in front around the final bend with three-quarters clocked in 1:26 with Second Sister hugging the pylons, Modern Mercury second over, A TC Queenie locked in and Diamond Dagger third over and ready to sweep widest of all turning for home.
Once they straightened away, Diamond Dagger was in full throttle and her :29.1 individual finale was more than enough to hit the wire first.
In a post-race interview, trainer Mark O'Mara related, "Well, she got a very great trip--a wonderful drive from Dave (Ingraham). I had no instructions to him going in--you' don't give a guy with 7,000 wins any instructions--but I told him just do what you can with her and she should be pretty good tonight. It's the first time he has handled her and did a really great job."
For this six year-old daughter of ABC Garland, it was her second triumph of the season for trainer O'Mara, who co owns with Paul Johnson and Melvin Schmucker, sending her career bankroll over $250,000--$254,722 to be precise. She's banked $20,540 this year on the strength of her 2-1-2 scorecard in nine starts.
As third choice in the wagering, Diamond Dagger returned $10.40 to her faithful.
Some 23 minutes later, Boli, with Wally Hennessey in his sulky,stepped onto the track in search of hiss first win of the year and, 1:55.4 later, had it as he crossed the wire a neck better than the fast closing Prairie Fortune, driven by Jim Meittinis, Born To Thrive, handled by Rick Plano, closed fastest of all to be third, 2 1/2 lengths away, while Overnight Shipper finished fourth. Midnight Craze, making his first start in six weeks, finished fifth after sawing through panels of :28.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1.
As the wings folded, MIdnite Craze, driven by Dave Ingraham, quickly sprinted out for the lead allowing Boli to sprint along with him early and find the garden spot around the opening turn.
These two continued to be one-two with Boli leaving the coziness of the pocket around turn three and forging his way into the lead turning for home. From there, a solid charge to the wire held the rest at bay as this six year-old gelded son of Kadabra sent his career bankroll over a quarter-million dollars--$250,484 on the strength of a lifetime scorecard of 29-15-13 in 80 starts for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil.
After the race, Hennessey remarked, "He (Boli) has been solid every start this year and I really thought that the race would set up just as it did with (Midnite) Craze leaving and me having an opportunity to get the good trip--and that's how it worked out. These are all pretty evenly matched trotters and I definitely had the better trip being closer up.
"Boli has been getting better every week and he was really strong in the late stages of that longer (1 1/4 mile) race last week. He was really sharp tonight...a very effort on his part."
Off at even-money on the tote-board, Boli returned $4.00 to his multitude of backers.
Hennessey had a driving double on the Wednesday night card--the other winner being Jett Star ($5.60) but had to play second fiddle to "double-digit" Dave Ingraham, who had a grand-slam. Besides Diamond Dagger, Ingraham piloted Famous C ($7.00), Deli-Craze ($23.80) and Global Inspiration ($21.80) to wins.
Racing continues on Sunday night with a million dollar field assembling in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace. Track record holder Panocchio will hold court with American Hustle, Drachan Hanover, Hollywood Sign A and Dee's Rocketman. Sunday post time is set for 7:20 p.m.--By John Berry/Pompano