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Dillander making inroads at Pompano

January 18, 2011
HOME PRINT

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He marked the occasion of his 35th birthday last week but driver Jason Dillander was actually paying attention to a different sort of milestone.
 
"Since the start of 2011 I've been able to win over 20% of my starts and at least for the time being that put me into the company of the top guys here including Bruce Ranger, Anthony Napolitano and Wally Hennessey" Dillander observes. "As important as that is the fact that I'm starting to get work in at least five races most nights. I drove for many of the early years of my career on the Chicago circuit and more recently in Indiana, and dollar for dollar the racing here is as tough as anywhere. The roster of drivers here is as talented as anywhere I've seen too" he adds. On the January 17 card, Dillander was in the bike to guide claiming pacer Armbro Carruthers to a sharp 1:55 score over the sloppy track for owner Robert Bellamy of Indiana and trainer Ryan Bellamy. It was his 13th driving win from 62 starters this meet.
 
Born in Louisville, KY, Dillander comes from the home of the Kentucky Derby but got his start in harness racing at Louisville Downs. His dad, Louis, a trainer and driver there, passed away last year and was the mentor that Jason credits for launching his career. At press time Jason was within seven wins of 1,500 lifetime in the race bike for almost $11 million in driving purses. His tentative plan for 2011 is to return to the Indiana circuit from late March into November. Although he abandoned training in favor of full time catch driving over four years ago, Dillander doesn't completely rule out training again if, as he says, the right ownership or partnership opportunity came along.
 
"This is my second year at Pompano and it was my association from Indiana and Chicago with (trainers) Ryan Bellamy and Jarrod Duncan that made it possible to come here" Dillander says. "In the past few weeks more trainers like Peter Pellegrino, Bruce Clarke, Dennis Cheesebrew, Scott West and Dan Daley have given me a chance too. They are all accomplished horsemen and the best way to say thanks is to drive well for them. I'm on a good roll and just hope to keep it going."
 
Outside posts assigned in top classes
 
The Tuesday and Wednesday evening 12 race programs just ahead will feature $12,000 purse top class events.
 
The weekly Mares Handicap Pace turns to the gate in the 11th race on January 18. I'm Just Special, a career winner of $569,000 has been ordered to start outside in the field of eight starters by Race Secretary Greg DeFrank. On Wednesday evening, Keystone Thomas will start to the extreme outside in the field of nine entries for the track's top trotting group. (Pompano Park)
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