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Dillander returns, wins with Cruzin KC

December 21, 2014
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The Isle Casino Racing at Pompano Park presented a sterling racing program on Saturday night highlighted by a repeat win by Lyons Johnny in the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace and a winning return to action by driver Jason Dillander.
 
Dillander, who had been out of action due to an accident on May 9 at Hoosier Park which left him with two broken ankles, returned to action on Saturday night--and in a big way. Dillander piloted Philip Coleman's Cruizin K C to a sharp win in a conditioned event, sweeping four and five wide on the backstretch to circle the field and go to a 1:53 victory.
 
After the race, Dillander said, "It was good to get back out there...and GREAT to win! This horse has a big motor when he's right...and he was right tonight."
 
Cruizin K C, also a six year-old son of Mach Three, earned his third win of the year and 17th lifetime success to send his career bounty to $130,333.
 
Lyons Johnny kicked off the festivities with a splendid win in 1:50.1 for Ed Hensley, pinning a defeat measuring just short of three lengths on his stablemate E Z Noah, driven by Aaron Byron. Don't Tell Rusty, with Kevin Wallis handling the lines, was third while Cadillac Phil finished fourth. The final award in the sextet went to I Do Hanover.

Trained by Pete "Sonny" Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Lyons Johnny was sent right to the top from his post five but got in an early war with E Z Noah, with the latter taking over just short of the scorching opening quarter in :26.

The two stablemates remained one-two through subsequent panels of :54.4 and 1:22.3 with Lyons Johnny out of his cozy pocket turning for home and using a very sharp :27.2 finale to seal the deal.

In a post race interview, driver Ed Hensley said, "yes, we were burning some rubber in that opening quarter but this turned out to be pretty much an identical trip that I had last week. Only difference was that E Z Noah cut it this time instead of Prairie Jaguar, right behind me this time. He's so handy and responded immediately when I asked. Pete (trainer Pellegrino) has him razor sharp right now."

The victory was number seven on the year for Lyons Johnny, a six year-old son of Mach Three, and pushed his 2014 bounty to $74,040. He's banked $233,899 lifetime. As the 1-2 favorite on the toteboard, Lyons Johnny returned $3.00 to win.

Also on Saturday night, the backstretch toy drive concluded with a 50-50 drawing with the winner, Rick Berks, taking home the grand prize of $1,000 and promptly donating it back to give a head start to the 2015 drive.

Carol Macomber and Sue Blood spearheaded the drive--as they have for many years--enabling 120 children to have a happy holiday season.

Racing continues Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with high class claimers going postward on Sunday night and a $7,500 guaranteed Pick-4 on tap for Monday and Tuesday.

The Monday card also features fillies and mares in the $14,000 Open Handicap Pace, an event where Just A Bee, fresh off of a brilliant 1:51 win, looks to make it two in a row for driver-trainer Mike Micallef. (By John Berry/Pompano Park)
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