Drachan Hanover, masterfully handled by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey, took top honors in Pompano Park's New Year's Eve featured $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday, stopping the timer in 1:52.
The then 5-year-old gelded son of Jereme's Jet led at every station in scoring a neck victory over Sing For Me George, driven by John MacDonald. Sir Mammo, with Ricky Macomber in the bike, was third, three lengths away, after dawdling at the back of his quintet and, subsequently, closing fastest of all. Fritzie Pic Up Man was fourth while Dee's Rocket Man picked up the nickel.
At the outset, Drachan Hanover, leaving from post two, won a brief early battle with Sing For Me George, post three, and took the field through an opening panel in :27. Hennessey then was able to give his charge a :30 breather in the second quarter, reaching the half in :57. Drachan Hanover's third quarter sprint of :27.1 thwarted any serious backside challenge with his :27.4 finale sealing the issue.
In a post-race interview, Hennessey related, "When you have as classy a horse as this one is, and you can get him to the half in :57, you have to like your chances. Drachan (Hanover) is a (1):50 pacer, you know. He was good all the way around tonight!"
Trained by Marcel Barrieau for owners Lloyd Maclean and Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover won for the sixth time in 26 starts to close out his 2017 campaign with $49,838 in purses. Career-wise, Drachan Hanover has $393,815 on his card to go along with a Pompano Park mark of 1:50.1. As the 6-5 toteboard choice, Drachan Hanover paid $4.40 to win.
Though Hennessey won the feature, sending his 2017 win total to 335, the driving star of the night was Dave Ingraham who scored a grand slam on the card, including a consecutive triple to close out the track's Pick-5, which went unscathed on Sunday night.
Ingraham took the third race with St Lads Lotto ($23.60), followed in the next race with Spirit Shadow ($14.60), who won his fourth in a row, and then completed his trifecta with Major Starlight ($6.00), who won his third in a row. Ingraham then capped off the grand slam by taking the final race of 2017 with Mikado Blue Chip ($5.40). (Pompano Park)