Florida champions crowned at Pompano
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The festivities kicked off with five non-wagering events followed by the remaining three races conducted during the 11-race pari-mutuel program. Here are the highlights:
$49,750 Breeders Stake for Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies (non-wagering)
I Rhoda Daley, driven by Wally Hennessey, took top honors with a sharp two length score over Jennifer (Dave Ingraham) in 2:04.3-:29.3. Ms Katie B was next in the this trotting trio.
The daughter of Desperado Dan, owned by Lee Clarke along with trainer Jason MacDougall. bided her time as Jennifer cut panels of :32 and 1:04.1 before leaving her cozy pocket heading into the final turn and engaging the leader in war before edging clear once they straightened away for the drive home.
Said Hennessey after the race, "She's a rather handy filly and while she has been prominent on the front end, she was nice and relaxed tonight and responded nicely when I asked."
I Rhoda Daley now has seven wins and a pair of seconds in nine seasonal starts, good for bounty of $59,993.
$53,500 Breeders Stake for Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings (non-wagering)
Captain Thomas, victimized by breaks and beaten 19-1/2, 17-3/4 and 36-1/4 lengths in his last three starts, turned things around this Super Night with a sharp 2:02.4 win for Wally Hennessey, who was driving the gelded son of Proud Bushy for the very first time.
Trained by Kim Sears for owner John Campagnuolo, Captain Thomas was away carefully from his mid-pack post and settled in third as Brian, handled by Dave Ingraham, put up numbers of :30.4 and 1:01.4. On the backside, Hennessey had Captain Thomas in gear and by the time they reached the third station around the final bend in 1:32.2 Captain Thomas had a short lead on the outside and then widened it with every stride right to the wire, stopping the timer in 2:02.4.
Prairie Eclipse, with Mike Deters in the bike, rallied for second with Brian holding down third. Jiro Dangerous amd Night Stalker also picked up checks in the field of six.
"Kim (trainer Sears) told me he had the speed," Hennessey related, "but he needed to improve on his manners. Well, he was a perfect gentleman tonight."
Captain Thomas, with one lone win in 2:02.1 a little over a month ago, notched his most important win on this Super Night, which saw his earnings vault from $6,126 to $32,870 with the win.
$53,000 Breeders Stake for Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts and Geldings (non-wagering)
Dan Clements' Gold Star Diablo, with Wally Hennessey in his sulky, stretched his winning streak to six with a sharp 1:56.1 score, defeating Silver Wings (Corey Braden) by 2-1/2 lengths. Jay Jay (Dave Ingraham) finished third with Mister Special T fourth. Mischief Maker picked up the nickel in the quintet.
Gold Star Diablo, an altered son of Mysticism, took command as the wings folded and carved up numbers of :28.4 and a well-rated :58.4 before a :28.4 third panel thwarted any threats (1:27.3) with a :28.3 finale sealing the deal.
After the win, Hennessey remarked, "This horse has some class. He has a very high turn of speed when asked and can brush a long way. He's got a good mark already (1:54.3) and I think he can go on and become a real good one!"
Trained by Mike Deters, Gold Star Diablo won for the seventh time in nine tries with the major share of this lofty purse sending his seasonal bankroll to $63,030.
$53,100 Breeders Stake for Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies (non-wagering)
Atlantic Crest, handled as usual by owner-trainer Sergio Corona, continued her dominance in the sophomore trotting division with a handy 1:58.1 triumph over Famous C (Hennessey) with the winning margin a comfortable 1-3/4 lengths. Prairie Pixie (Jim Meittinis) was third, 8-1/2 lengths away, with Sparkling Comet and Bonnie Blue Banker completing the order of finish.
This daughter of Crest, last year's Super Night champion, remained undefeated at Pompano Park with her sixth straight win.
The final time came off front end panels of :29.1, :59 and 1:28.2 with this win sending her career earnings to $128,936 -- $72,212 this year.
$48,500 Breeders Stake for Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings (non-wagering)
The long rivalry between I'm Done and Azzaro was decided on Sunday night with last year's Super Night champion, I'm Done, throwing the knockout punch, scoring a 1-1/4 length win over his arch-rival in 2:00.3.
Coming into this 17th and final round, each had an 8-8-0 scorecard in 16 previous lifetime rounds with I'm Done holding a slight edge in lifetime bounty.
At the outset, I'm Done (post two) driven by John MacDonald, sprinted out to grab the early lead from Azzaro (post one), handled by Wally Hennessey.
With an opening panel of :30.2, I'm Done lolly-gagged through a second panel of :31.3, reaching the half in 1:02. On the backside, MacDonald let out a notch or two with a :28.4 third quarter thwarting any threat from his rival and in the lane a :29.4 finale was the knockout blow, leaving his rival a bit more than a length away.
After the event, driver John MacDonald said, "This rivalry of sorts has been fun. It's been back and forth all the way and I am happy for Jim (trainer McDonald) and Troy (owner Basista)."
With the win, I'm Done became a repeat Super Night champion with his share of the purse pushing his seasonal earnings to $57,822 and $128,087 lifetime.
$54,500 Breeders Stake Final for Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts and Geldings
Prairie Panther, with Jim Meittinis in the sulky, made a quarter move to the top and then used a brilliant :27.2 finale to score a handy win over a game Maybe Ned, driven by Bryce Fenn, the margin three lengths at the end of a mile in 1:55.1. Gold Star Spider, handled by J.D. Yoder, finished third after a first over backside bid that brought him within striking distance around turn three. Fifth Son was fourth and Gold Star Bugsy picked up the minor award.
Prairie Panther, a gelded son of Royel Millennium, extended his winning skein to seven with the win, which sent his seasonal earnings to $55,817 and $117,507 lifetime.
After the win, driver Jim Meittinis remarked, "He's been sharp since he got to Pompano and I thought it best to let him do his thing -- and that is getting to the front and letting him take care of the rest! He did just that tonight."
Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Panther was 1-10 in the betting and returned $2.20 to his multitude of backers.
$53,800 Breeders Stake for Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies
Krinda, driven by Wally Hennessey, redeemed herself from a disappointing outing one week ago by scoring a gate-to-wire win in 1:57.1.
The daughter of Six Of Diamonds posted panels of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before sprinting home in :28.4 to score a handy 2-1/2 length win over the fast closing Prairie Foolish, with Jim Meittinis in her bike. Prairie Easter was third for Corey Braden while Starcasim finished fourth. Diamond Eyes picked up the nickel in the quintet of youngsters.
"Last week," Hennessey said, "she tried to drive me! She just had an off night and, after a tough trip on the outside, just kind of gave in from being tired.
"This week, she let me drive her. She was nice and relaxed and was back to the way she had been before. Kim (trainer Sears) made a few small changes to her rigging and she was a whole lot better this time around."
Owned by Jay Sears, Krinda earned the major share of the $53,800 purse to send her 2017 earnings to $51,339 in her first season of racing wars. She now has a 9-5-1-0 scorecard to go along with a 1:57.1 mark accomplished twice. As the even-money favorite, Krinda paid $4.00 to win.
$55,400 Breeders Stake for Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies
Tay Tay M, with Wally Hennessey in her sulky, scored a gate-to-wire win in 1:55.1, completing her mile on the strength of a final half in :56.4.
The daughter of Six Of Diamonds, owned by Jay Sears along with Richard Dunmire, blasted off the wings from post six and had the racetrack just a few strides off the gate and posted panels of :28.2, :58,2 and 1:26.2 along the way and sprinted away from Prairie Cowgirl (Jim Meittinis) to score by 4-1/2 lengths. Gold Star Aurora (J.D. Yoder) was third, eight lengths away, while Bella Pat and Golden Diamond also picked up minor awards in the classy septet.
After the event, Hennessey related, "You know, I thought I'd leave out of there and find an advantageous spot somewhere up close but it turned out that it was relatively easy to make the top.
"She picked up the pace herself when Jim's (Yoder) horse (Gold Star Aurora) tried to challenge around the final bend and she was very sharp in the lane to the wire."
Tay Tay M, who had a 0-7-2 scorecard in nine starts last year, won for the fifth time as a 3-year-old with earnings now at $66,352 this semester and $94,382 lifetime to go along with a Pocono mark of 1:53.4. The winner was 4-5 on the toteboard and returned $3.80 to win.
Panocchio takes Open Pace
Besides the stakes program on Sunday night, Pompano Park presented the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace and Panocchio, the outstanding 7-year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, scored a 1:52.1 win for Wally Hennessey.
In winning for the 10th time this year, Panocchio put away the challenge of Mister Daytona (Mike Simons) to score by two lengths off of fractions of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.4. Mister Daytona finished in a dead-heat for second with the fast closing Sing For Me George (John MacDonald). Drachan Hanover and Bestinthebusiness completed the order of finish.
Panocchio earned his 58th career win in 137 starts, pushing his lifetime earnings to $485,643 to go along with his track record mark at Pompano Park of 1:48.3. Off at 1-2, Panocchio paid $3.00 to win. (Pompano Park)