A pair of $30,000 guaranteed pools and four Monday night feature events helped vault Pompano Park's handle to $1,334,368--it's highest handle of the young season.
The previous high for the 2020-2021 season was $1,052,064 achieved just last week on Dec. 29.
Not only was the handle hot, the racing was, as well, as only three favorites hit the winner's circle on the 13-race extravaganza and several photo finishes were needed to determine winners.
With a 20-1 winner kicking off the festivities and a 41-1 chance winning three races later, the fourth race pentafecta returned $12,901.82 for the 20-cent ticket and the Pick 5 went unscathed, necessitating a carryover for the Tuesday Pick 5 and a guaranteed pool of a record $150,000.
There is also a carryover in the Pick 6--$4,590.19 covering races three through eight. Also, the Super Hi-5 finale also has a carryover going into Tuesday of $53,618.71.
The aforementioned Pick-5 covers races one through five and post time is set for 7:20 p.m. for the Tuesday card.
On the racing side, Lyons Night Hawk took top honors in the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace while Muscles For Life captured the $11,500 Open Handicap for trotters.
Lyons Night Hawk, the 5-year-old gelded son of Sweet Lou who owned the second fastest mile of the meeting thus far—1:49.4 on Dec. 20—put on an ultra-game performance in scoring a 1:50.3 wire-to-wire win for Kevin Wallis, surviving opening sizzlers of :26.1, :54 and 1:21.3 in the process.
The Joe Pavia Jr. trainee dug in tenaciously in the lane to hold off a stubborn Prairie Panther (Wally Hennessey) by a neck—the latter having to pace every step on the outside. Seeing Eye Single (Ricky Macomber Jr.) was just a nose further back in third after closing fastest of all. Kinnder Jackson was fourth, a half length off the winner, while Bell I No picked up the nickel in the sextet with but two lengths separating the entire field.
After the race, trainer Pavia remarked, “I didn’t tell Kevin (driver Wallis) too much…only that he trained well and should be in the hunt. He’s a solid racehorse who has good speed and can take pressure and he had plenty of pressure tonight and didn’t give an inch! Of course, he’s very well cared for by Cheryl Holmen, so the credit for success begins right there with Cheryl."
Owned by Lon Frocione, Lyons Night Hawk began his 2021 season with his 11th career win in 50 starts, sending his bounty to $283,713.
Off as second choice at 4-1, Lyons Night Hawk paid $10.40 to win.
A $10,000 Open II Pace went to Skip To My Lou, yet another 5-year-old altered son of Sweet Lou, aggressively handled by Joe Chindano Jr, who also owns and trains.
Skip To My Lou hit the wire in 1:51.3, hanging a narrow defeat on Real Peace (Macomber) with Mac Anover (Wallis) next. The win was the 10th in 49 lifetime starts for Skip To MY Lou, who now banked $117,081.
The victory spoiled the anticipated party of Southwind Amazon, who was seeking his 100th career victory. Amazon finished fifth back of Solo Story.
Off at 2-1, Skip To My Lou paid $6.40 to his many faithful.
On the trotting side of the ledger, Muscles For Life took advantage of a miscue by the favorite DG’s Caviar and went on to score a handy win, stopping the timer in 1:54.1. Driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Steve Oldford and owner Jerold Hawks, Muscles For Life, an 8-year-old son of Muscle Mass, led just about every long stride of his mile, chalking up fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26 before a :28.1 stroll home sealed the deal measuring 3 ¼ lengths over DG’s Caviar (Andy Shetler), who recovered gamely after his miscue to finish second. Born To Thrive (Rick Plano was third. The Lionking AS and Bucketlist Hanover picked up the minors.
Said Hennessey after the event, "He's just a solid, versatile horse that does everything you ask him to do. I wanted to get a jump on the field and, especially, (DG's) Caviar, and that worked out well for us as we got to the half very comfortably. I was pretty confident once we were there in :57 and a piece."
Muscles For Life now has 33 career wins in 94 starts, good for $353,845. As the 6-5 second choice on the toteboard, Muscles For Life paid $4.60 to win.
The Open II trot went to the veteran warrior Cantab Lindy, now 13 years old. The gelded son of Cantab Hall, owned and trained by Brent Davis, had John MacDonald in his sulky as he led every step of a 1:54.1 mile off panels of :27.4, :57 and 1:25. Ev's Girl (Chindano) was in the garden spot all the way and finished second, two lengths away, while My Uncle Cuz (Don Harmon) was next. The favorite Sooo Handsome finished fourth while Boinganator picked up the final award.
Cantab Lindy won for the 54th time in 228 lifetime starts with his bankroll expanding to $641,847. He paid $13.80 as third choice in the betting. (Pompano Park)