Southwind Amazon wins again at Pompano
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Southwind Amazon, superbly handled by John MacDonald, used Pompano Park's coveted five post (22.7% wins this season) to score a well rated 1:51 gate-to-wire victory in the $8,500 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (May 1).
The six year-old gelded son of Camluck bolted out of the gate from the outside post in his quintet, drove over to the inside around the initial turn and proceeded to post fractions of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.4 before a sprint home in :27.1 sealed the deal measuring one length over the pocket-sitting Panocchio, driven by Wally Hennessey with Dedi's Dragon, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike, third. Abrethofreshart was fourth while Heart Felt picked up the nickel.
In a post-race interview, driver John MacDonald related, "This is the first time I had sat back of this horse and, when I looked at his lines, I thought that I might be able to leave and yield, just like Micallef handled him last week.
"But once we got to the top, he was going so easily that he just didn't seem to want to yield to anything so we just kept going on.
"He really had things his own way and, when we got to the three-quarters kinda cheap off of some of his recent races, I was pretty confident he'd get home. He did! He was very good tonight."
Trained by Paul Holzman for Ameer Najor, Southwind Amazon won for the seventh time in 14 starts to send his 2016 bankroll to $43,194. Lifetime, the talented pacer has earnings of $259,062 with 24 wins in 80 starts to go along with a Pompano mark of 1:49.2.
Second choice on the toteboard at 8-5, Southwind Amazon returned $5.40 to win.
The Holzman-MacDonald tandem struck again in the $7,200 Open 2 Pace with Rick's Sign, scoring his seventh consecutive win, in 1:50.3, equaling his lifetime best performance set five seasons ago.
The now 11 year-old gelded son of Life Sign, trained by Holzman for owner Mary Holzman, saw MacDonald taking the 3 to 5 favorite to the outside in a first over bid from fourth after opening panels of :26.4 and :54.3 and sweeping to the fore past the third station in 1:22.4 and under wraps late while striding home in :27.4 to score by a length.
Sir Jack, handled by Matt Romano, finished second while Northern Companion, beginning from the second tier, was third.
Rockntouch finished fourth after being shuffled to seventh on the backside while Freeneasy Hanover picked up the nickel.
After that race, MacDonald simple stated, "He's amazing! That's all there is to it!"
Rick's Sign now has a scorecard this season of 8-2-1 in 14 starts, good for $29,574-more than he won all of last season in 38 starts.
The veteran now has 67 lifetime wins and career earnings of $427,795.
Off at 3 to 5 on the tote, Rick's Sign paid $3.40 to win.
The Florida Amateur Driving Club series continued on Sunday night in two divisions with Lady Deda D, teamed up with Jamie Marra, taking the first division and Super Duke scoring in the second for owner John Campagnuolo.
Lady Deda D, back in action after missing the entire seasons of 2014 and 2015, recorded her second win of the season in seven starts by scoring a handy three length win in 1:58.3 over Yakekty Hanover (Fred Cohen) with Rose Run Nolan (Mary Birkhold) third, 4 ¼ lengths off the winner.
Rel Cash Clown and M C Felix rounded out the top five in the nine horse field.
Trained by Louis Ginesi for owner Colene Lameyer, this eight year-old daughter of Prise Speed won for the 29th time in 87 career starts to send her lifetime bounty to $148,454 to go along with her Pompano mark of 1:54.4, set as a five year-old.
Off as fifth choice at 8 to 1, Lady Deda D paid $19.60 to win.
Super Duke, trained by Dan Hennessey for owner-driver Campagnuolo, took command turning for home and used a :29.3 finale to pin a defeat measuring 2 ¾ lengths on Thirtyeightspecial, driven by Leon Cable in 1:58.1. Engagedatlexington, overcoming a second tier post, was third for Jamie Marra. Columbia Lion, the leader through panels of :29.1, :58.4 and 1:28.2, finished fourth and Vacation Day, outside every step, was fifth.
Super Duke, a six year-old altered son of Duke Of York, earned his second win of the year-13th lifetime-to send his career bankroll to $134,366.
The Florida Amateur Driving Club pushed their charitable donations close to $170,000 with a generous donation to "Hopes, Dreams and Horses," an organization that has rescued dozens of horses as well as the lives of many hundreds of children and adults with special needs.
The organization also received a mini jog cart prompting founder Sue Copeland to remark, "The Florida Amateur Driving Club has just helped us to continue to help a wide variety of individuals with special needs, including at-risk youth, veterans, senior citizens those with health issues including both physical and mental health.
"Their generosity has helped us be a positive impact on youngsters as young as three and seniors in their 70's.
"There are no adequate words to describe out thanks."
Racing continues on Tuesday night many of the top mares in action in the Open, among the combatants Heart Major, Artful Impulse and Limelight.--By John Berry/Pompano Park