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Van Lennep divisions contested

February 16, 2008

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Carousel Frame and Queens Gambit N established themselves as the top contenders in the Frances Dodge Van Lennep Filly and Mare Pacing Series after prevailing in their respective divisions of Friday’s $17,500 first leg at Pompano Park.


Driven from post three by George Napolitano Jr., Carousel Frame was parked in fourth place through the early stages of her  division as Flo Found George (Bruce Ranger) covered the opening quarter mile in :27.2. As the pacers moved by the grandstand for the first time, Carousel Frame powered her way to the front, seizing control of the race through middle fractions of :55.3 and 1:23.3. bbbbbbb


Carousel Frame entered the stretch with a 1 ½-length advantage and was unwavering down the lane, holding on gamely to score by three-quarters of a length over a late charging Up Front Lady (Ricky Macomber Jr.).


“It’s unbelievable just how tough she is,” Napolitano said following the victory. “She could have kept on going if she had to. It’s just amazing. She will go as fast as she has to in order to win. I mean, she makes you work for it, but she rewards you in the end.”


Carousel Frame returned $4.80, $3 and $2.40 for the triumph. Up Front Lady paid $5.20 and $3.60 for second, while Hypnotize (Kevin Wallis) brought in $4.80 for third.


Owned by Let it Ride Stables Inc. and Robert Cooper Stables LLC, and trained by Jeff Webster, Carousel Frame is unbeaten in two outings this year, and owns a career record of 17 wins from 73 starts with $260,676 in lifetime earnings.


Two races earlier, Queens Gambit N captured the first division of the opening leg of the Van Lennep Pacing Series when scoring a strong victory in 1:52.4, knocking a full three seconds off her previous lifetime mark.


“I knew from the moment I got down to Florida that she had the potential, and every week she has just gotten better,” winning driver Dale Hiteman said. “(Trainer) Gary (Lewis) had a plan getting her ready for this series, and tonight she was really good.”


Starting from post four with Hiteman at the lines, Queens Gambit N settled comfortably in third place as first Velvet Eileen (Wally Hennessey), and then Miss Galvinator A (Napolitano), cut opening fractions of :26.3 and :55. As the field made their journey down the backstretch, Queens Gambit N was angled off the pylons to begin a first-over assault, reaching the front through a three-quarters split in 1:23.3.


“It seemed like the horse in the front (Miss Galvinator A) was getting tired and my mare really wanted to go,” Hiteman said. “Once I got her out, she really responded well.”


The daughter of Jeremys Gambit entered the stretch with a 1 ¼-length advantage, and was all out through the wire to hold on and prevail by a head.


“She was getting a little tired late , but I used her pretty good down the backstretch, so she had a right to tire just a bit,” Hiteman said. “The last two weeks she was really good, and we just didn’t get out in time, but those starts really got her ready for this.”


Queens Gambit N returned $19.40, $7 and $6.20 for the victory. Velvet Eileen brought in $4.20 and $2.80 for second, while Sentbytheangels (Dan Clements) paid $15.40 for third.


Owned by Bell Valley Farms of Frankfort, Ill., and trained by Gary Lewis, Queens Gambit N has visited the winner’s circle in 14 of 58 lifetime starts, with career earnings of $135,069.


The second leg of the Frances Dodge Van Lennep Filly and Mare Pacing Series will be contested Feb. 22, with the $50,000 final scheduled for Feb. 29. (Pompano Park)

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