Waikiki Beach A, the Australian-bred 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, scored a repeat win in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night.
The gallant gelding, who made a successful debut at the South Florida oval in 1:51.4 two weeks ago, overcame the assignment of the outside eight post and seven classy foes to score in a lifetime best 1:50.2--eking out a photo-finish win over another Aussie bred gelding, Hollywood Sign A, handled by Matt Krueger. Fritzie Pic Up Man, cutting fractions of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:21.4, finished third for George Napolitano Jr. Doo Wop Hanover and Dee's Rocketman picked up the minors in the octet.
At the opening bell, Waikiki Beach A "half-heartedly" left and went in search of a better spot, finally finding one in fifth around the opening turn. On the backside, driver Scott Zeron tilted his charge out and began gnawing away but was still some three or four lengths away around the final bend. Once they straightened away, Waikiki Beach A was in full attack mode, sticking his nose in front right on the wire.
In a post race interview, driver Zeron lamented, "He had to overcome a lot in the mile tonight and I couldn't have asked for much more finishing. I will say that these were two great starts prepping for the Levy."
Trained by Ross Croghan for the Let It Ride Stables, Waikiki Beach A is, of course, a perfect two-for-two in the U.S. to go along with his newly established mark. Lifetime, Waikiki Beach A has banked $719,019 -- $11,000 of that in his two starts this year. Off at even money on the toteboard, Waikiki Beach A paid $4 to win.
In other Sunday action, Lyons Johnny, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines, won the $9,000 claiming handicap, scoring in 1:52.1 over The Onlyest One, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike. E R Melvyn, driven by Rick Plano, was third while Backup A finished fourth. E Y Cowboy picked up the nickel in the sharp sextet.
The win was the 40th career-wise for the 10-year-old altered son of Mach Three, whose earnings leaped to $399,019. Lyons Johnny was trained by Ray Vizzi for owner Mildred Ventriglio and was promptly claimed for the $30,000 tag. Off as the second choice at 3-2, Lyons Johnny rewarded his many faithful with a $5 mutuel.
Another noteworthy performance was put in by A Cool Card, driven by Rick Plano. This 10-year-old gelded son of Cole Muffler toured Pompano Park's slick five-eighths-mile over in 1:51, highlighted by a final half in :54. A Cool Card carded panels of :27.3 and :57 before beginning his lethal sprint on the backside, reaching the third station in 1:23.3.
Driver Plano also trains for owner Maryann Plano. It was the first success of the season for A Cool Card, who now has 41 career wins and $473,909 in bounty. Off at 4-5, A Cool Card paid $3.80 to win. (Pompano Park)