Day At The Track

France takes Amateur Challenge

07:00 AM 04 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Jean Philippe Bazire
Rench driver Jean Philippe Bazire was the star at Pompano Park on Sunday night

Pompano Beach, FL...December 3, 2018...French driver Jean Philippe Bazire was the harness racing star at Pompano Park on Sunday night (December 2) in the highly anticipated competition entitled the "France-USA Challenge."

Bazire, 32, had two wins and a third in the three race competition as the French team out-slugged the home-team 101-82.

The French native kicked off the festivities with a gate-to-wire win with Skyway Priss, the 10 year-old daughter of Cincinnati Kid trained by Dale Gilmour for owner "1940 LLC."

It was the first win on U.S. soil for Bazire, who competed last year at Pompano Park and had a second place finish and a third place finish in his only two starts here.

Said Bazire after the race, "I knew this is a classy mare with a lot of money earned at over 40 wins in her career (46 to be precise coming in to the action), and I thought if I could take the lead early, I would be competitive.

Competitive she was as she clicked off fractions of :29, 1:00.3 and 1:30.4 before a :29.1 finale sealed the deal.

Love Hunter, driven by Ron Cusimano, finished second with Holiday Spirit, handled by visitor Emmanuel Puniere, was third leaving France with a 37-24 lead after round one.

Skyway Priss paid $6.00 to win as the second choice in the betting.

Bazire then led Power and Faith, trained by George Coblentz for owner Don Brainard, to a wire-to-wire win in 1:59, holding off a determined effort by You Cant Habit, with Carl Garofalo in the bike, by a half length.

Put On The Day, driven by Tony Ciuffetelli, was third with the French contingent earning a narrow 31-30 decision for the round an overall lead of 68-54 going into the finale.

Off at 18 to 1, Power and Faith paid $38.00 to win.

In the final leg, the French bred Verdi D Em, driven by Malta's Omar Caucki ("Cow-Key"), a relatively new arrival in the U.S., moved down the favorite Cantab Lindy, with Brent Davis, in 1:56.

In that event, Cantab Lindy, beginning from post nine, went grinding his way to the front after a swift opening panel in :27.1 with the eventual winner parked every step while the leader carded fractions of :56.3 and 1:26.2.

In the lane, Verdi's D Em charged to the front at mid-stretch and on to a 2 1/2 length win, a new lifetime mark for the nine year-old gelded son of Neoh Jiel.

Trained by Rob Harmon for owner John Campagnuolo, Verdi D Em sent his lifetime bankroll to $296,874 and rewarded his faithful with a $34.80 mutual.

The final tally was 101-82 with the French team taking home the top honors and Bazire recognized as the leading driver with 38 individual points.

In accepting the recognition for his achievement, Bazire said, "It's an honor to compete here in Florida, I love the hospitality and the weather. Of course, I am happy to pick up the wins here. I was so close last year, so this night will be in my memory forever."

Bazire added, "I guess I got some genes from my relative Jean-Michel Bazire, who has won many top races, including the Prix d'Amerique with Moni Maker in 1999.

Noted as an all-around horseman throughout the industry worldwide, Jean-Michel has 6086 career wins--472 of those as a jockey!

In Pompano Park's $10,000 Open I Handicap pace, Panocchio, driven by Wally Hennessey, put on yet another game performance as the eight year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended held off Casimer Richie P, with John MacDonald in the bike, and Dinky Dune, handled by Andy Shetler, by a half length in 1:51.4.

Said Hennessey after the event, "He (Panocchio) might have a little age on him now (he is eight), but he hasn't lost one iota of his gameness and will to win. He is something else."

Panocchio, a gelded son of No Pan Intended, now has a 63-41-12 scorecard in 166 career starts, good for $563,138 to go along with his track record at Pompano Park of 1:48.3.

Off at 6 to 5 on the tote-board, Panocchio paid $4.60 to win.

Racing continues on Monday night with a guaranteed $10,000 Pick-4 pool, a Pick-6 carryover and a Super Hi-5 carryover of $41,394.

Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.

Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park



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