Day At The Track

Bluehourpower & Macomber Jr. three-peat

06:45 PM 18 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Bluehourpower, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., scores a three-peat victory
Skip Smith Photo

Pompano Beach, Fl.January 17, 2016.Bluehourpower scored a three-peat harness racing victory in Pompano Park's $12,500 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night, covering the mile in 1:50.3 for Ricky Macomber, Jr.

The five year-old son of Sand Shooter, trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Wilbur Eash, pinned what turned out to be a handy defeat measuring 1¾ lengths on Arthur Blue Chip, with Wally Hennessey driving.

Whogoesfirst, saving ground all the way, finished third for Kevin Wallis while Northern Companion, also hugging the inside portion of the track the entire route, finished fourth. Bandolito finished fifth in the sextet after being prominent throughout the mile.

At the outset, it was a cavalry charge out of the gate as Bandolito, Arthur Blue Chip, Whogoesfirst and Bluehourpower were all out alertly with Bandolito taking command first before yielding to Arthur Blue Chip who, in turn, yielded to Bluehourpower shortly after the :26.3 opener.

With the pace only relenting slightly through a :54.3 half, Bandolito was out and rolling first up on the backside and got within a length of the leader at the third station in 1:22.1. In the lane, driver Macomber "spoke" to his charge and he actually extended his lead to the wire in a very brave effort.

After the event, Macomber said, "I was really looking to find a spot mid-pack but, when nothing developed, that left me no choice but to go for the top spot-the way we did last week. He's a handy horse so nothing bothers him. He does anything asked of him. He's sharp right now and he's very brave."

In keeping his 2016 record perfect-now three-for-three-Bluehourpower won for the fifth time in six starts since his South Florida arrival and now sports a lifetime bankroll of $527,381 to go along with his Pompano Park mark of 1:50.2.

As the 3 to 2 second choice on the tote-board, Bluehourpower paid $5.00 to his many $2 followers.

The $11,000 Open 2 Pace went to Dont Tell Rusty, with George Napolitano, Jr. in the sulky.

This seven year-old altered son of Tell All, trained by Paul Holzman for owner Melvin Fink, took command after a brief early battle and put together panels of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:23.2 before fending off the late surge of KR's Power Surge (Dave Ingraham) to score by a neck in 1:51.1. Maddysonofagun finished third, a length away, for John MacDonald while Cee Pee Panic finished fourth. King Royalty picked up the minors in the field of six.

Dont Tell Rusty won for the initial time in just three starts in 2016 and sent his career bounty to $189,101.

As the 4 to 5 talk of the tote-board, Dont Tell Rusty paid $3.60 to win.

The $10,000 conditioned (nw $6,001 last five starts) pace resulted in an all-out war to the wire with Next Thing Smoke'n eking out a narrow victory for Rick Plano over Four Socks, handled by John Cummings, Jr., in 1:52.1.

Mister Virgin was third for Ed Hensley while Taranadawn finished fourth after cutting fractions of :26; :55.1 and 1:23.4. Blueridge Dancer rallied from last turning for home to finish fifth.

Next Thing Smoke'n, a five year-old son of Sand Shooter trained by Plano for owners Maryann Plano and Michael Guest, slipped through along the inside to garner his 16th lifetime victory, sending his career bounty to $212,120.

The 3 to 1 third choice in the win pool rewarded his $2 investors with an $8.00 mutuel.

Finally, the "Over The Hill Gang" competition for trotters nine year of age or older continued on Sunday night with Celtic Merchant, the elder statesperson of his group of senior citizens at 13, a wire-to-wire winner in 1:55.4 off of panels of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:26.

The altered son of Angus Hall, owned and trained by Steve Oldford, was driven to victory by Rick Plano, the elder statesman of drivers in this event at 64.

The favorite, Mandabra, driven by Dan Clements, finished second, 1¾ lengths back, while the only mare in the field, Mad Cow Lisa, with Dave Ingraham driving, finished third. On The Tab was fourth with Adenium picking up the nickel in the field of nine.

In garnering his 43rd lifetime win in 210 career starts, Celtic Merchant's winning time was his fastest since taking his lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Pocono Downs back in early 2013 and third fastest lifetime.

Celtic Merchant now has banked $348,106 during his career stretching back to 2006.

As the 6 to 1 second choice, Celtic Merchant paid $15.60 to win.

Racing continues on Monday night with a nine race card with first post at 7:30 p.m.

by John Berry for Pompano Park

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