Day At The Track

Wally Hennessey almost sweeps the card

04:05 AM 30 Apr 2019 NZST
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Wally Hennessey, harness racing
Wally Hennessey

Pompano Beach, FL...April 29, 2019... With the 2019 NFL Football Draft in the sports headlines, Hall of Fame harness racing driver Wally Hennessey scored a touchdown of his own on Sunday night at Pompano Park...and added the extra point, as well, as he won seven races on the eight race program--missing the sweep by a neck.

Hennessey won with his own Boli ($2.40) in the opener as the Dan Hennessey trainee scored in 1:57.3 to kick off the Hennessey-Ingraham Pro-Am Challenge, an event benefiting three major charities in a four race competition pitting team Hennessey against Team Ingraham, captained by Dave Ingraham.

He completed his early daily double sweep by guiding Race Me Rocky ($2.20) to a handy win in 1:55.1. Race Me Rocky is trained by John Mungillo for owner Delmis Esquival.

Next, Hennessey guided the Donna Gilson-Eferstein owned and trained Alfredo Dream ($4.80) to a handy near gate-to-wire win in 1:59 in the second leg of the Amateur Challenge.

Hennessey's streak was interrupted in the fourth race when "double-digit" Dave Ingraham rallied Team Captain to a 30 to 1 upset win over Hennessey's Harry Terror in a photo finish timed in 1:53.4. Team Captain is trained by Mickey McNichol for owner Joseph Martinelli, Sr.

In the fifth race, Hennessey was back in the winner's circle with Don Brainard's FIre In My Heart ($2.80), trained by George Coblentz. with that mile clocked in a lifetime best 1:55.2.

About 22 minutes later, Hennessey was back in the winner's circle with the aptly named Golden Tate ($3.60), as pilot Hennessey sent this nine year-old receiver on a sprint that lasted right to the goal line in 1:56.1.

Golden Tate is trained by Norman Dessureault, who co-owns with Steve Stabile--Norman celebrating his birthday about 2 1/2 hours early!

Hennessey then scored the "TD" with Rub Ofthe Green (N) ($3.40), who scorched the Pompano oval in 1:52, a seasonal best. The eight year-old is trained by Luc Loyer for Ciro Gentile and Larry Tucker.

With the "six point" touchdown on the board, Hennessey then went for the extra point and got it with Big Bad Bill ($2.60), who scored for the Pacing Pretty Stable, trained by Jim McDonald.

Reflecting on his momentous night, the humble Hennessey said, "Yes, it was a great night but you have to give credit to all the trainers and caretakers that get 'em ready to race and take such great care of them. It all starts with them!"

Hennessey's heroics helped his team defeat Team Ingraham (68 to 47) in the 2019 edition of the Hennessey-Ingraham Amateur Challenge, featuring those two captains and the best amateur drivers at Pompano in a four race competition.

Following the final race of that event, a large throng was in the winner's circle as presentations and donations were made to the Christian Harness Horsemen's Associaation, Rockin' T Horse Rescue and Tomorrow's Rainbow.

The C.H.H.A. has been a driving force in the harness racing industry since 1983 and provides emotional support for those in need. They also have a scholarship program benefitting many young people.

Rockin' T Horse Rescue--Ingraham's beneficiary--gives a safe haven to injured and retired horses in need of medical and spiritual support.

As Ingraham said, "horses give us everything they've got on the racetrack and it's great to have places like Rockin' T to help restore their spirit in times of need."

Tomorrow's Rainbow uses horses to provide emotional support for trauma victims as young as three years-old and, as Hennessey related, "For those that have suffered tragedy in their lives, founder Abby Mosher stepped up to the plate and formed this rainbow to give hope and support to those that really are in need. They are just fantastic!"

The donations sent the F.A.D.C. donations well over the $200,000 since their inception.

Racing continues Monday and Tuesday with the season winding up on Saturday, May 4.

by John Berry for Pompano Park and the Florida Amateur Driving Club

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