Pompano Beach, FL...Jul 13, 2013...Despite an 'hours long' deluge of heavy rain, Pompano Park was able to go on with the show on Saturday night...and what a show it was!
Stardom was shared by the three year-old Florida bred colt Hillybilly, that took the $8,800 winners over feature pace, Bruce Ranger, who drove five winners on the card, including a natural "grand-slam" and Walter Ross, Jr., who reached a milestone with his 1000th lifetime victory.
Hillybilly, handled by Ranger for trainer Marc Aubin and Amante Standarbreds, used a "Sonsam-like" brush around the final turn while surging from fifth to the lead and just did hold off the late charging Avantage, driven by Tom Sells, to score by a neck in 1:53.1 over the tiring racetrack. Freeneasy Hanover finished third while Neptune Blue Chip and Dots Bigboy earned the final two checks in the field of six.
Said Ranger in a post race interview, "This colt has some motor for an eighth mile--one of the fastest I have ever handled. After a brush like that, as well as the track condition, it's understandable that he'd tire a bit but he did come home in :27.4. I imagine the last bit of that was :14 and change. They don't put the winning margin on the checks!"
The win was Hillybilly's sixth in 14 starts this year and 10th lifetime, pushing his career bounty to $64,926. As the 6 to 5 tote-board choice, he paid $4.60 to win.
As mentioned, the victory was one of five on the program for Ranger, who started his grand-slam performance in the third race with Marissa Tyler's Young American ($3.00) and continued in the next race with Patricia Connor's Fashion Ruffles ($5.60). The John Bach trotter That's My Thing gave Ranger the natural "hat trick" in the fifth race, returning $5.80 and Amanda Tobinski's Allamerican Major made it a grand-slam in the very next race, returning $5.80, this, of course, before Hillybilly's performance later on the card.
Walter Ross, Jr. left no doubt about victory number 1,000 when he guided Wingull to victory in Pompano Park's eighth race.
Owned by Ken Freeman along with trainer Dave Mogan, Wingull shook off pressure around the final turn and waltzed away to a victory measuring 10 1/4 lengths in 1:55, a new lifetime mark for Wingull despite the off track. Wingull returned $7.20, 7:20 and $20.80--those prices ok--across the board.
Ross, the soft-spoken gentleman who has overcome many health hurdles over the years, has banked over $5,000,000 in purse money for owners and has been associated with several excellent horses, the most notable being Tweedle Dum. Others include Gold Star Gidget, Goldstar Thumper, Ima Western Lady, Angela Cile, Spin Mogul, Country Tim, Lori Louise, Shirlene Temple and Source of Luck, among others.