Day At The Track

Just A Bee the "Queen Bee" at Pompano

05:00 AM 01 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Just A Bee, driven by Mike Micallef
Just A Bee, driven by Mike Micallef, regained her status as the Queen Bee at Pompano Park on Wednesday night, winning the Open Pace for fillies and mares in 1:50.4
Skip Smith Photo

Pompano Beach, FL...December 31, 2015...Just A Bee, exquisitely handled by Mike Micallef, stung her rivals at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (December 30), regaining her status as the Queen Bee with a sterling harness racing performance in 1:50.4.

The seven year-old daughter of Mr Feelgood, trained by Micallef for owners Anita Micallef, John McGoff and Greg Heath, led from first long stride to last, clocking panels of :27.2, :55.1 and 1:23.1 before her 27.3 sprint home sealed the issue by 1 3/4 lengths over the 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Precocious Beauty, handled by Doug McNair.

Safe From Terror, with Matt Romano in the bike, finished third while Classic Carpet, prominent early, finished fourth. Jets Are On picked up the minor award in the talented sextet.

At the outset, Just A Bee seemed to, literally, push the starting gate out of her way from her outside post seven and immediately too command, stuffing Classic Carper in the pocket with Safe From Terror, Sandysgoldenhour and Jets Are On next with that aforementioned favorite, Precocious Beauty, away sixth and last, some seven lengths back early.

With the dust then settled, positions remained the same until turn two when Precocious Beauty began her jaunt forward, sprinting her third quarter in :27 to wend her way into contention about a length away turning for home.

In the lane, with both mares sprinting, Just A Bee never relented and was never in danger to the wire.

After the event, driver Mike Micallef said, "my mare raced good in her first start back last week and felt very strong warming up on the track--relaxed but ready, I would say. When she grabbed on behind the gate, I thought 'we're going for the gusto tonight' and she burst out of the gate.

"That probably was the difference because that put some distance between us and Doug's (McNair) mare (Precocious Beauty). She, too, of course, is one heckuva mare but maybe not seven or eight lengths better so the start I thought might be the key."

Since being claimed in September of 2014 for $12,000, Just A Bee has won 19 times for Micallef, good for $153,735--$125,285 this year.

As the 5 to 2 second choice, Just A Bee returned $7.60 to her faithful.

Also of note, the 10 year-old Park Place mare Shortest Distance used the shortest distance to victory on Wednesday night by skimming the pylons late in the lane to score her 90th career victory--this one in 1:53.3.

Trained by Leopold Sawyers for owner Byron Pineda, Shortest Distance was handled by Wally Hennessey and garnered her 12th win of the year in 31 starts. She took her lifetime mark of 1:53 just one week ago.

Shortest Distance has lifetime bounty of $457,340--$57.294 of that banked this year as the 2015 season comes to an end.

Racing continues on Saturday night with Pompano Park's five night a week schedule--Saturday through Wednesday--currently in effect with a 7:30 post time.

John Berry for Pompano Park

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