Day At The Track

Northern Companion wins Pompano Open

01:33 PM 30 Mar 2014 NZDT
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Northern Companion, harness racing
Northern Companion and driver David Ingraham
Photo by Dee Leftwich
Pompano Beach, FL...March 29, 2014...With the track condition deteriorating quickly due to a deluge of rain just after the start, Northern Companion squeaked by a stubborn Ideal Choice (Brooke Nickells) in the final stride or two to capture Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap on Saturday night in 1:53.

Cruizin K C (Mark O'Mara) was third, a length away, while Rick's Sign finished fourth. Cartoonist, who took the field to an opening quarter in :27.1, made an untimely miscue just short of the :58.1 half and finished fifth in the quintette.

Indeed, it was Cartoonist on the engine as the gate opened, out-sprinting Ideal Choice through the opener before becoming unglued--make that "un-gooed"--midway around turn two.

With Ideal Choice now on an inherited lead, it was Northern Companion who pulled first and engaged the leader through an official third panel in :27.1--his :26.4--to stick a nose in front at the third station clocked in 1:25.2.

In the lane, Ideal Choice sprinted clear once again but Northern Companion used the grit for which he has become so well known at Pompano Park to eke out the victory by a neck.

In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "I don't know where this Northern Companion gets his determination, but he sure can grind away with the best of 'em. I kind of sensed that the pace was slowing during that second quarter so I decided I'd better start trudging forward around that second turn before the half. It took a big final half (:54.2) to nail it down but this horse just has that great attitude. Howard (trainer Klohr) does a great job with him...and, of course, that helps."

For Northern Companion, owned by Dorothy Zarza, it was his fourth win of the year in 11 starts, sending his seasonal bankroll to $31,800. Career-wise, the six year-old son of Cambest has won 36 times, good for $218,632.

As the 4 to 5 tote-board choice, Northern Companion paid $3.60 to win.

by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

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