Day At The Track

Royal Max takes $15,000 Open Handicap

07:06 PM 10 Feb 2016 NZDT
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Royal Max rewarded his investors with a dividend of $3.80
Royal Max rewarded his investors with a dividend of $3.80
Skip Smith Photo

Royal Max, driven by George Napolitano, Jr., justified the 4 to 5 tote-board confidence of the betting crowd by scoring a handy 1:54.1 harness racing victory in Pompano Park's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot on Tuesday night.

The lightly raced five year-old gelded son of RC Royalty, trained by Chris Oakes for owner Albert Crawford, brushed up strongly from his seven post to take command prior to the hot :26.4 opener then proceeded to post fractions of :56.1 and 1:24.2 in route to a victory measuring 2¾ lengths over the late surging Winding Hill, handled by John MacDonald.

She's All In, prominent in the garden spot all the way, wound up third for Rick Plano while Sailer Eddie finished fourth, nine lengths away from the winner. My Revenuer, assigned the outside post off of two straight wins in the company, rallied to pick up the nickel.

In a post-race interview, driver George Napolitano related, "Ya know, he was really good last week off of only one qualifier and I told Chris (trainer Oakes) that he's got an Open trotter here. He was roughed up last week and held together well in the lane so I thought he'd be even better tonight.and he was! Once he got to the lead, he was all business all the way. Chris has done an excellent job in getting him back to the races after he was injured last spring."

Trainer Chris Oakes added, "When I got 'Max,' he had some problems so I really took my time in getting him healthy again. It's one of Mr. Crawford's favorites so a lot of TLC went in to getting him ready to race again. He's five now but only has 28 lifetime starts-including tonight-so he's got the fresh legs to keep going a while."

Of those aforementioned 28 starts, Royal Max has won nine times with his lifetime bounty with this win now at $153,200.

Royal Max rewarded his investors with a dividend of $3.80.

In the $10,000 co-featured trot, Lucid Thoughts, driven by trainer John MacDonald for the J P Stables, scored an upset win in near gate to wire fashion in 1:55.1--the winning margin two lengths over Goldstar Classic, handled by Wally Hennessey. Explosive Muscles, under the tutelage of Rick Plano, finished third while Diamond Dagger finished fourth. MacKenzie's Star picked up the nickel over Majestic Won with the 2 to 5 favorite, Escuela, never "fired" this night and finished seventh and last.

Lucid Thoughts, a 1:55.1 winner last week coming from off the pace, used different tactics this night as the eight year-old son of Cash Hall blasted out of the gate and out-dueled Goldstar Classic around the initial turn to take control and carve out panels of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:26 before coasting home untouched in :29.1.

Not only did Lucid Thoughts score a repeat win, it was his 26th success in 165 career starts to send his lifetime bounty to $255,750.

As fourth choice on the tote-board at 10 to 1, Lucid Thoughts paid $23.80 to win.

Racing resumes Wednesday night with a 10 race program scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

by John Berry for Pompano Park

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