Pompano Beach, FL...December 30, 2013...Small Bills returned handsome dividends to both his owner and those who plunked $2 on his nose in the $19,150 final of the Tweedle Dum Late Closer at Pompano Park on Sunday night.
The five year-old son of, owned and trained by Dennis Whittemore and driven by his son, Jimmy, conquered a solid field and a broken head pole to score in a lifetime best clocking of 1:55, returning the lion's share of the purse to, of course, his owner and $46.00 to his followers at the wagering windows.
Small BIlls' winning margin was 1 1/2 lengths over the 3 to 5 tote board favorite, ER Mr T, who was handled by. Increditable and closed fastest of all in the field to garner third while Merited Victory and Celebrity Legacy earned the final awards in the field of seven.
Small Bills won for the seventh time this year in 39 starts and this biggest of paydays sent his seasonal bounty to $33,009 and a shade over $120,000 lifetime.
In a post race interview, driver Whittemore said, "...you know, he didn't race all that bad in the first two legs. Last week we got shuffled a bit but he was trotting strong to the wire and, the week before, he trotted his final half around :57. I kinda thought that they'd be going some going for$19,000 so I thought I had a decent chance from the rail if I could stay out of trouble. That head pole flapping didn't seem to bother him...he kept his mind on the business at hand and those hot fractions helped. When I tipped him, he trotted his usual strong final quarter but was helped as that hot speed came back to the field a bit." He'd never been in (1):55 before so that was something!"
The 22 to 1 win not only keyed a $4,456.60 trifecta but played a huge roll in creating two carryovers for Monday's 7:05 p.m. program, including a healthy $4,631 carryover the the Pick 4. Director of Racing John Yinger sees a Monday night pool in excess of $10,000.
In the $10,000 Open Pace for fillies and mares. Wildfire Osborne, driven by John Cummings, Jr., swept past the entire field to score a sharp 1:52.4 win for her 35th lifetime victory--eighth this year.
The seven year-old long striding daughter of, also owned and trained by Cummings, used different tactics this time around to score by 1 1/4 lengths over the late charging Woman of Terror ( ). Favored De Vins Girl ( ) was shuffled a bit on the backside bit closed stoutly late to get third while Southwind Trini and Ocean's Motion finished next in the septet.
After the race, Cummings said, "...you know, I put her on the lead in her last two and those miles were just a bit too fast for her to last. Tonight, I didn't have much of a choice with the outside post and the others leaving inside. This post might just have been a blessing...forcing me to take back. She sure is a long striding mare!"
Also on the card, the first leg of the Chucaro Ajihuna Late Closer was held in two divisions and Surclasser and Mr Party Man emerged victorious.
Surclasser, handled by, stormed from dead last turning for home and, on the strength of a :28.4 finale, scored by 1 1/2 lengths over Frenchmen ( ) with Soxy's Kid ( ) third in the field of six. Libra Vita and Dreamnwillie were next while the 4 to 5 choice, Up Tempo, never fired this night and finished last.
Owned by Casandra and Rebecca Uppal going into the event, Surclasser won for the 31st time in his career and was promptly claimed by the J P House Stables.
A similar situation occurred in the second division as Mr Party Man, driven by, made a sharp quarter move to the top and led the rest of the way to score a narrow decision of the pair of "heaters"--Ulay Boko ( ) and Bank President ( ). Bar's Gold Medal and JJ Rock finished next in the six horse field.
Timed in 1:57.3, Mr Party Man won for the very first time this year for owners Laurie Poulin andand was claimed by .
Finally, the Florida Amateur Driving Club, that have donated over $125,000 to charitable causes since their inception, made yet another on Sunday Night, this one to the Peaceful Ridge Rescue Mission, an organization that has saved countless horses from neglect, abuse and slaughter.
by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park