Day At The Track

Close finishes at Olympia Palm Beach qualifiers

08:56 AM 02 Apr 2020 NZDT
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Sweet Deisel, harness racing Harness racing Harness racing
Trainer-driver Dan Daley makes it look easy with Sweet Deisel as they beat Jimi Wind Ricks (Scott Zeron) by a neck in 2:01.1.
Ann-Mari Daley photo
Trainer-driver Sam Stathis raises his prize of toilet paper in the winner's circle after winning the third race with Celebrity Maserati.
Ann-Mari Daley photo
12-year-old Morgan Paquet was the Marshall for the qualifiers
Ann-Mari Daley photo

Lake Worth, FL - It was an exciting morning at Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center (formerly the South Florida Trotting Center) as five qualifying races were held with two race finishes decided by a head and a neck.

The first race trot saw driver Fern Paquet, Jr. cut slow fraction as the pocket-sitting Celebrity Titan (Sam Stathis) went off-stride at the half mile. Paquet then just needed to keep Hall OF Faith on-stride and they won by 20 lengths in 2:10.1.

It was only the second qualifying race for Hall Of Faith. The three-year-old filly by Conway Hall is trained by Jennifer Sansone for owner Reuben Graber of Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Paquet was greeted in the winner's circle with some rolls of toilet paper. Each winning driver will receive a 12-pack of the hard-to-get item.

Paquet, whose daughter Meghan was the outrider for the qualifying races, made a return trip to the winner's circle in the second race trot.

It was Sam Stathis going right to the lead with Celebrity Bianca with Paquet was content to sitting the two-hole trip with Celebrity Miracle, who had just won on March 16 at Pompano Park in a lifetime best clocking of 1:54.3.

Stathis widened his lead with Celebrity Bianca trying to bottom out Celebrity Miracle and Paquet, going to the first quarter in :29.2, then past the half mile in :59.3. Paquet began to gain ground with Celebrity Miracle, closing to within two lengths of Celebrity Bianca at the three-quarters in 1:30.1.

Racing neck and neck around the final turn, Paquet put a nose up over Celebrity Bianca and the pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths in 2:01.

A four-year-old gelded son of Celebrity Maserati, Celebrity Miracle is trained by Sam Stathis and is owned by his Celebrity Farms of New York, NY. It would turn out that Celebrity Miracle's mile was the fastest of the day.

The third race all belonged to Sam Sathis and his stallion, Celebrity Maserati, but it was a tough mile at the finish wire.

Stathis started off the show going right to the lead with Celebrity Maserati. Also, in the race was Celebrity Serena (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who is sired by Celebrity Maserati, so the race was father against daughter.

Celebrity Serena (who is named after the tennis star) was content with the pocket trip as Celebrity Maserati cut all the fractions. Starting around the final turn, Paquet pulled the pocket and started to come after her sire, Celebrity Maserati.

Those two horses dueled neck and neck down the stretch with Celebrity Maserati winning by a head in 2:05.

A $198,000 career stakes winner at age two and three, Celebrity Maserati is a ten-year-old stallion by Andover Hall. Due to injuries he was unable to race for years, but still was able to service numerous mares for Celebrity Farms and will return to the races once the tracks are able to reopen.

Celebrity Maserati is trained by Stathis and owned by his Celebrity Farms.

The fourth race was for pacers with trainer/driver Dan Daley sitting a pocket trip with Sweet Deisel while Jimi Wind Ricks and driver Scott Zeron cut the mile.

Through fractions of :31.3, 1:02.2 and 1:32, Jimi Wind Ricks was strong on the lead, but Dan Daley kept Sweet Deisel right in the pocket until the final turn and then came after Jimi Wind Ricks.

It looked as if Jimi Wind Rocks and Zeron would be able to hold on, but Sweet Deisel kicked in a :28.4 last quarter mile and nipped Jimi Wind Ricks by a neck in 2:01.1. It was the second fasted mile for the day.

Daley, an inductee to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame, trains Sweet Deisel, a four-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou who is co-owned by his wife, Ann-Mari Daley and Crawford Farms. Sweet Deisel last year scored seven wins and won $43,000.

Due to scratches, the fifth race pace featured just one starter, Roll With Angel and driver Scott Zeron. They cut fractions of :32, 1:02.1, 1:32 and won the race in 2:01.4.

Trained by John Mungillo, Roll With Angel is a three-year-old filly by Roll With Joe and is co-owned by Finish Line Investors, Thatsideofthefence, J. Papernik and L Wiler. She started 12 times last year at age 2, earned over $43,000 in the New York Sire Stake and had never won a race until Wednesday's qualifier.

"This was just a super day," Said Sam Stathis, who owns Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center. "We tried to make this event something special for people to watch. We had some Facebook Live and the video and droning of the races will be on our Olympiapalmbeach.com website later today. I want to thank everyone that came out today and made things happen and kept proper social distances.

"We hope to do more events like this in the future," Stathis added. "I know this virus is a terrible thing, but we will beat it and come back and be strong again.

Video of each of the five races and the droning that took place will be available to view at www.olympiapalmbeach.com.

By Steve Wolf, for Olympia of Palm Beach

 
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