Day At The Track

Prairie Westerngal hangs on in Open Pace

02:54 AM 26 Nov 2020 NZDT
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Wally Hennessey, harness racing
Wally Hennessey won the feature race Tuesday at Pompano Park
Skip Smith photo

Pompano Beach, FL…November 24, 2020…Prairie Westerngal, stepping up a notch after a harness racing win last week in Open II company for fillies and mares, took top honors as she won a close photo finish in the $11,500 Open Handicap Pace for mares on Tuesday night at Pompano Park, stopping the timer in 1:52.1, a new lifetime mark.

The four-year-old daughter of Western Ideal had Wally Hennessey in her sulky for trainer Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin and Fritz Racing.

The margin of victory was a scant nose over the late charging invader Crisp Mane (Ricky Macomber) with Ask Me Ifi Care (Mike MIcallef) closing fastest of all to be third, less than a length away.

 

Another Beach Day and Tempus Seelster picked up the final two awards in the classy septet.

At the outset, Prairie Westerngal left from post 4 with alacrity as Ask Me Ifi Care used her rail post to snuggle right behind and Crisp Mane (post 6) finding an early seat in third before leaving that spot and surging to the lead just short of the opener in :27, leaving Prairie Westerngal in the garden spot…but not for long as Hennessey put his mare right back to the top and carded a healthy half of :55.2 with Crisp Man 1 ¼ lengths away, Ask Me Ifi Care 2 ½ back and Tempus Seelster on the move from last early to fourth.

 On the backside, Prairie Westerngal began to feel the heat as Tempus Seelster moved to within a length past the third station in 1:23.4.

Turning for home, Crisp Man found some room to roam and began gnawing away, especially in the final sixteenth, and just missed all the marbles in that photo.

In a post-race interview, Hennessey related, “She raced her heart out tonight and the wire came just in time. Last week, she was in the garden spot all the way before she put in her rally to win. This was a more difficult trip but she felt so strong that I thought she’d be good on the front. She showed me her mettle tonight.”

Trainer Mike Deters echoed Hennessey’s comments saying, “I thought she raced super, especially considering the she had to fight off Rob’s (Rittof) mare (Tempus Seelster) and Ricky’s (Macomber) mare (Crisp Mane) but she dug in. The addition of Lasix has improved her greatly. She always had tremendous gate speed and the Lasix has enabled her to finish her races much stronger. As we all know, there’s no lap money in this sport…they only pay at the wire!”

The win was the sixth of the year for Prairie Westerngal in 17 starts, pushing her 2020 bounty to $31,831 and $125,813 lifetime. As the 6 to 5 favorite, Prairie Westerngal paid $4.40 to win.

In the $10,000 Open II Pace for the ladies, Casie’s Believer, driven by owner-trainer Joe Chindano, Jr., slipped through along the pylons in the final yards to nail the leading Image Of A Dream to take top honors in 1:53.4.

Take A Bit Of Life (Tyler Smith) was third while Northern Dali and Persistent Bettor finished 4th and 5th, while Talk Show Chica picked up the minors in the field of 10.

As the wings folded, there was heavy action as Casie’s Believer, Northern Dali and Persistent Bettor all left alertly with Image Of A Dream next but on the move shortly after the first eighth and on a mission for the lead.

After an opener in a hot :27, Image Of A Dream was moving forward and secured the lead halfway through in :55.2. After reaching the third station in 1:24.3, Image Of A Dream continued to lead as Casie’s Believer, sitting fourth and chilly turning for home, found room on the inside to push her head in front right at the wire.

This five-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar won for the fourth time in 22 starts this semester to improve her bounty to $26,779. As the third choice in the betting at 5 to 1, Casie’s Believer paid $12.60 to win.

Once again, there were several handsome payouts on the Tuesday program with the highlights being a $4,273.15 for a 50 cent Pick-4 winning ducat and a $22,040.44 payday for the 20 cent winning ticket on the Super Hi-5.

Driver Wally Hennessey had a consecutive trio of winners on Tuesday, winning the first three races with the aforementioned Prairie Westerngal, Cradiac Fashion ($7.20) and Chart Topper ($3.00) while Joe Chindano, Jr. had a consecutive driving double in races eight and nine with R E's Shabla ($9.00) following Casie's Believer to the winner's circle.

Wednesday night’s action includes a Pick-6 carryover with the Thanksgiving Eve program beginning at 7:20 p.m.

by John Berry, for Pompano Park

 

 

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