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Northern Companion, handled by harness racing driver Dave Ingraham, took top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (May 22), scoring a photo finish victory over Rockntouch (Mickey McNichol) and Here Comes William (Donald Dupont) in 1:51.4. The eight year-old gelded son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, brushed up first over on the backside to engage the leading Here Comes William around the final turn, edged by turning for home and then held off the furious late bid of Rockntouch to score by a head. Here Comes William was a half-length off the winner while Abreathofreshart and Goldstar Raider had to be content with the minors this night. The victory by Northern Companion was all the more impressive because Here Comes William was able to put up "soft" fractions of :27.4 and :56.4 while Northern Companion was forced to join the fray through an officially timed third quarter of :27.4 with his individual effort being right around :27. A :27.1 finale by Northern Companion sealed the deal with his individual effort showed he paced his final half in :54.1 and last three-quarters in 1:22.4. After the event, driver Dave Ingraham related with a question, "Want to know the definition of a racehorse? Northern Companion is that definition. "He just tries so hard every time he races. He likes to brush and he's tough as nails when it counts. "He went a huge mile tonight, but that's nothing new for him!" In winning for the 48th time career-wise, Northern Companion won for the 39th time at Pompano Park. His 4-1-2 scorecard this semester in 15 starts brings his earnings to $27,109. Lifetime, he's banked $311,451. As the slight favorite at 3 to 2, Northern Companion paid $5.00 to his multitude of faithful. The Florida Amateur Driving Club was represented in two events on Sunday night with PC's Wildcard, the popular winner in the opener for Joe Pennacchio while Yakekty Hanover took the nightcap for Fred Cohen. PC's Wildcard, a seven year-old altered son of Sand Chaser, got picture perfect rating from Pennacchio, holding off the late surging Magic Cheque (Leon Cable) by a half-length in 1:59. Thekeptman (Fred Cohen) was third, 3¼ lengths away while Columbia Lion and Engagedatlexington completed the order of finish in the quintet. Pennacchio sent PC's Wildcard right to the front from his coveted post five and carded panels of :29.1 and 1:00.3 before stepping up the tempo on the backside thwarting any serious bids past the third station in 1:30. Off those panels, PC's Wildcard had plenty left and closed the mile with a :29 finale. Trained by Mike Sweeney for owner Jeff Lemmer, PC's Wildcard won for only the second time this year-26th time career-wise-to send his yearly bankroll to an "aces and eights" $11,188. Lifetime, the gelding has $97,157. As the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, PC's Wildcard paid $3.40 to win. Pennacchio, by the way, now has 153 amateur driving wins. Yakekty Hanover, handled this night by trainer Fred Cohen for owner Brian Calvert, was forced to achieve his victory from the outside six post in his event, taking on Showing Off (John Campagnuolo, post 5) through a lively opener of :28.2 before assuming control right at that opening marker. From there, the five year-old daughter of Andover Hall carded fractions of :57.3 and 1:27.3 in route to a final time of 1:58.2, a seasonal best, over Showing Off with Zeitgeist (Dein Spriggs) third. Sky Crest and Total Freedom finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the sextet. Yakekty Hanover won for the second time this year in eight starts with the win sending his career bounty over the $50,000 mark--$52,148 to be precise. The winner paid $5.60 as the second choice and gave driver Fred Cohen his 184th career driving win. Also of note on the Sunday night card, the 10 year-old warrior A Fool For Mark, driven by Dave Ingraham for owner Dustin Ingraham, scored his 50th career win. The gelded son of Western Ideal toughed out a game first-over win in 1:53.4 to reach the milestone in his 246th lifetime start. A Fool For Mark, who sports a mark of 1:49.3 over the Vernon Downs oval, has banked $212,419. As the 4 to 1 third choice, A Fool For Mark paid $10.00 to win. Racing resumes Tuesday night with first post set at 7:30 p.m. John Berry for Pompano Park

Northern Companion, driven by Dave Ingraham, surviving a first over journey the final 7/16s of the mile, wore down the leader a 16th out and then held off a surging Heart Felt, handled by Walter Ross, Jr., to take top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's $8,500 Open Pace on Sunday night (May 8). The official margin was a half-length in 1:52.3 with Sir Globalop Z Tam, teamed up with Andy Santeramo, third. Abreathofreshart finished fourth after a quarter move from fourth to the top with Thebestofjoel picking up the nickel in the compact quintet. At the outset, Sir Globalop Z Tam was away alertly from post three, as was Heart Felt from post five forcing Northern Companion, sandwiched in between these two with post four, to take back to last. At the :27.3 opener, Heart Felt had made the top with Sir Globalop Z Tam next and Thebestofjoel third with Abreathofreshart on the move from fourth and forging to the top 3/8s into the mile. Shortly after the lively half in :55.1, Ingraham began his first over jaunt with Northern Companion, pacing his individual third panel in :27.2, to draw alongside the leading Abreathofreshart past the third station in 1:23.4 with Heart Felt widest of all and charging hard. In the lane, Northern Companion gutted on by the leader and held off Heart Felt in a brave finish. After the event, driver Ingraham said, "I was toying with the idea of leaving with him (Northern Companion) but that idea went down the drain when both horses around me were revved up and ready to go, so I had no choice but to take him back to last hoping for some lively numbers. "Once we straightened away on the backside, I let him roll and he was brushing hard on his own for the next quarter. "In the lane, we got by Wally (Hennessey with Abreathofreshart) but I was a little worried about the other Wally (Ross, Jr. with Heart Felt) who was charging hard. "He got there, though! He was brave tonight." Trained by Howard Klohr for Dorothy Zarza, this eight year-old son of Cambest won for the third time this semester in 13 starts to send his 2016 bankroll to $21,634. Lifetime, Northern Companion has won 47 times-38 of them at Pompano Park-with career bounty of $305,976. As the even-money tote-board favorite, Northern Companion paid$4.20 to win. The $7,500 Open 2 Pace went to Rockntouch, superbly handled by Mickey McNichol. This four year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, got a picture perfect drive from McNichol, stalking the favored Goldstar Raider, driven by Wally Hennessey, through panels of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:24.3 before tilting out turning for home and wearing down the leader with a :27.3 finale, stopping the timer in 1:52.2, a new lifetime mark. The margin at the wire was a "head," with I'm A Gift (Donald Dupont) third, 4½ lengths away. Freeneasy Hanover and Mach It Paiden earned the minors in the field of five. For the Odell Thompson trained Rockntouch, it was his fifth win of the year in 11 starts, good for seasonal bounty of $18,124 for Salvatore Promuto and the Fred Monteleone Stable. Lifetime, Rockntouch now has earnings of $64.010. As third choice in the betting, Rockntouch returned $8.00 to win. The Florida Amateur Driving Club, having recently sent their charitable contributions from their member-driver earnings over the $170,000 plateau, was in action on Sunday night and two veterans-one of the equine kind and the other a long-time horseman-teamed up to score a handy win in 1:58.3. Gimme The Loot, an 11 year-old altered son of Credit Winner, was a gate-to-wire winner this night, clicking off panels of :28.3, :58.3 and 1:28.3 in route to a 1:58.3 score for veteran driver Leon Cable, who now has 423 lifetime wins, having driven his first winner back in 1979. Gimme The Loot, owned and trained by Alessandro Spano, hit the board for the very first time in 2016, scoring the win measuring 1¾ lengths over Yakekty Hanover, handled by Fred Cohen, with Zeitgeist, driven by Dein Spriggs, third. Showing Off finished fourth in the sextet of trotters followed by Total Freedom. In achieving Gimme The Loot's 26th career victory, driver Leon Cable said, "Heck, he hadn't been doing very well trying to come off the pace so, tonight, with the rail, I thought I'd try him on the engine. "I know he has won several races before that way, so I had nothing to lose by trying to wake him up. "He woke up alright!" As the 9 to 5 second choice, Gimme The Loot returned $5.80 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with mares in action in the featured Open Handicap Pace. With five of the six entrants coming off victories in their last starts, the competitive field features the return of Goldstar Rockette, a winner in a lifetime best 1:52.2 in her most recent event. Kevin Wallis is expected to be in the bike for owner-trainer Lou Ginesi and is listed as the 9 to 5 morning line choice. Pat Connor's Drea's Good Powow, a wire-to-wire winner in her last race in 1:52.4 will have driver Dave Ingraham in the bike for new trainer James Hysell and is 5 to 2 on the early line. Post Time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...June 6, 2015...A sizzling victory by Northern Companion and the contesting of the Spanish-American Friendship competition highlighted the Pompano Park Saturday night harness racing card with the icing on the cake coming in the finale when a 20 cent Super Hi-5 ticket was cashed to the tune of over $6,400.00.   Northern Companion, Dorothy Zarza's splendid seven year-old son of Cambest, took advantage of a "suicidal" pace before picking up the pieces in the lane to score a handy win in 1:51 for driver Tom Sells.   A game Raji's Blue Line (Ben Mc Neil) finished second with Who's Your Maddy third, over the 3 to 5 favorite No Bad Dreams. The early leader, Histoire Eternelle, finished fifth in the quintet after hitting the opening marker on top in :27.   Shortly thereafter, Raji's Blue Line made a quarter move to the top with a battle shaping up between that one and No Bad Dreams (Marc Aubin) with that pair reaching the half in :54.2. On the backstretch, Raji's Blue Line kept up his sizzling pace, reaching the third station in 1:22.1 with No Bad Dreams settling in the pocket back of the leader and Who's Your Maddy now on a first over bid.   Following "Maddy's" live cover was Northern Companion as this Howard Klohr trainee swept widest of all turning for home and easily mowed by his competition on the strength of his :28 finale.   In a post race interview, driver Tom Sells said, "While they were in that war up front, I was just kind of licking my chops because this is just how this horse likes it--a very fast pace up front. There wasn't really much to do turning for home...Northern Companion did that all by himself!"   For Northern Companion, it was his 43rd lifetime win, pushing his career earnings to $272,572. He's six-for-17 this semester, good for $33,475. The 1:51 clocking was a seasonal best and two-fifths off his lifetime best.   As 3 to 2 second choice, Northern Companion paid $5.00 to his faithful followers.   The Spanish-North American competition featured four of the best amateur drivers from Spain and nine from the Florida contingent of the Florida Amateur Driving Club in a three race extravaganza that proved to be hotly contested.   The first event went to Spanish driver Jaume Riera, who guided the 12 year-old trotter Good Feeling to a 1:58.3 win over fellow countryman Agustin Pou, who drove Pacific Cyclone. Favored Zeitgeist, with Dein Spriggs handling the lines, finished third while the only female in the competition, Luanna Beeson, finished a fast closing fourth with her own Total Freedom. Spanish driver Miquel Capo finished fifth with Sir Cypress Bend.   Riera was on the prowl for the lead as the gate opened and assumed command shortly after the :28.3 opener and carded fractions of :59.1 and 1:29.1 along the way.   Good Feeling is no stranger to the winner's circle--this being the warrior's 49th lifetime win, good for career bounty of $453,952. Good Feeling is trained by Allen Saul for owner Dein Spriggs.   Good Feeling paid $9.60 to win.   The second Span-Am event went to the four year-old Leonardo, trained and driven by Leon Cable for owner Anthony Chiniara.   With the action very hot during the early going, Cable sent his charge on a double-bubble binge on the backside, taking the lead in upper stretch and holding off the spirited late surge between horses by Touchdown Teddy Bowman's Explosive Muscles to score by three-parts-of-a-length in 1:59.1 for his initial win of the year in 20 starts.   Lukie Duke finished third for Jamie Marra while The Muscler and Super Duke picked up the final two awards.   Off at 9 to 1, Leonardo paid, in hindsight, $20.20 to win.   The Span-Am Pace went to Allamericanextra, driven by Joe Pennacchio, in 1:54.2.   This nine year-old son of Astreos, owned and trained by Donna Riedel, went an ultra-game mile, sitting on the outside of Angle Of Attack (Agustin Pou) through hot fractions of :27.2 and :55.3 before pushing his head in front around the final turn and on to a handy victory measuring 5 1/4 lengths in 1:54.2, equalling a seasonal best. Despite being parked throughout the mile, Allamericanextra paced a final quarter in :29.2, easily the fastest in the event, and pinned the defeat on Master Of Puppets (Jaume Riera) with Progresive Hanover teaming up with Dein Spriggs to be third.   It was the pacers 40th lifetime victory and sent his lifetime bounty over the $250,000 mark.   Angle of Attack did hold on for fourth while Blended Whiskey picked up the nickel.   After the event, driver Pennacchio expressed his surprise by saying, "You know, I don't get to drive many pacers and I really thought that, being hung out that long, that the trip might take its toll. He really did this all on his own. This pacer made me look good tonight.   The winner paid $30.40 to win and was just one of the components necessitating a Pick-5 carryover going into next Wednesday's program.   Bruce Ranger and Mickey McNichol both had driving doubles on the card with McNichol's win in the last race with the favored Four Starz Kyle keying a 20 cent Super Hi-5 payoff of $6,491.32 to the one unique holder cashing in on the 6-7-3-1-4 combo.   Post time for the Wednesday program is 7:30 with $1.00 fan appreciation nights beginning on Wednesday and continuing through the end of the season on June 27. Pompano Park's Lone Wolf Cafe', located on the grandstand apron, will offer $1.00 hot dogs, cheeseburger sliders, chips, soft drinks and more to all fans at the track from 6:30 p.m. to the end of the racing program.   by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...May 9, 2015...No Bad Dreams, handled by harness racing driver Wally Hennessey, avoided trouble around the final turn and went on to post a two length win over E Z Noah (Matt Romano) in Pompano Park's feature $8,500 "Winner's Over" Pace on Saturday night (May 9). Cartoonist (Walter Ross, Jr.) finished a courageous third after being knocked off his feet momentarily around that final turn while Who's Your Maddy, also suffering the same fate around turn three, re-composed and finished fourth while Johnny Grippa picked up the nickel, this, too, after suffering some interference around the final bend. The mile was clocked in 1:50.3, a new lifetime mark for the winner.   It was Canadian Touch, off at 9 to 2 on the board with Kevin Wallis driving, showing the most alacrity when the gate opened, taking the field to the opener in a red-hot :26 with Johnny Grippa, 4 to 1, (Bruce Ranger) third and E Z Noah, off at 2 to 5 with Matt Romano in the bike, next.   Approaching turn two, E Z Noah was out and beginning to apply some pressure on Canadian Touch with the half clocked in :55.4.   On the backside, things really began heating up again and a :26.3 third panel left Canadian Touch on top in 1:22.2 with E Z Noah still applying the tourniquet with Johnny Grippa still in the garden spot and No Bad Dreams second over and 2 1/2 lengths away.   Just past that third station, Canadian Touch made a nasty break with only E Z Noah and No Bad Dreams escaping the fray.   In the lane, E Z Noah surged to a short-lived lead but No Bad Dreams bursted on by on leaving E Z Noah in his wake.   In a post race interview, driver Wally Hennessey said, "This was a case of just being in the right place at the right time. I followed some live cover and when the leader made that break, I shifted wide and that was that. I had driven this horse last week and he did have some pace around the final turn and to the wire. They just went a little too much at the end for him to dent any further...but he did have good pace. He probably came home under :28 tonight (he did--:27.4.) so he's turning out to be a good one."   For No Bad Dreams, a four year-old son of Dream Away, it was his fourth win in six starts this season, sending his 2015 bounty to $14,550, surpassing his earnings of last season encompassing 20 starts.   Trained by Mark Aubin for owners Jacalyn and Dan Boddie, No Bad Dreams rewarded his followers with a $21.80 mutuel.   Another noteworthy performance was turned in by the seven year-old Northern Companion as this son of Cambest relished his class relief this night and recorded his 41st lifetime win--this one for Tom Sells, who handled the lines for trainer Howard Klohr and owner Dorothy Zarza.   Known for his ferocious stretch brushes, Sells took no chances with this 1 to 5 favorite, leading at every pole--:27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.1--before a :28 sprint home sealed the issue in 1:53.1.   Northern Companion won for the fourth time this semester, sending his seasonal bounty to $21,580. He's banked $260,915 career-wise.   Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 featured several winners receiving $61.14 for their 20 cent investment on the 1-4-2-3-5 combo on Saturday night, sending the carryover for Wednesday's program to $192,000.   Post time is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...March 28, 2015...Northern Companion, off at 26 to 1, scored the upset victory in Pompano Park's $15,400 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night, covering the mile in 1:51.2. The seven year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr and driven by Dave Ingraham for owner Dorothy Zarza, stormed home from sixth at the top of the stretch to score a win measuring three-quarters of a length over P L Hellcat with Dan Clements handling the lines. Panocchio, making his initial start of the 2015 campaign, finished third for Bruce Ranger, but was disqualified for a pylon violation and set back to eighth, allowing Duc Dorleans, to move up one notch to third after cutting fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:23. Cruizin K C was also moved up a spot to fourth after putting heavy pressure on the leader around the final turn. Do Wop Hanover, also making his 2015 debut was also moved up a spot to catch the nickel. The field was cut to nine with the scratch of Remissionofsins. In a post race interview, Driver Dave Ingraham lamented, "My horse (Northern Companion) can really turn it on late, especially off of some hot fractions. Actually, when Remissionofsins was scratched, I thought that might hurt us a little bit because that one can really sizzle early and possibly set things up for closers. But it all worked out for us and I am thrilled for Howie (trainer Klohr) and, especially, Dotty (owner Zarza). For Northern Companion, it was his third success of the year in seven starts, sending his 2015 bounty to $18,088. He's banked $257,185 lifetime. His win payoff of $54.80 was, by far, the largest in his 40 lifetime victories. In Pompano's $10,000 Open "2" Pace, Steelhead Hanover, again confidently handled by trainer Joe Pavia, Jr., scored another handy victory in "carbon copy" fashion from last week's open lengths win. The six year-old son of Bettor's Delight, scoring last week in 1:49.2 by 4 3/4 lengths, hit the wire 5 1/4 lengths to the good in 1:50 on this night, after carving out front end panels of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:22.1 along the way. Cadillac Phil and Mike Micallef teamed up for place honors while Cartoonist, in the garden spot all the way with Wally Hennessey, finished third, 5 1/2 lengths away. Twin B Speedo finished fourth while Prairie Jaguar picked up the nickel. In a post race interview, driver Joe Pavia, Jr. said, "It was, pretty much, a carbon copy of last week's win. He's very sharp now and, again, when we hit the backside, he just went into another gear, I really didn't realize that he was going that much during that third quarter--:26.3--but he did the same thing last week, too. He's just doing it so comfortably. He's amazing!" Owned by the consortium of Steven Held, AGC Stables, Dijo Racing and Joseph Barbera, Steelhead Hanover is now 2 for 3 this year and 18 for 70 lifetime with $494,270 in career bounty to go along with a mark of 1:48.3 last year at Pocono Downs. As the overwhelming 1 to 5 choice on the tote-board, Steelhead Hanover paid $2.40 to win. Multiple Carryovers Fuel Big Sunday Night at Pompano Gold Star Spike (Aaron Byron) rallied from last to get his nose up on the wire in Saturday night’s 5th race, returning $129.60 for the win and keying a $2,631 exacta.  The longshot was part of the Pick 4 and Pick 5, ensuring carryovers in both wagers into the Sunday night card.  The 50-Cent Pick 5 features a carryover of $1,842 into Sunday night, with track officials placing a $7,500 guarantee on the total pool.  The 50-Cent Pick 5 is a nightly wager featured on Races 2 – 6.  The 50-Cent Pick 4 will begin with a $2,662 carryover on Sunday, with track officials placing a $15,000 guarantee on the total pool.  The Pick 4 is a nightly wager featured on Races 5 – 8.  Longshot Northern Companion (David Ingraham), returned a healthy $54.80 to take Saturday night’s finale, but there were two winning tickets out on the Jackpot Hi-Five with the 20-cent consolation returning $1,626.66.  The Jackpot Hi-Five carryover into Sunday night is up to $73,551.  Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park on a four night per week schedule, with a first post of 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings.  by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 3, 2014...Pompano Park begins its second half century of racing on Saturday night, October 4, with eight Sunshine State Stakes events and three Open events highlighting the action. The top Open event features Prairie Jaguar, the only horse to record five wins in 1:50 or faster on Pompano's five-eighths mile oval, including two wins in 1:49. Owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, the six year-old altered son of Spy Hard has banked over $75,000 this season and will have the driving services of newcomer Aaron Byron. Byron, 25, comes into the action with 1,330 lifetime wins--165 of those so far this year. "Jaguar" has been installed as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite and is coupled with T's Electric, fresh off of a 1:52.4 win at Tioga downs featuring his last half in :54.3. Tom Sells will handle T's Electric. Also in the field is Northern Companion, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza. "Buddy," as he is known around the barn, has amassed 36 lifetime wins and $223,272 in lifetime bounty, including a mark of 1:50.3 recorded at Pompano last season. Freshened up after a two month vacation, Northern Companion comes into the action off of a handy qualifying win in 1:56.1. Mike Micallef will take this six year-old to Pompano Park's Hummer Starting Gate. Damon Blue Chip, I Do Hanover and Cartoonist complete the talented field. The Sunshine State Stakes covers Florida bred two and three year-olds, all of which are seeking a coveted spot on the FSBOA's $400,000 (est.) Super Night in late November, The pari-mutuel portion of the 13 race program kicks off with the class of three year-old trotting fillies. Jay Sears' Markie, last year's two year-old champion, has been dominant this far in her sophomore class, scoring victories in her only two starts this year--both measuring 20 or more lengths--with her last win in a lifetime best 2:00.1. Bob Roberts will be in the bike for trainer Kim Sears. Markie has been labeled the 4 to 5 morning line favorite in her event. Beauty in the Bridle Stable's Limelight will tangle with eight others in her division for three year-old pacing fillies. The talented daughter of Cracking Light comes to Pompano Park off of a pair of dominant wins in Sunshine State Stakes action at Sunshine Meadows. Tom Sells will handle the filly's lines for trainer Rosie Huff. In the two year-old events for trotting colts and geldings, Railee Workable and Victory Park have been locking horns with each scoring a win against the other at the recently concluded two session affair at Sunshine Meadows. Joining the fray this time around is first time starter Prairie Fortune, coming off a very sharp qualifying event at Tioga Downs, where he was, literally, nosed out in 2:02. Railee Workable, a son of Basil, is trained by Lou Ginesi for owners Ken Fritz and Fred Morosini and will have Mickey McNichol in the bike. Victory Park is owned by the consortium of Turcotte, Howard, Roccasano and Ruggles and will have Bruce Ranger in the sulky for trainer Mel Turcotte. Two year-old pacing fillies will also take the spotlight on opening night with Paxxie and Gold Star Dynasty renewing their rivalry. Paxxie, the sharp looking Six Of Diamonds lass owned by trainer Warren Harp along with Joan Harp, beat Gold Star Dynasty by a neck the first time around at Sunshine Meadows in stakes action with Warren in the bike. The next week, "Dynasty," also a Six Of Diamond filly, owned by trainer Tom Audley, turned the tables on Paxxie, scoring the neck decision over her main rival in a lifetime best 2:01.1 for Walter Ross, Jr. Paxxie is listed at 8 to 5 while Gold Star Dynasty is tabbed at 9 to 5 on the morning line. Amante Standardbreds' Caesar's Forum, trained by Marc Aubin, appears to have the upper hand in his division for juvenile pacing colts and geldings. The talented son of Six Of Diamonds is, thus far, sports a perfect two-for-two scorecard to go along with a lifetime best 2:00.3--:58.3 performance at Sunshine Meadows. Bruce Ranger will take Caesar's Jackpot post-ward in his Sunshine Stakes event. Pompano will offer the popular .20 cent superfecta on all races with the highly anticipated Super Hi-5 expected to be added to the racing programs in the very near future. Post time for the pari-mutuel program is 7:30 while four non-betting Sunshine State Stakes events get underway at 6:15 p.m. by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2014...In a five horse photo, Northern Companion, again handled by Dave Ingraham for trainer Howard Klohr and owner Dorothy Zarza, gutted out top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace on Saturday night. The six year-old son of Cambest showed remarkable gameness and resiliency, refusing to give up when he appeared beaten in mid-stretch, and scored in 1:52, his winning margin officially a neck over the late surging Who's Your Maddy (John Macdonald). Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey), stablemate of "Maddy," finished third just a half length away, edging past pacesetting Hillybilly in the final stride. Cruizin K C picked up the nickel in the six horse field. It was Hillybilly who rocketed out of the gate into the lead just past the first eighth pole but, midway around the turn with positions now established, driver Bruce Ranger grabbed a hold of his charge and rated him through an opener of :27.3 with Freeneasy Hanover, Who's Your Maddy and Northern Companion next, about 4 1/2 lengths off the lead. Sensing the very moderate pace, Ingraham began his grind forward with one lap to go and was third, two lengths off Hillybilly through a soft opening half in :57. On the backside, things really started heating up and, by the final turn, were sizzling as Northern Companion was put through a supreme test during a third panel in :26.4--his one tick faster. Turning for home, Hillybilly kicked clear again with Freeneasy now taking up the chase with Northern Companion now two lengths away and drifting out a bit and Who's Your Maddy flying between horses. But, when it counted, Northern Companion refused to be denied in the photo finish victory. In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "...this was not easy! To grind forward through a quarter like that is amazing and, yes, I thought we were beaten in mid-stretch but this horse really has that rare quality about him that, when he gets some racetrack in front of him, he wants to gobble it up! He just never quits!" "Buddy's" win (he's called Buddy around the stable), was his third this year and 35th lifetime, sending his lifetime bounty to $208,082--$21,250 this young season in seven starts. As the 1 to 2 public choice, Northern Compani paid $3.00 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 8, 2014...Northern Companion earned his 34th lifetime victory on Saturday night by scoring a sharp 1:51 victory for Dave Ingraham in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace.   The six year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, wore down the game Lyons Johnny, handled by Wally Hennessey, to score by a length and a half. Hillybilly and Bruce Ranger teamed up to finish third while Eastend Eddie, last in the field for the first half mile, rallied to finish fourth. Who's Your Maddy picked up the nickel in the seven horse field.   Lyon's Johnny out-dueled Electric Lad in the early stages and took the field to the first station in :27.2 with Northern Companion nestled into third and remaining in that position through the opening half in :55.3. On the backside, three-eighths out, Northern Companion left his comfortable surroundings and began gnawing in on Lyons Johnny's lead, cutting it in half turning for home and collaring that one in mid-stretch before drawing clear late.   In a post race interview, driver Ingraham said, "...he had a nice trip but, to tell you the truth, i was concerned a bit when we weren't gaining that much around the turn. Lyons Johnny can't be taken lightly. He gave "Jaguar" (Prairie Jaguar) a good tussle the week before and I wasn't sure we were going to get there but Northern Companion just has that attitude that he wants to win. He's got that winning attitude! It's a great quality in a racehorse--a winning attitude. The draw helped us this week, too, because we were a lot closer from the two post than the previous week from the six."   Northern Companion's scorecard now reads 2-2-1 in six starts and the victory pushed his lifetime earnings over the $200,000 mark--$203,082 to be exact.   As the even money favorite on the tote board, Northern Companion paid $4.00 to win.   The Open 2 Pace went to Freeneasy Hanover, who dug in late for driver Bruce Ranger to hold off Legends Luck and Wally Hennessey by a head in 1:52.2. Avantage (Dave Ingraham) finished third, four lengths away, with McGreat and Restless Yankee garnering the final awards in the octet.   The six year-old son of Western Ideal, trained by Jim McDonald for Ciro Gentile and Twenty Four Carrot Racing, went right to the front and carded an opening panel of :27.1 in thwarting any ideas of an early challenge. After a breather that brought Freeneasy to the half in :56, Ranger throttled his charge a bit on the backside and a :27.3 third quarter brought the pair to the third station in 1:23.3 as Legends Luck left the coziness of the pocket to challenge turning for home.   In deep stretch, the pair raced side-by-side with Freeneasy prevailing in the photo for his second straight success of the year in six starts. He's banked $156,765 lifetime--$10,250 of that so far this young season.   Stepping up from a "non-winners" class, Freeneasy Hanover was the public's fifth choice in the win pool and paid $14.40.   In the $20-$25,000 claiming handicap, Ahead Of the Curve was given a picture perfect drive by George Napolitano, Jr. and captured that event in 1:52 over the late charging Rick's Sign, handled by Simon Allard. The winning margin was 2 3/4 lengths with Red Hot Yankee third after posting red hot fractions of :26.1, :53.3 and 1:22 with Ahead Ofthe Curve right on that one's tail the entire way, only leaving the pocket turning for home and scoring easily from there.   Masters Champion and Mach Wheel also earned minor awards in the field of six.   Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Ahead Ofthe Curve, an eight year-old son of Real Desire, won for the 27th time during his career and pushed his lifetime bounty closer to $300,000--now at $298,149.   He paid $3.60 to win as the public choice.   Finally, Fox Valley Griffin, driven by Rick Plano, lit up the tote-board, by scoring at victory in a claiming event in 1:53.1 at odds of 52 to 1.   The six year-old, trained by Richard Macomber for wife Carol and Emilinda Manzi, paid $107.00 to win, keying two dime superfecta payoffs (there was a dead-heat for second) of $945.83 and $756.68.   The big upset also set up a Pick-4 carry-over of over $3,000 going into Sunday's racing program.   Sunday also is the kickoff of Pompano's $20,000 Championship Driver's Challenge, which gets underway with a round one pairing of Dave Ingraham and Rick Plano.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...January 25, 2014...Northern Companion and Rick's Sign shared the spotlight as they captured the duet of co-features Saturday night at Pompano Park.   Northern Companion, handled by Dave Ingraham, captured the $8,500 Open Handicap Pace, grinding forward from last the entire last lap to nail a 1:52.1 victory in the final strides.   The six year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, achieved his initial victory of the year by a half length over Thebestofjoel (Ed Hensley) with Southern Sport (Joe Pavia, Jr.) next, 2 1/4 lengths away. Restless Yankee finished fourth and the 7 to 5 favorite, Eastend Eddie, picked up the nickel after making a very confident brush to the front just after the :26.4 opener and carding subsequent panels of :55.3 and 1:23.   Assigned post eight in the field, Northern Companion got to move in a notch with the scratch of Electric Lad and was away in a relaxed manner as Thebestofjoel and Southern Sport mixed it up early with the ladder carving up the opening number. Meanwhile, Northern Companion was out by turn two but still sixth about a half dozen lengths away from the leader. On the backside, the pace quickened but Northern Companion was still able to dent the official :27.2 third quarter and was about three lengths away turning for home.   At that point, Eastend Eddie was being attacked from all sides by Southern Sport and Thebestofjoel with Northern Companion grinding widest and fastest of all, collaring the remaining competition near the wire.   For Northern Companion, it was his 33rd lifetime victory, sending his career bounty to $197,282.   In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "...I'll tell ya, this horse can take a lot of air. He just keeps mowing forward and doesn't quit. He can be kind of lazy leaving but, when he gets going, he REALLY gets going...and, of course, it helped that there were no jaguars (meaning Prairie Jaguar) in there tonight."   As co-second choice in the wagering, Northern Companion paid $7.20 to win.   In the $20,000-$25,000 Claiming Handicap worth $8,500, Rick's Sign, handled by Simon Allard, went a monstrous mile grinding out a 1:53 victory measuring three parts of a length over Red Hot Yankee (Ed Hensley) with the favorite Premier third in that same photo, Gentleman Friend finished fourth with Just Fred fifth in the quintette that, front to back, were separated by just a shade over two lengths.   Red Hot Yankee cut the moderate opening fractions of :27.2 and :57.1 with Rick's Sign out and pressuring from the second turn all the way home, the latter engaging the leader through a wicked :26.4 third panel and then finally squeaking on by inside the sixteenth pole for the win.   For Rick's Sign, it was his 49th career victory--second this year--with this nine year-old's lifetime bankroll now at $322,577.   Highland Thoroughbred Farm co-owns Rick's Sign with trainer Marty Fine.   As second choice in the win pool, Rick's Sign paid $9.00 to win.   Carry-overs in both the Pick-5 and Pick-4 wagers highlight the Sunday night card, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m.   John Berry        

Pompano Beach, FL...December 21, 2013...Northern Companion scored a repeat win in Pompano Park's feature $10,000 Open Pace on Saturday night but had to share the spotlight with Prairie Jaguar as the latter scorched the "PPk" five-eighths mile oval in a lifetime best 1:50 to win the Open 2 Pace.   Prairie Jaguar, a Florida bred five year-old son of Spy Hard driven this night by Jason Dillander, rocketed out of the gate from his outside eight post and put together panels of :26, :53 and 1:21.1 to report home 2 3/4 lengths to the good of Souther Sport, handled by Joe Pavia, Jr.   The lukewarm 5 to 2 favorite, No Gin, teamed up with Bruce Ranger to finish third, almost eight lengths away while Oozie's Bad Boy and Avantage picked up the final two awards in the field of seven.   Owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, Prairie Jaguar won for only the fourth time this year--but third in a row--to send his lifetime bounty over the $50,000 mark.   Though on a bit of a roll coming in, Prairie Jaguar, whose last two victories are timed in 1:50.4 and 1:51.4, went of as the fourth choice in the pool and returned $11.20 to win.   After the official sign was posted, driver Dillander said, ...what can I tell you? He's really good right now...but that's obvious off of his last three miles. I'm not sure how far he can go on, but, to tell you he's razor sharp would be putting it mildly. Mike (trainer Deters) has done a great job with him."   Meanwhile, Northern Companion handled this week by Dave Ingraham for trainer Howard Klohr, used his usual strong backside brush to surge into the lead around the final turn but just did hold off the surging B N Bad and Simon Allard to score by a nose in 1:51.1.   Military Stratcom (Dillander), prominent early, seemed to get a second win in deep stretch to finish third while Thebestofjoel, driven by Ed Hensley, finished fourth after cutting the early panels of 26.3 and 55 before surrendering the lead to the winner past 3/4s in 1:22.4.   Hillybilly picked up the nickel.   Owned by Dorothy Zarza, Northern Companion won for the 12th time this year and 29th time over the past two seasons to send his 2013 bankroll to $84,605 and $186,032 lifetime.   Finally, in the $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap, the eight year-old Rick's Sign scored his Third Straight win for Ingrid Glassmeyer--this one in 1:50.3--for his 47th lifetime win. He's banked a career total of $312,897.   The win equalled his lifetime best performance--the previous time being at age six--and was his ninth success of the year, good for seasonal bounty of $76,218. He was claimed off this win by Marty Fine and Highland Thoroughbreds of Ontario, Canada.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park        

Northern Companion, making his final start of the Pompano harness racing meeting before heading northward, paced his final three-quarters in 1:22.2 and rolled by the entire field in the stretch to score a decisive win for driver Rob Hoffman in 1:51.1 in Pompano Park's top pace on Saturday night.

Northern Companion resumed his winning ways at Pompano Park with a sharp winning harness racing performance in 1:51.3 on Saturday night.

Northern Companion, with harness racing driver Rob Hoffman in the bike, stretched his winning streak to three with a handy win in 1:51.4 over Freeneasy Hanover and Woodmere Ultimate in Pompano Park's Open I Handicap Pace on Saturday night.

Dorothy Zarza's Northern Companion overcame his assigned post position eight and, again, cruised to a harness racing victory in Pompano Park's Open Pace on Saturday night.

Northern Companion, given a picture perfect journey by harness racing driver Rob Hoffman, collared the pacesetting Keemosabe (Bruce Ranger) turning for home and went on to score a neck victory in 1:51 over Special Strides (Rick Plano) and the late charging Amillionpennies (Matt Romano) in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night. Keemosabe was fourth.

Most astute observers had written Northern Companion off when he trailed by nearly seven lengths at the halfway point of Saturday night's harness racing $11,500 Open Handicap Pace at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.

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