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.