Day At The Track
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Monday's matinee at Saratoga Casino Hotel featured some big upsets by trotters. Miss Flora (SJ's Caviar) set her lifetime mark at the Spa last year when she trotted to a 1:55.4 score and on Monday made her return to town to compete in a $8,500 trotting event. The Mario Dessureault-trained Miss Flora was piloted by Phil Fluet and was dismissed at odds of 17-1 when she sprung into early action. The six year old mare made an easy lead and made it look easy going coast-to-coast to prevail in 1:56.2. Miss Flora paid $37.20 to win in her upset. While Miss Flora did surprise on the Monday card, she wasn't the biggest longshot to prevail, not by a longshot. A J Destiny drew the outside post in a low-level conditional trot and driver Barry Segel blasted the veteran trotter out to the early lead. A J Destiny cut the mile and never gave way before stopping the timer in 1:59.3 to score at odds of 29-1. While the $61.50 win payoff was the highest of the day, there was yet another big upset in a trotting race on Monday as Jackie Cantine's Im Not Vanilla shook loose late and got up to win in 1:57.3 at odds of 25-1. Im Not Vanilla returned $53.50 in his upset victory on a day where being a longshot was no problem for a host of trotters at Saratoga. Live racing resumes on Friday evening at the Spa with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Pompano Beach, FL...February 18, 2015...Bloodstockshalltab, a recent purchase by harness racing trainer-driver Ed Hensley, paid a big dividend on Wednesday night as he trotted the second fastest mile in Pompano Park history, stopping the timer in 1:53.3 on a blustery cold (mid-50's) night by South Florida standards. The five year-old son of Cantab Hall accomplished his feat in the $15,400 Open Handicap Trot, pinning a defeat measuring 5 3/4 lengths on Dukester (Rick Plano) with My Revenuer (Tom Sells) third under the wire--but moved up one notch to second after the judges "dq'd" Dukester for a pylon violation turning for home. Lugar finished fourth, 10 lengths away, while Adenium picked up the nickel in the full field of 10. At the outset, the 9 to 5 second choice, Its Payday Friday, made a miscue so it was Adenium and Winemaster Hanover vying for supremecy with the latter taking command at the :27.3 opener, the exact spot where Buddy Hally, away third from the rail, made a quarter move to the top and reached the half in :56.4 with Bloodstockshalltab already on the move from fifth and brushing strongly as the field moved on to the backside. Bloodstockshalltab used a :27.4 blitz on the backstretch to secure the lead around turn three--timed in 1:25.1. From there, Hensley's charge was unthreatened during a :28.2 finale, reaching the finish in an officially timed mile of 1:53.67, edging Baseball Express (1:53.70),  Hellava Hush (1:53.71), Tug River Dylan (1:53.74), Tweedle Dum (1:53.77) and Ahijuna Chucaro (1:53.79) for the second fastest trotting mile in track history. The track trotting record is 1:52 4/5 by Southwind Vavoom set in 2011. After the race, driver Ed Hensley said, "I bought this horse privately a few weeks ago. I thought he had talent and, while I wasn't surprised that he won, I was surprised that he trotted this much on this kind of night. I think it might be a new mark for him, too." (It is, with his old mark being 1:54 in a Meadowlands qualifier as a three year-old.) Hensley now has two wins in four starts with his new purchase and Wednesday night's win was the gelding's 12th in 61 career starts and sent his lifetime earnings to $195,645--$7,200 of that since the Hensley acquisition in mid-January. The winner paid $5.40. Pompano Park's $11,000 co-featured trot went to R G Rocket, driven by Dave Ingraham, in 1:56.1. This seven year-old altered son of Cincinnati Kid, trained by Mario Dessureault for owner Jamie Marra Racing, showed some early foot from post six to land in fourth early, followed live cover on the backside to take command from Arriba Amigo around the final turn and went on to score a 5 1/2 length win over Highland Yankee (Wally Hennessey) with Pop I (Harry Landy) third. Arriba Amigo did finish fourth while Dream Lake earned the final award in the field of 10. Knocking at the door with a 0-3-3 scorecard in six starts coming into the action, R G Rocket finally got his first win of the season--21st lifetime--and sent his lifetime bounty over the $200,000 mark--$203,449 to be exact. As the 7 to 5 favorite, R G Rocket paid $4.80 to his faithful. John Berry

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