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Pompano Beach, FL - More than 125 horsemen and women were in attendance Friday night at the 26th annual Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Dinner held at the Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa in Pompano Beach. The highlight of the evening was the inductions into the Florida Hall of Fame. Entering were horsemen Mark Friedman and Dan Hennessey and horse's Rock On and Royel Millennium. Hosted by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, there were also special human awards given out for the 2016 season and presentations were also made to the Horse of the Year by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the Florida Amateur Driving Club. Hall of Fame inductee Mark Friedman has been in harness racing for more than five decades as an owner, breeder, trainer and driver. His Polo Stables has had many top Florida-bred champions, none better than the top pacing mare, Bling, p,1:51, a career winner of more than $610,000. "To have worked most of my life in harness racing and now receiving this award is a highlight of my career and I thank everyone who has helped me along the way," Friedman said. Hall of Fame inductee Dan Hennessey, who is nearing his 1,000th career training win and $6 million in earnings, closed out 2016 with a UDRS of .420 despite nearly going blind two years ago. His brother, Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey, summed it up well in his introduction. "I don't think we ever could have had our stable going steady for forty plus years if not for Dan," Hennessey said. He is the one who always held the fort down between Pompano and Saratoga year after year. Many of you don't know that he holds a world record as the only trainer ever to use same driver on nearly every single horse he ever trained, and that was me!" Taking home the most hardware on the evening and it was a good thing she came to the dinner with her pickup truck, was Owner-Breeder Laurie Poulin. In addition to her horse, Royel Millennium, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Laurie was named Breeder of the Year for the second straight time and also received the Dana Irving Award for the second straight year. Poulin also received four Horse of the Year Crystal Awards for her stables Prairie Panther, Prairie Sweetheart, Prairie Jaguar and Prairie Fortune. All of the horses were bred by Poulin and co-owned and trained by Mike Deters. FLORIDA USHWA AWARD WINNERS Hall of Fame - Mark Friedman Hall of Fame - Dan Hennessey Hall of Fame - Rock On Hall of Fame - Royel Millennium Delvin Miller Award - Fred Morosini Dana Iriving Award - Laurie Poulin R.D. Ricketts Award - Kevin Kelly Stanley Dancer Award - Sergio Corona Lifetime Achievement - Leon Cable Dan Gawlas Award - John Berry Bill Popfinger Award - Mike Deters & Maggie Audley France Dodge Van Lennep Award - Marianne Audley Allen J. Finkelson Award - Gabe Prewitt Caretaker of the Year - Gary McQuaid FSBOA CRYSTAL AWARD WINNERS 2YO Pacing Filly - Gold Star Aurora 2YO Pacing Colt - Prairie Panther 2YO Trotting Filly - Atlantic Crest 2YO Trotting Colt - I'm Done 3YO Pacing Filly - Prairie Sweetheart 3YO Pacing Colt - R Chism 3YO Trotting Filly - Gold Star Briana 3YO Trotting Colt - Rexamillion Older Pacing Mare - Goldstar Rockette Older Pacing Horse - Prairie Jaguar Older Trotting Mare - Selena Older Trotting Horse - Prairie Fortune 2016 Breeder of the Year - Laurie Poulin 2016 Florida Amateur Driver of the Year - Tony Dinges From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the States Harness Writers Associations president, Steven Wolf, has announced the Hall of Fame inductees and the annual award winners for the 2016 harness racing season. They will be honored at the association's 26th annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa in Pompano Beach. Elected to the chapter's Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are veteran breeder, owner and trainer, Mark Freidman of Delray Beach and trainer Dan Hennessey of Coconut Creek, the older brother of Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey. Also, being inducted into the Hall of Fame are two stallions whose foals have been dominant in the Florida Sire Stakes Program, pacing stallion Rock On and the pacing stallion and racehorse, Royel Millennium. Rock On is owned by Gold Star Farm, Marianne, Maggie and the late Tom Audley of Bell. Royel Millennium is owned by Laurie Poulin of Okeechobee. For the first time in the history of the Florida Chapter of USHWA, there was a tie for the William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers, and this year the organization will present awards to trainers Mike Deters of Coconut Creek and to Maggie Audley of Bell. For Deters it is the third straight year he has won this award. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, goes to trainer/driver Sergio Corona of Delray Beach. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport, goes to longtime owner/breeder and popular horseman, Fred Morosini. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport, goes to Marianne Audley of Gold Star Farm. The winner of the Allen J. Finkelson Award recognizes an individual in the sport who has contributed to the positive promotion of the Standardbred industry and being honored this year is Gabe Prewitt, Director of Racing at the Isle Pompano Park. The R.D. Ricketts Award, presented to an owner whose contributions to Florida racing have been outstanding, goes to Kevin Kelly of Tamarac. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2016 goes for the second straight year to Laurie Poulin. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, goes to Hall of Fame Communicator John Berry of Pompano Beach. The Florida USHWA Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime Pompano Park blacksmith and amateur driver Leon Cable. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year's winner is Gary McQuaid of Pompano Beach, who has worked many years for trainers Jay & Kim Sears. In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter's awards, presentations will also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2 and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2016 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award. The Florida Amateur Driving Club will also present their year-end awards. Tickets are $80 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:00 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Rosie Huff at the Florida Standardbred Breeders Office at 954-972-5400, rosie@floridaharnessracing.com, or Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757, stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 4, 2015... Nothinbutanallstar, driven by Mark O'Mara, eked out a narrow victory in Pompano Park's harness racing featured $13,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night.   The four year-old altered son of Allstar Hall completed his task in 1:54.3, a new lifetime mark considering his other similar mark came over Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile oval.   The gallant mare Pure Barre, with Mickey McNichol in the bike, was just a neck back in second with Dukester, driven by Rick Plano, third, three lengths away. Saint Patty's Doll finished fourth while M C Felix picked up the minor award in the sextet.   As the race unfolded, Pure Barre was sent directly to the fore with Saint Patty's Doll protecting her inside post to get away in the garden spot. The versatile Nothinbutanallstar, starting from the outside post, also showed some early foot and nestled into third around the opening turn.   Positions remained stagnant through the :28 opener and :57.2 half but O'Mara sent Nothinbutanallstar just a stride prior to the second station and began grinding away at the leader, reaching second around the final turn through three quarters in 1:26.3.   From there, it was classic duel all the way to the wire with Pure Barre and Nothinbutanallstar matching strides through an official :28 finale--the latter just edging by in the final few strides.   After the race, driver Mark O'Mara said, "He (Nothinbutanallstar) isn't use to an 'easy' trip like this. There are times when he has had to come from way, way off the pace and there have been other times when he's either been used hard early on or been hung out there. Tonight, he was able to find a nice spot early without any hassle and then he just does what he does best--grind along. He's very solid and can go on forever...very consistent."   Indeed.   Nothinbutanallstar, also trained by O'Mara for owner Lester Raber, now sports a lifetime scorecard of 12-11-7 in 34 starts, good for $191,464.   He has missed but two checks in his 34 lifetime starts.   As the second choice in the betting at 7 to 5 (Purse Barre was 6 to 5), Nothinbutanallstar paid $4.80 to win.   Pompano Park also had a supporting cast of trotting events--three to be exact--with Winemaster Hanover and Increditable staking claim to their respective $10,000 events and Gold Savage lighting up the tote-board in a companion event worth $9,200.   First, Winemaster Hanover, driven by Dave Ingraham, led at every pole in scoring a victory measuring 1 1/2 lengths over Mc Tiny's Hope (Ben McNeil) with Thekeptman (Rick Plano) third.   After clocking panels of :27.2, :55.4 and 1:24.4, Winemaster Hanover, stopped the clock in 1:54.4, a new lifetime mark.   This five year-old son of Donato Hanover, trained by Randy Bickmore for owner Kevin Gee, earned his second triumph of the young season and 14th lifetime, sending his career bankroll to $80,256--$10,000 of that in the infancy of this year.   Third choice in the betting, Winemaster Hanover paid $10.60 to win.   Next, Increditable, a six year-old son of Credit Winner, trained by Norm Dessureault for owner Denis Goyette, was given a sterling drive by Kevin Wallis to score in a lifetime best 1:54.1.   Using "patience and prudence," Increditable was away alertly before yielding short of the :27.1 opener to Highland Yankee (Wally Hennessey). Then it was R G Rocket (Dave Ingraham) who took control and rambled to the half in a sharp :55.3.   As Majestic Won and Aaron Byron began their bid, Wallis had Increditable following that live cover--a move that ultimately sent him to the winner's circle.   Majestic Won did finish second while R G Rocket was comfortably third. Highland Yankee and C J's Rascal picked up the minors.   As fifth choice on the board, Increditable paid $13.40 to win.   Finally, Gold Savage, a new arrival by claim for the Polo Stables, used an aggressive--but patient--drive by Dunc Clements to light up the tote-board with a $103.00 win mutuel.   Trained by Mark Friedman, the five year-old son of Keystone Savage, was aggressive early in taking an early lead before patiently letting, first, Speed Hanover take command at the :27.1 opening panel and, then, allowing a quarter move by the favorite, Keystone Wyatt, that latter taking the field through an opening half in :55.4.   On the backside, the still patient Gold Savage allowed Sweetasmusic to make a first up bid before following that one's cover and, ultimately, edging by late for the upset victory measuring three parts of a length over the late charging Echos Funky Claude (Ed Hensley). Rush N Supreme, driven by "Sky" Walker, charged from eighth turning for home to finish third as Keystone Wyatt and Sweetasmusic finished fourth and fifth, respectively.   Finally, with multiple Wednesday night winners in the Super Hi-5, the unique ticket jackpot going into Saturday night's program is over $105,000.   Post time is 7:30 p.m.   John Berry

Pompano Beach, FL...April 16, 2014...Lugar, the ultra-consistent Florida bred son of Famously, scored a brave win at Pompano Park on Wednesday night, stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:54.3 for Bruce Ranger in the $10,000 Open Trot. Trained by Mark Friedman for the Polo Stables, Lugar was a gate-to-wire winner, pinning a defeat measuring 1 1/2 lengths on My Revenuer (Bryce Fenn) with Blushing Hanover (Mickey McNichol) third. HP Forte, making his first start back after a two month vacation, rallied late to finish fourth while Adenium picked up the nickel in the field of six. Not only did Lugar picked up win number four this season in start number 14, he sent his lifetime scorecard to 22-22-22 in 106 starts, sending his career bankroll to $173,519--$24,776 of that this year. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger expressed his satisfaction with the performance saying, "I've gotten to know this horse pretty well over the past month and a half. He's such a relaxed horse--he was actually sleeping before the race tonight--and, even though he was pushed to that punishing opening quarter, it was his own will, and not my urging, that got him there that quickly. We managed to get a little bit of a breather in the second quarter but Bryce's horse (My Revenuer) applied some heat around that final bend and that's when Lugar--again, on his own--reached down for more. When he swished his tail at me a sixteenth out, he told me we had it. And I have got to give credit to Mark (trainer Friedman) who does an incredible job with him. No wonder he's batting .460." As the 6 to 5 public choice on the tote-board, Lugar paid $4.60 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...November 29, 2013...Pompano Park plays host to F.S.B.O.A.'s Super Night this Saturday night with over $425,000 up for grabs in the eight race championship series. The festivities kick off with two non-betting events beginning with the $50,300 Breeders Stake Final for the two year-old pacing colts and geldings. Tough Issue and Warlock will be among the combatants locking horns in their see-saw battle for supremacy--each having won three bouts in their last six head-to-head confrontations. Owned by Brenda Komers along with the Verderame Stable, Tough Issue is trained by Mike Deters and will have the driving services of Bruce Ranger. Warlock is trained by Kim Sears for owner-husband Jay Sears and will have Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey in the bike. The $51,600 Breeders Stake for juvenile trotting colts and geldings is next with Geronimo Fame and Showing Off among the starters. Geronimo Fame, sporting a 3-1-2 scorecard in eight lifetime starts is owned by Amante Standardbreds and will have Bruce Ranger in the sulky. Showing Off, with four wins in his 10 starts is owned by Richard and Sandra Dunmire along with Jay Sears. Wally Hennessey is also expected to drive for trainer Kim Sears. The pari-mutuel program begins with the $55,200 final for two year-old trotting fillies and finds Markie in the favorite role, also owned by Jay Sears with Hennessey at the controls. This daughter of Proud Bushy in on a bit of a roll having won the Stallion Stake and The Melvyn Aylor Memorial in her last two starts. Her main competition may be the Mather's Lavec lass Trotting J C Poss, with Andy Santeramo driving for trainer Steve Stabile. The filly has a 2-3-2 scorecard in her seven lifetime starts and has been the bridesmaid to Markie in her last two starts. Three year-old fillies take the spotlight next in the $55,400 final with Don't Spank Me and Tashia locking horns once again. Don't Spank Me, a daughter of Capital Request has won all three of her "PPk" starts, the fastest in a lifetime best 1:53.4 in her last start on November 6. She's owned by Wayne and Jean Carter and will be driven by Bruce Ranger. Tashia, the free-legged filly owned by Jay Sears, was winless last year as a two year-old but has 10 wins this season, including a 1:55 performance in late July. Stephane Lareau will handle the filly's lines. Tea Party Express and Tyree's Treasure are the logical favorites in the $52,800 final for sophomore trotting fillies. Tea Party Express is the 9 to 5 morning line favorite off of two straight wins for Rick Plano, who has been in the bike for trainer Mel Turcotte. She's owned by the consortium of Barbara Turcotte, Vickie Howard and Pete Roccasano. Tyree's Treasure, with a 12-7-3-0 history in her career, has been second to Tea Party in her last two events for owners Hollie Proesel and the Polo Stable. Trainer Mark Friedman has hired Bruce Ranger for the Super Night drive. The $53,800 finale for the three year-old pacing colts and geldings is next with Goldstar Thumper, Hillybilly and Quincy all vying for favoritism. Hillybilly, owned by Amante Standardbreds, is trained by Stewart Nemiro and is listed as a narrow 8 to 5 morning line favorite with Bruce Ranger driving over Goldstar Thumper, the latter a new arrival in the Burke Racing/Weaver Bruscemi Stable and 9 to 5 on the early line. "Thumper" is trained by Jamie Rucker and will have the services of Ricky Macomber, Jr. Not to be ignored is Quincy, who has 12 wins this year for the Marc Aubin Stable. Bryce Fenn is expected to drive the youngster from the rail. The $53,700 for the two year-old pacing fillies is a wide open affair with at least a half dozen viable contenders going to the Hummer Starting Gate. Goldstar Jessica, who picked a great time to break her maiden last week in the Aylor Memorial, is the 5 to 2 early choice for owner-trainer Tom Audley, who has passed along the driving assignment again to Kevin Wallis. J D Eleven Bell's has been ultra-consistent in her first season of racing wars showing a 4-2-4 record in 10 starts for owner Joe Martinelli, Sr. Rick Plano will be in the bike for trainer Paul Bernardo. Heather, Limelight, Voluminous and Sandalonia will all get their share of backers, as well. Tim T looks to rebound in the $54,800 Breeders Stake Final for three year-old trotting colts and geldings. The altered son of Basil has been a disappointment in his last two outings but sports the fastest lifetime mark of all entrants--1:56.3. Tom Sells will drive for trainer Mike Deters and the consortium of owners inclusing Fred Morosini, Ken Fritz and Mike Prendergast. The main competition may come from Joe Pennacchio's Railee Kwik who has been no worse than second in his last seven starts for trainer Jim McDonald. Railee Kwik will have Bruce Ranger handling his lines. Post time for the non-wagering early events is 6:35 with a 7:05 post intact for the 12 race pari-mutuel card. Free T-Shirts will be distributed while supplies last. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...October 24, 2013...Don't Spank Me, craftily handled by Bruce Ranger, captured the $10,000 Final of the Sunshine State Stake for three year-old fillies, scoring a gate to wire win in 1:54.4. The Capital Request filly, owned by Jean Carter along with trainer Wayne Carter, grabbed the racetrack as the gate opened and wired together fractions of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:26.3 and pinned a 3 1/4 length defeat on arch-rival Tashia (Stephane Lareau). Dandee Diamond (Wally Ross, Jr.) finished third while Track Girl and I Spy A Gator also earned checks in the field of six. The win extended her winning streak to three and pushed her lifetime bounty to $52,687. After the race, Ranger said, "...this filly showed her merit last week with a lifetime best performance of 1:54, so, when I was able to rate her to the half in :58 and a piece, I was very confident from there. She's just a consistently solid filly and continues to get better and better. Wayne (trainer Carter) has done a very nice job with her." Don't Spank Me, off at odds of 1 to 20, returned $2.10 across the board. In other Sunshine Stakes action, Mustang Sally, driven by Stephane Lareau, used a ferocious close to nail the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Sandalonia (Mickey McNichol), in the last two strides to capture the fourth leg of the two year-old filly pace in 2:00.2. Sandalonia had made a sharp and confident quarter move to the top, repelled a backside bid from ICU Charlie T and sprinted clear in mid-stretch but couldn't hold off the winner, who paced her final panel in :29.1 for her maiden win in five lifetime starts. Sandalonia did hold on for second over the fast closing Voluminous, handled by Mel Turcotte. ICU CHarlie T was fourth while the early leader, Marion, picked up the nickel. Owned by Jay Sears and trained by Kim Sears, Mustage Sally, a daughter of Tough Sir, paid $10 to win as the third choice in the betting. In a second division for the two year-old fillies--held as a non-wagering event--J D Eleven Bells, driven by Rick Plano, was an easy gate to wire winner over Heather (Stephane Lareau) and La Regina (Bryce Fenn) in 1:58.2. The daughter of Eleven A M, trained by Paul Bernardo for owner Joe Martinelli, Sr., carded panels of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:28.1 before reporting home a 5 3/4 length winner. Her scorecard now reads 3-0-3 in seven starts. In the featured trot, the Polo Stables Lugar, handled by Kevin Wallis for trainer Mark Friedman, used the draw to perfection to take top honors in 1:57.3, holding off the late kicking She's All In, driven by Rick Plano, to score by a neck. Gale Warning (Andy Santeramo) was a fast closing third while I Love New York and Mr McRail also earned checks in the field of nine. Lugar discouraged early challengers with his usual sharp early foot, taking the field to a :28.4 opener. The five year-old son of Famously then lollygagged over to the half in :59.1. As things heated up on the backside, Lugar, first, repelled the challenge of Jon Win with a :29.1 third panel and duplicated that time in the final panel to hold on for the win--his ninth of the year. Lugar's lifetime bounty now stands at $140,523--$60,626 this season. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 15, 2013...Fiesta Camcun and Tim T were the stars at their respective gaits on Monday night as Pompano Park extended their racing schedule to three nights per week. Fiesta Camcun, trained by Paul Bernardo for owner Diane Hellen, was given a picture perfect drive by Stephane Lareau and roared by pacesetting Bombilla Hanover, driven by Bruce Ranger, to score by three parts of a length in 1:53.1 in the pacing feature for the mares. It was the 10th win of the year for the seven year-old daughter of Camotion, sending her yearly bounty to $66,672 and over $215,000 lifetime. Young American was third for Bryce Fenn while To Tell The Truth and Diamond Amber were next in the quintet of mares. In a post race interview, Lareau said, ...this is a very handy mare. She can leave, knows how to yield and relax and, when you ask her for her best, she always gives it. Tonight, we got a very cozy journey and got by a very tough mare in Bombilla Hanover...and she (Bombilla) was making her first start off of a qualifier, so she raced giant, too." As the 1 to 2 tote-board favorite, Fiesta Camcun paid $3.00 to win. The trotting star of the night was Tim T, who, for the second consecutive week, established a new lifetime mark, this time in the F.S.B.O.A. Sunshine State Stake for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. This three year-old altered son of Basil, trained by Mike Deters for the consortium of Morosini, Fritz and Prendergast, led at every pole for driver Tom Sells to score by four lengths in 1:56.3. Railee Kwik (Ranger) was second while Sky Crest (Rick Plano) finished third. Rex and Without Hesitation picked up the rest of the marbles. The lightly raced Tim T--he has but 10 starts this year and 18 lifetime--earned his third victory in 2013 and pushed his career bounty to $48,971. In the Sunshine State Stake for three year-old trotting fillies, Tyree's Treasure, handled by Bruce Ranger for trainer Mark Friedman, had an easy time of it, using a :29.4 final panel en route to a handy 2:01.4 win--her Third Straight. This daughter of Famously sat composed in the garden spot as Piper Pfeiffer (Mickey McNichol) cut fractions of :29.3, 1:01.2 and 1:32 before leaving the garden around turn three and cruising to the wire, defeating Tea Party Express (Mel Turcotte) by better than four lengths. Piper Pfeiffer did finish third. Holly's Diamond and Sweet Loreley earned the minor awards. Owned by Hollie Proesel along with the Polo Stables, Tyree's Treasure won for the seventh time in only 10 lifetime starts sending her lifetime bankroll just a shade under $60,000. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL - October 10, 2013…Lugar captured the feature trot on Wednesday night at Pompano Park while driver Stephane Lareau was the driving star on the strength of a “grand slam” performance. The Florida bred Lugar, handled by Tom Sells for trainer Mark Friedman and the Polo Stables, inherited the lead on the backstretch when favored She’s All In, driven by Rick Plano,  made a costly miscue, and went on to score a handy 1:59 triumph over Illusionsndreams (Andy Santeramo), off at 37 to 1 and Indiana Hall (Bryce Fenn) off at 154 to 1. Jon Win and I Love New York picked up the final two awards in the field of eight. Lugar, usually on the engine early, showed his sharp early foot again and was in the garden seat through opening panels of :28.4 and :58.4 as She’s All In was seemingly gliding along on a comfortable length-and-a-half lead. Three-eighths out, She’s All In jumped allowing Lugar to seize command heading into the far turn and coasting home to the wire. It was the eighth win in 25 starts for Lugar this season and vaulted his 2013 bounty to $54,426, his best season ever to go along with his mark of 1:55. In a post race interview, Sells said, “…sometimes, luck plays a role in the outcome of a race and tonight was one of those nights. Rick’s (Plano) mare rarely makes a break and it was being in the right place at the right time that helped us tonight. Lugar is a very nice horse, though, and Mark (trainer Friedman) has done a really nice job with him having him ready for this first start back in over two months.” The driving star of the night was Stephane Lareau, who drove four winners on the program. Lareau began his festive night with a gate to wire win with Diane Hellen’s Fiesta Camcun in 1:54.1, roared from way back in the lane to get his second win with Marcel Ouimet’s My Friend Justin in 1:59.1, got his third win with a gate-to-wire performance with Claude Baril’s My Man in 1:58 and completed his “grand slam” performance with Reverie Devictoire, owned by Jamie Marra Racing, in 1:57.4. by John Berry for the Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 6, 2013...Pompano Park kicked off its 50th anniversary season on Saturday in a festive atmosphere featuring a live bugler, the popular Miami Food Trucks, a new wagering format and fireworks...on the toteboard! In the winner’s over feature, Avantage, the longest proposition on the board at 21-1, upset the applecart in scoring his very first win of the year. The seven year-old altered son of Electric Stena, driven by Tom Sells, took full advantage of a suicidal early pace involving the 1 to 10 stable entry of Deep Finesse and B N Bad--:26.1 to the quarter--to sweep into the lead on the final turn to score by 1 3/4 lengths over Fine Fine Fine (Bruce Clarke). Hillybilly (Bryce Fenn) completed the trifecta with Hyperion Hanover and Neptune Blue Chip earning the final two awards. In a post race interview, Sells said, “...this horse kept knocking on the door for so long and that hot pace really helped him. When I tilted him out around that second turn, he really came alive. He rarely misses a check and, finally tonight, he got the lion’s share. He’s just a good, solid, hard trying racehorse!” Trained by Michele Plouffe for owner Elizabeth Zimmerman, Avantage paid $45.20, $13.00 and $27.20 across the board, keying a trifecta payoff of $4,263.00. Fine Fine Fine paid $15.20 and $42.80 while Hillybilly returned $15.60 top show--the lopsided show payoffs resulting from the entry, garnering the vast majority of the show money, being off the board. In Florida Sunshine Stake action, the three year-old Tashia, again handled by Stephane Lareau, extended her winning streak to seven with a splendid 1:55.1 win for owner Jay Sears, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday. Trained by Kim Sears, the versatile free-legged filly motored up from fifth around turn two, engaged the leading Seven Arias (Sells) around the final turn and put her away turning for home, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Dandee Diamond (Wally Ross, Jr.) finished third. I Spy A Gator and Full Of Moxie earned the final checks in the field of nine. In the Sunshine State Stake for sophomore trotters, Tim T, driven by Tom Sells, easily handled his foes with a gate to wire score and knocked more than two seconds off of his previous lifetime best. His margin was almost five lengths at the end of the 1:56.4 mile. Favored Railee Kwik (Ranger) was second while Proud Expression (Mel Turcotte) finished third. Stablemates Sky Crest and Without Hesitation earned the minors. Tim T is a gelded son of Basil trained by Mike Deters for the consortium of Morosini, Fritz and Prendergast. Earlier in the day, a non-wagering matinee featuring Florida breds in Sunshine State Stakes action was held with noteworthy performances by Sandalonia, J D Eleven Bell’s, Tough Issue, Tyree’s Treasure and Quincy, among others. Sandalonia, driven by Mickey McNichol, took top honors in a division of the juvenile pace for fillies, using a gutsy :29 final panel to hold off La Regina and Gold Star Jessica in 2:00.2. The Six Of Diamonds lass is trained by Sandy Hollon for owner Heddy Nelson. J D Eleven Bell’s, a daughter of Eleven A M, made a bold quarter move to the top and led the rest of the way for Bruce Ranger, stopping the clock in 1:59. In the division for two year-old colts and geldings, Tough Issue Tom Sells), a gelded son of Tough Sir, led every step of his mile, using a :28.1 final panel to establish a new lifetime mark of 1:59.1. Trained by Mike Deters, Tough Issue is owned by Brenda Komers along with the Verderame Stable. The spirited Tyree’s Treasure annihilated her competition with a victory measuring 13 1/2 lengths in a new lifetime best of 2:00.3. Bruce Ranger handled the filly’s lines for trainer Mark Friedman and owners Holliy Proesel and the Polo Stable. Finally, Quincy, who usually likes to race off the pace, used the opposite tactics to win in 1:55.2 for Bryce Fenn. The three year-old son of Six Of Diamonds clocked all the fractions--:28.1, :57 and 1:26.4 before using a :28.3 finale to seal the deal for the Marc Aubin Stable. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...Sept. 28, 2013...Tashia, the splendid three year-old Six Of Diamonds filly, extended her winning streak to six on Saturday as the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association hosted the first fall stakes program at Pompano Park. The non-wagering matinee featured two and three year olds in an 11 race extravaganza over the fast five-eighths mile oval under the 86 degree warmth of the fall Florida sunshine. Tashia, handled by Stephane Lareau for owners Jay and Kim Sears, went a brave first up journey to collar the feisty filly Seven Arias, driven by Bruce Ranger, in the final strides of the mile timed in 1:56.1. I Spy A Gator, with Bob Roberts in the bike, was third followed by Tamala and Goldstar Rockette--the latter two switched in the official order of finish when all was said and done. Tashia, winless last year as a two year-old, has now won nine times in 2013, good for $27,000 and change this year and just three dollars short of $40,000 lifetime. The free-legged filly was away fourth as Seven Arias opened the festivities with a :29.2 quarter before dittoing that time during the second panel, reaching the half in :58.4. On the backside, Tashia began to roll and, during a hot third quarter officially times in :28, pulled on even terms with Seven Arias. In the lane, these two fillies battled right sown to the line with Tashia eking by in the final stride or two. The other division for the sophomore pacing fillies went to Hollie Proesel’s Full Of Moxie, driven by Bruce Ranger for trainer Brian Pelling. The Full Of Fun filly went right to the front, was beautifully rated through fractions of :29.4 and :59.3, repelled a serious bid from Dandee Diamond (Walter Ross, Jr.) to score by a half length in 1:58.1 for her maiden win in but four lifetime starts. The latter, incidentally, made a miscue at the start falling several lengths away and raced a courageous journey thereafter in a very game effort. Track Girl was third, followed by One Fine Diamond and I.C.U. Misty. There was an upset of sorts in the Sunshine Stakes for three year-old pacing colts and geldings as Quincy, yet another offspring of Six Of Diamonds, upset his stablemate Hillybilly with driver Bruce Ranger. Both are trained by veteran Marc Aubin. Quincy, owned by the Marc Aubin Stable, assumed control right from the get-go before yielding to Hillybilly through an opening quarter in :28.1. The latter cut sensible fractions of :57.3 and 1:27 (his record is 1:52.1) but Quincy used a :27.2 final to easily go by late to score by a length and a quarter for his 10th win of the year. Wingull and Mickey McNichol teamed up for third with Goldstar Thumper and Jose Lightning getting the final awards in the field of seven. In sophomore trotting action, the fillies were led home by last year’s champion, Tyree’s Treasure, who was an easy winner in a new lifetime best of 2:01.4 for driver Bruce Ranger. The “Famously” bred filly (she IS by Famously) led every step of the mile, sealing the deal with a final panel of :29.3. Mark Friedman trains the filly for the Polo Stables and Hollie Proesel. Joe Pennacchio’s Railee Kwik, a son of Basil, pulled off an upset in the trotting division, going a brave first over journey in taking the measure of another son of Basil, Tim T, handled by Tom Sells, in a lifetime best effort of 1:58.2. Rex finished third in that mile. Proud Expression and Worthy Crown also picked up checks. In the juvenile divisions, Blame Bushy (Mickey McNichol) and Markie (Jay Sears) won in their respective trotting divisions for the fillies while Showing Off gave Jay Sears a driving double with a 2:07 effort. Two slender noses decided the two divisions for the two year-old pacing fillies. In the first, the Six Of Diamonds filly Sandalonia, handled by Mickey McNichol, first, got by the stubborn J D Eleven Bells at mid-stretch and, then, held off the furious late surge of ICU CharlieT to win by a nostril in 2:00.1 for owner Heddy Nelson and trainer Sandy Hollon, who earned her 50th lifetime training success. In the second division, Amante Standardbreds LA Regina, a daughter of N Aboriginal, snuck through along the pylons to score a nose decision over Marion (Sean McAleese) in 2:01.1. It was her maiden success in just two lifetime starts. Heather was a neck away from the winner’s circle in third. Finally, in the two year-old pacing division for the colts and geldings, Tough Issue, an altered son of Tough Sir., led gate to wire in 1:59.3--:28.3 for Tom Sells. Trained by Mike Deters, Tough Issue is owned by Brenda Komers along with the Verderame Stable. John Berry  

Pompano Beach, FL...September 26, 2013...Pompano Park is set to kick off their 50th anniversary pari-mutuel season on Saturday, October 5. John Yinger, Director of Racing, said that this season will feature new wagering options for the fans, as well as several new faces stiffening the competition, a new lighting system and a bump in purses. "We are going to offer a Pick-5 wager to kick things off on the wagering side--this to go along with our popular Pick-3 and Pick-4 bets. Of course, we'll have our usual wide array of other wagers on the menu, too," he said. Some of the new stables expected to heighten the level of competition include those of Jim Hardy, Chris Lems, Dave Stratton, Bruce Clarke, Jimmy Whittemore and Greg Wright. Yinger continued, "With our returning stables of great horsemen like Mike Deters, Wally Hennessey, Jim McDonald, Bruce Ranger, Joe Pavia, Jr. and Rick Plano, just to name a few, the racing will, no doubt, be at it's highest plateau in our 50 year history and we hope the harness community of fans will take notice. "We expect that the addition of Sunday racing, beginning in mid-November, will also get some serious notice from the fans." Pompano will also host a non-wagering program this Saturday, September 28, featuring Florida breds in Sunshine State Stakes competition. The Saturday matinee program has a post time of 11:30 and features many two year-olds beginning their racing careers. Also, the three year-old divisions have drawn some very powerful performers including a renewed rivalry between last season's top two juvenile pacing colt performers, Goldstar Thumper and Hillybilly. Goldstar Thumper, a son of Rock On, was bred and is owned and trained by Tom Audley. "Thumper" was last year's champion in his division, pinning a narrow defeat on arch-rival Hillybilly. He will be making his initial start of the year and will have the driving services of Bob Williams, Jr. Hillybilly, a son of N Aboriginal trained by Marc Aubin for breeder and owner Amanta Standardbreds, is already the author of a 1:52.1 mark this year and will have Bruce Ranger in the bike. The sophomore pacing event for the fillies pits two exceptionally talented fillies against each other--Seven Arias and Tashia. Seven Arias, trained by Mark Friedman for owner by Laura Newbery, was last season's champ, winning the crown of Super Night at Pompano with a splendid 1:55 mile for then trainer-driver Deshawn Minor. She has had but three starts this semester and has a 0-1-2 scorecard but comes into the action off of a sharp 1:58-:58 qualifying win over a track labeled as "good" after drenching rains. Tashia, owned by Jay Sears along with trainer Kim Sears, is on a roll, having secured five straight wins coming into this action. After a winless 2012 season, Tashia has won eight times this year with her last win in a lifetime best 1:55. Stall allocations for the 2013-2014 season have also been announced and are available at the following web site: www.pompano-park.isleofcapricasinos.com.  Click on the "racing" tab, then go to "horsemen" and stall allocations are posted at the top. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...July 25, 2013...Lugar, handled by Tom Sells, easily captured Pompano Park's $8,800 winners over trot on Wednesday night in 1:55.2. Famously bred--yes, he is by the noted Florida sire, Famously--the five year-old, trained by Mark Friedman for the Polo Stables, took the lead from stride number one, thwarted any early challenges with a :27 opener, carded mid-mile panels of :56.4 and 1:25.2 and cruised home with the win measuring 4 1/4 lengths. In a photo for minor honors, Rompaway Brandon (Bryce Fenn) edged out Tug River Dylan (Walter Ross, Jr.) and even-money tote-board favorite Dutchess Seelster (Mickey McNichol). Celebrity Legacy picked up the "nickel." In a post race interview, Sells said, "Mark (trainer Friedman) thought he'd be a bit better this time around. Last week, he seemed to lose interest while in the three hole, so I decided to let him do what he does best--race on the front end. He sure was good tonight. I don't know how he does it, but Mark sure knows how to get them Florida breds to the top of their game..." Lugar now has banked $49,426 this year--his best season ever--and $129,323 lifetime. As third choice in the betting, Lugar paid $9.40 to those who invested $2 on his nose. The win was one of three on the card for Sells, who took the opener for Sunshine Stake trotting eligibles with Jim Langley's Worthy Crown, pulling off a 13-1 upset in the process, and a claiming event for trotters with the Tom Bigler trained and Peggy Faurot owned Pembroke Big Bo. Langley, on the other hand, completed a "bookends" training double when Stephane Lareau guided his own Kaa Dee Elmo to victory in the finale. Bruce Ranger also shared the spotlight by scoring a natural "hat trick" on races four, five and six. Bruce took the fourth with Good Luck Penny for trainer Jim McDonald and the Pacing Pretty Stable, the fifth with Stewart Nemiro's Base Camp, and the sixth with Dessert Princess, trained by McDonald for Carolyn Smiley and John Menges. Pompano Park closes out the meet on Saturday night with a 12 race program. Post time is 7:05 p.m. by John Berry  

Lugar, superbly handled by harness racing driver Kevin Wallis, took top honors for the third straight week in Pompano Park's featured winners over trot on Wednesday night.

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