Defending Horse of the Year Panocchio (No Pan Intended) scored his first local Open win of the harness racing season on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jimmy Mattison-trained five year old was the Spa's standout last year and wound up earning the awards for top pacer and horse of the year. Following a fourth place finish in his return to Saratoga last week, Panocchio showed early speed when bet down to be the $18,000 Open's 3-5 public choice on Saturday night. Driver Gerry Mattison got a soft second quarter for the star pacer en route to a first half in 57.3. From there, Panocchio would not be denied, holding off challenges from Talking Blues (Jim Devaux) and Upfront Countryboy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) in the stretch to secure his third win of the '15 campaign after prevailing in Pompano's Open twice this spring. Panocchio moved his career earnings to over the $200,000 mark with the Saturday score which came in 1:54.3. Talking Blues completed the $13.80 exacta while the triple with Upfront Countryboy third came back $51.00 Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at the Spa with a matinee beginning at 12:45pm. Mike Sardella
Pompano Beach, FL...April 5, 2015...In a classic harness racing battle to the wire, Panocchio, driven by Bruce Ranger, held on to score a narrow decision in Pompano Park's $13,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night--ironically, by a "nose!" The five year-old altered son of No Pan Intended, owned by Emile Johnson, Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, scored his first win of the season in his second start, pinning the narrow defeat on Duc Dorleans and Donald Dupont in 1:50.4. Neptune, with Aaron Byron handling the lines, was a fast closing third, a length away, while E Z Noah finished fourth in his second start of the 2015 seaosn. Northern Companion, last in the early stages of the event, rallied for fifth in the septet. At the outset, Duc Dorleans, leaving from post four, was on the engine along with Panocchio, post six, with the latter reaching the top spot prior to the opening panel in a sharp :26.2. A well rated :29.1 breather in quarter two brought Panocchio half way through the mile in :55.3 but Ranger revved up Panocchio on the backside as E Z Noah began his sprint, moving to the saddle pad of the leader around the final bend with three-quarters on the board in 1:23. In the lane, Panocchio did sprint clear of E Z Noah, allowing Duc Dorleans some room to roan late and the "Duc" began gnawing into Panocchio's lead, these two hitting the wire in "it could go either way" finish. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "Man, I didn't know who got it! Yes, my horse went a great mile, especially considering it was only his second start...but so did Duc Dorleans. When (John) MacDonald's horse (E Z Noah) made his bid, we had already began revving up because Panocchio can brush hard a long way--well, tonight he came home in :55.1. He kinda brushed the whole mile! Gotta give credit to Jim and Vicki (Mattison) who are so wonderfully patient with their horses. Their care is impeccable and always give the driver an opportunity to win!" The victory was the 25th lifetime for Panocchio in only 55 lifetime starts, sending his career bankroll to $181,145 to go along with his mark of 1:49.3. As 9 to 5 second choice on the tote-board, Panocchio paid $5.60 to his faithful followers. In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 event, Hurricane Howard was a gate to wire winner in a new lifetime best effort of 1:51.2 for Tom Sells keying a $1,386.06 payoff for the 20 cent consolation ticket. With four tickets out on the 5-6-4-10-1 combo, the carryover for Pompano's special Easter Sunday program is edging close to $100,000--$98,024 to be exact. Post time is 7:30 for the Easter program. by John Berry for Pompano Park.
After closing out his 2014 campaign in style at Yonkers, Pancetta has returned to California for harness racing trainer Lino Pacheco and will make his seasonal debut in Saturdays featured Open Pace. The 6-year-old son of No Pan Intended races for Richard Morita and David Yamada and will be guided by Luke Plano, who has gone many a winning mile with the pacer. A 1:51 1/5 winner at Pocono Downs two years ago, a first-place check on Saturday would put Pancetta at the $400,000 earnings plateau. He got back here in early November and everything has been on schedule, Pacheco related. He had an easy qualifier with Jen (Sabot), then picked it up nicely in last weeks qualifier with Luke, who said he was very sharp. Pancettas most recent victory came in mid-October over the half-mile Yonkers oval, getting the job done from the difficult No. 7 post while racing against some of the best pacers on the grounds. He can go from anywhere and do anything you ask, Pacheco noted. Thats one of the things that makes him such a tough horse. Hes small, but hes got a very big heart and hes one of the best weve ever had at the barn. Pancetta will leave from the rail Saturday night while taking on a pretty tough group, including the streaking A Real Miracle, and will be spotting his rivals the edge when it comes to recent activity. When asked for a prediction, Pacheco was very diplomatic. Lets let the horse speak for himself, he said. Duly noted. Open Pace brings out A Real Miracle A Real Miracle, who has posed for pictures following four of his last five appearances; gets top billing in Saturday nights featured Open Pace at Cal Expo. There will be 10 races with a first post of 6:40 p.m. The headliner is set to go as the third event on the card with A Real Miracle squaring off against Pancetta, China King, Windsong Jack J C Onthebeach. A Real Miracle is a 5-year-old homebred son of Real Desire out of the Givemewhatineed mare I Need A Miracle who races for Junior Wilkinson, Billie Schwartz and Ivan Axelrod with Wilkinson the conditioner and James Kennedy in the sulky. The razor-sharp performer comes into this assignment eyeing his fourth straight trip to the winners circle, the first two with Luke Plano and most recently with Kennedy at the helm. In his most recent outing at the head of the class, A Real Miracle sat last in the compact field for a half, rallied second-over on the final bend and then ignited when the question was asked to be up a neck over favored Windsong Jack while lowering his mark to 1:51 2/5 in the process. Windsong Jack is a 5-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip who was making his first start of the year in that February 14 affair and lost a heartbreaker after carving out all the fractions. Gene Vallandingham trains for Little Bapa LLC with Chip Lackey handling the lines. ********* This week finds the trotters and pacers in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, February 20-22. By Mark Ratzky
TORONTO, January 23 - The first two stake finals of 2015 took place Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack and it was the Sylvain Filion show. The veteran harness racing reinsman could be poised for another big year, as he took home both the $45,000 Snowshoe Series and $40,000 Blizzard Series finales. The Snowshoe Series final appeared to be wide-open on paper, as seven different horses won divisions during the first two legs. Kindofabigdeal and Filion came into Friday's final as the most consistent horse in the ten-horse field and left with another big effort. The Richard Moreau trainee got the cue to leave hard from Filion and sprinted out to the quick lead, but was quickly challenged for the front by A Boy Named Suuzz. Filion allowed the outside challenger to clear and got a perfect two-hole trip for Kindofabigdeal. Kindofabigdeal sat patiently in the pocket until Filion made his move at the top of the lane. In the stretch, Kindofabigdeal overtook the lead by the eighth-pole and paced away to win in 1:53.3. Bad Bug came on late to make it close and finish second by half a length, while A Boy Named Suuzz held on to hit the board in third. A four-year-old son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal has been on a roll over the last few months at Woodbine, but has recently been unable to come through in series finals. The Moreau trainee won a leg of the Autumn Series, but finished second in the November final. Last month, Kindofabigdeal won the opening two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third as the favourite in the Boxing Day finale. The series final victory Friday gives the pacer seven career wins from 13 starts and pushes his bankroll over $88,000 for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. Kindofabigdeal paid $5.70. Kindofabigdeal In the Blizzard Series final, heavy favourite Artistic Fusion completed the series sweep with a 1:54.4 victory. Trained by Joe Agostino, Artistic Fusion and Filion got away in fourth and came first up down the backstretch to challenge the leader A Fearless Affair. Those two mares would battle side-by-side past the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, but Artistic Fusion was too much to handle for A Fearless Affair in the lane. Artistic Fusion wasted no time leaving her rivals behind and cruised home to win by 2 ¾ lengths. Badlands Love got up for second, while A Fearless Affair dug in to finish third. A four-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion has been firing on all cylinders over the last few months in series action. The Agostino trainee won the Autumn Series final in November, finished second in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day and has now swept the Blizzard Series. Artistic Fusion surpassed the $100,000 mark in career earnings with her eighth career win Friday night for owner Mike Foote. She returned $2.60 to win. Artistic Fusion Mark McKelvie
Toronto, ON --- The stage is set for the first two stakes finals of 2015 this Friday (Jan. 23) at Woodbine Racetrack. The $45,000 Snowshoe Series and the $40,000 Blizzard Series finals have been carded as races six and nine on Friday’s 11-race harness racing card. The Snowshoe for 3- and 4-year-old pacers featured seven divisions over the opening two legs and saw seven different winners prevail. All seven winners will return to make up a wide-open ten-horse series finale. Four of the seven winners, Ramblingamblinman (post one, Rick Zeron), Kindofabigdeal (post four, Sylvain Filion), A Boy Named Suuzzz (post five, Jonathan Drury) and P L Heavenly (post 10, Anthony MacDonald), also had a second place finish in a separate leg. The other three division winners were Vegas Rich (post two, Paul MacDonell), Decisive Destiny (post three, Trevor Henry) and Whistle Jimmy K (post eight, Doug McNair). The Richard Moreau trainee Kindofabigdeal has been a top performer on the stakes series scene over the last few months. The 4-year-old son of No Pan Intended won a leg and finished second in the final of the Ontario Sired Autumn Series. The gelding followed that up by capturing the first two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third in the final on Boxing Day. The connections of Kindofabigdeal will hope the third time is the charm to capture a series title, but they will have their hands full with a stack of challengers, including the speedy Ramblingamblinman. Trained by Rick Zeron, Ramblingamblinman joined the Zeron barn in late November and turned in an eye-catching career best performance of 1:51.4 in a non-winners of two event on Dec. 15. The 4-year-old son of Lis Mara finished second in the opening Snowshoe leg and followed that up with a 5-1/4 length victory in round two. The second leg victory was the largest margin of victory in the first two rounds of the series. The Snowshoe Series was first staged in 1978 and has been a launching pad for successful older horses, including Modern Legend, last year’s Canadian Pacing Derby champion, who won the series back in 2012. Unlike the Snowshoe, the Blizzard Series for 3- and 4-year-old pacing fillies and mares has been dominated by one horse. Artistic Fusion (post five, Sylvain Filion) has stamped herself as the horse to beat in the ten-horse final, after winning in both of the first two legs, including a more than seven length victory in round one. The Joe Agostino trainee won the Ontario Sired Autumn Series final on Nov. 28 and finished second to Witch Dali in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day. A 4-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion won five of 19 starts last year and will look to improve to three for three in 2015 by sweeping the Blizzard Series for owner Mike Foote. Mappos Moenhay (post three, Mike Saftic), A Fearless Affair (post eight, Simon Allard) and Deuces For Charity (post nine, Paul MacDonell) were all division winners that also finished second in another leg and will be looking to block the broom of Artistic Fusion. The Blizzard Series was first raced in 1980 and has been won by several mares that went on to be Open class competitors, including Art's Secret (1998) and Numeric Hanover (2003). In order to be eligible to both the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series, the 3- and 4-year-olds had to be non-winners of two races or C$30,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31, 2014. Post time for Friday night’s card is 7:25 p.m. Here are the complete fields for Friday’s stakes finals. Race 6: Snowshoe Series Final–Purse: C$45,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. Ramblingamblinman–Rick Zeron 2. Vegas Rich–Paul MacDonell 3. Decisive Destiny–Trevor Henry 4. Kindofabigdeal–Sylvain Filion 5. A Boy Named Suuzz–Jonathan Drury 6. Bad Bug–James MacDonald 7. American Island–Trevor Henry 8. Whistle Jimmy K–Doug McNair 9. Ys Lotus–Simon Allard 10. P L Heavenly–Anthony MacDonald AE: Newbie–Randy Waples Race 9: Blizzard Series Final–Purse: C$40,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. P L Hurricane–Chris Christoforou 2. Onyourmarknatava–Rick Zeron 3. Mappos Moenhay–Mike Saftic 4. Badlands Love–Sylvain Filion 5. Artistic Fusion–Sylvain Filion 6. Doc's Hollywood–Phil Hudon 7. Bettim Jenny–Roger Mayotte 8. A Fearless Affair–Simon Allard 9. Deuces For Charity–Paul MacDonell 10. All The Ladies–James MacDonald Woodbine Entertainment Group
TORONTO, January 9 - Round one of the Snowshoe Series continued winter series action Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Four $16,000 divisions of the series for three and four-year-old pacers that were non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014 were contested Friday evening. In the first division, Vegas Rich went gate to wire to pick up the victory as the second choice on the board. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Vegas Rich cut the mile and set fractions of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:27, before pacing home in :28.3 to score a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:55.3. P L Heavenly, the heavy 3/5 favourite, was first up around the final turn, but had to settle for second. Dragon Seelster finished third. A four-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam, Vegas Rich is trained by David Gibson, who shares ownership with David Goodrow Stable and Glenn Traver, and is now one for one this year. Vegas Rich now has three career victories and pushes his bankroll to over $40,000 with the victory Friday night. He returned $6.40 to win. Kindofabigdeal did not disappoint as the 1/5 favourite and won the second division in 1:56. Also driven by Filion, Kindofabigdeal picked up second over cover around the final turn and capitalized off that trip to pace by his rivals and score a three-quarters of a length victory over Ramblingamblinman. Newbie finished in the show spot. A four-year-old son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc and is now one for one in 2015. Last season, Kindofabigdeal won five of 10 starts and banked more than $53,000. Friday night's victory pushes his career earnings over the $60,000 mark. Kindofabigdeal paid $2.70 to win. Another favourite delivered a victory in the third division, as Whistle Jimmy K picked up his fourth win in his last five starts. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Whistle Jimmy K got a two-hole trip and followed closely behind American Island until just before the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, American Island tried to hold off Whistle Jimmy K, but the favourite eventually pushed his way by in the final eighth to prevail over American Island by a length and a half in 1:55.4. Mittcent Van Gogh finished third. A four-year-old son of Mach Three, Whistle Jimmy K is trained by Ben Wallace and had won his final three starts of 2014 before finishing second last week in his 2015 debut. Whistle Jimmy K now has four career victories and earnings of over $26,000 for owners Brad Grant and Wallacestandardbreds Inc. A $2 win ticket returned $3.70. In the final division, Decisive Destiny and Trevor Henry scored an impressive victory in 1:55.2. A four-year-old son of American Ideal, Decisive Destiny got away sixth and was able to get in the outer flow on the way to the half. Around the final turn, Decisive Destiny was third-over and just a little more than three lengths off the lead. In the stretch, Henry showed Decisive Destiny a clear path and he paced right by his rivals to record a 3 Â½ length victory. A Boy Named Suuzz finished second, while Bad Bug got up for third. Decisive Destiny is trained by Shawn Robinson for Robert Hamather and was making his second start of 2015. Last year, the son of American Ideal won three of 20 starts for earnings of just under $40,000. Friday night's victory was his fourth career triumph and pushes his career bankroll over $47,000. Decisive Destiny paid $8.70 to win. The second leg of the Snowshoe Series will take place next Friday (January 16). Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications
TORONTO, December 19 - A long shot and a repeat winner prevailed in round two action of the Valedictory Series Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Two $15,000 divisions of eight starters were contested in the second leg of the three-week series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. In the first division, Verbalize and Roger Mayotte pulled off a 66-1 shocker in 1:53.1. American Island sprinted to the lead, but a parked out Major Deagan would over take him for the front at the opening quarter in :26.3. American Island wasted no time going right back to the lead in the second quarter and would carry the lead into the stretch after posting fractions of :54.3 and 1:23.1. In the stretch, the outer flow around the final turn would close in on American Island and Verbalize, who was seventh and third over at the three-quarter pole, had the most speed to sprint by them all to score a two length victory. Ransom Demand took the place spot, while Mittcent Van Gogh finished third. A son of Tell All, Verbalize is trained by Edward Galinski for owner Ronald Dale Randall of Berlin Center, Ohio. Verbalize now has four career victories and four wins in 21 starts this season. The winner's share of the purse boosts his career earnings to over $23,000. Sent off as the longest shot on the board, Verbalize returned $134.40 to win. The second division featured a matchup between the two leg one winners Kindofabigdeal and Company Man. A showdown between the two never materialized, as Kindofabigdeal went straight to the front and never looked back. A son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal was put on the front by driver Sylvain Filion, while Company Man got away last and over 14 lengths from the lead. Kindofabigdeal posted fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:24, before sprinting home in :28.2 to score a two length victory over Rural Art in 1:52.2. Company Man got into the outer flow down the backstretch and was third over around the final turn. The son of American Ideal paced a strong last quarter of :27.2 to finish third. Kindofabigdeal is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. The three-year-old has now won five of nine starts this year in his first season racing. His bankroll currently sits at just under $50,000. Kindofabigdeal paid $4.50 to win. The top ten money earners from the first two legs to enter the final will contest the $35,000 Valedictory Series finale next Friday afternoon (December 26) at Woodbine. Post time for the Boxing Day card is 1 p.m. Live racing continues Saturday night with an 11-race card beginning at 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
TORONTO, December 12 - Three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were in the spotlight Friday night for the first leg of the Valedictory Series at Woodbine Racetrack. 19 sophomore colts and geldings were split into two $15,000 divisions for the opening leg of the three-week series. In the first division, Kindofabigdeal, the heavy favourite, lived up to his billing with a three length victory in 1:52. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Kindofabigdeal was second at the opening quarter, but quickly scooted to the lead in the second quarter and never looked back. The son of No Pan Intended set honest fractions of :55.4 and 1:24, before rolling home in :28 to score the opening leg victory. Mittcent Van Gogh took the place spot, while Ideal Shadow finished third. Kindofabigdeal is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc. The three-year-old has now won four of eight starts in his first season of racing for earnings of over $42,000. He paid $3.60 to win. Kindofabigdeal In the second division, Company Man pulled off an 18-1 upset with James MacDonald in the bike. Rural Art, the even-money favourite, was first up around the final turn pressing at the leader So Bad Im Good. Meanwhile, Company Man was third over following closely behind Ransom Demand. In the stretch, Rural Art could not get by So Bad Im Good, but Ransom Demand and Company Man swept by the top two on the far outside. At the wire, Company Man got the best of Ransom Demand to score a two length victory in 1:52.2. So Bad Im Good held off Rural Art to round out the top three. A son of American Ideal, Company Man is trained by Allen Tomlinson for owner Daniel Mitchell. Company Man, who had been racing south of the border over the last few months, has now won three times from 16 starts this year and now has earnings of over $45,000 in career earnings. The clocking of 1:52.2 is a new career mark for Company Man. He paid $39 to win. Company Man In order to be eligible to the Valedictory Series, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of the Valedictory will take place next Friday (December 19). Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie WEG Communications
DAYTON, OH. - Betit To Getit captured the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open pace on Friday night at Dayton Raceway, just as she did two weeks ago before taking a week off. Driver Jason Brewer made a quarter move to the front and then held off all challengers before stopping the teletimer in 1:52.4, just in front of Skyway Dusty (Tyler Smith) and So Jazzy (Greg Grismore). The victory pushed the four-year-old daughter of No Pan Intended's seasonal bounty to just under $50,000, following a sophomore season in which she banked over $100,000. Betit To Getit is owned by the Holland Racing Stable and trained by Jeff Brewer, father of Jason. Different drivers won each of the first nine races on the program, a testament to the talented and deep driving colony at Dayton Raceway. The first driving double on the card belonged to Josh Sutton, who won the second with the trotter Deck The Halls and returned to the winner's circle in the tenth with the pacer Shasham. From the press box at Dayton Raceway
Pompano Beach, FL...November 21, 2014...Panocchio, Doc Dorleans and Prairie Jaguar renew their spirited rivalry along with four other worthy opponents as Pompano Park hosts Hippomania II on Saturday night. The card is further complimented with five separate stakes events in the Melvyn Aylor Memorial, honoring the memory of the Florida breeder, trainer, owner and highly respected veterinarian who tragically lost his life due to an unfortunate accident back in 2009. Panocchio looks to solidify his supremacy in the Hippomania II event on the strength of four straight victories in the class--the last a lifetime best 1:50 performance. Bruce Ranger is expected back in the bike back of this grand four year-old son of No Pan Intended. About the big event, Ranger said, "He (Panocchio) is such a handy horse to drive--two fingers does it. I've sent him (to the front) the past few times because it's difficult to spot competition of this caliber seven or eight lengths at the start and expect to win. We'll see what kind of opportunities present themselves when the gate springs on Saturday." Duc Dorleans, one of four performers in the field with sub-1:50 marks, gave futile chase in his last effort, pacing his final half in :54.1 to finish second for Donald Dupont. Trainer-driver Dupont recently said, "'Duc' does have some gate speed but he is probably best known for his closing kick. He's paced a final quarter under :26 on a bigger track. It's a tough decision on whether to leave or not, especially with a horse like Prairie Jaguar starting with a post inside of ours." Speaking of Prairie Jaguar, this Florida bred son of Spy Hard is the only horse in Pompano Park history to record five victories in 1:50 or faster--his mark being 1:49 on two occasions. Veteran driver Peter Wrenn is expected to be in the sulky for the journey on Saturday evening. Northern Companion, Rage N Ryan, Audrey's Dream and Freeneasy Hanover round out the septet scheduled to go to the post in race nine on the 11 race pari-mutuel card. The Melvyn Aylor Memorial events feature some of Florida's finest two year-olds and carry a total of $63,500 in purses. Of particular interest are two budding rivalries, the first for the two year-old pacing colts and geldings and the second showcasing the juvenile pacing fillies. The event for the boys pits Owosso Flash, thus far the leader of the class, against Gold Star Kevin and Caesar's Forum. Owosso Flash is undefeated in three starts at Pompano Park and, in an amazing performance in his last start, took an "unscheduled right turn" early spotting the field some 15 lengths before being "righted" by driver Mike Deters being sent on to score a decisive win in 1:58.1. Gold Star Roger gave chase in that event and finished a game second while Caesar's Forum, third in his last two outings to "Flash," looks to be rounding into top form as the FSBOA stakes season reaches a peak. The filly event features Gold Star Dynasty and Paxxie locking hooves for the sixth time this stakes season. Both of these fillies have not been worse than second in their respective careers covering five starts with "Dynasty" holding a three to two edge in wins. That event kicks off the pari-mutuel card and is scheduled as the first half of the early daily double. Also enhancing the betting card is the introduction of the Super Hi 5, as well as carryovers in both the Pick-5 and Pick-4 pools. The Super Hi 5 requires the selection of the first five official finishers in order and features the unique aspect that there must be a single winner to take the entire pool. If two or more persons are successful in selecting the "Hi-5," there would be a 50% pool distribution shared by those persons with the remainder of the pool carried over to the next program or programs until a single winner emerges. Director of Racing Brett Revington is excited about the new wager saying "Our guests are always looking for new, exciting and potentially lucrative opportunities. After all, the casino is continually freshened up the floor with new, exciting gaming devices and racing needs to take a page from that and freshen up the wagering opportunities to make them appealing to our patrons. "We are hoping that this produces more interest in our product line and what we have to offer here at Pompano Park. "The carryovers in both our Pick-5 and Pick-4 events should also bolster interest in the Saturday card, especially the Pick-4 with that friendly 12% takeout." Post time remains at 7:30 for the pari-mutuel program on Saturday night with four of the Aylor Memorial Stakes raced as non-wagering events beginning at 6:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...October 25, 2014...The New York harness racing invader Panocchio upset the highly vaunted Prairie Jaguar on Saturday night in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open pace. The winner, no stranger to South Florida's five-eighths mile oval, got the picture perfect handling from Bruce Ranger to pin a defeat measuring 1 1/4 lengths on Prairie Jaguar, driven by Aaron Byron. Fancyfreeshark and Mike Micallef teamed up for show honors while Cartoonist finished fourth with Northern Companion picking up the nickel. Owned by Emile Johnson, Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, Panocchio won for the 21st time in just 48 lifetime starts, sending his career bounty to $157,445--$108,570 this year on the strength of 13 wins in 24 starts. Though starting from the outside eight post, Panocchio actually blasted out of the gate ahead of Prairie Jaguar, vaulting to the lead in the first couple of strides and taking the field to the opening panel in :27. Prairie Jaguar, usually on the bit from the get-go, was a bit tardy this time around and only took command after the opener and rocketed over to the half in :54.3 and continued on the engine through three-quarters in 1:22.3. Just short of that third station, Panocchio left the cozy pocket and began his attack, puting his head in front turning for home and sealing the seal with a :28 finale. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger had high praise for this four year-old son of No Pan Intended, as well as both Jim and Vicki Mattison. "You can drive this horse with two fingers...he's that handy. It wasn't always that way, though, At first, he could be very headstrong and up tight and tough to handle. Jim (trainer Mattison) has done just a remarkable job with him and Vicki's--that's Jim's wife--tender loving care has paid off in spades." The large crowd on hand at Pompano Park actually made Panocchio the slight favorite--6 to 5 on the board--and he returned $4.60 to his faithful. John Berry
Panocchio continued his dominant stretch in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jimmy Mattison-trained four year old is enjoying a breakout harness racing campaign and won for the twelfth time of the year in Saturday's $17,000 feature. Driver Gerry Mattison dropped Panocchio (No Pan Intended) into the pocket behind the race's favorite Mystician (Wally Hennessey) who was making his local debut. Panocchio closed up the passing lane before winning a photo with JK Panache (Billy Dobson) in a mile paced in 1:51.4. It was the seventh Open win this year for Panocchio boosting his seasonal earnings to over the $100,000 mark. JK Panache was the runner up for the second straight week in the feature while longshot BJ's Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) closed for third. It may be the final time we see Panocchio compete at Saratoga for the year as he will be headed back down to Pompano Park in the near future. The pacing star is co-owned by his trainer Jimmy Mattison and Emile Johnson Jr. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella
Panocchio (No Pan Intended) continued his recent dominance of the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night. After scoring victories in the previous two Opens, Panocchio was assigned the outside post in Saturday's $17,000 feature and was dismissed at odds of 6-1. Getting away last, Panocchio sat patiently before following the cover of the race's favorite Ronny Bugatti (Austin Siegelman) as he came after pacesetting Bet On Roulette (Wally Hennessey). In a third quarter contested in 27.2, Bet On Roulette and Ronny Bugatti battled stride for stride while Panocchio waited to make his move, doing so in the final eighth of a mile before getting up to win in 1:51.3. It was the Third Straight victory in the Open for Panocchio and sixth win amongst the track's top pacers this season for the Jimmy Mattison-trained four year old. Panocchio, who was piloted by his regular driver Gerry Mattison, returned $14.80 to win. Bet On Roulette was the Open's runner up for the fourth straight week while Ronny Bugatti earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Panocchio won the Open Pace for the second consecutive Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. In the midst of a breakout year in his four year old campaign, Panocchio (No Pan Intended) was assigned the outside post in the $17,000 Saturday feature and wound up having to endure a tough first over journey en route to his tenth victory of the season. The Jimmy Mattison-trained pacer battled co-favored Bet On Roulette (Shawn Gray) for the majority of the second half of the mile before getting by in the final strides. Gerry Mattison piloted Panocchio to his fifth win in the Saratoga Open Pace this year, more than any other horse in 2014. Bet On Roulette was the Open's runner up for the Third Straight week while Coach Cal (Jim Devaux) finished third in the mile paced in 1:52.4. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for 12:15pm. Mike Sardella
Panocchio (No Pan Intended) scored his first Open Pace victory since July on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Jimmy Mattison-trained four year old is in the midst of a breakout year and secured his ninth win of the season in just nineteen tries as he outclosed his harness racing rivals in the $17,000 Saturday feature. Gerry Mattison piloted Panocchio and sat patiently with the top pacer as the fractions in the first half were sizzling despite a sloppy track after a day full of rain in Saratoga. The race's favorite Bet On Roulette (Wally Hennessey) came first over after a half in a demanding 55.2 and Panocchio followed third over before reeling in Bet On Roulette in the final furlong. Bet On Roulette was a strong second in the mile paced in 1:53.3 while Code Word (Joe Bongiorno) came on to finish third. Panocchio returned $12.80 to win while the exacta with the even money favorite second came back $34.60. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella
The regular harness racing season for the two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series concluded on Friday (September 12) night at Mohawk Racetrack with five $18,000 divisions, and Moonwards Hanover and Thinkofagameplan both kept their Grassroots win streaks intact. Competing in the opening event, Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who came into this race off Grassroots successes on August 24 at Georgian Downs and August 31 at Clinton Raceway, circled from third to first before the :56.3 half. He would go on to post three-quarters in 1:26.1 and then kicked home in :28.4 to win by half a length over a closing Rightinthekisser (Doug McNair). There was a dead-heat for third between Big Moment (Randy Waples) and Ballybunion (James MacDonald). Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now three-for-six in the win column with a bankroll of $36,000, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Thinkofagameplan (Randy Waples), the points leader in this group, was behind the gate in the second Grassroots split, and he would pull out of the pocket to take command after the 27 second opening quarter. Thinkofagameplan, who was second in a division of the Grand Circuit Champlain Stakes at Mohawk in his last try, would then click off the half in 57 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.2 en route to a 1:54.3 score. He defeated runner-up Mybestolxfriendray (Phil Hudon) by a length and three-quarters with Ace Of Clubs (Doug McNair) back in third. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his fourth win (all in Grassroots competition) from eight attempts and pushed his earnings to $76.440, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. While those familiar faces were victorious, the other three Grassroots flights were all won by horses who hadn’t yet tasted a win in the provincial program this season. Mr Carrotts (Phil Hudon) was the first to break through as he won the third section in 1:54.2. He was first at the :27.2 opening quarter and the :56.4 half, but first-over challenger Star Cover (Jody Jamieson) put a head in front at the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Mr Carrotts would battle back on the inside in the lane, and he would go on to beat Star Cover by a length at the finish line with Windsong Lord (Chris Christoforou) in third. Murray Brethour trains Mr Carrotts, a colt by Mach Three, for owner-breeder Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton, Ontario. Mr Carrotts broke his maiden in his fifth trip behind the gate, and he has now put away $10,000. He’s the fourth foal out of the Run The Table mare Cueless ($466,638), who was a three-time winner in OSS competition during her racing career. Robert Hill (James MacDonald) had been picking up minor shares against Gold Series competition, but a drop to the Grassroots level made him a 1:54.1 winner on this night. He left from post eight in the fourth Grassroots test, and he was up to grab the front after the :27.4 opening quarter. Robert Hill would go on to put the :56.3 half and the 1:25.3 three-quarters on the board before a :28.3 final kicker sealed his two and a quarter length triumph. Halton Hurricane (Rick Zeron) was second and Pace Seelster (Jody Jamieson) nabbed third. Tony Alagna trains the winner, a Jeremes Jet colt, for owner Thomas Hill of England. Robert Hill, who was bred by Perretti Farms and sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale, picked up his first win from six attempts, and he has now pocketed $19,220. He’s the seventh foal out of the Caprock mare Smooth Latin N ($217,884), which makes him a half-brother to two six-figure earners in McApulco ($365,942) and Mcaracas ($170,579) and to three-year-old Shadios, who has won twice in Grassroots competition this year for the Alagna/Hill combination. In the nightcap it was Supersonic Jet (Trevor Henry) who chopped out the :26.4 first quarter, but he would be overtaken by both Pier Ho Temptation (Chris Christoforou) and Shippen Out (Doug McNair) prior to the :56.2 half. Shippen Out then got to three-quarters first in 1:25, fighting off a first-over test by Jeb (Phil Hudon) in the process. Shippen Out put away Jeb for good early in the stretch drive and then held his pursuers at bay late in the mile to win by a length and a quarter in 1:54. Mystical Jet (Jody Jamieson) came in second and Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) took third. Blair Burgess trains the victorious Badlands Hanover colt for owner Karin Olsson-Burgess of Milton, Ontario. Shippen Out won for the first time in eight starts, and he has now earned $16,150. Winbak Farm bred Shippen Out, who fetched $9,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He’s the first foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Shipps Bikini ($410,500), who won a Grassroots division herself as a two-year-old. The two-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will return to Mohawk next Friday (September 19) to compete in their Semifinal events. For full results and charts of this Friday’s races at Mohawk, please visit - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0912mohsn.dat.