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Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2015...It's not often that a $4,000 claimer takes the top headline over any Open event but that was the scenario at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (Feb. 25) as Acton Onelasttime took the $11.500 final of the "Optimist" Late Closing Final for $4,000 claiming pacers in the astounding time of 1:51.3.   The six year-old son of Rambaran, claimed just one week ago by Kevin Wallis, let American Gold and W F N battle for supremacy through a :26.4 opener and then made a sharp quarter move to the top and recorded panels of :54.3 and 1:22.4 en route to a :28.4 finale to score by 8 1/4 lengths over W F N (Mickey Mc Nichol). Allamerican Extra (Aaron Byron) was third with American Gold and Elkhorn Damien annexing the final two awards in the field of nine.   The victory was the 26th in 89 lifetime starts for Acton Onelasttime and proved to be his richest career payday. The time of 1:51.3 also annihilated his former mark of 1:54.   Mused Kevin Wallis after the race, "Gee, he won himself out in one week--1:51.3! He had been off for some time" (since last July) "and was just getting back. He won two starts back in a '4' (claimer) in 1:54.3 so I decided to take a chance and claim him in his next start. The early pace was hot so I thought there might be a breather during the second quarter so that's when I sent him. When he got started, he forgot to stop...pretty amazing!"   Acton Onelasttime pushed his 2015 scorecard to 4-2-1-0 with the win, good for earnings of $8,950 and $82,118 lifetime.   As the 3 to 5 choice on the tote-board, Acton Onelasttime paid $3.20 to win.   In the $12,500 Open Trot, Bloodstockshalltab, deftly handled by Ed Hensley, took top honors for the second week in a row with a 1:54.4 win measuring three-quarters of a length over the fast closing Its Payday Friday (Dan Clements).   This five year-old son of Cantab Hall left "half-heartedly" letting Holy Halibut rush to the top early before going into full throttle around the initial turn to secure the lead prior to the :28 opener. A :30 second quarter breather actually sealed the deal as Hensley sent his charge grinding through a final half of :56.4 for the repeat.   Nothinbutanallstar (Mark O'Mara) finished third after trying to apply a tourniquet on the leader around the final turn. Holy Halibut did finish fourth in his first start back in four months. Coco Lindy picked up the nickel in the sextet.   After the race, driver Ed Hensley said, "When I was able to grab a hold of him once we got to the top, that helped a lot. When a trotter of his caliber gets to the half soft like that (:58), it's usually a good sign...for the leader, that is! He was getting stronger and stronger all the way home."   A recent purchase by Hensley, Bloodstockshalltab now is 5-3-1-0 for the new owner, good for $20,842. The win also pushed his lifetime earnings over the $200,000 mark--$201,587 to be exact.   Bloodstockshalltab paid $3.40 to his many faithful.   The co-featured $10,000 trot went to Winemaster Hanover, with Dave Ingraham, pulling off gate-to-wire upset at 16 to 1.   The five year-old son of Donato Hanover had a clear lead throughout much of the journey--the winning margin a half length over the late surging And Heez Perfect (Bruce Ranger) in 1:55.   My Revenuer (Tom Sells) was a fast closing third while Buddy Hally rallied form a miscue early to finish fourth. Majestic Won finished fifth in the octet after a backstretch brush that left him two lengths back of the Winemaster around the final turn.   Trained by Randy Bickmore for owner Kevin Gee, Winemaster Hanover now has $16,012 on his card after his third win in six starts this year. He has banked $86,268 lifetime.   Winemaster Hanover paid $35.40 to win.   by John Berry

Pompano Beach, FL...February 23, 2015...With the "Queen Bee"- Just A Bee-out of the lineup this Monday night, J. L. Benson Stables' Senorita Santanna did some stinging of her own in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Pace for the mares. The five year-old daughter of Santanna Blue Chip, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. for trainer Paul Holzman, led every step of her mile and stopped the tele-timer in a seasonal best 1:51.1, pinning a defeat measuring seven lengths on the late surging De Vins Girl (Jason Dillander) with Southwind Trini (Bruce Ranger) next in the quintet over Always Dee One and Keystone Christa.Carding panels of :27.2, :55.4 and 1:23 along the way, Senorita Santanna never had an anxious moment as the 1 to 5 choice, opening a 2 ½ length lead at the opening quarter and blitzing away from her foes on the backside, enjoying a six length advantage by the time they reached the final turn. In a post race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. said, "She (Senorita Santanna) is a very rugged mare that can brush for the whole mile. She was nice and relaxed once we got to the front and, when I asked her for a bit more on the backside, she kind of exploded with pace and that was that!" Senorita Santanna now has a 4-2-1 scorecard in eight starts this young season and $29,185 to show for it. The classy mare now has five wins since she was claimed for $10,000 by the aforementioned J L Benson Stables back in mid-December with bounty of $32,685 since the claim. She paid $2.40 to win. The co-featured $10,000 pace for mares went to Mach Me Not with Wally Hennessey handling the lines. This nine year-old daughter of Mach Three came from well off the pace to score in 1:53 over the late surging Glow Stick (Dave Ingraham) with Market Dynamics (Peter Wrenn) third. Art Frenzy finished fourth while Winbak Heavenly, the 4 to 5 favorite, finished fifth after taking a clear lead turning for home. Owned by the S S G Stables and trained by Jim McDonald, Mach Me Not won for the second time this season and pushed her lifetime earnings to $309,302 on the strength of her 29 career wins. She paid $10.80 to her $2 backers. McDonald also drove the winner of the second race, steering the four year-old trotting gelding Looney to a 38 to 1 victory-his maiden win in 17 lifetime starts. Also on the Monday card was the first leg of the "Happy Wife, Happy Life" Late Closing Event for claiming pacing mares and Taylor B Good, handled by Rick Plano gutted out a courageous first over victory in 1:54.4. This six year-old daughter of Kilowatt, trained by Bernie Wolin for owner Hilda Wolin, was away fifth early as, first, Flying Topless, then, Hot Latte and, then, Newsmaker, traded places for the lead through hot panels of :27.1 and :56.3 with Taylor Be Good grinding first over the entire last lap, reaching the top turning for home and holding off the late charging A and G Covergirl (Ed Hensley) to score by a length. Moon Is On Fire closed from last turning for home to garner show honors while Hot Latte and Newmaker tied for fourth. For Taylor B Good, it was her initial success of 2015 and sent her lifetime bounty over the $80,000 mark. She paid $4.40 to win as the public choice. Finally, the popular Pompano Park Pick-5 went unscathed on Monday night with management guaranteeing a $15,000 pool for Wednesday night's program. Post time is 7:30 p.m. John Berry  

Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, February 22, 2015...Thirtyeightspecial and Jailhouse Jessica were the harness racing stars under the stars at Pompano Park, each taking new lifetime marks in their respective wins on Sunday night.   Thirtyeightspecial, handled by Ed Hensley for Richard and Carol Macomber, took honors in the $13,400 Battleground Late Closing Final by scoring a gate to wire win in a lifetime best 1:55.4 performance.   The 10 year-old son of Dream Vacation led through panels of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:26 before sealing the issue with a :29.4 finale to score by 1 1/2 lengths over the pocket sitting Wishin Iwas Fishin and Jason Dillander. Northern Inferno and Kevin Wallis teamed up for third while Go Jesse Go and Overwhat earned the final two awards in the octet.   Thirtyeigthspecial not only won in a career best performance, it also vaulted him over the $200,000 mark in lifetime bounty with the win, his 41st in 229 career trips to the starting gate worth $202,545.   It was also the grand gelding's richest payday during his career and only the second time he has raced for a purse of this magnitude--the other being in Goshen, N.Y. on Independence Day of 2008 when he finished second in a NY Sire Stake with a purse of $14,771.   In a post race interview, when told of the new lifetime mark, driver Ed Hensley said, "Man, you could have fooled me. He raced like a three year-old tonight. He was strong gate to wire. He did this all on his own. Ya know Dick (trainer Richard Macomber) is no stranger to training champions. He's been doing it for 50 years. He had this one razor sharp tonight. It's not often you see a 10 year-old taking a new lifetime mark!"   AS the 9 to 5 public choice, Thirtyeightspecial paid $5.60 to his faithful.   Jailhouse Jessica, trained by Dale Gilmour for Karma Racing, wore down a stubborn Mc Tiny's Hope to capture the $12,000 Open Trot for mares on Sunday night.   This five year-old daughter of Jailhouse Jesse, driven by Bruce Ranger, was almost six lengths away half way through the mile as Mc Tiny's Hope, handled by Ben McNeil, cut sharp panels of :28; :56.3 and 1:24.4 before Jailhouse Jessica wore her down late to hit the wire in 1:54.2--also a lifetime best performance.   Trot Fudge Sundae finished third for Dave Ingraham while Little Bitty Lies and M T Ur Pockets finished fourth and fifth, respectively, to earn the final awards in the field of eight.   After the event, driver Bruce Ranger said, "I was a bit concerned when Ben's (McNeil) mare got a way from us around the final turn but this mare of Dale's (trainer Gilmour) can rock and roll late and she did it tonight. Her last quarter had to have been :28 and change." (It was :28.4).   A $7,200 claim in mid-January, Jailhouse Jessica earned her second win of the season in five starts and shows 2015 earnings of $12,813 and $72,845 lifetime.   Jailhouse Jessica paid $5.40 as the second choice on the board.   In the $10,000 pace for $20,000 claimers, JJ's Doughnut, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. and off at 1 to 2, made a sharp quarter move to the front and went on to score in 1:51.4--his margin 1 1/2 lengths over the 59 to 1 chance Remissionofsins (Peter Wrenn) with Premier (Rick Plano), off at 22 to 1, third.   Claimed for the fourth time in the past month, this eight year-old son of Yankee Cam raced Sunday night under the Paul Holzman for owner Ameer Najor. He's now five-for-eight this year with $23,164 in the bank.   Finally, in the $8,500 pace for $15,000 claimers, Machinist won in 1:51.4 for Joe Pavia, Jr., scoring in a five horse blanket finish. Red Hot Yankee finished second for George Napolitano, Jr. while Hurricane Howard (Tom Sells) finished third. Major Stone and Fearless Chip were next with the first five just 1/2 length apart at the wire.   Machinist, Red Hot Yankee and Fearless Chip were all claimed in the event as claiming has been at a record pace here over the past several weeks.   Machinist, racing for the Just Win Stable this night, earned his initial win of the season in five starts and, as third choice, paid $9.20 to win.   John Berry

Pompano Beach, FL...February 21, 2015...Raji's Blue Line, skillfully handled by harness racing driver Mike Micallef, took top honors in Pompano Park's $12,500 Open Pace on Saturday night, eking out a photo finish win in a race where two lengths separated the entire field at the finish. The seven year-old son of Artiscape, owned by Lew and Kathleen Whitaker along with W.B. Schopf, made a bold move first up on the backside from fifth and, after grinding to the front turning for home, held off the ground saving P L Hellcat, driven by Dan Clements, to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Fancyfreeshark, with Bruce Ranger in the bike, finished a half length away in third after cutting panels of :26.4, :55 and 1:22.4 along the way. Lyons Johnny, in the garden spot most of the journey, finished fourth with Dont Tell Rusty next in the sextet, just 1 1/2 lengths off the winner after pacing the fastest final quarter in the race. In a post race interview, driver Mike Micallef said, "Last week, the winner (Duc Dorleans) got away with a soft half (:56) and was able to get home in :55.3. This time, I thought I had nothing to lose by letting 'Raji' have the track and let him go. He does have a strong brush and can sustain it for a good, long time. He did exactly that tonight and he was very game to the wire. "Dan's horse (P L Hellcat) went a big mile and benefitted by saving all the ground sneaking through on the inside. Gotta give him credit, too." For Raji's Blue Line, it was his second success of the season in six starts and his 2-2-1 scorecard now shows $18,750. He's banked $ 193,450 lifetime. As fourth choice on the tote-board, Raji's Blue Line rewarded his faithful with a $10.20 win mutuel. The co-feature on the card was the $10,000 conditioned pace and that went to Luca Derrico's Cadillac Phil in 1:51.3. This five year-old son of Shanghai Phil, finally escaping the top Open company, took command for George Napolitano, Jr. right at the opening marker in :27.1, got to the half in a rated :56.1 and then sprinted home in :55.2 to hold off a determined Heart Felt (Rick Plano) by a neck. Hillybilly (Bruce Ranger) finished third after threatening around the final turn while Shamderock finished fourth. Always N The Money picked up the nickel in the octet. Cadillac Phil won for the second time this season in seven starts to send his 2015 earnings to $16,525. Lifetime, he's banked $166,580. As the 3 to 5 chalk, Cadillac Phil paid $3.40 to win. Finally, the second leg of the Midnite Hardy Late Closer went to M G Home Run, smartly driven by Joe Sanzeri. This eight year-old some of Astreos, owned by the J L Benson Stables, found a seam along the pylons in deep stretch to score a half length win over the late flying First Impression (Bruce Ranger) in 1:54.3. Whata Hooligan (Peter Wrenn) finished third while Cascata and pacesetter Tivoli Hanover picked up the final awards in the field of nine in a dead-heat for fourth. While it was the initial success of the year for M G Home Run in seven starts, the game gelding scored his 36th lifetime win, sending his career bounty to $213,799. As co-third choice in the betting, M G Home Run paid $11.20 to win. After the event, M G Home was claimed for the third time during the past month, this time going to trainer Randy Bickmore for owner Emory Pellitier. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL - A trio of harness racing longshots hit the line in a photo finish in the Wednesday night (Feb 18) finale at Pompano Park, with 20-1 shot WFN emerging as the winner after the dust settled. He was followed in by Your My Boy Blue (13-1), Terrys Star Dragon (21-1), and Elkhorn Damien (7-2). The longshots keyed a trifecta payout of over $11,147 for 50 cents. Despite having only a 20-cent minimum, no one had the winning superfecta combination (2-10-9-1) and the result is a $7,009 carryover into Saturday night's (Feb 21) first race. Track officials have placed a $20,000 guarantee on the first race superfecta pool. Ironically, the Jackpot Hi-Five combination (2-10-9-1-3) had one unique winner in the same race, with the ticket holder picking up over $6,588. The winning combination was purchased on a 'Quick Pick' where the patron spent a mere 20-cents. It was the second time the Jackpot Hi-Five has been hit in the last three race nights, after a two month carryover netted one lucky fan over $146,000 on Sunday, February 15th. Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evening with a first post of 7:30 p.m. Gabe Prewitt 

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

Pompano Beach, FL...February 16, 2015...A coup to overthrow the "Queen Bee" at Pompano Park by a "Senorita" failed on Monday night as Just A Bee withstood a furious late surge by Senorita Santanna to retain her coveted harness racing crown in a photo finish in the $12,500 Open Pace for Mares.   Driven by trainer Mike Micallef for owners Anita Micallef, John Mc Goff and Greg Heath, Just A Bee was used hard from her outside post at the outset to grab the top spot from a stubborn Senorita Santanna, driven by George Napolitano, Jr., prior to the opening panel, clocked in a sharp :26.3.   Once on top, Just A Bee continued to put up quick numbers, with the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:23.4.   Turning for home, Just A Bee was on her way to a :28 finale with Senorita Santanna clocked even a tick faster--the latter's late charge falling a neck short in a mile timed in 1:51.4.   Southwind Trini finished third for Bruce Ranger, though 6 ½ lengths away while De Vins Girl and Arodasi completed the quintet.   In a post race interview, driver Mike Micallef said, "We were in a bit of a war early and, after that, it was somewhat difficult to calm my mare down. To me, she was very impressive tonight as she kind of picked it up on her own on the backstretch and really dug in late. I was proud of her performance tonight."   For Just A Bee, a seven year-old daughter of Mr Feelgood, it was her second straight win and fourth in seven starts this young season, pushing her seasonal bounty to $28,750. She's banked $178,416 lifetime.   As the 3 to 5 public choice, Just A Bee returmed $3.20 to win.   Reported by John Berry      

Pompano Beach, FL - Despite the largest price being only 6-1 in Sunday night's Pick 5 sequence, harness racing fans were unable to nail down the winning combination, resulting in a $4,947 carryover into the Monday night (Feb 16) card. Track officials have guaranteed Monday night's pool at $20,000. The 50-Cent Pick 5 is a nightly wager featured on Races 2 - 6. The Pick 4 continues to feature a $7,500 guaranteed pool on every live racing night with the exception of Saturday evenings. Patron takes down large score with small investment The Jackpot Hi-Five was captured on Sunday evening for the first time in exactly two months, netting a $146,288.30 payday for one lucky fan. In order to win the entire jackpot, a patron must have the one unique winning ticket in the 20-Cent Hi-Five. Despite multiple nights where only two tickets were out, Sunday marked the first time the Hi-Five had featured a single winner since December 15th. The winning combination of 2-1-10-4-5 was featured on a ticket that cost a mere $7.20. Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park on a four night per week schedule, with live racing every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evening with a first post of 7:30 p.m. Gabe Prewitt for Isle Casino Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2015...The big news at Pompano Park on Sunday night came in the very last race when Blended Whiskey, driven by George Napolitano, Jr., won that finale, keying a record 20 cent Super Hi-5 payoff of $146,288.30 to one very lucky but, as yet, unidentified bettor.   Blended Whiskey, 3 to 1 on the board, was followed by the 40 to 1 chance One Bad Shot (Dave Ingraham) with Orator, 35 to 1, (Travis Cullen) third. Fox Valley Arctic, 9 to 1 (Bruce Ranger) finished fourth with the lukewarm 3 to 1 favorite, Ring Leda (Jason Dillander) fifth--the winning combination being 2-1-10-4-5.   The payoff is a record covering the half century history at Pompano Park.   Now, on to the feature events...   Trot Fudge Sundae, driven by Dave Ingraham, scored a narrow victory in Pompano Park's $13,200 Open Trot for Mares on Sunday night.   The five year-old daughter of American Native, trained by Rick Sronce for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. held off the furious late surge of Jailhouse Jessica, handled by Bruce Ranger, to score by a quickly diminishing neck in 1:56.   Blushing Hanover, with Mickey McNichol handling her lines, finished third after cutting panels of :27.1; :57.1 and 1:25.3. McTiny's Hope finished fourth and M T Ur Pockets rallied from last half way through the mile to finish fifth.   Ingraham's charge was away third through the opening stages of the mile and pull first over just short of the half, grinding forward the rest of the journey before taking command shortly after straightening away for the wire and then hold off Jailhouse Jessica, five lengths back at the third station, in the photo.   In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "you know, I had a choice to make at the half--go first up or sit in. I decided to give it a go because I didn't want to get bottled up with no place to go...after all, these are very good trotters in here and they can be out and driving in a heartbeat and leave you with no room to roam. She's a rugged mare who like to win and can swallow a lot of air! It worked out just right!   For Trot Fudge Sundae, it was her first success of the year in six starts--24th win lifetime--and sent her career earnings to $366,342 in 70 lifetime starts.   Fifth choice in the betting, Trot Fudge Sundae paid $15.80 on this "Sundae Night!"   Pompano Park also hosted the second leg of "The Battleground" Late Closer for claiming trotters and Northern Inferno snuck on through along the pylons in the final stages to score a photo finish win for Kevin Wallis in 1:57.3 at odds of 28 to 1--the longest proposition in the field of six.   This nine year-old son of Angus Hall pinned the upset--measured at a head--on Overwhat (18 to 1), with Joe Sanzeri in the bike with Sand Wyndham and Joe Pavia, Jr. teaming up for third, just a length away.   The 3 to 5 favorite, Thirtyeightspecial, finished fourth after cutting panels of :27.4, :58 and 1:26.3 JL Rockin Jake picked up the nickel in the sextet.   Northern Inferno, fifth for the opening three quarters of the mile, never left the inside and snuck through as they started to gang up on the leader turning for home.   Trained by Sandy Hollon for owner Heddy Nelson, Northern Inferno won for the third time in six tries this year. He's won 33 times during his career spanning 139 starts, good for $185,338.   Paying $59.80 to win, Northern Inferno keyed an exacta payoff of $567.00 in the six horse field.   Also driver Dennis Whittemore, who rarely makes an appearance in the sulky these days, won his first race since July 31, 2007 and first extended pari-mutuel race since May 14, 2006 when he guided his own P L Humanity to victory in a conditioned trotting event on Sunday night.   Whittemore sent this four year-old son of Striking Sahbra to the front from his outside eight post at the :28.2 opener and led the rest of the journey, clocking panels of :59.1 and 1:28.2 en route to a 1:59.1 win over the 1 to 5 favoritee Pointe Of Inquiry (Wayne Henry), who closed with ferocity after a miscue at the start. Witty's Winner was third in that mile.   As the 5 to 1 second choice in the betting, P l Humanity paid $12.40 to win.   In the $8,500 pace for $15,000 claimers, the 11 year-old warrior St. Pete Star won for the 53rd time in his illustrious career by coming off the pace for George Napolitano, Jr. to score a hard earned victory in 1:52 over Machinist (Joe Pavia, Jr.) with Red Hot Yankee (Kevin Wallis) third.   Trained by Paul Holzman for owner Melvin Fink, St Pete Star is now three-for-six this young season, good for $17.094. He's banked $610,184 lifetime and paid $7.40 to his faithful followers.   Racing resumes Monday night with pacing mares in the spotlight in an Open Handicap event. Post time is 7:30 p.m.   John Berry        

Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2015...For the second week in a row, Duc Dorleans took top honors in Pompano Park's Open Handicap Pace while Lisa Avenatti guided Mamajons Bluegrass to a handy win the St. Valentine's Day Sweetheart Pace featuring nine of the best female harness racing drivers in the sport.   Duc Dorleans, again magnificently handled by Donald Dupont, immediately took command as the gate opened and went on to post fractions of :26.4; :56 and 1:24 before sealing the issue with a :27.3 finale to stop the timer in 1:51.3 on this coolish 57 degree night in South Florida.   Lyons Johnny, in the garden spot the entire mile for George Napolitano, Jr., finished second, 1 3/4 lengths away, while Raji's Blue Line and Mike Micallef teamed up for show honors. Cadillac Phil was fourth while Dont Tell Rusty finished fifth in the quintet with no change in the order once positions were established out of the gate.   After the race, driver Donald Dupont said, "This was, pretty much, an identical journey that I had last week when we won in 1:50.4 with the final quarter last week in :26.3. He's very sharp right now all I had to do was remind him to stay focused on his task turning for home."   Owned by Gestion C Levesque 2005 along with Les Ecuries Dorleans, Duc Dorleans, a five year-old son of Shanghai Phil, took home the major share of the $12,500 purse to send his lifetime bounty to $424,306. The win was his third this year in six starts and 20th lifetime in 64 career trips to the starting gate.   Off at 3 to 5 on the tote-board, Duc Dorleans paid $3.20 to win.   Pompano Park also was host to the St. Valentine's Day Sweetheart Pace, featuring many of the finest female drivers in the sport, and it was Lisa Avenatti annexing her 80th lifetime victory with a wire-to-wire win with Mamajons Bluegrass in 1:55.4.   Owned by Casanadra Uppal along with Rebecca Uppal, this six year-old daughter of I Scoot Hanover led every stride of the mile in recording her first win of the year in seven starts--this after putting up numbers of :27, :56 and 1:25.1.   Hot Latte, driven by Whitney Bell, finished second while Up Front Lady Gray, handled by Luanna Beeson, rallied for third. Notorius Terror (Sabrina Clevenger) finished fourth while Moon Is On Fire (Anne Schlichtig) rallied from last to finish a formidable fifth. Brooke Nickells, Laurie Poulin, Diane Long and Kelly Case also participated.   In a post race interview, driver Lisa Avenatti said, "Cass" (trainer Casandra Uppal) said that she trained well this week and that she likes to in the thick of things so I sent her and she kind of did the rest on her own. The luck of the draw was on my side tonight--not only drawing the coveted five post...but for drawing my name to drive this mare."   Avenatti is on quite a roll. Last season, she made but five appearances in the bike and had four wins and a second, good for a UDRS of .911. She even improved on that with her victory on Saturday night.   For Mamajons Bluegrass, it was her 14th lifetime success, pushing her career bounty to $156,163.   As the 6 to 5 public choice, Mamajons Bluegrass paid $4.40 to her faithful.   Finally, the carryover for Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 has exploded to well over $130,000 going into Sunday night's program, which begins at 7:30 p.m.   Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...February 11, 2015...Nothinbutanallstar, craftily driven by Mark O'Mara, was up in the very last stride to eke out a harness racing photo finish win in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Trot on Wednesday night.   The four year-old altered son of Allstar Hall defeated Its Payday Friday, handled by Dan Clements, by the narrowest of noses in 1:55 with Coco Lindy and Wally Hennessey teaming up for third, just a head away from victory.   Dukester was fourth while Increditable picked up the nickel in the quintet.   Also trained by O'Mara for owner Lester Raber, O'Mara was content to let Nothinbutanallstar, the even money favorite, trail the field as Its Payday Friday cut the mustard with fractions of :28 and :57 with Coco Lindy in the garden spot and Dukester next.   Less than three-eighths out, Dukester was out and driving from third with Nothinbutanallstar following the live cover flow and just two lengths out of it by the third station in 1:26.2.   In the lane, Its Payday Friday put away the challenge of Dukester but the duo of Nothinbutanallstar and Coco Lindy continued ganging up on the leader.   As they hit the wire, the photo finish camera determined that Nothinbutanallstar did get by Its Payday Friday but Coco Lindy didn't and had to settle for show honors.   Pure Barre was scratched from the event and O'Mara said that may have played a role in the victory.   "We only got this by a nose", O'Mara said, "in fact, I wasn't sure we won at all, but that scratch put us a length closer at the start so maybe that was the difference. He's a game racehorse and gives his all every time he goes to the gate. He just doesn't give up!"   The victory was the second of the year in just three starts and sent his lifetime bankroll to $197,464 on the strength of a lifetime scorecard of 13-11-7 in just 35 starts.   Nthinbutanallstar paid $4.00 to win.   Two divisions of the Optimist Late Closing Event for claiming pacers went post-ward on the midweek card, as well, and Acton Onelasttime and Allamericanextra proved victorious in their respective events.   Acton Onelasttime, driven by Bruce Ranger took the lead just past the :28.2 opener and went on to post panels of :57 and 1:25.3 en route to a 1:54.3 win over Midwest Hanover (Ed Hensley). Elkhorn Damian (Aaron Byron) had some traffic issues in the lane and had to settle for third with American Gold and Yankee Flyer also earning minor awards.   Trained by Tony Dinges for owner Paul Richardson, Acton Onelasttime, a six year-old son of Rambaran, won for the 25th time during his career measuring 87 lifetime starts. He's banked $76,368 and, on this night, paid $4.00 as the even money favorite.   Allamericanextra pulled off a 14 to 1 upset for Aaron Byron in his division, storming from sixth turning for home to score a victory measuring three-quarters of a length in 1:55.   W F N (Mickey McNichol) finished second while there was a dead-heat for third between Matt's Delivery (Kevin Wallis) and Goldstar Raider (JOe Pavia, Jr. Haverford Hanover finished fifth in the septet.   Owned by the Three Gees Stable and trained by Gary McDonald, Allamerican Extra, a rugged nine year-old son of Asteros, rewarded his faithful with a mutuel of $31.40 and sent his lifetime bounty to $241,071, He now has won 37 times during a career spanning 220 starts.   With yet another healthy consolation payoff of $913.76 for a 20 cent investment in Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, the carry-over going into Saturday night's card has exploded to some $130,000.   Post time for the Saturday Night Special events program is 7:30 with many of the sport's best female performers competing in the Valentines Day "Sweetheart Pace."   John Berry

Melady's Monet is painting a picture of success this winter at the Meadowlands and the 6-year-old trotter's connections hope his artistry continues into the upcoming stakes season. But no matter what decisions the horse's connections make in the future, they will be secondary to the choices that led to his present. Melady's Monet, who has won five of six starts since arriving at the Meadowlands in November and is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Friday's open handicap, is a son of stallion Revenue S out of the mare Keystone Melady. The mare was owned by Luca and Ester Balenzano when she suffered a career-ending fracture at Pompano Park two days before Christmas 2005. The injury was severe and veterinarians recommended euthanizing Keystone Melady, but Luca Balenzano wanted to try to save the mare. Keystone Melady underwent successful surgery and the Balenzanos decided to keep her as a broodmare. "She was special, she really was," Ester Balenzano said. "She would always give you everything she had every time she raced. We were told to put her down (following the accident) but Luca wouldn't stand for it. "It really is a miracle." The couple's first two breeding attempts resulted in one horse making it to the races, but little success. The Balenzanos were ready to give up on the idea, but friend Tom Faulhaber suggested breeding the mare to Revenue S. The result was Melady's Monet. "It was getting to the point where we said we were getting too old for this and maybe we should adopt her out, (but) we thought we'd give it one more shot," Ester said. "We were lucky enough to get (Melady's Monet). He is a blessing." Melady's Monet has won 24 of 88 career races and earned $420,183 for the Balenzanos' Melady Enterprises LLC. As a 3-year-old, then in the stable of trainer Taylor Gower, the trotter won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres championship at Freehold and in subsequent seasons found success in the open handicaps at Yonkers. In September, Melady's Monet arrived in the stable of trainer Kevin McDermott. In his first start for McDermott, the gelding finished second to Bee A Magician in a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia, kicking off a string of 13 races in which he has finished worse than second only once. He established his career mark of 1:52 in November at the Big M. "Amy Allen at Gilcrest Training Center broke him for me," Ester said. "She did a fabulous job and from the very beginning she said to me that this is one special colt. "It's been unbelievable to see him blossom the way he has. Not that I ever had a doubt, but you never think your horse fits in with the upper open trotters. I know right now he's not racing with all the top-caliber trotters, but (driver) Tim Tetrick said he belongs with the best and we should stake him to the top races this year." The plan is to keep Melady's Monet near McDermott's base in New Jersey, but make the horse eligible to events such as the TVG Free For All Series, John Cashman Jr. Memorial and Crawford Farms Trot. "I want to keep him at home," Ester said. "I really don't want to ship him. I'm very protective of him. I don't just think of this year; I hope he's another Arch Madness. I want to race him until he's 8, 9, 10. I always tell Kevin, I want to protect this horse. "I plan on giving him a little time off in the spring. I want him to be fresh for the races that are coming up in the late spring and early summer." Melady's Monet enters Friday's open handicap off a three-length victory over Take My Picture in 1:55.1 on Jan. 30 at the Meadowlands. It was the horse's first start in 28 days, a layoff necessitated by a quarter crack. "The owners wanted to give him time and get him right," McDermott said. "He's been a different horse since. The owners deserve all the credit. They love this horse. They did right by saving the mare and they deserve what they got. "He's just an incredible horse." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Pompano Beach, FL...February 9, 2015...With mares in the Pompano Park spotlight Monday night, Just A Bee and Little Bitty Lies took top honors in their respective events for the harness racing distaffers.   Just A Bee, competing in the $12,000 Open Pace for the Mares, conquered five rivals and a racetrack deluged with rain just minutes before to score a 1:52.4 win for Mike Micallef -- her margin a half length over a very stubborn Senorita Santanna, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. De Vins Girl was third for Jason Dillander while Always Dee One and Arodasi also picked up minor awards in the field of six.   Just A Bee, a seven year-old daughter of Mr Feelgood, was away in good order from her outside post six to settle into the third spot around the opening turn behind Senorita Santanna and De Vins Girl. Just a couple of strides later, "Queen Bee" was out again and driving for the lead, which she assumed shortly after an opening panel of :27.1.   With no pressure down the opening straightaway, Just A Bee lolly-gagged through a second quarter in :29.4, reaching the half in a "soft" :57. Once they straightened away on the backside, Just A Bee discouraged any impending threats with a :28 third quarter in the slop and then sealed the deal with a :27.4 closer, holding off a very game Senorita Santanna by a half length.   In a post race interview, driver Mike Micallef said, Once I got a taste of that mud in my mouth, I decided to try and make the top spot to minimize any additional 'mud pudding' thrown my way. Actually, we got a nice breather during the second quarter and, when we reached the half cheap (:57), I thought she could carry it all the way home. George's mare (Senorita Santanna) went a big mile--she's tough as nails--but my mare is tough, as well...and actually had a bit easier of a trip than last week, when she had to go first up on the backside and finished second."   Owned by Anita Micallef, along with John Mc Goff and Greg Heath, Just A Bee now has a 3-1-0 scorecard in five starts this young season, good for $22,500. She's earned $172,166 lifetime.   As the 3 to 5 favorite, Just A Bee returned $3.40 to win.   Little Bitty Lies, a five year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, used a bold rush on the backside to take command prior to the final turn and romp home an easy winner--two lengths--for Lewayne Miller in 1:56.4 over the track still labeled sloppy in the $13,000 companion Open Trot for Mares.   Trot Fudge Sundae, handled by Dave Ingraham, used a backside brush of her own to get second while Blushing Hanover, prominent early but backed up after getting "briefly stuck in traffic" rallied for Mickey McNichol to finish third.   Barbies Korvett and Black Swan also earned checks in the septet.   Third early on through opening panels of :28.1 and :57.4, Little Bitty Lies blitzed her opposition with a strong backside brush to assume command--comfortably--past the third station in 1:26.4.   From there, the issue was never in doubt.   Owned by the consortium of the Erv Miller Stable, Wind Gap, MIchelon and Paymaq Racing, Little Bitty Lies won for the initial time in 2015 in just two starts this season--9th win lifetime--to send her career bankroll to $158,788.   Finally, though the even money favorite in the Super Hi-5 was disqualified and placed out of the top five, the event still had multiple winners with the carryover going over to Tuesday night's card exceeding $120,000.   Post time is 7:30 p.m.   John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, February 8, 2015...Wishin Iwas Fishin took top honors in the opening leg of the Battleground Late Closing harness racing event for claiming trotters on Sunday night at Pompano Park. The nine year-old gelded son of Lockkeeper, trained by Brian Hauck for Haucks Racing Stable, came from dead last in his sextet for Jason Dillander to score a narrow decision--a neck--over Go Jesse Go, driven by Rick Plano. Sand Wyndham, teamed up with Joe Pavia, Jr., finished third, just a half length away while Overwhat and Loco Caballo picked up the minor awards. The mile was clocked in 1:57.4. In a race marked by five lead changes, Northern Inferno showed quick speed leaving with Go Jesse Go away in good order from the rail with Loco Caballo next. But before the dust settled around the opening turn, Go Jesse Go left the pocket and forged into the lead at the opening panel, timed in :28.3...but not for long as Loco Caballo followed Go Jesse Go and took command with a lap to go and marched over to the half in a hot :56.4. On the backside three-eighths out, Sand Wyndham was out and driving from fifth and forcing the hand of Go Jessie Go, the latter leaving the pocked again and forging to the lead a few steps past the third station timed in 1:26.4. With four across the track at mid-stretch, it was a cavalry charge to the wire with Wishin Iwas Fishin the photo finish winner. After the race, driver Jason Dillander said simply, "This horse has one good brush and, tonight, it was timed just right. For Wishin Iwas Fishin, it was his initial win of the year in five starts and worth $6.00 to his faithful $2.00 followers. John Berry 

Pompano Beach, FL...Saturday, February 7, 2015...Speed was the keynote at Pompano Park on a harness racing Saturday night as Duc Dorleans captured the $13,000 Open Handicap Pace in 1:50.4 and Red Hot Yankee took top honors in the $17,500 final of the Murdock Hanover Late Closer in 1:51.2.   Duc Dorleans, driven by Donald Dupont for owner Gestion Levesque 2005, Inc., led every step of his journey clocking panels of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.1 before sprinting home in :26.3 to seal a victory measuring almost three lengths over Fancyfreeshark (Bruce Ranger) and Lyons Johnny (George Napolitano, Jr.), the latter two finishing in a dead-heat for place honors.   Don't Tell Rusty, rallied from far back to finish fourth while Cadillac Phil picked up the nickel in the septet.   In a post race interview, driver Donald Dupont said, "My horse has great speed out of the gate and, since we had an inside post (2), it was easy for him to get the lead. When nobody challenged me during the straightaway, my horse was nice and relaxed getting away with a 'soft' half...for him, anyhow (:56.1). From there, I was very confident he could carry his speed all the way home and his final quarter (:26.3) proved that tonight. He's a very good horse!"   For this five year-old son of Shanghai Phil, it was his second win in five starts this year--19th lifetime in 63 starts--and sent his lifetime bounty to $418,056.   Second choice on the tote-board, Duc Dorleans paid $7.80 to his faithful.   Red Hot Yankee's win was a hit more dramatic as he held on for dear life at the end of his gate-to-wire 1:51.2 effort for Kevin Wallis to hold off stablemate Officernagentleman (George Napolitano, Jr.) to score by a scant head.   Fearless Chip (Bruce Ranger), prominent all the way in the garden spot, finished third three parts of a length away with the late surging Bold Wille fourth. A Fool For Mark picked up the minors in the field of nine.   Red Hot Yankee, an 11 year-old son of Artsplace, carded sizzling fractions of :27, :54.3 and 1:22.3 along the way.   After the race, driver Kevin Wallis said, "he's a warrior, alright. Those first three-quarters were pretty stiff but that's the way he likes it. He dug in late...but I was very happy the wire came when it did!"   Making his first start off of a claim by owners Melvin Fink and Clifford Grundy, Red Hot Yankee was making his 150th lifetime start and first start in the Paul Holzman Stable.   The victory, Red Hot Yankee's 19th lifetime, sent his career bounty past the $250,000 mark--$250,599 to be exact. He paid $3.60 as the betting favorite.   The $20,000-$25,000 Claiming Handicap Pace carrying a purse of $11,000, went, in an upset, to Raji's Blue Line in 1:51.1.   This seven year-old son of Artiscape, owned by Lew and Kathy Whitaker along with William Schnopf, was given a gutsy drive by Mike Micallef, making a bold move from dead last and over 10 lengths away at the opener, to the lead shortly after the half, and going on from there to score a win measuring just short of two lengths.   Always In The Money (Peter Wrenn) was second while Premier (Rick Plano) finished third. Canadian Touch and No Monkeys Allowed also picked up checks in the octet.   Making his 100th lifetime start, Raji's Blue Line won for the 19th time, sending his career bankroll to $185,700.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 again had multiple consolation winners and the carryover for Sunday's card now exceeds $100,000. Post time is 7:30 p.m.   John Berry    

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

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