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Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2017...First Of Itskind, giving a strong hint last week by closing fastest of all in the Open Pace, used a backstretch blitz from fifth into the lead on Sunday night (February 26) and went on to post a 10 to 1 harness racing upset in the $12,000 Open 1 Handicap, stopping the timer in 1:51.2. Handled by Tom Jackson, the six year-old gelded son of Western Terror pinned a 1½ defeat on Uncmprmising Z Tam (Mike Simons) with Sing For Me George (Kevin Wallis), making his 2017 debut, third, 5¾ lengths away. The 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Drachan Hanover, prominent early, finished fourth while Rockntouch picked up the minor award in the field scratched down to six. At the outset, Rocky's Z Tam, leaving from the outside, zipped up early to take the lead and sizzled an opening panel of :26.1 before reaching the half in :55.3. That is when First Of Itskind began his brush from fifth and, by the time they reached the third station in 1:24, he poked his head in front and then widened his margin thereafter, sprinting home in :27.2 to seal the deal. After the race, driver Tom Jackson briefly said, "This horse was very good last week and just needed some more racetrack at the end. "Tonight, I thought I would give him the opportunity by starting him a bit earlier. "In other words, I asked and he answered. That was quite a brush and he probably paced his last half under :55." He did! In fact, he paced his third quarter in :27.2 and came home in that identical time, too. Trained by Jason Robinson for owner Robert Main, First Of Itskind pushed his 2017 scorecard to 2-1-2 in six starts, good for $16,140. He's banked $182,941 career-wise to go along with his Pocono Downs mark of 1:49.4. First Of Itskind paid $23.80 to his faithful. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Fritzie Pic Up Man, handled by Kevin Wallis. This six year-old altered son of Always A Virgin left the gate with alacrity and took command an eighth into the mile and then went on to post fractions of :26.1, :54.4 and 1:23.2 before a :28.1 sprint home sealed the issue over the fast closing Pointsman, driven by Rick Plano. Heart Felt finished third after a backside brush left him a half-length back of the leader around the final bend while Whogoesfirst was fourth. Cadillac Phil managed to pick up the nickel in the classy sextet. Trained by Richard Lareau for the JP Houle Stables, Fritzie Pic Up Man won for the second time this semester in eight starts, sending his 2017 bankroll to $19,700. As the 3 to 2 favorite, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $5.00 to his multitude of backers. Catching up on the other weekend action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club continued their generosity in assisting worthy goodwill and charitable causes with yet another contribution to Bit-By-Bit, the organization that promotes independence for at-risk youth, persons with special needs and disabled veterans. Two F.A.D.C. events were held on Saturday night and both proved to be milestones for the winning drivers, Ron Cusimano and Troy Basista. Cusimano scored with the 14 to 1 outsider Garlandsandpearls in 1:59.1 and, in doing so, won his first race since last century--his last win coming on April 9, 1999 with Strong Vincent at Pompano Park. Cusimano, who has seen very limited action in the sulky since then--only 11 starts coming into the weekend--proved he hasn't lost the winning touch by leaving, yielding and sitting chilly before easing out turning for home and edging by at the wire for his 236th career win. Basista earned his first win in exactly five years by guiding Without Me As ($15.80) to a 1:57.4 win in the Super Hi-5 finale. Troy's last win was with Cracker Justine at Pompano Park as a member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. His weekend success was his eighth career win. Racing continues on Monday night with the headliner being the $12,000 Open Trot. Prairie Fortune returns to the racing wars after a very sharp qualifying win in 1:54.3. Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Fortune will have the driving services of John MacDonald and is listed as the 2 to 1 favorite on the morning line. Explosive Muscles, Massacaia, Boli, Sooo Handsome, Diamond Dagger and Swan Handicap complete the talented field. Monday's card features a Pick-6 carryover, as well as a $10,000 Guaranteed Pool on the Pick-4, contested on races six through nine. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...February 21, 2017...Although the stormy weather isn't expected until Wednesday, Massive Lightning struck again on Tuesday night (February 21) at Pompano Park in the form of a harness racing lifetime best 1:54 performance.   The five year-old gelded son of Muscle Massive, trained and driven by Mickey McNichol for the Fred Monteleone Stable, went a brave first over journey to score by 1¼ lengths over Explosive Muscles, teamed up with Dave Ingraham. Swan Handicap, handled by Ricky Macomber, Jr., was next, 3½ lengths away, with Modern Mercury next. Tater Twister, leading through the first three stations clocked in :27.2, :55.4 and 1:24.4, respectively, finished fifth in the field of nine.   Massive Lightning, beginning from post five, was unhurried early and away fifth but was out and going prior to the second turn and churning forward, reaching the saddle pad of the leader at the third station and grinding home in front thereafter.   After the event, driver McNichol lauded his charge saying, "this horse (Massive Lightning) is not afraid to gulp air, that's for sure. He went another big mile. I try and give them a chance to win and, sometimes, they do. Tonight, we was at his best and I think that's a lifetime mark for him." (It is.)   Massive Lightning is now three-for-eight this year with earnings of $23,650. He's banked $113,893 lifetime.   The winner was the 7 to 5 favorite on the Pompano Park tote-board and paid $4.80 to win.   In the $10,000 co-featured trot, My Revenuer, driven by Bryce Fenn, collared the heavily favored Southwind Stryker in mid-stretch and then went on to score a one length victory in 1:56.2 over the late charging Bad Angel (Tom Jackson) with Southwind Stryker (Wally Hennessey) another nose back in third. M T Ur Pockets, beginning from the outside post eight, rallied to be fourth while McKenzie's Star, last at the stretch call, picked up the nickel in the octet.   In that event, it was Uriel (George Napolitano, Jr.) carving the early panels of :27.2, :57 and 1:25.4 before finally yielding to the grinding Southwind Stryker, who was away fifth then setting sail on a grind forward three-eighths into the mile with My Revenuer following that live cover.   Southwind Stryker took command, seemingly with authority, turning for home but could not withstand My Revenuer's explosive brush home.   For My Revenuer, owned and trained by Tom Petri, it was his fourth success of the year in seven starts, pushing his 2017 bounty to $17,955. This nine year-old altered son of Revenue S now has career earnings of $248,514.   He rewarded his faithful with a win mutual of $18.00 as the fourth choice on the board.   Racing continues on Wednesday night with the stage set for a very competitive Open Pace for Mares.   Wild Wanda and Godiva Seelster are set to do battle with Jets Are On, Pertty Music, Gweneeee J and Goldstar Rockette in the second race on the card.   A Pick-6 carryover also awaits with first post set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, February 19, 2017..."February Madness" continued at Pompano Park on Sunday night (February 19) as the "fourth quarter" of the Italian-American Amateur competition was contested and it was Italy that captured the crown with an 87 to 81 victory over the American team consisting of members of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. The win was sealed when Italy's Ciro Ciccarelli earned a hard-fought win measuring a half- length with Y S Joe in 1:55.3 over Stronski, handled by yet another Italian visitor, Antonio Simioli. A Fool For Mark, driven by Shane Arsenault, was third, just another nose back, after a valiant effort carving out early panels of :28.2 and :56.3 before being encountered by Y S Joe around turn three, reached in 1:25.4. A Fool For Mark cut the corner turning for home to reclaim a short lead, but Y S Joe, parked every step of the route, was ultra-game in forging by and holding off the late surging Stronki. Orlando's Express, with Billy Muggleston in the bike, was fourth, 1 ¾ lengths away while College Major and Joe Pennacchio teamed up to claim the nickel in the octet. In a post-race interview Ciccarelli, through an interpreter, lamented, "This was the thrill of a lifetime for me. "I have never driven a pacer before and they are very fast--faster than I have ever been before. "This horse was outside the whole way and was very strong to the finish despite this. "This was a great experience for all of us from Italy and I want to thank Mr. Dein Spriggs and Mr. Joe Pennacchio for being such great hosts for us all." Ciccarelli led the Italian contingent with 29 points while Simioli had 28 for the winning team. While there were only four drivers from Italy competing, the U.S. team had 16 drivers from their Florida Amateur Driving Club on their roster with Dein Spriggs and Gary Barbere sharing top honors with 13 points each. Y S Joe, a chestnut five year-old horse by Mach Three trained by Fannie Saul-Beaulieu for owner Michel Daneault of Quebec, Canada, earned his first win of the year in seven starts. As the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Y S Joe paid $4.60 to win. Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Pace went, in a mild upset, to Drachan Hanover, driven by John MacDonald. This five year-old son of Jereme's jet, used his rail post to perfection by carding front end panels of :26.1; :54.4 and 1:22.3 before a :27.4 finale held off the late furious rally by Rocky's Z Tam, handled by Ricky Macomber, Jr., by a neck in 1:50.2. First Of Itskind, with Tom Jackson in the bike, closed fastest of all--:27.2--to finish third, two lengths away, while Mystic Desire finished fourth. The 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Panocchio, made a mild bid on the backstretch but could only manage to pick up the minor award in the septet of classy pacers. After the race, Mac Donald related, "he (Drachan Hanover) raced well last week after missing one and I thought he'd be tighter tonight so I sent him and let him do his thing. He's won before on the front end, so this mile didn't surprise me. He beat a very classy field. Trained by Marcel Barrieau for Lloyd Maclean and Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover won for the initial time this semester and 13th win lifetime in 56 starts, vaulting his earnings to $353,457. As the third choice at 4 to 1, Drachan Hanover paid $10.80 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to the 4 to 5 favorite Uncmprmising Z Tam, driven by Mike Simons, in a lifetime best performance of 1:50.2--his previous winning 1:50.2 mile being over the larger 7/8ths oval at Hoosier Park. The four year-old son of Shadyshark Hanover made a quarter move (:27.1) to the top and went on to post subsequent fractions of :54.4 and 1;22.1 before sprinting home untouched by two lengths over Fritzie Pic Up Man, handled by Kevin Wallis. King Of The Crop, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, rallied from last to finish third, 3 ¼ lengths back, while Pointsman and Heart Felt picked up the final two awards in this septet. Trained by Jamie Macomber for the Z Tam Stables, Uncmprmising Z Tam now sports a 3-2-0 scorecard in six starts this year, good for $18,975. The win--the 10th in only 36 career starts--vaulted him over the $250,000 mark in bounty--$251,163 to be precise. He paid $3.80 to win to his multitude of backers. Racing continues on Monday night with post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, Florida...February 19, 2017...Basketball's March Madness is almost upon us but there was February Madness at Pompano Park on Saturday night as the Italian-American Amateur Challenge got underway in the first of a two night, four race harness racing series.   After the first three "quarters," the score is tied at 63 with the second race on Sunday night the tie-breaker to determine the winner.   Dein Spriggs and Gary Barbere scored wins for the American contingent while Antonio Simioli of Naples, Italy, took top honors in the Saturday night finale.   Spriggs scored a gate-to-wire win with the classy ACrown For Lindy, an 11 year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall, in 1:58.2, holding off the determined late rally of Chococlate Explosion, with Ciro Ciccarelli from Naples, Italy in the bike, by a half length. Garlandsandpearls was third for Luigi Farina of Maddaloni, third after being prominent all the way. Naples' Antonio Simioli was fourth with Tymal Recap while Holiday Spirit was fifth for the Leon Cable of the Florida Amateur Driving Club.   Trained by Rob Harmon for owner Spriggs, A Crown For Lindy made his 200th career start a winning won for his 53rd career victory to send his career bounty to $411,659.   He aid $3.20 to win as the 3 to 5 choice.   So, after the first quarter, Italy was in front by a "February Madness" basket, 22 to 20.   The second event was won by Gary Barbere for the F.A.D.C., driving Skad's Winner to a 1:59.2 win.   Owned and trained by Terry Farrington, Skad's Winner, a 12 year-old altered son of Broadway Hall, took command three-eighths in and went on from there and earned his first win of the year in seven tries, pinning a narrow defeat--a diminishing head--on the late charging Blueridge Empire, driven the the F.A.D.C's Jeff Schaefer.   Nouvelles Victory, driven by Ron Oldfield, was third while Hyannis Hanover and Ciro Ciccarelli teamed up to finish fourth. On The Tab picked up the nickel with Luigi Farino in the bike.   Not only did Skad's Winner get his initial win of the year, it was Barbere's first success since April of 2016--though he has only been making sparse appearances in the sulky.   Skad's Winner, off at 17 to 1, paid $36.40 to his faithful.   After that second quarter, it was the U.S.A. leading 50 to 34.   The "third quarter" of the four race competition was a thriller as there were four horses on the wire at the end of that 1:58.4 but it was Italy's Simioli getting his first win on U.S. soil--335th lifetime--guiding B Cor Thomas, nailing Mad Ciw Lisa, driven by the only woman in the competition, Elena Villani from Pompei, Italy, by a nostril.   The fast closing Pop My Buttons was just another nose away in third for Jamie Marra of the F.A.D.C. while Divination was a neck off the winner in fourth for Luigi Farina.   Sky Walker's Rush N Supreme was fifth.   B Cor Thomas, owned and trained by Fannie Saul Beaulieu, earned his first win of the year in five starts with this 10 year-old son of Mutineer now showing $76,719 in lifetime bounty.   When the results of that event went official, a mutuel of $34.60 was posted and the score after the third quarter was "dead-even" at 63 with the tie-breaker scheduled for Sunday's second race.   Said F.A.D.C. President Dein Spriggs after the Saturday competition, "They whipped us when we went to Italy last year and we are going to try and even the score on Sunday   "This is a wonderful competition that promotes our grand sport and enables us to bring to our fans just another aspect of harness racing and its impact around the world.   "We are so pleased to have these wonderful horsemen and woman here but, at the same time, we are going to try and even the score on Sunday.   "It should be a very interesting 'fourth quarter' in this February Madness to the winner's circle."   Sunday's 11 race program features an Open 1 Handicap Pace with Panocchio installed as the 9 to 5 morning line in that event. Among his six worthy opponents are Rock's Z Tam, Mystic Desire and Drachan Hanover.   Panocchio has won 10 of his 12 Pompano Park starts this season and has 52 lifetime wins for owner Emile Johnson, Jr., who co-owns wth trainer Jim Mattison. Pompano Park's leading driver, Wally Hennessey will be in the bike back of the classy seven year-old.   Sunday's Pompano program features many items in the "better for the bettor" department, as well.   There are carryovers in the Pick-5 ($1,928) and Pick-6 ($1,329) and there is a $20,000 Guarantee on the Sunday Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9.   The Super Hi-5 carryover now stands at $,2628, as well.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park            

Pompano Beach, FL…February 17, 2017…The Florida Amateur Driving Club is hosting a friendly—but highly competitive — harness racing event vs. some of the top Italian amateur drivers in a four race series encompassing the weekend at Pompano Park. The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated almost $180,000 to worthwhile organizations on the strength of club members donating all driving fees to charity and that total is sure to go up this weekend as four races are scheduled in this competition—three on Saturday night and the finale on Sunday. Participants from Italy include Ciro Ciccarelli, 32, a native of Naples with 166 lifetime wins, Antonio Simioli, 32, also from Naples and the author of 334 career wins, Luigi Farina, 50, from Maddaloni, with 202 wins and Elena Villan1, 29, a native of Pompei, who has 168 career wins. While each of these Italian driver will appear in the four contests, the Florida  contingent will feature 16 amateur club members led by Leon Cable with 427 lifetime wins and Dein Spriggs with 426 career victories. The Italian-American Amateur Driving Championship comes to South Florida after the first of the home-and-home matches--which the Italians won--was held last May at Pierre Luigi DeAngelo's  Angaro Track in Naples, Italy. The event was organized by the Florida Amateur Driving Club's Dein Spriggs and Joe Pennacchio, prompting that latter to remark, "We had an international competition here last year that proved to be very popular so we decided to see if we could expand on that success. "At the conclusion of our visit to Italy, we took the initiative to invite the Italian contingent here and they gave us an enthusiastic 'yes' and we are so proud to have them here on our home turf, so to speak." Spriggs will handle the 8 to 5 morning line favorite, A Crown For Lindy In the opening event. This 11 year-old warrior will be making his 200th career start and is the author of 52 lifetime wins while compiling over $400,000 in career earnings. The second division features Thekeptman, owned, trained and driven by Fred Cohen. This 11 year-old is the 6 to 5 morning line favorite with the $778,062 winner On The Tab second choice at 4 to 1. Luigi Farina will have the assignment back of On The Tab. The final Saturday night division features the 44 time winner The Budster, 5 to 2 in the morning line, against Rush N Supreme, with 48 career wins, listed at 3 to 1. Steve Oldford will handle The Budster’s lines while Sky Walker will sit in the sulky back of Rush N Supreme. Third choice is Divination, a winner in her last start. Luigi Farina will be bike back of Divination, 7 to 2 on the early line. The Saturday night festivities get underway at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park and the Florida Amateur Driving Club

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2017...Wild Wanda, overlooked in the wagering at 7 to 1, sprung a mild harness racing upset at Pompano Park on Wednesday night, edging by a game Godiva Seelster, the 6 to 5 second choice, with a :27.2 final panel to score in 1:51.4, a seasonal mark. Goldstar Rockette, the longest proposition in the field at 62 to 1, finished third, just a length away while Pertty Music was fourth. The late charging OK Heavenly picked up the nickel as the even money favorite, Gweneeee J, finished sixth in the classy septet. At the outset, driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. sent Wild Wanda out quickly from her post four with Godiva Seelster on the engine from post six for Wally Hennessey. Hennessey had Godiva in front midway around the opening turn and took the field through an opening quarter in :27 with Wanda next, Goldstar Rockette (John MacDonald) third--positions that would remain unchanged through a moderately rated half of :57. On the backside, Hennessey let Godiva Seelster have her way and she was on her way through a :27.1 third panel trying to shake loose from the field. But she couldn't. Turning for home, Wild Wanda left the comfort of her pocket and began gnawing away at the leader, finally sticking her nose in front a sixteenth from home and on to victory by a half length. In the post-race interview, Macomber related, "well, we got a perfect trip tonight. Wally rated his mare beautifully and, when we got to the half so soft, I wasn't that confident that we could get to her--after all, she's one heckuva mare, herself. "But my mare responded. She's a gutsy thing, especially when she gets a trip like tonight. She must've paced her last half in :54.3 or so. "I'm proud of her. She raced very well tonight...and so did Wally's mare (Godiva Seelster). "It certainly wasn't a case of her giving up. It was just a case of us getting that pocket trip!" For Wild Wanda, trained by Jamie Macomber for Mary Jo Rheinheimer and the Dojea Stables, it was her third win in five starts this year, sending her earnings to $18,510. Lifetime, Wild Wanda has a 26-23-6 scorecard in 85 career starts, good for $342,625. As the third choice in the wagering, Wild Wanda returned $17.40 to win. Racing continues on Saturday night with the highly anticipated Italian-American Amateur Series beginning and continuing on Sunday. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. CANADIAN HITS SUPER HI-5 AT POMPANO FOR $107,247 Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale was hit on Tuesday night, February 14, when the only winning  ticket with the 4-5-10-3-1 purchased in Canada worth $107,247.64 ($81,978 U.S. Funds). College Major, an eight year-old gelded son of Art Major, came from dead last at the stretch call to post a one length win for Matt Romano at odds of 42-1--his first win of the season for owner-trainer Jason Mac Dougall. Surge Seelster, the 2 to 1 second choice, finished second for Corey Braden, while River Valley and Kevin Wallis teamed up to be third at odds of 8 to 1. The 3 to 2 favorite, Thumpem, finished fourth while McGreat closed out the Super Hi-5 finale ticket with a fifth place finish at 61 to 1. The unidentified bettor paid $64.80 for the ticket on the 20 cent based wager, which proved to be the highest payoff of the season at Pompano Park. by John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2017...Rockn Stien, with Peter Wrenn in the bike, scored a repeat win in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot while Sabrina Clevenger and Laurie Poulin took top harness racing honors as the South Florida oval presented their annual Sweetheart events featuring the great ladies of our sport. Rockn Stien, the recently purchased five year-old son of Valley Victor, paid yet another early dividend for Wrenn Racing and the M T Pockets Stables by scoring a sharp win in 1:53.4-his margin three lengths over the mare Diamond Dagger, handled by Jason Dillander. Kabu rallied to finish third for Tom Jackson while Ruddy Rusty finished fourth. Tater Twister, prominent all the way, picked up the minor award in the classy sextet as Massive Lightning made a miscue early on to complete the order of finish. It was Tater Twister leaving with his usual alacrity to take the field through an opener of :27.1 with Rockn Stien on the attack and forging into the lead three-eighths into the mile. From there, Rockn Stien went on to post panels of :55.2 and 1:24.2 before a :29.2 stroll home sealed the issue. After the race, driver Peter Wrenn said, "Rock (n Stien) is very versatile and very sharp right now so I wanted to put him on the lead, if I could. "Once we got there, he was on the bit pretty good and the half kinda scared me a little since the last time we saw that, we were off that hot pace. "But he just kept on grinding and we had no real situations the rest of the way. It was a good mile for him." The Melanie Wrenn trainee now is 3-for-4 in 2017 with $21,000 on his card. Lifetime, Rockn Stien lofted his bankroll to $166,865. As the 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Rockn Stien paid $2.60 to his multitude of backers. The pair of Sweetheart events saw Sabrina Clevenger and Laurie Poulin winning their respective events-for Clevenger, her 19th career victory and, for Poulin, her 64th. Clevenger, who won last year's Sweetheart with the 1 to 5 shot, Normandy Invasion, upset the applecart with the 86 to 1 outsider Sturgeon Seelster, who scored his first win since April 26 of last year covering 36 starts. The eight year-old son of Camluck, trained by Professor Mark Liebowitz, who co-owns with Phyllis Liebowitz, got picture perfect handling from Clevenger, who sent her charge alertly from the coveted post five to gain a spot in third early, before pulling into the final turn and wearing down the pace setting Tail R Swift, handled by Stacey McLenaghan, in the final sixteenth to score by 1¼ lengths. Shadys Art, driven by Jamie Macomber, finished a fast closing third while Mustang Sally, with Maria Howard in the bike, fourth. I Saw Red, driven by Kelly Case, finished fifth in the octet. In a post-race interview, when Sabrina was asked if she felt any pressure going in, she remarked, "Actually, I was more nervous driving the 1 to 5 shot last year because you are expected to win. With a long-shot like this, there is no pressure because nobody expects you to win. "Mark (trainer Liebowitz) said he thought Sturgeon (Seelster) was feeling good and that I might want to leave a bit with him. I really got a great trip tonight and he paced a real strong final quarter to win it. "It was a great thrill to win again." Sturgeon Seelster won for the 18th time during his career measuring 194 starts, good for earnings of $111,159. He rewarded his faithful with a mutual of $174.60. Laurie Poulin, known primarily as the breeder of some great "Prairie" horses such as Prairie Jaguar, Prairie Sweetheart and Prairie Panther, went to the starting gate as the 3 to 5 favorite with Cabo Real and that seven year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere lead at every pole, carding panels of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.3 before a :28.3 sprint home stopped the tele-timer in 1:53.1-a new lifetime mark. Dabunka, handled by Kelly Case, finished second, 1¾ lengths away, while P L Dangerous, with Maria Howard driving, finished third. First race winner Clevenger finished fourth with Hillbilly Kid while Clive Hanover picked up the nickel for Stacey McLenaghan. Trained by Fred Cohen for owner Brian Calvert, Cabo Real won for the first time in 2017 and 28th time career-wise to send his lifetime earnings to $86,873. Upon learning of the new lifetime mark, driver Laurie Poulin said, "I guess it takes a woman's touch to get these horse to go all they can go." The favorite paid $3.40 to win. Ironically, the winner's share of the purse ($3,000) is his second largest payday in his career measuring six seasons, exceeded only by a $3,239 purse earned in a $20,000 claiming event at Northlands Park in 2015. Racing continues on Wednesday night with a well matched septet of mares vying for top honors in the $11,500 Open Handicap. Godiva Seelster has been installed as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite and will have the driving services of Wally Hennessey. The grand seven year-old mare has missed only one purse check in her last five seasons covering 103 starts. Wild Wanda, with two wins in her four starts in Open company, is listed as the 3 to 1 second choice and will enjoy the driving services of Ricky Macomber, Jr. OK Heavenly, the upset winner in last week's Open for the mares, is the 9 to 2 third choice and will be driven by Kevin Wallis. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL…February 12, 2017…The highly anticipated 2017 harness racing debut of McWicked proved to be highly successful as the now six year-old son of McArdle scored a 1:50.4 win in Pompano Park’s $12,000 Open Handicap Pace “Romp at the Pomp” Pace on Sunday night (February 12). David Miller, also making his 2017 driving debut, was in the bike for the victory, the 12,027th of his Hall of Fame career. Facing a stout field of competitors including the highly vaunted Panocchio, McWicked took command three-eighths into the mile and went on to score by three-parts-of-a-length over that main rival with Rocky’s Z Tam just another neck back in third. Drachan Hanover finished fourth while Uncmprmising Z Tam finished fifth—those next four less than two lengths off the winner in the classy sextet. As the outset, Rocky’s Z Tam, with Ricky Macomber, Jr. in the bike, pushed the Hummer Starting Gate’s wings out of the way with Panocchio, starting from the outside six post with driver Wally Hennessey, surging right alongside and into the lead heading into the initial turn and proceeding to an opener in a hot :26.3 with McWicked settling into third—but not for long. Once they straightened away in the lane for the first time, Miller sent McWicked in search of the lead, taking command under the line the first time and then going on to post a half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.2 with Panocchio sitting chilly and Rocky’s Z Tam outside and charging. In the lane, Rocky’s Z Tam got within a long neck of McWicked and Panocchio snuck through along the pylons but neither could seriously threaten the leader to the wire as he sealed the deal with a :27.2 finale. In a post-race interview, driver David Miller related, “I thought he raced very well for his first time back. I was fortunate enough to drive him as a three year-old and he put in some awesome miles back then, especially when he went that mile in 1:47.3 with a last half in :52.3. He was great all the way to December when he won the Progress Pace (Dover Downs) in (1):48.4. “Tonight, he didn’t have any breathing situations that had bothered him the past couple of seasons and he was solid all the way through. It was a very good effort, especially for his first start back!” Owned by the S S G Stables’ Ed James, McWicked won for the first time since that aforementioned Progress Pace on December 7, 2014 and Mr. James was elated with the win saying, “I have been in this business for over 60 years and the thrill of reaching the winner’s circle never gets old. I am sure glad I was here at Pompano to see this win.” Trainer Jim McDonald was also elated with the victory saying, “This horse may have been the favorite on the tote-board here tonight but he sure was a long-shot to regain his winning ways. “He developed a breathing problem and it took some time to address the problem and then cure it. He seems like his old self again and we hope the progress continues. McWicked now sports a lifetime bankroll of $1,767,487. As the 2 to 5 post-time favorite, McWicked paid $2.80 to his multitude of followers. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to Rockntouch, skillfully handled by Mickey McNichol. The five year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven, in the garden spot as Fritzie Pic Up Man (Kevin Wallis) spun through panels of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:22.3 and sitting chilly a Grande Seelster challenged around the final bend, found some room in deep stretch to, first, get by the leader and, then, hold off the late surge of King Of The Crop (Dave Ingraham) to score by a head in a lifetime best 1:51.2. Fritzie Pic Up Man did finish third, a half length away, while Dee's Rocketman finished fourth, The favorite, Bluehourpower, picked up the nickel in an "even-steven" effort after a three week respite due to injury. Owned by Fred Monteleone Stable along with Salvatore Promuto, Rockntouch scored his second win of this semester and 15th success lifetime. He's now banked $119,595 career-wise--$13,175 this young season. As the 4 to 1 second choice, Rockntouch paid $10.40 to win. Though McWicked and David Miller were in the spotlight with his "Romp at the Pomp" win, the driving star of the night was Wally Hennessey, who drove six winners on the Sunday night program. The Hall of Fame Driver scored with Tick Tok Tag ($3.60), Tony Cheesecake ($6.60), Officernagentleman ($2.80) Whogoesfirst ($6.60), B Evas Lucky Lad ($6.20) and Del Rio Seelster ($3.60). The latter won the Super Hi-5 final, which had multiple winners, now sports a carryover of $70,526 going into Monday night's program. That card also features a $10,000 guaranteed pool for the Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9. Post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 12, 2017...Harness racing's version of "The Thrilla in Manilla" takes place on Sunday night at Pompano Park with the "Romp at the Pomp" featuring the South Florida track record holder Panocchio in a classic match-up with the $1.7 million dollar winner McWicked, making his Pompano Park debut in a comeback effort.   Carded as the second race on the 11 race program, Panocchio, the winner of 10 of his 11 starts in South Florida this season and holder of the 1:48.3 track record here, is the 2 to 1 morning line favorite and will begin his journey from the outside six post.   The Jim Mattison trained seven year-old has 52 lifetime wins and $421,368 on his resume and will have the driving services of Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey in his bike.   McWicked, now six years-old, is the brilliant son of McArdle that has a mark of 1:47.3 as a three year-old, achieved in the $500,000 Hempt Final at Pocono Downs.   That mile, featuring a final half in an amazing :52.3, was just one of many successes for McWicked under the direction of Casie Coleman in 2014. He also won the Adios, Progress Pace and Breeders Crown, among others.   The past two seasons have been winless ones for McWicked as he battled breathing problems.   Under the careful handling of trainer Jim McDonald, McWicked has been, "hopefully," nursed back to health and a pair of sharp qualifiers at Pompano Park seem to indicate that may be the case."   McDonald remarked, "Yes, he had these problems. We addressed them and, 'hopefully,' he'll make his presence felt as a six year-old.   "He qualified very well showing no signs of stress breathing. In his first qualifier back, he won in 1:52 with a last half in 54.4. The second one, he went in 1:51.2 with a back half in :55.1.   "I don't know whether he'll win, but the others will sure know he's in the race--that's for sure."   Yet another Hall of Fame driver, David Miller, will be in to drive McWicked. Miller, who has amassed over $12,000 wins, handled McWicked during his three year-old stakes season   McWicked is listed as the second choice in the morning line at 7 to 2.   First Oc Itskind (Tom Jackson), Drachan Hanover (John MacDonald), Uncmprmising Z Tam (Mike Simons) and Rocky's Z Tam (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) round out the very talented field.   The Sunday program concludes with a Super Hi-5 finale with a carryover $65,098. Also, Sunday's Pick-4, conducted on races six through nine, offers a $20,000 guaranteed pool.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...February 10, 2017...Pompano Park's Saturday harness racing program is "definitely better for the bettor" as there are three large carryovers in play, one of which has turned into a rare $20,000 guaranteed pool. With the Pick-5 unsolved on Wednesday night, a lofty $6,644 carryover has spawned a $20,000 guaranteed pool for Saturday night's Pick-5 conducted on races one through five. Gabe Prewitt, Director of Racing at Pompano Park, said, "Since there was nobody able to solve the Pick-5 on Wednesday, and we have this "better for the bettor" attitude here, I thought it would be nice to give the players a chance to enjoy a guaranteed pool, which is rare on a Saturday night here." Not only is there a carryover on the Pick-5, Pompano Park's Pick-6, covering races three through eight, also had nary a single winner and has a carryover of $4,574 for the Saturday night card. As the "icing on the cake," Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale now sports a carryover of $63,036, the largest of the season. Post time for the highly competitive Saturday Pompano program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 8, 2017...OK Heavenly, cleverly driven by Kevin Wallis, pulled off an upset at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (February 8), taking top harness racing honors in the $11,000 Open Pace for Mares in 1:51.3. The five year-old daughter of Sportswriter spoiled the 2017 debut of Godiva Seelster, handled by Wally Hennesey, edging by that grand mare in deep stretch to score by a half-length. New arrival Gweneeee J, with Jim Meittinis in the bike, closed fastest of all to finish third, a length away, with the pacesetting Wild Wanda fourth. Goldstar Rockette, also making her seasonal debut, was a late-charging fifth, just two lengths off the winner, in the classy sextet of ladies. At the outset, four of the six mares were on the engine leaving with Goldstar Rockette (post 1) yielding to Single Me (post 3), who, in turn yielded to Wild Wanda (post 5), who then gave way to Godiva Seelster (post 6), but not for long. After a sharp :26.2 opener, Wild Wanda reclaimed the top spot and took the field half way home in :55.1. On the backside, Wild Wanda was on a mission of her own, pacing her third panel in :27.1 to reach the third station in 1:22.2 with Godiva Seelster ready to pop from the pocket and OK Heavenly suddenly rolling up into contention. Godiva Seelster then took command once they straightened away with OK Heavenly rolling up alongside a sixteenth from home and then on to the victory--her third of the year in six starts. In a post-race interview, driver Kevin Wallis remarked, "this mare does have gate speed but there seemed to be a few others that had their site set on being close up so I really had no choice but to take her back. "The pace was pretty stiff early, so I was very content to sit tight until the backside. "I asked her at the start pole (three-eighths out) and she started grinding away, although it's tough to make much progress on a :27.1 quarter. "She just kept grinding away until she got to the wire." OK Heavenly now has banked $20,680 in this young season and $170,007 career-wise. As the 8 to 1 fourth choice, OK Heavenly paid $18.60 to win. The $9,000 Open 2 Pace for Mares went to Arodasi, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. The classy eight year-old daughter of Western Terror stormed from eighth after the opening :27.1 quarter and paced her final three-quarters in 1:24.4 to score by 1¼ lengths over the pacesetting Southwind Trini (Wally Hennessey). Astarisontheway, looming boldly in the lane, finished third, two lengths away. Jets Are On finished fourth after being prominent much of the mile while Drea's Good Powow picked up the nickel in the field of nine. Trained by Joe Pavia, Jr. for Peter Shank, the AGC Stables and the Joe Pavia, Jr. Stable, Arodasi earned her initial win of the season and 32nd lifetime, pushing her career bounty to $386,546. As the 9 to 2 fourth choice, Arodasi paid $11.20 to win. Racing continues on Saturday night with a Pick-5 carryover of $6,644 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool, There is also a Pick-6 carryover of over $4,575, as well. The Pick-5 cover races 1 through 5 while the Pick-6 covers races 3 through 8. The "icing on the cake" is the $65,035 carryover in Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale, conducted on the eighth race. Post time for the "better for the bettor" Saturday program is 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...February 7, 2017...Rockn Stien, with Peter Wrenn handling the five year-old gelding's lines, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot on Tuesday night, stopping the times in a lifetime best 1:53.1. The sharp son of Valley Victor wore down the leading Tater Twister (Mike Simons) once they straightened away and then easily held off the late charging Sooo Handsome (Rick Plano) by 1½ lengths. Tater Twister did hold on for third over Massive Lightning with Ruddy Rusty awarded the minor award after Prairie Fortune made a miscue in deep stretch while trying to challenge. At the outset, it was Tater Twister pushing the wings out of his way as Sooo Handsome used his inside post position to get away in good order with Rockn Stien on the move from his outside six post and wending his way into second mid-way around the initial turn. With an opening quarter in :27.3, positions remained virtually unchanged through the half in :56.1. On the backside, Prairie Fortune, making his first start after a six week vacation, began to roll up and that one was within striking distance--2 ½ lengths--at the third station in 1:24.3. That when Rockn Stien left the coziness of his pocket and quickly moved alongside the leader turning for home. Once in the lead, Rockn Stien had nary an anxious moment, using an effortless :28.2 finale to seal the deal--his second success in three starts this semester. In a post-race interview, driver Peter Wrenn remarked, "this is the first time that I really left with this one. We recently got him and he's been off the pace in his two starts. "I really didn't want to spot a horse like Murph has (Mike Murphy and Tater Twister) too much ground. Ya know, this is a classy field and I know that any of these can trot in (1):53 and a piece. "I was fortunate to find that spot in second and, when I tilted him out around that final turn, he responded very nicely. "It was a very good mile for him." Owned by Wrenn Racing along with the M T Pockets Stables, Rockn Stien pushed his seasonal bounty to $15,000. Lifetime, Rockn Stien has earnings of $160,865 to go along with his new lifetime mark. As the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Rockn Stien paid $3.40 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Kabu, handled by Tom Jackson for owner-trainer Tony Dinges. This chestnut Valley Victor gelding snuck through along the pylons in the lane to score by a neck over the pacesetting Gold Savage (Kevin Wallis) in 1:54.2, a lifetime best performance. Stache (Rick Plano) closed quickest of all to get show honors while My Revenuer finished a late charging fourth. Swan Handicap earned the final award after a first over backside challenge that left him 1 1/2 lengths off the leader at the third station. The victory was the second straight for Kabu, who won a conditioned event one week ago. Kabu now has 16-17-9 scorecard in 99 career starts, good for $118,614. Off as third choice at 9 to 2, Kabu returned $11.20 to win. On the "better for the bettor" agenda for Wednesday, Pompano Park's Pentafecta Fourth went unclaimed on Tuesday night resulting in a $4,713 carryover going into the mid-week program. Also, the Pick-6 at the South Florida oval went unscathed on Tuesday night enabling a carryover of $2,300 going into the Wednesday program, as well. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale carryover also continued to reach new heights as that event now hosts a $54,992 carryover for Wednesday. Post time is set for 7:20 with a guaranteed $10,000 Pick-4 pool on tap. The Pick-4 cover races six through nine. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 6, 2017...Diamond Dagger, deftly handled by Jason Dillander, took top honors in Pompano Park's $8,500 Open Trot for harness racing Mares on Monday night, stopping the tele-timer in a track record 1:53.2. The splendid five year-old daughter of ABC Garland, trained by Mark O'Mara, who co-owns with Paul Johnson and Melvin Schmucker, led at every pole, clocking panels of :27.2, :55.4 and 1:24.3 before a :28.4 romp home sealed the win and the track record. McKenzie's Star, driven by Fern Paquet, Jr., was 8 1/4 lengths away in second with Seven Points Jesse, with Peter Wrenn in the sulky, just another nose back in third. BadAngel was fourth in this record performance while Saint Beth picked up the nickel in the classy septet of trotters. After the race, driver Dillander remarked, "Mark's (O'Mara) mare is very handy and, with the five post here, you have a tactical advantage for some reason when the gate leaves. "I sent her and had that early tussle with Rick's (Plano) mare, She's All In, but, once my mare made the top, she was on her own the rest of the way. "I knew she was capable of this kind of mile when she cut it and got nailed in (1):53 and a piece against the boys a couple of starts ago. "She always puts in a solid performance and tonight was no different. She was on her own all the way home. "Don't give me the credit here--give it to the mare. She was awesome." In garnering her second win in five starts this year, Diamond Dagger pushed her seasonal bankroll to $15,650. She now has 15 wins in 79 career starts with earnings of $161,822 to go along with her new lifetime mark. Off at 1 to 5 on the Pompano tote-board, Diamond Dagger paid $2.40 to win to her multitude of faithful. Yet another brilliant performance was put in by Southwind Stryker, a five year-old son of Muscle Hill. Catch-driven by John MacDonald for trainer Dan Hennessey and owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Southwind Stryker, away fourth in his sextet, used his now patented backstretch sprint from fourth into the lead heading into the final turn and scored by three-parts-of-a-length over a game Sand Swan (Matt Krueger). Kamikaze Lindy (Mike Simons was next, 2 1/4 lengths away while Tick Tok Tag was fourth. Phoenician picked up the minor award. The win was a seasonal best for Southwind Stryker, who now sports a 3-1-1 scorecard in five starts and earnings of $12,143. The owner of a 1:53.4 mark at age two over Lexington's Red Mile, Southwind Stryker trotted his final three-quarters just a shade over 1:25 for the win this night. Also sent post-ward at 1 to 5, the winner paid $2.40. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a Pick-6 carryover and a Super Hi-5 carryover that has pierced the $50,000 mark--$51,371 to be precise. The Super Hi-5 finale is a 20 cent based wager with the entire jackpot awarded if there is one unique ticket sold on the winning combination. If there are multiple winners, 50% of the night's Super Hi-5 net pool is shared by the winning ticket holders with the remainder enhancing the carryover pool. Post time is set for 7:20 for the Tuesday night program. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 1, 2017...Wild Wanda, with Ricky Macomber, Jr. in the bike, won a wild finish in Pompano Park's $11,000 harness racing mares Open Handicap Pace on Wednesday night, holding off Pertty Music (George Napolitano, Jr.) by a scant head in 1:52.1. Jets Are On (Wally Hennessey), closed fastest of all in the race--:27.2--to finish third just a half-length away after being last much of the mile. OK Heavenly finished fourth, 1¼ lengths away while Metro Glide finished a late-charging fifth, just two lengths back in the tightly knitted field of six. At the outset, it was a wild scramble for supremacy as Wild Wanda outdueled Yes You Can before yielding to Pertty Music just a few strides past the :27.1 opener. Around turn two, Macomber pulled on his mare's right line and she was quickly up to regain control past the half in :56. The pace quickened on the backside with Wild Wanda pacing her third quarter in :27.3 to reach the third station in 1:23.3 with Pertty Music now edging a closer second, Yes You Can two lengths further back. In the lane, Wild Wanda was put to the test as Pertty Music began gnawing away with Jets Are On finally finding her way off the pylons and sweeping up on the outside. In that aforementioned wild finish, Wild Wanda found the wire first with Pertty Music just a head away. After the event, driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. remarked, "I was a little worried when we hit the final turn because, last week, she really didn't finish her mile like she usually does and the three-quarters was in that same time--1:23.3. "This week, she dug in a little better and held off George's (Napolitano) mare (Pertty Music). They both raced well and Wally's mare (Jets Are On) came flying, too." Trained by Jamie Macomber for Mary Jo Rheinheimer and the Dojea Stables, the six year-old daughter of Palone Ranger won for the 25th time during her career, sending her lifetime bounty to $335,995--$11,880 in her three starts so far in 2017. As the slight favorite at 6 to 5 on the tote-board, Wild Wanda returned a $4.60 mutuel to her faithful. Racing continues on Saturday night with a memorial event honoring the late, great horseman, Frank O'Mara. O'Mara recently passed away at the age of 84 after a grand career that included such stars as Nite Shirt, Timely's Best Man, Keystone Accent and Mystic Park. The O'Mara Memorial is carded as the second race on the Saturday night program. by John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...January 31, 2017...Pompano Park has set a $25,000 Guarantee on Wednesday night's (February 1) harness racing Pick-5. The guarantee was ignited when Stiletto Jake won the final leg of the Tuesday night Pick-5 at 56 to 1--his first win since January 10, 2015 covering 63 starts--creating a carryover of $8,085. The Pick-5 covers races one through five with post time set at 7:20 p.m. The track's Pick-6 also went untouched on Tuesday and the carryover for that item on the Pompano wagering buffet is $13,553. Finally, Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale had multiple winners on Tuesday night and the carryover for the Wednesday program has ballooned to $43,267. To claim the Super Hi-5 finale jackpot, only one ticket must be sold on the winning combination. If there are multiple winners, a portion of the nightly Super Hi-5 pool is shared by the winners with the remainder going into the next racing night's Super Hi-5 pool. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...January 31, 2017...Under crystal clear skies at Pompano Park on Tuesday night (January 31) and no threat of any stormy weather approaching, a massive lightning storm occurred on the racetrack as Massive Lightning, driven by Mickey McNichol, flashed a final quarter in :28.3 to bolt by the favored Tater Twister in the South Florida harness racing oval's $12,000 Open Handicap Trot. The five year-old gelded son of Muscle Massive had a 2½ length advantage on Tater Twister (Mike Simons) at the end of the 1:54.3 journey with Gold Savage (Kevin Wallis) a half-length further back in third. Diamond Dagger was fourth and Ruddy Rusty completed the order of finish in this classy quintet. At the outset, it was Tater Twister flashing his normal early foot from the coveted five post to take command prior to the opening turn. With the quarter in :28.1 and half in a well rated :57--the slowest mid-mile time in the Open in several weeks--Massive Lightning began sawing away from fourth, reaching second and just a length away past the third station in 1:25.4. Once they straightened away, Massive Lightning continued his tornadic brush to blow on by, widening his margin right to the wire. In a post-race interview, driver Mickey McNichol said, "I was hoping for a bit more pace in the race and , really, I was concerned when the half was so light (:57). "I thought, 'somebody outta pull on the leader and not let him get away, so I pulled, hoping that I could get a sustained drive out of my horse. "He didn't disappoint. He just kept on truckin' until he got the job done. He went a big mile and that may have been a new mark, I'm not sure." It was. Massive Lightning's time of 1:54;3 eclipsed his former best by one-fifth of a second. Trained by McNichol for the Fred Monteleone Stable, Massive Lightning won for the 10th time in his career stretching 51 starts. He's banked $106,933 lifetime--$16,690 of that this semester. As the 4 to 1 second choice, Massive Lightning bolted up the tote-board with a $10.20 mutuel. The $10,000 Open 2 Trot went to Modern Mercury, driven by Wally Hennessey. The four year-old daughter of Donato Hanover followed live cover third over and swept to the lead late to score in 1:56.1. DC Flashback (John MacDonald) finished second while Swan Handicap was third. Saint Beth was fourth in the mile while Explosive Muscles picked up the nickel in the septet. Owned by John Campagnuolo, Modern Mercury, competing in a $7,500 Optional Claiming event as recently as five weeks ago, is now 3-for-4 this semester with earnings of $12,625. Lifetime, Modern Mercury has eight wins in only 32 career starts, good for $63,765. As the lukewarm 5 to 2 favorite, Modern Mercury paid $7.80 to win. Finally, the 56 to 1 outsider Stiletto Jake, driven by trainer Bryce Fenn, picked up his first win in more than two years by sprinting home in :28.3 to score in a condition pace in 1:53.4. Owned by Marah Lee along with the late Bob Barker, the chestnut 10 year-old son of Spy Hard, last won on January 10, 2015 and went 63 starts before this Tuesday night win. Stiletto Jake paid $114.00 to win sparking a Pick-5 carryover of over $8,000 and a guaranteed pool of $25,000 for Wednesday night's Pick-5 covering races 1 through 5. "Jake's" win also set up a Pick-6 carryover going into the mid-week card of $13,553--the largest of the season. Post time for the "better-for-the-bettor" Wednesday program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

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