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Pompano Beach, FL...April 13, 2014...Panocchio, confidently handled by Bruce Ranger, took top honors in Pompano Park's "Saturday Night Special," scoring a handy win in 1:51.4.   The four year-old son of No Pan Intended, pinned a defeat measuring 1 1/2 lengths over Premier (Rick Plano) with Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey) third. Rick's Sign crossed the wire fourth but was placed sixth and last after an incident halfway through the mile allowing Cartoonist to moved up a notch to fourth and Yankees In Six to earn the nickel.   Panocchio, owned by Emile Johnson, Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, came out firing as the wings opened and engaged Premier in a "guns blazing" duel through an opening panel in :26.2.   Panocchio then yielded--for all of two strides--with Ranger firing a second set of bullets to reclaim the lead and taking the field halfway home in :55.   On the backside, Cartoonist and Yankees In Six both pulled from the back of the pack forcing the hand of Rick's Sign, who bullied his way out in front of these two to pull within a length of Panocchio at the third station in 1:24.   In the lane, Panocchio edged clear by a length and a half with Premier giving futile chase and Freeneasy Hanover taking the short way home on the inside to garner the show honors.   In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "This horse has come back just perfectly. Last week, he was great in his 2014 debut. This week, he might have been even a little better. He was very sharp leaving and very strong in the lane. He's fresh and eager and I can't say enough great things about Jimmy (trainer Mattison) on how he's brought this horse back this year."   For Panocchio, the win, of course, kept his seasonal scorecard unblemished--two for two--and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $57,625 on the strength of 10 win in only 27 lifetime starts.   As the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Panocchio paid $4.60 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park          

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the 2014 inductees. A total of 14 horses and people have been elected to the Hall of Fame.   Wando and Horatio Luro are among the three horses and four people representing Thoroughbreds. Rocknroll Hanover and Wally Hennessey are included on the list of three horses and four people representing Standardbreds. The Thoroughbred Inductees are: Male Horse Category:  Wando - bred and owned by Gustav Schickedanz, Schomberg, Ontario Female Horse Category:  Apelia - bred and owned by Steve Stavros, Knob Hill Stables, Newmarket, Ontario Veteran Horse Category:  Cool Mood – owned by David Wilmot, Kinghaven Farms, King City, Ontario           Veteran People Category:  Horatio Luro – Argentine-born trainer of Northern Dancer           Jockey Category:  Robert Landry - Toronto, Ontario           Builder Category:  William (Bill) Graham - owner of Windhaven Farms, Caledon, Ontario and Lexington, Kentucky           Builder Category:  Arthur Stollery, owner Angus Glen Farms, Unionville, Ontario The    Standardbred Inductees are: Male Horse Category:  Rocknroll Hanover – bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey.            Female Horse Category:  Dreamfair Eternal – bred by Mary and John Lamers, and owned by John Lamers,                 I ngesoll,      Ontario Veteran Horse Category:  Albatross – bred by John E Wilcutts, Aberdeen, North Carolina; Charles A Kenney, Lexington, Kentucky; Elizabeth B Peters, Wilmington Delaware; and Mark Lydon, Abington, Massachusetts.  Owned by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. Hanover, Pennsylvania; George Segal, Versailles; Castleton Farm, Lexington, Kentucky; Hal S Jones, Montgomery, New York           Trainer/Driver Category: Wally Hennessey, Coconut Creek, Florida           Builder Category: Dr. Ted Clarke, Elmira, Ontario           Builder Category:  Robert Murphy, Vancouver, British Columbia           Communicator Category:   Bill Galvin, Mississauga, Ontario    T        The seven Thoroughbred representatives in the 2014 class include: Wando, one of only seven horses to ever win the Canadian Triple Crown was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2003 for breeder owner Gustav Schickedanz, an honoured member of the CHRHF.  Trained by Mike Keogh, with Patrick Husbands as his primary jockey, the Langfuhr son retired from racing with 11 wins, eight of them in stakes, in 23 starts and earnings of $2.5 million.  He began his career as a stallion in 2006, first in Kentucky before returning to his birthplace in 2011. Wando’s progeny have earnings in excess of $5.2 million and include Grade 1 winner Turallure.   Apelia, a very fast filly owned and bred by Steve Stavro's Knob Hill Stable, was named Canada's Sovereign Award champion sprinter in 1993.  Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Phil England, she won half of her 24 career starts and was a stakes winner at the highest level for three consecutive years.   A winner in New York, Kentucky, New Jersey, as well as Ontario, Apelia was ridden by Hall of Fame jockeys Larry Attard and Don Seymour in all her races except one.  Apelia is the dam of champion mare Saoirse. Cool Mood, herself a daughter of Northern Dancer, won the 1969 Canadian Oaks for Hall of Fame Builder D.G. Willmot, and went on to become one of Canada's most influential broodmares. In fact, she produced two fillies who in turn, would both produce Canadian Triple Crown winners. Her daughter Shy Spirit was the dam of Izvestia, and daughter Passing Mood was the dam of With Approval. The latter is an equine member of the Hall of Fame along with his half-brother, Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. Argentine-born trainer Horatio Luro, nicknamed “El Gran Senor” was hired as a trainer by E.P. Taylor and was best known in Canada for training Northern Dancer in 1964, 50 years ago.  During his career, Luro trained 43 Stakes winners including three Queen’s Plate winners. Named Canada’s outstanding jockey in 1993 and 1994, Robert Landry’s stats over a 29 year riding career include 17,656 mounts with purse earnings of $69.7 million and over 2,000 wins.  Of note was his 1999 Atto Mile win on Quiet Resolve, as well as the 2004 Queen’s Plate aboard Niigon.  He rode five consecutive Canadian Champion two-year-old fillies from 1996-2000.   The 2003 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award winner for lifetime achievement as a jockey, Landry has also made significant contributions to the promotion of racing, including participating as a board member for LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.  W. (Bill) D. Graham has been an integral participant in the horse racing industry for almost half a century as an outstanding breeder, owner and racing executive.  He is the owner of Windhaven Farms which operates in both Caledon, ON and Lexington, KY, and has bred many Sovereign Award-winning horses throughout his career including the 2012 Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured.  Graham also bred U.S. Grade I winner Joyful Victory who was victorious in the 2013 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita.  Arthur W. Stollery was the owner and breeder of two of Canada’s most celebrated racing stars, both CHRHF inductees:   Kennedy Road, named after the location of his Unionville based Angus Glen Farms, dominated Canadian racing for three years.  He was named Champion 2-year-old in 1970 and again Champion as a 3 year-old the following year; 1971. This was followed by more accolades including Canadian Horse of the Year in 1973.  Kennedy Road was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 and has a stakes race, which is contested annually at Woodbine, named after him.  Laurie's Dancer, named after Stollery’s daughter, was an outstanding racing daughter of Northern Dancer. She captured the Canadian Oaks in 1971 on her way to being named Canada's Horse of the Year. During that season, she was also victorious in the very prestigious Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.  Laurie's Dancer was enshrined in to the Hall of Fame in 2006.            Standardbred inductees include: Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his racing career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey.   Career highlights included victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers and the North America Cup for three-year-olds  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013.  To date the son of Western Ideal, out of Hall of Fame mare Rich N Elegant,  has sired winners of $60.7 million including eight million-dollar-plus winners.  Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a seven year career that included 56 victories, and every major stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earnings of over $2.5 million and Horse of the Year honours in Canada in 2010.  During that year she racked up wins in the final of the Masters Series, an elimination of the Roses are Red Stakes, elimination and final of the Milton Stakes, the elimination and final of the Forest City Pace and the Breeders Crown.  The daughter of Camluck was bred by John and Mary Lamers and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ontario, while Patrick Fletcher trained her for most of her career.    Wally Hennessey, born in Prince Edward Island and now a resident of Coconut Grove, Florida, has more than 8,500 victories to his credit and has banked earnings in excess of $57 million.  During the early stages of his career, Hennessey re-wrote the record books setting new standards in both wins and earnings.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.   Throughout his career, Hennessey has been remarkably consistent, winning at least 200 races in each of the last 25 years, and driving horses to earnings in excess of $1 million for 24 straight years.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Prior to Grand River’s opening, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network.  He was honoured for his innovative thinking and leadership with the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award in 1999 from the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, and was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada.  Mr. Murphy had a great impact on harness racing in BC with both his breeding and training centres, but that impact extended across the continent as his horses raced all over North America. A champion on the track and in the breeding shed, Albatross was a major influence on the Standardbred breed.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  Two of his major stakes wins in Canada included the Prix d’Ete and Canadian Pacing Derby.  He retired as both the fastest and richest horse in the history of the breed.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million, including Niatross who is considered by many to be the greatest pacer of the 20th Century, and Fan Hanover who is the only filly to ever win the Little Brown Jug. William (Bill) Galvin, a native of Arnprior, Ontario, and now a resident of Mississauga, Ontario,  made a tremendous impact on horse racing in the country as a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist and former Thoroughbred racing official.  Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the well-being of horse racing during his career.   He was also the executive editor of TROT Magazine and a member of the Advisory board for the School of Equine Studies at Toronto’s Humber College of Applied Arts.            The Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 6, 2014             From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Pompano Beach, FL...April 5, 2014...Panocchio, making his 2014 debut here at Pompano Park on Saturday night, scored a gate to wire victory in 1:52 for Bruce Ranger. The four year-old son of No Pan Intended, trained by Jim Mattison, who co-owns with Emile Johnson, put up panels of :27, :56.3 and 1:23.4 en route to the win, which measured a half length over Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey) with Yankees In Six (Matt Romano) third. Cartoonist, last turning for home, paced the fastest final quarter in the race--:27.3--to finish fourth while Rick's Sign, who made a threatening move around the final turn to pull along side the leader, picked up the nickel in the sextet, 2 1/2 lengths back. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "I drove him last year when he took his mark here at Pompano (1:50.4), so I knew he was a very nice horse and I had had driven him in a couple of qualifiers for Jim (Mattison) the past couple of weeks and he seemed very strong, especially the last one when he paced in (1):54 and a piece with a last quarter in :27 and change. Jim said, 'I don't have to tell you how to drive him...you know what he likes,' so it looked like he was anxious to get the show on the road so I sent him. On the backside, when he heard the other horse coming, he grabbed on and got down to business. He performed great, especially for his first start." Panocchio, who was lightly raced at two--winless in six starts--won eight times in 19 starts last year and earned $37,516. The win on Saturday night pushed his lifetime bounty over the $50,000 mark, now at $53,125. As a slight 9 to 5 favorite, Panocchio paid $5.60 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...April 2, 2014...Count Speed, returning to the Open trotting ranks after a pair of victories in conditioned events, easily handled his competition on Wednesday night at Pompano Park for Wally Hennessey to extend his winning streak to three. The five-year-old altered son of Majestic Son, trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, took command in the sextet shortly after the wings folded and, given superb rating, wired together panels of :28.4, :58 and 1:26.1 to stop the tele-timer in 1:55, his winning margin 1 ¾ lengths over Permanent Joy (Bruce Ranger) with My Revenuer (Bryce Fenn) third and 5 ½ lengths away. Go Jesse Jo was placed fourth ahead of the 7 to 5 favorite, Jolene's Pinehonker, who was disqualified after an extended miscue through the stretch. The win was Count Speed's third of the year in five starts and 15th lifetime, sending his career bankroll to $144,398. In a post-race interview, both trainer and driver gave credit to the other for the Count Speed's recent successes. Said trainer Dan Hennessey, "This is a very difficult horse to drive. He's fast, yes, but he has a mind of his own and is hard to handle. He sure doesn't like to train and it takes a very delicate set of hands--like Wally's--to get him around the racetrack without incident. Driver Wally Hennessey put all of the praise on his brother, trainer Dan. "It's hard to keep this horse comfortable. Every little thing bothers him. If it's not this, it's that. If it's not that, it's this. Dan made a few changes over the past few weeks and it's his wisdom as a trainer that has led to Count Speed's success. It is Dan that has made this horse as good as he is right now." As second choice in the wagering, Count Speed paid $5.20 to win. by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park    

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Pompano Beach, FL...March 8, 2014...The last 24 hours have been quite memorable for Mark O'Mara.   On Friday night, Mark was inducted into the Florida USHWA Hall of Fame and, less than 24 hours later, his own Cruizin K C took top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.   The six year-old gelded son of Mach Three engineered a final half in :54.2 to score a 1 1/2 length decision over the pace-setting Lyons Johnny (Wally Hennessey) and the late closing Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham), the latter two in a dead-heat for place honors. Premier finished fourth in the mile while Electric Lad picked up the nickel in the field of seven.   As the wings folded, Electric Lad and Lyons Johnny battled briefly for early superiority with the latter assuming command during a somewhat tepid opening quarter of :27.4. At this point, Cruizin K C was three lengths away from the leader in third with positions remaining stagnant through a half in :56.4.   On the backside, Cruizin K C was out and rolling, grinding away through an official third panel of :27.2--his :26.4--and pulling on even terms with Lyons Johnny, reaching the third station in 1:24.1.   Turning for home, Cruizin K C doggedly wore Lyons Johnny into submission while Northern Companion was in the midst of a :27 finale (and :53.3 final half) to tie for the runner-up spot.   In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "...he was kind of knocking at the door last week and just did miss and, tonight, he gathered himself up behind the gate a bit better than usual and we got away in very good order. He probably paced his last half in around :54 and a half (actually :54.2), so I was well pleased with his performance...and the fact that just about my entire family was here to witness last night and tonight. It's been quite a couple of days."   For Cruizin K C, it was his initial victory of 2014 in four starts and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $117,543 to go along with a 1:50.1 mark, accomplished last year at Pompano.   As second choice in the wagering, Cruizin K C returned $6.60 to win.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL - Sunday night (March 2) will begin the second round of action in Pompano Park's $20,000 Driver's Invitational Tournament, where the meet's two leading drivers, Bruce Ranger and Rick Plano, will go head to head to lock up the first spot in the March 15 finals. To recap opening round action see below: February 9th: Rick Plano defeated David Ingraham 21 - 14 February 10th: Bruce Ranger defeated John Macdonald 24 - 13 February 16th: Simon Allard defeated Joe Pavia 33 - 17 February 17th: Kevin Wallis defeated Ricky Macomber Jr. 35 - 12 February 23rd: Jason Dillander defeated Ed Hensley 31 - 26 February 24th: Mickey McNichol defeated Wally Hennessey 29 - 27 What was once a field of 12, has now been narrowed to six with the following matchups moving forward: Sunday, March 2nd - Rick Plano vs. Bruce Ranger Monday, March 3rd - Simon Allard vs. Kevin Wallis Monday, March 10th - Jason Dillander vs. Mickey McNichol The three winners will move on to compete in a 3-way showdown on Saturday March 15th, where the winning driver will receive $8,000, with $4,000 going to the second place finisher, and $2,000 to third place. Participating drivers compete in four races per night in head to head match-ups, with each driver selecting their mount first in two events and second in the other two. The last three standing will compete in a 6-race contest on Saturday March 15th, with each getting to choose their mounts first in two of the six events. Drivers receive points for a top five finish with 10 points for a win, 7 points for second, 5 points for third, 3 points for fourth, and 1 point for a fifth place finish. Sunday night (March 2) also features a $5,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 pool beginning in Race 5, and a 50-Cent Pick 5 carryover of $1,066 which kicks off in the first race. Live racing continues at Isle Casino Pompano Park every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evening with a first post of 7:05 p.m.   by Gabe Prewitt, for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2014...In a five horse photo, Northern Companion, again handled by Dave Ingraham for trainer Howard Klohr and owner Dorothy Zarza, gutted out top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace on Saturday night. The six year-old son of Cambest showed remarkable gameness and resiliency, refusing to give up when he appeared beaten in mid-stretch, and scored in 1:52, his winning margin officially a neck over the late surging Who's Your Maddy (John Macdonald). Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey), stablemate of "Maddy," finished third just a half length away, edging past pacesetting Hillybilly in the final stride. Cruizin K C picked up the nickel in the six horse field. It was Hillybilly who rocketed out of the gate into the lead just past the first eighth pole but, midway around the turn with positions now established, driver Bruce Ranger grabbed a hold of his charge and rated him through an opener of :27.3 with Freeneasy Hanover, Who's Your Maddy and Northern Companion next, about 4 1/2 lengths off the lead. Sensing the very moderate pace, Ingraham began his grind forward with one lap to go and was third, two lengths off Hillybilly through a soft opening half in :57. On the backside, things really started heating up and, by the final turn, were sizzling as Northern Companion was put through a supreme test during a third panel in :26.4--his one tick faster. Turning for home, Hillybilly kicked clear again with Freeneasy now taking up the chase with Northern Companion now two lengths away and drifting out a bit and Who's Your Maddy flying between horses. But, when it counted, Northern Companion refused to be denied in the photo finish victory. In a post race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "...this was not easy! To grind forward through a quarter like that is amazing and, yes, I thought we were beaten in mid-stretch but this horse really has that rare quality about him that, when he gets some racetrack in front of him, he wants to gobble it up! He just never quits!" "Buddy's" win (he's called Buddy around the stable), was his third this year and 35th lifetime, sending his lifetime bounty to $208,082--$21,250 this young season in seven starts. As the 1 to 2 public choice, Northern Compani paid $3.00 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 8, 2014...Northern Companion earned his 34th lifetime victory on Saturday night by scoring a sharp 1:51 victory for Dave Ingraham in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace.   The six year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, wore down the game Lyons Johnny, handled by Wally Hennessey, to score by a length and a half. Hillybilly and Bruce Ranger teamed up to finish third while Eastend Eddie, last in the field for the first half mile, rallied to finish fourth. Who's Your Maddy picked up the nickel in the seven horse field.   Lyon's Johnny out-dueled Electric Lad in the early stages and took the field to the first station in :27.2 with Northern Companion nestled into third and remaining in that position through the opening half in :55.3. On the backside, three-eighths out, Northern Companion left his comfortable surroundings and began gnawing in on Lyons Johnny's lead, cutting it in half turning for home and collaring that one in mid-stretch before drawing clear late.   In a post race interview, driver Ingraham said, "...he had a nice trip but, to tell you the truth, i was concerned a bit when we weren't gaining that much around the turn. Lyons Johnny can't be taken lightly. He gave "Jaguar" (Prairie Jaguar) a good tussle the week before and I wasn't sure we were going to get there but Northern Companion just has that attitude that he wants to win. He's got that winning attitude! It's a great quality in a racehorse--a winning attitude. The draw helped us this week, too, because we were a lot closer from the two post than the previous week from the six."   Northern Companion's scorecard now reads 2-2-1 in six starts and the victory pushed his lifetime earnings over the $200,000 mark--$203,082 to be exact.   As the even money favorite on the tote board, Northern Companion paid $4.00 to win.   The Open 2 Pace went to Freeneasy Hanover, who dug in late for driver Bruce Ranger to hold off Legends Luck and Wally Hennessey by a head in 1:52.2. Avantage (Dave Ingraham) finished third, four lengths away, with McGreat and Restless Yankee garnering the final awards in the octet.   The six year-old son of Western Ideal, trained by Jim McDonald for Ciro Gentile and Twenty Four Carrot Racing, went right to the front and carded an opening panel of :27.1 in thwarting any ideas of an early challenge. After a breather that brought Freeneasy to the half in :56, Ranger throttled his charge a bit on the backside and a :27.3 third quarter brought the pair to the third station in 1:23.3 as Legends Luck left the coziness of the pocket to challenge turning for home.   In deep stretch, the pair raced side-by-side with Freeneasy prevailing in the photo for his second straight success of the year in six starts. He's banked $156,765 lifetime--$10,250 of that so far this young season.   Stepping up from a "non-winners" class, Freeneasy Hanover was the public's fifth choice in the win pool and paid $14.40.   In the $20-$25,000 claiming handicap, Ahead Of the Curve was given a picture perfect drive by George Napolitano, Jr. and captured that event in 1:52 over the late charging Rick's Sign, handled by Simon Allard. The winning margin was 2 3/4 lengths with Red Hot Yankee third after posting red hot fractions of :26.1, :53.3 and 1:22 with Ahead Ofthe Curve right on that one's tail the entire way, only leaving the pocket turning for home and scoring easily from there.   Masters Champion and Mach Wheel also earned minor awards in the field of six.   Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Ahead Ofthe Curve, an eight year-old son of Real Desire, won for the 27th time during his career and pushed his lifetime bounty closer to $300,000--now at $298,149.   He paid $3.60 to win as the public choice.   Finally, Fox Valley Griffin, driven by Rick Plano, lit up the tote-board, by scoring at victory in a claiming event in 1:53.1 at odds of 52 to 1.   The six year-old, trained by Richard Macomber for wife Carol and Emilinda Manzi, paid $107.00 to win, keying two dime superfecta payoffs (there was a dead-heat for second) of $945.83 and $756.68.   The big upset also set up a Pick-4 carry-over of over $3,000 going into Sunday's racing program.   Sunday also is the kickoff of Pompano's $20,000 Championship Driver's Challenge, which gets underway with a round one pairing of Dave Ingraham and Rick Plano.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...February 5, 2014...Not even a three inch deluge of rain could dampen the festive aura at Pompano Park on Wednesday night as the South Florida track celebrated its 50th anniversary.   Besides the appearance of hockey's Florida Panthers cheerleaders, the track was well garnished with the appearances of several drivers who appeared during the track's inaugural season in 1964, including, Lucien Fontaine, Tom Merriman, Dick Macomber, Lou Rapone and Bill Popfinger.   On the racing side of the ledger, the gallant mare Pure Barre, given a great drive by Mickey McNichol, took top honors in the $11,000 Open Trot, scoring a game victory in 1:54.3 over a track dulled by a second or two by the aforementioned rain measuring close to three inches in just 90 minutes.   McNichol sent the six year-old daughter of Classic Photo out sharply from the six post and was smart enough to let the dust--or, in this case, mud--settle early and nestle in the fourth spot during an opening quarter of :27.1 as She's All In (Rick Plano), House Money (Wally Hennessey) and Lugar (Kevin Wallis) were lines up one-two-three. Right then, Pure Barre was sent charging and she brushed up to take the lead heading into turn two and proceed to the half in :56.2.   On the backside, Jessesjo, with Ed Hensley handling the lines, was on the move from fifth and that one brushed alongside Pure Barre and stuck his head in front just short of the third marker timed in 1:25. In the lane, Pure Barre responded to McNichol's touch and put away Jessiesjo and then held off the late surging Dutchess Seelster (George Napolitano, Jr.) to score by 1 3/4 lengths. She's All In did finish third while House Money edged out Lugar for the fourth spot in the field of 10.   In a post race interview, driver McNichol said, "...this is a very brave mare. This isn't the first time she's been headed and then come back to win. When she's threatened, she just seems to dig in. She has a great quality about her...and that is the will to win!"   Pure Barre, owned and trained by Tom Gonsalves, now sports a 2-2-0 scorecard in four starts this year, good for $15,000. She's banked $193,865 lifetime.   The Pompano Park legends of a half century past provided some lively chatter for the festive crowd.   Lucien Fontaine, the newest Hall of Fame inductee of the Florida Chapter of USHWA, recalled the opening night back in 1964 when he drove Music Box to victory after spotting the field "15-20 lengths" at the start due to a break--that mile timed in 2:11.2. Of course, Fontaine has handled many of the sport's greatest stars including the sensational Forrest Skipper.   Tom Merriman, author of three million dollar horses--Civil Action, Monte Hall and Energy Burner--recalled the trotter with whom he won on the track's official opening night, February 6, 1964. "That would be Laverne Scott," he said, "but let's not forget Philip Brian, Buster Magoo, High Voltage or Miss Becky Pick...just to name a few." Merriman is still active today, helping Greg Wright train some of his youngsters.   Dick Macomber, who trained and drove greats like Trim The Tree and Milynn Hanover, recalled the early days of Pompano Park when the 2:00 mile was a rarity--"I don't think we had any for the first couple of seasons," he said. (Eds note: We didn't!)   Lou Rapone, still active in the sport as a trainer at age 88, has been in harness racing for over three-quarters of a century, having started as a caretaker for Mark Kyler at the age of 12 or 13. Rapone was one of the original 20 members of the 1,000 win club and handled such stars as J. H.Primrose, Pole Adios and Jimmy Norman.   Bill "Showbiz" Popfinger recalled his opening season wins at Pompano Park with Awol and Nevele Honeytime, among others. Popfinger, of course, has handled many champions, including 1978 Jug winner Happy Escort, Happy Motoring, Praised Dignity, Lady B Fast, Kassa Branca, Cue Light and A'Nutter Butter, to name a few.   All in all, it was a festive occasion precluding Pompano Park's $20,000 Championship Driver's Challenge which begins Sunday, February 9 and runs through mid-March.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 1, 2014...This harness racing journalist had to make a decision after Prairie Jaguar won for the seventh consecutive time at Pompano Park--simply "cut and paste" the same article written in his last start two weeks ago or write something new. Of course, the answer is obvious. Prairie Jaguar, the incredible Florida bred six year-old son of Spy Hard, did it again--winning, this time, in 1:49.2--for his fourth winning mile in 1:50 or faster at Pompano Park, the most ever by any standardbred in this track's history stretching now a half century. Driven again by Jason Dillander for trainer Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Jaguar led virtually every step of the mile, first, outbrushing Lyons Johnny, handled by Wally Hennessey, through a scalding opening quarter of :26 and, then, clocking fractions of :53.3 and 1;22.1 along the way to report home with a two length margin over Lyons Johnny with Hillybilly (Bruce Ranger) third after having raced in that position the entire route. Northern Companion, last early, rallied to finish fourth while McGreat picked up the final award in the field of seven--the final horse across the line timed in 1:50.4. In a post race interview, driver Dillander said, "...this horse amazes me every time he races. He was off a couple of weeks so I wasn't sure he'd be as tight, but he was just awesome tonight. I admit I was a little bit worried because he was so relaxed up the backstretch but when Wally's horse (Lyons Johnny) came to me around the final turn, he pinned his ears back and was all business from there. What did he come home in? :27 and a piece? (:27.1.) For Prairie Jaguar, this seven race winning streak has pushed his lifetime bounty to $72,222 in 69 lifetime starts--$30,000 of that in his past seven races covering less than two months. Trainer Deters summed it up perfectly when he said, "...he sure has come a long way since his first start as a two year-old way back in 2010 when he paced his mile in (2):15 and a piece...and that's without making a break!" He sure has. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...January 26, 2014...Angels Delight, handled by Jason Dillander, took top honors in the Mares Open at Pompano Park on Sunday night but had to survive a bad step or two turning for home, an onslaught at the end of the mile and a judges inquiry before the "official" sign was posted.   The four year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, trained by Jim Mc Donald for owner Joe Pennacchio, earned her initial victory of the year in 1:53.1, winning by a neck over the late surging Excelerated Speed (Wally Hennessey) with De Vins Girl (Rick Plano) also in the win photo.   Express Jet, prominent early on, finished fourth, a length away while Southwind Trini was just a nose back of Express Jet in picking up the final award in the field of seven.   At the outset, Express Jet showed her usual early speed from post six but Angels Delight, leaving from post three, battled early and stuffed Express Jet In The Pocket through an opening panel in :27.3. Dillander then grabbed a hold of his mare and rated her through a second quarter of :29.2, reaching the half in :57.   On the backside, three-eighths out, the pace began to quicken as Southwind Trini brushed up from fifth to reach second, just a length away, with the 3/4s timed in 1:25.4. At the top of the lane, Angels Delight took a couple of bad steps but quickly regained her composure, sprinting home in :27.2 to earn the close decision.   In a post race interview, Dillander said, "...yeah, she took a couple of bad steps--I don't know why--but she's a pro and got right back on track and was very strong to the wire. She needed it, too, because those other two (Excelerated Speed and De Vins Girl) were really flying."   Indeed she did. Excelerated Speed paced her final quarter in :26.3 and just did miss the winner's circle by, what the charts showed, a "nk."   As the even money tote-board favorite, Angels Delight paid $4.20 to win to her $2 backers and half of the $10,000 purse to the connections of Angels Delight, sending her lifetime bankroll to $74,486--$10,000 of that this year in three starts.   The $8,000 co-feature for the mares went to Bombilla Hanover, scoring her 23rd lifetime victory to send her career earnings to $171,393.   The six year-old daughter of The Panderosa, co-owned by trainer Peter Blood along with Rick Berks and Lew Whitaker, was driven by Bruce Ranger, who sent the mare on a speed binge from fifth just short of the :27.2 quarter and into the lead, clocking subsequent panels of :55.2 and 1:24.2 before romping home in :28.2 for the one length score over Diamond Amber (Simon Allard) with Head First (Ed Hensley) third. Asset Management and Darlington Stripe also picked up awards in the field of nine.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...January 22, 2014...Andover America, driven by Bruce Ranger, reached back for the guts and class that has propelled him to lifetime earnings approaching $750,000 to earn a narrow victory in 1:54.4 in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night.   The win, the 51st in the nine year-old's illustrious career, measured by the photo finish camera to be a "head," came at the expense of the mare Pure Barre (Mickey McNichol) with the favorite, Jolene's Pinehonker (Jason Dillander) a fast closing third, just a half length away. She's All in finished fourth while HP Forte finished fifth in the sextet after making a quarter move to the top that continued to the final turn.   There were several lead changes throughout the contest as Andover America left sharply as the gate opened, only to yield to Pure Barre midway around turn one. With an opening panel in :27.3, driver Mark O'Mara sent HP Forte to the top and clocked a half in :56.2.   On the backside just short of the final turn, Pure Barre left the coziness of the pocket, took command at the third station (1:25.3) and had a clear lead turning for home. At mid-stretch, Andover America stuck his head in front, Pure Barre remained stubborn on the inside with Jolene's Pinehonker closing with ferocity on the far outside.   On the wire, up went the photo sign showing the altered son of Andover Hall to be the winner.   The win was worth $10.20 to Andover America's faithful and $5,000 to owner Mc Trade Enterprises, sending the trotter's lifetime earnings to $747,740.   After the race, driver Bruce Ranger said, "he (Andover America) reached back for some of that class that has gotten him to this point in his career. Last week, they got by him--narrowly. This time, he held on--narrowly. He's gone so many tough miles in his career that you never know if he's 100% on his game or only 98%. He gave 100% tonight...and that's why he's such a great horse."   Ranger also took the Open "2" with Robert Weinstein's Mymomsablizzard, making her 2014 debut and scoring by a neck over the fast closing House Money (Wally Hennessey) by a neck in 1:55.4. I Love New York (Dave Ingraham) was a very fast closing third. Favored Stonebridge Idol finished fourth after sawing off panels of :27.1, :56 and 1:25 while Undercover Bro picked up the nickel in the seven horse affair.   For the Allan Johnson trained daughter of CR Excalibur, it was her 41 career victory sending her lifetime bounty to $461,396.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...January 19, 2014...Prairie Jaguar, back in action at Pompano Park after a weeks respite from the racing wars, ran his victory streak to six on Saturday night with another brilliant performance--this one timed in 1:50.2--in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.   The Florida bred gelded son of Spy Hard took the lead a few steps out of the gate, brushed to a four length lead by the :26.2 opener, and proceeded to clock subsequent panels of :55 and 1:22.2 before coasting home an easy winner by 5 1/4 lengths.   Northern Companion, handled by Dave Ingraham, finished second after giving futile chase from three-eighths out to the wire. Thebestofjoel, with Ed Hensley handling the lines, finished third, 7 1/2 lengths away while Eastend Eddie finished fourth. Southern Sport picked up the nickel in the quintette.   The winner, nominated--but not entered--in a $10,000 claiming series at Pompano Park weeks earlier, has become the talk of the track after winning miles in 1:50.4, 1:51.4, 1:50, 1:49 and 1:50 before last night's triumph.   In a post race interview, driver Jason Dillander said, "...actually, he left the gate a trifle lazier than usual but, just a few strides out, he really accelerated and opened daylight in the blink of an eye. He's unbelievably sharp right now. He's able to be rated, as he was in the second quarter and then he accelerates, as he did on his own on the backside. He' certainly is a different horse than he was in Canada."   Trainer Mike Deters said, "He's become a happy horse...that's been the whole key to his success. His attitude is great, his caretaker, Tracey O'Leary, has done a remarkable job with him and we're riding the high tide right now. This is a sport that can produce the highest of highs and lowest of lows so we're enjoying this ride while it lasts."   O'Leary, by the way, was honored by the Florida Chapter of USHWA on Saturday night as "Caretaker of the Month," an award created by the Chapter in appreciation for the efforts of caretakers at the track whose horses have achieved considerable success during each month.   Prairie Jaguar, co-owned by trainer Deters along with Laurie Poulin, has banked $67,222 over his career measuring 68 starts--$25,000 of that earned during the past six weeks.   As the 1 to 2 favorite on the tote-board, Prairie Jaguar returned $3.00 to win.   The Open "2" Pace, worth $8,500, went to Premier, owned by Maryann Plano and driven to victory by trainer-husband Rick Plano.   The seven year-old altered son of Artsplace, claimed for $10,000 just two weeks ago, left sharply to take an early lead, was out-brushed during a :27 opener by Gentleman Friend (Wally Hennessey), recaptured the top spot a few steps later and carded fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.4 before reporting home 1 1/4 lengths to the good of the fast closing Electric Lad (Jason Dillander). Gentleman Friend did finish third while Rick's Sign finished fourth. Military Stratcom finished fastest of all to pick up the minors.   With the win, Premier's 30th lifetime, he vaulted over the $140,000 in lifetime bounty an "won himself out" after being haltered just two starts ago.   As the 9 to 5 favorite on the board, Premier paid $5.80 to win.   The $7,500 Open "3" Pace went to Shane Arsenaault's Lyon's Johnny, who made a bold quarter move to the top and went on to score in 1:52.3 for Wally Hennessey.   The six year-old son of Mach Three held off Just Fred (George Napolitano, Jr.) by three parts of a length with No Monkeys Allowed third. Restless Yankee and Beignet also earned checks in the septet.   Lyon's Johnny earned his 16th lifetime victory to send his lifetime bankroll to $165,309.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...January 15, 2014...Jolene's Pinehonker, driven by Jason Dillander, used a ferocious stretch rally to score a repeat victory in pompano Park's $10,000 Open Trot on Wednesday night.   The five year-old gelded son of Pinetucky, trained by Mark O'Mara for owner Lester Raber, appeared hopelessly out of contention for the top spot turning for home but unleashed an eye-opening sprint in the final eighth (:13) to nail pacesetting Andover America (Bruce Ranger) near the wire to score by a half length in 1:55.   HP Forte, driven by Mark O'Mara, stablemate of the winner but uncoupled in the betting due to separate ownership, finished a fast closing third, three parts of a length away while Blomkvist, prominent in the garden spot through panels of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3, finished fourth. She's All In was fifth and earned the final award in the field of eight.   Driver Jason Dillander, in a post race interview, said, ""Never in a million years did I think I was going to catch Bruce's horse (Andover America) turning for home. I really thought that the cover I was following wasn't drafting me close enough but, when I gave my trotter racetrack, he absolutely exploded with trot. It was pretty unbelievable, that close of his was!"   For Jolene's Pinehonker, it was his second win of the year in three starts and 16th success lifetime in only 49 starts sending his career bounty to $327,345. She paid $3.00 to win.   Also sharing the spotlight on Wednesday were Dutchess Seelster, Keystone Thomas and Gale Warning.   Dutchess Seelster, trained by Don Glowacki for owner John Campagnuolo, was driven by Wally Hennessey in the $8,500 Open 2 Trot and the eight year-old mare responded with a gate to wire win in 1:54.4, highlighted by a final panel in :27.4.   The "Dutchess" now has banked $256,388, primarily on the strength of her 26 lifetime wins. It was her initial success of the new season in three starts.   Keystone Thomas, driven by Joe Pavia, Jr., used similar gate-to-wire tactics to score a handy one length win in a conditioned event for the consortium of Peter and Wai Shank, the AGC Stables and the Joe Pavia, Jr. Stable.   The win, Keystone Thomas' 42nd lifetime, vaulted his lifetime earnings just under $400,000.   Finally, the aging warhorse Gale Warning, now 11, won for the 60th time during his illustrious career.   The son of Strong Gale used a :27.2 blitz on the backstretch to take command around the final turn and went on to score a victory measuring 1 3/4 lengths for driver Ed Hensley in 1:57.1.   Gale Warning is trained by Rod Lorenzo, who co-owns with Ciro Gentile.   by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...January 11, 2014...Premier, hot property recently at Pompano Park while changing hands by claim in his last two starts, captured the final of the $18,200 Murdock Hanover Late Closer at the south-Florida five-eighths mile oval on Saturday night, wiring his opponents with a lifetime best equalling performance of 1:51.3.   Driven by Rick Plano for wife-owner Maryann Plano, the seven year-old son of Artsplace carved out panels of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:23.1 and sealed the deal with a :28.2 finale, pinning a two length defeat on the 4 to 5 public choice, Just Fred, driven by George Napolitano, Jr.   Trevor Win For Us teamed up with Ricky Macomber, Jr. to finish third while Artomatic Pilot overcame the nine post to finish fourth. Itchy Pickle's paced the fastest final quarter in the field, :28.1, to earn the final award after being shuffled far back turning for home in then field of nine.   The victory--Premier's biggest career payday--was his 29th and sent his lifetime bounty to $136,343.   In a post race interview, driver Plano said, "...this is just a solid, hard trying racehorse. A few starts ago, he beat me in (1):51 and a piece in a '15' claimer so, when the opportunity to get him for a little less came along, I decided to grab him. He loves the front end and that's where I put him right from the get-go. He was sharp as a tack tonight!"   As second choice in the betting, Premier paid $7.20 to win.   In the $10,000 Open Pace, B N Bad, handled by George Napolitano, Jr., just did hang on by a scant nostril to eke out the decision over Southern Sport (Joe Pavia, Jr.) in 1:50.3, a new lifetime mark considering his other 1:50.3 winning mile came over the one mile Meadowlands oval.   Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham) was third while the even money favorite, Eastend Eddie, pacing his final 3/4s in 1:22.3, finished fourth in his first start back off of a 10 week layoff and a qualifier.   Lyons Johnny picked up the nickel in the field of seven.   For B N Bad, trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, it was his 25th lifetime success, sending his career bankroll to $360,273.   Finally, brackets were drawn for Pompano Park's $20,000 Driver's Invitational Championship, which starts February 9th and concludes with a March 15 Championship final.   The competition, offering an $8,000 prize to the winner, pits Dave Ingraham (6,515 lifetime wins) against Rick Plano (6,339) in round one. the winner of that bracket will go on to face the winner of a Bruce Ranger (8,639)-John Macdonald (2,765) matchup on February 10.   Other opening round events pit Joe Pavia, Jr. (5,238) versus Simon Allard (2,057); Ricky Macomber, Jr. (2,496) against Kevin Wallis (9,653); Ed Hensley (5,196) against Jason Dillander (2,156) and Wally Hennessey (8,497) versus Mickey McNichol (4,540).   Points will be awarded on a 10-7-5-3-1 basis with the "terrific 12" narrowed down to the "sensational six" before being pared to the "thrilling three" seeking the championship.   John Berry              

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