Pompano Beach, FL...October 17, 2016...On an evening where the track condition at Pompano Park shifted from fast to good to sloppy to good to sloppy during the harness racing program, Kevin Kelly's grand filly, Gold Star Brianna remained perfect for her career--now 12-for-12--highlighting the Sunday 14 race program. Gold Star Brianna, a sophomore filly by Basil trained by Dan Hennessey, was driven by brother Wally Hennessey and toured the sloppy oval in a lifetime best 1:57.3, scoring by 6 1/4 lengths over Trotting Missmissy (Marc Major) and All Star Fame Sergio Corona with Trottime Fool and I'm For Sale completing the roster in this fifth leg of the Sunshine State Stake for three year-old trotting fillies. Away carefully in her event, "Brianna" stormed to the front from five lengths back once they straightened away after the :29.1 opener and proceeded to clock panels of :58.3 and 1:28.2, sealing the deal with a :29.1 finale. The filly now has career bounty of close to $75,000 with about six weeks of the lucrative stakes season ahead. Said Hennessey after the race, "You know, this is the first time she has faced conditions like this so I thought I'd be careful early and wait 'til we straightened away to send her. She had to have trotted :28 and a piece" (actually :28.2) to make the lead and was a perfect lady all the way. I am proud of the way she performed in those conditions!" For the second straight week, Gold Star Brianna was 1 to 20 and returned $2.10 to win. Also on the card was the Sunshine State Stake for three year-old trotting colts and geldings and it was Thundercrest, a son of Crest, who scored in 2:03.4 after very crafty handling by Dustin Ingraham. Thundercrest pinned a 1 3/4 length defeat on the late charging Fifty Fifty Ninety (Jason Mac Dougall) with Savin Rock (John Campagnuolo) next. Last Chance Fame and Rexamillion were four-five in the sextet. At the outset, Thundercrest was in a brief war with Rexamilion but put the latter in the pocket before putting on the brakes and waltzing over to the opener in :32.2 and half in 1:04. On the backside, Rexamillion left his cozy pocket but made a miscue three-eighths out and Thundercrest sprinted clear by six with a :29.3 third panel with Fifty Fifty Ninety in pursuit. Thundercrest coasted home from there prompting Dustin Ingraham to say, "I really didn't want to be on the front end but he (Thundercrest) was a bit headstrong leaving and I didn't want to shut him down early. He's still very green--he didn't race as a two year-old--and he's learning but, once I got over to the half in "4," I felt confident that he could go all the way. He not only battled the competition, he handled the elements, which just may have been the biggest competition." Thundercrest paid $3.00 as the 1 to 2 favorite. Two other Sunshine State Stakes events were held off the betting card highlighting two year-old trotters with Azzaro and Atlantic Crest reaching the winner's circle. Azzaro, driven this night by Wally Hennessey for Jay and Kim Sears, led every step of his mile, pinning a half length defeat on I'm Done (Tom Lehmann) by a half length in 2:04--:29 off fractions of :30.3, 1:02.4 and 1:35. The Proud Bushy colt now has a 5-3-2-0 career scorecard against "arch-rival" I'm Done, whose record is 5-2-3-0. After the event, Hennessey said, "I guess it's become quite a rivalry between these two and both seem to have equal talent." The second non-wagering event was contested in a driving rainstorm and, despite the demanding conditions, Sergio Corona's Atlantic Crest was a gate to wire winner in a lifetime best 2:01.1--her victory margin almost 10 lengths over Prairie Pixie (Mike Deters) with Bonnie Blue Banker (Rob Hoffman) third in the trio of juvenile fillies. The daughter of Crest completed her journey off of fractions of :29.3, 1:00 and 1:30.3 as she notched her second straight win, improving on her previous best winning mile of 2:01.4. In Pompano Park's Open I Handicap Pace, Sing For Me George picked up his third straight win--this one in 1:52.4--after exploding in the final sixteenth to score by 3 1/4 lengths over All Steinam (John Mac Donald). Winyard Hanover (Brad Kramer) was next after a rugged first over journey where he stuck his head in front at mid-stretch. Team Captain and Safe Harbor earned the minors in the sextet. Trained by Paul Bernardo for owner Joseph Martinelli, Sr., Sing For Me George was driven by Kevin Wallis and left with alacrity to take an early lead before yielding to All Steinam prior to the :28 opening panel. After a :57.1 half, Winyard Hanover went first up on the backside to engage All Steinam in war, reaching the third station in a picked up 1:25, leaving Sing For Me George bottled up in third. In the lane, Wallis found a seam, swung widest of all and blew by with a :27.3 finale of his own. Sing For Me George, a seven year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight, was winless in 16 starts before coming to Pompano Park but won an Open 3 event--handily--in 1:53.1 and then an Open 2 event in 1:53.2 before stepping up to the top rung of the ladder. Sing For Me George now has a lifetime bankroll of $396,086. As the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite, Sing For Me George paid $3.80 to win. Finally, in the Super Hi-5 finale, one lucky patron had the 7-4-1-8-5 winning combo, which paid $10,286.62 for the 20 cent investment. Racing continues on Tuesday night with Open trotters in the spotlight. Post time is set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park.
Pompano Beach, FL...October 12, 2016...Once again, as he did last week, harness racing's Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey swept both Open events at Pompano Park on Tuesday night (October 11), scoring in the Mares Open 1 Pace with Godiva Seelster and the Open 1 Trot with Boli. Both are trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil. Godiva Seelster, the splendid six year-old daughter of Camluck, scored her 33rd lifetime victory--eighth the year--this one a 1:54.1 cakewalk in gate-to-wire fashion off panels of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:26.3 before a :27.3 sprint home sealed the deal. Her margin of victory this night was four lengths over Goldstar Rockette (Kevin Wallis) and Leavveumlady (Tim Maier) with De Valeria fourth in the quintet--the exact order of finish in last week's event. Keystone Christa picked up the final award. Godiva Seelster now has missed only one check over the past four seasons--"my fault," driver Hennessey said--and now has a career bankroll of $305,775 to go along with her mark of 1:50.4f. She, again as she was last week, a nickel of a dollar in the betting and paid $2.10. Boli an altered four year-old son of Kadabra, led every long stride of his mile and held off the furious late surge of Prairie Fortune (Mike Deters) to eke out a photo finish victory measuring a neck in 1:55.3. Driving Miss Crazy (John Mac Donald), in the garden spot most of the journey, was third, four lengths away with McKenzie's Star and Sailer Eddie next in the sextet. In that event, Boli, perfectly mannered this night, darted out of the gate from post five while Prairie Fortune, starting from the outside post, was unhurried early, dawdling more than six lengths back through opening panels of :28.2, :57.3. On the backside, Prairie Fortune took up the chase, putting a three length dent through an official third quarter of :29.1 and gnawing away with a :28.1 closer of his own to miss by a stride or two. Boli returned a $4.80 mutuel as second choice. After these events, Hennessey said, "Well, what can I say that hasn't been said about Godiva. She's just a grand mare that knows how to take care of herself and gives a superior effort every time she steps on the track. "Boli, on the other hand, can be a brat on occasion but I will say he was a perfect gentleman tonight and he dug in nicely late to preserve the win. "Prairie Fortune is quite a trotter, you know, so the difference tonight was the fact that he was several lengths back early on." For Boli, it was win number eight in 20 starts with his 2016 bounty now registering $62,962 and $122,614 lifetime. While he owns a 1:54.4 mark here at Pompano, his official mark is 1:54.4 over the Saratoga half miler. Also on Tuesday night, the fourth leg of the Sunshine State Stakes was held in four classes with Gold Star Mysti, Chism taking their respective sophomore divisions and Prairie Cowgirl and Prairie Panther emerging victorious in their respective juvenile races. Gold Star Mysti, a three year-old pacing daughter of Mysticism, kept her 2016 season unblemished--now three-for-three--with a very game 1:56.2 performance for Walter Ross, Jr. to eventually score a four plus length win over Diamond Lily (Hennessey) with Goldstar Lovebug (Joe Sanzeri) next. Caitlin's Romance was fourth in the mile while Jaycie Jaycie picked up the nickel in the sextet. At the outset of that one, "Mysti" played musical chairs with Gold Star Lovebug with Jaycie Jaycie third early on before making a miscue past a :28.4 opener--Diamond Lily then inheriting the third spot. On the backside, Diamond Lily then engaged in a war with Gold Star Mysti with Lily sticking her head in front at the third station in 1:28.2. But Gold Star Mysti's :28 finale sealed the win as she pulled away for a win measuring 4 1/4 lengths. Trained by Maggie Audley for her owner-mom Marianne, Gold Star Mysti paid $3.80 as the second choice. There was a mild upset in the three year-old division for pacing colts and geldings as R Chism ($16.20), handled by Fern Paquet, Jr., put away the 1 to 10 favorite, Gleneagles (Hennessey) with a sprint home from the garden spot to score in 1:55 for his maiden win 11 starts--though he did have a qualifying record of 2:03.4 last semester. Chism,starting from post five in his quintet, darted out to the top spot before yielding just past the :28.1 opening panel to Gleneagles. These two remained one-two through fractions of:56.3 and 1:25.4 before Chism wore down his worthy opponent just outside the sixteenth pole. Danza (Aaron Byron) was third while I C U Diamond T was next. Conman's Dream completed the order of finish after making an uncharacteristic break leaving. The two year-old events were contested off the betting card and driver-trainer Mike Deters swept both of these non-wagering events, scoring with Prairie Cowgirl winning the event for pacing fillies and Prairie Panther taking the division for the boys. Prairie Cowgirl, a full sister to Prairie Sweetheart, broke her maiden in just her second lifetime start with a 2:00 performance--wire-to-wire--off of fractions of :29.1, 1:00.1 and 1:30.2 before jogging home in :29.3 for a win measuring 2 1/2 lengths over the late charging Tay Tay M (Hennessey) with Gold StarAurora next after recovering from an early miscue and spotting the field some 15 lengths. Golden Diamond and PF Silver Classic completed that rundown. Owned by Laurie Poulin along with John Spindler and trainer-driver Deters, Prairie Cowgirl now sports a 2-1-1-0 scorecard as her career begins. Prairie Panther, a gelded son of Royal Millennium and a half brother of the fast Prairie Jaguar, also won in wire-to-wire fashion, covering his mile with fractions of :29, :58.2 and 1:28.2 before a :28.2 closer stopped the tele-timer in 1:56.4 and left him almost eight lengths to the good of Gold Star Bugsy (Hennessey) and Gold Star Spider (Ross, Jr.) third. Maybe Ned and fifth son completer the roster in that one. Prairie Panther is owned by Laurie Poulin along with Deters. Racing continues on Sunday night with a scheduled start time of 7:20 highlighted by a Super Hi-5 carryover of more than $6,800. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...October 10, 2016...The fourth legs of the FSBOA Sunshine State Stakes were contested at Pompano Park on Sunday night (October 9) and, in the sophomore division for trotting fillies, Gold Star Brianna extended her lifetime unblemished harness racing record to 11 with a handy 12 1/4 length trouncing of her four foes. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owner Kevin Kelly, Wally Hennessey was in the bike for the filly's win--her fourth straight this semester after a perfect seven-for-seven as a 2015 two year-old. The daughter of Basil was away in good order from her four post while out-brushed for the top spot by Trotting Missmissy (Marc Major) as the gate sprung but made a quick and decisive quarter move past the :30 second opener. From there, she went on to post fractions of :59.3 and 1:29.1 before a :29.4 stroll-in-the-park home put the icing on the cake in 1:59. Trotting Missmissy was second while Trottime Fool (John MacDonald) finished third. All Star Fame and I'm For Sale completed the roster of fillies. After the event, Hennessey related, "She's just a very handy filly. She does anything asked of her and tonight was no exception." The win sent Gold Star Brianna's earnings to $72,134 lifetime with the bulk of the lucrative Florida stakes season just ahead. Off at a nickel to a dollar, Gold Star Brianna paid $2.20 to win. In the Sunshsine State Stakes division for three year-old colts and geldings, Mike Richards' Thundercrest, given a picture perfect journey by Dustin Ingraham, scored a handy win in a lifetime best 2:00.1. The son of Crest, unraced at two, earned his second win in 12 lifetime starts, scoring by 2 3/4 lengths over Rexamillion (Wally Hennessey) with Fifty Fifty Ninety (Jason MacDougall) next. The 1 to 2 betting favorite, Proud Joe T, finished fourth while Last Chance Fame picked up the minor award in the octet. Thundercrest showed good speed from the gate and found a spot in third early as Proud Jo T left with alacrity for the lead before yielding to Rexamillion at the opening station in :30. The latter clocked reasonable panels of 1:00.2 and 1:30.1 as Thundercrest left his cozy spot to engage the leader turning for home and waltzed on by handily and with authority. In the winner's circle after the race, a modest Ingraham said, "We got a good trip. That's about it. He's got some talent and he seems to be improving every week." As second choice in the win pool, Thundercrest paid $5.60 to his faithful. Two Sunshine State Stakes were held off the betting card and I'm Done and Atlantic Crest were victorious in their respective divisions. In a budding rivalry in the two year-old event for colts and geldings where only two combatants showed up, I'm Done, handled by Tom Lehmann, just did get by Azzaro (Jay Sears) in 2:04.2, knocking five full seconds off his former lifetime mark. Driver Lehmann stalked Sears' colt through panels of :29.4, 1:01.2 and 1:33.4 before tilting out turning for home and just eking by at the wire. The winner, a son of Toro Bravo, is owned and trained by Troy Basista. I'm Done and Azzaro now have met on four occasions--each now showing scorecards of 4-2-2-0. In the Sunshine State Stake for juvenile trotting fillies, Atlantic Crest, owned, trained and driven by Sergio Corona, took command immediately from her outside four post and clocked fractions of :30, 1:00.3 and 1:31.2 before stopping the clock in 2:01.4 for her maiden win in her fourth start. Also by Crest, Atlantic Crest won by 7 1/4 over Prairie Pixie (Mike Deters) with Bonnie Blue Banker (Rob Hoffman) third. Famous C finished fourth in the quartet after a miscue at the start. Pompano Park's Open I Pace went, for the second straight week, to All Steinam ($3.20) for John Mac Donald in 1:53.3--a gate-to-wire effort off of fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.2. The seven year-old gelded son of Tell All pinned a defeat measuring three-parts-of-a-length over the late charging Team Captain (Aaron Byron) with Safe Harvor (Kevin Wallis) third. Dee's Rocketman was a fast closing fourth while Hillybilly completed the run-down. For All Steinam, it was his 11th win off the year--28th lifetime--to send his career bounty to $320,259. He's banked $56,903 this year. The win was one of three for Mac Donald, who also scored with Sing For Me George ($2.60), his second straight win--in 1:53.2--and Beach Blast ($3.20) in 1:52.4. Wally Hennessey also had three wins for the night, sweeping the early daily double with Highland Yankee ($2.80), the aforementioned Gold Star Brianna and completing the "hat track" with Cartoonist (4.00) for the S S G Stables and trainer Jim McDonald. The win for the six year-old Cartoonist was his first in 23 starts this year and first since May 2, 2015. Aaron Byron and Kevin Wallis had driving doubles on the card and trainers Mac Donald and Dale Gilmour each sent out a pair of winners on the Sunday card. Racing continues on Tuesday night with the Super Hi-5 finale now sporting a carryover jackpot of $6,853.98. Scheduled post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...October 5, 2016...Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey swept Pompano Park's two Open harness racing events on Tuesday night as the grand mare Godiva Seelster took top honors in the elite event for pacing mares and a somewhat raucous Boli won the top race for trotters. Godiva Seelster, the splendid six year-old daughter of Camluck, got picture perfect rating through early panels of :27.1, :57 and 1:26.1 before sprinting home in :27 to score a handy win measuring three lengths in 1:53.1 over the pocket sitting Goldstar Rockette (Kevin Wallis) with Leaveum Lady (Tim Maier) next in the parade. De Valeria and Asset Management completed the roster in the quintet. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Godiva Seelster won for the seventh time this semester and 32nd lifetime, sending her career bounty over the $300,000 mark--$301,275 to be precise. Godiva Seelster, the 1 to 20 favorite, paid $2.10 to win. Boli, seemingly a bit unruly during the post parade and eventually causing a recall while refusing the gate, had the benefit of the magic Hall of Fame hands of Hennessey to help him compose and took the top trot in 1:56--his margin three-parts-of-a-length over Driving Miss Crazy (John MacDonald) and McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.). Tymal Recap and JJ Alex, the early leader, completed that roster. After the event, Hennessey related, "He (Boli) was just in a bad mood during the post parade. He gets that way sometimes. Once I got 'reasoned' with him and told him 'he' wasn't the boss, he was fine. But he can be a bit moody and, last night, he was a little brat during the post parade." Off as the 1 to 2 favorite, Boli returned $3.00 to win. Hennessey had two other wins on the program, completing a "grand slam" with the trotter Sakima ($8.20) and Gleneagles ($2.10), in the third leg of the F.S.B.O.A. sponsored Sunshine State Stakes. The latter, a sophomore colt by Mysticism, equalled his lifetime best performance of 1:54.3 while holding off the desperate late surge of the 30 to 1 chance Danza (Aaron Byron), closing quickest along the inside. The early leader, Conman's Dream (Jason MacDougall) finished third while ICU Diamond T and R Chism were next in the sextet of sophomores. Gleneagles, "O-for 10" prior to the Florida Stakes season, is now three-for 13, as the Dan Hennessey trainee took the first two legs of the Sunshine State Stake at Sunshine Meadows before the Tuesday night Pompano win. Now owned by the J L Benson Stables, Gleneagles pushed his lifetime bounty over the $84,000 with the bulk of the lucrative Florida Stakes season in competition over the next two months. That win, incidentally, completed a Pick-5 $1 payoff of $6,086.70, helped by a win from Imahonkyconchman (Walter Ross., Jr.) the race prior--by disqualification--at odds of 86-1. Owned and trained by 92 year-old George Napolitano, Imahonkyconchman had not won since May 20, 2015 covering 55 starts but benefitted when the unofficial winner, Highland Yankee, was "dq'd" for a pylon violation and placed fifth. The official winner paid $175.20 to win and keyed a $.20 cent Pentafecta payout of $3,679.84. Imahonkyconchman wasn't the only one that blew up the toteboard on Tuesday as Keystone Christa and Aaron Byron teamed up to score a 1:53.3 win in the Open 2 event for pacing mares at odds of 54 to 1. Owned by Lee Cullen and trained by Mr. Bev Kingston, Keystone Christa, a seven year-old daughter of Mach Three, was away fourth and took full advantage of very hot fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.4 before roaring by late for the win--her third of the year in 29 starts. She paid $111.00 to win with Sweet Bet (Hennessey) and Carlota Blue Chip (Kevin Wallis) completing the top trio. In other Sunshine State Stakes events, Gold StarAurora, Prairie Panther and Gold Star Mysti were winners. Gold StarAurora, a daughter of Rock On, owned by Marianne Audley and trained by daughter Maggie, kept her record perfect at three-for-three in the juvenile filly pace with a win in a lifetime best 2:00 for Walter Ross, Jr. Getting picture perfect rating, Ross took the two year-old filly through panels of :28.4, 1:01 and 1:31.3 before a :28.2 sprint home sealed the deal over the first time starter Prairie Cowgirl (Mike Deters) with Tay Tay M (Hennessey) next. PF Silver Classic and Golden Diamond completed the order of finish. Off at 3 to 5 on the tote-board, Gold Star Aurora paid $3.40 to win. Prairie Panther, an altered two year-old son of Royal Millenium, unleashed a potent brush turning for home and scored a 1:57.1 win in only his second lifetime start. Owned by Laurie Poulin along with drainer Mike Deters, Mike was in the bike for the handy win measuring 3 1/2 lengths over Gold Star Bugsy (Hennessey) with Maybe Ned (Bryce Fenn) next. Gold StarSpider and Fifth Son also earned checks in the field of six. Second choice at 7 to 5, Prairie Panther paid $4.80 to win. Gold Star Mysti, a three year-old daughter of Mysticism winless and off the board last semester, used a :27.3 sprint home to score in a lifetime best 1:57.4 for Walter Ross, Jr., her second straight lifetime mark after a 1:59 win at Sunshine Meadows. "Mysti" let the favored Diamond Lily cut all the panels--:30, 1:00 and 1:30--before tilting out turning for home and strolling on by in the lane to keep her record for 2016 a perfect two-for-two. Dismissed at 8 to 1, Gold Star Mysti paid $18.80 to win. Racing resumes Sunday night with a Super Hi-5 carryover of $5,011.24 awaiting. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Delray Beach, FL...September 10, 2016...The Sunshine State Stakes season for Florida bred trotters and pacers kicked off over the beautifully manicured one mile harness racing oval at Sunshine Meadows on Saturday with Famous C, I'm Done, Gold StarAurora and Maybe Ned beginning their two year-old careers with victories. Fittingly enough, Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey began the festivities with the "Famously" bred Famous C (yes, he is by Famously) eking out a narrow decision over Atlantic Crest (Sergio Corona) in 2:05.3--:29.3 in his racing debut in the juvenile trot for the fillies. Trained by Marc Aubin for Amante Standardbreds, Famous C made a quarter move to the front and then held off the furious late rush of Atlantic Crest to win by a scant nostril. Charming Gator and Bonnie Blue Banker were next, respectively, in the quartet. Next, in the two year-old colt-gelding trot, I'm Done, a gelded son of Toro Bravo owned and trained by Troy Basista, used the rail to perfection in scoring a gate to sire win measuring five lengths for Tom Lehmann over Azzaro (Jay Sears) in 2:09.2. Gator Glide was next after an early miscue. Two year-old pacing fillies were in the limelight next and Maryann Audley's Gold Star Aurora, a daughter of Rock On, crushed her four other rivals, scoring by 16 1/2 lengths for Walter Ross, Jr. in 2:04.2. Tay Tay M (Wally Hennessey) recovered after some misfortune around the opening turn to finish second while Golden Diamond (Bill Owens) rallied for third. Millerlands Anna and Gold Dust Darling completed the order of finish. The win for Gold StarAurora not only kicked off her racing career, it was the very first training win for young Maggie Audley In the two year-old Sunshine State Stake for pacing colts and geldings, Maybe Ned, driven by Bryce Fenn showed true grit and determination in scoring a hard-fought 2:01.2-:59.2 win. Trained by Bob Barker, who co-owns with Marah Lee, Maybe Ned, a son of Royal Millennium held off the pocket-sitting Gold Star Bugsy (Walter Ross, Jr.) by a half length, prompting trainer Barker to lament, "now I'm thinking of changing his name from Maybe Ned to 'Definitely' Ned. "He had been training well right along and my confidence in his ability was justified today." Kingwiththeaxe was next with Moon Doggie and Fabiano also earning checks in the field of six. Florida bred three year-olds were in the spotlight next All Star Fame, Gold Star Mysti, Proud Joe T and Gleneagles notching the victories. All Star Fame, yet another son of Famously, gave Amante Standardbreds a second win on the program as trainer Sergio Corona steered the sophomore filly to a very narrow decision over the fast closing first time starter I'm For Sale (Tom Lehmann) by a neck in 2:03.3. It appeared the "race was over" midway through the mile as All Star Fame took advantage of the rail in the two horse field and cut serious panels of :30.1., 1:00.2 and 1:31 en route to a long lead. But I'm For Sale kept gnawing away and it was a photo finish that decided the outcome at the wire. In the filly pace for the three year-olds, Gold Star Mysti earned Maggie Audley a training double as this Mysticism filly broke her maiden with a sharp 1:59 ground saving journey, courtesy of Walter Ross, Jr. Owned by Marianne Audley, "Mysti" came into the action with a 7-0-0-0 scorecard during her two year-old campaign but sliced through along the inside to go on to a 3 3/4 length win in 1:59 over Gold Star Lovebug (Joe Sanzeri). Caitlin's Romance was third for Bruce Fenn with Yule Love It completed the order after a miscue around the first turn. In the three year-old trot for the colts and geldings, it was Proud Joe T, deftly handled by Rob Hoffman for lessee and trainer Dave Myrick, making his 2016 debut with a lifetime best performance in 2:02.3--his margin three lengths over Rexamillion (Wally Hennessey) with Famous Crown next. Famous Crown (Mickey McNichol) was third over Last Chance Fame and Pacific Nitro in the sextet. The usually headstrong Proud Joe T, did show his usual gate speed but elected to take the pocket and then rallied half way down the long Sunshine Meadows stretch to collar Rexamillion and sprint on by as the latter made a miscue. Finally, the two year-old champion of 2015, Gleneagles, trained by Dan Hennessey for the J L Benson Stables, earned his initial victory of his sophomore season, scoring in 1:59.4 by 4 1/4 lengths over R Chism (Jay Sears) in an event which featured only two starters. The F.S.B.O.A. Sunshine State Stakes action continues next Saturday at Sunshine Meadows with post time set at 11:00 a.m. by John Berry for the F.S.B.O.A.
Idealbeach Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) prevailed in the local harness racing Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time on Saturday night as the Rene Allard-trained pacer toughed out a first over journey. Hall of Fame reinsman Wally Hennessey piloted the five year old in the $15,000 Open Pace and after leaving for position moved Idealbeach Hanover first over on longshot leader Spinarama (Austin Siegelman). Idealbeach Hanover wore that one down but the backfield was in motion late as the race's favorite Givenupdreaming (Stephane Bouchard) and longshot Mc Rusty (Mark Beckwith) came charging at him in the final strides. Idealbeach Hanover held on to win in 1:52.4 while Givenupdreaming came up second best and Mc Rusty earned the show spot. Idealbeach Hanover, whose victory was his seventh of the season, paid $8.20 to win in the Saturday feature. The exacta returned $19 while the triple came back $132.50. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella
EJ's Last Dance (Conway Hall) went coast to coast on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel to prevail in her half of the harness racing co-features. Wally Hennessey piloted the Norm Dessureault-trained trotter and moved her out to the early lead in the $9,300 event for New York Sired trotters. The four year old mare never faced an anxious moment before trotting away to win in a career best 1:56.4. The race's morning line favorite returned a fairly generous $7.90 to win while besting the favored Elusive Action (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Kinda Naughty (Frank Coppola Jr) who finished second and third, respectively. For EJ's Last Dance, it was the fourth win in seven starts since joining the Dessureault stable back in June. The other division of the $9,300 co-feature was won in upset fashion by DW's Sparticus (Dilbert Hanover). The Gary Levine trainee moved first over on his race's favorite at the half and ground that one into submission late in the mile before stopping the timer in 1:59.2. DW's Sparticus, who set a new career mark with the win, was dismissed at odds of 17-1. DW's Sparticus was piloted to the win by Billy Dobson. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. Mike Sardella
Straight A Student (Credit Winner) cruised to a harness racing victory on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The three year old trotting filly was making her first start since competing in the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic Final at Vernon Downs last month. The Paul Kelley-trained sophomore came into the race with four second place finishes in five starts in 2016 but shook her bridesmaid status on Monday as she dominated with Wally Hennessey in the sulky. Straight A Student, who secured two of her second place finishes this year while competing in New York Sire Stakes races, was the public's 1-9 betting favorite on Monday and marched out to the early lead in the $8,000 race for New York Sired trotters. Straight A Student scampered away from her rivals for a dominant win in 1:58. It served as one of two victories on the day for Hennessey on an afternoon when Frank Coppola Jr. was the sulky star. Coppola piloted four winners on the holiday matinee card. Live racing resumes on Thursday at Saratoga with live racing starting at 4:00pm. Mike Sardella
Artful Way (Artistic Fella) won his fourth Open Pace of the year on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jackie Rousse-trained four year old not only set a lifetime mark but also paced the fastest mile of the year thus far at the Spa when he stopped the timer in 1:51. Frank Coppola Jr. pointed Artful Way out to the early lead in a sizzling 26.3 before yielding to rival JK Panache (Wally Hennessey) past the quarter. JK Panache flew through a half in 54.1 and three quarters 1:22.1 and still had something left in the stretch. Artful Way tracked him down in the final strides to record the mild upset at odds of 6-1. JK Panache held second while Caution Signs (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Artful Way, who won ten times in 25 starts last year en route to over $100,000 in earnings, is on almost that exact pace again in 2016 as he never owns five wins and more than $50,000 in his first thirteen starts of the season. The winner returned $15.80 while the race's exacta and triple paid $60.50 and $380, respectively. Live racing takes place on Sunday and Monday afternoons with matinees beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Pompano Beach, FL...June 1, 2016...Pompano Park closed out its highly successful 2015-2016 harness racing meeting on Tuesday night (May 31) as the 20 cent Super Hi-5, with a carryover of $28,537 going in, attracted over $271,000 in new wagers, sending that final pool total over the $300,000 mark. With Sweet Bet, the even-money tote-board favorite taking the finale, and the only other "single digit" odds horses finishing "2-3-4," the 20 cent payoff amounted to $122.20 with over 2,000 winning tickets in line to collect. On the racing front, Goldstar Rockette and Sailer Eddie took top honors in their respective $10,000 feature pacing and trotting events. Goldstar Rockette, given picture perfect rating by Kevin Wallis, led first long stride to last in the pace, scoring a handy 1:55.1 win measuring 1 1/4 lengths over Della Bea, handled by Dave Ingraham, Real Nice Girl, in the garden spot all the way, finished third for Joe Sanzeri while Sue's Night Out and Shortest Distance complete the order of finish in the quintet. The fractions were :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.4 before a :28.2 finale sealed the deal, prompting driver Kevin Wallis to relate, "With the scratch in there, instead of post six, we moved into that coveted post five and she made the lead very easily and the middle half mile was rather soft with no one coming. "Louie (trainer Ginesi) has her very sharp these days, so that made my job that much easier. She's tough right now, no doubt about it!" The six year-old Florida bred daughter of Rock On won for the third consecutive week and eighth time for the year, sending her seasonal bounty to $41,062, her most lucrative season ever. The win also vaulted her lifetime bounty over the $100,000 plateau--$104,913 to be precise--for owner-trainer Lou Ginesi. As the 1 to 20 favorite, Goldstar Rockette returned $2.10. About 23 minutes later, Wallis guided his own Sailer Eddie to a similar wire-to-wire win in the trot, hitting the wire first off of fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:26.3 before a :29 final panel closed out that event in 1:55.3 with 1 1/2 lengths to spare over the late-charging Pittsburgh Hanover, driven by Wally Ross, Jr.. Political Foe, with Joe Sanzeri handling the lines, finished third after putting in a mild threat around the final bend. Caviart Griffin finished fourth while Gold Savage picked up the nickel in the field after a difficult journey early. In a post-race interview, Wallis said, "he's pretty tough when the fractions go his way. That second quarter breather helped his cause and I was pretty confident when we got to the half in :57 and a piece. Sailer Eddie, a consistent six year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, sent his 2016 scorecard to 4-4-3 in 19 starts, good for earnings of 37,236 this semester and $324,481 career-wise. Off at 3 to 5 on the tote-board, Sailer Eddie returned $3.40 to his multitude of followers. Wally Hennessey wound up as the leading driver of the 126 night meeting with 224 wins while Kevin Wallis finished next with 151 trips to the charmed circle. Aaron Byron, John MacDonald and Rick Plano rounded out the top five in the standings based on wins. The leading driver, based on winning percentage of wins with 100 drives or more, was George Napolitano, Jr., who had 43 wins in 120 starts, a rate over 35%. The training title went to Paul Holzman, with 49 winners in 168 starts. Mike Deters and Dale Gilmour finished in a "dead-heat" for second with 43 victories while Dan Hennessey and Jim McDonald completed the top five. Holzman also won the percentage title with trainers competing in 100 or more races, finishing with a winning percentage of 29. The 2016-2017 126 night meeting begins October 2. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Hollywood Jess (Conway Hall) pulled off the mild upset in Monday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Dave Dewhurst trainee parlayed her pocket ride to victory. Hollywood Jess was dismissed at odds of 8-1 but wound up getting the perfect trip in Monday's $9,950 feature for New York Sired trotters. The race's frontrunner Stoneridge (Jim Devaux) was pressured every step of the way and once Hollywood Jess found racing room in the passing lane, the four year old mare trotted right by to record her first win on the 2016 campaign. Luck Of Macrea (Frank Coppola Jr) came on for second while Stoneridge held on to finish third in the mile trotted in 1:59.3. Hollywood Jess was piloted to victory on the Memorial Day matinee card by Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with first post time set for 4:00pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Boli (Kadabra) came north to Saratoga Casino Hotel after enjoying a big couple of months at the Pompano Park this spring. The Dan Hennessey-trained trotter finished second in last week's Open Trot while making his local debut. On Sunday afternoon, the four year old Boli went last to first to secure his first local victory in the $15,000 Open. Wally Hennessey sat patiently with the race's 8-5 second choice before making his move in the final quarter. Slugfest, the 3-5 betting favorite in the feature, was first over and took over the lead at the head of the stretch before Boli trotted past to win in 1:54.4. The win time serves as a new lifetime mark for the up-and-coming trotter and was the fastest time of the year for a trotter at the Spa, that was until it was bested the following race when Flyhawk Thriller (Cash Hall) cruised to victory in 1:54.2. Slugfest continued his sensational streak of hitting the board every week in the local Open as he was the runner up on Sunday. Cashahallic (Austin Siegelman) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Monday afternoon with a Memorial Day matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
Godiva Seelster (Camluck) moved her win streak to four on Friday night as she scored a front-running harness racing victory in the $15,000 feature at Saratoga. Wally Hennessey powered the race's 4-5 favorite out to the early lead in the 1 1/16 mile Open Pace for Fillies and Mares and Godiva Seelster would not be denied. It was the fourth consecutive victory for the six year old mare, two at Pompano Park before scoring two straight since after north to Saratoga. Godiva Seelster covered the 1 1/16 miles in 2:00 besting pocket sitter Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) and third place finisher Dilly Dali (Bruce Aldrich Jr). For Godiva Seelster, who paid $3.70 to win, it was victory number 29 in 92 career starts. The exacta in the feature returned $9.70 and the triple came back $33.20. Godiva Seelster is owned by Paul and Patti O'Neil of Saratoga Springs. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella
Godiva Seelster (Camluck) made her harness racing return to the Spa a winning one on Friday night. The Dan Hennessey-trained mare competed at a high level this winter and spring at Pompano Park in Florida and handled the adjustment back to the north with ease as she scored in the $15,000 Open Handicap for Fillies and Mares. Godiva Seelster left quickly and wound up sitting the pocket to the race's favorite in the 1 1/16 mile Friday feature. After three quarters went in a quick 1:25, the leader tired when confronted by longshot My Spring Fling (Jim Devaux). Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey found clearance around the final turn and snuck Godiva Seelster off the pylons and she charged hard to get by My Spring Fling and secure her third victory of the year. My Spring Fling, who was dismissed at odds of 50-1, finished a strong second while Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) came on to earn the show spot. Godiva Seelster, who is owned by Paul and Patti O'neil of Saratoga Springs, stopped the timer in 2:00.2 for the 1 1/16 miles. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella
Former harness racing Maine champion to make seasonal debut in $150,000 Playoff on Sunday, May 8 at the Meadowlands Trainer Paul Kelley will be the first to admit that his star trotter Obrigado has been "a pleasant surprise." Kelley bought the former Maine-bred champion at the 2013 Harrisburg Sale for $53,000 with the hope that he would develop into a nice open trotter at Saratoga. Instead, the six-year-old gelding by Boy Band - Malimony, by Malabar Man has become a top-class stakes horse who earned $405,535 in 2015 with a signature win in the $200,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs and a runner-up finish to close out the year in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Final. Obrigado is part of an all-star field of nine entered in Sunday's inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff at the Meadowlands. The race winner will receive an invitation to the Elitlopp at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden on May 29. The Playoff is scheduled for Race 1 on Sunday's matinee program with a post time of 12:40 p.m. It will be broadcast live on national television in Sweden and anchors a six-race trotting block that will make up the V64 wager in Sweden. Obrigado spent his winter in Florida with Kelley and posted two winning qualifiers at Pompano Park before shipping north. He qualified last Saturday at the Meadowlands in 1:54.1 with a final quarter in 27.1 in his final tune-up before Sunday. "He had a really good winter and Wally Hennessey was especially happy with his second qualifier," explained Kelley. "He needed a good stiff training mile last weekend because he can tend to be a lazy horse. That effort was good for him to stretch his legs and open his lungs up. I don't know if I have him 100 percent where I want him to be, but if he's up to it, he will be right there on the wire and if not, then he is not quite ready." Kelley shares ownership of Obrigado with Linwood Higgins, Stable 45, and the SRF Stable of Lennart Agren. Agren bought the ownership share previously held by Bill Weaver, the legendary owner and breeder who passed away this past February at the age of 79. Agren is from Sweden and owns 2015 Elitlopp Champion, Magic Tonight. "Mr. Agren is a great sportsman and horseman and I know he would love nothing more than to have Obrigado race over at Solvalla," said Kelley. "I have been fortunate to attend the Elitlopp and it is truly a tremendous event. I am familiar with the whole setup over there and know how difficult it is for an American horse to win, especially this year where Nuncio looks like he will be a big favorite and have the home course advantage." Fans can learn more about each of the horses entered in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff by visiting www.elitloppplayoff.com/ and can join the discussion on social media using #ElitloppPlayoff. Wagering Update With the change to the regular Meadowlands schedule by racing on Sunday afternoon, the regular guarantees in the Pick Five and two Pick Four wagers will not be in place. The jackpot amounts in the Super High Five wagers will remain. Justin Horowitz
Boli, the four year-old talented son of Kadabra, stepped up to Open company on Tuesday night (April 26) at Pompano Park and scored his fifth consecutive harness racing victory, this one in a seasonal best clocking of 1:55.1. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli was driven by Wally Hennessey and pinned a half-length defeat on the late charging Cashahallic, with Matt Romano in the bike. Sailer Eddie finished third for Kevin Wallis after cutting much of the mile while Nothinbutanallstar and Majestic Won earned the minors in the field of six. Using his usual tactics, Boli lolly-gagged a length off the gate at the start but wended his way into fourth by the time Sailer Eddie hit the opener in a sharp :27.1 with Cashahallic second and Nothinbutanallstar, showing a bit of early foot from the outside post, landing in third. Positions remained stagnant through the half in a well rated :57.2 with Boli now out and churning forward on the backside, reaching within a neck of Sailer Eddie through a "picked-up" three-quarters in 1:26.1. In the lane, Boli muscled his way to the front and, given just a couple of reminders late, held off Cashahallic in the drive to the finish. After the race, Hennessey said, "After that unbelievable performance last week, I didn't know what really to expect tonight but he seemed very relaxed leaving and so I went looking for a spot seeing that the inside horses didn't seem all that interested early. "I found that good spot in fourth and sensed a slower pace going over to the half and that's why I pulled around that second turn. "On the backside, the pace 'picked-up' but my horse likes that sort of thing and likes to dig in, so that didn't bother him at all. "In the lane, I just gave him a couple of subtle reminders and that was that. It was another good performance for him." In winning his fifth straight, Boli sent his seasonal bankroll to $19,762 and $79,314 on the strength of his 10th win in only 30 career starts. Off at 2 to 5 on the tote-board, Boli returned $2.80 to win. The $9,500 Open 2 for pacing mares went to Goldstar Rockette, handled by Corey Braden for owner-trainer Lou Ginesi. This Florida bred six year-old daughter of Rock On blasted out from the Hummer Starting Gate into a quick early lead, yielded to Cheap N Easy, driven by John MacDonald, short of the blistering :26.4 opener, reclaimed three-eighths into the mile, and went on to post subsequent panels of :56.3 and 1:24.1 before striding home in :28.1 to record a lifetime best clocking of 1:52.2-her margin just short of three lengths over Cheap N Easy. Artful Impulse was third for Wally Hennessey while De Valeria finished fourth. Limelight picked up the nickel in the septet. Goldstar Rockette won for the fifth time in 16 starts this semester to send her 2016 bounty to $24,187. She now has 17 lifetime wins and career earnings of $88,038. Though her recent miles don't indicate early speed, Goldstar Rockette has won 13 of her 17 lifetime wins on the engine. As the even money favorite, Goldstar Rockette returned $4.00 to win. Racing continues on a two night-a-week schedule-Sundays and Tuesdays-throughout the month on May with post time set at 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park