Day At The Track

Wild Wanda takes "Ladies" Open at Pompano

04:51 PM 16 Dec 2015 NZDT
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Wild Wanda
Ricky Macomber, Jr. guided Wild Wanda to a handy win in Pompano Park's Open Pace for Fillies and Mares
Skip Smith Photo

Pompano Beach, FL…December 15, 2015 - Harness racing driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. continued his successful comeback after a short “surgical” absence from the racing wars when he guided Wild Wanda to a two length win in Pompano Park’s $12,100 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares on Tuesday night.

The four year-old daughter of Palone Ranger, trained by Jamie Macomber and owned by the Rheinheimer’s—Larry, Douglas, Jeanie and Mary Jo—completed her journey in 1:51, a lifetime best, after securing the lead after a hot :26.4 and then on to even hotter fractions of :54.1 and 1:22 en route to the handy win over Classic Carpet, driven by Mike Micallef, with Pertty Music and Ed Hensley teaming up for show honors.

Sandysgoldenhour finished fourth while Art Frenzy picked up the minors in the bulky field of 10.

Wild Wanda won for the fourth time in 20 starts this year sending her seasonal earnings to $82,338 and $151,965 lifetime.

In observing the new lifetime mark time of 1:51, Macomber said, “Maybe we should rename her ‘Freaky Feet Wanda,” referring owner Mary Jo’s ownership interest in the great Freaky Feet Pete.

“She went a very huge mile and had something left at the end despite the demanding pace.”

As the fourth choice in the betting pool, Wild Wanda paid $15.00 to win.

Also on Tuesday night, Pompano Park’s lucrative Late Closer action continued with the second leg of the Interloper for claiming trotters and the Optimist for claiming pacing geldings, contested in two divisions.

The Interloper went to the classy 12 year-old warrior Celtic Merchant, handled this night by Brad Kramer for owner-trainer Steve Oldford.

This altered son of Angus Hall led every step of the mile, clocking fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.3 before safely sealing the issue with a :29.4 finale, stopping the tele-timer in 1:56.2, his fastest winning performance in over two-and-a-half years and the 42nd career victory in his storied career.

Browner Shuttle finished a fast closing second for Ed Hensley while Gimme The Loot, teamed up with Marcello Spano, finished third.

Princess Crown finished fourth and a mild bid around the final turn and Witty’s Winner finished fifth in the field of nine.

In a post-race interview, trainer Steve Oldford gave high praise for his trotter saying, “you know, this horse has been awful good to me. I won the Billings Gold Cup with him and he’s got just an amazing heart.

“He suffered an injury some months back so we nursed him back to health and, yes, he’s 12, but he’s come back like a four year-old.

“We usually give him three days off—he’s had over 200 starts—and then we jog him over the soft track at Sunshine Meadows before he sees the (starting) gate.

“Brad (driver Kramer) handled him perfectly, too.”

In this abbreviated 2015 season, Celtic Merchant now sports a 5-2-1 scorecard in nine starts with $17,334 in earnings. He’s banked $339,752 lifetime to go along with his 10 year-old mark of 1:54.4.

As the 7 to 5 favorite, Celtic Merchant paid $4.80 to win.

The first division of the Optimist went to Ashley Johnson’s Cherokee Ranger, scoring for Dave Ingraham in 1:53.

This four year-old son of Palone Ranger, trained by Dustin “300” Ingraham, stretched his winning streak to four, pinning a two length defeat on Clive Hanover, handled by Mike Micallef.

W F N, shuffled to last around the final turn, rallied for third with Kevin Wallis in the bike. The early leader, Dr. Flamingo, finished fourth while Flak Jacket finished fifth in the sextet to pick up the nickel.

Cherokee Ranger was actually last early but brushed up strongly after a :27.1 opener and wended his way into contention—third halfway through the mile clocked in :56.4—before surging to the lead three-eighths out, passing the third station in 1:24, and then sealing the issue with a :28.1 finale for his 10th win of the year, good for seasonal bounty of $28,653.

The second division went to the favorite, Lightning Legs, handled by co-owner Ed Hensley for co-owner and trainer Ashleigh Hensley.

This six year-old son of Peruvian Hanover, won for only the second time this semester by covering the mile in 1:55, a seasonal best.

Mountain Air, with Bryce Fenn in the bike, finished second, 1 ¼ lengths back, while Dynamic Rayzer finished third for Dave Ingraham.

Star Chaser, prominent early, finished fourth and All American Major was next in the septet.

At the outset, both Lightning Legs (post six) and Dynamic Rayzer (post seven) left with alacrity with the latter winner the early war through an opener of :27.2 before relinquishing the top spot to Lightning Legs, making a second move to control the festivities through a well rated second panel, reaching the half in :57.

On the backside, Lightning Legs began to feel the heat as Star Chaser made a first up bid, reaching the saddle pad of the leader at the third station in 1:25.3

In the lane, Lightning Legs put away that challenge and held off the late surging Mountain Air to score the win.

Lightning Legs now has nine lifetime wins and $34,489 with this win worth $2,250 being the richest payday in his career.

He paid $4.40 to win.

Finally on Tuesday night, the fourth race pentafecta combination of 6-2-8-1-10 was left unscathed and a carryover of $6,004 awaits in Saturday’s fourth race.

Post time for the Saturday program is 7:30 p.m. as the track moves into their five-night-per-week schedule of Saturday through Wednesday.

by John Berry for Pompano Park

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