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Headed briefly by Unlocked in upper stretch, Fireyourguns ($3.80) battled valiantly to a 1:50.4 triumph in Sunday (May 10) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace  at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. Aaron Byron initially settled in the pocket with the six-year-old American Ideal gelding, but an eager Fireyourguns vacated the pocket and cleared to the lead immediately after Unlocked reeled off a :26.2 first quarter. Fireyourguns would then control the pace through a solid :55.1 middle half before facing a late challenge from Unlocked on the far turn. While Unlocked took a brief lead in upper stretch, Fireyourguns would not be denied, battling back to stick a neck in front in the final yards. Unlocked was a game second, while Damon Blue Chip (Tyler Buter) closed belatedly up the pegs to take third.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyour guns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe. The win was the second on the year in as many starts for Fireyourguns.   Jim Marohn, Jr. and Jim Taggart, Jr. shared top driving honors on the 12-race card, recording three wins apiece.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m.   James Witherite

Pompano Beach, FL...April 25, 2015...E Z Noah, driven by Aaron Byron, unhurried early through blazing fractions, roared home in :27.1 to post an upset harness racing  win in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night. The six year-old gelded son of Western Terror, trained by Shawn Glassmeyer for owner Baron Racing Stable, stopped the timer in 1:50 for his first success of the season in seven starts, drawing clear by two lengths over Steelhead Hanover (Joe Pavia, Jr.) and Johnny Grippa (Bruce Ranger), the latter duo finishing in a dead-heat for second. Three Of Clubs, making his initial appearance this season, was just a nose back in fourth while Raji's Blue Line picked up the nickel in the field of nine. It was Three Of Clubs with gate speed at the start with Steelhead Hanover, beginning from post nine, on the attack early and taking charge just short of the opener in :26.2 with Johnny Grippa next and E Z Noah a relaxed fourth. Positions remained unchanged through the :54.4 half with E Z Noah on the move midway up the backside. With the hot pace continuing through 3/4s in 1:22.1, Steelhead Hanover continued to show the way but, a sixteenth out, E Z Noah had him measured and strolled on by, with Johnny Gripps and Three Of Clubs battling for place honors with with Steelhead. The photo showed Steelhead Hanover and Johnny Gripps tied and Three Of Clubs a nostril back. In a post race interview, driver Aaron Byron said, "Shawn (Trainer Glassmeyer) told me that the horse has a ton of talent and that he thought he'd been on the improve. I thought I might be in a little deep with him but I was hoping for a hot pace with the thought of picking up the pieces if they went 3/4s in, say, (1):22. He was full of pace in the lane when it counted." EZ Noah now has 20 lifetime victories and career bounty of $411,774. As fifth choice on the tote-board, E Z Noah paid $20.60 to his faithful followers. In the $7,000 pace for $15,000 claimers, Neptune Blue Chip, handled by Bruce Ranger, went back to his "old" strategy and used alacrity out of the gate and broke the beams at :26.2, :55.1 and 1:23 before sprinting home in :27.4 to report home in a lifetime best 1:50.4. Though Neptune Blue Chip has had the majority of his wins leading up to this night on or near the front end--20 of 24--he has been racing off the pace in recent events but, on Saturday night, he was on the engine as the gate sprung and, as driver Bruce Ranger said, "he brushed the whole mile." The seven year-old altered son of American Ideal, trained by Jim Mc Donald for Ciro Gentile and Twenty Four Carrot Racing, pinned the wire-to-wire defeat on pocket sitting M G Home Run (Kevin Wallis), 1 1/4 lengths away. Cascata (Dave Ingraham) finished third while Oakmont and Acton Onelasttime picked up the final two awards. Neptune Blue Chip won for the 25th time in his career measuring 116 starts, sending his lifetime bounty to $160,497. As the 8 to 5 favorite, Neptune Blue Chip paid $5.20 to win. In another Saturday night highlight, longtime sports writer Murray Janoff, one of the original founders of the United States Harness Writers Association, was honored on the eve of his 100th birthday. Family and friends, including New York newspaper columnists Dave and Debbie Little, former driver Lucien Fontaine and Harnesslink editor Steve Wolf, joined the sports icon in the winner's circle to pay a well deserved tribute for his coverage of harness racing, as well as pro football, basketball, baseball, track and field and tennis. During his distinguished career spanning eight decades, he has covered some of sport's most prestigious events, including many Super Bowl events, World Series', N.B.A. Playoffs and, of course, many harness racing feature races. Janoff, an astute handicapper, even selected the winner of his race, Beignet ($4.40) and after the race was presented with a "P.H.D." (Professional Handicapping Degree), as well. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, even with 19 to 1 chance Milliondollartouch taking the finale, saw s16 astute handicapper having the 6-4-7-5-3 combination with the 20 cent ticket returning $636.36. The carryover for Monday night's program is $165,950.91. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...March 21, 2015...While Neptune took top honors in Pompano Park's top Open Pace on Saturday night, he had to share the spotlight with Steelhead Hanover, who tripped the final timer in 1:49.2, a time equalled or eclipsed on only six other occasions in Pompano Park history. Neptune, dismissed as the fourth choice in a sextet of Open pacers, pulled off a mile upset at Pompano Park on Saturday night, stopping the timer with a lifetime best 1:50.2 performance for driver Aaron Byron.   The six year-old son of Riverboat King, trained by Dale Gilmour for owner Sue Chindano, dawdled near the back of the pack early on as favored Remissionofsins, handled by Bruce Ranger, sizzled panels of :25.4, :54.1 and 1;21.3 before seccumbing to the late onslaught of the winner, pacing the fastest final panel of all--:27.4--to eke out the photo finish win measuring a head. Remissionofsins did finish second.   Cadillac Phil, with Mike Micallef handling the lines, closed from last around the final turn to finish third while Fancyfreeshark was fourth. Heart Felt, prominent throughout the mile in the garden spot, picked up the nickel, 2 1/2 lengths away, while Prairie Jaguar, forced to go about an extra 20 yards while outside all the way, finished sixth, pacing his mile in 1:51.   In a post race interview, driver Aaron Byron related, "Neptune really had no room to roam in his last couple of starts, until it was too late late to do much damage. Tonight, it was kind of the same story, but, this time, we were able to find some room and he responded...big time! The fractions were very hot tonight and that helped his cause as we know he can pace a final quarter under :27."   Trainer Dale Gilmour chimed in as well saying, "This horse isn't very large in stature but he has a tremendous heart and seems to love his surroundings. He only had a handful of starts on tracks larger than a half mile (7) before coming here and he was able to pace final quarters in :27 at Yonkers, so I was always hopeful he could perform well and very happy he was able to strut his stuff here."   Off at 6 to 1, Neptune paid $14.40 to win with this, his initial triumph of the year--23rd lifetime and first on a track larger than a half mile--to send his career earnings to $207,956.   Steelhead Hanover, competing in a $9,400 conditioned pace, made a shambles of his event zipping out of the gate for driver-trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. as it sprung open and carding fractions of :27, :54.4 and 1:21.1 en route to his 1:49.2 performance, reaching the wire 4 3/4 lengths ahead of the pocket sitting Cartoonist (Wally Hennessey) with One Lucky Dragon (Matt Romano) third. Smile A Little and Damon BLue Chip completed the initial five in the field of nine.   Owned by the consortium of Held, the AGC Stables, Dijo Racing and Barbera, Steelhead Hanover, a six year-old son of Bettor's Delight was making just his second start of the year and, although he does own a 1:48.3 mark at Pocono Downs, Pavia was surprised at the outcome.   "I thought he'd be better tonight on the drop down in class," he said, "but I was very surprised at the time. He did this whole thing by himself. After I sent him, he just rambled on all on his own. He was absolutely outstanding tonight...and he did it easily, too!"   While the time might have been a surprise to Pavia, the outcome was not...to the bettor's, anyhow. Steelhead Hanover was 1 to 5 on the board and paid $2.60 to win.   That win, incidentally, was the pacer's 17th lifetime in 69 starts, pushing his lifetime earnings to $489,458.   A $10,000 co-feature for $20,000-$25,000 claiming pacers went to Johnny Grippa, driven by Bruce Ranger in 1:51.3.   In an event cut to just a field of three with two pre-race scratches, Johnny Grippa, trained by Stewart Nemiro for Mc Trade Enterprises, wired his two opponents off of fractions of :28, :55.4 and 1:24.1 before a :27.2 sprint home sealed the deal by a length over the favorite JJ's Doughnut (Kevin Wallis). Machinist (Jason Dillander) finished third in the trio.   The winner, a seven year-old son of Cam's Card Shark, won for the 40th time during his career--third time this season--to send his lifetime bankroll to $177,395.   As 8 to 5 second choice, Johnny Grippa paid $5.40 to win.   Yet another $10,000 co-feature--this one a conditioned event for pacers--went to Northern Companion, driven by Dave Ingraham, coming from well of the pace and pacing his final half in :54 to roll by late to score a 1:52.1 decision measuring three-quarters-of-a-length over Don't Tell Rusty (Dan Clements) with T's Electric (Jason Dillander) third. Hillybilly rallied from eight and last to finish fourth while Who's Your Maddy finished fifth.   The victory for the Howard Klohr trained/Dorothy Zarza owned seven year-old son of Cambest was his 2nd of the year in just six starts and 39th triumph lifetime, sending his lifetime bounty just a few dollars shy of $250,000.   Northern Companion was second choice in the betting and paid $10.60 to win.   Finally, the Florida Amateur Driving Club had two events on the Saturday night program with Dein Spriggs taking the opener with Zeitgeist and Four Starz Credit and driver Jamie Marra teaming up for the victory in the second.   In the case of Spriggs win, it was the ninth straight week that Amateur Driver Spriggs has reached the winner's circle in an FADC event.   After that event, the club made a large donation to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in honoring the memory of popular Pompano Park farrier Robert Rochealue, who lost his battle with brain cancer several weeks ago.   The club now has surpassed the $140,000 in charitable donations.   Pompano Park's 20 cent Super Hi-5 had nine winning tickets out on the 8-1-10-4-2 combination paying $183.40 each sending the carryover to the Sunday night program over $55,000.   Post time is 7:30 p.m.   Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...January 21, 2015...Its Payday Friday completely justified the public's confidence of sending the five year-old off at a dime-to-a-dollar in the betting by scoring a resounding 4 1/4 length victory in Pompano Park's $12,500 harness racing Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night.   The altered son of Kadabra, trained by Renaldo Morales III for owner-driver Dan Clements, took command just a stride or two prior to the :27.2 opener and then wired panels of :57 and 1:26 before sprinting home in :28 to equal his lifetime mark of 1:54.   Dukester and Rick Plano teamed up for plane honors while Buddy Hally, with Stephen Byron handling the lines, finished third, five lengths away.   The very early leader, Adenium, finished fourth while Highland Yankee finished fifth in the quintet.   In a post-race interview, driver Dan Clements gave a lot of credit to the track crew saying, "This racetrack was absolutely perfect tonight--not too hard...not too deep...just perfect. Kudos to them! As far as the trip went, well, as you can see here in the winner's circle, the earplugs are still in so I don't know how much more he would have gone had I pulled them. He was really awesome tonight!"   Its Payday Friday is on quite a roll having six wins and five seconds in 11 starts since arriving at Pompano Park in late October.   This victory pushed his lifetime bounty just shy of $200,000--$198,888 to be exact.   The companion $11,000 Open Trot went to M C Felix, a recent claim by owner Neal Oksenberg. Trained and driven by Aaron Byron, M C Felix took command at the quarter and wired his foes the rest of the way, stopping the timer in 1:55 for his 36th lifetime success. This nine year-old son of A J's Tycoon now has $348,229 on his card.   The second leg of the Sea Eagle Late Closing Event for claiming pacers went post-ward in two divisions--Sea Eagle the winner of the very first race contest at Pompano Park on February 4, 1964--with Deep Finesse and First Impression staking a claim to the final scheduled for January 28.   Deep Finesse, a nine year-old son of Western Paradise, came from well off the pace negotiating his final three-quarters in 1:24.2 to score the victory measuring 1 3/4 lengths for driver Jason Dillander. Terrorizer, with Ed Hensley in the bike, was second while Four Starz Kyle finished third for Rick Plano. Elkhorn Damian and Tumblin' Dice, the early pacesetter, also picked up minor awards, fourth and fifth, respectively.   Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Deep Finesse won for the 33rd time in his career--the hard hitting claimer now at $231,835 in career bounty.   As second choice on the board at 9 to 5, Deep Finesse paid $5.60 to win.   First Impression, driven by Aaron Byron, made his 200th lifetime start a memorable one with a sharp 1:53.1 win in the second division of the Sea Eagle Late Closer, taking the lead right at the opening marker of :27.3 and carding fractions of :56 and 1:25 before a sprint home in :28.1 sealed the deal measuring a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths over Tivolii Hanover, handled by Jason Dillander. Who Dey finished third for Mickey McNichol while Unrecognized Saint finished fourth. Memory In Motion picked up the final award in the field of six--three 10 year-olds and three 11 year-olds!   Owned by the Three Gees Stable and trained by Gary McDonald, First Impression won for the 39th time in his career, sending his lifetime bankroll to $352,288.   As the 8 to 5 tote-board favorite, First Impression paid $5.40 to his faithful.   Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 again had multiple winners on Wednesday night setting up a record carryover exceeding $60,000 for Saturday night's program.   Finally, The Florida Amateur Driving Club boosted their charitable donations past the $135,000 mark with a contribution to the Christian Harness Horseman's Association. The CHHA, with more than 1,000 members world-wide, was represented by Chaplain Lee Alphen. A large group of horsemen and women, including Dan Clements, Bruce Ranger, Diane Hellen and young Tom Wine, Mike Hardy, Pete Pellegrino, Jason Dillander and Allen Saul, were in the winner's circle to make the presentation.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Associations president, Steven Wolf, has announced the award winners for the 2014 harness racing season. They will be honored at the association’s 24th annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the Elks Lodge in Pompano Beach. Elected to the chapter’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes special individuals who have been outstanding leaders within the industry for more than ten years and who have contributed to the betterment of the Standardbred Industry, are owner, breeder, trainer, Tom Audley of Bell, owner/breeders Anthony Amante & Christine Garrity of Amante Standardbreds of Delray Beach and owner/trainer Lou Rapone of Pompano Beach. Also being inducted on the equine side into the Hall of Fame is Amante Standardbred’s great Florida-sired pacer, Hearty Fellow. He raced only at Pompano Park his entire career, nine straight years with 50 career victories and earnings of over $380,000. Winner of the Delvin G. Miller Award, which recognizes someone or an organization whose life in harness racing reflects dedication and integrity furthering the growth of the sport, goes to former harness racing driver Lucien Fontaine of Margate. The Stanley Dancer Award, which recognizes achievements of a trainer who has been continuously outstanding in the development of young trotters, goes for the second time to trainer Lou Ginesi of Deerfield Beach. The William Popfinger Award for developing outstanding juvenile pacers goes to trainer Mike Deters of Coconut Creek. The Frances Dodge Van Lennep Award, which recognizes an outstanding female who has made great contributions to the sport, goes to Carol Macomber of Fort Lauderdale. The winner of the Allen J. Finkelson Award recognizes an individual in the sport who has contributed to the positive promotion of the Standardbred industry and being honored this year is Victoria Howard of Boca Raton. Winner of the R.D. Ricketts Award, presented to an owner whose contributions to Florida racing have been outstanding, is Laurie Poulin of Okeechobee. The winner of the Dana Irving Award for breeding excellent juvenile performers in 2014 are Kim and Jay Sears of Osteen. The Peter Haughton Award for the best newcomer to Pompano Park goes to Aaron Byron of Canada who is now one of the leading drivers at Pompano this season. The Dan Gawlas Good Guy Award, presented annually to an outstanding individual who has always contributed positively to the sport, goes to Dr. Marah Lee of Lauderdale By-The-Sea. The Florida USHWA Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to longtime owner Heddy Nelson of Tamarac. The annual Caretaker of the Year Award will be presented to an outstanding individual who, over his or her career, has dedicated untiring time and efforts caring for the horses in the stable(s) they worked for. This year’s honoree will be announced shortly. In addition to the Florida USHWA chapter’s awards, presentations will also be made by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association to the owners of the top 2 and 3-year-old state-bred trotters and pacers from the 2014 season and the annual Breeder of the Year Award. The Florida Amateur Driving Club will also present their year-end awards. Tickets are $65 per person for the full course dinner that begins at 6:00 pm with a one-hour open bar with appetizers. Tables of ten are available. For more information, to purchase tickets, or place a congratulatory ad in the program book, please contact Rosie Huff at the Florida Standardbred Breeders Office at 954-972.5400, rhuff@myfsboa.com, or Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757, stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter USHWA

Pompano Beach, FL --- E Z Noah, coming into Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Pace with the highest seasonal earnings of the sextet, took top honors by wiring a talented field on Saturday (Dec. 6) night in 1:51.2. Strategically and superbly handled by Aaron Byron, this 5-year-old son of Western Terrorled at every marker in scoring a half-length triumph over stablemate Lyons Johnny, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike. The 1-2 favorite, Duc Dorleans, fresh off his lifetime best winning performance of 1:49, finished third for Donald Dupont while Dont Tell Rusty finished fourth. Red Scooter picked up the nickel. E Z Noah blasted out of the Hummer Starting Gate from post five and stuffed Duc Dorleans, beginning from post six, in the pocket with Lyons Johnny settling in third through an opening panel of :26.2. That's when Byron's strategic handling played the key role in the win. Strolling over to the half in a "soft" :55.4, E Z Noah began his journey up the backside with a 1-1/2 length lead over Duc Orleans with Lyons Johnny now out and driving--the two stablemates literally noses apart at the third station in 1:23.4. Turning for home, the "mates" continued their battle with E Z Noah edging a few steps further to the good in the late stages on the strength of a :27.3 finale. In a postrace interview, driver Aaron Byron said, "I think the key was that second quarter. "Noah" has a mark of :49 and a piece over a 5/8ths mile track (1:49.3 at Pocono) so I knew he had some steam left after that softer second quarter. It was fun seeing Joe (Pavia) come alongside with the stablemate (Lyons Johnny) and I thought it would be a foot race between us to the wire." Trained by Peter Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable of Horsham, PA, E Z Noah pushed his lifetime bounty to just a shade under $400,000 lifetime--$397,752. He's banked $113,367 this year with an 8-7-3 scorecard in a busy season of 38 starts. Though E Z Noah's win was billed as the top event of the superb Saturday night card, there were three other performances timed faster than the Open. Dan Clements piloted his own P L Hellcat to a new life mark of 1:50.3 in the opening event, Cadillac Phil, driven by Joe Pavia, Jr. for owner trainer Luca Derrico, scored in 1:50.2 in the Open 2 pace and Wrenn Racing's Always In The Money stopped the clock in a lifetime best 1:51.1 for Peter Wrenn. Also, there were some fireworks on the tote-board in the last race as Mach It Paiden, off at 62-1, scored for Dave Ingraham in a lifetime best 1:52.2--his previous mark being 1:57. That set the stage for a superfecta refund, as well as a healthy carry-over for Pompano Park's new Super Hi-5, which now moves into a new high carry-over for Monday night's racing program. Post time Monday is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 31, 2014...The newly formed rivalry between Prairie Jaguar and Panocchio continues at Pompano Park on Saturday night but a new entity in from Canada, Duc Dorleans, looks to spoil that confrontation. Last week, Panocchio, deftly handled by Bruce Ranger, put a slight dent in Prairie Jaguar's crown by scoring a 1:50.4 decision over that one to send his 2014 bounty to $113,570 for owners Emile Johnson, Jr. and trainer Jim Mattison. "Yeah," said Mattison, "he's gone from being hot headed and ornery to a very smart racehorse. I have to give my wife, Vicki, credit for that. She's the one with the magic touch. "He's had a good campaign--but tough--but he seemed to come out of last week's mile very well." Panocchio has been assigned the outside post in this week's octet and, once again, will have Bruce Ranger in the sulky and is the narrow 9 to 5 favorite in the morning line. Prairie Jaguar, the author of five winning miles in 1:50 or faster at Pompano Park, usually has lightning gate speed but, last week, he was hard pressed to make the top through a :27 opener and, after carving panels of :54.3 and 1:22.3, grudgingly succumbed to Panocchio's pocket sitting journey. This six-year-old Florida bred, owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, is the 2 to 1 second choice and seeks his 11th win of the year--seven of those in South Florida. About the new rivalry, trainer Deters said, "Believe me, it's an honor to be second to a horse of Panocchio's caliber. Even on a half miler, that horse can grind and grind and grind until he gets the job done. It will be interesting!" The "new kid on the block" this week is Duc Dorleans, coming in to the action as the richest performer in the field--$385,356--along with a 1:49.2 mark of his own. Owned by the Levesque Stable, Duc Dorleans is very well known for his striking speed at the end of his miles. Trainer-driver Donald Dupont said, "Yes, this horse has been known to pace last quarters in :25 and a piece. Of course, that was on a larger track (Mohawk) so I am hoping the pace will be fast enough so he can pick up the pieces in the stretch. Of course, there are five others looking to do the same including Northern Companion, Cartoonist and Raji's Blue Line. Northern Companion is no stranger to the Pompano Park winner's circle, having won 28 of his 36 lifetime successes here in South Florida--the fastest in 1:50.3. Owned by Dorothy Zarza, "Buddy," as he's known around the barn, is trained by Howard Klohr and will have Dave Ingraham in the bike. Cartoonist, owned by the S S G Stables and trained by Jim McDonald, won the Open two starts ago in a lifetime best performance--1:51.3--and will have Wally Hennessey handling the lines. Raji's Blue Line steps up to the "big time" after circling his competition with a final 3/4s in 1:24 to score in Pompano Park's Open 2 last week in 1:53.2. His mark, though, is 1:51. Trainer Mike Micallef will be in the bike on Saturday. Hurricane Howard, partnered in the wagering with Prairie Jaguar, and Next Flight In complete the classy field. Also noteworthy is that TVG will carry Pompano Park on their widely viewed network beginning Monday, November 3 and continue on Mondays during the month. It is expected that coverage will expand during the peak of the Pompano racing season. The "guaranteed" $5,000 Pick-4 will be featured on Mondays and Wednesdays during the month of November, this offered in partnership with the USTA Strategic Partnership Program. That particular wager is also enhanced by a "fan friendly" 12% takeout, among the lowest in the entire industry. Pompano post time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 11, 2014...Once again, the "Jaguar" mauled his harness racing rivals at Pompano Park on Saturday night. Prairie Jaguar, the splendid six year-old Florida bred son of Spy Hard, used his domineering gate speed to take the lead in the very first stride, proceeded to gnaw his way through panels of :26.4, :54.3 and 1:22.3 and went on to score a handy win measuring 1 3/4 lengths for driver Aaron Byron in Pompano Park's top $10,000 Open Pace. The final time was, once again, 1:50.3, the exact same time as last week's victory. There were a lot of "once agains" in this event. Once again, Northern Companion, with Mike Micallef handling the lines, chased the winner home. And, once again, Cartoonist, third last week, repeated that performance this week, 5 1/4 lengths away for Bruce Ranger. Hurricane Howard, along for the ride as part of an entry with the "Jaguar," was fourth with Mr. Dennis picking up the nickel in the sextet. Owned by Laurie Lee Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, Prairie Jaguar won for the 20th time during his splendid career--15 of those victories at Pompano Park. "Jaguar" is the only horse in Pompano Park history to record five winning miles in 1:50 or faster--his mark being 1:49. In a post race interview, driver Byron said, "Mr. Deters has this horses absolutely razor sharp right now. He really seems to love the surroundings here. It's like he has a real determination to put on a great show for his fans here. He just keeps going and going...amazing!" Northern Companion's trainer, Howard Klohr, also had some very complimentary words for the winner. "He's (Prairie Jaguar) just a monster right now. I think I have a pretty solid pacer in Northern Companion here and it's like I'm caught between the devil and the deep blue sea! "My horse loves to race off the pace but it's tough to plan a strategy against Prairie Jaguar. "If I don't leave from this post (five), then I'm six lengths off the pace of a horse that can pace a last half in :54 and a piece...and it's tough to make up territory in that scenario. "If I leave, like I did the last couple of times, a horse can get demoralized when you find yourself gapped while pacing an opener in :26 and a piece." Klohr, indeed, has a point! For the winner, he's now banked $85,405 for the year and $142,627 lifetime. Prairie Jaguar paid $2.80 to win this time around. In the "Open 2" Pace, Freeneasy Hanover came from well off the pace to collar 3 to 5 favorite, T's Electric, to score in 1:53.4 for Bruce Ranger. The six year-old son of Western Ideal, trained by Jim McDonald for Twenty Four Carrot Racing and Ciro Gentile, won for the 21st time during his career--five of those triumphs this year--to send his lifetime bounty to $187,090. After the event, Ranger said, "This horse gave me a bit of a hint last week. He just couldn't make up that much ground on a :55.4 final half. The pace was a bit quicker this time around (:56.1 opening half) and it worked out to his advantage because he can go a bit when given some racetrack." Racing continues at Pompano Park on Wednesday nigth with the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine State Stakes. Post time is 7:30 p.m.  

Pompano Beach, FL...October 10, 2014...In sport, home field advantage plays a key role in an individual or team success. There are three combatants entered in Pompano Park's top Open pace on Saturday night hoping that the "home field advantage" tilts their way. Prairie Jaguar, fresh off of a splendid 1:50.3 opening night win, is the morning line favorite off of that impressive effort for trainer Mike Deters, who co-owns the Florida bred along with Laurie Poulin. Aaron Byron is expected back in the bike of the six year-old. The son of Spy Hard has 19 lifetime wins--14 of those at Pompano Park. He's also the author of five miles in 1:50 or faster over the slick five-eighths mile oval, the most in the track's history. On the other hand, Dorothy Zarza's Northern Companion, known as "Buddy" around the barn, has 28 of his 36 lifetime successes over the South Florida track...but he has never beaten "Jaguar," although he's chased him home a few times this year. Trainer Howard Klohr has employed the red-hot Mike Micallef to handle the lines back of Northern Companion. One other combatant in the field, Cartoonist, third to the top two aforementioned horses last week, has 10 lifetime wins--all at Pompano Park. Owned by the S S G Stables of "McWicked" fame, Cartoonist is trained by Jim McDonald and has listed Bruce Ranger to drive this four year-old son of Modern Art, who put in a credible performance last week in his first start back after a brief summer vacation. The other entrants in the Saturday Night Special are Hurricane Howard, Who's Your Maddy and Mr. Dennis. Hurricane Howard, now seven and a former "4" claimer, has risen to the Open ranks and has 34 lifetime victories--21 of those at Pompano Park. The Florida bred, owned by Lawrence Barnett along with trainer Mike Deters, steps up to the top Open off of a gate-to-wire 1:54 victory for Tom Sells. Veteran Sells gave Hurricane Howard a masterful drive last week by rating his charge to a :58.1 half and then sprinting home in :55.4 to crush an Open 2 field. He's coupled with Prairie Jaguar in the wagering for Saturday night. Who's Your Maddy, owned by Twenty Four Carrot Racing along with Dan MacIsaac, only has nine lifetime wins but the last six have been at Pompano Park. This five year-old is best known for his ability to pace final quarters faster than :27 and makes his first start at Pompano after a five week hiatus. Trying to play "spoiler" in the field is Mr Dennis, a five year-old son of Dragon Again making his initial start at Pompano Park. A winner of $205,540 lifetime, Mr Dennis is the property of the J L Benson Stables and will have the driving services of trainer Joe Sanzeri. Post time is 7:30 p.m. with the feature carded as the third race on the card. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 8, 2014...Two brilliant, but aging, veteran trotters--Andover America and Gale Warning--proved their merit on Wednesday night by taking their respective "Open" events at Pompano Park.   In the $10,000 top open event, Andover America, now nine, earned his 54th lifetime victory with a splendid 1:57.2 win for driver Bruce Ranger, easily scoring a win measuring 3 1/4 lengths over Illusionsndreams, handled by Mickey McNichol. Adenium, with Aaron Byron in the bike, finished third after a brush from fourth to second on the backside and then out-brushed in the lane. Tug River Dylan finished fourth with Lugar, on top early before making a miscue just short of the opening panel, picking up the last check in the quintette.   After the :28.3 opening quarter, Ranger put his charge on "cruise control," wiring three straight subsequent panels of :29.3 to seal the deal.   In a post race interview, Ranger said, "Yes, he's got a bit of age on him now...and, yes, he might be a step or two slower, but he sure knows how to get the job done. He's just a grand campaigner. I would have rather had the garden journey back of Lugar but, when he jumped, I kind of inherited the lead and it worked out nicely."   Trained by Stewart Nemiro for McTrade Enterprises, Andover America now banked $770,890 during his illustrious career. Sent off at 3 to 5 on the tote-board, Andover America paid $3.40 to win.   The grand warrior Gale Warning, now 11, was driven by Mike Micallef and wore down the pacesetting Whisper, driven by Frank Davis, around the final turn to score a 3 3/4 length victory in 1:56.4. Glittering Muscles (Bryce Fenn) finished third while Kascara Rosa was fourth under the line.   While Gale Warning win was never in doubt once they turned for home, the judges detected a pylon violation by Whispur and that one was set back to fifth before the result was made official.   After the race, Micallef said, "This is just an amazing trotter. He seems to be very good after a short layoff and we got a great journey tonight. I had thought about making a quarter move but the leader looked like he was a bit headstrong so I ducked back In The Pocket and waited as long as I could. My horse "told" me when he wanted to go...and go he did!" Gale Warning, owned by trainer Rod Lorenzo along with restauranteur Ciro Gentile, won for the 63rd time during his sterling career, now showing earnings of $644,447. Gale Warning paid $10.40 to win.   Finally, in the top open event for fillies and mares, Winbak Heavenly, driven by Tom Sells, used a :27.3 final sprint to collar pacesetting Mach Me Not (Bruce Ranger) by a neck at the end of a 1:54 mile. Keystone Christa finished third for Bryce Fenn with Mamajons Bluegrass fourth and MIss Sparta picking up the nickel.   Winbak Heavenly, a four year-old daughter of American Ideal trained by Mike Deters for owner Barbara Jensen, was fourth early as Keystone Christa took the field to the opening quarter in :28 before the favorite Mach Me Not took over and posted panels of :57.1 and 1:25.4.   Out with 5/16ths remaining, Winbak Heavenly used her brilliant rally to score in the final few yards. Second choice in the betting, Winbak Heavenly paid $4.40 to win.   Racing resumes Saturday night at Pompano Park with a 7:30 post time.Prairie Jaguar and Northern Companion will, once again, duel for supremacy in the feature.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...October 4, 2014...Prairie Jaguar, the author of the most 1:50 miles in Pompano Park history, returned home to his favorite track and crushed his foes with a startling 1:50.3 performance as Pompano Park opened its 2014-2015 season on Saturday night.   The Florida bred six year-old son of Spy Hard, driven by 25 year-old Aaron Byron, brushed to the front from his outside six post around the first turn, demoralized the competition with a :26 opener and went on to score a win measuring 4 1/4 lengths over Northern Companion (Mike Micallef). Cartoonist (Bruce Ranger) finished third with T's Electric, Damon Blue Chip and I Do Hanover completing the sextet.   It was the ninth win in 27 starts for "Jaguar," pushing his 2014 bounty to $80,405 and $137,627 lifetime.   In a post race interview, driver Aaron Byron said, "This was the first time I have ever driven this horse and Mr. Deters told me that he likes to 'rock and roll' early. After that quick opening quarter, I tried to rate him a little but he just grabbed on the further I got into the mile. After that :54.1 half, he really told me he wanted to go, so that 3/4 time of (1):21.3 was not too much of a surprise. I just let him coast on home after that!"   Pompano's kickoff also featured eight different class for Sunshine State Stakes eligibles.   The most notable performers in those events were Showing Off, Goldstar Kenny P, Owosso Flash, Livy M, Markie, Paxxie, Railee Workable and Limelight.   Showing Off kept his perfect record in tact in 2014--now three-for-three--with a sharp 2:01.4 win for Bob Roberts, who was in the bike for trainer Kim Sears and owners Jay Sears along with Richard and Sandra Dunmire.   Livy M, owned and trained by James Martin, was a photo finish winner over Brandy in a nip and tuck battle all the way down Pompano's stretch, the margin a slender nose for Tom Sells.   Goldstar Kenny P, who chased both Warlock and Tough Issue home in seven tries last year, rose to the top of the three year-old class with a very smartly rated with Mickey McNichol in the bike. Owned and trained by Tom Audley, "Kenny" wired his two competitors, sealing the deal with a last half in :59.1 in a 2:00.2 performance.   After the event, driver McNichol said, "The colt has a mark of (1):57 but we got away with a little something this time around, so I took a hold as long as there were no imminent threats. He was solid tonight."   Owosso Flash, also owned by Poulin and Deters, looked awesome in gaining his first lifetime win. "Flash," a two year-old by Royal Millennium, made a quarter move to the front and was never threatened thereafter, stopping the clock in 1:58.3.   Last year's two year old filly champion in the trotting division, Markie, looks like she means business in repeating as champion this year, too. The daughter of Proud Bushy, trained by Kim Sears for owner-husband Jay, crushed her foes again wirth a 2:01 win measuring 13 3/4 lengths. She's now three-for-three this year.   The two year-old Six Of Diamonds filly, Paxxie, was next in the spotlight and she wore down a stubborn Gold Star Dynasty with a :28.1 finale in a lifetime best 1:59.1. Bruce Ranger was in the bike for owners Warren and Joan Harp.   Railee Workable then extended his winning streak to two with a gate to wire win in 2:04--:29.3 for Mickey McNichol. This son of Basil is trained by Louis Ginesi for Fred Morosini and Ken Fritz.   Finally, Limelight, owned by Beauty in the Bridle Racing Stable, picked up her Third Straight win in Sunshine State Stakes action with a very sharp win in 1:56.1. Tom Sells was in the bike for trainer Rosie Huff.   Other "Open" winners on the card were Hurricane Howard (Sells) and Bold Willie (Bryce Fenn).   Hurricane Howard won the Open "2" for by lolly-gagging to a :58.1 and then sealing the issue with a final four furlongs in :55.4. This seven year-old Florida bred son of Mannart Howard is owned by Lawrence Barnett along with trainer Mike Deters.   And while the "fireworks" at the track were in the form of flashes of lightning, The Open "3" provided some pari-mutuel fireworks as Bold Willie lit up the tote-board with a $93.00 mutuel in the finale, keying a dime superfecta payoff of $1,022.78.   Racing resumes Wednesday night with a new 7:30 post time remaining in effect.     by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park  

While he employed vastly different tactics from his victory last week, the result was the same for Oh No Three O ($4.60) in Friday (October 3) evening's $10,000 Open Trot at Vernon Downs.   The Paul Long-trained Ken Warkentin gelding floated forward from post 6, accelerating clear of Aruba Vacation (Aaron Byron) through a strong :27 first quarter before pulling the tempo back immediately. With three-eighths to go, and Helios (Claude Huckabone, III) commencing a mild but steady first-over gain, Oh No Three O accelerated clear to a three-length lead, holding that margin through mid-stretch. In the final sixteenth, Helios chased more stoutly, and Fern Paquet, Jr. kept Oh No Three O to task for a 1-3/4 length win, stopping the timer in 1:54. Pounce K (John Macdonald) stayed on after tracking cover to hold third.   Oh No Three O's victory was his seventh on the season, and the 16th for his career.   Chris Lems led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card, while Paquet scored a double on the evening.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 4), with first post slated for 6:45 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Pompano Beach, FL...October 3, 2014...Pompano Park begins its second half century of racing on Saturday night, October 4, with eight Sunshine State Stakes events and three Open events highlighting the action. The top Open event features Prairie Jaguar, the only horse to record five wins in 1:50 or faster on Pompano's five-eighths mile oval, including two wins in 1:49. Owned by Laurie Poulin along with trainer Mike Deters, the six year-old altered son of Spy Hard has banked over $75,000 this season and will have the driving services of newcomer Aaron Byron. Byron, 25, comes into the action with 1,330 lifetime wins--165 of those so far this year. "Jaguar" has been installed as the 8 to 5 morning line favorite and is coupled with T's Electric, fresh off of a 1:52.4 win at Tioga downs featuring his last half in :54.3. Tom Sells will handle T's Electric. Also in the field is Northern Companion, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza. "Buddy," as he is known around the barn, has amassed 36 lifetime wins and $223,272 in lifetime bounty, including a mark of 1:50.3 recorded at Pompano last season. Freshened up after a two month vacation, Northern Companion comes into the action off of a handy qualifying win in 1:56.1. Mike Micallef will take this six year-old to Pompano Park's Hummer Starting Gate. Damon Blue Chip, I Do Hanover and Cartoonist complete the talented field. The Sunshine State Stakes covers Florida bred two and three year-olds, all of which are seeking a coveted spot on the FSBOA's $400,000 (est.) Super Night in late November, The pari-mutuel portion of the 13 race program kicks off with the class of three year-old trotting fillies. Jay Sears' Markie, last year's two year-old champion, has been dominant this far in her sophomore class, scoring victories in her only two starts this year--both measuring 20 or more lengths--with her last win in a lifetime best 2:00.1. Bob Roberts will be in the bike for trainer Kim Sears. Markie has been labeled the 4 to 5 morning line favorite in her event. Beauty in the Bridle Stable's Limelight will tangle with eight others in her division for three year-old pacing fillies. The talented daughter of Cracking Light comes to Pompano Park off of a pair of dominant wins in Sunshine State Stakes action at Sunshine Meadows. Tom Sells will handle the filly's lines for trainer Rosie Huff. In the two year-old events for trotting colts and geldings, Railee Workable and Victory Park have been locking horns with each scoring a win against the other at the recently concluded two session affair at Sunshine Meadows. Joining the fray this time around is first time starter Prairie Fortune, coming off a very sharp qualifying event at Tioga Downs, where he was, literally, nosed out in 2:02. Railee Workable, a son of Basil, is trained by Lou Ginesi for owners Ken Fritz and Fred Morosini and will have Mickey McNichol in the bike. Victory Park is owned by the consortium of Turcotte, Howard, Roccasano and Ruggles and will have Bruce Ranger in the sulky for trainer Mel Turcotte. Two year-old pacing fillies will also take the spotlight on opening night with Paxxie and Gold Star Dynasty renewing their rivalry. Paxxie, the sharp looking Six Of Diamonds lass owned by trainer Warren Harp along with Joan Harp, beat Gold Star Dynasty by a neck the first time around at Sunshine Meadows in stakes action with Warren in the bike. The next week, "Dynasty," also a Six Of Diamond filly, owned by trainer Tom Audley, turned the tables on Paxxie, scoring the neck decision over her main rival in a lifetime best 2:01.1 for Walter Ross, Jr. Paxxie is listed at 8 to 5 while Gold Star Dynasty is tabbed at 9 to 5 on the morning line. Amante Standardbreds' Caesar's Forum, trained by Marc Aubin, appears to have the upper hand in his division for juvenile pacing colts and geldings. The talented son of Six Of Diamonds is, thus far, sports a perfect two-for-two scorecard to go along with a lifetime best 2:00.3--:58.3 performance at Sunshine Meadows. Bruce Ranger will take Caesar's Jackpot post-ward in his Sunshine Stakes event. Pompano will offer the popular .20 cent superfecta on all races with the highly anticipated Super Hi-5 expected to be added to the racing programs in the very near future. Post time for the pari-mutuel program is 7:30 while four non-betting Sunshine State Stakes events get underway at 6:15 p.m. by John Berry, for the Isle Pompano Park

Karma Racing's Southwind Trini ($11.00) got the jump on her six rivals in Thursday (October 2) night's $10,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs, brushing to the lead upon arrival on the backstretch, kicking clear for a 1:51.3 triumph.   Now a 24-time winner, the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare was involved in stringing out dueling leaders Park N Orchard (Claude Huckabone, III) and Seascape Hanover (Aaron Byron) before settling just off a sizzling :25.4 first quarter.   Jim Marohn, Jr. then made his move with Southwind Trini on the backstretch, clearing easily through a more reasonable :54.3 half mile. With odds-on favorite Arodasi (Chris Lems) behind slowly developing cover at the back of the pack with a quarter mile to go, Marohn turned Southwind Trini loose, extending the lead to four lengths past mid-stretch.   Meanwhile, Arodasi--carried five-wide--charged gamely down the stand side to pass Dirty Girty (John Cummings, Jr.), who was carried four-wide after a mild first-over rally. The heavily backed Arodasi only could muster second, as Southwind Trini held clear by 2-1/2 lengths while kept to task. Dirty Girty stayed on for third.   Patti Harmon handles the training duties of Southwind Trini, who earned a new lifetime mark with her seventh win on the year.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (October 3) evening, with first post set for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Batavia, NY---Timing is everything and driver Jim McNeight had his down to a science Wednesday night (Oct. 1) in winning the $8,500 mares Open pace feature at Batavia Downs with Infrontigo Hanover. Going directly to the wood off the gate, McNeight settled Infrontigo Hanover in fourth while Taylor Rei (Aaron Byron) and Fiftyonefifty (Mike Whelan) played give-and-go to the quarter. When the dust settled at that post in :28.2, McNeight saw his chance and Infrontigo Hanover was quickly pulled at the three-eighths and took the lead before they hit the half. From then on the only thing left to figure out was how fast and by how many? Infrontigo Hanover opened up a six-length lead going to the three-quarters in 1:25, then turned the corner and paced home uncontested to a wrapped-up three and one-half length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2. The winner paid $9.10. Bazooka Terror (Kevin Cummings) closed sharply for second and Dontch Remember (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) finished third. It was the fourth win in 28 starts for Infrontigo Hanover and raised her seasonal earnings to $34,844 for owners Summer Wind Stable of New York Inc. and Bob Gruber. The 6-year-old Western Hanover mare is trained by Bob Gruber. Second leading North American dash winning driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was at the Downs Wednesday and pulled closer to leader Aaron Merriman as he came away with five winners on the card. He scored with Kill A Rockingbird ($28.60), Blissful Escape ($3.90), Delightful Syd ($5.80), Stonetag ($4.40) and Helena's Hope ($3.30). Jim McNeight had the hat trick and Kevin Cummings doubled up. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 3) with post time at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

The Isle Pompano Park drew its first card of the new season Wednesday and came up with ten races to kick off the start of its 51st season of harness racing on Saturday. And with the start of the meet there will be plenty of familiar faces along with some new folks and the return of some popular trainers and drivers from the past. Bruce Ranger, the tracks all-time winningest driver (8,734 career, over 6,000 at Pompano) said he is more than ready to get back to racing despite still recovering from a broken back in an accident at the track last spring. “I have been taking it very slowly,” Ranger said Saturday at the qualifying races. “And it is working out. The first day I drove I was hurting the next morning but now after working some in the mornings and driving at the Sunshine Meadows fairs the last two weeks, I am pretty much ready to go.” The 126-day meet starts out with just two nights a week (Saturday and Wednesday) and then picks up Mondays later in the season, then Tuesdays and in the height of the snowbird season this winter, adds Sundays to the mix and will go five nights a week. The meet goes through the end of June and first race post time has been pushed up to 7:30 pm. Brett Revington, the new Director of Racing, said, "During our peak season, we expect to offer an average of $75,000 in purses per night, including a stretch of four weeks from mid-January to mid-February where we race five nights per week.” Revington said that starting opening night we will see some familiar and new faces at Pompano Park. “Dan Clements has come back,” Revington said, “And he will be driving opening night along with newcomer Aaron Byron and Bryce Fenn has returned too. We also will have trainers Chris Oakes, Sheldon Rose and Marcel Barrieau. Other new faces will be Jason Robinson, Mike Murphy, Mike Micallef and Gary Hayes from Indiana. We will have a great mix of drivers and trainers here.” There is a new agreement with TVG to showcase the Pompano races, a raise in purses to an estimated $75,000 a night, $8.2 million total and some new wagering options too. There will be a Superfecta in every race with a new $.20 cent minimum, the Pick 4 pool will have only a 12% takeout and for the first time, Pompano will offer the “hot topic” wager in racing, a “Hi-5” on the final race of the night on each program. "We look forward to our upcoming season with a renewed enthusiasm based on our new wagering options, invigorating promotions and a bulging stall application list featuring new stables and a waiting list,” Revington said. “It should be the most competitive season we have ever had!" The action gets underway right on opening night with the third leg of the Sunshine Stakes for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. In the $10,000 Open Pace feature, the fastest horse in the history of Pompano Park, Prairie Jaguar, takes on one of the winningest horses, Northern Companion, in the fourth race. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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