Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, May 21, 2017... Arsenal, given perfect rating by Dave Ingraham, fired bullets start to finish at Pompano Park on Sunday night (May 21), easily handling a quartet of harness racing rivals in a 1:53.4 victory. The nine year-old gelded son of Artiscape, leaving from the coveted post five, won a brief early tussle with Stirling Cadillac (Bryce Fenn), post four, and went on to card panels of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.4 before a :28 finale was more than sufficient to hold off the late surging Stirling Cadillac to score by three-parts-of-a-length. Surge Seelster (Kyle Bolon driving), finished third, 2½ lengths away while Cartoonist finished fourth. Goldstar Raider picked up the nickel after a brief bid on the backside. In a post-race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "This is one tough bugger. Everyone knows it because he's gone back and forth between owners over the past several starts and he loves to race on the front end. "Once we got to the lead, he was well relaxed and I was quite confident in his chances once we got to the half in :57.1, which is soft for a horse of his caliber." Owned and trained by Kelly Case, Arsenal now has a scorecard reading 6-7-1 in 18 starts, good for $38,439. Lifetime, Arsenal has 35 wins in a career measuring 207 starts with earnings of $458,180 to go along with his Pocono Downs mark of 1:50.3. Off at 1 to 2, Arsenal paid $3.00 to win. Also, the brilliant Florida bred champion, Gold Star Briana, undefeated at ages two and three with 16 straight victories, made her four year-old debut and promptly put a new lifetime mark on her card--1:56--in scoring a handy win for Wally Hennessey. The daughter of Basil, trained by Dan Hennessey for owner Kevin Kelly, was away "gingerly" before taking command after the opening quarter and then easily held off Thundercrest (Dave Ingraham) for win number 17. PC's Alleyway (Tony Kerwood) was third while Deli-Craze and All Star Fame picked up the two final awards in the sextet of four year-old trotters. Hennessey was thrilled with Gold Star Briana saying, "She qualified nicely last week and, with the outside post tonight, I wanted to take good care of her leaving. She can grind a long way and, once she made the top, she seemed strong and willing the rest of the way. "I was very happy with her performance." Off at 1 to 5, Gold Star Briana paid $2.40 to win and sent her lifetime earnings to $125,913 in the process. In other Sunday night action, the 11 year-old warrior A Crown For Lindy, driven by Tom Eichas, stormed from eighth turning for home and used a :29.2 closing kick to score his second straight win in the Florida Amateur Driving Club trot. With the situation looking hopeless for the 3 to 2 favorite during the first three-quarters of the mile, A Crown For Lindy unleashed a late burst, coming from 7¼ lengths off the leader at the stretch call to win by a neck in 1:59. Revrac Harbour (Troy Basista), was second after taking command just past the opening :28.4 quarter and then proceeded to carve out panels of :58.3 and 1:28.2. The early leader, New Scent (Dennis Whittemore) finished third, 1¼ away, while Saint Patty's Doll held off Thekeptman for the fourth spot on the board. Trained by Allen Saul for owner Dein Spriggs, A Crown For Lindy won for the eighth time this season and 58th time career-wise, sending his career bounty to $426,798--$23,939 this year. The victory meant another $1,125 going into the coffers of Equine-Assisted Therapies, the hand-picked charity by owner Spriggs to benefit from half of the gelding's earnings through the end of the Pompano Park meet. Executive Director Molly Murphy was on hand for the win and "got chills" as the 11 year-old thundered down the lane for the narrow win. "This is unbelievable," she said, "and I absolutely got chills watching 'Lindy' tonight. It means so much for our organization to be able to continue our work helping those in needs with therapeutic programs. "Dein (Spriggs) is a saint for helping us and we appreciate him so much!" The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated over $185,000 to charitable causes since its inception. Racing continues on Wednesday night with Layer Cake looking for a repeat win in the Open Handicap Pace for Mares and My Revenuer and Commentary hooking up in the Open Trot. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL - Screaming and shouting, cries of joy echoing throughout the grandstand. These echoes travel across the racetrack to where drivers, trainers, owners, and grooms can hear. Anyone within an ears distance can hear these chants and cheers. The atmosphere of the racetrack brings a variety of emotions whether it be tears of joy or sadness, screams of happiness or anger, the crowd is never silent. The noise doesn't fall short of the horsemen and women that work behind the scenes and stand near the paddock gate watching their horse race on any given night. However, there is one voice that overpowers them all, draining out all of the noise. Rather than putting the name to the face, people put the name to the voice for one track announcer, John Berry. John Berry is a man of many talents and wears many hats as most would say. “He is the Picasso of Harness Racing. Journalistic knowledge and professionalism second to none,” Wally Hennessey, Hall of Fame Driver and leading trainer at Pompano Park, recounts. Aside from a race announcer, John Berry has played a vital role in harness racing as anything from a race office assistant to a publicity man to a live broadcaster. It's no doubt that John Berry is one of many that form the base of the horse racing business. In the February 5, 1964 edition of The Horseman and Fair World, the week Pompano Park opened, there was a letter to the editor concerning time trials by John Berry. And here we are, 53 years later, and Berry is still at it---writing brilliant, informative stories, announcing on occasion, co-hosting the Pompano Park pre-race show, writing a handicapping column, and serving the horsemen and our sport with the same enthusiasm that was evident back more than a half century ago. Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a communicator several years ago, he has participated in school career days, countless charitable events, seminars, and many promotions to enhance the image of harness racing. He was even highlighted on a CBS (Chicago) news segment entitled “Someone You Should Know.” The feeling all horsemen know or come to know at some point in their careers is the moment when your horse is pacing or trotting lengths ahead of the pack at the three-quarter pole. Down the stretch and the win is a guarantee. That moment in time is brief but the memory of the feeling lasts a lifetime. At this point in John Berry’s life, it was like he had experienced this brief moment forever. “That was amazing, I must admit,” Berry smiled. “It was a surreal moment. “I used to get films from Sportsman’s Park---16 millimeter films---and I went to different nursing homes and rehab facilities lugging my 50-pound projector to put racing programs on for the patients there. “I went to the administrators of these facilities to see who needed a morale boost, so to speak.” Berry explained. “Then, I made programs up and put patients down as drivers of the horses. On this one occasion, the ‘winning’ driver was a lady that had a stroke several months prior and could not speak. “Well, after the race,” Berry said. “I went right up to her with her daughter alongside and congratulated her on her win. I asked her to tell me how she won the race (as the doctors and nurses were cautioning me that she couldn't speak) and she grabbed the ‘mike’ and, after struggling a bit, said, “I tried hard’. “To say that the doctors and nurses were amazed is an understatement,” Berry recalled. “Their jaws literally dropped. The administrators got ahold of CBS news about this miracle of sorts and, a few weeks later, when another show at the facility was arranged, CBS was there with a crew and it became a segment on a newscast in Chicago. “It wasn't necessary,” John said, “but they said this story must be told. “It merely propelled me to keep trying and looking for yet another miracle.” John Berry, a man with a long history that keeps growing. Aside from racing, he holds his own titles himself - for bowling. Interestingly enough, the 16-year-old's career in bowling led him to harness racing. In Chicago of 1959, Berry won a match that began his new and long lived career. “It was a match,” Berry recalled, “where four of us put up five dollars apiece with the winner taking $15, second place getting his money back and the lowest two scorers paying for the highest two bowler’s lines (games). “I bowled a 248, 268, and 258 and I took the money.” Berry said with a smile. “A gentleman by the name of Luke Schroer approached me after that match to give me a “tip” of sorts,” Berry added, “as he won some money betting on the match.” Although John refused the offer, they ended up going out for a bite to eat. On that August in 1959, Schroer had taken John Berry to the racetrack, up to a box at Sportsman's Park---”41-A” Berry recalls. From that night on, Berry had an ever-growing interest in the sport. The gentleman who arranged for Berry to get Sportsman's Park films, Don Stevens, introduced him to Stan Bergstein. Bergstein, who later would become harness racing’s only double Hall of Famer, being inducted to both the Living Hall of Fame and as a Communicator, helped John to get his very first position in the harness racing world, as an Associate Editor of the ‘The Illinois Sulky News,’ working for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. His first position led to other doors opening. These ‘doors’ included jobs in publicity and public relations at Balmoral Park. At Balmoral, he wrote press releases and worked on handicapping and interviews. “It was demanding since it turned out to be a seven day a week grind from early morning to late at night.” John said. Developing a passion as well as a talent for writing, John Berry won a few regional awards for journalistic evidence. In 1979, Berry accepted a position with the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. His new agenda included handling publicity and public relations; and hosting the long running series of television shows featuring Stakes races from The Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and Garden State Park. He also created and designed New Jersey's Stallion Directory and hosted several Miss Equine New Jersey contests. “The Board of the SBOANJ was extremely active in partnering with the racetracks to publicize the sport,” Berry said. “Tony Abbatiello and Ronnie Dancer led the brigade back then and one couldn't have asked for a more dedicated Board of Directors looking to move the sport in the right direction. “I worked with John Higgins, then the Executive Director, a very knowledgeable horseman.” Berry added. “I also worked with an extremely talented gentleman by the name of Leon Zimmerman, who know every nook and cranny in Trenton, New Jersey, where the political stuff went on. “Leon and I got elected to the Hall of Fame the same year,” Berry said. “and it was an honor to work with him and gain a bit of insight into the world of politics.” During that time, Berry won the prestigious National John Hervey Award for an article he wrote in 1979 for Hub Rail Magazine about the Little Brown Jug. “I have written many, many articles,” he said, “but this is, absolutely, one of my favorites because, when I put it in the typewriter---yes, we still used typewriters back then---the words just kept flowing and I, literally, didn't make any changes once the article was finished. “It included a Roger Huston race call and I have been told on many occasions that the reader could ‘hear’ Roger’s voice while reading it.” After three years with the SBOANJ, he accepted a position with the USTA as Public Relations Manager, working from an office, in Freehold, New Jersey, to cover the New York-New Jersey and eastern racing scene, which was blossoming at the time. When they asked him to move to Columbus, Ohio, he parted ways with the USTA and accepted a position with Sports Information Database (SIDB) as a Senior Editor for harness racing with the objective of putting the entire history of harness racing on computer. “I was honored to work with many of the great minds in sport, including Bill Shannon, the famed official scorer for baseball; Logan Hobson and Bob Canobbio, the inventors of ‘punch-stat’ for boxing matches; and one of harness racing’s great geniuses, Phil Sporn.” A consolidation deal fell through and SIDB went out of business. Berry was asked if he was interested in moving to South Florida to be Public Relations Director at Pompano Park. The track enjoyed its finest two seasons in history benefitting from promotions like a car giveaway, cruise nights, where 10,000 cruise passes were distributed to guests, and mall promotions. John Berry has always worked to make the name of harness racing go viral across the world. He gained more exposure to the track when he became the host of his own radio show, featuring big bands and jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s. “The show featured music from many of the great bands that were left somewhat obscure to the vast majority,” Berry explained. “I guess you would call them ‘territory bands.’ While modern and pop music was taking over the radio stations, Berry’s interests in the ‘throwback’ tunes caught on in the public ‘ear’, so to say, and he had a lot of loyal listeners. Around this time, Berry was elected President of the United States Harness Writers Association and served that organization for a two-year term. In the 1980’s, he was lured into taking a position with a newly formed company--brainchild of well-known owner and breeder Eric Cherry. The start-up company, National Raceline, had a goal to provide results and race calls from tracks coast-to-coast. Within the company, Berry secured many racetracks that sent in results by fax for the information to be disseminated over a “900” network of telephone lines. In short order, the “Raceline” became the nation's leader in providing information on racing results with nightly calls growing by “leaps and bounds”. Later, he was approached by Allen Greenberg to see if he would be interested in conducting auctions aboard cruise ships. “I agreed to ‘try it for a couple of weeks’ to see if I liked it enough to continue.” Not only did Berry like the position, he was “auctioneer of the year” the first two years the award was given and broke several records along the way. During one of the auctions at sea, a representative of WPBT-Channel 2 Public Television approached John with an offer to go on the air during the station’s membership drives. Accepting the offer, John became one of the hosts of the show and eventually served the station during their on-air auctions. Conducting over 1,800 auctions within his career and raising money for many charitable organizations, libraries, and his beloved Harness Writers Association; the most expensive item sold at one of his auctions was an internet domain name --Sex.net--for $450,000. Serving as an auctioneer, Berry was absent from the sport for a few years. However, like any true horseman who cannot stray too far from the track, he returned after an offer from Isle of Capri’s director, Jim Patton, and Director of Publicity and Marketing, Steve Wolf, in 2004. Both directors persuaded Berry to return to the track, to work in publicity, serving as a “point man” for the upcoming referendum on allowing casinos to be built in Broward County. “Steve (Wolf) came up with an ingenious plan to canvas the area to try and secure support for the casino referendum,” Berry said. “which had failed in two previous attempts. “Well, we got it done and it was quite a scene as we broke ground and, here we are, with a now well established casino that has a 10-year history and racing is still flourishing in South Florida.” Today, Berry, now approaching his mid-70’s, continues to perform several duties at the track---a “three-of-all-trades” ---as he says. He particularly enjoys handicapping for his many followers and looks for “value” in his selections. “Hardly a man in now alive,” he says, “who paid his mortgage at 3 to 5!” One of his most memorable recollections from the handicapping floor comes from the time he predicted a dead-heat during a seminar at The Meadowlands in 1980. Other moments being earning his PHD--Professional Handicapping Degree-- from Tele-Track in 1983 after a six-for-six night there, selecting a “cold” pentafecta at Pompano Park this season, and a string of recent longshot winners in his nightly Pickin’ Berrys handicapping column, one as high as 50 to 1. “The prediction of a dead-heat was as much luck and handicapping skill---something like Babe Ruth predicting his home run at Wrigley Field. “I couldn't separate numbers six and seven and just happened to blurt out, ‘to tell you the truth, I cannot separate these two horses, so I think it'll wind up to be a dead-heat and it was!” Aside from picking his most memorable handicapping memory, John claims the most memorable race he has ever seen was on March 17, 1962 at Maywood Park in Chicago. “I've seen a lot, yes, from Su Mac Lad to Bret Hanover to Albatross to Niatross to Nihalator, to the stars of today but [this] was my most memorable race.” John describes the temperatures to have been wavering in the 30’s mixed with snow, sleet, and rain. “The track had turned into a quagmire,” John explained. “There was a horse named Scotsman, driven by Ken Lighthill, who won in 3:38 ⅗… yes, 3:38 ⅗, which was the slowest winning pari-mutuel mile in history. “It's a record that will ever be broken and it, indeed, is the most memorable race I have ever seen.” John has gotten some well-deserved accolades when in the announcer's booth, too, subbing for Gabe Prewitt when called upon. Racing fan Rich Stern from Chicago lamented, “I love his race calls. They are clear and concise and he's added some nice terms like ‘double-bubbled’ when a horse is three wide. “He gives those behind the scenes nice credit, too. I like that!” His meticulous morning lines have also drawn praise and he was the first and only Morning Line maker to make all horses the same odds--7 to 2--in a six-horse field last season at Pompano Park. The horses had all been around the same time, been beaten about the same number of lengths and were so evenly matched that they all deserved consideration. “I decided to make them all the same in the morning line and that race got huge attention from the media because of it!” Clearly, John Berry has a knack for talent as well as talent himself, in the harness racing world. As a publicity man, fill-in announcer, and writer among many other hats that Berry wears, he covers all bases of harness racing. “He is the equivalent of an encyclopedia of harness racing, a true gentleman,” Standardbred owner and trainer, John Hallett, conveys. Outside of racing, as mentioned before, John was a champion bowler, including capturing the Illinois State Bowling Singles in 1970 by averaging 246 for the tournament. And he is one of few who have ever bowled a perfect 300 game. He lives with his “bride of many years,” Abby and their Quaker Parrot, Pistachio, who, as he says, “brings us joy beyond belief.” Berry has had a lot of “firsts” during his career and plans on helping the sport he loves and its participants as long as possible. Today, John splits his time helping publicize the sport for the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in the am and doing the late shift in Pompano Park's racing operations office in the afternoon and night. Many horsemen know and recognize John Berry for his talent as a writer and his character as a horseman. “I've known John for many years. He's a nice guy and fun to be around. Working with him sure makes the day go by faster,” iterates Rosie Huff, who works with Berry at the FSBOA office. Berry related, “at the FSBOA, I am lucky enough to work with Rosie Huff, one of the most dedicated individuals with whom I have ever worked. At Pompano, I am honored to work alongside someone as great as Gabe Prewitt, who has an enthusiasm for the sport like no other. “We enjoy and respect each other's talent and company. “You could call it a ‘pari-mutuel’ admiration society!” If there is anyone that the sport of harness racing needs to clone to help promote the industry, they should look no further than John Berry. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink Jessica Hallett is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.
Pompano Beach, FL...May 17, 2017..."Bookend" carryovers highlight the Wednesday harness racing program at Pompano Park. With a pair of longshots "bookending" last Sunday night's Pick-5, nary a single ticket had the winning 3-5-5-6-7 combination resulting in a carryover of $3.157 going into tonight's program. Also, the Super Hi-5, conducted on the final race, has a carryover of $24,791 coming into the mid-week card. The high competitive nine race program features a $10,000 Open Handicap Trot with Boli in the spotlight seeking his fourth straight win. The talented five year-old son of Kadabra will have the driving services of Hall Of Famer Wally Hennessey and will have to overcome the outside nine post to extend his streak. The $8,500 Open 2 Handicap Pace for mares also features a field of nine with an evenly matched field including the top five finishers from last weeks event, Spilling The Beans, Goldstar Rockette, Sue's Night Out, Machin Marley and Metro Glide. Post time for the Wednesday night card is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...May 15, 2017...What was supposed to be the Italian-American Amateur Friendship Driving Challenge featuring the American harness racing drivers Dein Spriggs, Steve Oldford, Joe Pennacchio and Dr. Scott Woogan quickly became a European-American event as the Italian contingent of Elena Villani, Ciro Ciccarelli, Antonio Simioli and Luigi Farina were joined by Frenchman Jean Phillip Bazaire. The competition began at the famed Hippodromo di Agnano in Napoli, Italy with the Italian amateur drivers dominating the competition by winning three of the first four events and Frenchman Jean Phillip Bazaire annexing the other. The first two races were won by the only women driver in the field, Elena Villani, who competed at Pompano Park when the same quartet from Italy came to South Florida earlier this year. The second day of the competition, the American amateurs could only muster a single second place finish by Steve Oldford, who was a photo finish away from winning the event won by Frenchman Bazaire, prompting Oldford to remark, "Yes, I got 'snapped' at the wire." Dein Spriggs did manage a pair of fourth place finishes and kiddingly remarked, "My old warrior horse, A Crown For Lindy, won the amateur event at Pompano Park on Sunday night for Tommy Eichas. Maybe I should have shipped that horse overseas for this competition. In fact, maybe I should have shipped Tommy (driver Eichas) over here, too." After the event, host Pier Luigi deAngelo provided an exquisite reception with American team caption Joe Pennacchio saying, "We couldn't be more pleased with the grand hospitality received and the camaraderie during our stay in Naples." The competition now moves north to the magnificent Tuscany region of Italy where the final phase of the completion will take at tracks in Follonica and Montecatini. "We always enjoy the grand food, wine and friendships here and maybe--just maybe--we can get a bit of revenge, in a friendly way, of course, in the next legs of the competition," said Pennacchio. Those final four races will be on May 19 and 20. by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club
Pompano Beach, FL...May 14, 2017...Fritzie Pic Up Man, driven by Wally Hennessey, scored a repeat harness racing victory in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (May 14). The six year-old gelded son of Always A Virgin, took command around the opening turn and went on to post a 3½ length victory over stablemate St Lads Lotto, handled by Gaston Lareau, in 1:51.3. Arsenal, with Dave Ingraham in the sulky and in the garden spot much of the mile, finished third four lengths away, while Goldstar Raider picked up the final award in the field shortened to four with the late scratch of Heart Felt. In a post-race interview, driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "With a horse like Arsenal in there, you expect a hot pace early and I was kind of surprised that I was able to out-brush him early and I was surprised again when he didn't make a quarter move on me. "I got away with a very reasonable half and, with no threats on the backside, he was all on his own the rest of the way." Trained by Gaston Lareau for the JP Houle Stable, Fritzie Pic Up Man scored his fifth win of the year in 19 starts, good for earnings of $36,945. Lifetime, the classy gelding has 22 wins in 95 career starts and bounty of $178,907. As the 1 to 5 favorite, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $2.40 to win. Fritzie Pic Up Man In the $6,500 Open 2 Pace, Stirling Cadillac, driven by Bryce Fenn, scored his third straight victory, stopping the timer in 1:52.1, a new lifetime mark. The six year-old altered son of Bettor's Delight, 3 to 1 in the morning line, escaped at 11 to 1 while wiring together fractions of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23.4 while pinning a win measuring three-parts-of-a-length on Prince Pinang (Tony Kerwood) with Cartoonist (Walter Ross, Jr.), closing fastest of all, third, 1¾ lengths away. Needles and Pins finished fourth while Surge Seelster picked up the nickel in the septet. After the race, driver Bryce Fenn said, "We had the outside post but he seemed determined to leave at the start and, when a horse feels that strong, I didn't want to take him back. "I even had a chance to set in the pocket early but he didn't want any part of it, so I let him to what he wanted. "Chet (trainer Poole) has him razor sharp right now. He handled like a 'Cadillac' tonight." Co-owned by trainer Chet Poole, Jr. along with John Wasco, Stirling Cadillac won for the sixth time in 12 starts with his 2017 bounty vaulting to $20,220. The winner paid $25.40 and enabled a Pick-5 carryover of $3,157 going into the Wednesday program. In other Sunday night action, the Florida Amateur Driving Club event went to A Crown For Lindy, driven by Tom Eichas. This 11 year-old gelded Cantab Hall warrior scored his 57th lifetime win and gave driver Eichas, who drives very sparingly these days, his first win since November 30, 2007, when he drove Swiss Laux to victory at Pompano Park. The winning time of 1:57 is a season's best for A Crown For Lindy and the fastest winning mile for the driver. A Crown For Lindy earned his seventh win in 16 starts this semester when Eichas sent his charge on a double-bubble bid three-eighths from home and went on to score a victory measuring 4¾ lengths over Thekeptman (Fred Cohen) with Revrac Harbour (John Campagnuolo) third. Zorgwijk Impact finished fourth while the early leader, New Scent, picked up the minor award. The win for A Crown For Lindy was especially important as half of the horse's earnings are earmarked for the charity Equine Assisted Therapy, courtesy of owner Dein Spriggs. Allen Saul trains the gelding for Spriggs and the win pushed his career bankroll to $424,548. Off at 4 to 5, A Crown For Lindy paid $3.80 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday with a highly competitive card with post time set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...May 7, 2017...In a classic harness racing "fist fight to the finish," Fritzie Pic Up Man, driven by Wally Hennessey, eked out a photo finish victory over a very game Arsenal, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night. The official margin of victory was a head at the end of the 1:50.3 mile with Goldstar Raider and Kevin Wallis teaming up for third, five lengths off the winner. St Lads Lotto was fourth while the favored Heart Felt picked up the nickel in the classy sextet of pacers. At the outset, Arsenal, leaving from post five, left with his usual alacrity to take command with Thebestofjoel, leaving from post one, in close pursuit as Fritzie Pic Up Man wended his way carefully into third in front of Goldstar Raider. The opening quarter was in a hot :26.3 with the first four positions remaining stagnant through a half in :54.4. On the backside, Hennessey pulled the trigger on Fritzie Pic Up Man and he quickly engaged Arsenal in war and pushed his head in front past the third station in 1:22.2. In the lane, these two pulled away from the field and fought tooth and nail right to the wire with the photo finish camera needed to separate the two at the wire. After the race, driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "Well, that was something. Neither of us gave an inch in the lane. "Turning for home, I thought I had the advantage but Dave's (Ingraham) horse (Arsenal) still had a lot of fight in him and it was touch and go right to the line." Trained by Gaston Lareau for JP Houle Stables, Fritzie Pic Up Man, a six year-old gelded son of Always A Virgin, won for the fourth time in 18 starts this year, sending his seasonal bankroll to $31,945. Career-wise, Fritzie Pic Up Man has 21 wins in 94 starts for bounty of $173,907 to go along with a 1:50 over the Harrah's Philadelphia oval. As the second choice in the wagering at 2 to 1, Fritzie Pic Up Man paid $6.80 to win. Besides the feature, Hennessey won four other races as he piloted Skeeball ($2.60), Silver Spir ($10.80), Trillionair ($12.80) and Beignet ($2.80) to the winner's circle, bringing his victory total for the last three racing programs to 18. Dave Ingraham won three on the Sunday night card as he drove Deli-Craze ($10.60), A Fool For Mark ($5.20) and Needles And Pins ($12.60) to victory. Hennessey and Ingraham accounted for the final eight wins on the Sunday program. Racing continues on Wednesday night with a pair of features on tap as Keystone Bodacious headlines the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot and Sue's Night Out looks for a repeat in the $9,500 Open Pace for Mares. First post is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. John Berry
Pompano Beach, FL...Tuesday, May 2, 2017...Despite a "trifecta" of hurdles, including heavy rains, a 40 minute delay because of a fire alarm, and a bank of lights going out on turn one, Pompano Park presented an excellent racing program that, when all was said and done, was dominated by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey. Hennessey won eight of the 10 races on the Tuesday night card, including both feature events and, for the first time in track history, a sweep of the track's Pick-6. Hennessey won the $9,500 Open Handicap Pace for Mares with Mike Sweeney's Sue's Night Out and, a little more than an hour later, took top honors back of Paul and Patricia O'Neil's Boli. Sandwiched around and between these events were wins with Andro Madi ($6.80) to kick off the early daily double, All Star Fame ($5.80), to start the Pick-6, Majestic Won ($3.40), Nomad ($7.20), the appropriatly named One Tough Nut, a ridgeling, ($2.20) to complete the Pick-6, and Brown Titan ($3.80), to cap the late daily double. Sue's Night Out, a five year-old daughter of A Stud Named Sue, was a game 2 1/4 length winner over the pace-setting Goldstar Rockette (Jim Meittinis) in 1:54.3 over a track rated sloppy as heavy rains continued throughout the night. Spilling The Beans (Kevin Wallis), last for the first three-quarters of the mile, rallied for third while Miss Dollar Man finished fourth and Machin Marley picked up the minor award in the octet. Sue's Night Out was away sixth in her field early and, as Hennessey sensed the pace slowing during the second quarter, moved his mare into contention half-way through the mile and then engaged the leader Goldstar Rockette in war on the backside after opening panels of :27.2 and :57.4. As the pace picked up on the backside, Sue's Night Out dug in and pulled on even terms with the leader at the third station timed in 1:26.1. Once they straightened away, Sue's Night Out took command with authority and cruised on home through a :28.2 finale to seal the deal prompting Hennessey to say, "I could sense the pace was slowing during the second quarter so I decided to make the move to try and draw closer. "On the backside, we were rolling pretty good and she was still digging in around the final turn. "To tell the truth, it may have been a blessing to be on the outside because the train was draining inward. "Once we straightened away, she went straight and true to the wire. It was a very sharp performance." Owned and trained by Mike Sweeney, Sue's Night Out won for the fifth time this semester, sending her earnings to $27,242 and $132,874 lifetime to go along with her mark of 1:51.3 at Pompano Park earlier this year. As second choice in the betting at 3 to 1, Sue's Night Out paid $8.60 to win. Boli, on the other hand, had to perform yet another one of his miracle miles to capture the $10,000 Open Trot. The five year-old gelded son of Kadabra, assigned the outside nine post, had to use an eye-opening final 16th of the journey to score by a head in 1:55.4--nailing Keystone Bodacious (Kevin Wallis) on the money. McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.) was third, 2 1/2 lengths away and a nose better than Commentary. Sailer Eddie picked up the nickel in the field of nine. Hennessey marveled at Boli's performance saying, "I know I said this before, but horses just don't do what he did tonight in the final stages of the mile. "Last year, he made a break at the start one race, spotted the field 25 lengths or so, and did the same thing to win. "Tonight, he reminded me of that mile, although he didn't make a break this time, he sure motored up the last 16th. "Horses just don't do that!" In extending his winning streak to three, Boli won for the fifth time in nine starts this year, sending his earnings vaulting over the $30,000 mark--$30,010 to be precise. Lifetime, Boli has 20 wins in only 57 starts, good for $167,474. Off at 4 to 5 on the tote-board, Boli returned $3.80 to win. Though the odds are astronomical that one driver win all legs of a Pick-6, The "Hennessey Pick-6" returned $45.50 for the 50 cent ticket. The win, incidentally, left trainer Dan Hennessey with 999 career training wins as he battles for the training crown at Pompano Park this year with only eight programs remaining. The fire alarm caused a delay of approximately 40 minutes between races eight and nine and the response from the Pompano Fire and Rescue team consisting of several trucks was quick, indeed, about the same time as Boli's winning mile--1:55.4. Racing continues on Sunday night with a Sunday and Wednesday schedule in tact for the remainder of the season. Post time remains at 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...April 30, 2017...Heart Felt, craftily handled by Bryce Fenn, put on a game harness racing performance on Sunday night (April 30), taking Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap in 1:51.4. The six year-old altered son of Well Said overcame the outside post to post a photo finish win--a neck--over Arsenal, driven by Dave Ingraham. Fritzie Pic Up Man, with Wally Hennessey in the sulky, recovered from an early miscue to finish third, a half-length away. Goldstar Raider was a fast closing fourth while Rock On Moe, prominent throughout much of the mile, picked up the nickel in the classy octet. In an early battle for supremacy, the three outside horses, Arsenal, Rock On Moe and Heart Felt, all were in search of the top spot with Heart Felt gaining the top past the :26.2 opener before yielding to Rock On Moe (Dan Daley)--briefly. Three-eighths into the mile, Fenn sent Heart Felt back to the front and carved out remaining panels of :54.2 and 1:23 before a :28.4 final panel held Arsenal at bay at the wire. After the race, driver Bryce Fenn related, "The only way I was going to get into the race was to leave out of there. After all, when you have the outside post, you cannot afford to spot an evenly matched field like this 10 lengths every week. "Last week, they were leaving all around me so I didn't have much choice but, tonight, it looked like we were the only ones with noses right on the gate, so we were rocking and rolling early. "When Dan (Daley) put his horse on top, my horse didn't seem content in the pocket, so I tipped him out and reclaimed the lead. "He went a game trip, I'll say that." Trained by Luanna Beeson for Winchesster Baye Acres, Heart Felt won for the fourth in 15 starts to push his 2017 bankroll to $33,275 and $5 short of $140,000 career-wise. As the 5 to 1 third choice, Heart Felt paid $12.00 to win. The win for driver Fenn was the third of the night, who scored a consecutive grand slam of sorts by taking the early daily double on Sunday after sweeping the late daily double on Pompano Park's last program on Wednesday night. In other Pompano Park action on Sunday, Groovey Kid, handled by Wally Hennessey, scored a decisive win in a conditioned trotting event, stopping the tele-timer in a lifetime best 1:54.3. The "hard-headed" six year-old gelded son of Cincinnati Kid began a sweeping move from sixth with one lap to go and swept to the lead three-eighths from home and went on to score a win measuring 9¾ lengths over Body Double (Joe Sanzeri) with I'll Tell You What (Kevin Wallis), making his 300th career start, third. Railee Workable recovered from an early miscue to finish fourth while Uptoa Dream picked up the final award in the field of nine. Trained by Dan Hennessey for owner John Campagnuolo, Groovey Kid won for the third time this semester in 15 starts, pushing his 2017 earnings to $18,975 and $136,240 lifetime. The mile eclipsed the trotter's former mark of 1:55, accomplished when he won for the first time this year. "He can be sort of 'hard-headed' on occasion," Hennessey said, "but, when he puts his mind to it, he can trot a ton. He did that tonight!" As the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Groovey Kid paid $4.60 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with Boli looking to score a three-peat in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot. This five year-old son of Kadabra will have to overcome the outside post to conquer a field including Sailer Eddie, Keystone Bodacious, Commentary, Legend Field, Caviart Griffin, McKenzie's Star, My Revenuer and Skyway Pippen. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...Tuesday, April 25, 2017...Spilling The Beans, who took a lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in Open 3 competition at Pompano Park last week, stepped up a notch to claim the top prize in the $9,500 Open Pace for harness racing Mares on Tuesday night, leading every step of the mile clocked in 1:52.3. Handled superbly by Kevin Wallis, the five year-old daughter of Camluck posted panels of :26.4, :56 and 1:24.1 before a :28.2 sprint home sealed the deal by 1½ lengths over the late charging Metro Glide, driven by Tony Kerwood. Miss Dollar Mam and John MacDonald teamed up to be third, two lengths away, while the photo finish camera couldn't separate Sue's Night Out and Goldstar Rockette, who tied for fourth in the septet. After the event, driver Kevin Wallis related, "She was sharp last week and just as sharp this time around, too. "She was alert leaving and the quick opening quarter probably deterred any other horse from an early move, so I was able to gather her up in the second quarter to give her a slight breather. "On the backside, she kind of picked up the pace herself when she heard another horse coming (Sue's Night Out) but, once we cut the corner turning for home, she drew clear. "I did give her a couple of taps mid-stretch to keep her mind on business and she was strong right to the end." Trained by Dan Morrissey for owner George Robinson, Spilling The Beans won for the third time in only five starts this semester, good for $11,975. Lifetime, the mare has 15 wins in 68 career starts with her bounty vaulting over the $60,000 plateau--$60,258 to be precise. As the even money choice on the tote-board, Spilling The Beans returned $4.00 to her multitude of followers. Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 was conquered on Tuesday night, one program before the mandatory payout was scheduled. One lucky patron had the only 20 cent winning ticket on the 1-2-3-10-9 combination, good for $110,680.24. Racing continues on Sunday night as the South Florida track moves to a two night per week schedule with next week's schedule featuring programs on Sunday and Tuesday followed by a Sunday and Wednesday schedule for the remainder of the meet, which concludes May 31. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...Monday, April 24, 2017...On any normal harness racing night, usually, the headline belongs to the winner of the Open event here at Pompano Park. But on this Monday night, the headline belongs to a young lady named Molly Murphy and an amateur driver named Dein Spriggs. Molly Murphy is the Executive Director of Equine Assisted Therapies of South Florida, a 501-c3 organization that specializes in assisting children "of all ages," meaning 3 to 83, with special needs through four programs including, Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy, Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Psychotherapy, which includes a Wounded Warrior Program. Murphy, herself, gained much needed assistance from the program some 20 years ago and, since, has become its Executive Director now assisting many others within the scope of these programs. Amateur driver Dein Spriggs, President of the Florida Amateur Driving Club, which has donated some $180,000 to various charitable causes since the club's inception, became so intrigued by the equine assistance offered to those in need, now has stepped up to the plate personally by donating half of the earnings from his own trotter, A Crown For Lindy, to their cause from now until the end of the Pompano Park meeting. Spriggs, who has driven over 400 winners during his career, added one more to his credit on Monday night, giving a kick to the charity by driving A Crown For Lindy ($2.60) to his 56th lifetime victory, this one in 1:59, meaning a $1,250 boost to the charity. The victory came in the Florida Amateur Driving Club trot where A Crown For Lindy scored by 3½ lengths over Tymal Recap, handled by Leopold Sawyers. On the Tab, with Leon Cable in the bike, finished third while New Scent finished fourth but was disqualified and placed eighth for interference allowing Zorwijk Impact to move up a notch to fourth with Flaming Yankee picking up the nickel. Said Spriggs after the winning drive, "I really took an interest in this charity and their programs when our driving club donated to their cause a few weeks ago. I'm even more intrigued now that I have had a chance to realize just how much they help people of all ages through their equine programs." In accepting the generosity of Spriggs, Executive Director Molly Murphy said, "I am one who has known, first hand, the power of the horse and its healing ways because I, too, was in the program years ago and, I assure you, I would not be who I am today without this program. My appreciation for Mr. Spriggs generosity runs deep." The $10,000 Open Handicap Trot featured a well matched septet and Boli, despite being assigned the outside post, earned his second straight win for Wally Hennessey, covering the mile in 1:55.4. Sailer Eddie (Dave Ingraham) was a fast closing second, a neck away, while Keystone Bodacious (Kevin Wallis) was even a faster closing third, three-parts-of-a-length off the winner. Diamond Dagger finished fourth while Tater Twister finished fifth after clipping off panels of :27, :57.2 and 1:26. Said Hennessey after the event, "This was not the easiest of trips for him, but he's sharp right now and he dug in late. "I kind of 'half-left' with him with the '5' (Sailer Eddie) and the '6' (Tater Twister) leaving and I was hoping to find a spot mid-pack somewhere. "I had to pull a little earlier than I wanted because I didn't want to be locked in with my horse because he can be a little anxious at times. "Around the final turn, the leader got away from us a bit but Boli just kept digging and then had to really dig in late. "It was a big effort for him." Trained by Dan Hennessey, who is closing in on 1,000 career training wins, Boli is owned by Paul and Patricia O'Neil and won for the fourth time in eight starts this semester, good for $25,280. Career-wise, Boli is 19 for 56 in the win column with lifetime earnings of $162,474. As the second choice at 2 to 1, Boli returned $6.20 to win. The $8,000 Open 2 Trot went to Explosive Drama, driven by Kevin Wallis, in a lifetime best 1:55.3. The five year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter led at every pole--:27.4, :57.1 and 1:25.4--before a :29.4 finale sealed the deal by a half-length over Legend Field (John MacDonald) with the 50 to 1 chance Caviart Griffin (Dave Ingraham) rallying for third. My Revenuer, attempting a double-bubble move into the final turn, finished fourth while McKenzie's Star finished fifth after a bold first-over bid halfway through the mile. Trainer by Barry Probber for Probber-Morse Racing and the Unity Stable, Explosive Drama was ultra-game in victory as he repelled a bid mid-way through the mile and another inn the final stages to record his second win of the year in 11 starts, pushing his seasonal total to $11,581. Lifetime, Explosive Drama has $143,433 to go along with his new lifetime mark. As the slight 2 to 1 choice, the winner paid $6.00 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a well-matched field of mares going to the Hummer Starting Gate in the $9,500 featured pace. Goldstar Rockette has been installed as the 5 to 2 favorite in the septet and will have the driving services of Jim Meittinis. This Florida bred seven year-old daughter of Rock On, is winless in 10 starts this year but has been in the photo for win on several occasions this year while knocking on the door. Spilling The Beans, Jets Are On, Sue's Night Out, Metro Glide, Machin Marley and Miss Dollar Mam complete the field. The Tuesday night program features a $10,000 guarantee on the Pick-4, as part of the U.S.T.A. Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick-4, which features an industry low 12% takeout, is contested on races 6 through 9. The Super Hi-5 finale has a carryover flirting with $100,000 and the track has proposed a mandatory payout on Sunday, April 30, should there not be a single winner on Tuesday night. Post time for the Tuesday program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, April 23, 2017...Panocchio, returning to the racing wars after a two month layoff because of sickness, showed his gameness by defeating a classy octet of harness racing pacers in the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace at Pompano Park on Sunday night (April 23). The seven year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, again handled by Wally Hennessey, overcame the outside post and an onslaught of challengers in the final stages to win by a scant nose over the late surging Heart Felt, driven by Bryce Fenn, with Rock On Moe, with Dan Daley in the bike, closing fastest of all to fall a half-length short. Here Comes William, pacing an "even-steven" mile, was fourth while St Lads Lotto, dead last at the stretch call, rallied to pick up the nickel. At the outset, Rockntouch, driven by Mickey McNichol, blasted off the wings to take command while Panocchio, taking a chance to find a spot close up early, found one in second with Here Comes William third and Fritzie Pic Up Man next. With an opening quarter in a hot :26.2 on a track rated "good" after being deluged with prolonged afternoon rain, Rockntouch sizzled over to the half in :54.3 with Panocchio almost two lengths away and Fritzie Pic Up Man on the move and drawing up to within a length of the leader past the third station in 1:22.4. Fritzie Pic Up Man finally wrestled the lead away from Rockntouch turning for home while Hennessey was finally able to weasel his way out of the pocket and give chase, taking command shortly after they straightened away. But the issue was far from being settled as both Heart Felt and Rock On Moe were closing in. On the wire, the photo finish camera showed that Panocchio's nose was, indeed, long enough to secure the victory, his fifth of the year in only six starts. After the race, Hennessey said, "there are no words that adequately describe this horse. He is just amazing. "He's been off for more than two months because he just wasn't feeling up to par and he only had a couple of qualifiers coming in. "But, he's done that kind of thing before and he goes just where he has to go to win. "The track was off a second or two and it was a tiring track but he went another amazing mile. Jim (trainer Mattison) can be proud of his performance tonight." Panocchio now has 53 lifetime wins--31 at Pompano Park in 47 starts--with a lifetime bankroll of $430,468 to go along with a track record mark of 1:48.3 at Pompano Park, as well. Trainer Mattison co-owns Panocchio with Emile Johnson, Jr. As the 3 to 2 favorite, Panocchio paid $5.00 to win. In other Sunday action, Music Is Art, a son of Art Major who won his sophomore debut in 1:53.4 at Pompano Park on April 11, stepped up a notch and won his second in a row, this time in 1:54.1 for driver Anthony Kerwood. Trainer by Peter Blood, who co-owns with Rick Berks, Music Is Art stalked the 2 to 5 favorite, Regalanthropist (Wally Hennessey) through panels of :27.3, :57.1 and 1:26.1 before leaving his cozy pocket around the final bend and using a :27.4 finale to score a handy 2½ length win over Artistic Cruiser (Matt Romano) with Ball Don't Lie (Kevin Wallis) third over Regalanthropist. EY Cowboy picked up the minor award in the sextet. Music Is Art, who won $38,108 in only seven starts last year at two, earned his fourth lifetime win to send his career bankroll to $43,408. As the 3 to 2 second choice, Music Is Art paid $5.00 to win. Racing continues of Monday night with Boli looking to score a repeat win in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot. This five year-old son of Kadabra, trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, has been installed as the 9 to 5 morning line favorite and will have the driving services of Pompano Park's leading driver, Wally Hennessey. Looking to upset the applecart on Monday night are Commentary (6 to 1), M T Ur Pockets (7 to 1), Diamond Dagger (7 to 2), Keystone Bodacious (4 to 1), Sailer Eddie (9 to 1) and Tater Twister (8 to 1). The track's Super Hi-5 continues Monday and Tuesday night with a mandatory payout scheduled for Sunday, April 30 should no one be able to capture the entire pool with a single 20 cent winning ticket. The carryover for the Super Hi-5 has ballooned to around $90,000. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...April 21, 2017...With the Super Hi-5 carryover now close to $90,000, Gabe Prewitt, Director of Harness Racing at Pompano Park, has set Sunday, April 30 for the mandatory payout of the Super Hi-5 pool, should that offering not be hit either Sunday, April 23, Monday, April 24 or Tuesday, April 25. Prewitt remarked, "With our meeting winding down now, we thought it be prudent to offer the mandatory payout in the new few days, rather than wait until the end of May." Should the Super Hi-5 continue to be unscathed for the next three racing programs, Prewitt expects the carryover to be around the $100,000 mark by April 30. "Who knows where it will wind up," Prewitt said, "but it should be a nice bonanza for our faithful players." by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...Tuesday, April 18, 2017...In a classic "fistfight to the finish," as described by harness racing announcer Gabe Prewitt, Machin Marley eked out a photo finish win in Pompano Park's $9,500 Open Pace for Mares on Tuesday night (April 18). Driven by Wally Hennessey, Machin Marley, squeaked by a tenacious Goldstar Rockette, handled by Kevin Wallis, right at the wire, after a stretch long duel that was determined by a "head" with the mile clocked in 1:53.1. Miss Dollar Mam, with John MacDonald in the bike, was a fast closing third, only a half-length away, while Metro Glide, almost 10 lengths away at the opening quarter, finished fourth. Sue's Night Out picked up the nickel in the classy septet of ladies. At the outset, Miss Dollar Mam, Machin Marley and Goldstar Rockette all had their sights on the lead with Machin Marley wrestling command around turn one with Miss Dollar Mam yielding and Goldstar Rockette taken back to third--but not for long. Just past the quick :27 opener, Wallis send Goldstar Rockette on the prowl and, after a tussle with Machin Marley, took change and blazed over to the half in :54.4. On the backside, Machin Marley's nose was literally all over Wallis' helmet and, heading into the final bend, Hennessey tilted out of the pocket, pulled along-side of the leader at the third station in 1:25.1, and the classic battle began. Neither mare gave an inch during the :28 finale and the decision came right on the wire with Machin Marley getting the nod in the photo. After the event, driver Wally Hennessey related, "Let me tell you, this mare has some moxie. Last week when I drove her, she was on the lead, looked in the eye around the final bend, and fought hard every step to the wire to win. "Tonight, she looked the leader in the eye and fought all the way home. She's quite a gutsy mare." Trained by John Mungillo, who co-owns with Thatsideofthefence LLC, Machin Marley won for the fourth time in 16 starts this season to push her earnings to $20,370. Lifetime, this five year-old daughter of Mach Three, now has bounty of $80,692. The final time of 1:53.1 equaled her lifetime best, set in her last victory just one week ago. As second choice in the wagering at 5 to 1, Machin Marley paid $12.20 to win. In other Tuesday night action, Spilling The Beans, driven by Kevin Wallis, took top honors in the $7,000 Open 3 Pace for mares by scorching the Pompano Park oval in a lifetime best 1:51.3 off of front end panels of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:23. The five year-old daughter of Camluck scored a 2½ victory at the expense of Excelerated Speed (Mickey McNichol) with Scirocco Miley Kay, in the garden spot all the way, next, 3¾ lengths back of the winner. Shady's Art was fourth while Layer Cake picked up the minor award in the field of nine. Trained by Dan Morrissey for owner George Robinson, Spilling The Beans annihilated her former mark of 1:53.4 set in her 2017 debut at Pompano Park two starts ago. With the win--her 14th lifetime in 667 starts--Spilling The Beans sent her career bankroll over the $55,000 plateau--$55,508 to be precise. As the 3 to 2 public choice, she paid $5.00 to win. Racing continues on Sunday night at Pompano Park with post time set for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...April 17, 2017...Boli, perfectly handled by harness racing driver Wally Hennessey, captured Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Trot on Monday night, covering the mile in 1:54.4. The five year-old gelded son of Kadabra stalked Tater Twister, with Jim Meittinis handling his lines, through fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:26 before leaving the coziness of his pocket turning for home and using a :28.3 finale to score by three-parts-of-a-length over the late charging Prairie Fortune, driven by Mike Deters, making his first appearance in the sulky since November 27, 2016 after battling serious health issues. Tater Twister did finish third while Sailer Eddie finished fourth after a mild backside bid. Commentary finished fifth in the quintet. After the race, Hennessey had high praise for his trotter saying, "Sometimes, Boli can be a real handful to drive but, tonight, he was a perfect gentleman every step of the way. He seemed relaxed throughout the mile and, when I showed him the open road turning for home, he responded beautifully. "Even going back to the winner's circle, he seemed nice and relaxed for a change." Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli won for the third time this semester to vault his 2017 earnings to $20,280. Lifetime, Boli has 18 wins in 55 starts with bounty of $157,474 to go along with a Pompano mark of 1:54.2 earned in his last win two starts back. Off as the 1 to 5 favorite, Boli returned $2.40 to his multitude of followers. The $8,000 Open 2 Trot went to Diamond Dagger, expertly driven by Walter Ross, Jr. The five year-old daughter of ABC Garland took command a right at the :28 opener and went on to post panels of :56.3 and 1:24.4 before strolling home in :29.2 to score a handy win in 1:54.4--her margin 1 Â¼ lengths over the late charging Keystone Bodacious (Kevin Wallis) with Dog Gone Lucky (Mickey McNichol) next, a half-length further back. My Revenuer finished fourth while McKenzie's Star picked up the nickel in the septet. The always subdued Ross, Jr., summed up the win succinctly by saying, "She went a nice mile. That's about it!" Trained by Mark O'Mara, who co-owns with Paul Johnson and Melvin Schmucker, Diamond Dagger won for the third straight week while earning her fifth win of the year in 14 starts, sending her seasonal bankroll to $29,735. Career-wise, Diamond Dagger has an 18-8-22 scorecard in 88 starts with earnings at $175,907. As third choice in the betting, Diamond Dagger paid $11.20 to win. The Florida Amateur Driving Club was in action on Monday night in two events, padding their total contributions to charity, now close to $185,000, and Dein Spriggs took both, not only as the driver, but as the owner, as well. Dein took the first with A Crown For Lindy--the 11 year-old warrior winning for the 55th time during his career spanning 208 starts. The gelded son of Cantab Hall won for the fifth time this semester, pushing his seasonal earnings to $16,579 and $419,438 lifetime. Spriggs completed his double by scoring with his Garlandsandpearls in a lifetime best 1:56.3. The six year-old altered son of Futile Qwest wired his foes for his sixth win of the year in 14 starts to send his 2017 earnings to $18,755 and $59,501 lifetime. While both were 2 to 1 favorites in the morning line, neither went off as the favorite in their respective races--A Crown For Lindy paying $7.60 as the second choice on the board and Garlandsandpearls returning $6.20 as second choice, as well. Veteran Allen Saul trained both of the trotters for Spriggs. After each event, members of the Florida Amateur Driving Club, along with several other "professional" drivers at the track, made charitable gifts to two organizations--"A Second Go" and "Go For The Greens." "A Second Go" was established to raise money for services provided to have a second go at life through therapy and nutritional support, among other things, for cancer patients transitioning from "fighter to survivor." "A Second Go" was represented by founder Kelly Sudell, on the road to recovery after a successful bone marrow transplant to stop her leukemia in its tracks. Melinda West represented "Go For The Greens," an organization that fosters, among other things, a healthier planet with a business strategy through the sport of golf. Racing continues on Tuesday night with mares in the spotlight as the Florida bred Goldstar Rockette, a 10 time winner last semester, looks for her first win of the year in the $8,500 Open 2 Pace. Alabama Shakey, Miss Dollar Mam, Metro Glide, Machin Marley, Jets Are On and Sue's Night Out complete the nifty and well-matched septet. In the "better for the bettor" department, Pompano Park will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9, in cooperation with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL - Harness racing gets its name from the fast-paced beating of hooves and crowds cheering as the thundering hooves pound towards the finish line. Although the talented horses steal the spotlight, accentuated by the roar of the fans, the real action is orchestrated behind the scenes, beginning in the early hours of the morning before the first beam of sunlight and often ending in the deepest and darkest of the night. At the center of it all, the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) holds the key that unlocks the magic that hits the racetrack every race night. They represent and assist the horsemen and women who work at the track including owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and grooms. And currently running the office at Pompano Park is a New York bred woman raised into the harness racing sport, Rosie Huff. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Rosie was one of four children in the Villante family. At the age of 10, her father, Vincenzo Villante, moved to Englishtown, New Jersey in hopes of finding more work as a bricklayer. Buying seven acres of land, Vincenzo built a home next door to his brother, Joe Villante, who, of course, was Rosie’s uncle. At that time, Joe owned riding horses; however, he later transitioned into owning Standardbreds. Pete Villante, another uncle, had owned and been racing Standardbreds. Already riding horses for most of her time in New Jersey, Rosie would begin to learn the basics of the Standardbred racing industry from her uncles. Her teenage years marked the era she would begin training and jogging horses, signifying the years of her first arrival into the business. Raised in New Jersey, Rosie migrated south to Florida in the summer of 1982 and worked as a caretaker for her uncle Pete at the South Florida Trotting Center and, on occasion, traveling up to the Meadowlands Racetrack on occasion until August, 1983. At this time, Rosie moved to Freehold Raceway to work for her uncle Joe before subsequently becoming a “free-lance” caretaker for many top Stables, including the Caraluzzi-McNichol Stable and Ray Vaughn-Thomas. From 1991 to 1994, Rosie worked for the legendary Stanley Dancer, working with many world class stakes horses, including Lifelong Victory, At The Top and Donerail. While working for Stanley Dancer, Rosie found a new love while on her way to the track for a jogging session—and it was not a horse! From the seat of the jog cart, Rosie spotted a fresh face on the racetrack and, as she said, “it was love at first site” The mystery man was identified as Jake Huff, who shipped in the night before and worked for Gordon Norris. Day after day, Rosie worked in the barn stabled close to Jake, but she didn’t have the nerve to strike up a conversation. One night, though, March 7, 1993, she worked up the courage to have a talk with him. That initial talk turned into a love affair which blossomed over the years as Rosie and Jake moved to Michigan, taking positions in the Gordon Norris Stable. Three years from that first March 7 encounter, Rosie and Jake were married in Maui, Hawaii in 1996. Soon after, the Huff family began to grow with first-born, Ronnie, entering the world on February 1, 2000 and brother Ryan joining the family on July 11, 2001. After working for Gordon Norris for two years, Rosie had to stop working with the horses due to her health. “It practically killed me to stop working with the horses, but it was a necessity for health reasons,” she lamented. But, finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel as Rosie discovered a position available at the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) in 1997. Rosie approached Jay Sears, the president of the association, to conduct a plan of action to work part time in the FSBOA on a trial basis. With the help of Jim Ripoll showing her the ropes, she was able to continue the job full time. She then worked full time until 2000, when she took a leave of absence to assume her new role as a mother. In 2004, Rosie resumed working for the FSBOA under Jane Murray and, to this very day, she is seen as a critical part of the success of that organization. When asked about her daily routine at the office, Rosie related that it's anything but a “routine.” “Every day is different for me,” Rosie said. “The only thing that is constant is the time the alarm clock goes off -- 5:15 a.m. “After getting the kids (Ronnie and Ryan) off to start their day, I am usually at the office by 7:30. “There is never a day when there aren't challenges, whether it be helping our horsemen and women with the insurance programs the FSBOA administers or helping with the draw, if necessary, or taking care of the stakes program and our breeding program or making sure that all Florida Bred horses are eligible to our stakes program. “If there is a special race going on, I have to be at the races to present blankets and make presentations---it's never ending, but it's a great never ending!” “It can be very challenging at times, however, it's a challenge that I love.” Of course, that is only a fraction of Rosie's daily routine. “Sometimes, it seems like there is not enough hours in the day when it comes to balancing work and the family. “My kids are very active in sports---a lot of sports---from wrestling and football to bowling and baseball. “There is practice to take care of, games to attend and, of course, mouths to feed and, as a parent, making sure that homework is done. “I'm lucky to get four or five hours of rest a day.” Rosie has been honored along the way for her great service to the horsemen and women in Florida. In 2008 she was awarded the Frances Dodge Van Lennap award and in 2016 was made an honorary member (only the second one ever in 26 years) of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. Rosie and Jake Huff continue to be prominent players in harness racing with Jake one of the most respected trainers in the sport and Rosie participating in the training of the Florida youngsters when not administering the FSBOA’s Stakes programs and insurance coverage for the horsemen and women in Florida. As Hall of Fame journalist John Berry says, “Rosie is one of those rare individuals that can play ‘every instrument in the orchestra’ when it comes to the sport of harness racing. She is indeed, irreplaceable!” By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink This is Jessica Hallett's first professional story as she is a new correspondent for Harnesslink. Jessica, 17, lives in Margate, Florida and is currently a senior at Deerfield Beach High School. She is the daughter of Pompano Park owner/trainers John and Michelle Hallett.
Pompano Beach, FL...Monday, April 10, 2017...Sooo Handsome, getting a picture perfect, confident drive by breeder, owner, trainer Rick Plano, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot, stopping the timer in a career equaling best of 1:54.1. The four year-old altered son of Cash Hall, leaving from the coveted five post, sprinted a bit when the gate sprung open and settled in the garden spot back of Tater Twister, handled by Mike Simons, as the latter clocked panels of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:24.4. Turning for home, Sooo Handsome vacated his cozy pocket and went on to score a victory measuring 4¼ lengths over Tater Twister. My Revenuer, with Bryce Fenn in bike, finished third, eight lengths away, while Boli, unable to find a decent spot early, skimmed the pylons in the lane and finished fourth. Chocolate Xplosion picked up the nickel in the field of seven. In a post-race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "I had the perfect post (5) to leave out of there as two of the other three speed horses were outside of me, so I thought that Mike's (Simon) horse would be on the bit from the (post) three early as he always is. "Of course, you never know what is going to happen when the gate opens but, tonight, things worked out as I had hoped. "The fractions were pretty solid and, when we straightened away in the lane, I chirped at him once and he did the rest. "He's gotten to be a pretty reliable performer lately and I'm especially proud of him as I bred the mare, Simply Royal, to Cash Hall and the result was this horse, Cash Hall." So Handsome pushed his 2017 scorecard to 4-5-1 in 14 starts, good for bounty totaling $33,200, more than he earned all of last season in 23 starts ($31,180). As the 3 to 2 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $5.00 to win. The $8,000 Open 2 Cliff Dvorkin Happy Birthday Trot went to Commentary, driven by Mike Simons, in gate-to-wire fashion, in 1:55.2. The five year-old son of Conway Hall led at every junction, carding panels of :28.2, :56.2 and 1:25.2 before strolling home in :30 to hold off the late charging McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.). Serendipitious (Wally Hennessey) finished third while She's All In was fourth. Genius At Work picked up the final award in the septet. Trained by Jim Mc Donald for Twenty Four Carrot Racing and Ciro Gentile, Commentary won for the second time this semester in eight starts and now has earnings for the year of $12,765. Lifetime, Commentary now owns 11 wins in 66 starts with his earnings vaulting to $145,065. As the 2 to 1 second choice, Commentary paid $6.00 to win and closed out a 50 cent Pick-6 sequence returning $6,778.15 to three fortunate ticket holders. Also on Monday night, the Florida Amateur Driving Club was in action and Joe Pennacchio, warming up for next month's Italian-American Amateur competition in Italy, drove his own Zorgwijk Impact to a photo finish victory in 1:58.4. It was the first win of the season for the 12 year-old gelded son of Armbro Ricochet and 51st of his career measuring 314 starts, sending his lifetime bankroll to $385,991. Trained by Jim Mc Donald, Zorgwijk Impact was sixth choice on the tote-board and rewarded his backers with a mutual of $20.00. The Italian-American Amateur competition will take place in May in Naples and Tuscany with Pennacchio joining Scott Woogen, Steve Oldford and Dein Spriggs for the festivities. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a $10,000 Pick-4 guaranteed pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program. Also of note in the "better for the bettor" department, is the carryover for the track's Super Hi-5 finale on Tuesday, which now stands at a lofty $70,371.53. To claim the Super Hi-5 jackpot, there must be only one single 20 cent ticket with the winning combination for the first five in the official order of finish. If there are multiple ticks sold on the winning combination, 50 percent of the net Super Hi-5 pool is shared among the winner's with the remainder going into the next racing night's carryover. Post time for the Tuesday program is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park