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The following story is reprinted with permission from the   This Pompano Beach harness racing horse track once thrived in spectacle, luring thousands each night to the “Winter Capital of Harness Racing.” Some nights, the crowds at Pompano Park increased the city’s estimated population by a fourth. More than 50 years ago, they started coming for the harness racing, an extravaganza whose origins link to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, a kind of tourney mentioned in Homer’s The Iliad. They cheered as racers reclined in two-wheeled carts and shook the reins, urging their horses to advance. The throngs of people, who once included the likes of Jackie Gleason, Kay Stevens and Rodney Dangerfield, have thinned out at Florida’s last remaining harness racing track. Now, changes are on the way. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said he met with Isle Casino’s leaders this week and plans are to tear down the old grandstand building and build a 400-room hotel on the Isle Casino’s property. After the first phase, the site, at 777 Isle of Capri Circle, may be developed into a retail, restaurant and office complex similar to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex in Hollywood. He said the Isle Casino has partnered with the same company that developed the Hard Rock — The Cordish Cos. “This is a major game-changer for Pompano,” Fisher said. There is still harness activity afoot. Jennifer Swope, spokeswoman for Isle Casino, which owns Pompano Park, said she’s working on firming up a racing schedule for next year. The track, which opened in the 1960s, is filled with memories. The old grandstand closed after the current grandstand was built 10 years ago. Isle officials aren’t saying anything about the long-term plans for the old grandstand beyond a sign that says the building is permanently closed to the public. How the development will fit in with the existing track is unclear as plans have not yet been submitted to the city. There is still harness activity afoot. Jennifer Swope, spokeswoman for Isle Casino, which owns Pompano Park, said she’s working on firming up a racing schedule for next year. The track, which opened in the 1960s, is filled with memories. Mayor Fisher said he used to go there, even as a young boy. “My grandfather was part owner of some of the horses there,” he recalled. “I would go with him to the stables and to watch the races.” To read the rest of the story click here

The heart of a horse is approximately eight pounds. The heart of a racehorse can nearly double or triple that with a range of 18 to 22 pounds. A Standardbred harness racing horse trots at just about or over 30 miles an hour. They can pace at about 35 to 40 miles an hour. Every bit of the horse is being used to break barriers of distance over less times. The muscles of the legs are a driven power that pull the horse forward with every thump to the ground. The ears, the eyes, the nose guiding the horse towards the direction of the finish line. The mouth controlled by driver on board to steer to victory. Air is circulated through the nostrils and into the respiratory system, into the lungs. The lungs have a capacity of about 55 liters, which is the equivalent of approximately three water buckets. People naturally have a lung capacity of about 6 liters. These differences are what make a racehorse unique and powerful. Horses have nearly the same anatomical and physiological make-up; yet, one horse paces wire-to-wire in 49.1 while the horse in the same race finishes up the track in over two minutes. The great natural set apart is the heart. Not just the anatomy or conditioning of the heart, but the heart of the horse that drives its behavior – their inner motivation. Horsemen recognize the power and potential of their horses. They can give a biography and stats book for each horse in their barn. There are, too, people who have this power and potential. Strength and resilience that may seem to go unnoticed. However, the success in the end is not, in fact, unnoticed. Horsemen harness this power to share their success and share their hard work by just sending a horse to the track. Thus, this story is about one of those people who possesses that strength and resilience and his name is Mike Deters. “I can go on and on about what a good person and great horseman Mike is. His stats tell it all!” owner, breeder and driver Laurie Poulin said. Mike Deters was born in Ohio and raised in Florida, when his family moved to race at Pompano Park in 1966. In 1975, he moved again to Michigan where he attended high school and college. Ten years later in 1985, Mike moved back down to Florida, where he considers home to be. He was born and raised in the horse business. His father, Bill, was a driver-trainer. “I have known Mike Deters since I was seven years old,” trainer Jake Huff said. “His father did blacksmith work in my father’s stable. They moved to my town. His father became a trainer at our stable and I have been around Mike for most of my life. He is a good worker and a good friend with high principles.” When his dad died in 1985 from cancer, Mike went into the business full time. Deters has been training his own stable since 1985. He has been a driver, trainer, and owner from the beginning. He was involved in the FSBOA for approximately 15 years, being president of the association for around five to six years. Mike used to drive, but decided he was a much better trainer than driver. Today, he drives occasionally with the “problem children” as he puts it. When asked who he looked up to in the harness business, Deters describes his father. “My dad was a great horseman. He could do it all – drive, train, and was one of the best blacksmiths I have ever seen. “He thought to be nice to people and instilled in me a great work ethic. He said, ‘if you are not afraid to work, you will never go hungry’”. Deters says his mother, Marilyn, has been a tremendous supporter of his forever. His wife, Shelly, has been his backbone forever. His son, Michael, has been a huge help both in and out of the horse game. He also has two sisters, Melanie and Liz. Melanie is married to trainer-driver Peter Wrenn and Liz lives in North Carolina and is outside of the racing business, living the “normal life”. Recently, Mike had been diagnosed with cancer. “I went through a pretty brutal bout of stage 4 cancer in the head and neck. I went through eight chemo treatments and 33 radiation sessions and have a clean bill of health now,” Deters said. The sport of harness racing is much more than just that. It is comparable to life. It is the lives of many, if not all, horsemen. As with the races, there are ups and downs in life. One week a stable can hit the board with every horse and the next, not make a dime. It is the long run that counts. The long hours in the barn – early in the morning, first one to show and late at night, last one to leave. Being a part of this business means inviting the horses and the owners into your family. It isn’t just about winning, it is about the relationships you form – with horses and with other horsemen. “I would like to thank my wife, son, family, and all my owners for sticking with me through treatment and hope for continued success. I would also like to thank a couple people for helping along the way. John Spindler, my mentor and a father-like figure to me growing up after my dad died. I couldn’t have done it without him. And Joe Kunkel and his daughter, Betty, who I am still partners with. They both helped my wife and I tremendously along the way.” – Mike Deters Mike would also like to pay tribute to his late father-in-law, Tom Sells. Mike has had a partnership with Laurie Poulin for about eleven years. “The first few years were pretty lean, but she has upgraded her broodmare band and the last few years have been very successful,” said Mike.  “Laurie manages a breeding farm and I just try to make the babies she has go, hopefully fast.” “Mike and I have a great partnership and our families are very close. We both have been around a long time and we understand about having the good and the bad,” said Poulin. “We agree on just about everything, the only difference we have is that I want to keep them ALL,” she laughed. The two have known each other for about twenty years or more. They met through Terry Kerr, still a great friend to both Laurie and Mike to this day. Mike started driving a mare, Lobro Zepher, for Laurie in the open mares whenever Terry had his horse in the same race. Later, Mike started turning horses out at Laurie’s farm. At the time, Poulin was breeding a few mares and had some foals that would need to be broke in the near future. So, the two started to barter and that is how “things started to roll” as Laurie put it. “Joe Pennacchio gave me Arapa Victory to start my breeding operation on one condition,” Laurie recalled. “That I would give his favorite horse, Fox Valley Trump, who Mike drove and gave him his lifetime mark, would have a forever home with me.” “Prairie Big John started our partnership about eleven years ago. We have had a few that didn’t make it but we have had a lot that did and it have been quite a ride!” Laurie said. “Mike is as honest as it gets and cares so much for the well-being of the horses in his care. Believe me, he’ll tell you in a minute if one is not fast enough and not going to make it.” Working in the harness racing business and working with horses, horsemen begin to form relationships with those horses. People begin to understand the horse’s attitude and quirks, how to handle the horse, or their favorite treat. They accommodate the horse and in the long run, benefit themselves and their stable. This form of time-driven observation happens everywhere. Humans are observational animals that make decisions and judgments based on their current observations connected to past experiences. Yet, the only difference here is that this relationship created is made with a different species with no form of solid communication whatsoever. Still, horsemen acquire this ability to read their horse throughout their ownership. They can assign personalities and emotional qualities to each horse. Ultimately, all of these abilities and observations leads to the picking of a favorite. Of course, all horsemen can love and treat their animals equally. However, there is always one, or perhaps more than one, particular horse that stands out among the rest in a ranking of favorites. There are many reasons for choosing this particular horse. Maybe it was a world champion or maybe it was a calm horse with a sensible attitude. Maybe the personality of the horse matched or maybe there was a great length of time of ownership. No matter what – there is always at least one, especially if time working in the business is a great length of time. Mike Deters was readily able to list seven of his favorite horses: Prairie Fortune, Prairie Sweetheart, Prairie Jaguar, Motor City Madman, Jersey Gigilo, Summer Class, and Nononsenseyankee. According to Deters, Summer Class was Mike’s first really good horse that he has ever had. Nononsenseyankee was very fast, Mike’s first 1:50 horse, and bought his wife a new kitchen. Prairie Jaguar was Mike’s first 1:49 horse. Mike says his best horse he has ever had was Prairie Sweetheart. “She was a natural, a freak. Her motor was unbelievable,” he said. “Also, Prairie Fortune. He was as honest as the day is long and shows up every week.” While Deters has owned these and many other fast and powerful racehorses, he says his greatest accomplishment is finding his wife, Shelly, and having a son, Michael. “They are my biggest supporters. Shelly is my rock. She keeps me grounded and my head on straight.” His greatest harness racing related accomplishment is being able to make a living, according to Mike. It is developing young horses and having success. Besides following his lifetime passion of harness racing, Mike says he likes to golf and to bowl. “I am not very good at either, but I really enjoy both,” said Mike. Laurie Poulin recalls three specific moments to be her best moments with the Deters Stable. The first is getting her picture taken eleven times in a row with Prairie Sweetheart. The second, having their first undefeated two-year-old, Owosso Flash, that was undefeated at two and three with Mike doing all the driving. He was big brother to Prairie Sweetheart. “I cannot forget my gentle giant, Prairie Jaguar,” Laurie said. The third best moment so far in their journey and partnership is this horse having the record at Pompano for the most wins of 1:50 or better in a row. “I think it was five!” He is currently training around 30 head at Tioga Downs this summer. “When I was asked to write something down about Mike Deters, I came up with a lot to say, but I will be brief. He is a very good man to work for. He works alongside of us all. He gives 110% all the time. He would make a good role model to all,” Debbie Gagnon, a dedicated groom for Deters Stable, said. Mike Deters is a true horseman for life. He was raised into the business and has worked his way to the top. He has the heart and strength of a racehorse as he has fought off cancer, is now is remission and still goes to the stable every morning. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink

Pompano Beach, FL --- With the announcement of Eldorado Resorts, Inc. partnering with The Cordish Companies in the development of a world class hospitality destination site at Pompano Park, Midwest Auctioneers and Realty has announced that they have signed a definitive agreement with PPI, Inc. to conduct a two-day auction at Pompano Park on Sunday (Aug. 5), beginning at 12 noon, and Monday (Aug. 6), beginning at 9 a.m. There will be a two day preview on Aug. 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature six floors of items -- many historical -- dating back to the track’s infancy years beginning in 1964. Besides the live on-site auction, bids will be accepted at, where registrations will be accepted beginning Aug. 1 through sale time. In announcing the auction, Sales Manager Jim Brown said, “This sale will, obviously, be unique as we will not only have chairs and tables but even box seat numbers and name plaques from many of the most prominent participants in our sport since this historic racing facility opened more than a half century ago. “We will have the pari-mutuel signs, sculptures and memorabilia, restaurant equipment and even the legendary bars on the floors graced by folks like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Ed Sullivan, Lorne Greene and so many others.” Also included in the auction will be vehicles, including a boom truck, John Deere equipment and Terex generators with light poles. Midwest Auctioneers and Realty President Mike Baker, who has been conducting auctions for the better part of four decades, will be the lead auctioneer. Speaking about the Pompano Park upcoming auction, Baker said, “This is going to be a great one, no doubt about it. It’s always great to see a company take that big step from the past into the future and this auction will serve as one giant step toward their future success. We are honored to host the historic event.” A complete list of the auction items will be posted when available. For information, go to, 937.548.2640 or 937.459.9558. Contact Sales Manager Jim Brown at 954.263.1999. by John Berry, for Midwest Auctioneers and Realty, Inc.

It has been reported that former top horseman, Charles Thomas "Tom" Sells, passed away peacefully from a long illness on Friday, June 1 in West Alexander, PA. He was 72. Formally of Margate, FL, Sells was born in 1945 at Urbana, OH and entered the equine arena while in high school, first as a Thoroughbred exercise rider, and then as a groom for legendary Standardbred horseman Dick Buxton on weekends and summers at the Urbana Fairgrounds during his two remaining school years. Sells stayed with Buxton as a groom and graduated to third and then second trainer for three years traveling with the Buxton Stable, having the opportunity to handle especially trotters for Max Hempt, Gene Riegle and Hanover Shoe Farms. He recorded his initial driving win at age 20 at Scioto Downs with the Curly Smart trainee Flicking Star (1964 filly Star's Pride-Flicka Frost-Victory Song) that was bred and owned by Don Millar's Bonnie Keek Farm. This may have begun Sell's affiliation with classy trotters as Flicka produced Hambletonian winners Timothy T and Christopher T plus Hambo Oaks winner Cora T. Sells' went to Chicago initially with two of his own trainees and four trotters and one pacer from Buxton, and then moved to the Meadows at age 30 where he began working with owners Steve Brown (Dunrovan Farm, Lexington KY) and a former Riegle client David Creighton of Hamilton, OH., while becoming well known as an effective catch-driver. When asked about the best horses he developed and trained and also catch-drove, Sells cited the pacer Lacrosse Hanover that he and Creighton acquired at Harrisburg as a yearling; and the fast-class trotters Go Get Lost (owned by Wayne Lynch and trained by Art Wirching) and the good trotter, Hellava Hush. Lacrosse Hanover (by Gamecock) raced at ages 3-5 for Sells earning over $118,000 with 26 victories in 83 starts. Tom was an effective catch driver of Go Get Lost (from a half-sister to Super Bowl) where he also campaigned that veteran in several European countries and Hellava Hush, both US$1 million plus winners. Go Get Lost defeated Mack Lobell in the 1988 leg of the Statue of Liberty and was second to Mack Lobell in the Breeders Crown. Tom also won the 2007 American-National for three-year-old colts with Prayer I Am. Go Get Lost (US) h, 1984 1:54.3 $ 1,197,467 at 3, was third in the Yonkers Trot. At 4, won the Su Mac Lad, second in Breeders' Crown, Nat Ray Trot, Maple Leaf Trotting Classic, third in International Trot. At 5, won the Horsemen's Series/Glory's Comet Series, Su Mac Lad, second in Grosser Preis von Bayern, third in Oslo Grand Prix. At 6, second in Horsemen's Series/Glory's Comet Series. Hellava Hush (US) g, 2000 1:51 $ 1,140,974 80 29-18-12 at 2 was third in Walnut Hall Cup. At 3, second in Transylvania Trot. At 5, Winner of Nat Ray Trot, second in Trotting Classic Final, third in American-National Open Trot, Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. At 6, second in Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. Sold at Kentucky Standardbred Sale 2001 for 20,000 USD. Tom's career statistics are impressive, totaling 2,635 driving wins for purse earnings of $15.4 million and 184 training wins good for $972,700 purse earnings. His career UDRS is .264 (over 1977-2015) with a peak year of .377 in 1977. Tom posted 115 driving wins in 1991 with a .291 UDRS and 111 wins in 2012 with a .313 UDRS. As a trainer Sells posted a career .290 UTRS with a .367 peak in 1994. The later part of his career was spent as one of the top drivers at Pompano Park, where many seasons he was in the top ten standings. He was inducted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2015 by the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. He was also a member of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the United States Trotting Association. He was the loving husband of Cheryl K. Andy Sells; father of Michael Sells, Brian Sells, Shelly (Sells) Deters, Carrie Sells and the late Todd Sells; and grandfather of Thomas, Savannah, Michael Jr., Michael Deters Jr., Dylan McIntosh, Wyatt and Levi. Sells wished to be creamated with a private service. By Thomas H.Hicks and Steve Wolf for the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

Pompano Beach, FL…May 31, 2018…Pompano Park wrapped up it 126 night 2017-2018 season on Wednesday night with a competitive 11 race program highlighted by Boli taking the feature trot, Roll With Faith annexing the pacing feature for mares, Wally Hennessey hitting yet another grand slam and a mandatory payout on the track’s popular Super Hi-5 wager.   Boli had things his own way in the Open trot as Wally Hennessey guided the six year-old gelded son of Kadabra to a handy 1 ¾ length win in 1:56.4 over Thundercrest, driven by Dave Ingraham. Cashahallic finished third for John Moody after a serious bid around the final bend while Reilee Workable completed the order of finish.   Starting from post three in his quartet, Boli burst off the wings with alacrity and took the field through an opening panel in a somewhat tepid :28.4 with Thundercrest in the garden spot after leaving from post one.    With no challenges during the second panel, Boli lolly-gagged over to the half in :59. Things picked up a bit on the backside as Cashahallic began his brush forward but Boli put him away once they reached the third station in 1:28. A :28.4 finale sealed the deal as Boli sent his corecard for the year to 4-3-3 in 12 starts, good for $34,720 for owners Paul and Patricia O’Neil.    After the event, Hennessey remarked, “He was a perfect gentleman leaving the gate tonight and, when we got to the lead so easily, I was confident he could go all the way. He relaxed during that second quarter and, when he gets to the half in :59 like that, he’s going to be tough to beat.”   Trained by Dan Hennessey, Boli has now banked $269,384 lifetime to go along with his Pompano Park mark of 1:54.2.   Off at 1 to 2, Boli returned $3.00 to he multitude of backers.   Hennessey also won with John Campagnuolo’s Modern Mercury ($3.00) in 1:57.1, Pink Gardinias ($2.80), also owned by Campagnuolo along with Alan Hyatt, in 1:55.3 and Herman Brewer’s Beijing Hanover ($4.60)  in 1:57, a new lifetime mark.   The latter winner is a seven year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter that has just begun his racing career—plagued by injuries up until recently.   Trained by Rosie Huff, Beijing Hanover has won three of his first four career starts and, as Hennessey said, “his career is just getting started. It’s like he’s a two year-old and, if he can stay healthy, he’s got a career ahead of him.”   Roll With Faith, the consistent four year-old daughter of Roll With Joe, made a backside blast from third into the lead around the final turn and went on to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:53 for Dave Ingraham.   Northern Dali was second for Wally Hennessey while Goldstar Rockette finished third for Bryce Fenn. Islay N finished fourth after cutting stiff opening panels of :26.3 and :56 before yielding past the third station in 1:24.1. Worldly Doll completed the order of finish.   Trained by John Mungillo, who co-owns with Finish Line Investors and Lawrence Willer, Roll With Faith earned her sixth win of the year, good for $32,229. She’s has career earnings of $63,807.   Second choice in the betting at 6 to 5, Roll With Faith paid $4.60 to win.   The Super Hi-5 finale featured a $40,000 guaranteed poll and, with that pool ballooning well over the $60,000, the 1-6-4-5-7 combo paid $139.60 for the 20 cent ticket.   Veteran trainer Jim McDonald piloted the winner of that last race, Odds On Cheddar to a maiden win in 1:57.1 for his Twenty Four Carrot Racing stable.   On the statistical side of the ledger, Wally Hennessey took the driving title in terms of wins with 231. Dave Ingraham, with a driving double on the card, finished second with 110 trips to the winner’s circle while John MacDonald (95 wins), Andy Santeramo (76) and Rick Plano (50) rounded out the top five followed by Mike Simons (47), Mickey McNichol (46), Jim Meittinis (46), Bryce Fenn (44) and Ricky Macomber, Jr. (38)   In terms of winning percentage for drivers with a minimum of 126 starts, Hennessey was at the top of the list with a winning percentage of 26.5% while George Napolitano, Jr. was second T 21.9%. Andy Santeramo was next at 21.6%.while John MacDonald was next at 19%. Rounding out the top five was Dave Ingraham at 17.2%.   On the training side, John MacDonald edged out Gaston Lareau in a photo finish,56 to 55. Mike Deters was third with 47 wins, followed by Mickey McNichol (41) and Dustin Ingraham (40). Eric Beach (35), Rick Plano (33), Nick Surick (30), Andy Santeramo (29) and Jim McDonald (30) complete the top 10.   In terms of winning percentage, Andy Santeramo was the leader in that category, winning 29 of 76 starts—a winning percentage of a lofty 38.2%. Dustin Ingraham was second at 25.5%, followed by John MacDonald (23.4%), Tony Dinges (22.9%) and Mike Deters (22.1%). Rounding out the top 10 in the category were Dan Hennessey (19%), Joe Pavia, Jr. (19%), Kim Sears (17%), Jim McDonald (17%), and Gaston Lareau (16.3%).   The top five trainers in terms of purse earnings were Mike Deters ($440,610), Kim Sears ($337,286), John MacDonald ($326,275), Mickey McNichol ($286,566) and Gaston Lareau ($267,799).   Pari-Mutuel racing returns to Pompano Park on October 21st with FSBOA non-wagering sponsored stakes events scheduled for October 6th and 13th.   by John Berry, for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL - The curtain closes on the 126-day 2017-18 racing season at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (May 30), with mandatory payouts in every pool, including the Jackpot Hi-Five which has a carryover of $18,822 into the eleventh and final race. Track officials, in conjunction with the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program, have placed an 'instant guarantee' of $40,000 on the total pool Wednesday night. Free PP's for the 11th race can be found at Live racing is scheduled to return to the South Florida oval in late October. by Gabe Prewitt, for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...May 28, 2018...Dodging a major weather "bullet" as Tropical Storm Alberto roared along side, Pompano Park got their Sunday night show in featuring Four Socks scoring a "three peat" win the Open Pace, four trainers being honored as winners of the track's incentive program and Wally Hennessey hitting yet another grand slam.   Four Socks, superbly handled by Hennessey, led from first long stride to the wire to score a 1:53.3 win over a track dulled somewhat by torrential rains throughout the last two days.   The stout-closing Dee's Rocketman, grinding away the entire last lap, finished a neck back in second for Mickey McNichol while Sing For Me George finished a strong third for Dave Ingraham. Kotare Yael N, actually closing fastest of all, finished fourth while Fritzie Pic Up Man picked up the nickel in the classy million dollar quintet.   Beginning from his assigned outside post five, Four Socks, a rugged eight year-old gelded son of I Scoot Hanover, burst off the wings and into an early open lead before carving out panels of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:24.3 before a :29 finale held off a stubborn Dee's Rocketman in a photo finish.   Said Hennessey after the race, "First, I think the track crew did an amazing job in keeping the track in racing shape after all the rain we've had. Hats off to them. Second, even though Four Socks took a week off, he is such a great horse that a week off doesn't bother him at all. He was as sharp as usual leaving and he's got a great quality of being able to relax once he's on top or when things settle down after the dust settles.   "I'm so happy for Mike (trainer Murphy), who is recovering from a kidney transplant just a couple of days ago. This, I am sure, will speed up his recovery! There's nothing like a win to help things along."   The win pushed Four Socks scorecard to 5-2-3 in 15 starts, good for $26,208 this year for owners Geneva Stewart and Barbara Murphy, Mike's wife. He's banked $189,134 career-wise.   As the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite, Four Socks rewarded his faithful with a $3.60 mutuel.   Hennessey also won with Pacing Pretty Stable's Brown Titan ($4.40), JP Houle Stables' St Lads Lotto ($3.20), and Spirit Shadow ($2.60), also owned by the JP Houle Stable.   Hall of Famer Hennessey now has an astounding 227 wins for the meet--a winning percentage of almost 27%.   St Lads Lotto and Spirit Shadow, by the way are trained by Gaston Lareau, who has closed the gap in the leading trainer competition and now trails John MacDonald by only two wins going into the final night of the season on Wednesday night.   Lareau has eight horses entered for the final night of the season on Wednesday night.   After the first race, Pompano Park's Racing Secretary Joe Frasure was in the winner's circle to present trainers Allen Saul, Kelly Case, Nick Surick (Allen Johnson accepting) and Gaston Lareau with monetary awards for winning their respective divisions in the unique incentive program designed to reward trainers stabled at the track for their season long participation.   The program, designed by Vice President-General Manager Troy Buswell, Director of Racing Stacy Cahill and Racing Secretary Joe Frasure, culminated with checks to Saul ($2,500), Case ($4,000), Surick ($6,000) and Lareau ($12,500).   The incentive program, for trainers stables on the grounds, will double for the 2018-2019 racing season, which gets underway in late October.   Racing continues on Wednesday night with this grand finale featuring 11 races and a mandatory payout in the Super Hi-5. The carryover going in is $18,822.23.   Post time is 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...May 21, 2018...Dee's Rocketman, catch-driven by Ed Hysell, came from dead last to take top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's featured Open Pace on Sunday night (May 20). The six year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, last in his classy quintet once the wings opened and things settled down, collared stable-mate Sing For Me George, driven by Mickey McNichol, to stop the timer in 1:52.4 over a track labeled fast, but dulled at bit by persistent heavy rains earlier in the day. The official margin was a neck on the wire with Kotare Yael N, handled by Corey Braden, third, 1 1/4 lengths away after cutting panels of :27.3, :57 and 1:24. Fritzie Pic Up Man, in the garden spot for much of the way, finished fourth while Major Starlight picked up the nickel. At the outset, Kotare Yael, leaving from post four, burst off the wings, followed by Fritzie Pic Up, who used the rail in settling in right behind the leader with Sing For Me George next. Things began to heat up on the backside as Sing For Me George left his cozy spot in third to go into attack mode, setting up the second over journey for stable-mate Dee's Rocketman. Brushing an individual third panel a shade better than :26.4, Sing For Me George moved along side the leader turning for home, poked his head in front shortly thereafter, only to be nailed by his stable-mate, Dee's Rocketman just yards from the wire. In a post-race interview, driver Ed Hysell said, "Let me tell you, it's a pleasure to drive a horse like Dee's Rocketman. Once we had the live cover, he just knew what he had to do. I didn't ask him for anything, he did it all on this own. He must have paced his around :55 to get it done. He's got some motor in him." McNIchol, who trains both Sing For Me George and the winner, Dee's Rocketman, reflected, "I thought I better get moving once we were on the backside so I sent my horse (Sing For Me George). I knew we were in a tough spot going first up but I had no other choice since Wally's horse (Fritzie Pic Up Man) wasn't about to leave his nice spot. That helped Dee's Rocketman, I'm sure, because he had some live cover to follow. My horse had some fight in him tonight but just got nailed at the wire. I guess you could say that 'I did the dirty work and he (Hysell) picked up the pieces!" Owned by Joseph Martinelli, Sr., Dee's Rocketman won for the eight time this semester to push his 2018 earnings over the $60,000 plateau--$60,800 to be precise. Off at 3 to 5 on the tote-board, Dee's Rocketman paid $3.40 to his many faithful. That event capped an auspicious night for McNIchol as two of his trainees--Rockntouch and Blueberry Heaven--were one-two in the opener and McNIchol, himself, piloted Team Captain to victory to complete the early daily double sweep. Rockntouch, also a six year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, got a picture perfect journey from McNichol to score over his late-charging stable-mate Blueberry Heaven in 1:54 sending his seasonal earnings to $20,649 for The Fred Monteleone Stable and Salvatore Promuto. He's banked $191,288 lifetime. As second choice In the betting, Rockntouch paid $4.60 to win. Team Captain, a six year-old son of Cam's Card Shark, scored in 1:55.2, using a :28.3 closing kick to hold off F Twenty Two by a neck. Joseph Martinelli, Sr. owns the winner, who scored his fifth win of the year to send his 2018 bounty to $29,114 and $182,325 career-wise. Team Captain paid $2,60 to his multitude of backers, completing the $9.40 early daily double. Racing continues Wednesday night with post time set at 7:20 p.m. for the 10 race program. The Super Hi-5 finale now has a carryover of $14,180. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...May 17, 2018...Hall of Fame harness racing driver Wally Hennessey put on a hall of fame performance at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (May 16), winning six of his seven driving assignments. In pushing his Pompano Park seasonal total to an astounding 219, Hennessey improved on his already lofty "Ty Cobb" like UDRS of .405 coming into the action, while improving his winning percentage to over 26%. He took the opener with Northern Dali ($3.40), finished third in the second race, and, after sitting out in race three, captured the remaining five races on the eight race program, winning with Just Like Lloyd ($5.20), Metro Glide ($3.60), Vodkancaviar ($6.80), Pink Gardenias ($3.60) and William Star ($3.20). Hennessey now has won 9,696 races during his Hall of Fame career. His heroics enabled trainers Gaston Lareau and Jamie Daley to attain training doubles with Lareau's successes being with J P Houle Stables Northern Dali and Lareau Stables own Metro Glide while Jamie Daley enjoyed winner's circle ceremonies with the Mike White and Dale Gilmour owned Just Like Lloyd and David Linker's Vodkancaviar--both enjoying their first win of the season. Reflecting on the night, a humble Hennessey said, "It's OK to give me credit for getting them home but, when you get catch-drives like this, it's very important to give credit to the trainers and caretakers of these horse getting them ready to go to the gate and perform at their best. "You never know how they'll be going to the gate, so, tonight, besides Gas (Gaston Lareau) and Jamie (Daley), both (Tom) Bigler (James) Quinn had their horses ready to race tonight. So, they and their caretakers are really the ones what deserve the credit." Racing continues on Sunday night with post time set at 7:20. The Super Hi-5 Finale has a carryover of $12,232. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...May 14, 2018...Despite a deluge of continual rain and a brief malfunction of the harness racing starting gate, Pompano Park put on quite a show on Sunday night (May 13) as Four Socks scored a repeat in in the feature pace while Wally Hennessey and Mickey McNIchol shared the limelight in the winner's circle. While the rain left the racing surface sloppy, another unseen obstacle brought back memories of what racing was like prior to the invention of Steve Phillips Starting Gate in 1946.   After the opening race, the belt snapped on the Silver Bullet Starting Gate forcing a "gentlemen's start" for the next three races, an issue that proved to be "no issue" during the next three races until the belt was replaced.   Of the issue, driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "Actually, it turned out to be 'no issue' at all as all of us have been around the block before and knew exactly what to do. The starter (Adam Brownlee) handled things perfectly."   Four Socks, with Hennessey in his bike, led from first long stride to his final longer stride in scoring a 1:52.3 win over the sloppy--one tick faster than his win on a fast track a week ago.   The rugged eight year-old gelded son of I Scoot Hanover practically pushed the starting gate out of his way at the start and, in what seemed to be an instant, opened up a four length lead and never looked back, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths off of panels of :27.4, :57 and 1;24.4 en route to his fourth win of the year.   Dee's Rocketman, driven by Mickey McNIchol, was away in the garden spot and chased the winner the entire mile while Major Starkight, handled by Dave Ingraham, was next. Team Captain finished fourth while Surge Seelster picked up the nickel in the 5-4-3-2-1 barber pole finish.   After the race, Hennessey remarked, "You never know what to expect on a sloppy track but Mike (trainer Murphy) has him so sharp these days that driving Four Socks is like driving a machine. I was a little concerned with some of the ones having inside posts with their early speed but my horse was on sprint mode leaving and, in a blink of an eye, I had several lengths on them. He was amazing tonight. Again, give credit to Barbara (Murphy) and Joan (Uszak) for the care they give this horse."   Four Socks has banked $21,708 this semester and $185,634 lifetime to go along with his 1:50.1 mark at Hoosier Park.   Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Four Socks paid $2.40 to his multitude of faithful.   The win was one of four for Hennessey, who also scored with Fritzie Pic Up Man ($6.80), Silver Wings ($7.00) and Brown Titan ($4.60).   Hennessey had to share the spotlight with Mickey McNichol, who had three winners on the eight race program.   McNichol steered Blueberry Heaven ($4.00), Sing For Me George ($4.20) and Great Soul ($3.00) to wins as Hennessey and McNichol swept seven of the eight races on the card--the lone other one being the Amateur Driving Club event won by Garlandsandpearls ($8.00), skimming the pylons for Dein Spriggs late to nail Zorgwijk Impact, driven by Joe Pennacchio, by a head. Bad Cantab (Billy Muggleston) finished third in the mile clocked in 2:00.1 in the slop.   Racing continues on Wednesday night with a Super Hi-5 carryover approaching $10,000.   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...May 10, 2018...As Hall of Fame harness racing driver Wally Hennessey lamented, "Sometimes, you need a little extra luck to reach the winner's circle." That was the case on Wednesday night as Boli inherited a win on Wednesday night in Pompano Park's trotting feature. The six year-old gelded son of Kadabra looked to be in a hopeless situation turning for home but took full advantage of the leader's miscue once they straightened away and went on to score a one length win over Thundercrest (Dave Ingraham) in 1:55.2. Cashahallic (John Moody), longest shot on the board, finished third while Railee Workable finished fourth. Up The Alley finished fifth in the classy sextet, paying the price for that earlier stated miscue in the lane. Indeed, it was Up The Alley, handled by Corey Braden and starting from the coveted post five, who out-sprinted the field as Boli, leaving from post four, settled in the garden spot. Up The Alley took the field through panels of :28, :56.4 and 1:25.3 and began sprinting away around that final bend, opening up a 3 1/2 length lead once they turned for home. But, suddenly, Up The Alley went up in the air and Boli took full advantage of that prolonged miscue and waltzed on to the victory. In a post race interview, Hennessey said, "Sometimes you need a little extra luck to reach the winner's circle" and, tonight, we had that little bit of extra luck. "I really didn't think we were going to beat the leader (Up The Alley) turning for home but, Boli took advantage and that was that! You know, Boli is by a world champion (Kadabra) and out of a world champion (Pizza Dolce) so he's always going to give a good account of himself. He's has inherited a lot of his sire's and dam's great traits." Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli evened up his scorecard at 3-3-3 in 10 starts, good for $31,160 this semester and $265,824 lifetime. Off as the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Boli returned $3.40 to win. Trainer John Mungillo had a hat trick on Wednesday night as Prince of Fame ($4.40), Roll With Faith ($2.60) and Gold Star Sonata ($5.80) all hit the winner's circle. Prince of Fame, owned by Amante Standardbreds, was driven by Corey Braden, Roll With Faith, owed by Mungillo along with Finish Line Investors and Lawrence Willer, had the driving services of Dave Ingraham. who also drove Papiernik's Gold Star Sonata to victory. Racing continues Sunday night with post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL…May 10, 2018…Pompano Park’s iconic handicapper, Ed Ransom, 77, passed away recently at North West Hospital in Coral Springs, Florida after a short illness. He, along with his brother, Ronald, published the popular Kelly’s Tip Sheet for many years. Edward John Ransom was born in the small town of Walton, New York on February 14, 1941 and was educated in New York before graduating from Duke University in 1965. Having taken an interest in law, he attended Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, graduating from that private institution in 1969. Although he worked in various capacities in the field of law, his true passion was working in the equine industry and, indeed, he was able to find work as a timer and photo finish operator at various tracks, enabling him to create the tip sheet which has been a “bible” to many horse racing aficionados. In a recent interview, he said, “It gives me great satisfaction to pick a winner or two for our visitors at the track. Over the years, I have made countless friends so I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in any other vocation.” Mr. Ransom is survived by his wife, Glynis, two sisters, Marianne McNabb of Lake James, N. C. and Beth Ransom of Winter Springs, FL, as well as the aforementioned brother, Ronald, of Margate, Florida. Funeral arrangements are pending. by John Berry

Pompano Beach, FL...May 7, 2018...Four Socks, catch-driven by Wally Hennessey, took top honors in Pompano Park's featured Open Pace on Sunday night, stopping the timer in 1:52.4. The rugged gelded son of I Scoot Hanover showed his four socks to a classy field in scoring a wire-to-wire win off panels of :27, :56.4 and 1:24.2 before an effortless :28.2 finale left him 1 1/4 lengths up on Caviart Reagan, handled by Dave Ingraham. Favored Dee's Rocketman finished third for Mickey McNichol while Team Captain and Spirit Shadow completed the roster of the quintet. With post positions assigned, Hennessey, leaving from post position four, sent Four Socks whistling off the wings and into the lead and, after a swift opener, was able to get that second quarter breather that "really helped the cause." On the backside, things began to heat up rapidly with Dee's Rocketman surging and just a length off the leader around the final bend. But, once they straightened away, Four Socks had plenty left and was never threatened to the wire. After the race, Hennessey remarked, "Murph's horse (Four Socks) was sharp as a tack coming in. I knew that because I had been racing against him in recent weeks and we was full of pace late against Panocchio in his last start. So, when you know your competition and get an opportunity to drive a horse like this, it's a blessing. We got to the lead very easy and he was nice and relaxed during the second quarter which really helped the cause. "I'll tell you who gets the credit here--Mike's wife (Barbara) and Joan Uszak, who has been in this business just about forever, do just a fantastic job taking care of this horse. He is immaculate! They get all the credit because he was ready to race tonight." Trained by Mike Murphy for owners Barbara Murphy and Geneva Stewart, Four Socks won for the third time this year in 13 starts, good for $18,958 and $181,884 lifetime. Four Socks paid $4.20 to his multitude of faithful and kicked off a Pick-6 sequence that paid a generous $212.05 for the 50 cent ticket, despite the fact that, following Four Socks, four favorites won and the longest shot in the Pick-6 was 3 to 1. Racing resumes Wednesday night with post time set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...May 3, 2018...Thundercrest, handled by Dave Ingraham, eked out a narrow victory in Pompano Park's top trot on Wednesday night (May 2), stopping the timer in 1:55.4, equaling his lifetime best performance. The ultra-consistent five year-old gelded son of Crest got up in the very last stride to edge by a stubborn Up The Alley, driven by Dewayne Minor--the winning margin being a head. Boli, beginning from the outside none post for driver Wally Hennessey, finished third while Railee Workable finished fourth. Overnight Shipper picked up the nickel in the classy field of nine. As the wing folded, Thundercrest, leaving from Pompano Park's coveted post five, was away sharply along with Up The Alley and MIdnite Craze with this trio all in search of the top spot early. Boli was also outside and looking for an improved place but, at the opening station in :28.4 over a somewhat dull racing oval, it was Thundercrest on top with Up The Alley in the garden spot and Midnite Craze on the attack and pressing forward. Midnight Craze was able to wrestle the lead around turn two and was two lengths clear at the half in a picked up :56.4. On the backside, Up The Alley surged from third and brushed forward, taking the lead from MIdnite Alley past the third marker in 1:26.4 with Thundercrest ready to pounce from the pocket and Boli second over. In the lane, the war between Up The Alley and Thundercrest really heated up as these two sprinted hard to the wire with Thundercrest's :28.3 individual finale getting the job done. After the race, the humble Dave Ingraham related, "This horse races good just about every start. He's handy, he's got gate speed, he can relax, he's go the go power late and he's got a winning attitude. A big part of this win took place a few days before when he drew the five post and the others, especially Wally's trotter (Boli) drew outside of us." Trained by Dave's son, Dustin Ingraham, for owner MIke Richards, Thundercrest now sports a 7-4-3 scorecard in 18 starts, good for $43,835. The win also pushed his career bankroll over the $100,000 mark--$101,581 to be precise. Off as the even-money favorite on the tote-board, Thundercrest paid $4.20 to win. The companion event carded as an Open III, went to the rugged mare Diamond Dagger, driven by Bryce Fenn. This eight year-old daughter of ABC Garland, was outside and grinding forward just about every step of the mile--in her case a mile and 20 yards--to score in 1:56.3. Prairie Diamonds, with Dewayne Minor in the bike, finished second, two lengths away, while Kegler Hanover, who cut all the panels for Dave Ingraham, finished third. Vicki All and William star picked up the minor awards in the field of nine. The 1 to 5 tote-board favorite, Modern Mercury, made a miscue at the start and finished sixth. In a post-race interview, driver Bryce Fenn said, "This is the first time I've driven this mare and Mark (trainer O'Mara) said she's not afraid to take some air. The fractions were comfortable for her and she just kept churning away until the got to the front turning for home. She did this all on her own. All I did was steer. After we got back from the winner's circle, Mark thanked me for driving her. Heck, I thanked him right back for letting me drive a mare of this quality." Owned by trainer O'Mara along with Paul Johnson and Melvin Schmucker, Diamond Dagger "evened-up" her scorecard at 3-3-3 in 14 starts and now sports $31,880 this semester and $266,062 lifetime. Off as third choice at 7 to 1, Diamond Dagger returned $17.60 to her faithful. Diamond Dagger's win also closed out the track's Pick-5 for the night with nary a single ticket on the 5-2-5-6-8 combo resulting in a carry-over of $4,707, thus, the track will offer a $20,000 guarantee on the Pick-5 for Sunday. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...April 30, 2018...Panocchio, earned his 60th career victory on Sunday night (April 29), scoring that milestone win in the harness racing feature Open II Pace at Pompano Park in 1:51.3 over Four Socks (Tyler Shehan) and Kotre Yael (Corey Braden) with the favored Rebellious and Major Starlight also earning minor awards in the classy septet. Wally Hennessey was in the grand gelding's sulky for the occasion--for the 38th time at Pompano Park--and, despite being assigned the outside post position, was able to work himself to the top through a :27.3 opener before posting number of :56 an 1:23.3 along the way. After the event, Hennessey related, "He's eight years-old now and might not be able to go in track record time anymore, but he's tough as nails, especially when he grabs the racetrack. He sure knows how to dig in when they're coming at him and tonight was no different. "I had to send him from this outside post because he's always anxious to join the party when the gate opens. Once on top, he did the rest all on his own. There's no use to ask him for more because he knows what job hew has to do and he does the best he can." Trained by Jim Mattison, who co-owns with Emile Johnson, Jr., Panocchio now sports a lifetime bankroll of $520,843 with $29,700 of that this semester on the strength of a 2-4-0 scorecard in eight starts. The victory was the fifth on the card for Hennessey, vaulting him over the 200 mark for the 2017-2018 season at Pompano Park. Hennessey got his first win of the night in the second race with Warhorse in 1:54.1.--that eight year-old gelded son of Jereme's Jet scoring his first win of the year for trainer James Quinn, who co-owns with H. Nelson Baitzel III. Win number two on the evening was with Caviart Reagan, a four year-old son of Bettor's Delight, who toured South Florida's five-eighths mile oval in 1:52, equaling his lifetime best. Owned and trained by Jim McDonald, Caviart Reagan blasted to the lead on the backside from the garden spot and paced his final half in :55.3 for the impressive score. Hennessey's 200th win of the season came with Art Again, earning his first win of the year for Gaston Lareau, who trains for JP Houle Stables, The seven year-old gelded son of Dragon Again won gate-to-wire in 1:54.2, a new lifetime mark. The sharp Florida bred Prairie Panther, winning his 2018 debut in a lifetime best 1:52.2, earned the grand slam for Hennessey as that four year-old son of Royel Millenium cut panels of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before a :27.3 finale sealed that deal for co-owners Mike Deters and Laurie Lee Poulin. Panocchio then capped the five-win performance, vaulting Hennessey's total to 202. Earlier in the evening, The Florida Amateur Driving Club held their weekly event with Dein Spriggs winning with his own Garlandsandpearls in a thrilling three horse photo finish in 1:59.1. In a winner's circle presentation after the race, Club President Deion Spriggs was joined in the winner's circle by FADC members to present a generous donation to Latinos Salud, founded 10 years ago to create a safe space for Latino gentlemen and their partners for support and resources covering HIV testing, intervention, counseling and health programs. Executive Director Dr. Stephen Fallon accepted the donation by saying, "We appreciate the generosity and interest shown Latinos Salud and salute the harness racing community and the Florida Amateur Driving Club in assisting us with this much needed donation." Racing continues on Wednesday night with the Super Hi-5 carryover of $5,102. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park      

The Cordish Companies formed a joint venture with Eldorado Resorts Inc., owner of Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, to build a mixed-use development around the casino and harness racing track in Pompano Beach. The 223-acre development would include an office campus, a hotel, residences, and space for retail stores and restaurants. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said in a prepared statement that city officials “look forward to working closely together with The Cordish Companies and Eldorado Resorts in creating a destination like no other.” Reno, Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts acquired the Pompano Beach property as part of its $1.7 billion purchase of Isle of Capri Casinos in 2017. Eldorado owns and operates a total of 20 casino properties in ten states. Among other Florida projects, Baltimore-based Cordish developed the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.  By Mike Seemuth Reprinted with permission of The Real Deal

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