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Pompano Beach, FL...March 1, 2018...While Modern Mercury and Born To Thrive shared the Wednesday night spotlight with victories in their respective $11,000 Open trotting events, they played "second fiddle" to Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 finale, as one unique ticket had the correct 7-3-5-9-6 combo worth $282,244.66. Purchased through Xpressbet, the as yet unidentified winner had the 9 to 2 chance, BJ Lorado, with Andy Santeramo driving, on top with Deepwell (22 to 1) second, Savin Rock (77 to 1) third, Deli-Craze (5 to 1) fourth and Juts Like Bud (30 to 1) fifth. The even money favorite, Cowboy Hall, made an early miscue to set things in motion for the record Pompano Park payoff. Those who may have caught the other exotic offerings in the race were handsomely rewarded, as well, as the trifecta returned $4,615.00, and the 20 cent Superfecta paid $8,239.36. On the race track, Modern Mercury scored a repeat win in her event as driver Wally Hennessey sent this five year-old daughter of Donato Hanover straight to the front and recorded fractions of :27, :56.2 and 1:25.1 before her :29.3 finale sealed the deal in 1:54.4, a seasonal best. Trained by Rob Harmon for owner John Campagnuolo, Modern Mercury hit the wire 1 1/2 lengths to the good of the late charging Second Sister, handled by the Cardiac Kid, Jim Meittinis. Pocket-sitting She's All In, with Rick Plano in her sulky, finished third while A TC Queenie finished fourth. Celebrity Artemis picked up the nickel in the classy sextet. After the race, Hennessey said, "she (Modern Mercury) is very sharp right now. I sent her because her other two wins this year were on the front and I wanted to try and get a jump on Rick's (Plano) mare (She's All In), who seems to like the pocket, and the other Rick's (Schaut) mare, (A TC Queenie), who took a week off and was outside. Tonight, it just worked out our way." Modern Mercury won for the third time this semester in nine starts, good for $22,000 so far this young season. Lifetime Modern Mercury has banked $116,875 to go along with her mark just one tick faster than her Wednesday performance. Off at 3 to 5 on the tote, Modern Mercury paid $3.40 to win. Born To Thrive, patiently driven by Rick Plano, took the feature for the male counterparts with a very sharp come-from-behind performance in 1:54.2--trotting his last 3/4s in 1:24.4 to score by 1 3/4 lengths over a quick closing Prairie Fortune, with Jim Meittinis in the bike. Boli, handled by Wally Hennessey, was next after carving up panels of :28.3, :57.3 and 1:26.1. Uncle Hanover and Skyway Pippin completed the roster in this quintet. In a post-race interview, driver Rick Plano remarked, "Well, there's not much to add as the horse did all the talking in this one. He can grind forward a long way and he is very eager right now. Seems to love to hit the racetrack." The winner, a five year-old gelded son of Swan For All, is also trained by Plano for Victor Contento, Maryann Plano and John Campagnuolo, giving the latter owner a "daily double" of his own with the aforementioned mare, Modern Mercury, a winner in the distaff feature. Born To Thrive now sports an 6-1-0 scorecard in eight starts and $30,400 in bounty. Career-wise, the gelding now has banked $226,738. Also off at 3 to 5, Born To Thrive returned $3.40 to his multitude of followers. Racing continues on Saturday night with the Miller-Tetrick Pro-Am Challenge, a five race extravaganza feature the two super-stars benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation and New Vocations. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   John Berry for Pompano Park      

Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2018...Sooo Handsome, who earned a world record mark of 1:09.3 for five-eighths of a mile on a similar sized track just a week ago at Pompano Park, smashed that mark on Tuesday night by sizzling that same distance in 1:09 for harness racing trainer-driver Rick Plano. The homebred five year-old gelded son of Cash Hall used his rail post position to perfection, out-dueling the anxious opposition early and sprinting through fractions of :27.2 and :55.2 before tacking on a 13.3 final eighth to hit the wire 5 1/4 lengths to the good over William Star, handled by Wally Hennessey, finished second while Legend Field, teamed up with Corey Braden, next. Love Hunter and Overnight Shipper completed the order of finish in this quintet. In reflecting on his second world record performance in just seven days, Plano said, "He did it very easily tonight. You know, he's a very good gaited horse and he's very handy, so all I did was ask him for a bit early and he gave it to me. He was on cruise control the whole way. "He's very fond of Florida and loves this weather. It's especially gratifying because he's a homebred and we have had him since day one." In response to whether a short distance event makes training for a longer event more difficult, Plano responded, "I usually train him a mile-and-a-half and then a mile-and-a-quarter, so I really don't think it will bother him. We'll see how he does against the Open horses where he's been competitive over the last several starts." Now showing a 3-2-0 scorecard in five starts this year, Sooo Handsome has banked $19,000 this semester and $112,340 lifetime in 73 starts to go along with his 1:54.1 mark at Pompano Park set as a three year-old. Off as the 1 to 10 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $2.20 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night duet of $11,000 Open Handicap trotting events highlighting the competitive card. Prairie Fortune makes a return following a brief respite from the racing wars and will have Born To Thrive, Zoraze, Uncle Hanover and Foundonabeach as his rivals while A TC Queenie looks for a repeat in the companion event for mares. The Super Hi-5 finale has ballooned to $193,652 for the Wednesday card with post time set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 7, 2018...Rick Plano has won 6,896 during his illustrious harness racing career to go along with 3,766 training wins but Tuesday night, February 6, was a first for Plano as he set a world record with his homebred Sooo Handsome in the unique five-eighths mile dash over Pompano Park's five-eighths mile oval. The five year-old gelded son of Cash Hall went once around the slick track to hit the wire in 1:09.3, which eclipsed the former mark of 1:11 set by The Prowler at Georgian Downs on September 1, 2012. Thundercrest, driven by Dave Ingraham, was gallant in defeat, 1 1/2 lengths away, while Legend Field, with Corey Braden in the bike, finished third. William Star was fourth while Railee Workable picked up the nickel in the speedy septet. Sooo Handsome was away third after the wings folded as Prayer Session took the field through an opening panel in :27.3 with Thundercrest right behind. That's when Plano tilted Sooo Handsome to the outside and forged to the front after a half in :55.1. From there, the issue was never in doubt as Sooo Handsome sped his final eighth in :14.1 to crush the world record by almost two seconds. In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano lamented, "this, especially, was a very satisfying win as this is a homebred that we've had from day one. He always seems to be on his game and, tonight, we has REALLY on his game. Rick's wife, Maryann Plano, who owns Sooo Handsome, added, "I named him after my husband, because I think he's 'sooo handsome.' It's very exciting to have a world record holder in the family!' For Sooo Handsome, it was his second win of the year to go along with a pair of seconds in four starts, good for $15,000 starting this young season. Lifetime, Sooo Handsome has banked $108,340 to go along with a three year-old mark of 1:54.1. Off as the 6 to 5 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $4.60 to his multitude of followers. Racing continues Wednesday night with a competitive 10 race program with a Super Hi-5 carryover of $161,432. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL…May 5, 2017…When Rick Plano won the third race at Hoosier Park on Thursday night (May 4), it marked a harness racing milestone for the Plano family as Rick and son, Luke, now have a combined 10,000 career wins. The 65 year-old Plano has 6,836 of those wins (along with 3,728 career training wins) while Luke, who recently turned 37, has amassed 3,165 wins in his career dating back to 2000. Ironically, Plano reached the milestone 10,000th win by driving the three year-old Well Said filly, Flirtswell, to her maiden win over a sloppy oval in 1:56.2. Flirtswell is a homebred filly bred and owned by Lawrence Keethe and John Darrah. Immediately after the race, Plano said, “Well, now that we have achieved 10,000, it’s time to start on the next 10,000.” Two races later, he did exactly that. Driving Secretsoftheknight, owned by wife Maryann along with Michael Guest, the classy eight year-old son of Mach Three scored in 1:53.4 over the rainy oval. Plano reflected on the milestone win by saying, “I have been blessed to be able to compete successfully for over 40 years. This sport has been great to our family and, as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, we have been blessed. “I am very proud of Luke and his accomplishments and, with his help and a little more longevity, maybe we’ll add a few thousand more. “This is a great sport and our breed of horse, in my eyes, is the greatest in the world.”

Pompano Beach, FL...Tuesday, March 28, 2017...She's All In, driven by Rick Plano, scored a repeat victory in Pompano Park's $8,500 Open Handicap Trot for harness racing mares on Tuesday night (March 28), stopping the clock in 1:55.4. The eight year-old daughter of Revenue S won an early tussle with Serendipitious, handled by Wally Hennessey, and Celebrity Artemis, with Marcello Spano handling her lines, and went on to score a handy win in 1:55.4 off of panels of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:26.3. Serendipitious, in the pocket the entire journey, finish a length away in second while McKenzie's Star and Fern Paquet, Jr. teamed up for show honors over Celebrity Artemis. The 4 to 5 favorite, Diamond Dagger, made a miscue leaving and was distanced the entire mile. In a post-race interview, driver Rick Plano, who also owns and trains She's All In, remarked, "With the five post winning about a quarter of the races here, I decided to put her in gear from the get-go as she likes to be in the thick of things early. "We made the lead fairly easily and, when we got to the half kinda cheap (:57.1), I was pretty confident that she could carry her speed all the way home. "You know, I bred this mare and, as I said last week after her win, she's been very good to me. "She gives me everything she's got on the racetrack and I wish I had a hundred more like her!" She's All In now sports a 3-2-1 scorecard in 13 starts this year, good for $20,635. Lifetime, the gallant mare has 31 wins in a career spanning 209 starts with $314,293 on her card. As the 7 to 5 second choice in her quintet, She's All In paid $4.80 to win. Mike Simons held the hot driving hands on Tuesday night, driving five winners on the nine race card. Simons won with Nower Power ($31.80), Big Valley Speed ($4.80), M T Ur Pockets ($4.00), A Weekend ($5.60) and Tater Twister ($5.40). Racing continues on Wednesday night with pacing mares in the spotlight. A full field of nine will be going to the Hummer Starting Gate in the $11,000 Open Handicap with Godiva Seelster the early favorite--2 to 1--despite being assigned the outside post. There is a $10,000 guaranteed pool for the track's Pick-4, conducted on races 6 through 9. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...March 14, 2017...Sooo Handsome, bred, owned, trained and driven by Rick Plano, pulled off a minor upset at Pompano Park on Tuesday night (March 14), squeaking by the favored Prairie Fortune, with John MacDonald in the bike, in the final stride for a nose victory in 1:55.3. The four year-old gelded son of Cash Hall, second to Prairie Fortune one week ago, turned the tables on that 1 to 2 favorite by gaining a good early spot, taking up the chase on the backside and wearing Prairie Fortune down in the very last stride. Massive Lightning, driven by Mickey McNichol, rallied to finish third, though 2 ¾ lengths away, with Explosive Muscles, last half way through the mile, fourth. Massacaia picked up the nickel in the septet of classy trotters. As the outset, it was Celebrity Maserati leaving with alacrity with Sooo Handsome, leaving from the coveted post five, away well to settle in the garden spot. Diamond Dagger, the only mare in the field, was on the prowl from third with Massacaia next, Massive Lightning fifth, Explosive Muscles sixth and Prairie Fortune, handicapped with the outside post, trailing. With an opening quarter in :27.2, Celebrity Maserati was gliding along on the lead with Sooo Handsome still second and Massacaia next as Diamond Dagger was now fourth and hung out to dry like wet laundry. At the :56.2 half, Prairie Fortune was on the move from the back of the pack and, once they straightened away for the journey up the backside, MacDonald sent Prairie Jaguar on a double-bubble binge that took him to the front past the third station in 1:25.3. Meanwhile, Sooo Handsome was able to wend his way to the outside but was still two lengths away turning for home. In the lane, Prairie Fortune was trying desperately to protect the lead with Sooo Handsome gnawing away with every stride, finally claiming the top prize in the very last stride. After the race, driver Rick Plano said, "This horse tends to be a little lazy leaving but, with the five post here winning at such a high rate (24.6%), and everyone else leaving from that post, I thought I'd try and leave a little, too. "I wasn't going to get by the '2' horse (Celebrity Maserati), so it was kind of a blessing to settle into second. On the backstretch, John's (MacDonald) horse (Prairie Fortune) was brushing very hard, so when he went by us, I was fortunate that I had a chance to pull and try and follow him. "I didn't know if I could catch him in the lane and, at the wire, I still didn't know if I got him. "Guess that's what they have a photo finish camera for. "This horse (Sooo Handsome) can be very good when he's in the mood and, tonight, he was in the mood!" Sooo Handsome won for the third time in 10 starts this semester, good for $21,000 in bounty. Lifetime, the four year-old now boasts $56,680 with 11 wins in 37 career starts. As the second choice at 9 to 2, Sooo Handsome paid $11.80 to win. In the $10,000 Open 2 Trot, it was San Handicap victorious for Ricky Macomber, Jr. in 1:55.4. The four year-old altered son of Swan For All scored a one length victory over My Revenuer (Bryce Fenn) with Tater Twister (Mike Simons) third after cutting panels of :27.3, :57 and 1:26 for faltering ever-so-slightly in the final stages of the mile. Modern Mercury, closing fastest of all, finished fourth after dawdling at the back of the back of the pack until the stretch call. Fleetwood Hall picked up the final award in the field of seven. Swan Handicap, away in good order and settling in third as Tater Twister put up all the early numbers, pulled on the backside and went a game first over journey, pulling on even terms with the leader once they straightened away for home and then on to victory--his second of the year in 10 starts. Trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Matthew Rheinheimer, Swan Handicap won for the 10th time in his career stretching 43 starts. He's now banked 79,159 lifetime---18,640 this year. As the 3 to 2 favorite, Swan Handicap paid $5.00 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night with Godiva Seelster looking for a repeat victory in the $11,000 Open Pace for Mares. The seven year-old daughter of Camluck, with 40 career victories in her grand career, will have Wally Hennessey in the bike and is listed as the 3 to 2 morning line favorite. Misssomebeach Blue, OK Heavenly, Goldstar Rockette, Jets Are On and Sweet Bet complete the talented field of ladies. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...November 30, 2016...She's All In, driven by Rick Plano, redeemed herself from self-destructing in her last start by taking top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's Open Trot for Mares on Tuesday night (November 29).   The seven year-old daughter of Revenue S, owned and trained by Plano, himself, zipped off the wings of the Hummer Starting Gate to secure the top spot early on before yielding to Serendipitious (Wally Hennessey) and then out-sprinted that one to the wire to score in 1:54.3, the margin 2 1/4 lengths on the wire off of panels of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.3.   Diamond Dagger (Jason Dillander) went a brave mile outside the last lap and finished third, just a neck back of Serendipitious. The Meadows invader Pinky The Intern went an "even-steven" mile in her debut to finish fourth while Bad Angel, beginning her journey from the outside nine post, rallied for fifth.   After the race, Plano said, "She's a rugged mare, alright, but, sometimes, mares can be a little rambunctious ata times and, last week, I guess she was just in a bad frame of mind.   "That was a shame, too, because we had the five post last week, too.   "This week, she was all business. She was a 'good girl' this week."   In winning for the fourth time this semester, the iron mare now shows a 4-11-8 scorecard in a busy 42 starts, good for bounty of $72,514. She has banked $289,073 lifetime.   Off as the even money favorite on the tote-board, She's All In returned $4.20 to her multitude of backers.   Finally, there was nary a winning ticket in the Super Hi-5 finale on Tuesday, vaulting the carryover to $5,206.36 for the Wednesday night card, which is scheduled to begin at 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...November 2, 2016...Rick Plano won half of the races on Pompano Park's 12 race harness racing program and Wally Hennessey hit yet another "grand slam" with four wins, including both feature events on Tuesday night (November 1), That left only the "scraps" left on the table for drivers Brad Kramer and Sean McAleese with the win by the latter responsible for a rare superfecta carryover and a slew of other carryovers for the upcoming Sunday night program. Plano's "touchdown" also included a "grand slam" of his own on the training side as trainers Dan Hennessey and Dale Gilmour also had multiples. Plano's first win was with the Maryann Plano and Michael Guest owned Stache ($2.60), that four year-old son of Andover Hall stopping the timer in 1:56.2 in a condition trot. His second win came in the pentafecta fourth when Dale Gilmour's Sweet Bet ($4.20) scored in a lifetime best 1:53.3--her 36th lifetime victory. Win number three was with Karma Racing's Metro Glide ($5.00), trained by Gilmour. This four year-old daughter of Metropolitan used a backside blitz from fourth to sweep into the lead and on to victory in 1:54.2. Plano then earned his fourth win of the night with his own Sooo Handsome ($3.80), sooo very game in scoring his win from the nine post in 1:58.3. His fifth win came in the first half of the late daily double when Colene Lameyer's Ex King ($10.60), trained by Plano, came from far back to score in a condition trotting event in 1:58.1. Plano completed his "touchdown" run by sweeping the late double with Lookharryimwinning ($4.80), owned by Ms. Plano and Ethan Schlau, in 1:56. Hennessey, meanwhile, got his initial win of the night with Arthur Mergenhagen's Seeking Steven ($4.60), that four year-old son of Muscle Mass stepping up to Open 2 class and winning his second straight in 1:56.1. The first of Pompano Park's dual features was next on the Hennessey agenda and, despite having the outside post, it was the grand mare Godiva Seelster ($2.80) that led at every pole through panels of :27.1,:56.4 and 1:24 to score an undisturbed win in 1:52.2 for her fourth straight fall win in Pompano Park's top pace for mares. Goldstar Rockette (Kevin Wallis) leaving from post six and in the garden spot all the way after an early yield, finished second while Safe From Terror (Bryce Fenn) was next. Southwind Trini and Memumsnotnice were four-five, respectively, in the octet. In a post race interview, Hennessey had high praise for the six year-old daughter of Camluck saying, "Nothing bothers this mare. She takes care of herself, she trains the way she wants to train and, when she goes behind the gate, she's all business. She's a rare commodity. You hardly know she's in the barn!" Owned by Paul and Patricia O'Neil and trained by Dan Hennessey, Godiva earned her 10th win of the year and 35th lifetime in 104 starts. She has banked $95,058 this year and $315,775 career-wise. One race later, Boli ($8.60), also owned by the O'Neil's and trained by Dan Hennessey, overcame the second tier 10 post to score a narrow victory in the Open trot over She's All In (Plano) with Prairie Fortune (John Mac Donald) third. McKenzie's Star and Sailer Eddie earned the minors in that one. Boli followed Sailer Eddie (post one) and wound up fifth early on as Swishnflick blasted off the wings to take on She's All In (post five) early and taake the field through lively early panels of :27.1 and :55.3 with Sailer Eddie third and Prairie Fortune (post nine) wending his way into fourth. Just short of the second station, Prairie Fortune was out and rolling, surging to the front past the next marker in 1:24.4 with Boli now on the attack and She's All In also on the prowl after a brief shuffle. In the lane, Boli wore down Prairie Fortune and appeared to think his work was done at the sixteenth pole as She's All In cam surging late. "With Plano screaming, "I think I gotcha" and Hennessey retorting "I don't think so," the two hit the wire together as both broke out in laughter at the wire, a scenario captured to perfection by track photographer Skip Smith. After the judges looked at the photo, it was found that, indeed, Boli had his neck up at the wire. Afterwards, Hennessey said, "Boli can get a little lazy once he gets the lead. He thinks his work is done. He'll keep digging and digging until he gets to the lead but, once he's there, he thinks he's done. Rick (Plano) thought he had me and we laughed about it at the wire." Boli, a four year-old son of Kadabra, sent his 2016 scorecard to 9-6-2 in 22 starts, good for $68,842 this semester and $128,494 lifetime. Hennessey completed his "grand slam" a race later by guiding Byron Pineda's Ontheclock Hanover ($10.20) to a win in 1:54.1--the Rita Polese trained seven year-old son of American Ideal sending his career bankroll close to $250,000. A rare superfecta carryover occurred in the third race as Yagot Class, superbly handled by Sean McAleese, overcame the nine post with a wire-to-wire win in a condition trot--lighting up the tote-board with a $71.60 mutuel. That win was the first of the year in 10 starts for Yagot Class and provided bettors with a number of carryovers leading to next Sunday's program. The Sunday night card has a scheduled post time of 7:20 p.m. and features carryovers in the Pentafecta 4th, the Pick-5 (covering races one through five) and the Pick-6 (encompassing races three through eight). The program concludes with the Super Hi-5 finale with a carryover of $5,090.49. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Age is but a number to Celtic Merchant. The harness racing 13-year-old trotter is always ready to go. And he wants to go fast. Celtic Merchant, who has overcome three ligament injuries during his career, has won three of six races this year, all at Pompano Park in Florida. His most recent victory was Tuesday (Feb. 16) in an "Over the Hill Gang" event for trotters ages 9 and up. He triumphed by a head in 1:56.4. For owner Steve Oldford, watching and driving the old-timer never gets old. Oldford, who is training Celtic Merchant while the horse is in Florida, is best known for his amateur driving exploits --- and Celtic Merchant has been at the forefront of Oldford's success. In 2010, Oldford won the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series championship, the Delvin Miller Memorial Gold Cup, with Celtic Merchant at The Meadows. Three years later, Oldford was named the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Amateur Driver of the Year, and five of his victories that season came with Celtic Merchant. Among those wins was a division of the Hambletonian Amateur Drivers event at the Meadowlands. "He's been quite an asset," said Oldford, who also has captured five Billings points titles and multiple Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame Amateur Driver of the Year awards. "He's a great big horse with a big heart. He's great to drive. You can put him on any track. There have been lots of highlights with him. He's been a great anchor for my amateur horse stable." Oldford acquired Celtic Merchant in July 2009, when his trainer, Allen Sisco, spotted the trotter in a claiming race at Georgian Downs. After making one start for his new connections, Celtic Merchant was sidelined by a ligament injury, which was the second of his career. But he returned to action seven months later and produced 28 wins until being sidelined again last spring. Once again, Celtic Merchant bounced back and resumed adding victories to his total. "We thought the most recent injury was it and he was going to live on the farm," Oldford said. "We turned him out. After a while, we'd take a horse out on the track and he was just running the field with them so we decided to try to bring him back. "He's not sore, he's healed. To trot as fast as he's trotting, he's as good as he's been in a long time. I say that knocking on wood. He's just a tremendous horse. If he stays at it and stays healthy he's going to be right back in the Billings races this summer. That's what I'm hoping for." Celtic Merchant is a son of stallion Angus Hall out of the mare Jewelry Store. He has won 45 of 213 career races and earned $354,606. He is a half-brother to stakes-winning lady Jewels Galore, who is the dam of last year's New York Sire Stakes 3-year-old filly champion Jewels In Hock. Oldford has driven Celtic Merchant to 14 wins during his career. Rick Plano has guided the gelding to his most recent victories at Pompano Park. "He's not the easiest horse to manage in the post parade," said Oldford, who has 112 wins as a driver. "He gets fired up and he'll drag you all over the place. He just loves to go. But you put him in a race and he'll sit a hole real nice. I wouldn't say he's two fingers to drive, but he's pretty darn easy to drive compared to the post parade. "He just wants to go right now. If you jog him more than three miles, your arms are going to be a couple inches longer by the time you're done. That's just the way he is. He always wants to be turned loose and go faster. He just loves to race and he loves to win." And that never gets old, either. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

COLUMBUS, MN. - Harness racing driver Luke Plano, a winner of 2,818 races, reached the $10 million purse earnings plateau on Wednesday night (August 26) at Running Aces. The 35-year-old son of veteran trainer-driver Rick Plano began his driving career at Cal Expo in California in 2000 when he won 26 races and earned $121,902 in purse money for the owners of the horses he drove in his rookie season. He had his first 100 win season in 2003 and has captured between 118 and 292 races every year since. Luke has sported a UDRS over .320 for the last eight seasons and earned purses in excess of $500,000 every year since 2004. Currently Plano is completing his first full season at Running Aces and stands fourth in the dash standings behind Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman, who are tied for the lead with 62, and Tim Maier who is one win ahead of Plano with 48. Plano's milestone victory came behind the trotter Al-Mar Pizzazz, who notched her fifth win in six starts since Luke became her regular pilot. The four-year-old SOS Lunar Eclipse daughter bested a field of condition and claiming trotters chasing a $4800 purse in 1:58.4. Norwegian-born trainer Ulf Holm-Johansen owns the Minnesota-sired trotter in partnership with Vernon Devine. A single astute handicapper solved the 50-cent Pick Six on Wednesday and was rewarded with a handsome $2,452 return. Gregg Keidel

Pompano Beach, FL...March 15, 2015...She's All In, driven by harness racing owner-trainer Rick Plano, pulled off a mild (7 to 1) upset in the $12,000 Open Trot for mares on Sunday night at Pompano Park.   The six year-old daughter of Revenue S enjoyed a picture perfect garden journey before tipping out at thr head of the lane, wearing down the leader Blushing Hanover and then holding off the late surging Jailhouse Jessica, driven by Bruce Ranger, to score by a length-and-a-half.   Mc Tiny's Hope rallied for third for Ben Mc Neil while Blushing Hanover finished fourth, just a nose ahead of Trot Fudge Sundae in the septet.   At the outset, the 34-1 outside Blushing Hanover, handled by Mickey Mc Nichol, was away alertly along with She's All In, the latter ducking in right behind the leader and continuing that way through panels of :27.4, :58.3 and 1:26.3 with Saint Patty's Doll third at that station, Trot Fudge Sundae next but stalled a bit through that picked up third quarter, Sweet As Music double-bubbled, Mc Tiny's Hope next with nowhere to go and Jailhouse Jessica looking for some room to roam.   Turning for home, She's All In left the coziness of the pocket, surged on by and held safe late.   After the event, driver Rick Plano said, "She had started to give hints the last couple of starts and, tonight, everything jelled for her. Bruce's mare (Jailhouse Jessica) must've had some road trouble because I expected her to be there...and she was, just a little late! My mare was good tonight but luck was on our side, too, that's for sure."   She's All In won for the second time this season--22nd lifetime--to send her seasonal bounty to $17,735 and $177,519 lifetime.   As fifth choice in the wagering, She's All In paid $16.80 to win.   In the $10,000 "Pop-Up" Final, Ed Hensley's Speed Hanover turned the tables on last week's winner, Dream Lake, and wired the latter along with six others with a lifetime best 1:55 performance--his margin 1 3/4 lengths at the wire.   Oaklea Sydney was third, 11 lengths away, with BSMaximummoondream fourth and Famous Legs overcoming the outside eight post in picking up the nickel.   At the outset, both Dream Lake (Matt Romano) and Speed Hanover left with alacrity to vie for early supremacy with Speed Hanover gaining the top around turn one and traveling to an opening panel in :27.3. Once on top, Hensley's charge lolly-gagged over to the half in :57.4 and, deterring any backside threats, picked up the pace with a :28.4 third panel keeping Dream Lake still in the garden spot with no other challengers within three lengths.   In the lane, Speed Hanover, on his own, picked up the pace a tick or two even faster, completing his mile in :28.2 for the handy score.   In a post race interview, Hensley said, "I just got him (by claim) about a month ago and I figured he was a solid trotter that could always go in (1):56 and a piece. This mile pleasantly surprised I didn't think he was going at a (1):55 rate--he was doing it so easily."   For this eight year-old son of Cantab Hall, it was his initial victory of the year in nine starts, sending his seasonal earnings to $10,829. He's banked $218,934 lifetime with his prior mark being 1:56.4 over the Saratoga half miler two seasons back.   As the even money tote-board favorite, Speed Hanover paid $4.00 to win.   In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, the 10-7-8-1-3 combo produced eight winning 20 cent tickets sending the carryover to Monday's Hi-=5 finale close to $44,000.   Post time for the Monday extravaganza is 7:30 p.m.   John Berry reporting for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...January 28, 2015..Harness racing driver Rick Plano has driven over 6,500 winners during his illustrious career of 43 years but Wednesday night at Pompano Park was a first for Rick as he drove Orator to an 83 to 1 upset victory in the $13,000 final of the Sea Eagle Late Closer.   This five year-old son of Tell All, owned by trainer Casandra Uppal along with Rebecca Uppal, stormed home from eighth around the final turn to nail the victory in a three way photo finish in 1:53.3--the official margin of victory just 1/100th of a second.   Rock N Go, in his first start for new owner-trainer-driver Shawn McDonough, finished second after taking a "nostril" lead a step from the wire while Oakmont, with Wally Hennessey handling the lines was third, just a neck from the victory after leading much of the way and posting panels of :26.3, :55.2 and 1:23.3.   Who Dey finished fourth while Tivoli Hanover grabbed the last nickel.   In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "With the outside nine post, I thought that we were in a tough spot because all of these horses are fairly equal in ability and, when you have to spot them several lengths at the start, it's a tough task to be that much better than the rest once we all straighten away after the start. The hot fractions, of course, helped but, around the final bend, I was just hoping to get something out of it. He was pacing pretty hard down the lane and, that, plus the speed coming back a bit, enabled us to get it done. In my 43 years on the racetrack, I don't think I have ever had a winner pay 83 to 1. Pretty amazing, especially since he was second in his only two starts this year."   The win for Orator was his 16th lifetime and sent his career bounty to $62,210.   The win mutuel was $169.60 keying a 20 cent superfecta payoff of $3,061.80.   Also on the mid-week card were two divisions of the Pop-Up Series for claiming pacers as well as the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot.   The latter event went to Dukester, also handled by trainer-driver Rick Plano for Allyn Jones and Maryann Plano.   This eight year-old son of Duke Of York got a picture perfect drive, leaving and then yielding for a garden journey as Coco Lindy and Wally Hennessey cut the panels of :28.1, :58 and 1:27. As they turned for home, Dukester left the coziness of his pocket and wore down Coco Lindy with a :28.3 finale, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 for his initial success of the year and 21st lifetime-the official margin being a nose. He's banked $245,690 career-wise.   Nithinbutanallstar rallied to finish third for Mark O'Mara while Highland Yankee and Bloodstockshalltab picked up the remaining marbles in the field of nine. Favored It's Payday Friday suffered a miscue at the start, rallied a bit mid-mile but eventually finished seventh.   After the race, driver Plano related, "I didn't see too much in the way of leavers inside of us leaving, so I decided I'd let him trot a little early. He made the top easily and then I though it would be best not to get into a war with Wally's (Hennessey) horse (Coco Lindy) so I decided to take the trip. It worked out OK...barely!"   Dukester paid $9.40 as the third choice on the board.   The Pop-Up Series for claimers on the lowest rung of the ladder went in two divisions with No Shenanigans and Yankee Flyer taking their respective divisions.   No Shenanigans handled by Kevin Wallis for Erin and Leonard Poger, brushed up on the backside to take command and then held on for dear life to score by a nose in 1:54.2 over Dynamic Rayzer (Dave Ingraham) with the fast closing Fox Valley Griffin just a neck back for Joe Sanzeri. Jackets Required and Drinkability also earned awards in the sextet.   No Shenanigans now has 31 lifetime wins and $145,424 lifetime. Second choice at 8 to 5, he paid $5.40 to win.   Yankee Flyer, part of the five horse field (after a scratch) where all entrants had morning line odds of 3 to 1, took command shortly after a :28.2 opener for Wally Hennessey and proceeded to carve out panels of :57.3 and 1:26.3 before holding off Make You Famous (Bruce Ranger) by a half length in 1:56.3. Alastair Hanover (Jason Dillander) was third with Wake and Cracker Diamond completing the field.   The first four entrants in the field were less than a length apart at the wire with the top to bottom odds being 3 to 1, 5 to 2, 6 to 5, 10 to 1 and 7 to 2.   The winner, owned and trained by Ken Sweetland, Jr., went off at 5 to 2 and paid an even $7.00 to win.   Finally, the Super Hi-5 had only two winning consolation tickets--each worth $2,791.42--with the carryover to Saturday's program over $87,000.   Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park                  

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

Pompano Beach, FL...December 23, 2014...Dukester, who was knocking at the door in last week's top trot at Pompano Park, finally got the job done on Tuesday night with a lifetime best 1:54.1 victory in the $14,000 Open Handicap Trot over South Florida's five-eighths mile oval. Trained and driven by Rick Plano for owners Allyn Jones and Mary Ann Plano, Dukester pinned a three length defeat on Baby Boy Grin (Kevin Wallis) with the late surging Striker Ace (Ed Hensley) third. The early leader, M C, Felix, finished fourth while Warrawee Promesse picked up the remain marbles in the sextet. Indeed, it was M C Felix that took the early lead and dictated the opening quarter timed in :28. Baby Boy Grin, away alertly before yielding around the first turn, wasn't content to stay In The Pocket and, after the opener, took command and marched over to the half in :56. On the backside, Dukester, third early on behind the two pacesetters, made his bid first over and moved on even terms with Baby Boy Grin at the third station timed in 1:25.2. From there, the outcome was never in doubt as Dukester increased his margin with every stride. In a post race interview, driver Rick Plano said, "this trotter knows how to relax early and he knows when to get down to business. When I asked him on the backside, he responded like a good horse does. He can consistently trot final quarters in :28 and change here, so I was pretty confident when we turned for home." Plano then quipped, "He seems to be getting better with age as he took his former mark of 1:55...just three weeks ago!" This seven year-old son of Duke Of York won for the 11th time this year to send his seasonal bankroll to $82,012. He's banked $234,525 lifetime. As the 8 to 5 favaorite on the tote-board, Dukester paid $5.40 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

Artic Byrd (Art Major-Tundra Bird) rallied past the heavily favored De Vin Girl to score a win in the $8,000 feature race at Vernon Downs on Thursday night.   De Vin Girl (Rick Plano) was sent off at 1-9 by the bettors and led throughout the first three-quarters of a mile, setting solid fractions of 26.4 for the quarter, 55.1 for the half, and 1:23.4 for three-quarters. However, Artic Byrd (Truman Gale) managed to stay right with De Vin Girl during the early part of the race and was in prime position to overtake the leader as the field entered the stretch.   Artic Byrd produced a sustained drive through the stretch and made the lead with an eighth of a mile remaining, eventually winning in a final time of 1:52. Artic Byrd now has a two-race win streak at Vernon Downs. She is owned by Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell of Poland, New York. Truman Gale doubles as the trainer. The complete order of finish was: Artic Byrd, De Vins Girl, Upfront Secret, Always Flash-n, and Asset Management.   The win in the feature race was part of an excellent start to the program for driver Truman Gale. He won the first race with Campanile Hanover in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:52.4 and followed that with the win in the feature. Gale then completed the hat trick with favored Blue Skies Craze in the third race, winning in 2:00.1. Jimmy Whittemore also picked up a win on Thursday night with That's My Dream in the sixth race to continue his march to 1,000 lifetime victories. Whittemore currently has 994 wins for his career.   Live racing will continue at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 9-race program. The eighth race is the $9,000 feature race, an Open I Trot. The 5-2 morning line favorite is A Penny Earned, who is trying to earn his fourth win of the season at Vernon Downs and his second in a row after winning on July 5. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs  

The Sunday card at Vernon Downs featured a wild six-horse photo finish in the fifth race. The photo ended up being won by Steuben Ruthless, sent off at 9-1 and driven by Rick Plano. R Blue Moon Rising was second and Team Edward finished third. There was a dead heat for the fourth position between the favorite, Market Force, and Willies Big Mac. Dragon's Breath finished off the photo in sixth. The win was the second straight for Steuben Ruthless at Vernon Downs. The final time was 1:54.2, credited to each of the horses in the photo. Steuben Ruthless is owned by David Fisher of Vernon, New York, and trained by Mary Fisher. The 1-4 favorite, Tell Us More (Tell All-Liberated Leah), scored a convincing win in the $8,000 feature race at Vernon Downs on Sunday afternoon. Tell Us More (Roman Lopez) moved into the lead entering the first turn and ended up leading at every quarter mile mark. The fractions were very solid, 27 seconds for the quarter, 56.2 for the half, 1:24.3 for three quarters, and a final time of 1:52. Gallic Warrior (Rick Plano) finished second after sitting third throughout the early stages. You Bet Your Glass (Frank Davis) made a nice first-over move entering the final turn, but ended up getting caught outside through the stretch and had to settle for third. The complete order of finish was: Tell Us More, Gallic Warrior, You Bet Your Glass, Some Or Lis, Donna's Scape, Firethorn. Buckeye Baddler was a scratch (lame). Tell Us More is owned by Michael Casalino Jr. of Freehold, New Jersey and trained by Jordan Hope.   Driver Jimmy Whittemore continues to close in on milestone win 1,000. He had two winners on the Sunday program at Vernon Downs to increase his career win total to 993. Whittemore won the second race with Party With Artie and the sixth race with I Do Hanover.   Live racing resumes on Thursday night at Vernon Downs with a 9-race program. Post time will be 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity  

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