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Harness racing driver Wally Hennessey is still relishing the job he says he was born to do. The 61-year-old Hall of Fame driver is leading the standings at Florida's Pompano Park, where he has long been one of the top drivers and is looking for his third consecutive title. When Pompano's meet concludes at the end of May, Hennessey will move to Saratoga, where he also has enjoyed countless years of success. Last season, no one won more races at the Spa during the three months Hennessey called it home. Hennessey was born on Prince Edward Island, where he followed his father, Joe, and grandfather, Wal, into the sport. He made a name for himself in the Maritimes in the early 1980s, setting annual records for wins and purses, before traveling to Florida and launching a career in the U.S. that eventually led him to one of the greatest horses in harness racing history. In 1995, Hennessey began a six-year association with the female trotter Moni Maker, who was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and Trotter of the Year in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Hennessey and Moni Maker posted many memorable wins together, including the Elitlopp, Hambletonian Oaks, Breeders Crown Open Trot, and three editions of the Nat Ray. Moni Maker retired with a then-record $5.58 million in purses. Hennessey, who entered Tuesday with 9,635 career wins, has been inducted into both the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, as well as halls of fame in Florida, New York, and Prince Edward Island. Last year, Hennessey won 335 times and ranked 27th in North America despite competing in fewer than 1,300 races. (He was the only driver among the top 33 to drive in fewer than 1,600). He is highly regarded for his consistency, which has seen him post a driver rating of at least .300 in 28 of the past 29 years. His lone miss came in 2001 when he finished at .295. Hennessey recently took time to talk about his career with U.S. Trotting Association Media Relations Manager Ken Weingartner. KW: You're having another good year and your career is still going strong. What keeps you going? WH: I'm still competitive and still getting some nice stables to drive for. I feel good. I work every day with the horses. It was something I was bred to do and it's something I want to continue to do as long as I feel I'm not in anybody's way. KW: When you're in front of everybody it makes it easier. WH: (Laughs.) The racing game today, the strategies aren't quite the same as they were years ago. When you look at most racetracks, you'll see the favorites win anywhere from 32 to 40 percent. If you happened to be getting the ones that are favored, and sometimes they're false favorites, but if you're the lucky guy getting the horses that have a chance at 5-1 and under, you're in the game. Over the years, I've been fortunate to be one of those guys. KW: How have you seen the game change and have you adjusted? WH: I would say yes. When I first started racing, which was back on Prince Edward Island, there wasn't a whole lot of power. But over the years, yes, with the way that the tracks are and the breed of the horse, it's changed. There is a fine line between the worst horse in the program and the best horse in the program. There's a difference whether they can beat one another, of course, but as far as speed or times of the mile, you'll see on any given night the cheapest class on the card will go (1):52 and the top class will go (1):52. It's a fine line. As far as adapting, I had to adapt. If you're on a favorite, generally you have a 40-percent chance of winning. So you have to put yourself into a winning position. Most times it means the horse has to be driven aggressively. Maybe in years past you could work out a decent trip with a horse and let somebody else dictate the fractions and still beat them. I believe today that if you let somebody else dictate the fractions and you're not in the right position, you can't win that race like you did years ago. You have to be in position the last quarter of a mile, somewhere near the front end, or you're not going to win. Not all the time, but the majority of the time. KW: Have you become more aggressive or have you always considered yourself aggressive? WH: Oh yes. I think I always was a touch aggressive, but I'm very aggressive (now). But it's not about me; it's about what I'm driving. Yes, I'm very aggressive; probably ultra-aggressive. But I'm able to do that because of the animal I'm driving or the stable I'm driving for that does a tremendous job. I'm just the guy that they choose. KW: What do you most enjoy about doing it after all these years? WH: It's the same today as it was -- the adrenaline rush. To be able to do this on a nightly basis, and the feeling you get when you win a race, that's really never changed. Whether it was a cheap race or a great race -- and of course a more significant race is better monetarily -- but it matters not to me. A win is a win. There is no greater feeling. Not many people get to have that adrenaline rush when you're doing what I've done for over 40 years. KW: Well, you've had the highest of highs, that's for sure. WH: Oh yes, that goes without saying. There was none better and there has been none better in my eyes than Moni Maker. Having said that, she made my career and she ruined my career. (Laughs.) I've said it many times, "How do I compare any horse to her?" When you've had the best, not that you don't respect other horses, but how many have come along that have been like her. She was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. KW: I'm just glad I got to see her in my lifetime. WH: It was a pleasure. When we were going through those years you knew it was special, but you really know later in life how special it was. You guys, as the audience, were probably more in awe than the people involved right in it with her at the time. But after the fact, I think anybody that's ever had anything to ever do with her looks back and says, "Wow." Even though we always knew she was extra special, but it's 20 years later and we're still talking about her. Whenever there is a poll about the greatest of all time, her name comes up. Not that everybody feels she was the greatest -- I do -- but her name is definitely mentioned. Having said that, I'm just happy that in my harness racing career that I happened to be the one who was part of her career. I'm sure everybody involved feels the same way. We were lucky she was with us, not that we were with her. KW: Do you still think about her a lot today? WH: Her picture is all over my house. (Laughs.) It was a special time for me. For me, she was my greatest of all time. You know Wally Hennessey -- whether you've actually met him or know him or what -- and you know him because of Moni Maker. You don't know him because he's won 9,500 races or because he's the leading dash-winner at Pompano Park. You know him because he was the driver of Moni Maker. That's plain and simple. KW: You mentioned the wins, and you're coming up on 10,000. Do those milestones still matter at this point? WH: When you reach them, yes, but when you're on your way to them, not so much. It's a number, and we're a numbers world, but I thought 1,000 was great when I reached it. And then 2,500 I thought was wow, amazing. I remember when I was a young fella in Atlantic Canada, Clarkie Smith had won 1,500 races and I said to him, "Fifteen-hundred wins, I can't believe it. I don't even know how I'm going to get 1,500 drives." In my case, I've raced year-round for 40 years. I've driven in quite a few races and I'm getting chances to win. As long as that continues, I'm going. I don't care what my age is or where I'm at. But I will quit. You won't see me stop in anybody's way. I will quit before that happens. I'll know when it's time. It's just not time for me yet. KW: I take it you'll be going to Saratoga again? WH: That's always been my routine, even when I was doing well on the Grand Circuit and New York Sire Stakes. I believe doing the two things that I've done, between Florida and Saratoga, you couldn't ask for two better places to, not only to do your job, but to live. I've been in an environment that I wanted to be in. I did not want to be at the Meadowlands year-round. I was quite content with my career and the way it turned out. KW: Has that contributed to your longevity and kept you fresh and enthusiastic? WH: Absolutely. Not a question. I never get burned out. If you look at my statistics, any given year, I think the most drives I've ever had in a year is 1,500 or 1,600. Tim Tetrick won 1,100 races in one year. (Laughs.) You know what I mean? I don't know how he did it. I feel 1,500 or 1,600 (drives) were the most I could go in a year, and I thought I was run off my feet. But I'm competing where I want to compete. KW: How did you settle upon Saratoga? WH: It was just the way my life went. I came to Pompano in 1986 and I was just coming down for the winter. Warren DeSantis was the race secretary (at Pompano). That year, Saratoga was sold and Warren was hired as the general manager. We were done here around the first part of April. He started contacting me in February or the first part of March and wanted me to bring my stable to Saratoga. He thought my horses would do all right there. I said no. He kept at me. Saratoga to me might as well have been New York City; I had no idea what Saratoga was. His final push, about a week or two before we were leaving here, was to tell me to stop on my way back to Atlantic Canada. That was it. It just suited my lifestyle. If it weren't for Warren DeSantis, we would not be talking today. I was able to scratch out a living doing these two venues. And then the other stuff that came beside it, right? Warren was a big part of that. If he hadn't been persistent, I was going back to the Maritimes and I don't know what would have happened from there. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been heading down here again. KW: It's funny how all those things work out. WH: That's how life goes. Being in New York and starting on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, Moni Maker was New York-bred, so that's the whole ball of wax there. KW: How is Dan? (Hennessey's brother, who has trained more than 1,000 winners despite losing sight in his left eye in 2002 because of cancer and suffering additional vision problems more recently in his right eye because of a detached retina.) WH: He's doing OK. He's still having complications with his (right) eye. Over the last three or four years, his retina became completely detached so he's had complications ever since that, between being completely blind for a short spell to now his vision is average at best in that eye. But we still fool around with the horses. He was the leading trainer here last year at Pompano. This year when we came back, he had some more complications with the eye so we just cut back to around half a dozen horses. But they're doing good. No matter what I was doing, I always had a little stable and he was the trainer. I go every day. That's part of my routine. That's good for me because it keeps me active. I like the horses. When you're doing good, it gives you confidence and when you're not doing good, you feel it. That's all part of it. That's the ups and the downs of the business. KW: What else do you like to do with your free time? WH: I'm a complete sports guy, but I really love hockey. As far as what I do, I guess the thing I enjoy most outside of this is if I can squeeze in a round of golf with a bunch of the guys. That's the competitive nature in a person. That you're out there on the golf course trying to win. KW: Do you win? WH: Not all the time, but I get my share. KW: What do you shoot? WH: I'm about a 14 handicap. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. It's OK; nothing great. I wouldn't be bragging about it. KW: So you're not going to retire and join the tour? WH: No, I'm not going to the tour. (Laughs.) Maybe as a caddie. That would be the only way. KW: If you hadn't done this (harness racing), what do you think you would have done? WH: I grew up in a harness family. When I went to school, I wanted to be at the barn. It was never about the future, it was just about today. I guess that's how I look at life now, for today. (Retirement) is coming, but I hope it's not soon. Racing, this is what I was groomed to be. This is what I spent my whole life at. I've never had another job. I'm extremely happy. If you'd asked me when I was growing up if I'd have the career I've had, there's not even a chance. This wasn't even part of the plan. It evolved to what it was just because it happens. I just kept working. The work ethic has a lot to do with it as well. I just never stopped. And what keeps you doing that is the drive to get to the winner's circle. You're going to get beat way more times than you win. But I haven't accepted being a loser yet. I don't take losing well. I know it's part of the game, but I don't accept it. I don't say, "Oh that's the way it goes." No, that isn't the way it goes. We're going to try something different next time. I haven't lost that. I haven't been defeated yet. KW: It's great it all worked out the way it did. WH: I could never have imagined it in my wildest dreams, all the things that have happened to me in my life; to meet the people I've met. I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do. That's it all in one sentence. There it is. It's what I was raised to do. It's what I was put here for. And it's all I'm going to do. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association    

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 26, 2018...Rocky's Z Tam and Hollywood Sign A took the opening legs of the Fred Monteleone Memorial Series at Pompano Park, each covering the abbreviated distance of five-eighths of a mile in 1:08.2. Moneteone, a long time patron of the sport who bred and owned many notable horses, passed away last October after a lengthy battle with cancer. Rocky's Z Tam, the six year-old gelded son of World of Rocknroll, went a game first over journey for driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. to score by a neck over the pace-setting Drachan Hanover, handled by Wally Hennessey. Lyons Johnny closed stoutly for John MacDonald to finish third, just a half length away, while the favorite, Dee's Rocket Man, finished fourth. Fritzie Pic Up Man, last and far back early from his outside post, actually closed fastest of all to pick up the nickel in the classy field of seven. The early fractions of :27 and :54.3 were put up by Drachan Hanover with Rocky's Z Tam away fourth but on a first over binge engaging the leader in war around the final bend. These two raced as a team all the way home with Lyons Johnny joining the fray in deep stretch. On the line, Rocky's Z Tam, an 18 to 1 proposition, got the nod, scoring his second win of the year in seven starts. In a post race interview, trainer Jamie Macomber was proud of the pacers performance relaying, "He (Rocky's Z Tam) had been giving hints in his recent races, so I was expecting him to be competitive tonight. Ricky (husband Macomber) drove him with confidence and the horse raced with confidence. He kept digging right to the wire...very happy!" Owned by Z Tam Stables LLC, Rocky's Z Tam won for the 14th time in 99 career starts with the major share of the $12,000 purse sending his lifetime bounty to $162,196 to go along with his Hoosier Park mark of 1:50.1. Off as fifth choice, Rocky's Z Tam paid $38.20 to win. Hollywood Sign A, the nine year-old gelded Aussie bred son of Life Sign, was given very smart handling by owner-trainer Matt Krueger to pin a one length defeat on track record holder Panocchio--the latter making his 2018 debut for trainer Jim Mattison and driver Wally Hennessey. Uncmprmising Z Tam, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., was third, threr lengths back, while Sing For Me George and Doo Wop Hanover earned the minors in the sharp octet. At the bell, Hollywood Sign A, leaving from post seven, left smartly with Panocchio (post 8) in hot pursuit with the latter taking command through an opening panel of :27.1. Panocchio continued to lead through a half in :55.1 and seemed to have things under control. Straightening away for the drive home, Hollywood Sign A tilted out of his cozy pocket and began gnawing away until taking command a sixteenth from the wire. Hollywood Sign, with Matt Krueger in his bike              -Skip Smith Photo Second in his last four outings, Hollywood Sign A picked up his first win of the year in seven starts, vaulting his seasonal bounty to $17,385. Lifetime, it was win number 29 in 145 starts, good for $217,293. Off as the 2 to 1 second choice, Hollywood Sign A paid $6.20 to win. The Fred Monteleone Memorial Series continues with the next leg being at one mile and the $30,000 final slated for 1 1/4 miles. The $10,000 Open II pace went to American Hustle, smartly handled by Bryce Fenn. This four year-old son of American Ideal wired his opposition by stringing together panels of :26.2, 55.3 and 1:23.4 before a :27.3 finale held The Onlyest One, with George Napolitano, Jr. handling the line,  at bay by a half length in a lifetime best 1:51.2 Pointsman, driven by Rick Plano, was third while Bestinthebusiness and No Bad Dreams also picked up checks in the field of six. It was the 10th career win in only 22 career starts for owner-trainer Brian Lawrence. Third choice at 5 to 1, American Hustle paid $12.40 to win Racing continues on Monday night with a Pick-5 carryover of $10,556.70 igniting a $40,000 guarantee. The Pick-5 begins on Race 1. The Super Hi-5 Jackpot is also at record territory with a carryover of $251,878.96 going into the Monday program. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   John Berry

Pompano Beach, FL...January 1, 2018...Drachan Hanover, masterfully handled by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey, took top honors in Pompano Park's New Year's Eve harness racing featured $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday (December 31), stopping the timer in 1:52.   The then five year-old gelded son of Jereme's Jet--now six years of age with the new year--led at every station in scoring a neck victory over Sing For Me George, driven by John MacDonald. Sir Mammo, with Ricky Macomber in the bike, was third, three lengths away, after dawdling at the back of his quintet and, subsequently, closing fastest of all.   Fritzie Pic Up Man was fourth while Dee's Rocket Man picked up the nickel.   At the outset, Drachan Hanover, leaving from post two, won a brief early battle with Sing For Me George, post three, and took the field through an opening panel in :27. Hennessey then was able to give his charge a :30 breather in the second quarter, reaching the half in :57. Drachan Hanover's third quarter sprint of :27.1 thwarted any serious backside challenge with his :27.4 finale sealing the issue.   In a post-race interview, Hennessey related, "When you have as classy a horse as this one is, and you can get him to the half in :57, you have to like your chances. Drachan (Hanover) is a (1):50 pacer, you know, He was good all the way around tonight!"   Trained by Marcel Barrieau for owners Lloyd Maclean and Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover won for the sixth time in 26 starts to close out his 2017 campaign with $49,838. Career-wise, Drachan Hanover has $393,815 on his card to go along with a Pompano Park mark of 1:50.1.   As the 6 to 5 tote-board choice, Drachan Hanover paid $4.40 to win.   Though Hennessey won the feature sending his 2017 win total to 335, the driving star of the night was Dave Ingraham who scored a grand slam on the card, including a consecutive triple to close out the track's Pick-5, which went unscathed on Sunday night.   Ingraham took the third race with St Lads Lotto ($23.60), followed in the next race with Spirit Shadow ($14.60), who won his fourth in a row, and then completed his "trifecta" of sports with Major Starlight ($6.00), who won his third in a row.   Ingraham then capped off the "slam" by taking the final race of 2017 with Mikado Blue Chip ($5.40).   Pompano Park kicks off 2018 with fireworks in the form of several carryovers spicing up the "better for the bettor" program.   The track's Pick-5 has a carryover of $4,456 going into the Monday card, the fourth race pentafecta offers a carryover of $6,108.57, the Pick-6 carryover stands at $1,676, and the Super Hi-5 fianle offers a carryover of $39,710.   Post time for the January 1 extravaganza is 7:20 p.m.   Large Carryovers to Ring in New Year at Pompano Monday   The front half of the New Year’s Eve program was laced with upsets at Pompano Park, leaving a wake of carryovers for the first program of 2018 to be held on Monday night.  The action will get started early, as the 50-cent Pick 5 features a $4,457 carryover into the first race.  Track officials, in conjunction with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, have added an ‘instant guarantee’ of $20,000 for the total Pick 5 pool on Monday night.  The pentafecta features a 20-cent minimum and is held on the fourth race of each program, where patrons must select the top five finishers in order.  There were no winning tickets on Sunday night, leaving a $6,109 carryover for the Monday pentafecta, which is slated as a wide-open 10-horse field. Fans will also enjoy a $1,676 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 6 beginning in Race 3, and a $39,710 carryover into the jackpot hi-five for the 8th and final race.  As usual, the 50-cent Pick 4 will feature an industry low takeout of only 12% beginning in Race 5, and offer a $7,500 guaranteed pool.  Live racing continues at the Isle Casino Pompano Park five nights per week, with a first post of 7:20 p.m. every Saturday through Wednesday.    by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...December 29, 2017...Winyard Hanaover, driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Mike Deters, set the world record for a five-eighths mile dash on a five-eighths mile track by scorching the South Florida harness racing oval Pompano Park in 1:08. The seven year-old gelded son of Cam’s Card Shark, leaving from the track’s coveted five post, sizzled panels of :27 and :54.3 before a 13.2 final eighth mile sealed the victory and the world record.  Winyard won by a comfortable 2 3/4 lengths over Sucrose Hanover, driven by John MacDonald, with Rebel Jet and Fern Paquet, Jr. teaming up for third. Mach Power and Kirktons Credit were next in the speedy sextet. At the outset, Winyard Hanover left from his “center-of-the-track” post to take charge heading into the initial turn and hardly had time to take a breath as he widened his margin throughout the journey. Said pilot Wally Hennessey after the race, “he was sizzling all the way tonight. It’s kind of advantageous leaving from a the center of the track in a situation like that where there’s not a heck of a lot of distance to the first turn.  “I though, ‘it’s now or never in a sprint like, so I sent him. I know he’s done that before in a mile race, so I wasn’t at all concerned about sending him hard. He’s a very good horse and can handle it. “To tell you the truth, I thought he was going more at the end of the mile.”  Winyard Hanover eclipsed the former record of 1:08.1 by Anais Kicker at The Meadows back in 2009 with Dave Palone in the bike. Owned by trainer Deters along with Joel Warner, Winyard Hanover won for the ninth time this semester in 32 starts to complete his 2017 campaign with earnings of $42,831. Lifetime, Winyard Hanover has banked $217,125 to go along with his Pompano Park mark of 1:51 set earlier this year. As the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite, Winyard Hanover paid $3.80 to win Racing continues on Saturday night with the Super Hi-5 jackpot carryover standing at $32,011.59. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...December 14, 2017...The gritty and consistent Boli, again handled by harness racing Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey, took top honors in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night, stopping the timer in 1:54.2. The determined five year-old gelded son of Kadabra returned to the winner's circle for the 13th time this season with the clocking equaling his lifetime best mark established during Pompano Park's winter-spring meeting. Sooo Handsome, driven by Rick Plano found a seam late to finish second three-parts-of-a-length away while Stemilt Touch, with John MacDonald in his bike, next after a garden journey most of the way. Prairie Fortune rallied from last turning for home to finish fourth while Bob's Hope picked up the nickel after a serious challenge heading into the final bend. Favored Rockn stein never was a factor and finish last in the octet. At the outset, Stemilt Touch, fresh off a lifetime best 1:54.1 performance the week prior, left with alacrity to take the early lead, only yielding to Boli right at the opening station in :28. Once on top, Boli took the field halfway home in :57.1 with an identical :57.1 final half awaiting the competition. Onto the final bend, Andy Santeramo sent Bob's Hope to engage the leader but Boli grudgingly held off his challenge in the lane and then withstood Sooo Handsome's belated bid. Said Hennessey after the race, "I can't say enough about this horse. To remain at the top of his game week after week after week is amazing. "He might not win every week, but he sure gives his all every start. Tonight, when Andy's (Santeramo) trotter (Bob's Hope) looked him in the eye, he looked right back at him! Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli now has a 13-5-5 scorecard in 28 starts, good for $97,470. Lifetime, Boli has amassed $234,664 with 28 career wins in 76 starts. Off as the 2 to 1 second choice, Boli paid $6.80 to win. Pompano Park's racing schedule expands to five nights per week--Saturday through Wednesday--through early March with post time remaining at 7:20 p.m. This initial Saturday program features three carryovers--the Pick-5 ($2,920), the Pick-6 ($655) and the Super Hi-5 ($6,923). by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Pompano Beach, FL...November 30, 2017...Boli, handled by Wally Hennessey, bowled over his harness racing competitors early on in his mile to take command around the initial turn and went on to post a solid 1:55.3 win in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night (November 29). The five year-old altered son of Kadabra posted fractions of :28.3, :57.3 and 1:26.4 along the way before his :28.4 finale sealed the deal by 1 1/2 lengths over the late charging Prairie Fortune, driven by Jim Meittinis. Sooo Handsome, with Rick Plano in his sulky, finished third after a trip in the garden spot throughout the journey. Favored Rockn Stien, assigned the outside post in his classy field, finished fourth after a tepid bid on the final turn while Railee Workable saved ground much of the journey to pick up the nickel. In a post-race interview, driver Hennessey related, "last week, we drew one post outside of Rockn Stien and he was able to wire us. This time, I had a spot one spot inside of him and we had that same opportunity--to get a jump on him. "This was a well matched field and whoever gets the best trip has a chance of winning. I wanted to get the advantage this time so I sent Boli, who likes to join in the fun early anyhow. "The half was very comfortable for him and I really didn't have to ask him for anything tonight. He did this all on his own. He's sharp right now--very sharp!" Trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, Boli won for the 12th time this year, sending his seasonal bankroll to $89,470. Career-wise, Boli now sports a 27-12-12 scorecard in 74 starts, good for $226,664. As the 8 to 5 second choice, Boli paid $5.40 to his consortium of faithful. With all of the missile threats surrounding our existence these days, there were "bombs" of a different nature at the South Florida five-eighths oval on Wednesday night. The first one was in the third race when An The Thunderolls, driven by Bryce Fenn, blew by the competition in the lane to score a 43 to 1 ($89.00) upset, triggering a 20 cent superfecta payoff of $3,926.42 and a $1 trifecta ticket worth $12,541.40. The win, by the way, was Fenn's 2,499th in his career stretching beyond when he was featured on the cover of Hoof Beats magazine in 1975. As for An The Thunderolls, he was coming off a win in a lifetime best 1:56.4 the week before and lowered that by three full seconds on Wednesday night, covering the distance in 1:53.4 for owner-trainer Mike Sweeney. The following race--Pompano Park's pentafecta fourth--Mike Simons guided Eldorado of Gold to a one lengths win in 1:56.1. Off at 10 to 1 ($23.00), Eldorado of Gold keyed a 7-5-8-4-10 combo which returned $4,982.48 for the 20 cent ticket. Trainer Simons co-owns the winner with Albert Abdala III. The final "bomb" occurred in the Super Hi-5 finale when Hoosier Hawk, off at 27 to 1, wired his foes for Andy Shetler, returning $56.20 to win. Coupled with Deli-Craze (16 to 1), Not In This Life (78 to 1), BJ Lorado (35 to 1) and All Star Fame (38 to 1), that 1-2-10-4-3 Hi-5 Combo returned $38,629.32 for the 20 cent ticket. The winner is trained by Mike Murphy for owners Geneva Stewart and Barbara Murphy. That "bomb," incidentally, will set the stage for more fireworks on Sunday night as nobody could solve the Superfecta in that event resulting in a carry-over of $4,953.03 to Sunday's first race Superfecta. There are also carryovers in the Pick-6 ($365.41) and Pick-5 (2,629.48) heading into the Sunday festivities. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...October 31, 2017...All Charged Up, catch-driven by Wally Hennessey, took top harness racing honors in Pompano Park's pacing feature for mares on Monday night, covering the standard distance in 1:54.3. The six year-old daughter of Ponder, trained by John MacDonald for his JP Stables, took command at the :27.3 opening marker and then produced a well rated second panel of :29.4 before two straight :28.3 subsequent quarters led to the final clocking--her final margin on the line a half length over the late charging Goldstar Rockette (Bryce Fenn). Red Hot Hill (Andy Santeramo) finished third while A Wish For Wings closed fastest of all to finish fourth. Dee's Golden Joy picked up the nickel in the sextet over Stirling Electra, who loomed boldly around the final bend before faltering in the lane. In a post-race interview, catch-driver Wally Hennessey remarked, "This is the first time I drove this mare but I know how tough she is because she beat my great mare (Godiva Seelster) the last time we were together in a race a couple of weeks ago. "This mare (All charged Up) is tough as nails and she dug in late, as she always does. She's a quality mare, all right." All Charged Up now is 6-for-14 this year, good for earnings of $35,660. The win, incidentally, was the fourth straight for All Charged Up, who now has 29 career wins in 114 starts with earnings of $259,082 to go along with her Vernon Downs mark of 1:51.2. Off at 1 to 5 on the Pompano tote-board, All Charged Up paid $2.40 to win. Racing continues on Tuesday night with the finals of the Sunshine State Stakes for three year-olds. Sponsored by the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, each of the four final for sophomore Florida breds carries a purse of $12,000. Post time for the pari-mutuel card is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park        

Pompano Beach, FL...October 23, 2017...Panocchio, again handled by Wally Hennessey, scored a repeat harness racing win in Pompano Park's Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night, holding off the determined late surge of Sing For Me George (John Mac Donald) by a head in 1:51.2. The brilliant seven year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, co-owned by trainer Jim Mattison along with Emile Johnson, Jr., carved out all the panels, slicing through the opener in :27 before adding :55.2 and 1:23.4 to the mix before sealing the deal with a :27.3 finale. Frankies Dragon (Corey Braden) finished third while Bestinthebusiness and Rockntouch also earned checks in the classy sextet. In a post-race interview, Hennessey remarked, "What can I say that hasn't been said already? He's just as game as they come and as handy as they come. Johnny's (MacDonald) horse (Sing For Me George) is very sharp now, too, and he was rolling late but Panocchio seems to know where the wire is and he kept on going until it was over." Panocchio now has 56 career wins in 134 starts with 34 of those victories at Pompano Park, including his 1:48.3 track record. For this semester, Panocchio has a 8-6-3 scorecard in 26 starts, good for $75.525, pushing his lifetime bankroll to $472.843. Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Panocchio paid $2.40 to win. Silver Wings was one of the four two year-old winners in the FSBOA Sunshine State Stakes on Sunday night, conducted as non-wagering events prior to the pari-mutuel card. Diamond Eyes, Captain Thomas and I Rhoda Daley were the other juvenile winners. Silver Wings, a son of Rock On, took top honors in the colt-gelding pace with Corey Braden handling the lines, in a lifetime best 1:58.4. Co-owned by trainer Veral Bowman along with Craig Schmidt, Silver Wings won the early battle for supremacy over Jay Jay (John MacDonald) and then sliced through panels of :29.1, 1:00.4 and 1:30.1 before silencing his foes with a :28.3 closer to score by 4 1/2 lengths over Jay Jay with Dontblevmejuswatch (Wally Hennessey) and Mister Special T completing the official order of finish. Diamond Eyes, a daughter of Six Of Diamonds trained by Kim Sears for owner Penny Kelley, got picture perfect handling from Bryce Fenn to score in a lifetime best 2:01.4--:59.1--:29.1 performance in the two year-old filly pace. This youngster left alertly and battled with Krinda before allowing that one to take command at the opening station in :30.4. Krinda actually opened up a three length advantage around the final turn but Diamond Eyes began gnawing away, taking command once they straightened away and then holding off Prairie Foolish (Jim Meittinis) by a length. Starcasim (Joe Sanzeri) was a fast closing third with Krinda fourth. Six Line Lily picked up the minor award. Captain Thomas, a maiden coming into the action, led every step of his mile, going on to score a 5 1/4 length win for John MacDonald in the two year-old trot for colts and geldings. This gelded son of Proud Bushy put up numbers of :29.4, 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 before a stroll home stopped the timer in 2:02.1. Trained by Kim Sears for owner John Campagnuolo, Captain Thomas left Brian (Wally Hennessey), Prairie Eclipse (Meittinis), Jiro Dangerous and Treasure Quest in his wake. Finally, the Sunshine State Stake for juvenile trotting fillies went to I Rhoda Daley for Wally Hennessey in a lifetime best 2:04.1. It was about one month ago that this daughter of Desperado Don won her first lifetime start in 2:14. She is now 4-for-5 lifetime for trainer Jason MacDougall, who co-owns with Lee Clarke. Racing continues on Wednesday night with Sunshine State Stakes action continuing for three year-old Florida breds in five non-wagering events beginning at 5:30 with a full 10 race pari-mutuel card following at 7:20 p.m. The Super Hi-5 Finale on Wednesday night features a carryover of $5,507. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park and the FSBOA            

Pompano Beach, FL...October 19, 2017...Harness racing driver Wally Hennessey had quite a night at Pompano Park on Wednesday (October 18) as the Hall of Fame driver scored six wins, including the featured trot with Boli, who scored a repeat win in 1:56. Boli, a five year-old gelded son of Kadabra trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil, had to dodge some raindrops along the way, as well as the late charging Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis), to win by a length over his arch-rival with Zoraze (Fern Paquet, Jr.) next, 2 1/4 lengths away. My Revenuer and BJAnthony picked up the final awards in the classy octet. Boli, leaving from the outside eight post, was well placed early finding a spot in third back of Winemaster Hanover (Brady Galliers) and Uncle Hanover (Andy Santeramo) through panels of :28 and :57.3. Once they straightened away for the backstretch journey, Hennessey sent Boli on the prowl and took command with three-eighths remaining and repelling the final bend threat of Zoraze (1:26.4) and, finally, the late surging Prairie Fortune. After the race, Hennessey related, "he's very sharp right now. I had my eye on the lead leaving but Galliers' horse (Winemaster Hanover) was winging a bit and the rail horse (Uncle Hanover) was aggressive leaving so, when I had the opportunity to duck in nice and close, I did. I asked my horse on the backside and he responded, just like he always seems to do." For Boli, it was his 10th win of the semester and 25th career victory, sending his lifetime bankroll to $214,164--$76,970 this year. As the 4 to 5 favorite, Boli paid $3.80 to win. Hennessey also won with Lickcreek Francis ($3.20), Metro Glide ($5.40), Groovey Kid ($3.80), Railee Workable ($2.80) and Azzaro in a non-wagering Sunshine State Stakes event held prior to the betting card. One event that Hennessey did not win was with the 1 to 10 favorite Hoosier Hawk, who was pressured hard early before running out of steam late enabling the 73 to 1 chance Trottin Kayla to earn a maiden win in 1:59.3. Jim Meittinis drove the winner for trainer Chet Poole, Jr., who conditions the three year-old trotting filly for Haucks Racing Stable. She paid $149.20, $48.40 and $34.80 across the board and keyed a winning trifecta payoff of $10,119, the largest of the young meeting. That payoff was eclipsed four races later when A Wish For Wings ($16.20), handled by Rick Plano, scored a near-gate-to-wire win in 1:54.2 over a track drenched by heavy rain just minutes before. Owned by trainer Edgar Clarke, A Wish For Wings scored by 2 1/4 lengths over Stirling Electra (Andy Santeramo, 39 to 1) and Caitlin's Romance (Bryce Fenn, 38 to 1) to key a trifecta payoff of $11,689.60. The 20 cent Superfecta in that same race paid $3,452.96. The aforementioned Azzaro grabbed his division of the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine State Stake for sophomore trotting colts and geldings, scoring in a lifetime best 2:00.4 over arch-rival I'm Done (Jim McDonald). These two have faced each other 13 times with Azzaro now sporting a 7-6-0 scorecard compared to the I'm Done record of 6-7-0. The gelded son of Proud Bushy is trained by Kim Sears, who co-owns with husband Jay. The three other Sunshine State Stake events highlighting the three year-olds were won by Atlantic Crest, Gold Star Aurora and Prairie Panther. Atlantic Crest, a winner last week in this division for three year-old trotting fillies by 13 lengths, scored by 13 3/4 on Wednesday, hitting the line in 1:58.2 for owner-trainer-driver Sergio Corona. Among her mid-week victims this time around were Prairie Pixie ((Meittinis) and Famous C (Hennessey). Gold Star Aurora took top honors in the three-year-old filly pace, cruising to a wire-to-wire win for Walter Ross, Jr. in 1:56.4, carving out panels of :27.4, :582.2 and 1:28.4 before a :28 finale sealed the deal by 2 1/2 lengths over Prairie Cowgirl (Meittinis) and Bella Pat (Corey Braden). Trained by Maggie Audley for Marianne Audley, Gold Star Aurora, a daughter of Rock On, kept her 2017 record perfect at 3-for-3. Lifetime, she is 10-for-11 in the win column with bounty of $65,549. Prairie Panther, a gelded son of Royel Millennium owned by trainer Mike Deters along with Laurie Poulin, made a brave quarter move (:28.3) to the top for Jim Meittinis and then went on to post panels of :56.2 and 1:26.2 before zipping on home in :28 to score by four lengths over Fabiano (Hennessey) with Maybe Ned (Bryce Fenn) third. The 1:54.3 clocking was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Racing continues on Sunday night with four non-wagering Sunshine State Stakes and a strong pari-mutuel program with first post set for 7:20 p.m.   by John Berry for the FSBOA and Pompano Park        

Panocchio, handled by Wally Hennessey, made a triumphant return to Pompano Park on Sunday night (October 8) by withstanding a late surge by Sing For Me George (John MacDonald) to score a photo finish harness racing victory in 1:50.2. The seven year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended was on the prowl early, securing the lead from Sing For Me George after a tough :26.2 tussle during the opening panel and then carved out subsequent panels of :54.4 and 1:22.3 before hold off that rival with a :28 finale, winning by a neck. Frankie’s Dragon (Corey Braden) rallied to finish third while Bestinthebusiness finished fourth after a first-over backside bid that brought him alongside Panocchio around the final bend. Team Captain picked up the minor award in the classy septet. After the event, Hennessey remarked, “What can I say? He’s just a gutsy individual that seems to love this track and knows where the wire is. “He was pushed some to gain the top and I was hoping the opening quarter didn’t take any sting out of him but he seems to know how to take care of himself and nothing really bothers him.” Trainer Jim Mattison, who co-owns with Emile Johnaon, Jr., said, “He’s a pretty amazing horse, I’ll say. He doesn’t train hard—usually a mile in 2:20 or 2:30 when does train—but he becomes a racehorse when he sees the starting gate.” Panocchio now has 55 lifetime wins—33 of them at Pompano Park—in 133 career starts, good for $468,393 to go along with his 1:48.3 track record over South Florida’s five-eighth mile oval. Off at 2 to 5 on the tote-board, Panocchio paid $2.80 to win. Pompano Park’s co-feature went to Rockntouch, getting a picture perfect drive from Mickey McNichol. This five year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven left alertly and then let Heart Felt cut the mustard with fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:23.2 before leaving the cozy pocket turning for home to go by Heart Felt and then hold off Major Starlight (Hennessey) and St Lads Lotto (Brady Galliers) to score by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:51.4. Heart Felt did finish fourth over Decent Sawyer in the field of seven. Rockntouch now has a 6-5-4 scorecard in 30 starts, good for yearly bounty of $48,605. The winner is owned by Salvatore Promuto along with the Fred Monteleone Stable. Monteleone passed away just days earlier prompting driver Mickey McNichol to look skyward and say, “That win was for you, Mr. Fred. Rockntouch was off at 7 to 2 and paid $9.20 to win. The third leg of the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine Stake Stakes for two year-olds was also contested in four non-wagering events with I Rhoda Daley, Dangerous Mood, Prairie Easter and Gold Star Diablo winning their respective events. I Rhoda Daley, a daughter of Desperado Don handled by owner-trainer Jason MacDougall, kept her record unblemished—now three-for-three—with a lifetime best 2:07.2 performance at the expense of Ms Katie B (Gary Braden) and Jennifer (Jay Sears) with a gate-to-wire performance in the Sunshine State Stake for trotting fillies. Dangerous Mood, driven by Wally Hennessey for the Smiley Farm, also scored in wire-to-wire fashion as this Jim McDonald trainee carved out panels of :30, 1:00.3 and 1:31.1 before a :30 sprint home left him four lengths clear of Brian (Jay Sears) with Captain Thomas (John Campagnuolo) next in this event for trotting colts and geldings. The 2:01.1 performance by this gelded son of Proud Bushy was a new life mark for Dangerous Mood, who is now two-for-two lifetime. Prairie Easter took her division for pacing fillies by getting revenge on last week’s winner Krinda in 1:58.2—28.2. This daughter of Royel Millennium was driven by Corey Braden for trainer Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin and John Spindler. Prairie Easter cut impressive panels of :30.2, 1:00.2 and 1:30 along the way and was two lengths clear of Krinda (Bryce Fenn) on the wire. Six Line Lily (Hennessey) was third. Finally, Gold Star Diablo, many, many lengths off the gate at the start, made a double-bubble backside binge and went on to score an impressive 1:58.1 win for Wally Hennessey in the colt-gelding pace. Trained by Mike Deters for owner Dan Clements, this impressive gelded son of Mysticism score by 1¼ lengths over Silver Wings (Corey Braden), who cut panels of :28.4, 1:00.1 and 1:29.2 along the way. Jay Jay (Jay Sears) finished third. Sunshine State Stakes action continues on Wednesday night with three year-olds in the spotlight. Finally, Pompano Park’s Super Hi-5 was solved on Sunday night with the 9-3-2-6-7 combination returning $6,067.30 for a 20 cent ticket. The Super Hi-5 is offered on Pompano Park’s final race every racing night. Wednesday night’s program features Godiva Seelster in the Mares Open Pace and the highly anticipated rematch between Prairie Fortune and Boli in the Open Trot Godiva Seelster, the splendid seven year-old daughter of Camluck, owned by Paul and Patricia O’Neil, seeks her second straight for trainer Dan Hennessey and driver Wally Hennessey. Among her opponents are All Charged Up and Goldstar Rockette. Prairie Fortune and Boli were a nose apart in last week’s encounter and have been assigned outside posts in Wednesday’s encounter. Post time is 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Large crowd greets John Campbell and Wally Hennessey at World Harness Racing book launch John Campbell and Wally Hennessey two superstars in the world of harness racing were on hand Wednesday for the launch of the book World Harness Racing. It all took place at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, Canada. Hosted by the book’s managing editor Jerry McCabe and Red Shores marketing manager, Lee Drake, the launch featured strong presentations by Campbell, Hennessey, and Robert Mitchell, the minister responsible for harness racing on the Island while the book was taking shape. A long line-up of people waited to purchase the book with Hennessey and Campbell and two of the co-authors signing books for a long stretch. No one went home disappointed or empty handed. For more information on the book go to .

Godiva Seelster has been one of the top harness racing mares both at Pompano Park and at Saratoga Casino Hotel over the past few seasons. While always consistent and productive, the Dan Hennessey-trained distaffer hasn't necessarily been at her best since returning to the Spa in April. The seven year old had recorded just one victory in her eight local starts this year before going off as the 1-5 betting favorite in Friday night's $13,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Driver Wally Hennessey wasted little time putting the speedy mare on the engine and after flying through a first quarter in 26.4, Godiva Seelster got a second quarter in thirty seconds before pacing a back half of 55.4. The talented mare stopped the timer in 1:52.3 to record her fourth victory of the season and 43rd in 126 lifetime starts. So Nice (Jim Devaux) won the place photo with Tataria (Mark Beckwith) in the six-horse feature. While she doesn't own as high of a win percentage this season as she had in years past, Godiva Seelster has hit the board 11 of 15 seasonal starts and may be primed for a big summer at the Spa. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Big N Bad (Badlands Hanover) toughed out a first over journey to score in the Saturday night harness racing Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Buzzy Sholty-trained pacer wound up moving to the outside of longshot leader Race Me Rocky (Phil Fluet) heading to the half in the $13,000 Open. Big N Bad fought gamely in a third quarter that was paced in 27.2 before wearing down the leader. After surging into command, Big N Bad was met with the challenge of the favored Givenupdreaming (Frank Coppola Jr) before holding off that bid and stopping the timer in 1:51.3 over a track labeled 'sloppy.' Givenupdreaming came up second best while Stevensville (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. Big N Bad, who was piloted to the win by Wally Hennessey, paid $19.40 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $81.50 and $373.50, respectively. Hennessey, who won the driving title at Pompano Park in Florida this year, has made a big impact upon returning to the Spa. The Hall of Famer piloted five winners on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee set to begin at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Boli (Kadabra) was one of the trotting stars at the Isle of Pompano Park in Florida this season for harness racing trainer Dan Hennessey. The five year old trotter returned to Saratoga earlier this month and finished second and third in his two tries in the local Open Trot but was a beaten favorite both times. On Sunday afternoon, Boli was once again the public's top choice and driver Wally Hennessey wasted little time moving the talented high-stepper to the outside in the early going. The 6-5 favorite toughed it out first over, grinding the leader into submission before drawing away late to prevail in 1:56. The victory was the seventh in thirteen seasonal tries for Boli who scored ten wins in 2016. Black Broadway (Chris Long) followed the winner's cover and wound up winning a photo for place with Twisted Pretzel (Jim Devaux) who earned the show spot. The exacta and triple in the $17,120 Open paid $22.40 and $96, respectively. The feature victory was one of two on the card for conditioner Dan Hennessey and one of three driving scores on the day for Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Settlemoir (Western Ideal) went coast to coast in the Saturday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. In his local debut last week, the Rene Allard-trained Settlemoir finished second in the $12,500 Winners Over and subsequently was the 8-5 betting favorite this week as he looked to wire the feature field. Wally Hennessey sat behind the four year old pacer as he clicked off a first quarter of 27 seconds flat. Following an effective breather in quarter two that led to a half in 56.3, Settlemoir wound up having just enough left to hold off the late bid by pocket-sitter Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) who had to settle for second. Bet You (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Settlemoir, who stopped the timer in 1:52.4 for his fourth win of the season, prevailed in just his second start following the claim by Allard at Yonkers in May. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee first post set for 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

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