The exceptional 5-year-old, gelded son of Cambest, again driven by Robbie Hoffman, used a different tactic this time around, coming from well off the pace on the strength of a final half in :54.2 to score a win measuring two lengths over Monet C C, driven by Bruce Ranger. Avantage, handled by Dave Ingraham, was third followed by Kommander Hawk (Romano) and Special Strides (Rick Plano).
Kommander Hawk and Special Strides traded punches early in the mile with the former taking the field to the quarter in :27.1 and the latter breaking the half-mile beam in a seemingly leisurely :56.4.
At this juncture Northern Companion, even money on the tote-board, was more than seven lengths away but Hoffman gave his charge some racetrack and he responded, making up five lengths into an official :28 third quarter while “double-bubbled” and picking up the rest of the pieces with a :27.2 closer to break the final beam in 1:52.3.
It was Hoffman’s 100th lifetime victory.
Hoffman said after the race, “He’s just a monster on the racetrack. Last week, he had an open bridle, so he was very alert leaving. This week, from the outside, we left that open bridle on with the idea of not leaving to see if he might be able to relax until we asked him for a brush. He’s amazing. I ask, he responds. It’s as simple as that.”
Trained by Howard Klohr (“with the great help of Robbie”, Klohr said), Northern Companion has now won 19 races since the start of 2012, pushing his lifetime bounty to $112,000 -- more than $100,000 of that since the beginning of last year.
The fastest mile of the night belonged to Woodmere Ultimate, wiring together halves of :55.2 to score a handy win for Bruce Ranger in 1:50.4, a lifetime best.
|Woodmere Ultimate, driven by Bruce Ranger, scored a wire-to-wire win in 1:50.4 at Pompano Park on Saturday night.|
Other Saturday night festivities included a donation to “Children, Hope & Horses,” by the Florida Amateur Drivers’ Club. This organization specializes in reaching out to some of our most fragile young people, ages five to 17, who have suffered through traumatic experiences during their lives.
On hand for the presentation were Standardbred owner, breeder and charity spokesperson Laura Newbery, along with several children benefitting from the organization’s work. Also on hand were several members of the Florida Amateur Drivers’ Club and Peggy Faurot, widow of Clay Faurot, who recently passed away after a long bout with cancer. The Faurots have been a champion of children’s causes for many years and, as Peggy said, “Children, Hope & Horses were very close to our hearts.”