Pompano Beach, FL --- Tim T, driven by Tom Sells, and Tea Party Express, catch-driven by Rick Plano, took their respective divisions of the $10,000 Sunshine State Stake finals at Pompano Park on Monday night (Oct. 21).
Tim T, a 3-year-old gelded son of Basil, narrowly escaped with his win, decided by a diminishing head over the late surging Railee Kwik (Bruce Ranger) in 1:57.3 in the stake for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Sky Crest (Plano) was third in the mile after pressing the issue early while Goucher (Wally Ross, Jr.) and Without Hesitation (Dan Harvey) picked up the final two awards in the septet.
At the outset, Sky Crest blazed out of the gate and took command from his six post heading into the first turn. Tim T, meanwhile, was away in good order and third early before driver Sells decided to try and dictate the terms as the 1-5 toteboard favorite.
He was hard pressed to make the top during the :27.4 opener and clocked subsequent panels of :57.4 and 1:27.1, opening a three length lead as they turned for home. At this point, Railee Kwik made his way to the far outside and was gnawing away at the leader, just missing at the end of the mile.
Trained by Mike Deters for the consortium of Fred Morosini, Ken Fritz and Mike Prendergast, Tim T won for the third straight time and eighth win lifetime, sending his career bounty to $53,971. Tim T paid $2.60 to win.
In the filly division, Tea Party Express pulled off the upset over the 1-20 favorite Tyree’s Treasure, annihilating her competition by 10-1/4 lengths in a lifetime best 1:59.4. Piper Pfeiffer (Mickey McNichol) was third -- 17 1/2 lengths away -- while Holly’s Diamond (Jay Sears) was fourth. Sweet Loreley (Kevin Wallis) picked up the nickel.
Catch driven by Rick Plano for trainer Mel Turcotte, Tea Party Express, a daughter of Feel Like A Winner, was away third as Tyree’s Treasure marched to the front from the get-go and clocked panels of :28.4 and :59.2.
On the backside, Tea Party Express made her move three-eighths out and rollled by the favorite at the top of the lane and drew off from there.
In a post race interview, Plano said, “Mel asked me to handle the filly for him and, of course, I said ‘yes,’ expecting to get some sort of check for him. When I asked her on the backside, she really responded and I was pretty surprised she went by that other filly (Tyree’s Treasure) so easily. I don’t think she had ever trotted 2:00 before, so it was great to see that final time -- great for the owners.”
Tea Party Express is owned by Barbara Turcotte, Vickie Howard and Pete Roccasano. It was her second win of the year -- fifth lifetime -- and sent her lifetime earnings to $43,291. As second choice in the betting, Tea Party Express paid $12.60.
Other Sunshine State Stakes action contested was the fourth leg for 2-year-old trotters.
In the filly division, Andy Santeramo guided Steve Stabile’s Trotting JC Poss to victory in a lifetime best 2:05, besting Famous Halle (Ranger) and Trotting Gisele (Rob Hoffman) by a length. Markie (Jay Sears), some 30 lengths out of it after a miscue early, rallied to finish fourth while a headstrong Prairie Sunrise (Tom Sells) earned the minor award.
Trotting JC Poss, a daughter of Mathers Lavec, now has a 2-1-1 scorecard in just four lifetime starts.
In the colt/gelding division, Geronimo Fame, driven by Bruce Ranger, got up in the very last stride to score in 2:04.1, using a final panel in :29.3 to nail the victory on the wire. Showing Off (Jay Sears) was second while the pacesetting Gator On Patrol (Sells) was third.
It was the maiden win for this son of Famously, trained by Stewart Nemiro for Amante Standardbreds.