Pompano Beach, FL --- Prairie Jaguar extended his streak of victories to five on Saturday night at Pompano Park with yet another awesome performance--this one timed in 1:50 in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.
The now 6-year-old Florida bred son of Spy Hard, again driven by Jason Dillander for Laurie Poulin and co-owner-trainer Mike Deters, had to use slightly different tactics this time around but, when all was said and done, his winning margin was just short of four lengths.
Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham), pacing his final three-quarters in 1:21.3, came from last in the octet to finish second while Lyons Johnny (Wally Hennessey) earned show honors, though 5-1/2 lengths away at the wire. Southern Sport and Military Stratcom picked up the final two awards.
Handicapped with the outside post in the field, Prairie Jaguar left alertly but was not able to out-sprint B N Bad, who had the innermost post, in a :26 opening panel and had to settle in second as B N Bad went full throttle to the half in :54.1. With 3/8ths remaining, "Jaguar" left the coziness of the pocket and rolled on by B N Bad and hit the three-quarter beam in 1:22.2 while stretching his lead to two lengths turning for home. That margin continued to improve down the lane, even with Northern Companion surging late.
For Prairie Jaguar, it kicked off the new year just as 2013 ended--on a winning note--and sent his lifetime bounty to $62,222, of which $20,000 of that has been achieved with his new found fame of the last month.
In a post race interview, driver Dillander said, "You know, this horse has proven something to me every week. We know he has that raw speed…we know, as of last week, that he has the class to play ball with the big boys…but, this week, he proved something else--that he's not just a one dimensional speed ball that can only race on the front end. He was somewhat relaxed in the pocket but remained 'interested' the entire way kind of waiting for me to tell him when to get down to business. I asked him midway on the backside and he immediately responded. Maybe the time was a second slower than last week, but I thought this was his best performance yet."
Prairie Jaguar, even money on the tote board, paid $4.20 to win.
The Open 2 Pace went to MIchael Guest's Gentleman Friend, driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Terry Deters.
This 7 year-old son of Western Hanover made a bold quarter move from fifth to the lead halfway through the mile to coast home a three length winner over Electric Lad (Dillander) in 1:51.4.
Just Fred rallied from last at the stretch call to finish third while No Gin finished fourth. Woodmere Ultimate picked up the nickel in the field of eight.
Favored Rick's Sign made a mid-mile move from sixth to third with 3/8ths to go but could not sustain his rally further and finished sixth.
Gentleman Friend won for the 17th time during his career and sent his lifetime bounty $60 past the $200,000 mark.
As second choice on the board, Gentleman Friend paid $10.20 to win.
Also, two divisions of the Murdock Hanover Late Closer were held with Artomatic Pilot and Fox Valley Griffin reporting home winners.
Artomatic Pilot, a 10-year-old son of Western Hanover, driven by Rick Plano for new owner and trainer Tom Artandi, was making his second start for his new connection and used a solid backside brush from third to the lead and then held off the late charging Paradise Station (Kevin Wallis) to win by three parts of a length in 1:52.4. Trevor Win For Us was third for Ricky Macomber, Jr. while Shamderock finished fourth. The last check in the field of six went to Last Call Hanover.
Artomatic Pilot won for the 38th time during his career and sent his lifetime bounty to just short of $300,000.
As the 2 to 1 favorite, Artomatic Pilot returned $6.60 to win.
Fox Valley Griffin, driven by Rick Plano, pulled off the minor upset in the other division of the Murdock Hanover, first collaring 3 to 10 favorite Premier at the top of the stretch and then holding off Odd Man Out (Macomber, Jr.) to win by a length in 1:54.3.
Cascata rallied from last turning for home to finish third while Premier faltered a bit in the lane to finish fourth. A Fool For Mark was fifth.
Owned by Carol Macomber along with Emilinda Manzi, Fox Valley Griffin, a 6-year-old son of Sportsmaster, paid $9.40, $4.20 and $18.80, the show price bonanza occurring as Premier finished off the board.
Odd Man Out, off at 9 to 1, paid $5.20 and $28.00 while Cascata, 23 to 1, paid $50.20 to show.