Pompano Beach, FL---Prairie Jaguar, back in action at Pompano Park after a weeks respite from the racing wars, ran his victory streak to six on Saturday night (Jan. 18) with another brilliant performance--this one timed in 1:50.2--in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.
|Dee Leftwich Photo|
|Prairie Jaguar ran his winning streak to six at Pompano Park on Saturday night with a handy win for Jason Dillander in 1:50.2.|
The Florida-bred gelded son of Spy Hard took the lead a few steps out of the gate, brushed to a four-length lead by the 26.2 opener, and proceeded to clock subsequent panels of 55 and 1:22.2 before coasting home an easy winner by 5-1/4 lengths.
Northern Companion, handled by Dave Ingraham, finished second after giving futile chase from three-eighths out to the wire. Thebestofjoel, with Ed Hensley handling the lines, finished third, 7-1/2 lengths away while Eastend Eddie finished fourth. Southern Sport picked up the nickel in the quintet.
The winner, nominated--but not entered--in a $10,000 claiming series at Pompano Park weeks earlier, has become the talk of the track after winning miles in 1:50.4, 1:51.4, 1:50, 1:49 and 1:50 before last night's triumph.
In a post-race interview, driver Jason Dillander said, "…actually, he left the gate a trifle lazier than usual but, just a few strides out, he really accelerated and opened daylight in the blink of an eye. He's unbelievably sharp right now. He's able to be rated, as he was in the second quarter and then he accelerates, as he did on his own on the backside. He's certainly is a different horse than he was in Canada."
Trainer Mike Deters said, "He's become a happy horse…that's been the whole key to his success. His attitude is great, his caretaker, Tracey O'Leary, has done a remarkable job with him and we're riding the high tide right now. This is a sport that can produce the highest of highs and lowest of lows so we're enjoying this ride while it lasts."
O'Leary, by the way, was honored by the Florida Chapter of USHWA on Saturday night as "Caretaker of the Month," an award created by the Chapter in appreciation for the efforts of caretakers at the track whose horses have achieved considerable success during each month.
Prairie Jaguar, co-owned by trainer Deters along with Laurie Poulin, has banked $67,222 over his career measuring 68 starts--$25,000 of that earned during the past six weeks.
As the 1-2 favorite on the toteboard, Prairie Jaguar returned $3.00 to win.
The Open "2" Pace, worth $8,500, went to Premier, owned by Maryann Plano and driven to victory by trainer-husband Rick Plano.
The seven year-old altered son of Artsplace, claimed for $10,000 just two weeks ago, left sharply to take an early lead, was out-brushed during a 27 opener by Gentleman Friend (Wally Hennessey), recaptured the top spot a few steps later and carded fractions of 55.1 and 1:22.4 before reporting home 1-1/4 lengths to the good of the fast-closing Electric Lad (Jason Dillander). Gentleman Friend did finish third while Rick's Sign finished fourth. Military Stratcom finished fastest of all to pick up the minors.
With the win, Premier's 30th lifetime, he vaulted over the $140,000 in lifetime bounty an "won himself out" after being haltered just two starts ago.
As the 9-5 favorite on the board, Premier paid $5.80 to win.
The $7,500 Open "3" Pace went to Shane Arsenaault's Lyon's Johnny, who made a bold quarter move to the top and went on to score in 1:52.3 for Wally Hennessey.
The 6-year-old son of Mach Three held off Just Fred (George Napolitano, Jr.) by three parts of a length with No Monkeys Allowed third. Restless Yankee and Beignet also earned checks in the septet.
Lyon's Johnny earned his 16th lifetime victory to send his lifetime bankroll to $165,309.