Pompano Beach, FL --- Andover America, driven by Bruce Ranger, reached back for the guts and class that has propelled him to lifetime earnings approaching $750,000 to earn a narrow victory in 1:54.4 in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night (Jan. 22).
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Andover America (#4) , driven by Bruce Ranger, eked out a narrow win in Pompano Park's Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night.|
The win, the 51st in the 9-year-old's illustrious career, measured by the photo finish camera to be a head, came at the expense of the mare Pure Barre (Mickey McNichol) with the favorite, Jolene's Pinehonker (Jason Dillander), a fast closing third, just a half- length away. She's All In finished fourth while HP Forte finished fifth in the sextet after making a quarter move to the top that continued to the final turn.
There were several lead changes throughout the contest as Andover America left sharply as the gate opened, only to yield to Pure Barre midway around turn one. With an opening panel in :27.3, driver Mark O'Mara sent HP Forte to the top and clocked a half in :56.2.
On the backside just short of the final turn, Pure Barre left the coziness of the pocket, took command at the third station (1:25.3) and had a clear lead turning for home. At mid-stretch, Andover America stuck his head in front, Pure Barre remained stubborn on the inside with Jolene's Pinehonker closing with ferocity on the far outside.
On the wire, up went the photo sign showing the altered son of Andover Hall to be the winner. The win was worth $10.20 to Andover America's faithful and $5,000 to owner Mc Trade Enterprises, sending the trotter's lifetime earnings to $747,740.
After the race, driver Bruce Ranger said, "He (Andover America) reached back for some of that class that has gotten him to this point in his career. Last week, they got by him -- narrowly. This time, he held on -- narrowly. He's gone so many tough miles in his career that you never know if he's 100 percent on his game or only 98 percent. He gave 100 percent tonight and that's why he's such a great horse."
Ranger also took the Open 2 with Robert Weinstein's Mymomsablizzard, making her 2014 debut and scoring by a neck over the fast closing House Money (Wally Hennessey) in 1:55.4. I Love New York (Dave Ingraham) was a very fast closing third. Favored Stonebridge Idol finished fourth after sawing off panels of :27.1, :56 and 1:25 while Undercover Bro picked up the nickel in the seven horse affair.
For the Allan Johnson trained daughter of CR Excalibur, it was her 41st career victory, sending her lifetime bounty to $461,396.