Pompano Beach, FL --- Angels Delight, handled by Jason Dillander, took top honors in the Mares Open at Pompano Park on Sunday night (Jan. 26), but had to survive a bad step or two turning for home, an onslaught at the end of the mile and a judges' inquiry before the "official" sign was posted.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Angels Delight captured Pompano Park's Mares Open on Sunday night for Jason Dillander.|
The 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, trained by Jim McDonald for owner Joe Pennacchio, earned her initial victory of the year in 1:53.1, winning by a neck over the late surging Excelerated Speed (Wally Hennessey) with De Vins Girl (Rick Plano) also in the win photo. Express Jet, prominent early on, finished fourth, a length away, while Southwind Trini was just a nose back of Express Jet in picking up the final award in the field of seven.
At the outset, Express Jet showed her usual early speed from post six but Angels Delight, leaving from post three, battled early and stuffed Express Jet in the pocket through an opening panel in :27.3. Dillander then grabbed a hold of his mare and rated her through a second quarter of :29.2, reaching the half in :57.
On the backside, three-eighths out, the pace began to quicken as Southwind Trini brushed up from fifth to reach second, just a length away, with the three-quarters timed in 1:25.4. At the top of the lane, Angels Delight took a couple of bad steps but quickly regained her composure, sprinting home in :27.2 to earn the close decision.
In a post race interview, Dillander said, "Yeah, she took a couple of bad steps -- I don't know why -- but she's a pro and got right back on track and was very strong to the wire. She needed it, too, because those other two (Excelerated Speed and De Vins Girl) were really flying."
Indeed she did. Excelerated Speed paced her final quarter in :26.3 and just did miss the winner's circle by a neck.
As the even money tote-board favorite, Angels Delight paid $4.20 to win to her $2 backers and half of the $10,000 purse to her connections, sending her lifetime bankroll to $74,486 -- $10,000 of that this year in three starts.
The $8,000 co-feature for the mares went to Bombilla Hanover, scoring her 23rd lifetime victory to send her career earnings to $171,393.
The 6-year-old daughter of The Panderosa, co-owned by trainer Peter Blood along with Rick Berks and Lew Whitaker, was driven by Bruce Ranger, who sent the mare on a speed binge from fifth just short of the :27.2 quarter and into the lead, clocking subsequent panels of :55.2 and 1:24.2 before romping home in :28.2 for the one length score over Diamond Amber (Simon Allard) with Head First (Ed Hensley) third. Asset Management and Darlington Stripe also picked up awards in the field of nine.