Saturday's (Feb. 15) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Pompano Park, Buffalo Raceway and Miami Valley Raceway.
Northern Companion repeats in Pompano feature
Pompano Beach, FL---In a five-horse photo, Northern Companion, again handled by Dave Ingraham for trainer Howard Klohr and owner Dorothy Zarza, gutted out top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace on Saturday night.
The 6-year-old son of Cambest showed remarkable gameness and resiliency, refusing to give up when he appeared beaten in mid-stretch, and scored in 1:52, his winning margin officially a neck over the late surging Who's Your Maddy (John MacDonald). Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey), stablemate of Who's Your Maddy, finished third just a half length away, edging past pacesetting Hillybilly in the final stride. Cruizin K C picked up the nickel in the six-horse field.
It was Hillybilly who rocketed out of the gate into the lead just past the first eighth pole, but midway around the turn with positions now established, driver Bruce Ranger grabbed a hold of his charge and rated him through an opener of 27.3 with Freeneasy Hanover, Who's Your Maddy and Northern Companion next, about 4-1/2 lengths off the lead.
Sensing the very moderate pace, Ingraham began his grind forward with one lap to go and was third, two lengths off Hillybilly through a soft opening half in 57.
On the backside, things really started heating up and, by the final turn, were sizzling as Northern Companion was put through a supreme test during a third panel in 26.4, his one tick faster.
Turning for home, Hillybilly kicked clear again with Freeneasy now taking up the chase with Northern Companion now two lengths away and drifting out a bit and Who's Your Maddy flying between horses.
But, when it counted, Northern Companion refused to be denied in the photo finish victory.
In a post-race interview, driver Dave Ingraham said, "This was not easy. To grind forward through a quarter like that is amazing and, yes, I thought we were beaten in mid-stretch but this horse really has that rare quality about him that, when he gets some racetrack in front of him, he wants to gobble it up. He just never quits."
"Buddy's" win (he's called Buddy around the stable), was his third this year and 35th lifetime, sending his lifetime bounty to $208,082--$21,250 this young season in seven starts.
As the 1-2 public choice, Northern Companion paid $3.00 to win.
A nose, two heads and a neck. Sounds like a blanket finish but it's not. It's the margin of victory Beechwood Wayne has recorded in his past four starts. While Beechwood Wayne sure does like cutting it close it's proving to be a winning formula as the 7-year-old gelding is now a perfect 4-for-4 on the 2014 season with another narrow win in the $10,500 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway Saturday night (Feb. 15). Beechwood Wayne ($4.90) won this week by the slimmest margin yet, a nose. While the margin of victory may be narrow, the results are still the same...a trip to the winner's circle. Dont Say Goodby (Peter Wrenn) scooted out from the gate and put up fractions of 29, 58.3, 1:28.3 but had Beechwood Wayne breathing down his neck in the pocket to the three-quarter pole. Salazar (Kevin Cummings), meanwhile, cruised three-wide down the back stretch and had the lead entering the lane. But driver Ron Beback Jr. managed to slip Beechwood Wayne to the outside and collared Salazar at the wire in 1:58.1 over the good track. Every Girls Desire (Billy Dobson) skimmed the pylons for third. Trained by JD Perin and owned by Tessa Roland and Mark Jakubik, Beechwood Wayne (Western Terror-Sanskrit Hanover) has now earned $18,500 this season and $178,596 lifetime. It was his 13th victory since the start of 2013 and 28th victory in his career for Beechwood Wayne.
Miami Valley Raceway
Holiday Shopper (Jason Brewer) captured her second consecutive Fillies & Mares Open pace at Miami Valley on Saturday night, just nipping Aqua Artist (Chris Page) in the final stride in 1:55.1. Everymileamemory (Pat Berry got the show dough in the $9,500 feature race. Owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison, the winning mare is trained by Jeff Brewer who is off to an impressive start at the new five-eighths mile oval. The father-son Brewer tandem also won the night's first race, a $4,000 distaff claiming event with Brookletssugarland.
Blind Spot Hanover (Tony Hall) won the secondary feature, besting Bazooka Terror (Berry) and Sectionline Yankee (Page) in a $7,000 conditioned event for mares. The 1:55.2 clocking gave the Roy Murphy Jr.-trained winner her second triumph of 2014 and 18th of her career. She is owned by Tommy Householder.
A pair of conditioned claiming races also produced quick miles as Quiteaworkofart (Kayne Kauffman) topped Real Future (Page) and Shady Maple Bullet (Rod Allums Jr.) in 1:55.1. The $6,500 event was for non-winners of eight races who all carried $10,000 claiming tags. A similar race for non-winners of five with $8,000 claiming prices was won by Stealth Flight (Dan Noble) in 1:55.2 over Dragon Tattoo (Berry) and Say It Ain't So (Tyler Smith). A $7,000 trot produced a very tight 1:57.3 photo finish with Kaffir Kemp (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) nosing out Team Zordin (Noble) and Baby Blaze (Page) who was also lapped on the winner. For trainer Terry Deters, who just returned to Ohio after racing at Pompano Park in Florida for several years, it was his second success at Miami Valley in two tries. Michael Guest owns the 5-year-old triumphant trotter.
In addition to Jason Brewer, Dan Noble and Kayne Kauffman also fashioned driving doubles on the 11-race program witness by a packed house in the new Miami Valley grandstand.
Through the first five cards at the new venue, favorites have won 39.6 percent of the time despite the fact the average number of starters has exceeded eight during difficult winter weather. The average win price, however, is a very healthy $14.56 after the first 53 races as four 50-1 plus longshots have also found their way to the winner's circle.
Racing resumes Sunday night (Feb. 16) with an impressive program featuring a $10,000 Open pace. Post time is always 6:30 p.m.