Pompano Beach, FL --- Simon Allard built up a 20-7 halftime lead and went on to score an impressive 33-19 victory over Joe Pavia, Jr. in the third pairing of Pompano Park's $20,000 Championship Driving Series on Sunday night.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Simon Allard captured Sunday night's Championship Driver's Challenge to advance to the next round of competition.|
Allard, known as the "French Phenom" around the five-eighths oval, built an early 10-0 lead in the very first quarter of the event, scoring with Ted Berry's 7-year-old Nearly Uncle in 1:56.4, equaling the gelding's lifetime mark set two seasons ago. It was not only Nearly Uncle's first win of the year, it was his first win since August 24, 2012, covering 21 starts. Meanwhile, Pavia's choice, Suzelle Hanover, finished eighth after a very brief bid on the backside and into the final turn.
The "Phenom" returned two races later in the second leg and won with the 5-year-old mare Quail in a lifetime best 1:54.2 -- her initial win of the year and first since Oct. 24, 2012, covering 29 starts. Pavia did finish second in that event, making the halftime score the aforementioned 20-7.
In that event, Quail took advantage of an anxious Stardom Seeker covering the opening quarter in :27, then yielding before searching for the lead once again halfway through the mile in :54.3. Quail then began trudging forward from sixth, made a "double-bubble" move heading into the far turn, and collared Pavia's charge at mid-stretch to earn the win for the Fishman Stables, who co-own along with Jay and Kim Sears.
In the third heat of competition, Allard scored another "touchdown" by steering Pat Connor's Fashion Ruffles to her first win of the year in 1:54.3, equaling her lifetime best first achieved last season. This 6-year-old is trained by Kelly Case.
In that event, Pavia got a head start on Allard by sending the favored R U Ideal to the lead on the backside, opening up a five length advantage during a third panel of :27.2. That lead began to melt around the final turn as Fashion Ruffles kept gnawing away, collaring Pavia's charge soon after they turned for home. R U Ideal finished third (back of Machs Delicacy) and earned five points.
That was the clincher in the competition with one race to go.
In the finale, Allard's Kissmatt tried for the clean sweep by cutting panels of :28.3,:58.1 and 1:26.3 but Bruce Ranger, handling Go Go Patty Jo for Diane Hellen, used his picture perfect journey and went on the score a photo finish win over Pavia's choice, YS Goldstar, by a head in 1:55. Five Stars Queen was third in that event with Kissmitt winding up fourth.
Final Score: Allard (33)--Pavia (19).
Allard will meet the winner of Monday night's match-up of Ricky Macomber, Jr. versus Kevin Wallis.
The competition continues through mid-March with the winner earning $8,000 in the $20,000 Championship Series.
Post time for Monday's card remains at 7:05 p.m.