Pompano Beach, FL --- The last 24 hours have been quite memorable for Mark O'Mara. On Friday night, he was inducted into the Florida USHWA Hall of Fame, and less than 24 hours later his own Cruizin K C took top honors in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Driver Mark O'Mara capped off a memorable weekend by driving his own Cruizin K C to victory in Pompano Park's Saturday night feature.|
The 6-year-old gelded son of Mach Three engineered a final half in :54.2 to score a 1-1/2 length decision over the pacesetting Lyons Johnny (Wally Hennessey) and the late closing Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham), the latter two in a dead heat for place honors. Premier finished fourth in the mile while Electric Lad picked up the nickel in the field of seven.
As the wings folded, Electric Lad and Lyons Johnny battled briefly for early superiority with the latter assuming command during a somewhat tepid opening quarter of :27.4. At this point, Cruizin K C was three lengths away from the leader in third with positions remaining stagnant through a half in :56.4.
On the backside, Cruizin K C was out and rolling, grinding away through an official third panel of :27.2 -- his :26.4 -- and pulling on even terms with Lyons Johnny, reaching the third station in 1:24.1.
Turning for home, Cruizin K C doggedly wore Lyons Johnny into submission while Northern Companion was in the midst of a :27 finale (and :53.3 final half) to tie for the runner-up spot.
In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "He was kind of knocking at the door last week and just did miss and tonight he gathered himself up behind the gate a bit better than usual and we got away in very good order. He probably paced his last half in around :54 and a half (actually :54.2), so I was well pleased with his performance and the fact that just about my entire family was here to witness last night and tonight. It's been quite a couple of days."
For Cruizin K C, it was his initial victory of 2014 in four starts and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $117,543 to go along with a 1:50.1 mark, accomplished last year at Pompano.
As second choice in the wagering, Cruizin K C returned $6.60 to win.