Pompano Beach, FL --- Jolene's Pinehonker, using a somewhat uncharacteristic racing strategy, took top honors in Wednesday night's (March 19) $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Pompano Park in 1:55.1.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Jolene's Pinehonker, driven by Mark O'Mara, took top honors in Pompano Park's Open Handicap Trot.|
The 5-year-old son of Pinetucky, driven by trainer Mark O'Mara for owner Lester Raber, has been known for his rousing stretch rallies, especially in his winning performances. However, on this night he was on the bit from the get-go, taking the lead right at the initial marker timed in :28.3 before yielding to arch-rival Pure Barre, handled by Mickey McNichol, who took the field halfway through the mile in :57.2.
Midway on the backside, Jolene's Pinehonker brushed right back to the front and led the rest of the way, reaching the third station in 1:26.2 and then holding off Pure Barre with a :28.4 finale -- his margin a half-length on the line. Photo King, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike, was third, followed by Mr Joe Sixpack and Thekeptman, who picked up the nickel. Last week's winner, My Revenuer, made a miscue at the beginning and finished sixth in the sextet.
For Jolene's Pinehonker, it was his fourth win in 10 starts this year, good for $31,100 in bounty so far this young season. He's banked $345,945 lifetime.
In a post race interview, driver Mark O'Mara said, "He's such a handy horse and you can do anything you want with him --leave, not leave -- it just doesn't matter to him. He still seems to have something in reserve when it counts.
"I thought that, in this short of a field, that the mare (Pure Barre) would leave and get a cheap half again with no chance to make up ground on her; she's such a tough mare on the front. So, we kind of turned the tables on her game tonight."
As second choice in the betting at 9-5 -- Purse Barre was also 9-5, but with a few more dollars on her nose -- Jolene's Pinehonker paid $5.80 to win.