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Panocchio fires to Pompano feature win
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - by John Berry, for Pompano Park

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Pompano Beach, FL---Panocchio, confidently handled by Bruce Ranger, took top honors in Pompano Park's "Saturday Night Special," on April 12, scoring a handy win in 1:51.4.

The 4-year-old son of No Pan Intended, pinned a defeat measuring 1-1/2 lengths over Premier (Rick Plano) with Freeneasy Hanover (Wally Hennessey) third. Rick's Sign crossed the wire fourth but was placed sixth and last after an incident halfway through the mile allowing Cartoonist to moved up a notch to fourth and Yankees In Six to earn the nickel.

Dee Leftwich Photo
Panocchio took top honors at Pompano Park on Saturday night, scoring in 1:51.4 for Bruce Ranger.

Panocchio, owned by Emile Johnson Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, came out firing as the wings opened and engaged Premier in a "guns blazing" duel through an opening panel in 26.2.

Panocchio then yielded--for all of two strides--with Ranger firing a second set of bullets to reclaim the lead and taking the field halfway home in 55.

On the backside, Cartoonist and Yankees In Six both pulled from the back of the pack, forcing the hand of Rick's Sign, who bullied his way out in front of these two to pull within a length of Panocchio at the third station in 1:24.

In the lane, Panocchio edged clear by a length and a half with Premier giving futile chase and Freeneasy Hanover taking the short way home on the inside to garner the show honors.

In a post-race interview, driver Bruce Ranger said, "This horse has come back just perfectly. Last week, he was great in his 2014 debut. This week, he might have been even a little better. He was very sharp leaving and very strong in the lane. He's fresh and eager and I can't say enough great things about Jimmy (trainer Mattison) on how he's brought this horse back this year."

For Panocchio, the win, of course, kept his seasonal scorecard unblemished--two for two--and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $57,625 on the strength of 10 win in only 27 lifetime starts.

As the 6-5 tote-board favorite, Panocchio paid $4.60 to win.

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