Pompano Beach, FL --- Andover America, the ultra-game 9-year-old Andover Hall gelding, returned from a two month vacation Wednesday night (May 7) at Pompano Park and promptly took top honors in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot.
Owned by Mc Trade Enterprises and trained by Stewart Nemiro, Andover America was driven by Bruce Ranger and stopped the clock in 1:57 in defeating Illusionsndreams (Andy Santeramo) by a neck. Permanent Joy (Dave Ingraham) was third followed by Lugar and Cathy's Princess, who went off at 1-2 on the board on the strength of three straight impressive wins, all wire-to-wire.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Andover America took top honors for Bruce Ranger in Pompano Park's top trot on Wednesday night.|
Indeed, it was Cathy's Princess who left quickest of all from the coveted five post, cutting panels of :28, :57 and 1:27.1 with Illusionsndreams in the garden spot and Andover America third.
Around the final turn, Santeramo left the pocket and quickly disposed of Cathy's Princess by the top of the lane with Andover America now in hot pursuit. These two -- Illusionsndreams and Andover America -- fought tooth and nail to the wire with the latter edging by in the final few strides.
Ranger, himself, was surprised by the win saying, "I really thought he needed a tightener coming into the race but he's just a great horse and knows how to win."
Indeed, he does.
The victory was the 53rd in his grand career -- third this year -- and vaulted his lifetime earnings to $761,540.
"Some horses have that great quality of knowing how to win," Ranger continued. "They just have a will -- a desire -- to win and seem to know where the wire is. He's got a little age on him now but he still maintains that great will to win. It's what champions are made of, I guess."
The $7,500 Open 2 Trot went to Tug River Dylan, driven by Dave Ingraham. This 8-year-old son of CR Commando wired his competition in 1:55, carving fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25 along the way in pinning a 2-1/4 length defeat on Celebrity Legacy (Bruce Ranger) with Northern Inferno (Andy Santeramo) third. Glittering Muscles and Adenium picked up the final two awards in the field of nine.
Owned and trained by Bob Dutilly, Tug River Dylan won for the fourth time this year in 17 starts, pushing his seasonal bounty to $23,315. He has banked $121,771 lifetime to go along with a mark of 1:53.3 achieved just a few starts back at Pompano Park.
After the event, driver Dave Ingraham said, "You know, there's this old joke about the driver who asked his trainer if a horse could leave and the trainer said, 'I don't know, I've only had him a couple of years!' Same story here, I looked at the program and decided to try something different and leave with him. He was very strong leaving and kept it up the whole route. It was a great mile for him."
As the slight favorite at 7-5 on the toteboard, Tug River Dylan paid $4.80 to win.