Pompano Beach, FL --- Flight Exec and Keystone Wallace proved to be the stars at Pompano Park on Saturday night (May 10) as the former won the $10,000 Open Pace and the latter took top honors in the $8,500 final of the Isle-Pompano Park Late Closer for 3- and 4-year-old trotters.
Flight Exec was handled by Kevin Wallis and this altered son of Western Ideal carved all the panels -- :27, :55 and 1:23 -- en route to a two length victory over the late charging Cartoonist (Dave Ingraham) in 1:51.3. Neptune Blue Chip (Bruce Ranger), in the garden spot all the way around, finished third with Avantage fourth and Rick's Sign completing the quintet across the line.
After the event, driver Kevin Wallis said, "I raced him off the pace last week against Panocchio but he really seems to like the front end of things so I sent him tonight and he felt strong the entire route. The half was a bit faster that I would have liked but Andy's (Santeramo) horse (Rick's Sign) seems to be able to go a long way uncovered so I thought I should keep on going. When we got to the three-quarters, I was concerned about Bruce's horse (Neptune Blue Chip) because he had a perfect trip and Dave's (Cartoonist) because he can get home pretty quickly. All in all, it worked out great for us."
For Flight Exec, owned and trained by Linda Wallis, the win was worth $5,000 to send his lifetime bounty to $137,395. The fans that plunked $2 on Flight Exec's nose received $6.00 as the second choice on the toteboard.
|Skip Smith photo|
|Keystone Wallace, driven by Mickey McNichol, took top honors in the Isle-Pompano Park Late Closer.|
In the $8,500 final of the Isle-Pompano Park Late Closer contested for 3- and 4-year-old trotters (non-winners of two), Keystone Wallace, off at 6-1 and superbly handled by Mickey McNichol, eked out a photo finish win over the 1-2 favorite Dominum Deo, driven by Bruce Ranger, in a lifetime best performance timed in 1:58.
Megamass, the longest proposition on the board at 12-1, finished third after cutting panels of :28.3, :58.3 and 1:28 for Dave Ingraham while Total Freedom finished fourth. I'm A Pop Star picked up the nickel in the sextet.
McNichol sent Keystone Wallace right to the front when the gate opened, only to yield a few strides later to Megamass with I'm A Pop Star hustling up into the fray for Richard Simard, followed by Dominum Deo.
On the backside, I'm A Pop Star was the first to pull as the pace quickened during that third quarter and Dominum Deo picked up I'm A Pop Star's cover but was forced into a double bubble move around the final turn as his "live" cover stalled.
Turning for home, Keystone Wallace left the coziness of the pocket, put away Megamass in short order but had to dig in late to hold off the surging Dominum Deo. The winning margin was officially a neck.
In a post race interview, driver Mickey McNichol said, "I figured that the two of us (Keystone Wallace and Megamass) would be leaving as we sat one-two last week. All I wanted to do was be close enough to get a decent check as Bruce's horse (Dominum Deo) was really the one to beat. Turning for home, I was confident we would be at least second and hoping that we could stall off Bruce. His horse had the tougher trip, but that's racing luck and it just happened to be on our side tonight."
Owned and trained by Doug Miller, Keystone Wallace won for the third time during his career and this payday -- his second largest -- sent his lifetime bounty to $23,260. As third choice in the wagering, Keystone Wallace paid $14.60 to win.