Prairie Panther, handled by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey, proved his 1:50.1 win in last week's Open Pace at Pompano Park was no fluke as the outstanding eight-year-old gelded son of Royel Millennium hit the wire on top in identical time in the track's top pace on Sunday night (Jan. 16).
In an event that featured the winners of some $2.5 million and with an ultra-talented roster of drivers with more than 50,000 lifetime wins, Hennessey's charge proved supreme with an awesome performance from his outside six post.
Prairie Panther began the attack on his five foes this night a bit earlier than last week, gnawing away early to take charge three-eighths into the mile after a tough :26.2 opener and went on to post subsequent fractions of :55 and 1:22.2 before his normal :27 and a piece finale -- this time :27.3 -- left him an unthreatened 2-1/4 lengths clear of Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Rick Plano) in his wake. Seeing Eye Single (David Miller), actually closed fastest of all to finish third while Agedchedar Hanover, shuffled to last on the backstretch, finished fourth over Odds On Osiris.
"I tried to put some daylight on them on the backside," said Hennessey after the event, "but this was a very good group chasing me so they all stayed within striking distance. You never know what a horse has left in the tank but the 'Panther' was up to the task tonight, as he most always is. Credit the horse, not me, on this one. I just gave him the opportunity and he did the rest. It's a credit to Mike (trainer Deters) and his caretaker for keeping him in top shape for so long."
Deters co-owns Prairie Panther with Laurie Poulin and the win was a milestone 50th in a career where he is marching so close to $500,000 in lifetime earnings -- now at $483,500.
Despite last week's win, Prairie Panther was only second choice in the wagering at 3-1, returning $8 to his faithful.
The $12,600 Open II Pace went to the 21-1 outsider Cinnamon Beach, who stepped up in class after a 14-1 win last week for owner/trainer/driver Patrizio Ancora and hit the wire first this time in 1:51.1.
The six-year-old altered son of Rockin Image, once again, got picture perfect handling as he left sharply to settle in the garden spot back of Ourrhythmnblues N (Ricky Macomber Jr.) through panels of :26.4, :56.1 and 1:23.2. Turning for home, Cinnamon Beach found some room to roam and began chewing away with Ourrhythmnblues N drifting out slightly allowing Jet Rock (Tyler Jones) room along the pylons.
In a three-horse photo, Cinnamon Beach won by a neck with Ourrhythmnblues N a nose better than Jetv Rock. Favoured Real Peace was fourth while Warrawee Veloce picked up the nickel in a talented field of nine.
Cinnamon Beach won for the 10th time in his career to send his lifetime earnings to $74,711. He paid $44.40 to win.
The $11,000 Open III Pace went to Statement Made A, driven by David Miller.
The Tee Wine trainee, owned by Jemaxpo Racing Stable, overcame the outside nine post to keep his 2022 scorecard unblemished at two-for-two in hitting the wire in 1:52.2. The win was the 35th for the nine-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight and sent his lifetime earnings to $264,123.
Mc Mach (Rick Plano) was second, a neck back of the winner, while Drunkonaplane (Braxten Boyd) finished third. Maximus Red A and Rockntouch were next in the nine-horse affair.
Off at 7-1, Statement Made A completed a Pick-4 payoff of $4,202.70.
Racing continues on Monday with a blockbuster 13-race extravaganza featuring one of the largest wagering buffets in Pompano Park history including two Pick-4 events, each with a $15,000 guaranteed pool bolstered by an inviting 12 per cent takeout -- lowest in the industry -- a pair of Pick-5 offerings and carryovers in the Pick-5 and Super Hi-5 -- the latter carryover over $34,000. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)