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Duc Dorleans Noses Out Panocchio

Published: April 19, 2015 12:12 am ET

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In a three-way cavalry charge to the wire, Duc Dorleans edged out Panocchio and Cruizin K C in a seasonal best 1:50.3 performance for trainer/driver Donald Dupont at Pompano Park on Saturday night (April 18).

The five-year-old altered son of Shanghai Phil, forced to abandon his usual front-stepping style in the $10,000 Open Handicap, came from sixth halfway through the mile, fanned widest of all turning for home and just did nail the victory in the final stride.

Panocchio's nose was, indeed, a 'nose' short this time around with Cruizin K C just a neck off the winner after pushing his nose in front around the final turn at odds of 45-1. Neptune, pacing the fastest final panel in the field, finished fourth, just three parts of a length away, with Steelhead Hanover fifth in the field of nine.

At the outset, Steelhead Hanover, with Joe Pavia Jr. driving, left with his usual alacrity to take the field to the opener in :26.3 with Panocchio and Bruce Ranger on the attack and taking over shortly after that initial quarter.

Panocchio took the field halfway home in :54.3, but on the backside, Mark O'Mara had Cruizin K C cruising in high gear and his individual backside quarter of :26.4 enabled him to stick his nose in front at the third station, timed in 1:22.1.

In the lane, these two duelled ferociously, only to be joined by Duc Dorleans a sixteenth out with the trio hitting the wire together.

In a post race interview, driver Dupont said, "With all of the action early on both inside and outside, I didn't think it would be prudent to get in a battle early, so this time, I took back...not something I really wanted to do.

"I wanted to follow Mark O'Mara when he pulled, but his horse [Cruizin K C] can really brush hard and it was hard for me to keep up with him brushing like that. When we turned for home, I just went widest of all and hoped we could get there.

"He is a very game and handy horse and he proved his merit again tonight."

In achieving his sixth win of the year in 12 starts, Duc Dorleans pushed his 2015 earnings to $49,858 and lifetime bankroll to $464,705 lifetime for Quebec owners Gestion Levesque 2005 Inc. and Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc.

As fourth choice on the toteboard, Duc Dorleans paid $13.00 to win.

Pompano Park also hosted opening round action in the C.K.G. Billings Series, an event held at many North American tracks honouring the memory of Billings, owner of the sport's first 2:00 trotter, Lou Dillon, in 1903.

When the "Official" signs were posted, Joe Pennacchio and Steve Oldford came off with the victories in their respective events.

Pennacchio took the Billings Pace with Terrys Star Dragon, wiring his competition with a 1:55.2 performance, the winning margin three and a half lengths over Fox Valley Christo (Anthony Verruso), with Flashy (Hannah Miller) rallying from last turning for home to get third. Master Of Puppets (Steve Oldford) was fourth while Clive Hanover (John Campagnuolo) picked up the final award.

Pennacchio, who had 145 wins going into tonight's action, picked up his fourth lifetime victory back of a "sidewheeler" and first back of a pacer since July of 2012, giving Terrys Star Dragon perfect rating -- :28.3, :58.1 and 1:26.1 -- en route to a 1:55.2 win on behalf of owners Fred Morosini and Mike Deters. The win was the pacer's third straight and 50th triumph lifetime, sending the 10-year-old's career bounty to $479,614.

Pennacchio summed up his win by saying, "It was pretty uneventful. I did just what this horse likes to do. I followed his orders tonight...and it worked out great for both of us. He made me look good!"

Terrys Star Dragon paid $3.20 to win.

Oldford got his 101st lifetime victory with his own trotter Insider Access. For the five-year-old gelding, the 1:58.3 win was his first of the year -- and only his fifth lifetime.

Northern Inferno (Robert Krivelin) finished second over Victors Cowboy Joe (Dein Spriggs), with Maggies Bed (Peter Gerry) fourth and Super Duke (John Campagnuolo) recovering from an early miscue to finish fifth.

After the event, Oldford said, "It was a dream trip tonight. We got away in good order [third] and then got fortunate to find some room when Dein's [Spriggs] horse [Victors Cowboy Joe] rushed up on the backside. I found some room once he settled in back of the leader and wore 'em down in the lane."

Insider Access paid $9.00 as the third choice and sent his career earnings to $112,616.

In Pompano Park's Super Hi-5, the 2-4-6-5-8 winning combination paid a $213.84 dividend for the 20-cent investment, sending the carryover to Monday's program close to $145,000. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

(With files from Pompano Park)


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