Panocchio Dazzles Again

Panocchio, the seven-year-old gelded son of No Pan Intended, conquered a trio of obstacles on Sunday night (November 12) while scoring his 35th lifetime win, which came in the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace.

The obstacles he brushed aside were: 1) a strong million dollar field of competitors; 2) the outside post and 3) near monsoon conditions which enveloped the track.

At the wire, Panocchio and driver Wally Hennessey had a two and three-quarter-length margin over his nearest competitor in 1:51.4.

E R Melvyn, handled by Rick Plano, finished second while Rockntouch, teamed with Mickey McNichol, was third. Bestinthebusiness and Team Captain picked up the minor awards in the field of nine.

At the outset, Panocchio was away near the back of the pack, but rushed up quickly thereafter to find himself third over – but sixth – at the opening quarter. Drachan Hanover and Rockntouch were battling it out at that point through the :27 opening marker, while Team Captain was third and Barbarian fourth on the outside and hung out to dry.

Drachan Hanover and Rockntouch were ‘one-two’ past the half in a hot :55 over the ‘sloppy’ racing oval with Barbarian next and ready to call it a night.

That's when Hennessey sent Panocchio on his devastating double-bubble brush that took him right to the front during the next eighth mile, followed by a similar move by E R Melvyn from seventh.

By the time they reached the third station in 1:23.4, Panocchio owned a daylight lead over E R Melvyn that kept widening right to the wire.

After the race, Hennessey related, "What a horse. What a pleasure to drive. You known Jimmy (trainer Mattison) doesn't go too much with him in training miles – maybe a trip in 2:20 or 2:30 – but, when he sees the (starting) gate, he's all business.

"I wasn't that anxious leaving with him tonight because a bunch of them were leaving, so I went looking for a decent spot and there was none around so my only choice was to follow some cover and hope it took us far enough along. On the backside, I sent him on one of your 'double-bubble' moves and he responded like-WOW!

"He amazes me every start."

Panocchio now has a 57-27-12 scorecard in 136 career starts, good for lifetime bounty of $480.643, including his 35 wins at Pompano Park, one of which is his track record 1:48.3 performance.

For this season, Panocchio has nine wins in 28 starts and earnings of $83,225 for trainer Jim Mattison, who co-owns with Emile Johnson, Jr.

As the 3-2 favourite, Panocchio paid $5.00 to win.

Hennessey also captured the $10,000 co-feature with Duc Dorleans, who scored a very sharp decision in 1:52 over Major Starlight (Dave Ingraham) with Dees Rocket Man (Fern Paquet Jr.) a sharp-closing third. Skip Jive was fourth in the field of nine while Sumthintallnstrong finished fifth.

Duc Dorleans, a seven-year-old altered son of Shanghai Phil, took command at the opening quarter in :27 and proceeded to wire together subsequent fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.2 before his :28.3 kick home was more than enough to get the job done – the margin was three and three-quarter lengths.

Trained by Jacques Dupont for Les Ecuries Dorleans, Inc., Duc Dorleans won for the third time this year in 18 starts and set a seasonal best time with the win.

Career-wise, Duc Dorleans has 39 wins and $642,689 to go along with his Mohawk mark of 1:48.4.

Third choice at 7-2, Duc Dorleans paid $9.20 to win.

Racing will continue on Monday night with a Super Hi-5 finale jackpot swelling with a carry-over of $7,794.

Post time is 7:20 p.m.