'Tempus', 'Westerngal' Score At Pompano

Fillies and mares took center stage Tuesday night (Nov. 17) at Pompano Park and, when all the stone dust settled, Tempus Seelster and Prairie Westerngal were the ones crowned the queens in their respective Open events as the track offered twin features.

Tempus Seelster, the splendid seven-year-old daughter of Big Jim, came roaring back into action after a two month vacation to score a 1:54 win for Kevin Wallis, who was in the bike for trainer Rob Rittof and owners Dandy Farms Racing and the FT Racing Stable.

Another Beach Day rallied for second while Persistent Bettor next. Gold Star Mysti and Prairie Cougar were next in the septet, with Western Stepp and Big Thong completing the order of finish.

Tempus Seelster, who had post 7 in her field, was forced to take back to last early as Big Thong, leaving from post six, pushed the starting gate wings out of the way to take an early three-length lead over Gold Star Mysti through an opener of :27.2. With the leader moving into the second turn on her way to a :55.4 half, Tempus Seelster was already on the move from the back of the pack, moving into fourth and giving live cover to Another Beach Day. By the time they reached the final bend in 1:25, Tempus Seelster had wrestled the lead from Big Thong and edged away to a one-and-a-half length lead, only to be threatened by the late charging Another Beach Day. At the wire, the photo finish camera showed Tempus Seelster the winner by a head.

In a post-race interview, trainer Rob Rittof said, "She's just a wonderful, happy, very tough and determined mare. She used to be on one line and, some time ago, Leon Cable suggested and gave me a bit that might help the situation. That and a couple of head poles and she's been just an unbelievable mare. So, a lot of credit goes to Leon."

The win was the 11th of the season for Tempus Seelster in 22 starts, good for bounty of $76,175. Lifetime, the grand mare has a scorecard of 36-27-20 in 149 starts and $311,606 to show for it to go along with a mark of 1:50.1.

As the 3-2 favourite, the winner returned $5.00 to her many faithful.

Prairie Westerngal, a four-year-old daughter of Western Ideal, got picture-perfect handling from Wally Hennessey to edge past Ask Me Ifi Care once they straightened for the finish to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:53.2. Jazzy Image closed with alacrity to finish third, just another nose back, while Northern Dali was next. Talk Show Chica picked up the final award in the octet.

Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin and Fritz Racing, Prairie Westerngal blasted off the wings to an early lead before yielding to Ask Me Ifi Care just a stride past the :27.3 opener. The pair remained 1-2 through panels of :56.4 and an accelerated 1:25.1. Just past that third station, Hennessey left the coziness of the pocket and began gnawing away at the leader, securing the top spot once straightened away for the drive home.

It was the fifth win of the season of Prairie Westerngal in 16 starts, with her earnings moving up to $26,081 for the season and $120,063 lifetime.

Off as the 6-5 favourite, Prairie Westerngal returned $4.40 to win.

In the “odds and ends” category, payoffs continued to be appetizingly high at Pompano Park as evidenced by the fourth race pentafecta and the Pick-5.

Even with a 1-5 favourite, Image Of A Dream, winning the fourth race pentafecta and the third and fourth choices on the ticket, the 20-cent pentafecta paid $865.78.

The Pick-5, featuring three of the winners off at 6-5, 1-5 and 1-2, returned $1,284.90 for the 50-cent investment.

Yet another bonanza payoff was created when two of Pompano Park's youngest drivers--both 20-years-old—finished one-two in a conditioned trotting event. Trottin For Cash, with Braxten Boyd in that three-year-old's sulky off at 5-1; and Savin Park, handled by Jack Killeen at almost 60-1 on the board, combined for a "Lexington, KY" (8-5-9) $2 trifecta payoff of $6,880.

Going one step further, the 20-cent 8-5-9-1 superfecta paid $6,428.40.

Finally, when Bryce Fenn steered Louie Ginesi’s Hard Rock Hulk ($25.00) to his maiden victory on the Tuesday card, the track’s Pick-6 resulted in a 5-of-6 payoff causing a carryover of $1,711 going into Sunday (Nov. 22) night’s Pick-6, which begins in Race 3.

Despite Tropical Storm Eta causing Pompano Park to delay its opening by one week, the famed South Florida track has enjoyed an auspicious opening week with pari-mutuel handle up over 100 percent from the corresponding opening dates last season.

On Tuesday night, $725,612 was wagered on the program—a record November handle for Pompano Park.

Reflecting on the strong beginning, Director Gabe Prewitt said, "It was just a great opening week in South Florida. Our racing product was tremendous and very competitive and we thank the horsemen and women for enthusiastically filling the entry box. And, of course, we also thank our players that constitute the 'Send It In Army' for their support.

"We are getting in more stables every day as we march towards a five-night-a-week schedule beginning in December.

"With our roster of drivers and trainers including Hall Of Fame members to young up-and-coming future stars, it's been a great start and we look forward to presenting a great racing product night-after-night here in the warmth of South Florida."

Pompano Park continues to offer a wide variety of wagering options on their menu, including the newly added Pick 3 offered on the final trio of races on each racing program. Besides win-place-show betting, Pompano Park offers an early daily double, exactas, trifectas, superfectas, a Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6, capping off each night's festivities with a late daily double and Super Hi-5. The Pick 4 offers an industry low 12 percent takeout.

Racing continues on Sunday (Nov. 22) as the track moves to a four day racing week—Sunday through Wednesday—with free programs available on line through the month of November (islepompanopark.com). Post time is 7:20 p.m. (EST).

(Pompano Park)

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