Toys For You Extends Pompano Streak

Toys For You and Rick Plano, winning at Pompano Park

Toys For You, put to the test in search of his fourth straight win for owner-trainer Rick Plano, was up to the task on Monday night (Feb. 7) at Pompano Park, holding off a determined bid by Four Wheelin (Wally Hennessey) to score in the $14,200 Open Trot by a neck in 1:53.

The versatile six-year-old Airzoom Lindy gelding seemed to have things under control after taking the lead at the opening station in a hot :27, travelling through subsequent panels of :55.3 and 1:23.3 but, turning for home, Four Wheelin was under a full head of steam and closed stoutly as these two matched strides to the wire. Flagman actually closed fastest of all — posting a :27.4 final quarter — and surged from almost nine lengths back around the final turn to finish third, just 1-1/2 lengths away.

After the event, Plano related, “I didn’t see too much going on as the wings folded, so it was kind of a late decision to go forward and, once you put this horse (Toys For You) in gear, you don’t want to shut him down, so I just let him go forward. But these are all great horses here, and you can’t take anything for granted. Wally’s (Hennessey) horse was making a bid and, when mine heard him coming on, he responded like a good horse does. The cheque’s the same whether it’s two lengths or a neck.”

The win completed a grand slam almost a month in the making as this fourth win pushed the winner’s earnings to $31,950 in this new year and $169,054 lifetime. As the 2-5 favourite, Toys For You paid $2.80 to win.

The $12,600 Open II Trot went to Sooo Handsome, also trained and driven by Rick Plano. The nine-year-old altered son of Cash Hall, owned by Maryann Plano, stalked the leading Keystone Apache (Hennessey) through fractions of :27, :56.4 and 1:25.1 before wearing him down with a :28 sprint home to score in 1:53.2. Enzio (David Miller) was third.

Sooo Handsome now has 48 career victories and lifetime earnings of $415,030. He paid $4.00 to win.

In other action, Dein Spriggs completed a grand slam of his own, winning a Florida Amateur Driving Club event with his own Uva Hanover. The 11-year-old son of Cantab Hall won his fourth straight race, the 35th of his career, and he moved Spriggs to within four wins of 500 lifetime. Though he was in the same class as his last pair of wins and had the rail post position, Uva Hanover was relegated to the third betting choice and paid $10.00.

Further on the undercard, the game 14-year-old warrior Arsenal accomplished two milestones on Monday night by winning a $4,000-$6,000 claiming handicap pace. Closing fastest of all in his sextet, the gelded son of Artiscape made his 400th career start a monumental one by winning for the 50th time in his career, sending his lifetime earnings to $573,867.

Owned and trained by Kelly Case, Arsenal was last at the stretch call but rallied with a :29.1 closing punch to score by a neck in 1:56.3. Off at 22-1 as the bell rang, Arsenal paid $47.60 to win to kick off the Pick-5 sequence, which ultimately went unscathed on Monday night and yielded an $18,724 carryover spawning a $100,000 guaranteed pool for the Tuesday (Feb. 8) Pick-5.

Tote board fireworks continued in the fourth race when Joey Pro, driven by Braxten Boyd for trainer John Hallett and owner Mark Wamp, skimmed the pylons late to score a 25-1 upset. which left the pentafecta with no winning tickets and a carryover of $7,304 going into Tuesday.

Joey Pro, by the way, is an eight-year-old gelded son of Glidemaster with 35 lifetime wins and $241,183 in career earnings. He paid $53.40 to win. His win helped put the kibbosh on the Pick-6, which also has a carryover for the Tuesday program.

Director of Racing Gabe Prewitt announced that, if the Super Hi-5 is not won by a single participant Tuesday, there will be a mandatory payout on Wednesday (Feb. 9). That carryover has ballooned to over $103,000 and, with a mandatory payout in effect, that pool on Wednesday could grow to several hundred thousand dollars.

Post time for the Tuesday program — with a myriad of carryovers, including the $100,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool — is 7:20 p.m.

(Pompano Park)