Panthers usually try to ambush their prey and then use their powerful front paws to grasp. Sometimes, the prey escape...sometimes, they don't.
On Sunday night (Jan. 9) at Pompano Park, Prairie Panther had his sights on five prey and none of them escaped his voracious appetite for victory.
Then eight-year-old gelded son of Royel Millennium used a ferocious :27.2 rally to score a photo finish win in 1:50.1 for Wally Hennessey.
The margin of vicotry was a head over the pacesetting Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Rick Plano) with Ourrhythmnblues N (Ricky Macomber,Jr.), in the pocket all the way, third, 1-1/2 lengths away. Favoured Seeing Eye Single was a non-threatening fourth while Agedchedar Hanover, actually closing fastest of all, was fifth in this classy quintet.
As the wings folded, Maxdaddy Blue Chip was in full flight and sizzled through panels of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:22.1 with Ourrhythmnblue and Prairie Panther next.
Turning for home, Maxdaddy's margin seemed secure at a length and a half but, once straightened for the drive, Prairie Panther started clawing away, finally reaching his "prey" at the wire.
"You know, this is one of the most consistently sharp horses I have ever driven," said Hennessey after the race. "He's always ready to pop home in :27 on a smaller track and :26 on a larger one. When he gets hungry, he gets real hungry and he was hungry for the win tonight. Mike (trainer Deters) does an incredible job with him and he's always ready to perform at the highest level!"
Hennessey, who had five aces going into the Sunday program (11,111 career wins) added this win on behalf of Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin with this win sending Prairie Panther's career earnings to $476,400. It was the pacer's 49th career victory to go along with his 1:48.3 Meadowlands mark.
Off as second choice at 5-2, Prairie Panther paid $7.60 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Pace went to Peter Dalt, driven by Ricky Macomber Jr. in 1:52.3.
The six-year-old altered son of Rockin Image rallied in deep stretch to win by a neck over Scootnroll (Braxten Boyd) with Busboy Hanover (Hennessey) third. Warrawee Veloce and Real Peace were next in the octet.
Trained by Jamie Macomber for La Bella Vita Stables, Peter Dalt was dismissed as the fifth choice in the wagering and paid every pound of 6-1 -- $15.80 -- the win vaulting his lifetime earnings to $148,622.
The $11,000 Open III Pace went to JMs Delight, perfectly handled by Rick Plano for trainer Jack (Wawa) Rice and owner Greg Merton.
The six-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight enjoyed a picture perfect journey in the garden spot before rallying on by the pacesetting Windemere Ryan (Tyler Jones) and then holding off a surging Jet Rock (David Miller) by a length. Maximus Red A was fourth while Babes Dig Me picked up the nickel in the septet.
Off at 7-2, JMs Delight paid $9.60 to win.
Racing continues on Monday with trotters in the spotlight in the Open Trot with Muscles For Life, Timon AS, Toys For You and Max renewing their rivalry with recent winners The Lionking AS, Anchors Away and Just Maybe The One adding to the competitive mix.
The Pick-4 with the $15,000 guaranteed pool (12 per cent takeout), Pick-6 and Super Hi-5 will also highlight the wagering program. Post time is 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)