Prairie Panther, superbly rated by Wally Hennessey, extended his winning streak to four on Sunday night (Jan. 23) with a convincing 1:51.4 win in Pompano Park's $14,200 Open Handicap Pace.
The eight-year-old gelded son of Royel Millennium, who achieved his milestone 50th lifetime win one week ago, started gnawing away in search of another 50 by zipping off the wings from the get-go. He recorded splits of :26.4, :56.2 and 1:24.1 before an effortless :27.3 finale left him 1-1/2 lengths ahead of the very fast-closing Seeing Eye Single (David Miller), with Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Rick Plano) another 1-1/2 lengths away in third. Cinnamon Beach, in the pocket throughout the contest, finished fourth while Actor Hanover picked up the nickel in this quintet after an unfortunate miscue at the start.
"Well, there were several factors that got us to the winner's circle tonight," reflected Hennessey after the race. "First, with the scratch of one in there (Alluneedisfaith N), we moved into a better post -- five -- and with Kevin's (Wallis) horse (Actor Hanover) making a rare break, it changed the whole thing because he is usually quick leaving. So, instead of getting away last, I thought it would be best to leave out of there like last week. He really left well again and, when there were no other ones leaving much, I had a little daylight early.
"When we got to the half in :56.2, I was pretty confident he (Prairie Panther) could go all the way since we got there in :55 last week and he was still strong at the end of that mile. He was all on his own after that and seemed even stronger once we straightened away in the stretch.
"He sure is a tough son-of-a-gun right now and, like I said before, give the credit to the horse, Mike (Deters), who trains him, and the caretaker that, obviously, does a great job with him."
Prairie Panther is now a perfect four-for-four this young semester with earnings of $27,600. He's banked $490,600 lifetime for Deters, who co-owns with breeder Laurie Poulin.
Off at 3-5, Prairie Panther paid $3.20 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Pace went to Real Peace, driven by David Miller for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.
The seven-year-old altered son of Real Desire hit the wire in 1:52 after a quarter-pole move to the top after a :hot :26.2 opener. From there, he carded fractions of :55.3 and 1:23.4 before a :28.1 final panel was enough to hold off the late-surging Jet Rock (Tyler Jones) to score by three-quarters of a length. Rebellious (Hennessey) was a vastly improved third while JMs Delight and Odds On Osiris were next in the octet.
The win enabled Real Peace to achieve two marks -- his 30th lifetime win and crashing through the $300,000 level in career earnings.
The winner was off at 8-5 and paid $5.20 to win.
The $11,000 Open III Pace went to My House, driven by Andy Shetler, who conquered the outside eight post and his seven rivals with a sharp 1:52 mile.
The five-year-old gelded son of Rockin Image, trained by Shetler for owners Lavern Yoder and Janie Hartley, went searching for the lead early, took charge under the line the first time and proceeded through sizzling fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.4 before a :29.1 closer left him almost two lengths clear of Lyons Night Hawk (Hennessey) with Windemere Ryan (Jones) third. Surfer Beach finished fourth while Dealt A Winner picked up the nickel in the field of eight.
That win for My House was his 15th lifetime to send his lifetime bankroll over the $150,000 plateau.
My House paid $7.20 as a 5-2 co-favourite.
Racing continues on Monday night with a 12-race card featuring a pair of Pick-4's -- both with a $15,000 guaranteed pool and an industry low 12 per cent takeout. The Super Hi-5 finale now boasts a jackpot of $53,716. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)