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Keep On Flirtin Now Florida's Top Miss

Published: January 9, 2012 9:21 pm ET

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Five-year-old mare Keep On Flirtin had less than $65,000 in career earnings heading into Monday evening's Mares Open Handicap Pace at Pompano Park. In the end, she wasn't intimidated one bit by the combined life's earnings of more than $1.5 million of the 2-5 favoured entry of Special Sweetheart and Im Just Special.

The weekly $12,000 purse top tilt for the class started as expected with Runaway Tray blasting off from the outside post to lead at the quarter for Joe Pavia, Jr. in :26.3. Going to the half, Bruce Ranger looped around to the lead with Special Sweetheart but before the :55.2 half and down the backstretch Keep On Flirtin was in top stride with a big first over move to the front before the top turn arrival in 1:22.4. Keep On Flirtin built up an open lengths lead on the last turn and coasted home in 1:51.1. Im Just Special in rein to George Napolitano, Jr. saved the place position and Runaway Tray negotiated stretch traffic for third.

Keep On Flirtin, a daughter of Cambest-Rockin Lady, is owned and trained by Ed Hensley who now makes Boynton Beach, FL his winter home while campaigning at Pompano. In addition to the major impact he's had in the bike in Florida, Hensley has sent out 14 winners from his first 80 starters at the meet, maintained a UTR near .300, and raked in over $93,000 in purses.

Ranger Streak Ends, Tops Standings Anyway

Bruce Ranger has pulled away again in the wins and earnings categories atop the 2011-12 drivers' standings in South Florida.

The winningest driver in the track's history dating to 1964 has become the first reinsman at the meet to surpass 400 total drives $500,000 in purses since the current meet began last September 21. Ranger, 52, is the first driver at the meet to surpass 80 winners for a 25 win lead over Mike Micallef, Ed Hensley, and Wally Hennessey.

Last year marked the first time that Ranger did not reach $1 million in driving purses since 1998 due to a severe shoulder separation and multiple injuries suffered in an April racing accident which kept him out of bike duty for almost five months, yet he still posted driving purses of $986,557 in 2011.

Also of note from Ranger's 2011 scorecard was the fact he did not have an official training start, instead deferring the stable's training designation to Stewart Nemiro. The Bruce Ranger Stable raked in over $373,000 in training purses last year, with more than half of that total accounted for by Open trotter Keystone Thomas (over $113,000) and two year old Florida bred divisional champion Matcan (over $76,000).

(Pompano Park)

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