Simons Notches 4,000th Career Win

Published: October 22, 2018 12:52 pm EDT

Pompano Park kicked off its 2018-2019 season on Sunday night (Oct. 21) with driver Mike Simons earning his 4,000th career win and Lucan Hanover eking out a photo-finish win in the feature.

Simons earned his milestone victory with Blueberry Heaven, a four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, in the second race, as he scored with the Mickey McNichol-trained gelding in 1:54.3 in a near gate-to-wire effort.

Owned by Marianne Ayers along with Anne Marie Hubbard and Heddy Nelson, Blueberry Heaven posted panels of :29, :57.4 and 1:26.3 and fought off challengers with a stout :28 finale. The win was the fifth of the year for Blueberry Heaven, which sent his 2018 bounty to $33,484.

“It’s really no big deal,” the humble Simons said after the race. “After all, I’ve been at this a long time and to see these young kids and their talent in the bike these days, I am just fortunate to be able to compete with them.”

The card’s feature — the $10,000 Open Pace — was won by the John MacDonald-driven Lucan Hanover, by a whisker over track record holder Panocchio (who was steered by Wally Hennessey).

The eight-year-old altered son of Western Ideal stalked the pace-setting Panocchio through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25 before engaging in a war the entire length of the lane. Lucan Hanover got up in the final stride, while peed Trap (Matt Krueger) finished third.

Trained by Jack Rice , who co-owns with Pine Hill Racing and Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Lucan Hanover pushed his 2018 scorecard to 6-2-4 from 24 tries, good for $58,575. He’s banked $1,149,971 lifetime to go along with his 1:48 mark at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

"I really didn’t know if he got there or not but, let me tell you, these are two great, game horses—Panocchio and Lucan Hanover—and we got the better trip tonight and that was the difference," MacDonald remarked after the race.

The third leg of the FSBOA-sponsored Sunshine State Stakes for two-year-olds were contented as four non-wagering events, and Proud Sophie, Damien Hall, Natasha and Mister Marvalous reached the winner’s circle.

Pompano racing will continue Monday night. First post has been set for 7:20 p.m.

(With files from Pompano Park)

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