Pompano Park hosted twin $14,200 features on a coolish Tuesday night (Nov. 23) with Toys For You taking top honours in the Open for trotters while In Lou Of Money reached the winner's circle in that same top class for pacing mares.
Toys For You, handled by owner and trainer Rick Plano, overcame a precarious start from his outside post to score what turned out to be a handy 2-1/4-length victory over Muscles For Life (Wally Hennessey), who was making his fall debut at The Pomp after a 10-week layoff. The always consistent The Lionking AS (Kevin Wallis) was next followed by Cash Hit and Anchors Away in a very talented multi-million-dollar field.
The mile was clocked in 1:54 with the winner having to trot his last three-quarters in about 1:24 and last lap on the five-eighths-mile oval on the outside -- this after spotting his foes about 10 lengths at the start.
The precarious start happened when Just Maybe The One (post six) lost his composure prior to the wings opening with Toys For You (post seven) having to avoid the confusion, spotting the field those precious lengths.
Indeed, the very classy Muscles For Life zipped off the wings and out-brushed The Lionking AS to take charge and post opening panels of :27.3 and :56.2 with Toys For You last of the remaining contenders but grinding forward.
On the backside, Toys For You managed to churn his way into contention denting a :28.2 third panel with a :27.1 kick of his own...and the duel was on!
Turning for home, Muscles For Life and Toys For You engaged in a war of sorts with Plano's charge forging to the lead a sixteenth from the wire for his 10th win of the year.
The five-year-old gelded son of Airzoom Lindy now has $92,710 on his card for 2021.
After the event, Plano said, "He's one of the best horses I have ever owned in my career. I thought he was very good last week in his win, especially after his long ship-in from Indiana. But, tonight, he was awesome. When John's [MacDonald] horse [Just Maybe The One] kinda came unglued before the start, I didn't really know what was going on and I had to try and not get mixed up in that, so I had to be very careful. I know I was eight or 10 [lengths] back but he can go a long way on the outside. It was a bit chilly out there tonight. I even had my fall driving colours on!
"Make no mistake, though, Wally's [Hennessey] horse [Muscles For Life] is a great one, as well, and he'll be some serious competition with this tightener under his belt -- that's for sure!"
Though he did win last week, Toys For You was the 9-5 second choice in the betting and paid $5.80 to win.
In Lou Of Money, the three-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou, was handled by Joe Chindano Jr., who co-owns with Josh Greenberg and Robert Lussier. She held off the determined late bid of Sweet Heaven (John MacDonald) to score by a neck in 1:51.4. Prairie Westerngal (Braxten Boyd) was third, two lengths away while Image Of A Dream, closing fastest of all, finished fourth. Sea Shadows picked up the nickel in the octet.
In Lou Of Money, away fourth, made a quarter move to the front after Sweet Heaven rambled through an opener of :27.2. Reaching the lead three-eighths in, In Lou Of Money zipped to the half in :55.1 and three-quarters in 1:22.4 -- a :55.2 middle half -- before her :29 finale was good enough to find the winner's circle.
In a post race interview, Chindano said, "Actually, she had a couple of things going against her tonight -- stepping up to the top class and she, being only three, having to race against mostly older mares. She was real good, though. Very proud of the way she raced tonight. She's a keeper!"
The win vaulted her 2021 bankroll to $55,202 on the strength of a 5-3-4 scorecard in 18 starts.
Off as the 2-1 second choice, In Lou Of Money paid $6.60 to win.
Chindano had a driving double on the card, having also won with Just Say Joe ($14) while Hennessey equalled that feat by scoring with J-S Jasper ($4) in a conditioned trotting event and Abuelita Hanover ($3.80) in the Open II Pace for the mares.
Both, though, had to take a back seat to Plano this night, as he had a triple, having, besides Toys For You, scored with Keegan Ho in a conditioned trot and Sooo Handsome in
the Open II trot.
Racing resumes Sunday night as Pompano Park expands to a four-night-a-week schedule (Sunday through Wednesday). Sunday's card features the "Send-It-In" Special Pick-4 with a $15,000 guarantee coupled with an industry low 12 per cent takeout. The Super Hi-5 jackpot carryover is $8,746. Post time is 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)