Peace Corps' Pompano Record Equalled

Published: December 12, 2012 10:07 pm EST

Prairie Big John took top honours in Pompano Park’s Open 1 Trot while Dutchess Seelster tied the track record for aged trotting mares with her win in the Open 2 on Wednesday night.

Prairie Big John escaped with his victory in a three-horse photo with a determined lunge at the end of his 1:56 mile for Tom Sells, who was in the bike for co-owners (and trainer) Mike Deters, Laurie Poulin and Fred Morosini.

Ill Tell You What, who made a miscue at the start and spotted the field several lengths, regained his composure, made a first over bid on the backside and even stuck his nose in front late, but his attempt for a miraculous winning comeback fell short by a nostril for driver Dave Ingraham.

The 4-5 favourite, Commander K, driven by Jason Dillander, made a confident quarter move to the top and led every step thereafter...except the last two or three.

Prairie Big John showed gate speed and found a garden spot behind Blushing Hanover (McNichol) through an opening panel of :27.2 and then was shuffled a bit before finding some daylight on the backstretch to move into contention as Commander K clocked fractions of :57 and 1:26.1.

Turning for home, Commander K and Ill Tell You What were in a battle royale through the lane with Prairie Big John joining the fray on the far outside, reaching the lead on the line.

“The horse felt good so I let him roll a little early," said the winning driver. "He is a grinder, but since I used him a little I decided to stay in a bit longer. I was still a couple of lengths away in the lane, but he responded when I asked and he just did get there.”

The four year-old son of Arapa Victory now has eight wins in 28 starts this year with a 2012 bankroll approaching $50,000.

Dutchess Seelster was sent to the front by Wally Hennessey and, despite a stinging opening panel of :26.4, the six year-old mare had something left at the end of the mile to score in 1:54.2, tying the track record for mares first set by Peace Corps in 1990 and also equalled by Three Little Words in 2006.

Hennessey was surprised at the mare’s record-tying performance.

“She was perfect," he said. "I didn’t realize just how fast — and easy — she was going and that opening quarter of :26.4 really surprised me. But she kept on going and was well within herself at the end of the mile. She does have a mark of [1]:53.3, you know!”

Trainer Don Glowacki echoed Hennessey’s remarks by saying, “This was Wally’s first time back on the mare and all I told him was, ‘She’s got a mark of [1]:53.3, so she’s fast and she’ll do anything you ask.’ Maybe he mistook her for Moni Maker!”

She’s All In (Plano) was second while Celebrity Legacy was third.

Lightly raced this year, Dutchess Seelster now has six wins in 13 starts this season and 20 wins lifetime in 78 starts. She has banked over $215,000 -- $27,000 of that this year for owner John Campagnuolo.

In a winner’s circle ceremony after the second race, Northern Companion was honoured as Florida USHWA’s November Horse of the Month. The four-year-old, owned by Dorothy Zarza, trained by Howard Klohr and driven by Rob Hoffman, won three of his four appearances in Open company and took a new lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in the process. He’s won 16 times in 35 starts this year.

(With files from Pompano Park)

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