Toys For You, driven by owner/trainer Rick Plano, completed a month long "grand slam" performance on Tuesday night (Dec. 14) at Pompano Park by winning the $14,200 Open Trot for the fourth straight time.
The adaptable five-year-old gelded son of Airzoom Lindy, with an unblemished record since his fall arrival here, was near the back of the pack for the first half-mile before using a ferocious backside blitz to take charge an eighth-of-a-mile later during a :26.4 third quarter sprint and went on to score a wrapped up, five-length win in 1:53.
Sooo Handsome (Dave Ingraham), a stablemate of the winner, was second while Max (Ricky Macomber Jr.), an invader from the north making his fall debut here, was third, another length away. The Lionking AS and BJ Lorado also earned cheques while Timon AS finished last in this classy sextet after a miscue prior to the start.
It was Max first off the wings and taking the field through the first two markers in :27.4 and :57, with The Lionking AS in the garden spot and Sooo Handsome next.
Once they straightened away on the backstretch, neither of the first two had much to say as Toys For You began his lethal sprint with Sooo Handsome following up from third and moving up to second around the final bend.
In the lane, Toys For You was wrapped up during a :28 finale, earning his 12th win of the year.
"He's got some pop in his step, that's for sure," said Plano. "When I tipped him on the backside, one chirp was all it took and he sprinted all the way home. He's one of the best I have ever owned... and that goes back a long way!"
In his last start two weeks ago, he tied the listed track record for older trotting geldings of 1:52.2 but, officially, his mile that night was 18/1000th of a second faster than the co-record holder, Wind Of The North.
Off as the 4-5 favourite, Toys For Us paid $3.80 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Trot went to Celebrity Pegasus, driven by Peter Wrenn for trainer Melanie Wrenn and owner Joshua Graber. This nine-year-old son of Andover Hall earned his 41st career win -- fifth this semester -- in 1:55.3, a seasonal best time.
Dipping a notch in class this week, Celebrity Pegasus made a quarter move (:28.1) to the top and went on to post fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.3 before his :29 finale sealed the deal by a length over the 13-year-old warrior Cantab Lindy (Ken Holliday). Anchors Away (Braxten Boyd) was third over Cash Hit and Party Boy Hanover in the field of seven.
Celebrity Pegasus boosted his lifetime bounty to $461,113 with the win and returned $4.40 to his multitude of faithful.
The $11,000 Open III Rrot was captured by Mr Houdini, who magically found some room to roam turning for home to score by a neck for Wally Hennessey in 1:55, equalling his lifetime best.
Aquillo (Braxten Boyd) finished second after taking a short lead mid-stretch while Darty (Kevin Walli) was next. Star Trek Hanover finished fourth after cutting the mile much of the way while Bumblebzbuzz picked up the nickel in the septet.
Trained by John Mungillo for the Jamie Marra Racing Stable, Mr Houdini earned his fifth success of the year, sending his 2021 bounty to $49,034. He paid $5.20 to win.
Hennessey had a triple on the card, also scoring with Steel Schooner ($2.40) and Arclight Hanover ($3.80).
While chalk players had a field day with eight of nine favourites winning, longshot players were rewarded when Bill "Showbiz" Popfinger's Wesley Hanover won a photo finish decision in a bang-bang, four-horse renegade to the wire.
Driven by John MacDonald, Wesley Hanover was off at 39-1, returning $81.80 to win. With a dead-heat for place, there were boxcar figures for the trifecta and pentafecta payouts -- the 4-5-7 trifecta combo paying $2,644.20 and the 4-7-5 returning $2,350.60, while the 20-cent 4-5-7-6-9 and 4-7-5-6-9 tickets were each worth $2,367.26.
Racing continues Wednesday with a $15,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 4 (industry low 12 per cent takeout) and a Super Hi-5 jackpot ballooning to $21,975. Post time is 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)