Muscles For Life Powers To Open Win

Published: December 8, 2021 10:21 am EST

Muscles For Life, driven by Wally Hennessey, used his massive muscles on Tuesday (Dec. 7) at Pompano Park to score his first victory this fall in South Florida, tripping the timer in 1:54 in the $14,200 Open Trot Handicap.

The eight-year-old son of Muscle Mass, assigned the outside post in a classy field, forged his way to the lead three-eighths into the mile after a seemingly somewhat stalled beginning and went on to score by three-quarters of a length over The Lionking AS (Kevin Wallis), who was subsequently disqualified a spot for a pylon violation and awarded third as Sooo Handsome (Rick Plano), third in the original posting, was moved up a notch to second when the result was made official.

Celebrity Pegasus, closing fastest of all in his debut here, was fourth while Anchors Away picked up the nickel after his mild challenge around the final bend.

Coming off a pair of seconds chasing, Toys For You in his first two starts here this fall, Muscles For Life didn't have to deal with that nemesis this week and, when the wings folded, both Celebrity Pegasus and The Lionking AS left with their usual alacrity leaving Hennessey with a decision to take back early, duck and spot the field or go forward. He chose the latter and, after an early :27.4 war between the aforementioned duo, he decided to go forward and forged his way to the lead three-eighths in and sauntered over to the half in :56.3.

On the backside, Anchors Away went first-up as The Lionking AS and Celebrity Pegasus sat chilly and reached within a length of the leader past the third station in 1:25. Once they straightened away, The Lionking AS breached a pylon while looking for a seam as Sooo Handsome was charging late but Muscles For Life was up to the task to score his ninth win of the year and 41st lifetime.

After the race, Hennessey said, "Sometimes you have to make split second decisions and, knowing how nice his horse is, I decided to go for the gusto. It was kinda like putting your foot on the gas, then the brakes, and the gas again. He's that handy of a horse as some horses won't re-start once you put your foot on the brake. He was very good tonight."

Trained by Maurice Goldschmidt Jr. for Jarold Hawks, Muscles For Life sent his 2021 bankroll to $87,570 and career earnings to $498,299.

In kicking off the Pick-4 with that $75,000 guaranteed pool and subsequent record pool of over $127,000 ($111,200 new money on top of a $16,398 carryover), the 3-5 favourite didn't disappoint and was one of three favourites in the Pick-4 sequence with a 3-1 second choice capturing the finale.

The win was just one in a "hat trick" night for Hennessey as he also guided Joey Pro and JS Jasper to wins, as well.

Joey Pro took top honours in the $11,000 Open III Trot in 1:55.4 for trainer John Hallett, who conditions for owner Mark Wamp while JS Jasper stretched his winning streak to three since his arrival in South Florida in a conditioned event in 1:56.2 -- the latter trained by Joe Pavia Jr. for Jeffrey Hess, John Whiting and The Joe Pavia Jr. Stable.

The $12,600 Open II Trot went to BJ Lorado, handled by Tyler Jones. This seven-year-old gelded son of Bo W led at every pole, repelling a severe threat from Party Boy Hanover (Hennessey) around the final turn and through the lane to score by a neck in 1:55.4. Trix And Stones (Joe Sanzeri) was third over Cash Hit and Darty in the octet.

Trained by Marc Major for Michael and Diane Norcross, BJ Lorado pushed his 2021 scorecard to 9-3-12 in 42 starts, good for $70,336. His lifetime earnings now stand at $239,244 to go along with 33 career wins. He paid $4.60 as the favourite.

The fastest mile of the night was achieved by Island Beach Boy, winning in 1:51.1, for John MacDonald, who was in the bike for trainer Marcel Barrieau and owners F. Ian Smith and Arnold Hagan. The altered three-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere paced his final half a shade under :55 to better his former mark set one week ago by a tick.

Racing continues on Wednesday with a $15,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-4 and a ballooning Super Hi-5 jackpot. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.

(With files from Pompano Park)

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