LA Always Amartini, fourth choice in the betting despite a win one week ago in this same top class, scored a handy and convincing repeat score in the $14,200 Open Pace for mares on Wednesday night (Feb. 9) at Pompano Park.
Confidently driven by Joe Chindano Jr., the seven-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin crossed the line in 1:53.4 with a margin of 2-1/4 lengths over the late-surging Image Of A Dream (Rick Plano), with the lukewarm favourite Sea Shadows (Wally Hennessey) third, another half-length back. Crisp Mane finished fourth after looming boldly around the final bend with Come Get The Cash picking up the nickel in the classy sextet.
Chindano wasted no time as the wings folded and sent LA Always Amartini right to the front before yielding to Sea Shadows at the opening marker of :27.3. Just a few strides later, Chindano sent his charge back to the front and got to the half in a very reasonable :57.3. On the backside, things began to heat up as Crisp Mane put in a serious brush forward to match strides with the leader at the third station in 1:26.2. That is when Chindano chirped a time or two to LA Always Amartini, put the threat of Crisp Mane away and faced no threat thereafter even with the stout close of Image Of A Dream.
In a post race interview, Chindano said, "You know, all of these mares are pretty evenly matched and any of them can come up with a big race. Last week, we got there and Angie (trainer Coleman) said she had another real good week training and she was ready to repeat. I wanted to put her in a forward spot and, when she felt like she wanted to brush again, I let her do what she wanted. We got to the half with a bit of a breather and, when my mare heard hoofs, she perked up her ears and never let up after that."
The win was the third of the year in six starts with her 3-1-2 scorecard good for $25,780 this young year. She's banked $314,717 lifetime.
As the aforementioned fourth choice in the wagering, LA Always Amartini paid $11.60 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Pace for mares went to Brilliant Beauty, driven by Kevin Wallis for trainer Tee Wine and the Jemaxpo Racing Stable.
The four-year-old daughter of JK Endofanera, dipping down from competing in the top class a week ago, led at every station while carding numbers of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:24.3 before a :28 finale sealed the deal by 1-1/2 lengths. Roll With Angel (John MacDonald) rallied late to be second while Ourlittlemiracle finished third. Powered By Mach was fourth while Tuapeka Jessie N picked up the minor award after looming boldly around the final bend and turning for home.
For Brilliant Beauty, it was her second win of the season and 11th lifetime to send her career bankroll to $107,474.
As the 2-1 second choice, Brillliant Beauty paid $6.20 to win.
The event, by the way, produced a record superfecta pool handle of $131,466, resulting from a fifth race super carryover when Storms Coming upset the apple cart at 59-1 to leave the superfecta fifth combination of 3-2-7-6 with no winning tickets.
The Super Hi-5 finale, with a carryover of $111,000 going in and a mandatory payout on tap, attracted $324,608 and that event went to Another Beach Day ($11.80) teaming up with Braxten Boyd. In taking the $10,000 Open Pace for mares in 1:53.4 for owner Brandy Boyd, it was her first success of 2022 and keyed a 9-7-6-2-1 combination that returned $2,543.82 for the 20-cent ticket, which was won by 148 astute and fortunate handicappers.
Handle for the night was a robust $1,196,890.
With racing cancelled for Super Bowl Sunday, the action continues on Monday, Feb. 14 with a special surprise event and a $15,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-4 with its industry low 12 per cent takeout. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.
(With files from Pompano Park)