Born To Thrive and A TC Queenie won their respective $11,000 co-featured trotting events at Pompano Park on Wednesday night (February 14), and the former pinched through late to score in 1:57 and the latter gamely holding on for a 1:55.2 score.
Born To Thrive, a five-year-old gelded son of Swan For All, was driven by trainer Rick Plano and scored by one length over Zoraze, with Ricky Macomber, Jr. handling his lines. Foundonabeach, with Andy Santeramo in the bike, finished third after cutting the mile. Uncle Hanover, in the garden spot most of the journey, finished fourth over Prairie Fortune, who finished fifth.
Born To Thrive looked to be in a “hopeless situation” throughout the race, as Foundonabeach left with his usual alacrity and lollygagged over the initial in :30.1 with Uncle Hanover second and Prairie Fortune next. Meanwhile, Born To Thrive was at the back of the pack with driver Plano mumbling to himself, ‘just what do I do now?’
On the backside after a half in :59.3, things started to heat up with an outer flow developing, which left Born To Thrive in a dilemma whether to follow the flow or sit chilly.
First, he pulled his charge, but a single bad step forced him to go back inside and pray for a seam in the lane. With the third station reached in 1:27.4, Born To Thrive was still some six lengths off the pace, but a seam opened turning for home and Plano pinched his way through to score the win.
Born To Thrive, with Rick Plano in the bike, took top honours in Pompano Park's co-featured Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night. (Skip Smith Photo)
After the race, he said, "I thought I was in a hopeless situation early with that opening quarter so slow – that's just not supposed to happen. Around the final turn, I had to make a decision and I really thought the only option was to stay inside and hope as opposed to go way wide and lose so much ground. I guess patience pays off once in a while!"
Owned by Maryann Plano along with Victor Contento and John Campagnuolo, Born To Thrive pushed his 2018 scorecard to 4-1-0 from six starts, good for $19,400 and $215,738 lifetime.
As the 3-5 favourite, Born To Thrive paid $3.20 to win.
A TC Queenie, a rugged five-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar, earned her second straight win in the top trot for the mares, as she scored a win which measured a neck for Rick Schaut in 1:55.2. Explosive Jet, with Dave Ingraham driving, was second with Modern Mercury, teamed up with Wally Hennessey, third. JS Foxy Lady and Diamond Dagger earned the minor awards.
A TC Queenie began her journey from her assigned outside Post 8 and grinded forward to the top at the opening station in :28.3. At this point, Modern Mercury, who left from Post 6, was next with JS Foxy Lady third.
With a half down in :57.1, Schaut continued to roll along with ‘Queenie,’ and repelled a minor threat from Explosive Jet around the final bend with three-quarters clocked in 1:26.1. A :29.1 final quarter sealed the deal, which left driver Schaut lamenting, "she heard those footsteps coming at her late and she dug in."
He continued, "I am so blessed to have a mare like this. These are quality mares we are dealing with here and to come out on top any week is a well earned blessing. I am so proud of her – overcoming the outside post and digging in like she did."
Owned by Rick along with sister Trish Soulsby, A TC Queenie now has 16 career wins in 49 starts with lifetime earnings of $284,546 to go along with her Scioto Downs mark of 1:53.
Off as the 4-1 third choice, A TC Queenie paid $10.40 to win.
Racing continues on Saturday night as Pompano Park offers the ‘Hall of Fame Amateur Drivers’ competition. In the ‘better-for-the-bettor’ department, there is a Pick-6 carryover and a Super Hi-5 carryover at a season high $201,692.
Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.