Prairie Panther, confidently handled by Wally Hennessey, extended his winning streak to five on Sunday (Feb. 20) in the featured $14,200 Open Pace at Pompano Park, stopping the timer in 1:51.2.
What made the performance so amazing was the fact that Prairie Panther was making his first start in nearly a month, having last raced on Jan. 23.
The eight-year-old gelded son of Royel Millennium, four-for-four this season coming into the action, made it five-for-five by taking charge at the:27 opener and then proceeding through fractions of :56 and 1:24.1 before a :27.1 finale sealed the issue by three parts of a length over the pocket-sitting Cinnamon Beach (Patrizio Ancora). The late-charging Seeing Eye Single (John MacDonald) was third, 3-1/2 lengths away.
In a post-race interview, Hennessey, too, was amazed by Prairie Panther, saying, "Let me tell you, this was an amazing performance ... a mind boggling-performance. To come back after a month off and perform like that is, well, is there a better word than 'amazing'?
"When I spoke to Mike (trainer Deters) and asked if he'd be tight enough, he said he should be good. But you have to be more than good to tangle with these that he was facing. He was just as fast at the end as he was when he left the gate. Can't say enough about him or Mike (Deters), as he is one of the top conditioners in this industry."
Trainer Deters echoed Hennessey by saying, "(Prairie) Panther never ceases to amaze me. He lives up to his name with his tenacity on the racetrack."
For Prairie Panther, it was his 52nd career success and vaulted his career earnings to within $2,300 of a half million dollars for Deters, who co-owns with breeder Laurie Poulin. He paid $3.80 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Pace went to Scootnroll, driven by Joe Chindano Jr.
The five-year-old altered son of Roll With Joe used a :28.2 finale to rally past the pacesetting Real Peace (Ricky Macomber Jr.) to score by a half length in 1:52. Agedchedar Hanover (John MacDonald) finished third.
Trashytonguetalker zipped off the wings from his outside post before yielding to Real Peace at the hot :27 opener with Agedchedar Hanover third and Surger Beach fourth.
Real Peace then cut through panels of :55.2 and 1:23 while holding off a challenge of Surfer Beach around the final bend. While Real Peace was able to do that, he wasn't able to hold off Scootnroll, who surged to the lead a few strides from the wire.
Trained by John Hallett for Rick and Geoff Howles, Scootnroll won for the second time this year and 21st time career-wise, sending his lifetime bankroll over the $150,000 plateau by $720.
Racing continues on Monday night (Feb. 21) with a $15,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool further highlighted by an industry-low 12 per cent takeout. First post is set for 7:20 p.m.