Crisp Mane, Muscles For Life Tops

Published: March 31, 2021 10:20 am EDT

Crisp Mane and Muscles For Life took top honours in their respective Open Handicap events on Tuesday (March 30) at Pompano Park, with each winner handled by one of the track's two leading drivers.

Crisp Mane eked out a close win in the $11,500 Open Handicap for mares and was driven by Hall of Fame driver David Miller. The five-year-old daughter of Sportswriter ground her way from fourth halfway through the mile to the lead around the final bend before holding off a serious late surge from Casies Believer (Joe Chindano Jr.) by a head in 1:52.2. Persistent Bettor (Kevin Wallis) was third.

As the wings folded, Persistent Bettor and Prairie Westerngal both left with alacrity with Tempus Seelster also joining the fray — and reaching the top spot a stride past the :26.2 opener. Meanwhile, Crisp Mane, who settled into fourth early, was on the move grinding after a half in 55.1. Gnawing her third panel in :27.3, Crisp Mane stuck her head in front at the three-quarters station in 1:23.3. She and Tempus Seelster matched strides until mid-stretch, when Crisp Mane edged clear — only to face a final lunge by Casies Believer that fell short by a head.

Said Miller after the event, "Crisp Mane is more of a grinder than a sprinter, and I was very happy with the way she raced."

Trained by David's daughter, Devan, for owner Sylvia Burke, Crisp Mane won for the third time this year, sending her scorecard to 3-2-5 in 10 starts, good for $30,460 and $228,390 lifetime. As the slight second choice at 8-5, Crisp Mane paid $5.40 to win.

A bit of luck played into Muscles For Life's win in the $11,000 Open Handicap for trotters, as the eight-year-old son of Muscle Mass slipped through along the pylons to out-kick Born To Thrive (Rick Plano) by a neck in 1:53.4. Burn Notice (Kevin Wallis) finished third.

Muscles For Life left with his usual alertness along with In Secret, who took charge midway around the initial turn and controlled panels of :27.2, :55.4 and 1:24.3. Turning for home, In Secret made a rare miscue, leaving Muscles For Life the opportunity to slip through to victory — his fourth in eight starts, sending his 2021 bounty to $29,720 and $377,915 lifetime for trainer Steve Oldford and owner Jarold Hawkes.

"There was a little bit of luck involved there, too," said Hennessey, "as a seam opened up after David's horse (In Secret) made that break and I was able to sneak through!"

Off at 6-5, Muscles For Life paid $4.60.

In the $10,000 Open II Trot, Sooo Handsome, driven by Rick Plano for owner Maryann Plano, enjoyed a perfect trip in the garden spot and went on to score a handy 3-1/4-length win in 1:54.3, his first of the year in 12 starts. The eight-year-old gelded son of Cash Hall let Stick With Me Kid (Wally Hennessey) cut the mustard through fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1 before his solid :28.1 final sealed the deal. Boinganator (Kevin Wallis) finished third.

Sooo Handsome, who now has banked $347,575 lifetime, paid $2.60 as the 1-5 favourite.

Racing continues on Thursday night (April 1) with two Send It In Invitational events, highlighted by a mandatory payout in the track's Super Hi-5 finale, which has a carryover of $130,623.44.

Said director of racing Gabe Prewitt, "This is a bonanza for our faithful as this pool could very well swell to over $300,000."

Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. for the final Thursday of the meeting.

(Pompano Park)

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