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Pro-Am To ‘Team Miller’

Published: March 4, 2018 10:00 am ET

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On a festive cool Saturday evening (March 3) at Pompano Park, ‘Team Miller’ edged by ‘Team Tetrick’ in the 2018 edition off the Pro-Am Challenge, sponsored by the Florida Amateur Driving Club.

The grand event, which honours the Make-A-Wish Foundation and New Vocations, raised several thousand dollars for both from the FADC and on-track donations, as poster and autographed hats were distributed at the end of the festivities.

The final tally was 159-146 with Team Miller, led by David Miller, winning after trailing Team Tetrick, captained by Tim Tetrick, through the first four of the five-race extravaganza.

Miller got things rolling in the opener, as he won with the Dan Gassien-trained, Jemaxpo Racing Stable-owned Feelin Lucky, who was sent postward as the 3-5 favourite. Miller sent the eventual winner on a ‘double-bubble binge’ three-eighths into the journey to secure the lead halfway through. Feelin Lucky went on to score by one length over Mittnage A Trois (driven by Tetrick) in 1:55.3. Amateur drivers Bob Hechkoff (aboard Follow The Dream), Lee Morris (Sheer Desire) and Sky Walker (Country Baran) were next in the field of 10. The score after Round One was Tetrick 34, Miller 27.

Amateur driver Steve Oldford won the second event, as he guided his own trainee, Mulligan BI, to an 11-1 upset win over Zorgwijk Impact, driven by Joe Pennacchio, in 1:59.2. Tetrick was third with Caviart Cruiser, while Joe Faraldo was next with Garlandsandpearls. The Billy Muggleston-driven Bad Cantab was fifth. Miller, by the way, was ninth with Without Me As, as his charge was hung out to dry like wet laundry vying for the lead halfway through the mile. After Round Two, it was Team Tetrick 68-Team Miller 54.

Miller and Tetrick finished one-two again in the third race: Miller won with E R Taylor, off as the 6-5 tote board favourite, in 1:56.4. Tetrick finished just a neck back with Princess Delcine. John Campagnuolo, driving Rockin Blue Star, rallied for third, while Dein Spriggs piloted Dontcloseyoureyes to a fourth-place finish. Gary Barbere finished fifth with Alexas Hope after having started from the second tier. The winner gave trainer Gassien and owner Jemaxpo Racing a double on the card. The Round Three score was Team Tetrick 95, Team Miller 88.

In Race Four, Tetrick drove the even-money favourite, Crown Point, to a lifetime-best 1:58 win for Tyler Shehan, who trains the five-year-old gelded son of Crazed for Janie Hartley. Keystone Thomas, with Bob Hechkoff in his sulky, finished second. The Miller-driven Love Hunter finished third after a difficult journey from the outside Post 9. Shane Arsenault finished fourth, and Lets Leavem, with Bob Krivelin was next with Holiday Spirit. The score after Round Four was Team Tetrick 128, Team Miller 116.

With the finale lurking just ahead, Team Miller needed a big rally, and they got it, as they finished 1-2-3 to overwhelm Team Tetrick with a 43-18 win in the final leg. Mario Dessureault, who was steering his own Miss Flora, came from some nine lengths out of it at the third station, clocked in a speedy 1:25.2, to collar the Jamie Marra-driven Prayer Session a sixteenth from the wire. David Miller's Bad I Am got up for second over Prayer Session. Its Complicated, handled by Tetrick, finished fourth, after having recovered from a mid-mile miscue. The Campagnuolo-driven Pixie Queen finished fifth to finalize the final score.

Over 20 FADC amateur drivers participated with their own donations, and the generous awards to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and New Vocations pushed the club's donations past the $190,000 mark.

After the third race, winner's circle festivities were held honouring the retirement of 14 year-old Rush N Supreme, who closed out his grand career with 51 wins from 298 career starts and earnings of $352,176. Trainer driver Sky Walker brought the gallant gelding back to the winner's circle for the blanket presentation and a new life provided by the aforementioned New Vocations, the organization that provides ‘second careers’ for retired equine athletes as pleasure horses for riding of therapeutic horses for healing. Ashley Tetrick was on hand for the presentation and Tim Tetrick was in the winner's circle, as well, explaining, "New Vocations is such an important organization giving our equine athletes a second career after giving us their heart and soul on the racetrack. They do such great work in so many ways."

Emily White was on hand for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and she was ecstatic over the enthusiasm shown for her great cause. "It takes about $5,000 to make a wish come true for a youngster," she related, "and, tonight, the Florida Amateur Driving Club and Mr. Miller and Mr. Tetrick will make yet another wish come true. We are so appreciative of [their efforts and] the efforts of Mr. (Dein) Spriggs and the entire club. There are no sufficient words!"

Spriggs countered saying, "it takes the cooperation of many of put on a show like this, so I'd like to thank our amateur drivers and racing secretary Joe Frasure for his grand assistance in putting this together. It really takes an army and we are so fortunate to have a great one here at Pompano.”

Several racing celebrities were on hand for the extravaganza, including USTA Executive Director Mike Tanner, Hall of Fame Marketing Director Chris Tully, both of whom were generous with their time and support for a splendid night of racing at Pompano Park.

(Pompano Park)

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