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Dedis Dragon Prevails At Pompano

Published: April 3, 2016 10:53 pm ET

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In a classic battle to the wire, Dedis Dragon, driven by Ricky Macomber Jr., pushed his nose in front a few strides from the finish line and upset Panocchio, with Wally Hennessey in the bike, in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (April 3).

The official margin was a neck at the line with Steelhead Hanover, teamed up with Joe Pavia Jr., third, three and three-quarter lengths away. Rock On Moe finished fourth while Northern Companion was fifth in the talented sextet featuring four sub-1:50 performers and the winners of over $2.6 million coming in to the event.

At the outset, Steelhead Hanover, Dedis Dragon and Panocchio all were on the bullet train with Dedis Dragon assuming control a few strides before the opening panel clocked in :27. Shortly thereafter, Panocchio muscled his way to the front and reached the half in :55.

The top three positions remained unchanged on the backside with Panocchio still in command past the third station in 1:23.4. Dedis Dragon and Steelhead Hanover were next in line.

Turning for home, Panocchio was trying desperately to protect his lead with Dedis Dragon gnawing into the diminishing margin with every stride and finally eking by just a few strides from the wire for the 1:51.3 victory.

In a post-race interview, Macomber Jr. related, "First, Paul [trainer Holzman] has this horse very sharp. He raced great the last couple of times I sat behind him and was close in each.

"I left with him because I couldn't afford to spot Panocchio that many lengths at the start. I figured that if I could work out a trip behind him, I would have a chance.

"Both horses raced gamely tonight and I think the trip was the deciding factor."

Trained by Paul Holzman for John McGill, Brian Carsey and the J L Benson Stables, Dedis Dragon won for the second time in 12 starts this year. It was the 20th win lifetime for the six-year-old son of Dragon Again, sending his career bankroll to $773,801 -- $28,417 this semester.

As the 7-5 second choice, Dedis Dragon paid $4.80 to win.

The $9,500 Open 2 Pace went to Buddha Blue Chip, deftly handled by Mike Micallef, pinning a photo finish decision on Four Socks, driven by John Cummings Jr., with Bunkerhill Bill third for Kevin Wallis, a length away in a mile clocked in 1:52.2. Mister Virgin finished fourth while Thebestofjoel, seventh and last with three-eighths remaining, rallying for fifth.

As the Hummer closed its wings, Four Socks left with alacrity along with Buddha Blue Chip, protecting his rail post position, and Mister Virgin, surging up from the outside post with Four Socks gaining the advantage around the first turn.

Just prior to the :27 opener, Mister Virgin wended his way into second with Buddha Blue Chip next but on the move and surging to the front under the line the first time.

With the half in a well rated :56.2, Micallef had to quicken the pace a bit as Mister Virgin began a first over backside bid and, when the third station was reached in 1:24.3, Mister Virgin was but a length away from Four Socks as Buddha Blue Chip looked for a seam.

In the lane, Buddha Blue Chip drifted out a lane allowing Four Socks a clear path, but the latter ran out of racetrack as Buddha Blue Chip, on the strength of a :27.4 finale, held off the challenger by a neck.

After the event, Micallef said, "When the dust settled early, I decided to send 'Buddha' thinking that the leader might just be looking for a breather during the [second] quarter.

"It worked out well with the half in a reasonable clip and he still had enough steam left in the lane."

Owned by the Baron Racing Stable, the five-year-old altered son of Art Major earned his third win of the year in 13 starts to send his 2016 bankroll to $25,885. He's won $160,603 lifetime to go along with his 1:49.1 Pocono mark.

As the 8-5 second choice, Buddha Blue Chip paid $5.20 to win.

(With files from Pompano Park)

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