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Northern Companion Wins Florida Open

Published: June 7, 2015 3:49 am ET

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A sizzling victory by Northern Companion and the contesting of the Spanish-American Friendship competition highlighted the Pompano Park Saturday night card with the icing on the cake coming in the finale when a 20-cent Super Hi-5 ticket was cashed to the tune of over $6,400.

Northern Companion, Dorothy Zarza's splendid seven-year-old Cambest gelding, took advantage of a "suicidal" pace before picking up the pieces in the lane to score a handy win in 1:51 for driver Tom Sells.

A game Rajis Blue Line (Ben Mc Neil) finished second with Whos Your Maddy third over the 3-5 favourite, No Bad Dreams. The early leader, Histoire Eternelle, finished fifth in the quintet after hitting the opening marker on top in :27.

Shortly thereafter, Rajis Blue Line made a quarter move to the top with a battle shaping up between that one and No Bad Dreams (Marc Aubin), with that pair reaching the half in :54.2. On the backstretch, Rajis Blue Line kept up his sizzling pace, reaching the third station in 1:22.1 with No Bad Dreams settling in the pocket back of the leader and Whos Your Maddy now on a first over bid.

Following "Maddy's" live cover was Northern Companion as this Howard Klohr trainee swept widest of all turning for home and easily mowed by his competition on the strength of his :28 finale.

In a post race interview, Sells said, "While they were in that war up front, I was just kind of licking my chops because this is just how this horse likes it -- a very fast pace up front. There wasn't really much to do turning for home...Northern Companion did that all by himself!"

For Northern Companion, it was his 43rd lifetime win, pushing his career earnings to $272,572. He's six-for-17 this semester, good for $33,475. The 1:51 clocking was a seasonal best and two-fifths off his lifetime best.

As the 3-2 second choice, Northern Companion paid $5.00 to his faithful followers.

The Spanish-North American competition featured four of the best amateur drivers from Spain and nine from the Florida contingent of the Florida Amateur Driving Club in a three race extravaganza that proved to be hotly contested.

The first event went to Spanish driver Jaume Riera, who guided the 12-year-old trotter Good Feeling to a 1:58.3 win over fellow countryman Agustin Pou, who drove Pacific Cyclone. Favoured Zeitgeist, with Dein Spriggs handling the lines, finished third while the only female in the competition, Luanna Beeson, finished a fast-closing fourth with her own Total Freedom. Spanish driver Miquel Capo finished fifth with Sir Cypress Bend.

Riera was on the prowl for the lead as the gate opened and assumed command shortly after the :28.3 opener and carded fractions of :59.1 and 1:29.1 along the way.

Good Feeling is no stranger to the winner's circle -- this being the warrior's 49th lifetime win, good for career bounty of $458,621. Good Feeling is trained by Allen Saul for owner Dein Spriggs.

Good Feeling paid $9.60 to win.

The second Span-Am event went to the four-year-old Leonardo, trained and driven by Leon Cable for owner Anthony Chiniara.

With the action very hot during the early going, Cable sent his charge on a double-bubble binge on the backside, taking the lead in upper stretch and holding off the spirited late surge between horses by Touchdown Teddy Bowman's Explosive Muscles to score by three-parts of a length in 1:59.1 for his initial win of the year in 20 starts. Lukie Duke finished third for Jamie Marra while The Muscler and Super Duke picked up the final two awards.

Off at 9-1, Leonardo paid $20.20 to win.

The Span-Am Pace went to Allamerican Extra, driven by Joe Pennacchio, in 1:54.2.

This nine-year-old son of Astreos, owned and trained by Donna Riedel, went an ultra-game mile, sitting on the outside of Angle Of Attack (Agustin Pou) through hot fractions of :27.2 and :55.3 before pushing his head in front around the final turn and on to a handy victory measuring five and a quarter lengths in 1:54.2, equalling a seasonal best. Despite being parked throughout the mile, Allamerican Extra paced a final quarter in :29.2, easily the fastest in the event, and pinned the defeat on Master Of Puppets (Jaume Riera) with Progresive Hanover teaming up with Dein Spriggs to be third.

It was the pacer's 40th lifetime victory and sent his lifetime bounty over $268,000.

Angle Of Attack did hold on for fourth while Blended Whiskey was fifth.

After the event, driver Pennacchio expressed his surprise by saying, "You know, I don't get to drive many pacers and I really thought that, being hung out that long, that the trip might take its toll. He really did this all on his own. This pacer made me look good tonight."

The winner paid $30.40 to win and was just one of the components necessitating a Pick-5 carryover going into next Wednesday's program.

Bruce Ranger and Mickey McNichol both had driving doubles on the card with McNichol's win in the last race with the favoured Four Starz Kyle keying a 20-cent Super Hi-5 payoff of $6,491.32 to the one unique holder cashing in on the 6-7-3-1-4 combo.

Post time for the Wednesday program is 7:30 p.m. with $1.00 fan appreciation nights beginning on Wednesday and continuing through the end of the season on June 27. Pompano Park's Lone Wolf Cafe, located on the grandstand apron, will offer $1.00 hot dogs, cheeseburger sliders, chips, soft drinks and more to all fans at the track from 6:30 p.m. to the end of the racing program.

(With files from Pompano Park)

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