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Pompano Readies For 45th Racing Season

Published: September 8, 2008 8:39 pm ET

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Pompano Park is ready to open for its 45th season of harness racing this Friday, September 12. The new season will see much tougher rules and regulations including industry leading new standards for use of the whip in any race.

The track will start off the season with live racing three nights a week - Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - with first race post at 7:25 p.m. through October. Live racing on Monday nights will begin in November. Total purses for the meet with be $12 million.

On opening night, track management will honour last season's leading driver, Bruce Ranger and leading trainer, Mike Deters. Also, the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will debut its new Sunshine Award with a cheque presentation to Renee Arnold, wife of horsemen Bob Arnold. Mrs. Arnold gave one of her kidneys to help save her husband's life.

Also on the opening weekend program is the $50,000, fourth round of the Florida Sunshine Stakes for two and three-year-old Florida-bred trotters and pacers on the racing card. Throughout the entire month of September there will be stakes races each live racing night.

Pompano's top stakes events this season will be the $400,000 Florida Super Night Finals on Saturday, October 25; followed by the $350,000 Isle of Capri Pacing Series, $125,000 Mack Lobell Trotting Series and $125,000 Frances Dodge Van Lennep Pacing Series for mares throughout the month of February.

Pompano's driver/trainer colony will be headed by Bruce Ranger, the all-time winningest driver in track history; recent hall of fame inductee, Wally Hennessey; Dan Clements, Kevin Wallis, Anthony Napolitano, David Ingraham, Mickey McNichol, Joe Pavia, Jr. and Walter Ross, Jr. Top trainers include Mike Deters, Tom Harmer, Michile Lorenzo, Jim McDonald, Linda Kakaley, Don Cromer, Dan Hennessey, Jacque Dupuis and Gordon Norris.

New trainers that will be stabled at Pompano this season include Jean Beaulieu, Terry Cullipher, Dennis St. Pierre and Janine Waldron.

Also new this season is the track's new whipping rule - first of its kind in North America - which calls for the drivers in any type of race to never put the reins in one hand in order to strike a horse with a whip at any time during the race. The new rule was first brought to track management by the heads of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and has been endorsed by the leading drivers at the track.

An official 45th anniversary celebration will take place at Pompano during the first week of February, kicking off on Wednesday, February 4, exactly 45 years to the day that the track first opened.

"We are very excited about this new season," said Michael Bloom, Pompano's vice president and general manager "There are a lot of great events in store for our guests throughout the year and we will continue to provide a major first class entertainment destination for everyone to enjoy."

(With files from Pompano)

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