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'Send It Ins', Hi-5 Force Out At Pompano

Published: March 31, 2021 12:34 pm ET

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Usually, the “hoopla” around racetracks concerns stakes and Open events, but on Thursday (April 1), Pompano Park will feature a pair of “Send It In” Invitational events reserved for the “hard luck” horses that have graced the track since its opening last November.

Also, the Super Hi-5 will feature a mandatory payout with that pool expected to vault into the $300,000 range based on the carryover going in of $130,623.44.

Each Send It In Invitational event will carry an “Open” purse of $10,000, allowing the selected participants to race for a purse more than three times normal. As director of racing Gabe Prewitt said, “These ‘invitational’ horses have been racing here all meet long and have suffered from prolonged bad racing luck, so we decided to give them an opportunity to make a little extra money as the meet winds down.” Every starter will earn at least $300 to cover their expenses.

Here is a snapshot of the contenders in the Super Hi-5 Send It In Invitational:

Post 1: Superficial (7-1), owned and trained by Harry Joe Haught.

Superficial is a 10-year-old gelded son of Art Official with lifetime earnings of $245,248. His scorecard for 2021 is 11-0-0-0 with earnings of $1,150. His last success was over the Woodstock (Va.) half mile oval on Oct. 17, 2020. Since his arrival at Pompano Park, he has started 16 times with his best performance being on Jan. 27, when he finished fifth, pacing his mile in 1:53.2.

Superficial will be driven by Andy Shetler, who said, “he’s not very good on the turns these days; he kinda runs in on them. He used to be a good horse. He’s 10 now, but he’s kinda racing like he’s 20. I’m just hoping he’ll like the company he’s in with and the rail should help him a little.”

Post 2: Heavenly Evelyn (12-1), owned by trainer Bryce Fenn along with Harry Doyle.

Heavenly Evelyn is a six-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven with career earnings of $47,578. It has been a long dry spell for the mare, as her last win was 14 months ago at Pompano Park — Feb. 3, 2020. Since then, she has made 21 starts without a win and, in 2021, her scorecard reads 9-0-0-0 with earnings of $856.

Trainer-driver Fenn does see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, saying, “She was much better in her last start. At least she had a pulse with a nice kick home. I am hoping to be forwardly placed throughout the mile.”

Post 3: Blurred Lines (15-1), owned by trainer Dan Harvey along with Ann Robblee.

Blurred Lines is an eight-year-old daughter of Sand Shooter and is one of only two starters in this field with a win in 2021. Her career earnings are $145,212. Blurred Lines upset the apple cart on Jan. 14 at Pompano Park by winning in 1:56.1 at 35-1. In her last start, she made a rare miscue at the start, composed herself and paced her final quarter in :27.4 — her second fastest ever during her 183-race career, her fastest being :27.1 at Hoosier Park in June 2015 finishing seventh in an Indiana Sires Stakes event. She will be driven by Dan Harvey.

Post 4: Starcasim (15-1), trained by Joe Sanzeri, who co-owns with Russell Guardino.

Starcasim is a Florida-bred six-year-old daughter of Mysticism with career earnings of $61,539. Trainer-driver Joe Sanzeri believes this mare has had nothing but bad racing luck for an extended period of time.

“She’s just been a hard luck mare by draw and on the racetrack,” he lamented. “She does have good speed off the wings, and I am hoping to use that to my advantage from this post in a bulky field.”

Starcasim’s scorecard reads 12-0-0-0 thus far in 2021, and she has not tasted success in the winner’s circle since Sept. 13, 2019, at Tioga Downs covering 35 starts. Her last win at Pompano Park was almost two years ago — April 15, 2019 — at odds of 1-20!

Post 5: IRA Chief (7-1), trained by Dennis Whittemore for owner Diane Whittemore.

IRA Chief, a 12-year-old gelded son of Chief Silverheels, oozes with back class with $484,000 in career earnings to go along with a 1:50.1 mark at Hoosier Park seven seasons ago.

Although he has compiled 40 lifetime wins, IRA Chief is winless in nine starts this year, but does have one second- and one third-place finish to his credit. His last win was at Batavia Downs on Oct. 3, 2020.

Trainer Dennis Whittemore has high hopes for his pacer, noting IRA Chief has had many instances during his career where he has won wire-to-wire. “I’ve got him as good as I can get him,” he said, “and I know he likes the front end, and that’s why I asked Kevin (Wallis) to drive him. Hope springs eternal, they say. But that’s what we all say!”

Post 6: Big Bad Baby (7-1), owned and trained by Robert Hoffman.

Big Bad Baby is a seven-year-old daughter of Big Bad John with career earnings of $106,807. Although she has 14 lifetime wins, Big Bad Baby has been on an “unlucky streak” that has seen her scorecard this season at 11-0-0-0 with $1,844 in bounty. Here last win was at Rosecroft Raceway on Sept. 23, 2020 — her only win in her last 50 starts over the past two seasons. She last reached the winner’s circle at Pompano on Dec. 12, 2019.

Trainer-driver Hoffman related, “She’s been drawing poorly almost every start, and she always finds herself in traffic. She can come home pretty well, so I am hoping we can get some live cover flow and do some damage! This would be the perfect time to do so!”

Post 7: J P Silver (7-2), owned and trained by Bobbi Jean Carney.

J P Silver is the only grey mare in this field, a six-year-old daughter of McArdle with career bounty of $83,029. Although she is winless this year, the mare has been giving hints in recent races, especially in her last start where she finished third, just a length off the winner with her last quarter in :28.3. Her 2021 stats read 10-0-0-1 with her last win at Woodstock in wire-to-wire fashion on Oct. 9, 2020. Since her arrival at Pompano Park, she has made 17 starts without a win.

J P Silver will have the driving services of Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey for the Send It In Invitational. About J P Silver's chance, Hennessey said, "Well, she must have a pretty good chance because she was handicapped with one of the outside posts!"

Post 8: Elm Grove Nellie (15-1), trained by Marc Major for owners Michael and Diane Norcross.

Elm Grove Nellie is a five-year-old daughter of Stonebridge Terror who is winless this semester in 12 starts, but has been knocking at the door on several occasions.

“Yes, she's 0 for her last 54,” said trainer Major, “but she’s about due for a win as she has been racing well lately,” Her last win was at Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown Driving Park on Sept. 14, 2019.

“I am hoping she can find her best stride when it counts to do well here in this Invitational,” Major related. “A few starts back, she was last at the half and just missed by a neck. Hoping for the best!”

Elm Grove Nellie will be driven by 21-year-old Braxten Boyd, one of the bright, young rising stars in the sport.

Post 9: Queen Me Again (3-1), a six year year-old daughter of Dragon Again, is owned and trained by Hall of Fame trainer-driver Bill Popfinger.

Queen Me Again was deemed eligible “at time of entry” before earning her first win of the year just last Sunday night (March 28) at Pompano Park. Winless in her prior 12 starts, she used a :29.1 final quarter to score in 1:55.1 to push her lifetime earnings to $90,749. Prior to that win, she had been struggling against some higher classes and relished the company she kept in the lower class she faced last Sunday night.

The win was the catalyst for her being assigned the nine post in this field.

Post 10: Lusty Delight (7-1), trained by Jeff Byron, who co-owns with Elizabeth Kehoe.

Lusty Delight is a seven-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight with career earnings of $114,572. She has the admirable quality of “saving the best for last” and is reliable for pacing her final quarters as fast as :28.

Showing a scorecard of 11-0-0-3 in 2021, the mare has banked only $1,568 but continues to show sharp speed at the end of her miles. In her last three starts, she has paced final quarters of :29, :28.4 and :28.4 with her last start just 2-1/2 lengths off the winner finishing sixth. Her last win was at Pompano Park on Dec. 8, 2020, in 1:55.3. She will have the driving services of Dave Ingraham, who must find a way to join the fray from the second tier.

All in all, the 10 starts in this field have a combined two wins in 109 starts and are averaging $179 per start. Each is guaranteed a pay cheque in excess of that while competing in this Send It In Invitational.

The companion event for trotters is the highlight of the fourth race at Pompano Park, with an identical $10,000 purse. The race features a field of 10 with a combined three wins this year in 83 starts, and 13 wins in 255 starts over the past two seasons.

The field includes the 13-year-old Guiltywithanexcuse, a gelded son of Classic Photo with career earnings approaching a half million dollars. Winless at Pompano Park for owners Amanda Stephens and Janie Hartley, this Marna Shehan trainee will stride to within $140 of $500,000 with a win in the Send It In Special. Tyler Shehan will be in the sulky back of Guiltywithanexcuse.

Another 13-year-old, Benns Score Keeper, an altered son of Lockkeeper, recently vaulted over the $200,000 in lifetime earnings, with his last pari-mutuel win on Aug. 18, 2018, at Northville Downs. Owned and trained by Marshall Makin, Benns Score Keeper will be driven by Andy Shetler on Thursday night.

The "Send It In Army" will be out in full force on Thursday, as the mandatory payout in the track’s Super Hi-5 finale has a carryover of $130,623.44 and could have a pool over $300,000. Post time for the Thursday night program is set for 7:20 p.m.

(Pompano Park)

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