Pompano Beach, FL — In a mild upset, Ask Me Ifi Care, handled by Mike Micalleff, collared the favored Prairie Westerngal (Wally Hennessey) a sixteenth from home to take top honors in the $11,500 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares at Pompano Park on Tuesday night (Dec. 8).
The mile was clocked in 1:53.1 with the winning margin three-parts of a length. Crisp Mane (Ricky Macomber Jr.) was third, 2-1/4 lengths away, with Casie’s Believer fourth and Big Thong fifth in the full field of 10.
The event was action packed start-to-finish as Prairie Westerngal, off at 9-5, zipped off the wings from her outside nine post into a quick early lead, only to be joined by Another Beach Day (Braxten Boyd) as they reached the opening pole in a hot :26.2 with Big Thong (Ken Holliday) third.
Prairie Westerngal was able to repel that challenge of Another Beach Day but Tempus Seelster made a double-bubble bid three-eighths in to join the leader at the half in :55. On the backside, Prairie Westerngal and Tempus Seelster remained one-two past the third station in 1:23.3 but others were starting to close in with Big Thong benefitting from a rail journey, Crisp Mane making a three-wide move and Ask Me Ifi Care on a move from ninth with a four wide binge turning for home.
In the lane, Prairie Westerngal sprinted clear by a length and a half but the early fractions began to take their toll and Ask Me Ifi Care rolled by late.
For this 5-year-old daughter of Manhardt, it was her fifth win in 27 starts, pushing her 2020 earnings to $45,110 and $253,840 lifetime.
In a post-race interview, Micallef, who trains and co-owns with Geoff Howles, remarked, “You know, going in I was just hoping to get a good piece of this but they were going pretty good up front and when I gave my mare some room to roam, she had plenty of gas left in the tank and she got it done. She always gives her all and tonight everything worked out in her favor with the early fractions being pretty hot.”
As fourth choice in the wagering, Ask Me Ifi Care returned $14.40 to her faithful.
Trainer Jake Huff was the star of the night in the trainer category, sending three horses behind the starting with all reaching the winner’s circle.
Huff kicked off his trifecta with Billie Blue in the second race as Ron Cusimano was in that 6-year-old mare’s bike for owner Beauty Bridle Racing Stable in a Florida Amateur Driving event. About 21 minutes later, Wally Hennessey was in the sulky as the 4-year-old Sportswriter mare Lady Driver, who Huff trains for Our Three Sons Stable and wife Rosie Huff, scored in a conditioned event for fillies and mares. Huff completed his hat trick when Mike Simons guided Take Abit Of Life to victory in yet another event for the fillies and mares. Take Abit Of Life is also owned by Our Three Sons Stable and Rosie Huff.
Wally Hennessey hit a grand slam on the Tuesday program as he scored with Lusty Delight ($17.40) in the opener, Lady Driver ($5.40) in the third race, Regil Electron ($2.20) in the eighth and Gigi From Fiji ($3.40) in the 10th.
In the “better for the bettor” department, despite the 6-5 favorite Wartech winning the fourth race pentafecta for owner-driver Gary Barbere, the 20-cent combination of 1-7-3-5-10 paid $10,040.24. Trained by veteran Odell Thompson, Wartech, a 10-year-old gelded son of High Tech, won for the 30th time in his long career stretching 202 starts.
As explosive as that was, the toteboard fireworks continued in the Super Hi-5 finale when Dogfight, driven by Ken Holliday for trainer Jennifer Sansone and owner Valda Sillman, scored at 19-1 to key a 1-6-9-7-2 combination paying $24,844.80 for the 20-cent ticket.
Racing continues on Wednesday with a $15,000 guaranteed pool for the Pick-4, featuring a 12 percent takeout. There is also a Pick-6 carryover of $2,592. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.