Pompano Beach, FL — Though the usual Florida sunshine was hidden by the thick clouds above, the mood at Pompano Park was more than sunny as the track hosted 13 qualifying events on Thursday (May 14) in anticipation that the racing season throughout the country is “hot to trot!”
Horsemen lauded the efforts the track crew, as well as the efforts of the FSBOA, the Florida Amateur Driving Club and racing secretary Joe Zambito in putting together the program that went “without a hitch,” according to Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey.
“Yes,” echoed Hennessey, “all of the races went off without a hitch, and all of us horsemen were very thankful that everyone put in a huge effort to put everything together and make this happen.”
Hennessey drove four winners on the card, including wins with the impressive Mike Deters trainee Prairie Panther in 1:57.3 and the Jim McDonald 3-year-old trainee Ideal Perception in 1:56.3–:28.1. Hennessey had very high praise for this sophomore son of American Ideal, who won four of 11 starts and $56,588 last season to go along with a 1:51.3 mark at The Meadowlands.
“I think he’s got a real chance to be very prominent this season…easy to handle with a very high turn of speed. It was extremely windy today and nothing bothered this horse. I never had to ask him for anything. I think he is going to be a very good one!”
Other prominent trainers and drivers to participate in today’s festivities were Mickey McNichol, Rick Plano, who drove a pair of winners, Gaston Lareau, Fern Paquet, Jr., who had a trio of wins, Frank Petrelli, who had a pair of wins, Dave Ingraham, Peter Blood, Jim Meittinis and Mike Micallef.
Micallef will be on this way to race at Pompano Park’s “sister track,” Scioto Downs, in a few days and appreciated the opportunity to get his horses tighter as that Ohio oval readies for a May 22 pari-mutuel opening.
“This was a blessing for all of us horsemen to get our horses ready with what we hope will be a virus free summer. Hats off to all that made this happen.”
Pompano Park expects to be in action for their regular season as the “Winter Capital of Harness Racing” in early November.
For all of the latest news on the resumption of racing, visit the USTA COVID-19 Resource Center.