Pompano Beach, FL — Pompano Park played host to the FSBOA sponsored Melvyn Aylor Memorial Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sunday night (Dec. 5) and with $57,750 in purses up for grabs, Gold Star Sven, Prairie Merida, Prince Of Sussex and G’s Independence were crowned victorious in their respective divisions.
Gold Star Sven, skillfully handled by Corey Braden, upset the highly favored Cowboy Cool (Wally Hennessey) in the $14,950 event for pacing colts and geldings, using a :26.3 closer to nail the win by a lip in 1:55. Prairie Handsome (Braxten Boyd) was third, 9-3/4 lengths away while Gator At The Well was next. Forever Joe K picked up the minor award in this quintet.
As the wings folded, Cowboy Cool and Gold Star Sven were both away with their usual alacrity with the latter allowing Cowboy Cool the top spot through reasonable panels of :29.1 and :58.3. On the backside, things remained stagnant and just a stride or two past the third marker in 1:28.1, Braden left the cozy pocket and the war down the lane was on.
Gaining, literally, inch by inch in the drive home, Gold Star Sven, who had been chasing his arch-rival home in his four previous stakes starts, finally got there in the final stride.
After the race, a humble Corey Braden said, “He had shown he can come home in :27 and a piece here and I’d been chasing him home every week so I gave him that same chance tonight and he really dug in. Make no mistake, both horses are great, no doubt about that, but we got there and I am very happy for the Audleys. Maggie does a great job as trainer and I’m happy for Marianne (Gold Star Fam). They deserve some good luck.
“One other thing, he was a little more relaxed tonight and that helped, too!”
The win was the third for Gold Star Sven, an altered son of Hypnotic Blue Chip, and sent his earnings to $26,611 in his 11 starts. As second choice to the 1-5 favorite and off at 2-1, Gold Star Sven paid $6.80 to win.
There was a mild upset in the $16,050 Aylor for pacing fillies as well, as the second choice Prairie Merida, in the capable hands of Boyd and off at 3-2, upset the 1-2 favorite Come On Spank Me (Dale Hiteman) in 1:57.1, craftily wiring her foes with rated panels of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2 before a :27.4 kick home left her two lengths clear of her main rival on the wire. Benicio (Mike Micallef) was third, followed by PJs Fancy Dancer and Gracious Lady in the field of seven.
Trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, John Spindler and William Gordon, the daughter of Royel Millennium now sports a 4-2-0 scorecard in six starts, good for $27,486.
After the race, trainer Deters commented, “Now that all is said and done and seeing how the race developed, the race just might have been won at the draw, as we had the four post and Dale’s filly had the six. We were lucky enough to get the jump and Brax rated her perfectly. Whenever you are in a sprint — and these fillies are just about equal — you have an advantage on the front end off rated fractions like that.”
The winner paid $5.00.
The $14,100 Aylor for 2-year-old male trotters featured a quartet of geldings in a non-wagering event and Prince Of Sussex, driven by Hennessey, romped to a victory measuring 42-1/2 lengths in 2:01.2 off fractions of :30.3, 1:00.1 and 1:30.3. The son of Creatine led from first stride to last and stretched his winning streak to five since arriving at Pompano Park. Gator Force (Ken Holliday) was second with Ditchemkwik N Howe (Deters) next. Oh No Not Again completed the order of finish.
Trained by Jake Huff for Herman Brewer and Heather Wilder, Prince Of Sussex vaulted his bankroll to $62,739 with the win.
In the final non-wagering Aylor event for trotting fillies, only two went to the gate in search of the major share of a $12,650 purse and G’s Independence, with trainer Jim McDonald in her sulky, took full advantage of a miscue at the start by rival I’m Solar Powered (Marc Major) and sauntered around the Pompano Park oval in a lifetime best 2:01.3 with the official margin of victory measuring an astounding 142 lengths.
McDonald co-owns the daughter of Big Chocolate with Dan and Jacalyn Boddie and the win sent her 2021 bounty to $16,927.
The $14,200 Open Handicap Pace went to the Indiana invader My House, driven by trainer Andy Shetler. The 4-year-old gelded son of Rockin Image used a :27 closer to score by a head over Actor Hanover (Kevin Wallis) in 1:50.3. Scootnroll ( Boyd) was third, 2-1/2 lengths away while Maxdaddy Blue Chip and Normandy Beach also picked up minor awards in the million dollar field.
My House, known for his ability to blaze off the wings with opening panels as fast as :25.4, was away last this night as Actor Hanover put up swift panels of :55 and 1:23. Pulling on the backside, My House followed the live cover provided by Scootnroll, fanned widest of all turning for home and mowed down the field while nailing the win at the wire.
Said Shetler after the race, “I thought he’d need a tightener coming in and I wasn’t going to send him against what appeared to be some early speed in the race. He surprised me a bit in this first start back in a month, but, having said that, he’s a very nice racehorse that has a winning attitude.”
Indeed. The win was the 12th of the year for Big House, who owns a 1:48.3 mark at Hoosier Park for owners Lavern Yoder and Janie Hartley, and sent his seasonal earnings to $89,255 and $148,280 lifetime. Despite the month-long layoff, My House was the 9-5 lukewarm favorite and paid $5.60 to win.
The $12,600 Open II Handicap Pace went to Double Metal, driven by Hennessey for trainer Peter Blood, who co-owns with Rick Berks.
The 3-year-old son of Betting Line, again tackling older horses and assigned the outside post, brushed to the front after Warrawee Veloce hit the opener in :26.4 and proceeded through fractions of :55.2 and 1:22.4 before digging in gamely in deep stretch to hold off Prairie Panther (Boyd) by a head. Busboy Hanover (John MacDonald) closing fastest of all, finished third, one length away and a nose better than Warrawee Veloce. Art Scene managed to pick up the nickel.
Double Metal pushed his 2021 scorecard to 9-4-5 in 26 starts with his earnings vaulting to $78,103. He paid $4.80 to his multitude of faithful.
Finally, with amateur events sprouting up throughout the sport in recent weeks, the Florida Amateur Driving Club had two noteworthy events on Sunday with drivers Jamie Marra and Tommy Santeramo reaching the winner’s circle.
Marra won with his stable’s Explosive Motion, trained by John Mungillo, in 1:59.1 for his first success of the fall season at Pompano Park while Santeramo scored a repeat win with the Donna Riedel trained Forbidden Song in 1:57.4 — the latter owned by Johanna Calvert.
The Florida Amateur Driving Club has donated more than $220,000 to causes such as Make-A-Wish, Go For The Greens, Peaceful Ridge Rescue and several others since their inception.
Racing continues on Monday with the Tom Audley Memorial Stakes and a guaranteed $15,000 Pick-4 pool with an industry low 12 percent takeout. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.