McKenzie’s Star pulls off upset at Pompano

by John Berry, for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL — McKenzie’s Star, superbly handled by Fern Paquet Jr., pulled off a 7-1 upset on Tuesday night (Oct. 18) in the Open Handicap Trot at Pompano Park.

Skip Smith photo

McKenzie’s Star pulled off a 7-1 upset in Pompano Park’s Open Handicap Trot.

The 6-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover, trained by Alexandra Berube, who is part owner with Jerry Clark, pinned a 2-1/4 length defeat on the 1-2 favorite, Prairie Fortune (Mike Deters), in 1:55.3. DC Flashback (Brad Kramer) finished third while Bad Angel and the pacesetting Driving Miss Crazy shared the minor awards after dead-heating for fourth in the octet.

At the outset, each of the top three finishers benefited when Adenium, leaving from the rail, and Gold Savage, leaving alongside, both made miscues leaving. DC Flashback surged out before yielding shortly thereafter to Driving Miss Crazy (John MacDonald) with driver Paquet sending McKenzie’s Star from the coveted five post and nestling into third.

Through the two identical opening quarters of :28.2, Driving Miss Crazy took her half-mile journey onto the backside with the lead but midway on the backside, Prairie Fortune began to roll from the back. That forced the hand of McKenzie’s Star, who brushed up past the third station in 1:26.1, getting a two length jump on Prairie Fortune, who rallied widest of all in the lane but eventually was no threat to the winner.

In a post race interview, driver Paquet, who enjoyed a hat trick this night, said, “Well, we benefited when those two inside horses jumped it off early, so I figured I’d leave and see if I could find a spot a bit closer up.

“We were able to kind of nestle into third and we had a jump on Mike’s (Deters) horse (Prairie Fortune) and that probably was the difference — he had the outside.

“When she’s in the mood, my mare can brush a little bit and she brushed tonight and kept going right to the wire. She raced a big mile.

“She’s been in Alexandra’s (trainer Berube) care for a little over two years and, though mares can be testy at times, she’s been a consistently good performer.”

The win was the eighth of the season for McKenzie’s Star — 23rd lifetime — and sent her seasonal bounty to $44,060 and $180,854 lifetime. Her faithful were rewarded with a $16.80 mutuel as fourth choice in the wagering.

In the Tuesday night feature for the mares, De Valeria, driven by co-owner Aaron Byron, used her advantageous post five to perfection, leading every step of her mile, scoring a 2-3/4 length win in 1:54. Leaveumlady (Wally Hennessey), leaving from post seven but in the garden spot shortly after the gate opened, finished second while Goldstar Rockette (Kevin Wallis) finished third after trailing for much of the journey. Asset Management was fourth while Metro Glide earned the nickel in the classy octet.

De Valeria, trained by Mark Winacott for Byron and co-owner Paul Kelly, earned her sixth win of the year off fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:24.4 and sent her 2016 bounty to $46,225. She’s banked $113,942 lifetime. Second choice in the betting, De Valeria paid $7.40 to win.

Also on Tuesday night, four more divisions of the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine State Stakes were contested with Prairie Cowgirl and R Chism taking the non-wagering events while Prairie Panther and Gold Star Mysti earned top honors on the betting card.

Prairie Cowgirl, a daughter of Royal Millennium, took the event for 2-year-old pacing fillies with a sharp 2:00.4 score for trainer Mike Deters. Leading gate-to-wire, Prairie Cowgirl just did hold off the late surging Tay Tay M (Wally Hennessey) by a nostril. PF Silver Classic (Kevin Wallis) was third in the trio with fractions being :30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:31.1.

Deters co-owns the filly with Laurie Poulin and John Spindler and she is now two-for-three lifetime in her brief career.

In the non-betting event for sophomore pacing colts and geldings, R Chism, driven by Fern Paquet Jr., nailed the pacesetting Conman’s Dream (Corey Braden) late to score by a half-length in 1:55.4. Danza (Byron) was third after pressuring the leader the middle three-eighths of the mile. Trottime Diamonds was fourth in that quartet.

R Chism, who broke his maiden last week in 1:55, won his second straight as this altered son of Six Of Diamonds rallied with a :28.1 closer. R Chism is trained by Kim Sears, who co-owns with husband Jay.

Prairie Panther, a son of Royal Millennium, led every stride of his mile, scoring by two lengths over Maybe Ned (Bryce Fenn) with Gold Star Bugsy (Hennessey) next. Gold Star Spider and Kingwiththeaxe completed that roster as Prairie Panther strode through panels of :30, :59.2 and 1:29.4 before completing his chores with a :28.2 finale.

Trained and driven by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, this was Prairie Panther’s third straight win in Sunshine State Stakes competition. Off at 1-10, Prairie Panther paid $2.20 to win.

Finally, Marianne Audley’s 3-year-old filly Gold Star Mysti, driven by Walter Ross Jr., brushed to the front just short of the :29.2 opener and took her foes through fractions of :59.3 and 1:29.3 before sealing the deal with a :28 finale, hitting the line in 1:57.3. Diamond Lily (Wally Hennessey) gave futile chase in the lane to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths away, while Gold Star Lovebug (Joe Sanzeri) finished third. Caitlin’s Romance and Jaycie Jaycie were next in this sextet.

Gold Star Mysti, a daughter of Mysticism, is a perfect four-for-four this season under the tutelage of trainer Maggie Audley, the daughter of the late Florida breeder, trainer and owner Tom Audley. Ms. Audley, who just recently achieved her trainer’s license, now sports a .615 UTR with a 15-8-1-2 scorecard. Gold Star Mysti paid $2.40 to win as the 1-5 favorite.

Racing continues on Sunday night with a trio of carryovers, the largest of which is $3,061.20 in Pompano Park’s Pentafecta fourth. Post time is scheduled for 7:20 p.m.

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