by John Berry, for Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL — With the baseball playoffs in full swing and football season well underway, yet another anticipated sports event began in South Florida on Saturday (Oct. 6) as the FSBOA lucrative stakes season got underway for 2- and 3-year-olds at Pompano Park.
After the festivities concluded, Hennessey had a “batting average” (UDRS) of .861 on the strength of six wins during the opening leg of the Sunshine State Stakes. Hennessey won the opener with Kerry B, then went on to win the third (Natasha), fourth (Mister Marvalous), fifth (I Rhoda Daley), sixth (Captain Thomas) and eighth race (Mister Special T).
Only Jim McDonald and Joe Sanzeri prevented Hennessey from the sweep as McDonald took the second race with first time starter Damien Hall and Sanzeri hit the winner’s circle with Starcasim.
Kerry B, a 2-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass trained by Kim Sears for owner-husband Jay, went to the post in the filly trot and took command at the opening marker and used a :29.3 finale to hold off stablemate Proud Sophie by a half-length in 2:05.2.
A comparative seasoned veteran with eight lifetime starts coming into the action, Kerry B won for the second time and already has a 2:00.4 mark over the Vernon Downs speedy seven-eighths oval.
Natasha, a juvenile daughter of Six Of Diamonds with a mark of 1:54.3 coming in, pulled away in the lane with a :28 finale to put her foes away in the filly pace, hitting the line in 1:58.3 with Hennessey remarking after the win, “I never asked her for anything. She did this all on her own–very impressive!”
Natasha is also trained by Kim Sears for owner Jay Sears.
The event for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings went to Mister Marvalous with Hennessey giving his charge a picture perfect journey in the garden spot before tilting out around the final and on to victory in 1:59.1.
The win was the third on the card for both Hennessey and trainer Kim Sears, who does the conditioning for Jay Sears and Richard Dunmire.
The fifth race for sophomore trotting fillies went to I Rhoda Daley, driven by Hennessey for trainer John Hallett and owner Lee Clarke.
The daughter of Desperado Don was last year’s Super Night champion in her two year-old division and picked up at Pompano Park right where she left off by scoring a handy win measuring 8 1/4 lengths in 2:06.2.
The Sunshine State Stake for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings went to the Proud Bushy gelding Captain Thomas, with Hennessey getting win number five.
Trained by Dan Hennessey for owner John Campagnuolo, Captain Thomas, also a Super night champion last season, was a handy gate-to-wire winner in 2:01.2–:28.3.
Hennessey completed his six-pack with Mister Special T, an altered son of Six Of Diamonds.
Trained by Rob Harmon for Victor Contento, John Campagnuolo and Harmon Racing, Mister Special T knitted together identical halves of :59 to score in 1:58–:28.2.
Reflecting on his big day, Hennessey said, “You’ve heard the expression, ‘it takes two to tango,’ well, in our business, it takes four to tango because the caretakers have to do their job, the trainers have to get them sharp, the horse has to perform to expectations and that leaves the rest to me once I get in the bike. Without the first three components, it just wouldn’t have turned out this way today.”
In the division for two year-old trotting colts and geldings, Jim McDonald guided Danien Hall, a son of Cash Hall, to an impressive win measuring 11 1/2 lengths in 2:08 in this his major league debut. McDonald also traines the colt for the Pacing Pretty Stable.
Three year-old pacing fillies renewed their spirited rivalry of last year and Starcasim put on a very game performance in her 2018 debut in scoring for Joe Sanzeri in 1:58–:28.2. Seemingly headed at mid-stretch, Starcasim fought every step to the wire in pinning the narrow defeat on last year’s champion, Krinda.
Sanzeri trains the filly and co-owns with Russell Guardino.
Sunshine State Stakes action continues next Saturday, Oct. 13 with post time set for 11 a.m.
The pari-mutuel season at Pompano Park begins Oct. 21.