By the slenderest of nostrils, Godiva Seelster scored a repeat victory in Pompano Park’s $12,100 Open Handicap Pace for Mares on Tuesday night.
The splendid six-year-old daughter of Camluck, handled once again by Wally Hennessey, withstood a furious challenge by All Charged Up (John MacDonald) to score in 1:52.2 for her second win of the year and 27th success lifetime in this, her 90th career start.
While the official margin in distance was a “nose,” the difference, in terms of time, was 1/100th of a second with Godiva Seelster officially timed in 1:52.45 and All Charged Up clocked in 1:52.46.
Heart Major, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike, was third while Goldstar Rockette and Virginaire picked up the final two awards in the field scratched down to nine.
At the outset, both Heart Major and All Charged Up surged off the wings of the Hummer Starting Gate with Godiva Seelster floating up on the outside next from her outside post and pressing on to take the lead just a stride or two past the opening panel clocked in :26.3.
Godiva Seelster, All Charged and Heart Major continued to be 1-2-3 past the half in a rated :56.1 with the picked up three-quarters timed in 1:24.4. That’s when All Charged Up left the coziness of her pocket and began gnawing in the leader’s margin.
In a classic finish, these two hit the wire virtually together with a blown-up photo finish picture necessary to determine the winner.
After the race, driver Hennessey said, “Well, ‘Godiva’ was tested tonight. Both of us — MacDonald’s mare and mine — were going all they could go. It was a classic duel all the way home and, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know who won it. It was a pretty hot opening quarter to make the front and I was lucky that my mare takes good care of herself and can be rated when she gets the chance. That second quarter probably was the deciding factor, if there was one.”
Godiva Seelster not only pushed her 2016 earnings to $33,508 on the strength of her 9-2-5-1 scorecard, she launched her career earnings to $253,275 and ran her streak of getting purse checks to 81 consecutive starts dating back to the start of her 2013 season.
As the 2-5 favourite, Godiva Seelster returned a $2.80 dividend to those who invested $2 on her nose.
In the ever popular “Over The Hill Gang” trot, featuring nine-year-olds and up, Go Jesse Go, driven by John MacDonald, earned landmark lifetime victory number 25 with a gate-to-wire win in 1:56.2, just a tick off of his lifetime best set two seasons ago.
The nine-year-old altered son of Jailhouse Jesse carded panels of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:26.1 while never threatened during his 2 ¼ length victory over the pocket-sitting 11-year-old mare Flashy Lady (Mike Micallef). On The Tab, with Wally Hennessey in the bike, finished third while Adenium finished fourth.
Ill Tell You What, last during the early stage of the mile, closed fastest of all to pick up the nickel in the septet.
Trained by Leon Cable for owner Anthony Chiniara, Go Jesse Go won for the third time this semester in 14 starts, pushing his seasonal bounty to $15,740. He’s banked $127,499 lifetime.
Off as the slight 5-2 favourite, Go Jesse Go returned $6.80 to his faithful followers.
Racing continues on Sunday night with the $775,000 winner Dedis Dragon in action against Energy Shakes, St Lads Lotto, Prairie Jaguar, Northern Companion and Alexas Jackpot in the Open Handicap Pace.
Two divisions of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur are also on the card with many of the top amateurs in the country competing in two events—one of these a rare pace for the amateurs.
Also, a second Pick-4 wager has been added to the racing programs for the remainder of the season. The additional Pick-4 encompasses races 2 through 5 and compliments the traditional Pick-4 on races 6 through 9.
(Standardbred Canada with files from Pompano Park)