Godiva Seelster, the mare that gave Just A Bee all she could handle last week before succumbing in the final few strides, turned the tables on the ‘Queen Bee’ on Monday night in the $12,500 Fillies & Mares Open Handicap Pace at Pompano Park.
The five-year-old daughter of Camluck took command just a few steps after the gate opened for driver Wally Hennessey and carved out fractions of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:23.1 before courageously coming home in :28.1 to score by a neck over Just A Bee and driver Mike Micallef. The 1:51.2 win time was a lifetime best performance.
Mach Me Not, with Bruce Ranger in the bike, was a stout closing third while Mach It A Par, prominent from the get-go, finished fourth. Senorita Santanna picked up the final award in the sextet.
In a post-race interview, driver Wally Hennessey said, “This mare (Godiva Seelster) is about as consistent as they come. She always gives a good performance. This was her third start back after a couple of months off and she was sharp coming back…didn’t lose one step. She dug in tonight and, after that :27.3 backside quarter, I was just hoping for the best. She was a determined winner. But Mike’s mare (Just A Bee) went a great trip on her own, too. She’s mighty tough!”
In defeat, Micallef spoke highly of Godiva Seelster saying, “Just A Bee raced a great mile, no doubt about that, but Wally’s mare was extremely sharp and deserves the accolades…she earned them tonight. I look forward to a rematch — and I am sure he does, too!”
Godiva Seelster, trained by Wally’s brother, Dan, for Paul and Patricia O’Neil, now has a 2-1-0 scorecard in her three starts, good for $13,500 in bounty. She has $122,342 in lifetime earnings.
As the 9-5 second choice on the tote-board, Godiva Seelster paid $5.60 to win.