The grand mare Godiva Seelster, once again handled by Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey, led from first long stride to last in scoring a handy victory over a classy quartet of ladies in Pompano Park’s $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Wednesday night (December 14).
The six-year-old daughter of Camluck stopped the teletimer in 1:50.4, equalling her lifetime best record, off of panels of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.1.
All Charged Up, with John MacDonald in the bike, gave futile chase in the lane to finish second, one and a quarter lengths away while Safe From Terror, driven by Bryce Fenn, finished third. OK Heavenly was fourth in a field shortened to a quartet with the scratch of invader Barynya A.
As the Hummer Starting Gate left the station, Godiva Seelster, leaving from post three, seemed to push the wings away with a front-stepping blitz that put her in the lead, literally, in the first step with All Charged Up, beginning from the inside, settling in the garden spot. OK Heavenly was next in line and arch-rival Safe From Terror was last and four lengths away from ‘Godiva.’
With positions unchanged halfway through the mile, Godiva Seelster thwarted an thoughts of a potential challenge by brushing a backside quarter in :27.2 while stretching her lead to two lengths over All Charged Up with Safe From Terror trying to mount a challenge but still three lengths away as they turned for home.
From there, it was a :27.3 sprint home that sealed the deal — the grand mare’s 13th win of the season.
After the race, Hennessey remarked, “There’s really not too much to be said that hasn’t been said already. She’s just a remarkable mare, just as nice as she can be in the stable and as professional as she can be on the track.
“I took a chance leaving out of there tonight because that’s what ‘Godiva’ wanted to do.
“You know, these are top mares here and to get the jump on them was important. That All Charged Up is really sharp now and I was a bit concerned about her. And Bryce’s mare [Safe From Terror], who pinned us a couple of times, when she didn’t leave with me, I got a nice jump on her.
“These mares are all within a second or two of each other and I know how tough it is to close a four or five-length gap when were all about the same in talent.”
Trained by Dan Hennessey for Paul and Patricia O’Neil, Godiva Seelster has missed but one single cheque in her last 100 starts dating back four seasons and now shows lifetime bounty of $336,737 on the strength of a lifetime scorecard of 109-38-29-18. She’s banked $116,058 this semester — her most successful thus far in her career.
As the slight 4-5 toteboard favourite, Godiva Seelster paid $3.80 to win.
(Standardbred Canada with files from Pompano Park)