Pompano Beach, FL…Oct. 2, 2017…There was no “gas” shortage as Pompano Park opened their 2017-2018 season on Sunday night.
Trainer Gaston Lareau, known as “Gas” around the stable area, sent out four winners on the opening night card—the first training grand slam in his lengthy career stretching almost four decades.
Lareau visited the winner’s circle with the trotter Winemaster Hanover (Ron Cusimano) to kick off the card in the Florida Amateur Driving Club trot, Prince Pinang (Wally Hennessey) in a conditioned pace, St Lads Lotto (Hennessey) in a conditioned-claiming event) and Spirit Shadow (Brady Galliers) in yet another conditioned claiming pace.
After his grand slam night, “Gas” remarked, “I’ve been in the business a long time and this is my first time sending out four winners on a single program.
“Ronnie (Cusimano) gave Winemaster (Hanover) the kind of drive he likes being on the front end. He’s a classy trotter, you know, and, when you race against some good stock, it’s tough to get a win…and he’s got 30 of them now.
“As for Prince Pinang and St Lads Lotto, they both have some class and both have a mark around (1):50 or (1):50 and a piece.
“And it sure doesn’t hurt to have Wally (Hennessey) in your sulky!
“Spirit Shadow got a great driver from the kid (Brady Galliers).
“He’s a newcomer here at Pompano and he can handle a horse very nicely. He sure drove that horse perfect.”
While “Gas” was the training star on the program, he had to share a bit of the spotlight with the “tough-as-nails” pacer, Sing For Me George (John MacDonald), as this eight year-old gelded son of Bettor’s Delight overcame the eight post to score by three-parts-of-a-length over the invader Toatsmygoats (Brady Galliers) in the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace.
Major Starlight (Andy Santeramo) was third in the mile clocked in 1:53.1 while Abreathofreshart and Surge Seelster picked up the final two checks in the classy octet.
At the outset in that one, Toatsmygoats (post 6) left with alacrity along with Sing For Me George and these two set the stage through panels of :27.3 and :56.3. On the backside, Heart Felt, away seventh, brushed up strongly to move within a half length of the leader as Sing For Me George sat chilly past the third station in 1:25.1.
Once they straightened away, Sing For Me George found some room to roam and out-sprinted his rival with a :27.4 finale.
In a post-race interview, driver John MacDonald said, “First of all, it’s great to be back at Pompano Park. The track was very decent and my horse went a great trip tonight.
“He’s very game and responds when asked for his best.
“I had no choice but to leave with him tonight and when the other horse (Toatsmygoats) sprinted a bit early, it gave me a chance to duck in a great spot.
Trained by Paul Bernardo for owner Joseph Martinella, Sr., Sing For Me George pushed his lifetime bounty to $463,586 to go along with his 1:50.2 mark.
Racing continues on Wednesday with a strong card featuring the trotters Prairie Fortune and Boli in the Open Trot and the tough mares All Charged Up and Godiva Seelster locking horse in the Open Pace foe Mares.
Racing continues throughout the month of October with a Sunday and Wednesday schedule, soon to jump to three days at the end of the month and, then, four days per week beginning in mid-November.
The track moves to a five night per-week schedule beginning the week of December 10.
Post time for the Wednesday program is set for 7:25 p.m.
Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park