Pompano Beach, FL — Ideal Feeling, craftily handled by Kevin Wallis, used a :26.1 opener and a :26.4 closer to capture Pompano Park’s $11,000 Open Handicap Pace on Monday (April 19), stopping the timer in 1:52.2.
The rugged and versatile 6-year-old son of American Ideal left sharply from post four, tussled with Rebellious (Wally Hennessey) around that opening turn and when the latter appeared to make a speed break, opened up what turned out to be an insurmountable lead and reported home three-parts of a length in front of the late charging Skip To My Lou (Joe Chindano Jr.) with Wes Delight (Jim Meittinis) third, four lengths away.
With a fast closing second last week from last turning for home, Wallis changed strategy and returned to the way he had won three straight before last week and zipped off the wings into an early lead measuring some four lengths over Wes Delight with a :30 breather during the second panel bringing him to the half in :56.1. On the backside three-eighths from the wire, the pace began quickening midway on the backside as Skip To My Lou made a strong bid until racing a bit wide turning for home — the winner’s :26.4 trip home sealing the deal.
In a post-race interview, trainer Peter Blood had high praise for his horse and driver saying, “This horse is very sharp right now. He’s healthy and strong and very versatile and responds just with a chirp or two. Kevin drove him with confidence and he proved his mettle tonight with intense speed at both ends of the mile.”
Owned by Rick Berks, Ideal Feeling won for the fifth time this season in 14 starts and sent his 2021 bounty to $34,635 and $306,583 lifetime to go along with his 1:48.4 mark set last season at The Meadowlands.
The $10,000 Open II Pace went to Saulsbrook Deputy, superbly handled by Braxten Boyd, in a lifetime best 1:50.4. The 7-year-old gelded son of Western Paradise benefitted from live cover flow the last half-mile and used a :27.2 finale to streak by the leading Captain Malicious and on to a 1-1/4 length victory over the late charging Agedchedar Hanover (Dave Ingraham). Darling’s Dragon (Don Dupont) finished third.
Trained by Jennifer Giuliana for owners Mark Keller and Terence Miller, Saulsbrook Deputy sent his 2021 scorecard to 3-3-1 in 15 starts, vaulting his earnings for the year to $22,330. The win was also a milestone 25th, sending his career bankroll to $236,465. As the 5-2 second choice, Saulsbrook Deputy paid $7.80 to win.