Pompano Beach, FL --- It took until the final race of the night and some near misses in recent programs along the way, but driver Joe Paiva, Jr. persisted -- as he has his entire career -- and earned his 5,000th lifetime win in the bike on the Wednesday evening, March 14 program at The Isle Casino Pompano Park.
Pavia reached the milestone with a 6-5 race favorite, L Dees Hutspa, a 4-year-old mare by Bettor's Delight--Heir To Treasure, owned and trained by Tracy Brainard of DeLeon Springs, Fla.
"It's great to get this milestone over with, it always seems like you have a lot of close calls before you get one like this," Pavia said in a live TV interview. "I'm really thankful to (trainer) Tracy Brainard for giving me these two live drives tonight. I really wanted to get this milestone here in Florida since I've been wintering here for close to 30 years, since I was in my very early twenties, so it's home to me, my wife Dawn and our son, as much as anywhere else is."
At the time he reached 5,000 wins in the bike, the complete horseman hailing from Utica, N.Y. was also on the verge of reaching $32 million in career purse earnings as a driver. Pavia also takes pride in the fact he also trains a 30 horse stable, including the Open mare Billie Blue Chip and the 2012 New York Sires Stakes 3-year-old colt pace hopeful, Steelhead Hanover.
At Pompano in recent years he was best known for campaigning the Open mare Esmeralda Semalu, who remains a category track record holder, at 1:49.4, set in March 2009. This year's schedule calls for Pavia to ship to his Pennsylvania base at Pocono Downs on April 3.
"I still enjoy driving and the nightly competition but in three or four years you'll see me scale back to training only," Pavia concluded. "For now I'm enjoying the ride and the living I'm making which is largely possible because of my help and the great owners that are with me for this journey."
The prolific Scorpion Moon rolls on at Pompano
It would be a huge understatement to say that the trotter Scorpion Moon has returned in strong form for his 11-year-old racing campaign in 2012. In the featured $12,000 Open Handicap trot on the Wednesday, March 14 program at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, the seemingly ageless veteran summoned another two-move effort to topple South Florida's best, again, for his 83rd career win.
Starting from the outside in the six-horse field, the son of Armbro Scorpion--Angies Nugget rocketed to the front in :27.2 but surrendered the lead in the middle stages to Big Baller, in rein to Wally Hennessey, in :56.1 and 1:25.3. Midway on the final turn, Armbro Scorpion would summon another speed burst to put away the field as he cruised under the wire in 1:54.1 for owner-trainer Tracy Brainard of DeLeon Springs, Fla.
It was the fourth win in seven starts at Pompano in 2012 for Scorpion Moon, to increase his season's bankroll to $29,400 and life's earnings to $899,406. Jaavos Boy also displayed two strong moves to salvage the place position with David Ingraham in the bike, and the longshot En Controle was brought through stretch traffic by Dan Clements, for third.
Joe Pavia, Jr. was again in the bike as he has been for all the starts this year by Scorpion Moon. Pavia increased his career winning drives total to 4,999 -- which set the stage for his milestone win later on the card.