Ideal Feeling scored a 16-1 upset win in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Handicap Pace on Monday night (March 29) at Pompano Park while trainer Jake Huff celebrated his 60th birthday with a training double -- make that daily double -- to share the limelight.
Ideal Feeling, despite coming off a seasonal best 1:50.4 win in his last start, was dismissed as the second longest proposition on the tote-board. He got picture perfect handling from Kevin Wallis to score in 1:52.4, with his :26.3 sprint home wearing down the favoured Skip To My Lou (Joe Chindano, Jr.) in the final strides. Seeing Eye Single (David Miller) closed in :26.1 -- fastest of all -- to finish third, 3-1/4 lengths away while Funknwaffles was an evenly rated fourth. McMach picked up the nickel in the classy sextet.
As the wings folded, Ideal Feeling (post 2) left with alacrity to take charge into the opening turn before yielding to Skip To My Lou shortly thereafter. Through an opening panel in a moderate :27.4, Skip To My Lou lolly-gagged over to the half in :58, leading to the belief that, for all intents and purposes, the races was "over" at that point.
The pace picked up on the backstretch with Skip To My Lou using a :28 third panel to reach that beam in 1:26, but the best was yet to come as Ideal Feeling was stuck to the leader's helmet turning for home.
In a classic duel to the wire, Skip To My Lou and Ideal Feeling exchanged punches with the latter squeaking by in the final stages for the decision.
In a post-race interview, Ideal Feeling's trainer, Peter Blood, said. "That was the definition of a real duel down the lane with neither giving an inch. Skip To My Lou was his very game self and my horse had a great trip back of him. When I spoke to Kevin (Wallis) going to to the track for the post parade, I just said, 'Ideal Feeling is really sharp now and, if you can put his nose on the other guy's helmet, he can sprint home with any of them."
Jokingly, he added, "And when I showed Ideal Feeling the program page, he looked at it and didn't seem all that concerned! Of course, there were some powerhouses in there and, with the draw and the trip, we things worked out our way. Sometimes they do...and sometimes they don't!"
For Ideal Feeling, a six-year-old son of American Ideal, it was his third success of the year in 11 starts, pushing his 2021 earnings to $20,760 for owner Rick Berks. He's banked $292,708 career-wise to go along with his 1:48.4 Meadowlands mark achieved last season.
Ideal Feeling paid $34.60 to his faithful.
Trainer Jake Huff celebrated his 60th birthday by sweeping the early daily double with Lets Roll in the $10,000 Open II pace and Everyones Talkin in the Florida Amateur Driving Club trot.
Lets Roll, a six-year-old son of Roll With Joe, went a very game journey to hit the final light beam in a seasonal best 1:51, among his victims being the fast-closing Saulsbrook Deputy (David Miller) and La Rockin Sampson (Ken Holliday) with Rockin Machine and Mach West next in the field of seven.
Driven by Mike Simons for owners Rosie Huff, Beauty Bridle Racing Stable and our Three Sons Stable, Lets Roll started his grind to the front from the get-go from his outside post, reached the lead three-eighths into the mile after a hot :27 opener and proceeded through panels of :55.2 and 1:22.4 to hold off Saulsbrook Deputy with a :28.1 finale.
Lets Roll won for the fourth time this semester to send his earnings for the year to $24,945 and $176,440 lifetime. He paid $5.00 to win.
Everyones Talkin completed the Huff birthday double sweep with co-owner Ron Cusimano in the bike, using a late surge to score by a head in 1:56.4 over Utopia (Steve Oldford) and Uva Hanover (Dein Spriggs).
Carlo Angelillo, Henry Tanzer and Erika Sirianos also share ownership in the winner.
Everyones Talkin paid $3.80 as the 4-5 tote-board favourite and sent his career bounty to $320,099.
David Miller had a triple of the Monday program, scoring with Double Metal ($7.40), Live Lucky ($4.00) and Uncle Si ($2.40) while Wally Hennessey picked up a double with Giant Muscles ($4.20) and New Number Who Dis ($2.60).
Racing continues on Tuesday with a $20,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool (with an industry low 12% takeout) and a Super Hi-5 jackpot that has ballooned to $123,091.13.
On Thursday, there will be a mandatory payout on the Super-Hi-5 -- that event being the $10,000 Send It In Invitational Pace featuring a full field of 10. There is also a companion event for trotters in the fourth race Pentafecta.
First post time is 7:20 p.m.