by Frank Carulli
November 14, 2017
The legend of Panocchio, the race horse, continues to grow at Pompano Park.
And that's no lie.
The 7-year-old gelding overcame a million dollar field of competitors Sunday night, a sloppy surface and post 9 to win for the 35th time at the South Florida track. He didn't threaten his track record 1:48.3 record, but he made an explosive third-quarter brush to the lead and won by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:51.4 to improve his lifetime mark to 57-for-136. Jim Mattison trains and, along with Emile Johnson Jr., co-owns the son of No Pan Intended as he nears a half-million dollars in earnings.
"What a horse. What a pleasure to drive'" said regular pilot Wally Hennessey. "You know Jimmy doesn't go too much with him in training miles -- maybe a trip in 2:20 or 2:30 -- but when he sees the (starting) gate, he's all business. He amazes me every start."
IN THE XPRESSLANE: Downbytheseaside (5-2) will try to pad his North America-leading $1.32 million bankroll in 2017 when he meets seven rivals in the $210,000 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers Thursday at Dover Downs. Three other Matron Stakes for sophomore pacers and trotters will take place on the card that begins at 4:30 p.m. EST ... Driver Andy Miller and trainer Nick Surick combined for six wins November 11 at Freehold. Miller won seven races on the day, one shy of the track record shared by John Campbell, Cat Manzi and Jack Moiseyev. ... Two drivers joined the 4,000 win club recently. Ohio native Chris Page reached the milestone on Scarlet Cat at Northfield Park and Jim Marohn Jr. did the same on Big N Bad at Pocono Downs. Marohn has 440 wins this year for $4.5 million in purses, both personal bests.