03/03/2016 11:25AM

Pompano: Former claimer bids for series final

Skip Smith/Pompano Park
Velocity Vespa has won 5 of 7 races in 2016.

Pompano Park will host some top drivers and horses on Saturday during a 10-race program that features a $75,000 final for older pacing mares and multiple stakes performers.

After three weeks of preliminary action, the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park Final, race eight on the card, features nine hard-hitting mares led by former claimer Velocity Vespa. The 6-year-old daughter of I Scoot Hanover was plucked for just $15,000 on November 18 at Pocono Downs by Susan Oakes for trainer Chris Oakes and has gone on to earn $42,125 in the 11 starts since.

A five-time winner in seven starts this year, Chris Oakes nearly broke out in laughter when asked if he expected Velocity Vespa to produce as well as she has. “She’s been a pleasant surprise,” said Oakes. “I don’t know why she was in a 10 claimer.”

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Velocity Vespa was in for a tag as cheap as $7,500 at one point but has been on fire since moving into the Oakes barn and especially upon arrival at Pompano. The results have been so positive that Oakes paid her into the rich Blue Chip Matchmaker series that kicks off at Yonkers Raceway on March 18.

“She is really good on a half. The week after we claimed her she won at Saratoga,” said Oakes. “I paid her into the Matchmaker because she is at the top of her game and has speed. If you draw 1-2-3 at Yonkers and get a soft division you can win.”

Velocity Vespa has only been able to put up one victory in this Pompano series, but the 1:50 2/5 final time was a career best for her and by far the fastest mile any of Saturday’s competition has reeled off in 2016. Last week she wound up parked out and disappointed those who backed her at 30 cents on the dollar, but Oakes didn’t think that race took much out of her.

Luck was truly on Velocity Vespa’s side this week. Her post five starting position is inside multi-leg winner Just A Bee (post 8) and the horse that Oakes tabbed as the one he feared most in the race, Mach It Par (post 6).

Mach It Par was a private purchase by Carmen Iannaconne and has moved into the Jack Sheehan barn. Tim Tetrick, in town for a pro-am driving competition along with David Miller, will assume the duties in the sulky.

Oakes was also hoping for a strong performance from his other starter on the night, Scott Rocks. Starting in the second race Open I Handicap in a compact field of six, Scott Rocks was a winner in his first start of the year on February 21 and finished a good second last week behind main rival and Pompano track record holder Panocchio.

“He is a good consistent horse; the kind everybody loves to own,” said Oakes of Scott Rocks. “He lost to a good horse last week. Maybe being inside of him this time will help us flip-flop the trips and get the job done.”

The Saturday card also highlights top trotters in a $30,000 Invitational. Natural Herbie, a career $902,361 winner, Daylon Miracle, Crazy About Pat and Wind Of The North all look to get off on the right foot in their first starts of 2016 in race three.

Post time at the five-eighths Florida track is 7:30 p.m. with the featured $10,000 guaranteed pick four commencing in race 6.