"This Exceeds All Expectations"
Published: December 24, 2010 10:00 am ET
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The holiday season charitable initiative taken on by GiGi Diaz, Pompano Park's trackside reporter and TV host, took on a life of its own. The result simply blew away all expectations for the toy drive in support of the area's needy children.
"I was expecting we might get a modest amount (of new, unwrapped toys) donated," Diaz said trackside Thursday, December 23. "To end up with over 300 toys and the astonishing donation of 32 children's bicycles is just incredible. I'm still new to harness racing and only started here less than two months ago. The charitable spirit of the racing patrons and people on the backstretch here is just amazing and so rewarding. To bring the Toys For Tots program and U.S. Marines to the track for the first time turned out better than all of us expected."
In a trackside presentation during the December 23 program, an honor guard of the U.S. Marines accepted the donations for distribution in South Florida over the next 36 hours.
"This is the first time I've been to a racetrack and what a great outcome for this first time effort," said Gunnery Sgt. Vanessa La Rosa of the U.S. Marines. "This huge donation is going to do so much good. We sort through the applications made to us through the toysfortots.org website. This small mountain of toys and all those bikes are going to bring huge smiles to a lot of kids around here this year."
Big Night For A-Nap
Driver Anthony Napolitano, known around the South Florida track as 'A-Nap,' put on another clinic on the December 23 program. He returned for victory photographs on five occasions on the 11-race card.
His top mount of the evening was a controlling, front-end win with Anescape N in the top weekly pacing class for a $12,500 purse. Napolitano had the field at his mercy as he had the Artiscape--Anna Mateo five-year-old gelding out front quickly before posting a leisurely opening half in :58 seconds. From there it was a sprint to the wire in 1:53.4. Anescape N drew away from Sports Fanatic (driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr.) and Unknown Solder (Wally Hennessey). Tom Harmer trains Anescape N for Ciara Stable of Willowbrook, Illinois.
On Monday, December 27, Pompano's regular schedule resumes with first-race post time at 7:05 p.m. (EST) each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.