Night Pro eclipsed $1 million in career earnings on Saturday night (Oct. 2), when he dug in gamely to defeat Normandy Beach in one of two $8,800 Open Paces at Northville Downs. Lying In Cash captured the other Open, his third in a row.
Night Pro, in line to owner-trainer Dale Decker, used the entire first turn to clear Beauty Desires (Justin Irvine) from post six — and was strung out to a :28 first quarter in doing so. Decker rated the veteran pacer through a :57.3 half before the pair worked to fend off a first-over challenge from Bluebird Pacific (Kody Massey) through a :29 third quarter. While Night Pro shrugged off Bluebird Pacific rather easily, his biggest threat came in the form of Normandy Beach — whom David Lake pointed three-wide into the final turn off failing second-over cover. Off the corner for home, Decker asked Night Pro for all he had, and the 11-year-old son of Pro Bono Best held off Normandy Beach’s late charge by a neck in 1:55.4. Beauty Desires held third up the open stretch, missing by only a neck.
“He was still strong all the way down the backside,” said Decker. “He doesn’t get home like he did when he was younger, so there’s always a concern someone will loop him. But I felt pretty good because he was still tight, and he got the job done.”
Night Pro has amassed $1,003,384 in his 182 career starts, winning 71 of them and earning 58 minor placings — all for Decker, who manages his small stable in addition to a full-time career as a home builder. After early success on the Indiana Sires Stakes circuit, Night Pro earned most of his seven-figure bankroll “the hard way” — capturing Open and Invitational events all through the Midwest.
“The last $200,000 was tough — he kept getting older, and it kept getting tougher. It’s great; he’s a nice class horse. If a guy like Ron Burke had him, he’d probably have a lot more money on his card, but that’s not why I’m in it. I enjoy doing it, and I’ll keep at it as long as I can.”
Decker indicated that Night Pro also stood stud in Indiana the past couple years, and is excited to see what his star performer’s progeny will do in seasons to come:
“The exciting part now for me is that he’s got a few yearlings out there, so hopefully you’ll see some of his 2-year-olds racing next year.”
Night Pro paid $16.40 to win.
In the other Open, Laying In Cash overcame his assigned post eight to earn his third consecutive win against Michigan’s best pacers. Driven by Don Harmon, the 5-year-old Aracache Hanover gelding circled three-wide on the first turn pushed clear of Ogradys First Man (Charles Taylor) through a :27.2 first quarter. He then repelled a sustained outside challenge from Catch Me Conrad (Jason Merriman) — who advanced out of fourth on the far turn to engage the favored pacesetter — through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:25.2. After the two dueled noses apart up the backstretch, Lying In Cash put away his rival off the home turn, winning by 1-1/4 lengths while driven out in 1:54.3. Catch Me Conrad maintained second; Diesel Accelerator (Kim Pluta) finished third after stalking the dueling leaders from second-over.
Scott Galloway trains Lying In Cash, a five-time winner in 11 starts this season who paid $4.60 to win, for owner-breeder Techia Lohmann.
In Friday night’s (Oct. 1) features, Danikova ($3.40) and Jason Merriman repelled Princess Rockette to win the Fillies and Mares Open in 1:55, while I Get It ($2.80) and owner-trainer-driver Bob Rowland battled after being headed by Hail Caesar up the backstretch to win the Open Trot by a widening 3-1/4 lengths in 1:57.4. Merriman led all drivers with four wins on the card.
Racing returns to Northville Downs on Friday evening (Oct. 8); post time is 7:30 p.m. EDT.