Day At The Track

Fillies rock Ohio Sires Stakes contests

05:44 PM 11 Aug 2017 NZST
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Red Storm
Red Storm cruises to victory under wraps for driver Aaron Merriman in the first of three $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes contested at Scioto Downs on Thursday, Aug. 10.
Photo by Ben Holton of Conrad Photography
A trio of $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes featured 2-year-old trotting fillies in round three harness racing action on a cool and comfortable Thursday night, Aug. 10 at Scioto Downs.

In the first OSS division, Red Storm trotted to an impressive 1:57 clocking, a new lifetime mark for the homebred daughter of Stormin Normand, who is owned by Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH.

Aaron Merriman was in the sulky for trainer Chris Beaver as Red Storm upped her career earnings to $55,800 with her second victory in four lifetime starts.

"I've had several others out of this mare (Ms Pollyanna)," noted Beaver. "But all of them were clunky-gaited and needed the trotting hobbles. This filly isn't like them. She's been smooth as silk since day one and is a very handy little filly. We were kind of surprised that she didn't win the other legs, but she sure came through tonight for us."

Red Storm took the lead away from 23-1 This Year's Best (Jason Brewer) at the :58.4 half, and then trotted easily all the way home through a three-quarter clocking of 1:27, before besting the 18-1 grey filly Non Smoker (Sandy Beatty) by nearly three lengths, with 8-5 Destarofnight (Chris Page) finishing third.

Standing just barely over 14 hands tall, Red Storm is a beautiful sleek chestnut who has trotted solidly in all her starts. She finished third in Leg 1 of this series on July 3 at Northfield Park, beaten four lengths by the winning To Russia and clocked in 1:59.1, then was a smart second to Impinktoo by three-quarters of a length on July 19 at Scioto. Last week, she trotted to a winning 1:57.2 in a $42,000 Ohio Fair Stake over this same five-eighths-mile oval.

Red Storm is the third foal out of the Chip Chip Hooray mare Ms Pollyanna T, 3, 1:57.3F ($53,948) and is a half-sister to Moonlight Espoir (by Windsong Espoir) 3, 1:56.1s ($52,209) and to Miss Lorelei (by Break The Bank K) 3, 2:01.2f ($40,849).

Looking For Zelda left no doubt she was much the best, scoring a wire-to-wire 1:57.4 triumph in the second OSS division for owner-breeder Robert Key. Tony Hall was at the lines for trainer Norm Parker as the daughter of Break The Bank K swept to her fourth straight victory and third in OSS competition. She also won a $42,000 Ohio Fair Stake at Scioto in 1:57.1 on July 27.

"She's just the consummate professional," noted Parker, who is based at The Meadows. "She just does everything we ask of her."

Looking For Zelda took the lead as soon as the wings of the gate folded, snapping off fractions of :28.3; :58.4; and 1:28.2 before posting a :29.2 final brush as the 2-5 public's choice. To Russia, at 9-1, finished sixth lengths behind the winner in second for Ryan Stahl, while 6-1 Sesame (Aaron Merriman) was third.

Looking For Zelda now has $81,000 in career earnings. She is the second foal out of the Conway Hall mare My Winning Way K 3, 1:59.4f ($77,488) and is a half-sister to Boyz N Guitars (by Muscle Massive) 1:58.3f ($24,007).

Dashanay and driver Chris Page snuck up the rail in the final yards to steal a victory away from 7-5 favorite Sugar Break (Tony Hall). The latter had looked like a sure winner, leading throughout the mile before the former surprised her at the end of the mile, clocked in 1:59.1. Alana's Ways, at 9-2, was third for Josh Sutton.

"This filly has made a big improvement since the first sires stakes leg," Page noted afterward. "The draw (in the $250,000 Championship on Sept.2) will be important as there are a lot of nice horses in this division."

Trained by Ronnie Burke for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, the large, rangy daughter of Manofmanymissions was sixth in Leg 1 on July 3 at Northfield Park, but then was second to Looking For Zelda in Leg 2 on July 19 at Scioto Downs, and second again to that same rival on July 27 in a $42,000 Ohio Fair Stake.

Bred by New Jersey's Michael Parisi, Dashanay is the third and most prolific foal out of the unraced SJ's Caviar mare Eastern Starlet and is a half-sister to Star's Edge (by Cantab Hall) $16,621. Burke Racing purchased the filly for $20,000 at the Standarbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg last fall.

Kimberly Rinker

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