Day At The Track

Ronnie Wrenn Jr creates a slice of history

10:39 AM 25 Feb 2013 NZDT
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Ronnie Wrenn Jr never really wanted to follow his family into harness racing. In fact the 26-year-old studied criminal law for three years and it was only in his late teens the Michigan native decided to shadow his Grandfather, Father and Uncles into our great sport.

"I am a third generation horsemen and got into it because of my Grandpa (Howard), my Dad (Ron Sr) and my Uncles (Peter and Gary).

“I always played sports when I was younger and never got into harness racing until late. I thought I was going to be a criminal lawyer there for a while, but no way now! I breath eat and sleep horse racing,” Wrenn Jr told Harnesslink.

After last Friday’s (February 22) performance at Northville Downs, Wrenn said he could never leave the sport, and thank the good Lord for that – he’s one heck of a driving talent.

The Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association’s Rising Star of 2011 won an amazing 10 of the 14 races programed.

He termed the achievement as his undoubted career highlight.

“It doesn’t get better than this. Being named a Rising Star was pretty rewarding and so was winning the UDR strike rate last year. Friday was a night I will never ever forget,” Wrenn said.

“I was very excited to win 10 in one night and join an elite group of drivers. I'm glad my friends and family were there to see it all unfold,” he added.

Wrenn opened the night by claiming the first four races on the card with Ilikethesun ($3.40), Lil Be Dazzeld ($3.80), Songonbroadway ($4.60) and Thatswhattheysay ($3.80).

He was back in the winner's circle in race six with Sweet Carol Ann ($3.00) and then posted win six behind R B Spirit ($8.20). He also scored in the tenth and 11th races with Doowrah Omelet ($3.80) and Ee Bay ($6.60).

Wrenn then capped off his night by winning the final two races behind Blah Blah Blah ($6.20) and Chubby Squirrel ($3.80).

“It was amazing. I still can’t really believe it. It has fired me up for more wins now. I want 600 this season. That's my goal,” he said.

Wrenn started driving in 2008 with two wins from nine drives and then won another two from limited drives the following year, before nailing 20 from 137 in 2010.

But in 2011 Wrenn really started to impress winning 150 races and $501,150. He followed that up last season with 436 victories and $1.54 million in purses. His UDR strike rate was an impressive 0.324.

This year he has so far won 79 of his 370 starts and $233,934 and a healthy 0.345 UDR strike rate, which sees him firmly established in the top 10 among all drivers in North America.

All up he’s now won 689 of his 3,996 starts and $2.318 million.

“I’ve been lucky enough to drive some really nice horses this year and have also been able to drive for some good trainers,

“I owe a lot to Curt Watson for making a great race bike and my friends and family for helping me out. Without the support of all of them I would not be where I am today,” Wrenn said.

He said in the summer he would like to venture to south Michigan to gain more drives.

“I’m only driving at Northfield, Northville, and Buffalo but drove at a lot more tracks last year so it was hard to claim a driving title.

“I would like to move to south of Michigan and drive in Ohio and New York this summer,” Wrenn said.

“I just hope I can stay healthy and accident free, because this job means the world to me. I could never return to law,” said Wrenn who studied at Grand Valley Schoolcraft College and Ferris State.

A former College baseballer, Wrenn is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox. He has a girlfriend named Briana Wood, and his ambition is to become one of North America’s best reinsmen and win the Little Brown Jug one day.

So in summary did Wrenn’s 10 wins on one night reassure himself as a driver of the future?

“I always go into a race expecting to win but to win 10, well that was very humbling. I’m currently the leading driver at Northville Downs with 44 wins.

“Yes I feel very confident and comfortable on the track,” he said.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

The Inside Scoop with Ronnie Wrenn Jr.

Ronnie Wrenn Jr is a huge Boston Red Sox baseball fan.

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