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In late February the initial Pro-Am Competition was staged at Pompano Park and today (Tuesday, June 19) at Scioto Downs, the second edition of the challenge where the amateur drivers competed in races with and against some of the industry's top reinsmen was showcased. The competitions are the brainchild of Stacy Cahill, the director of racing at both Pompano and Scioto Downs. And from the participants at each venue monies were raised for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and for New Vocations. Participating professionals included Tim and Trace Tetrick, Dan Noble and Aaron Merriman while the remainder of drivers in each event were all amateurs. And to the surprise of no one, every one of the four contest races was won by a professional. The first contest race was won by Dan Noble with amateur driver, Steve Oldford second and Tim Tetrick third. Noble came back to win the second Pro-Am event as amateur driver Joey Putnam finished second. And Tim Tetrick was again third. Then in the third Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick turned back Aaron Merriman for the victory. Amateur driver Michelle Ruvola took home the show dough. And in the final Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick again emerged victorious with Aaron Merriman second and Michelle Ruvola third. But the amateur drivers had their day in the sun with a race strictly for Billings members late on the card. NED HODKINSON WINS THE BILLINGS TROT  Ned "the Insurance Man" Hodkinson and his trusty steed, Mutinyonthebounty, remain a perfect two-for-two this year after they out-footed nine others to score an impressive victory in a 1:58.1 clocking. After racing on the front-end relatively unchallenged the wire came just in time as a host of trotters were closing in on Mutinyonthebounty. But the veteran Mutineer gelding refused to lose and kept Winbak Charles M and driver "Lawbook Larry" Farley at bay for a head victory.. Better Call Saul was a neck farther back in third for "Michelle The Belle" Ruvola. Sent off the favorite in the race Mutinyonthebounty paid $5.90 for win. Hodkinson, who owns and trains the winner, notched his 61st lifetime driving victory. by John Manzi, for the Billing Series     

COLUMBUS, OH - The trio of 3-year-old trotting colts who captured their respective $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes on Friday night, June 15 at Scioto Downs couldn't be more different. All three are by different Ohio-registered stallions; none were trained or driven by the same person; and all have ownership connections from three different states. Mission Accepted, who captured Leg 1 of this series on May 6 at Miami Valley in 1:53 by four lengths, put forth a similar effort in his OSS division at Scioto, this time winning by two lengths in a track, personal best and national season's record clocking of 1:52. The unaltered son by Manofmanymissions used similar, wire-to-wire tactics for driver Ryan Stahl to nail down his third win in as many tries this season, upping his 2018 earnings to $65,000 for the Ohio-based partnership of trainer Jeff Conger, breeders Knox Services and David Wills as the 1-2 favorite. Two OB Wonkenobi was second for driver Sam Widger at 9-2 odds, while 7-2 Get The Cash and driver Greg Grismore picked up third-place money. Mission Accepted, who captured the $250,000 OSS Championship for freshman trotters on Sept. 2, 2017 at Scioto Downs, now has seven wins and a third in ten career starts and $255,800 in his bankroll. The bay colt is the fifth foal out of the SJ's Photo mare Witty Girl and is a half-brother to March Awareness (by Ken Warkentin) 7, 1:53f ($398,059) and to Witty's Winner (by Jailhouse Jesse) 5, 1:54.4s ($95,757) and has a full brother in the 2-year-old Wittyville, who recently qualified in Q2:01.2f. In the second OSS division, 4-1 Uncle Buck took Aaron Merriman to a spirited 1:54.3 new lifetime mark victory, besting 10-1 longshot MVP Luke (Danny Noble) by 1¼ lengths, with 31-1 longer shot Secret Bro finishing third for Sandy Beatty. Trained by Steve Bauder for Mokena, IL-owner Wayne Temple, the bay gelded son by Stormin Normand grabbed the lead at the 1:25.2 three-quarter marker, and never looked back en route to his fourth victory of 2018. He now has five wins, six seconds and a trio of thirds in 19 career trips postward. Uncle Buck's seasonal earnings stand at $53,150, with $64,429 earned lifetime. Bred by Illinois' Orville Rursch, he is the third foal out of the Brilliant Victory broodmare Brilliant Linda and has half-siblings in Brilliant Winner (by Polar Winner) 2, 2:07.2h ($10,104) and Polar B (by Polar Winner) 2, 1:57.2h ($49,114). Pennsylvania-owned and trained invader Rising MVP, who was making his first start in the OSS series, captured the third and final division in 1:56.2 with Chris Page at the lines. Trained by William Daugherty, Jr. for his wife, owner Susan Daugherty of Mercer, PA, the altered son by My MVP left the gate at odds of 7-1, besting 22-1 longshot Manny L (Jeff Nisonger) by a neck with 1-5 favorite Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) getting up for third, half a length back. Rising MVP returned $16.40 on a two-dollar ticket as he picked up his first win this year. His seasonal earnings stand at $24,048 with his lifetime bankroll at $89,268 from ten wins, two seconds and two thirds in 18 starts. Bred by Mahlon A. Miller of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Rising MVP is the third foal out of the unraced Credit Winner mare Nutmeg's Winner and is a half-brother to Rail Kat (by Muscle Native) 4, 1:56f ($137,454) and Rally In The Hall (by Amigo Hall) 3, 2:00f ($18,480). After the first two Ohio Sires Stakes legs in this division, the following horses are the top point earners: Mission Accepted (102), Sultan Of Cash (64), Uncle Buck (64), Northmedo Mission (52), MVP Luke (52), Two OB Wonkenobi (52) and Rising MVP (51). Leg 3 for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings will be contested on July 9 at Northfield Park and Leg 4 on Aug. 24 at Scioto Downs, with the $275,000 Championship set for Sept. 8 at Scioto Downs and the $60,000 Consolation Oct. 13 at Northfield Park. by Kim Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

WASHINGTON, PA, June 13, 2018 -- Barn Girl thwarted the late challenge of Ready Any Time and went on to capture Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Trot at The Meadows, her eighth win in 11 starts this year and the 50th victory of her career. Barn Girl endured a demanding opening quarter -- three wide in 27.1 -- before reaching the front, a trip that could have made her vulnerable. But in characteristic fashion, she dug in for Aaron Merriman when Ready Any Time loomed boldly and defeated her by 3/4 lengths in 1:54. The pocket-sitting Expose Yourself finished third. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $683,668, for Renee Bercury. It was one four wins on the 13-race program for Merriman. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features a pair of rich total-pool guarantees -- $12,500 for the Pick 4, $5,000 for the Pick 5 -- as well as a $2,404.55 carryover in the day's first Superfecta and a $2,517/70 jackpot in the final-race Super High 5. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Cams Valentino crossed the finish line faster than any other four year-old pacing gelding on a half-mile track in the history of harness racing when he won the $14,500 Open II in 1:49 on Monday (June 11). The clocking also tied the all-age track on Northfield Park's half-mile oval. The former four year-old gelding world record was held by Wiggle It Jiggleit (2016, Nfld, Montrell Teague) and the Northfield record was solely held by Scott Rocks (6, 1:49, Aaron Merriman). Arold, Drury, Kohut LLC owns Cams Valentino. Kent Sherman is his conditioner and Aaron Merriman was in the sulky for the winning drive. Cams Valentino (Art Official-Cam's Valentine-Cam Fella) started from post one. He left from the gate and led the entire mile through times of :27, :54.2, 1:21.2 and 1:49, dominating his competition by 11 ½-lengths. Cams Valentino now has five wins in 16 starts this year. Monday's victory represents his 12th career score and bolstered his bankroll to $88,634. He was heavily favored and returned $2.20 to win. by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park $50,000 Ohio Sire Stake at Northfield When Tyler Smith steered Spunky Bottom Girl to victory in the first of two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore trotting fillies on Monday night, June 11 at Northfield Park, it brought to fruition a long history of genetic luck for owner/breeder Ed Teefey.   “I bought the granddam of this filly, Princess Pan, 2, 2:01.1M  ($14,205) some ten years ago at the Meadowlands Sale,” said Teffey, a retired banker, harness announcer and auctioneer from Mount Sterling, IL.    “She was a daughter of Supergill who was in foal to Classic Photo. I was standing next to trainer Tony Alagna, who told me he had bid on her yearling the year before for $70,000.  I was just standing there and made one bid of $5,700 and she, and her unborn foal, were mine.”   The following year, Teefey christened Princess Pan’s eleventh foal, a filly, Princess Addie, named after his first granddaughter.  Princess Addie is a full sister to the $384,105-winning mare Firstclassprincess 6, 1:53; and a half-sister to the gelding Peaceful Prince (by Lindy Lane) 7, 1:56.2f ($228,909), among others.   “She really didn’t have a lot of talent and then she broke a sesamoid at three,” Teefey recalled. “But she comes from the family of Illinois champion Lady Ann Reed, who was a prolific mare some four decades ago. So, on the advice of Tony (Alagna) and Myron (Bell), I bred her to My MVP, who stands here in Ohio (at Sugar Valley Farm) in Delaware.”   The resulting foal was Spunky Bottom Girl, who, Teefey noted, is named after a bluegrass band in Teefey’s hometown.   “We raced her ten times last year as a 2-year-old in Illinois,” Teefey explained. “She did okay for us (earning $15,225).  Trainer Mike Brink had her then and I kind of thought she’d step up a bit this year and mature, and so we decided to race her mainly in Ohio.  Two friends—Dean Beachy and Carl Becker—suggested I leave her with (trainer) Brent Davis in Zanesville, so that’s what we did.”   Spunky Bottom Girl left the gate at 7-1 odds and sat quietly mid-pack, while 3-2 Sesame (Aaron Merriman) and 20-1 Alana’s Ways (Josh Sutton) slugged it out, taking the field of seven to a :28 first panel clocking. Around the final turn Spunky Bottom Girl moved three-wide, with 4-5 favorite Impinktoo (Kayne Kauffman) four-wide, with the former drawing off to win by two lengths in a career best 1:55.4.  Impinktoo held on for second, while Sesame nailed down show honors.   The win upped Spunky Bottom Girl’s career earnings to $57,215 and was her first win of her 3-year-old career. She now has four wins in 17 career starts, along with four second-place finishes.   In the second $50,000 OSS division, rivals California Love (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and Non Smoker (Danny Noble) hit the finish line together, in a 1:56.2 dead-heat for the win.    Californian Love, a 17-1 shot trained and co-owned by Chris Beaver and Steve Zeehandelar, Marion Beachy and Moger-Delia Racing, is a Storming Norman lass bred by Beachy who has eight wins to her credit in 20 starts, with $96,752 in career earnings.  She was a solid fourth to Red Storm in Leg 1 of this series at Miami Valley on May 4.   Non Smoker captured her OSS Leg 1 division at Miami Valley on May 4 in 1:54 for owner Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH.  Trained by Noble, the grey daughter by My MVP has a career bankroll of $76,601 from five wins in 12 starts.    Leaving the gate at 7-2, Non Smoker repelled challenges by 1-2 Looking For Zelda (Tony Hall) and 9-2 Red Storm (Aaron Merriman), before getting caught by California Love at the wire.  Red Storm held on for third, three-quarters of a length behind the two victresses.   by Kim RInker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

Jim Kunkel celebrated his 71st birthday on Monday, but that wasn't the day this week he was most looking forward to enjoying. Not when his homebred trotter Moosonee is racing. Moosonee, a 3-year-old gelding bred by Kunkel and his wife Sandra, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of two Currier & Ives Stakes divisions Wednesday (June 6) at The Meadows. Moosonee, who is eligible to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes, has a win and a second in two starts this season for trainer Chris Beaver. "I just want to get up and enjoy every day at this stage of my life," said Kunkel, who lives in south-central Massachusetts and breeds and races under Winterbeary Farm. "The greatest thrill will be sitting and watching that baby race tomorrow afternoon because if you're into horseracing there's nothing better. This has been such a pleasant surprise that we're numb. I'm just in awe of him. "We're just two average country bumpkins here that probably don't deserve this kind of horse." Moosonee is a son of Explosive Matter out of the Kunkels' stakes-winning mare Lady Andover. His second dam, Lost Lady One, was a New York Sire Stakes champion and Breeders Crown runner-up. Last year, Moosonee won a division of the Keystone Classic, his only victory in 10 starts, and was second in the Madison County and divisions of the Bluegrass and Arden Downs stakes. The gelding hit the board a total of seven times and earned $64,710. "Chris took him along slowly," Kunkel said. "He always raced good. He didn't have much racing luck, but he was always around the finishing line." This year, Moosonee debuted at The Meadows with a win in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes over returning series champion Fashionwoodchopper and then finished second to You Know You Do, last year's Peter Haughton Memorial winner, in a division of the sire stakes at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In his victory at The Meadows, driver Aaron Merriman made a three-wide move off the final turn to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54 on a sloppy track. "When you're racing against those horses, you're going to find out how good you really are," Kunkel said. "When (Merriman) took that horse off the turn that day and came three wide with him, he just blew by them. I just sat in shock watching it on the computer." Kunkel's uncle Joe and father John were involved in harness racing and Kunkel, who is retired after working in the automobile, school bus, and insurance businesses, has enjoyed horses for as long as he can remember. "I've been around Standardbred racehorses since I was born," Kunkel said. "I worked every summer when I was in high school at the old Foxboro Raceway. I went to college in Boston and spent more time at Suffolk Downs than I did in the classroom. Once you get hooked, you're hooked." Moosonee is one of seven Hambletonian eligible horses in Wednesday's Currier & Ives. The others are Rich And Miserable, Patent Leather, and Banker Twentyfive in the first division and Meadowbranch Ricky, Crystal Fashion, and I Know My Rights in the second division. Kunkel is not thinking about the Hambletonian at this point. "I've been around this long enough to know you don't get too high, you don't get too low," Kunkel said. "I think he can compete. Whether he can dominate, that's a whole different story. But it's been a dream come true for us. It's been nothing but a tremendous thrill. I can't wait for tomorrow when he races again. The best driver, a great racetrack; what more could you ask for." For Wednesday's complete Meadows entries, click here. Racing begins at 1:05 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

HARRISBURG PA - Aaron Merriman, who was won more races than any other harness racing driver in North America for each of the last three seasons and who recently became the 13th - and youngest - sulkysitter in continental history to record 10,000 career victories, has been voted the Mary Lib Miller Award, the most prestigious award given by the Keystone chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. "Ironman" Merriman commutes on many racing days between The Meadows near Pittsburgh and Northfield Park on the outskirts of Cleveland - a lot of miles, and on a tight schedule that is hard to maintain (in winning an award in Florida recently, the "background music" as he approached the stage was the wail of a police car's siren). But Aaron has much more success on the racetrack than he does on the interstate - last year he won 1095 races, second-highest yearly total ever and almost 500 victories ahead of his nearest competitor. The Mary Lib Miller Award is named after the wife of The Meadows' founder, Hall of Fame horseman Delvin Miller, who was the goodwill ambassador and hostess to scores of dignitaries who raced at The Meadows. (How much she would have seen of Merriman, who always seems to be racing a horse or racing to a car to drive at another track, is difficult to say.) Hannelore Hanover, 2017 Harness Horse of the Year, was the logical choice for Pennsylvania-bred Horse of the Year. Raised at the renown Hanover Shoe Farms (another Keystone Chapter honoree after breaking their own record for yearly earnings with $31.5M), the trotting mare posted the second-fastest mile on her gait, a 1:49.2 mile at Lexington, and often defeated male company. The Meadows-based horse, trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver / Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables, bankrolled just over a million dollars in a championship campaign. A filly who many think may soon rank in the stratosphere is Manchego, a Jimmy Takter-trainee who was voted Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horse of the Year. Last year at two she was undefeated in 12 outings, including two prelim wins in the Sire Stakes and then an authoritative victory in the Championship, with her 1:54.2 time in the final matching the stakes record of Wild Honey. Horses purchased by the Bill Bercury stable after successful stakes campaigns in their youth were named the PA Overnight Pacer and Trotter of the Year. The sidewheeler is Dapper Dude, who beat Sweet Lou in his PaSS championship at two and now has gone in 1:50 in each of the six years since, with 13 wins and $163,000+ at age eight in 2017; the trotter is Barn Girl, who has won 19 times since being acquired by Team Bercury in October 2016, including 15 triumphs last year while amassing over $200,000. Team McMullen added their second Small Stable of the Year award to the one they earned in 2012. Headed by patriarch John McMullen Jr., the three-horse stable ran up a UTR of .660 at the fairs, and had two Fair Final champions: Hockey Hanover, a two-year-old trotter who became the first PA horse to win his Stallion Series Championship and his Fair Championship in the same year, and All Set Lets Go, the only repeat Championship winner from two to three in 2017, and the top pointwinner at the fairs this summer. The freshman pacing colt Venier Hanover earned a Special Achievement Award for the unprecedented speed show he put on at the fairs this season, setting eight track records, going seven times in 2:00 or better, and tying the all-age track record of 2:00.1 at Wattsburg under the guidance of Dave Brickell. This elite group of Keystone State campaigners will be awarded their trophies in racetrack ceremonies throughout the state's pari-mutuel tracks, and at the fairs when they resume in early summer. Keystone Chapter, U. S. Harness Writers Association

The Miami Valley drivers colony congratulates Aaron Merriman on his 10,000th career win a day after he became just the 13th reinsman in history of harness racing to accomplish the feat. A regular on the Friday night programs at Miami Valley, Merriman has also won the national dash title three years in a row.

WASHINGTON, PA, March 17, 2018 -- Aaron Merriman, whose quest for career win 10,000 suffered a temporary setback this week when an administrative ruling cost him two 2017 victories, got the harness racing milestone mile Saturday at The Meadows when he piloted Icy Crystals to victory in Race 6. Merriman collected win 9,999 with I'm Feelin Good in Race 3 and win 10,001 with Gee Wizz George in Race 9.. Merriman, 39, harness racing's "winningest" driver in each of the past three years, became the 13th driver to reach the 10,000 plateau. On Friday, Merriman thought he had 9,999 wins and needed only one victory among his assignments at Miami Valley to reach 10,000. He got that win. Earlier in the day, however, Merriman learned that the appeals of disqualifications of two horses he drove to apparent victory last October had been denied, thereby reducing his win total by two. "It was just one of those things," Merriman said. "I actually laughed about it. I try to block out all those things when I'm going into a race. I just literally enjoy racing horses." Merriman maintains a hectic schedule, working daylight cards at The Meadows and often driving at either Northfield or Miami Valley -- in his native Ohio -- in the evening. He said he likely will maintain that pace for the foreseeable future. "It's not the racing, it's the travel that wears on you," he said. "But it's the way I make my living. I am worried about my family, and I would like to spend more time with my kids." To create that family time, he indicated he might be more selective about accepting Grand Circuit assignments this year. "It's a special feeling to be part of the Grand Circuit, especially when you get an opportunity to drive a nice horse," he said. "I might not chase the longer shots like I've been doing. I may evaluate things a little bit differently." Even as he celebrated his milestone win, Merriman said his thoughts were elsewhere -- with fellow driver Matt Kakaley, who was injured in a mishap at Yonkers last Tuesday. "I'd like to give Matt a shout out," he said. "I talk to him about every day. He's doing well, but it's a scary thing. Here I'm enjoying this accomplishment, and he's in the hospital. It doesn't seem fair. My heart goes out to him."  LORD OF WINTERFELL SPRINGS 35-1 SHOCKER IN MEADOWS $20K PACE Lord Of Winterfell blew up the tote board when he angled off the cones late and exploded past the tiring leaders to pull off a 35-1 shocker in Saturday’s $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Lord Of Winterfell was a ground-saving fourth for most of the mile, biding time while stablemates Lincolnjames and Mykindachip waged a protracted duel for the lead. When Brady Brown asked him for pace, the 5-year-old Western Ideal-Caila Fra gelding charged down the center of the track and scored in 1:53. Lincolnjames saved place, 2 lengths back, with A Real Miracle third. Norm Parker trains Lord Of Winterfell, who raised his career bankroll to $122,846, for Jacobs Creek Racing. It was one of three wins for Brown on the 10-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

WASHINGTON, PA, March 14, 2018 -- Aaron Merriman, harness racing's "winningest" driver in each of the last three years, collected four wins Wednesday at The Meadows, lifting his career total to 9,996. With four more wins, he'll become only the 13th driver in North American harness racing history to reach the 10,000 plateau. (He crossed the wire first a fifth time, but his horse was disqualified for interference.) Merriman, 39, who splits his time between The Meadows and tracks in his native Ohio, was scheduled to drive Wednesday night at Northfield and Friday evening at Miami Valley in pursuit of the milestone mile before returning to The Meadows Saturday. In Wednesday's feature, the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot, Fancytucky earned her second straight win with a long, steady uncovered move that carried her to victory in 1:58 over a "good" surface. Maewegonow was second, 3/4 lengths back, while long shot Miss Da Line rallied for show. Dan Rawlings piloted the 6-year-old daughter of Pinetucky-Beaucoup Amour, who lifted her career bankroll to $149,103, for trainer Troy McDougal, who owns with James Steuernagel. Tony Hall fashioned a three-bagger on the 10-race card. THE MEADOWS ADDS $15,000 GUARANTEE FOR SATURDAY PICK 4 On Saturday, March 17, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Wednesday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $4,903.97. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Saturday’s program is 1:05 PM. The Meadows

DAYTON, OH. - Colorful Sky gave Aaron Merriman, America's leading harness racing dash driver, his fourth win of the night at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday (Dec. 15) capturing the $18,500 Mares Open Pace in 1:52.1. It was the seventh win on the season for the daughter of Skydancer Hanover, increasing her 2017 earnings to $69,262 for owner Grant Wilfong. Merriman took no chances in this race, putting Colorful Sky on the lead for the first time in her last eight starts. She seemed comfortable throughout posting fractions of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:23.3 before sealing the deal with a :28.3 final panel, holding off last week's feature winner Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith), who raced first-over the entire second lap, and fast-closing Amazing Arya (Kayne Kauffman). Colorful Sky paid $7.20 to win with the exacta returning $36.80. Merriman swept the daily double to open the card, winning with trotter Mickey's House (1:57.4, $5.20) from the innermost post position and pacer Boots Off (1:56.2, $6.40) from the outermost post. His other victory came behind favored $20,000 claiming pacer P L Fighter (1:52.1, $4.20) a race before Colorful Sky's impressive triumph. Driver Jason Brewer notched a hat trick on the program, winning with a trio of horses from his father Jeff Brewer's stable. The Brew Crew scored with Lyons Jimmydean, owned by Chupp Racing, Pan Luis Obispo, owned by Jamie Cornett, and Kaitlyn Akeeper for the partnership of Chris Choros, Eleven Star Stables and Leander Schwartz. Gregg Keidel  

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 9, 2017 -- Dapper Dude collected his 13th win this season when he withstood the determined challenge of Meadowbrook Tiger and captured Saturday's $20,000 harness racing winners over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dapper Dude retook the lead for Aaron Merriman following a swift 26.3 quarter only to face the menacing Meadowbrook Tiger, who gained steadily through the final turn. Dapper Dude shook loose in mid-stretch and scored in 1:53.3, a length better than the rallying Sam Hill, while Meadowbrook Tiger saved show. Bill Bercury trains Dapper Dude, an 8-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $1,178,280, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone, Jim Pantaleano and trainer Ron Burke each fashioned a three-bagger on the 12-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

After becoming only the fourth driver in harness racing history to win 1,000 races in a year, Aaron Merriman is looking to add as many victories to his total as possible by the end of the season. And while it will be impossible to surpass Tim Tetrick's record of 1,189 wins in 2007, Merriman could finish his campaign No. 2 on the list. "That would be phenomenal," Merriman said, adding with a laugh, "Then it would be two redheads at the top. People might want to start dying their hair." Merriman got his 1,000th win of the year Saturday and entered Monday with 1,006 victories for 2017. Merriman passed Tony Morgan, who won 1,004 times in 2006, for the third-most wins in a year and now has only Walter Case Jr.'s 1,077 triumphs in 1998 separating him from Tetrick. "It's pretty crazy," Merriman said. "To join the three other men that I have is just unbelievable. A lot of things have to go right to even win that many races in a year. It's tough. It's just very special in a sport that's so old. When I got it, it was just very surreal. It was a very special moment, a very special accomplishment. I'm just very proud." Merriman will end this year on top of the sport's standings in wins for the third consecutive year --- his 1,006 victories are 402 more than No. 2 George Napolitano Jr. --- and he is the first driver in history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years. Merriman won 890 races last year and 874 in 2015. His 841 victories in 2014 were second to Ronnie Wrenn Jr.'s 847. Entering Monday, Merriman had driven in 4,327 races this year while competing primarily at Northfield Park in Ohio, where he will end Wrenn's four-year reign as the top driver, and The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. "A lot of people don't realize, but it's not easy to stay fit and fresh for that many races," said Merriman, who has driven in 1,500 races more than any driver this year. "I think that's an accomplishment in itself. I'm almost more proud of being able to do that. Winning races is great, but to be able to keep up a frantic pace like that, a lot of people can't do that. It can wear on you mentally and physically. I'm very proud of that." For his career, the 39-year-old Merriman has won 9,735 races, which ranks 16th in North American harness racing history. He was the second-youngest driver to reach 9,000 victories, behind only Tetrick, who did it when he was 34. "You hope you're going to have a long career, but no one knows what is going to happen," Merriman said. "A lot of this seems to have happened in a blink of an eye. I guess time flies when you're having fun. I still consider driving horses a phenomenal time; it's very fun to me. "I think the people --- the drivers, the trainers, the owners, the grooms; everybody involved --- is the biggest reason why I love it so much. There are good days and bad days, but all in all it's all part of the process. I can't say enough about everybody that's been involved. I just love it. The camaraderie is what makes it so special." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman reached the 1000 win mark for the season this evening after driving Official Kisser to a wire to wire victory in the 6th race at Northfield Park . Trained by Herman Hagerman and owned by Charles Reeves. Official Kisser the 3yr old daughter of Art Official went the mile in 1:53.2 to give Merriman his 1000 win of the year. Only three other drives have reached the 1000 win mark in a season. Tim Tetrick who holds harness racing's record of 1,189 victories, set In 2007. Walter Case Jr. who won 1,077 races in 1998 and Anthony Morgan won 1,004 races in 2006 Merriman finished the card with 1 other victory to bring his season win total to 1001 giving him a 401 race lead over George Napolitano Jr. for the 2017 Dash Title Raymond Lance

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 7, 2017 -- Barn Girl zipped to the front for Aaron Merriman and had little trouble with the harness racing field or sloppy surface from there, powering to her 13th victory this year in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Ahead by a length at the three-quarters, Barn Girl poured it on late and defeated Bags For All by 3 lengths in 1:55.1, with the pocket-sitting Glidinthruparadise third. Bill Bercury trains the 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie, who triumphed for the 24th time over the past two seasons and extended her career bankroll to $546,968, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone collected four wins -- including three for trainer Ron Burke -- while Brady Brown enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 31, 2017 -- Racing off a 40-day layoff and parked the entire first quarter from post 9, Barn Girl hung tough in the lane and captured Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing filly & mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl, who last performed in the Sept. 21 Miss Versatility final at the Delaware County Fair -- she finished third -- was dogged the entire back half by the first-over Classical Annie. But the 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie dug in for Aaron Merriman and edged Classical Annie by a neck in 1:55.2. Fancytucky rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, who won for the 12th time this year and now boasts $537,968 in career earnings, for Renee Bercury. It was one of three victories for Merriman on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman got Dealt A Winner and will try to play a winning hand in Saturday’s (Oct. 28) $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Dealt A Winner and Mach It So each won an elimination last week, with David Miller driving both. Miller will drive Mach It So in Saturday’s final, so Merriman was called upon to drive Dealt A Winner. A 5-year-old gelding, Dealt A Winner is the 3-1 morning-line favorite, with Mach It So next at 7-2. The 39-year-old Merriman has appeared in one Breeders Crown final in his career, finishing fourth with 3-year-old female trotter Classical Annie in 2015. Merriman tops the sport with 891 wins this year, leading second-place George Napolitano Jr. by 356 victories. He is the first driver in history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years. Merriman has driven Dealt A Winner three times in his career and finished second with the gelding in September’s Dayton Pacing Derby. “It’s pretty cool,” Merriman said about getting the drive for the Breeders Crown. “He’s raced well for me each time I’ve raced him. He is a little bit funny, but I’ve been first over with him a couple times and he’s really hung in there against really good horses. “It’s definitely been a wide-open free-for-all year, so that helps my chances, as well as having that familiarity with him. You just try to give the horse the best possible trip, the best shot to win, and that’s it.” Dealt A Winner has won back-to-back starts heading to the Breeders Crown final. He has won five of 16 races this season, including the Allerage Farms Open Pace and Roll With Joe Stakes. Mark Silva, who won two Open Pace titles with Boulder Creek in the mid-2000s, trains Dealt A Winner for owner Jeff Snyder. Snyder has won three Breeders Crown finals. Mach It So, owned by Bamond Racing, has won four of 22 starts this year, including the William R. Haughton Memorial. Trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. is looking for his first Breeders Crown trophy, but Bamond and his father have won four times as owners. The race also features McWicked, who won a Breeders Crown trophy at age 3 in 2014, as well as stakes-winners Sintra, Keystone Velocity and All Bets Off. All Bets Off won the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby last month. He starts from the outside, post No. 9, in the Breeders Crown final. “It’s going to be a tough spot for him, but he’s the one horse of mine that can overcome almost anything,” All Bets Off’s trainer Ron Burke said. “That will be a good race. There will be a lot of action in it, so hopefully he can pick them up late.” Hoosier Park, located in Anderson, Ind., is hosting the $6 million Breeders Crown for the first time. The finals for female pacers and trotters are Friday night and the finals for male pacers and trotters are Saturday. Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) both nights. “To have the Breeders Crown in the Midwest is cool,” Merriman said. “It’s been a really long time since Midwest racing has had anything like this and it’s great to get the opportunity. Applause for Hoosier Park management for bringing the Breeders Crown here and doing such a great job with it.” Following is the field for Saturday’s Breeders Crown Open Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Sintra-Jody Jamieson-Dave Menary-5/1 2. McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-9/2 3. Dealt A Winner-Aaron Merriman-Mark Silva-3/1 4. Split The House-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes-10/1 5. Mach It So-David Miller-Jeff Bamond Jr.-7/2 6. Keystone Velocity-Dan Dube-Erv Miller-8/1 7. Manhattan Beach-Sam Widger-Walter Haynes Jr.-30/1 8. Rock N’ Roll World-John DeLong-Jeff Cullipher-30/1 9. All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1 10. Missile J-Tim Tetrick-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 Missile J starts in the second tier behind Sintra. Hoosier Park, in conjunction with Roberts Communications, will offer live steaming and replays of the Breeders Crown races here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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