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DAYTON, OH. - Five of Northfield Park's top harness racing drivers will square off against a quintet of Hollywood Dayton's best reinsmen on Friday night (Dec. 13) in the first-ever "Buckeye Battle" to determine state bragging rights (North vs. South) as well as raise money for the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.   Hollywood Gaming and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association have joined forces to provide $3000 in prize money for the event--$2500 to the winners and $500 to the losers. All ten drivers from both teams have agreed to donate the entire amount to the relief fund, monitored by the Dayton Foundation, and being used to rebuild infrastructure in neighborhoods that were devastated by a Memorial Day tornado.   Team Northfield is captained by Aaron Merriman, the reigning 2019 national dash champion who currently has a comfortable lead in his quest to repeat and defend that title. He will be joined by Kurt Sugg, Chris Lems, Greg Grismore and David Lake. Team Dayton is led by local dash leader and native Ohioan Brett Miller, who is wrapping up his first year back as a Buckeye after a successful decade-long stint at The Meadowlands and other major harness tracks on the East Coast. Also competing for the local squad will be Jeremy Smith, Tyler Smith, Kayne Kauffman and Josh Sutton.   The drivers will go toe-to-toe and stride-for-stride in eight races on the Friday program, which starts at 6:15 p.m. Each of the ten drivers were pre-assigned approximately equal post positions over the course of the contest, with horses then randomly drawn in to those races. Points will be awarded as follows: 30 for first place, 24 for second, 18 for third, followed by 14-11-8-5-3-1-0 for fourth through tenth place finishes.   Five claiming events, ranging from the $6500 level up to $15,000, plus three high level condition races comprise the competition. Team Northfield will look to gain an early advantage as Merriman will guide the morning line favorite in three of the first four events. Team Dayton drivers, however, have been blessed with morning line favorites in the final three events.   The competition will be friendly, but also fierce, as these ten top reinsmen face off to determine if the northern Ohio or southern Ohio drivers win the inaugural "Buckeye Battle."   by Gregg Keidel, for the Buckeye Battle

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway management and racing officials are busy preparing for the kickoff of their seventh harness racing season on January 3, 2020. Condition sheets for the first week of racing have already been posted to the U.S.T.A. website; and Late Closing Series nomination forms are available at the website: www.miamivalleygaming.com, then clicking on Racing in the scroll down menu followed by clicks on Horsemens Info and scrolling down to "Forms." In addition to nomination forms for the January Claim To Fame series, February events include the Bill Dailey Memorial, Howard Beissinger Memorial trot and Survivor Series. Late February through March will feature Lebanon Legends series for green pacers and trotters that are non-winners of two, four or six pari-mutuel races. The popular James K. Hackett Memorials for sophomore colts and fillies on both the pace and trot are also scheduled for April. The MVG website also provides ship-in application forms, waiver of liability forms, purse authorization forms and information on race office hours and phone numbers. "We anticipate slightly higher purses for the overall meet with an estimated purse account in excess of $14 million," stated Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Business remains brisk at Miami Valley, horse supply should be good again this year, and I see no reason we won't have our biggest and best season so far." A pre-meet qualifying races session is scheduled for Monday, December 30 at noon. Trainers are encourage to enter the qualifiers online, or can call the Miami Valley race office from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, December 28. Opening week will feature a trio of enhanced $30,000 Open events--one for male pacers, one for female pacers and one for trotters. Due to the New Years holiday, a double draw for Friday, January 3 and Saturday, January 4 will be conducted on Monday, December 30 following the initial qualifiers, with the box closing at 2 p.m. From Miami Valley Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Dancin Yankee, arguably the best Ohio-sired harness racing horse of all time, burst through the $2 million earnings plateau winning the $17,000 Open Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday (Nov. 9) in 1:51.   The 11-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser was the oldest horse in the stellar field of eight and was saddled with the outside post, yet raced gamely as ever to score his 11th victory of 2019 and 80th of his lengthy and storied career. With the win, Dancin Yankee's lifetime bounty now stands at $2,003,907.   "He's the best blue collar horse I've ever driven," exclaimed driver Chris Page.   "He shows up every single week and gives you everything he's got every time out!"   This milestone triumph was a perfect example of Page's sentiments. Parked three wide for much of the first quarter, Dancin Yankee didn't clear to the front until after passing the first quarter in :26.3. While fronting the field, he sped past the :54.4 halfway point and the 1:22.1 third timing station while being heavily pressured by Fools Desire (Dan Noble), who ultimately finished fourth. With a :28.4 final quarter on a cool 38-degree evening, Dancin Yankee held off Granite (Jeremy Smith) and Tookadiveoffdipper (Brett Miller), both of whom came calling in the stretch before falling a half-length short.                                                                                             --Conrad photo   Dancin Yankee has been owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Melissa Patterson and Larry Karr in recent years. Ron Burke manages the $2 million winner, second trainer Jason Irwin often harnesses him when racing in Ohio, and longtime caretaker Carlee Comer is particularly proud of her prize pupil's accomplishments.   Echoing the sentiments of many of Dancin Yankee's Ohio race fans, announcer Barry Vicroy had this to say during the winner's circle presentation: "Its been an honor and a privilege to call many of his wins here in Ohio. Its not often a horse this great comes along and stays this sharp for this long. I'm a BIG Dancin Yankee fan!"     Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Ten of Ohio's best harness racing reinsmen will compete head-to-head on Friday night, December 13, in a team contest to determine- -for one night at least- -whether Northfield Park or Hollywood Dayton Raceway has the strongest drivers colony.   The real winner, however, will be the Dayton Disaster Relief Fund which was created by the Dayton Foundation to aid in rebuilding infrastructure and families following two horrific local events earlier this year--a devastating tornado on Memorial Day and the Oregon District mass shootings in early August.   Hollywood Dayton Raceway, in conjunction with the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association, is pleased to earmark $3000 in prize money for the "Battle of the Buckeyes," and the members of both the north and south squads have agreed to donate the entire prize money pool to the Disaster Relief Fund. The winning team will donate $2500 and the losers, although there are no losers in an event like this, will chip in their $500 in proceeds.   Team Northfield will be captained by their dash leader, Aaron Merriman, who is also the reigning National Dash Champion. Each team will be comprised of the top five in the track's dash standings. If the contest were today, Northfield would be represented by Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Kurt Sugg, Chris Lems and Ryan Stahl in addition to Merriman.   Team Hollywood Dayton will be headed by Brett Miller, who currently holds a 20 race advantage in the host track's standings. Barring a huge rally by another driver in the next month, the local squad would also include Tyler Smith, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Kayne Kauffman.   Team Hollywood Dayton captain Brett Miller                                          --Conrad photo   The Buckeye Battle will feature eight races on the December 13 program, with each team getting an equal amount of even and odd numbered post positions and each individual driver getting approximately even post positions over the course of the contest. Once the driver's post positions have been pre-decided, the horses will be drawn randomly into the races to determine their pilots.   Points will be awarded 30-20-15-13-11-9-7-5-3-1 for first through tenth place finishes in each race. At the conclusion of the competition, either Team Northfield Park or Team Hollywood Dayton will be deemed the Buckeye's Best for 2019, with the outlook good for this becoming an annual event.   Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Voyage To Paris (Dan Noble) turned the tables on Lane Of Stone (Jeff Nisonger) in the Thursday (Oct. 10) featured harness racing trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Six weeks ago the pair of 3-year-old colts finished one-two in the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship tilt at Northfield Park with Lane Of Stone getting a three-quarter length nod at the wire. Voyage To Paris extracted revenge in the rematch, however, holding off his main adversary in gate to wire fashion by a half length in 1:54.3. Signal Hill (Aaron Merriman), who left alertly from an outside post position, utilized a pocket trip to finish a close up third.   In fact, the top seven finishers in the $13,000 conditioned trot were bunched with 2-1/4 lengths at the end of the contentious affair.   The top two finishers have banked just under $500,000 this year racing exclusively in Ohio, an indication of just how lucrative the Buckeye state stakes program has become.   Voyage To Paris is a son of Dontyouforgetit owned by Stephen Richard and Lana Pollock. He is managed by longtime Ohio trainer Jim Pollock Jr.   Hollywood Dayton will race back to back matinees this coming weekend with programs starting at 2:15 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.   The Sunday card will feature an eight pack of highly competitive $40,000 Ohio Fair Finals, pitting the top nine point winners from races at over 60 Ohio county fairs throughout the summer.     Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Rosemary Rose has returned to her winning ways after a two month dry spell. The half million dollar winning 5-year-old Ohio-sired mare captured her second straight harness racing victory on Friday (Oct. 4) winning the featured $13,000 top distaff condition event at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 1:52.   Leading driver Brett Miller was content to get away sixth during the :27.1 opening quarter, despite an inside post position with the 2-5 favorite. Just past the :54.4 halfway point, he moved Rosemary Rose into a second over seat in the outer flow. Moved up to third at the three-quarter station, Miller swung three wide to challenge and eventually collar pacesetting Tiffany Rock AS (Dan Noble), who held for second. Race With Grace (Aaron Merriman) garnered the show dough.   Rosemary Rose now has 27 career triumphs, seven this season, and increased her lifetime bounty to $520,000 with this victory. She is owned by Burke Racing, Jason Milillo and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   The win was one of five on the program for Miller. He also was victorious with Certitude (1:54.2, $24.60), trotter United Bi (1:56.1, $5.40), Creighton Hanover (1:55, $5.60) and Townline All Good (1:50.4, $7.20).     Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Western Fame tuned up for the Friday (Sept. 27) $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby with a stellar winning 1:48.1 harness racing performance in Saturday's $17,500 Open Handicap Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. The clocking was the second fastest in the six year history of the southwest Ohio five-eighths mile oval. Trainer-driver Dan Noble gunned the 6 year old son of Western Ideal towards the lead as soon as the starting car folded the wings, but it took a determined :25.3 second effort to finally clear upset minded Fan Of Terror (Brett Miller) and My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith). The winner then cruised through subsequent timing stations in :53.1 and 1:20.2 before tacking on a final :28 panel to subdue a mild late challenge from Fan Of Terror. The victory was No. 23 for Western Fame from 64 starts, and added to his $1.7 million career bounty. He is owned by Go Fast Stable of Ohio, S. Klunowski of Ontario, B&I Stables LLC of New Jersey and Gil Short of Virginia. In the rapidly approaching Dayton Pacing Derby, Western Fame will square off against Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick), who owns the 1:47.4 quickest clocking in Dayton Raceway history taken in the track's signature event in 2018. Among the stellar notable Grand Circuit pacing stars that are also eligible to the stakes event are This Is The Plan, McWicked, Courtly Choice, Endeavor, Miso Fast and others. This coming Friday's card will also include the $170,000 Dayton Trotting Derby whose list of eligible nominees reads like a Who's Who of the active older squaregaiter set. Entries are due Monday morning for the Dayton Derbies as well as the strongest undercard of the season.   Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Gone Girl has had an outstanding 2019 harness racing season, earning just under $100,000, but never seems to get much respect at the betting windows.   Although she has won seven times on the year in 27 tries, the 5-year-old daughter of Dragon Again is usually dispatched at double digit odds and Friday night (Sept. 20) was no exception. At odds of 21-1, Gone Girl upset her peers in the $16,500 Open Mares Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.   Driver Tyler Smith sat second behind pacesetting Allbeastnobeauty (Dan Noble) through fractions of :27, :55 and 1:22.3 before pouncing on the leader and overtaking her in mid-stretch. Gone Girl paced the mile in 1:51, her seventh sub-1:52 effort in her last eight starts for owner-trainer Mark Gillenwater.   Favored Up Front Flor Ida (Brett Miller) rallied from far back to capture the show bounty.   Racing resumes Saturday night (Sept. 21) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with a 6:15 p.m. post time.     Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway's 78-day harness racing meet opens this coming Monday, September 9 and runs through Saturday, December 28. The regular schedule is matinees at 2:15 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as evening cards at 6:15 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The draw schedule for Week One is as follows: Draw Thursday, Sept. 5 for Monday, Sept. 9 Draw Friday, Sept. 6 for Tuesday, Sept. 10 Draw Monday, Sept. 9 for Thursday, Sept. 12 Double Draw Tuesday, Sept. 10 for Fri., Sept. 13 & Sat., Sept. 14 The box closes at 10 a.m. for each draw during the first week. "We look forward to another outstanding season, our sixth," said Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "The track surface has been completely restored to its original specifications and reconditioned. It received rave reviews from the trainers and drivers that participated in our pre-meet qualifiers on Tuesday." The track will be opened this Friday for horses to train over. Trainers interested in this opportunity should call the Dayton race office at 937-235-7860 on Thursday morning to let us know they plan on coming Friday. From the Dayton Raceway Media Department  

Mary K. Coven, 75, beloved mother of trainer Sam Coven and ex-wife of the late notable Ohio driver-trainer Herb Coven Jr., died May 26 following a battle of several months against lung cancer.   Mary and Herb ran a powerful stable at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Ohio, for almost 20 years.   Among the stable patrons at the height of their success were Blue Chip Farms and the partnership of Pacey Mindlin and Kenneth Cohen.   The Covens campaigned numerous great horses. Among them were Pointer Hanover, who participated in the Breeders Crown, open pacing mare Norma Ruth Hanover and the invitational star Lusty Fella.   While Herb drove and trained the large majority of the horses, hard-working Mary also possessed licenses as both a driver and trainer.   She won 45 races in the sulky from 1983-1995. Her best year was 1984, when she won a dozen races and fashioned a .450 UDRS average.   She was particularly proud of victories behind Lusty Fella at Lebanon, Latonia, Louisville and Scioto Downs.   From 1991-1997 she accumulated 146 training victories, then earned three more during a one-year return to the trainer's ranks in 2008. Mrs. Coven was also well known for mixing a special leg paint tightener, which she was pleased to share (except the recipe) with fellow horsemen who sought her successful potion.   Mary was born Mary Goldman in October of 1943 in Dayton, Ohio. She met Herb at an after-school event at the Dayton Fairgrounds during high school.   Mary is survived by her only son Sam; four grandchildren--Sabrina, 21, Justine, 12, Brooklyn, 5, and Trotter, 2; as well as a brother Sam Goldman.   Gregg Keidel

Columbus, Ohio--Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, was on the move again Friday night (May 24) traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a trotting contest over the five-eighths mile oval at Scioto Downs. And when the judges posted the official sign after the race was contested Unbanji, driven by longtime Billings member Bob "the Lumberman" Troyer, emerged victorious . Sent off at odds of over 10-1 the 11-year-old French-bred gelding rallied in the deep-stretch to collar the betting favorite, Undercover Strike and driver Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel for a 1:571 victory, his second of the season. Troyer started from the five hole and settled in fourth as Alesha "the Hoosier Hotshot" Binkley grabbed the lead with Body Of Work and they showed the way past the first stanza in :28.3. With the field all settling in along the pylons Ms Binkey tapped the breaks and led the Indian-file trailers by the half in :58.2. At that point Troyer and Ubanji were third as Keidel and Undercover Strike were the first to take a shot at the leader and they were head-to-head with Body Of Work at the three quarters in 1:27.4, as the trailing horses began to move at the leaders. Undercover Strike gained command off the final turn and although the gelding appeared to be home free Troyer's trotter came with a rush in the final strides to collar Keidel's charge and get the final call. Despite a covered trip the entire mile Sterling Bodica, and driver Steve "You're Never Too"Oldford, had to settle for third place just a length behind the top two finishers. The race winner, Ubanji, is in America as a result of a international promotion last year by NAADA. Now owned by his driver and trained by John Wengerd the altered son of French sire, Jag De Bellouet, returned a $23.20 win mutuel. The Billings Series will move on to the Meadowlands on Saturday night then to Flamboro Downs on Sunday, and to Woodbine Mohawk on Monday.   by John Manzi for the Billings Series    

LEBANON, OH - The two headliners, Atlanta and Shartin N, put on quite a show on closing day at Miami Valley Raceway, dominating their respective $100,000 Grand Circuit harness racing tests. Atlanta was first up in the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares. Last year's Hambletonian winner, making her first start for new trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras, showed her heels to a compact field from start to finish, stopping the teletimer in 1:50.4-a national season's mark for trotting mares on a five-eighths mile track. Weslynn Dancer (Matt Kakaley) rallied from last at the halfway juncture to finish second, while Custom Cantab (Peter Wrenn) grabbed the show dough. Atlanta, a daughter of Chapter Seven won for the 13th time and increased her earnings to $1,240,689 with the 7-3/4 lengths triumph. She is owned by Crawford Farms, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor. "I never had an anxious moment," exclaimed Gingras in the winner's circle. "You can drive her with two fingers and she likes her work. When you ask her for a little more she does it willingly." Gingras in the winner's circle "It's an honor to welcome a Hambletonian into your barn," smile Burke. "She has done everything right training down. She has all the special characteristics of a special horse!" When asked what's next for Atlanta, Burke revealed that she may very well be headed to Stockholm, Sweden for the world renowned Elitlopp for her next stop. The $100,000 Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial Grand Circuit Pace was captured by Shartin N for the second consecutive year, beating Medusa (Gingras) and Baron Remy (Kakaley). Her gate-to-wire 1:49.4 score was just a fifth of a second off her Miami Valley track record set in the 2018 edition. Owned by Richard Poillucci, JoAnn Looney-King (wife of trainer Jim King Jr.) and driver Tim Tetrick, Shartin N now boasts 31 wins in 43 trips to post and earnings of $1,498,853. Shartin N Brett Miller was congratulated by Racing Operatiions Manager Helen Carlo and Race Secretary Gregg Keidel after capturing his first dash title in Ohio since returning from a prolonged East Coast stay Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Dayson (Chris Page) captured the final Open Trot of the Miami Valley harness racing season on a sunny Sunday afternoon (May 5), scorching the lightning fast five-eighths mile oval in 1:53.3. Page pressed the million dollar winning favorite confidently and unhurriedly towards the front, gaining the point well after the original pacesetter Moonshiner Hanover (Brett Miller) reached the :27.4 first quarter beam. It was the 30th lifetime win for Dayson, a 6-year-old altered son of Conway Hall, from just 61 career starts. Part of the powerful Ron Burke Brigade, Dayson extended his win streak to six, four at The Meadows before relocating to Ohio and Miami Valley for his most recent pair of successes. Full Surge (Tony Hall) trotted a huge mile to finish a closing second, while Moonshiner Hanover hung on for third. The Monday (May 6) matinee will close out the 2019 Miami Valley meet which started back on January 4. A pair of $100,000 Grand Circuit events for older mares will highlight the season finale. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, makes her first start of the year in the Miami Valley Distaff; while superstar Shartin N will be favored in the Sam 'Chip' Noble III Memorial-a race she won last year in 1:49.3, still the fastest mile by a mare in the six year history of Miami Valley. The Grand Circuit features are carded as races 8 and 10 on a 14-race program. First race post time is 2:05 p.m.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - A total of eleven $17,500 divisions of harness racing sophomore pacing and trotting colts went postward in Buckeye Stallion Series action on Saturday night (May 4) at Miami Valley Raceway. A multitude of different owners, trainers and drivers shared in the total purses of $192,500 allocated to the first leg of the popular series. Ten different drivers won one of the eleven heats, with Jeremy Smith notching the only double. On the training side, ten different stable were victorious, with the only double belonging to Steve Carter. Pacing winners were Sweet Cruiser (driver Chris Page, 1:54.2, $4.40 win mutuel), Shamma Lamma (Peter Wrenn, 1:52.3, $3.40), B Like Cruiser (Brett Miller, 1:52.3, $2.80), Yankee Boots (Dan Noble, 1:53.3, $3.20) and Rock N Randy V (Jeremy Smith, 1:52.3, $3.00). B Like Cruiser Squaregaiters who reached the winner's circle were More Than Miles (Jeremy Smith, 1:58.1, $18.60), Forget It Im Crazy (Kayne Kauffman, 1:57.4, $6.00), TC's Best (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., 1:56.3, $4.20), Homer Hall (Jason Brewer, 1:57.2, $2.80), Peter's Express (Sandy Beatty, 1:58.2, $83.40) and Colonel Sam (Kyle Ater, 1:57.2, $4.20). TC's Best The final Saturday night $25,000 Open I Handicap Pace of the meet was also staged with Dancin Yankee (Page) topping My Hero Ron (Noble) and Mykindachip (Mike Wilder) in 1:51. It was the 74th career win for the 11-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser who continues to inch closer to the $2 million overall earnings plateau with every start. Dancin Yankee, a multiple past winner of Ohio Horse Of The Year honors is owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC. Miami Valley will bring the curtain down on its 2019 season with 2:05 p.m. matinees on Sunday (May 5) and Monday (May 6). The Sunday program will feature three $40,000 first leg divisions of trotting colts in Ohio Sires Stakes showdowns; coupled with a pair of $50,000 divisions for the Buckeye State's best pacing colts. Closing day should be quite special as Miami Valley presents a pair of $100,000 Grand Circuit events headlined by Atlanta, last year's Hambletonian winner, making her first seasonal start in the Miami Valley Distaff; and Shartin N returning to the Ohio five-eighths mile oval as defending champion of the Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial, in which she established a distaff track record of 1:49.3 in the 2018 edition. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The 2019 Buckeye Stallion Series launched on Wednesday afternoon (May 1) with nine $17,500 harness racing divisions of Buckeye-bred sophomore fillies, five paces and four trots. This first leg action was the first of four preliminary sessions at Miami Valley, Scioto Downs, Northfield Park and the Delaware (OH) county fair-all leading up to the finals for $60,000 purses at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Sunday, September 29. Pacing winners were Heythere Lisamarie (Brett Miller, 1:54.4, $3.80 to win), Officially My Way (Jason Thompson, 1:53.4, $5.60), Rocl Me Cristal (Cameron McCown, 1:53.3, $14.20), Slymar's Dragon (Mark Evers, 1:53.3, $6.80) and Rocking Zoe (Kayne Kauffman, 1:54.4, $11.80). Trotters reaching the winner's circle were Ms Toni (Josh Sutton, 1:56.3, $4.60), Caterina Hall (Brett Miller, 1:56.1, $4.80), Twentyfour K Magic (Chris Page, 1:56.4, $15.00) and Sarafina AS (Elliott Deaton, 1:56.4, $23.40). Caterina Hall was the quickest winner in Buckeye Stallion Series action at Miami Valley on Wednesday. (Conrad photo) The Buckeye Stallion Series returns to Miami Valley on Saturday night (May 4) with eleven divisions for three-year-old pacing and trotting colts. Post time is 7:05 p.m., one hour later than normal due to the Kentucky Derby.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Millionaires Atlanta and Shartin N, arguably the finest active female trotter and pacer on the planet, are headed to Miami Valley Raceway for a pair of harness racing $100,000 Grand Circuit races on Monday afternoon, May 6. The closing day features have been carded as races eight and ten on the 14-race program which begins at 2:05 p.m. Atlanta, last year's Hambletonian winner, will be making her initial 2019 start after an impressive 1:52.3 qualifier at The Meadowlands in her first effort for new trainer Ron Burke. Yannick Gingras, who qualified Atlanta without trotting hopples for the first time, will be following the daughter of Chapter Seven-who has earned $1,140,689 in her career-to Ohio for her first seasonal test. The likely odds-on favorite is owned by Crawford Farms, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor. A quartet of accomplished challengers will go postward, all inside of Atlanta on the starting gate in the Miami Valley Distaff. Custom Cantab (Peter Wrenn) was a winner of 13 out of 17 starts in 2018, including the Matron Stake at Dover, earning over half a million dollars for trainer Chris Beaver. The three others have each won three races already this season. Weslynn Dancer (Matt Kakaley) recently won the Open Trot at Yonkers, Churita (Trace Tetrick) is three-for-three at Hoosier Park to open her year, boosting her career earnings to $924,225. Red Rose Swan (LeWayne Miller) already has three wins and four place finishes in seven trips to post this year, including capturing the prestigious Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial Series championship at Miami Valley. Shartin N is the defending champion of the Sam 'Chip' Noble III Memorial, having captured the 2018 edition in 1:49.3-still the fastest mile by a distaff pacer in the six year history of Miami Valley. Co-owner Tim Tetrick will be in the bike for partners Richard Poillucci and JoAnn Looney-King, the wife of trainer Jim King Jr. The six-year-old New Zealand bred mare won 19 of 24 races last season, including most every marquee event for the division. The reigning Breeders Crown champion and runnerup to McWicked for Horse Of The Year laurels has won four of five times in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers, including the $402,600 final, to kick off her 2019 campaign. Her lifetime bounty has reached $1,393,853. Tim Tetrick and Jim King Main competition is likely to come from Baron Remy (Chris Page), who captured the $275,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship at Scioto Downs as well as the Courageous Lady at Northfield Park in her 2018 sophomore season. Shartin N stablemate Bettor Joy N (Trace Tetrick), who finished second in the Blue Chip finale, will also pose a threat; while $918,093 winning Medusa (Gingras) and Always Giggling (Brett Miller) are also formidable foes. The Noble Memorial pays homage to the memory of one of Ohio's finest-ever horsemen, Chip Noble from nearby Xenia, who passed away shortly before Miami Valley Raceway opened its doors in 2014. Gregg Keidel  

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