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LEBANON, OH. – Miami Valley Raceway ended its 87 card harness racing 2018 meet on Monday (May 7) with higher average daily handle for the fifth consecutive year and the highest purse distribution (over $14 million) in its brief history. Leading driver was Dan Noble with 176 wins, overcoming defending champion Trace Tetrick (149) in the final month.  Other top reinsmen during the meet were Chris Page (110), Jeremy Smith (99), Tyler Smith (96) and Kayne Kauffman (93).  All six leading drivers eclipsed $1 million in purse earnings by the horses they drove. On the training side, veteran Ohio Hall Of Fame conditioner Dan Ater garnered his first MVR title by a single victory, 39-38) over Nicole Stewart.  With a UTRS of .304, Ater’s barn earned $520,932 for the session.  Next in the standings were Tyler George, Bill Dailey, Jeff Brewer and Dan Noble.   A total of 13 trainer stables earned over $200,000 at Miami Valley in 2018, while an additional 23 surpassed the $100,000 earnings plateau. Miami Valley Raceway congratulates the winners and says thanks to all the 2018 participants that contributed so much to a very successful meet. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway brought the curtain down on its fifth and most successful season on Monday (May 7). The highlights of the final harness racing card of 2018 were a pair of Grand Circuit events that both established national season's marks over a five-eighths mile track. Barn Girl (Aaron Merriman) copped the extremely competitive $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares, wearing down Churita (Trace Tetrick) in 1:52.4 despite a grueling first-over trip. The 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall, who has now won exactly half of her lifetime starts (48 wins in 96 tries), allowed Churita to lead the talented field past the :26.3 quarter but was out and rolling before the :55.1 halfway point. Up to the leader's wheel at the 1:24 three-quarters and around the final turn, Barn Girl dug deep in the stretch to establish the new national season's standard. "She is a very gritty mare," exclaimed Merriman in the winner's circle. An elated trainer Bill Bercury and his wife-owner Renee were ecstatic. "She never disappoints," explained Bill. "I get butterflies before every race," beam Renee, "but she always comes through!" The 1:52.4 clocking was also a new lifetime mark for Barn Girl, whose best previous win was in 1:53. The super sharp Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) captured the $102,200 Sam "Chip" Noble Memorial Pace in a blistering 1:49.3, a stakes record, a track record and a national season's mark for the division (older mares). The 5-year-old New Zealand-bred lass has captured 9 of 11 races in 2018, including three legs and the final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers. Despite starting from the two-hole, Tetrick allowed the dust to settle in front of him before making the popular "quarter move" from fifth to first just after the initial timing station. The Jim King Jr. trained winner glided effortlessly along after reaching the front, widening the margin on the field from one length at the half to three lengths at the three-quarters. With just mild urging Tetrick guided Shartin N through the wire with longshot Medusa (Tony Hall) rallying for second and Blue Moon Stride (Corey Callahan) garnering the show dough. A total of seven $15,000 divisions of Buckeye Stallion Series first leg action was also featured on Miami Valley's closing card. Winning 3-year-old filly trotters were Infrontandforgetit (Kayne Kauffman, 1:57.3), Bugs MVP (Aaron Merriman, 1:58.3) and Momentsoffire (Tyler Smith, 1:57.4). Sophomore filly pacers who reached the winners enclosure were Osborne's Ellie (Tyler Smith, 1:54), Crosswind Butercup (Kyle Ater, 1:55.4), Velocity Gretchen (Mark Evers, 1:53.4) and Our Miss Reese (Sandy Beatty, 1:54.2). Leading driver and trainer awards for the 2018 meet were won by Dan Noble and Dan Ater, respectively. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - My Hero Ron completed a highly successful 2018 meet at Miami Valley Raceway with a 1:51 score in the final Saturday night harness racing feature, the $24,000 Open I Pace. Although the 6-year-old son of Well Said won just four races, and had to endure a five-week state-imposed quarantine at his training center, he still banked $84,000 in his 13 starts since January 6-all at Miami Valley. He also had a half dozen runnerup finishes competing against the best pacers in Ohio throughout the meet. Driver Tyler Smith had to use My Hero Ron hard to gain control of the race following a :26.1 opening quarter mile. Following a short breather to the :55 halfway station, the winner faced a stiff challenge from Stuckey Dote (Kyle Ater) while still holding sway at the 1:22.2 three-quarter mile marker. A :28.3 final split was enough to hold off longshot pocket sitter Feelnlikearockstar (Aaron Merriman) with My Buddy Ninkster (Josh Sutton) securing the show dough. Dan Dubeansky trains My Hero Ron for owners Brian Witt and Cory Atley. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Eighteen of the finest older trotting and pacing mares in North America will descend on Miami Valley Raceway Monday afternoon (May 7). They will compete in a pair of Grand Circuit races that will highlight Closing Day of the highly successful 87 program 2018 meet, during which over $14 million was distributed in purses. The contestants in the $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff Trot and the $102,200 Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial Pace have combined for 424 wins in their careers, good for $12,288,695 in earnings. Those figures average out to 23.55 victories and $682,705 earnings per entrant. Charmed Life (Chris Page-listed driver) has been given the ever-so-slight 5-2 morning line nod in the extremely competitive mare trot. Others who could just as easily become the "off-time" favorite are Barn Girl (3-1, Aaron Merriman), Churita (7-2, Trace Tetrick) or Rose Run Sydney (9-2, Jason Brewer). The remainder of the field consists of Ice Attraction (6-1, Merriman), Caprice Hill (8-1, Yannick Gingras), Barn Bella (10-1 due to the outside post, Jeff Gregory), Sandys Victory (15-1, Kyle Ater) and Consolidator (20-1, TBA). Shartin N (Tim Tetrick), who captured the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker final in her last outing, will open as the 2-1 morning line choice in the Noble Memorial pace. Blue Moon Stride (3-1, Corey Callahan) and Apple Bottom Jeans (4-1, Victor Kirby) also enter the race off impressive winning efforts in their last races at The Meadowlands. The remaining hopefuls are L A Delight (6-1, Yannick Gingras), Lakeisha Hall (8-1, Chris Page), Ontario Sires sophomore champion The Joy L:uck Club (10-1 from an outside post, Doug McNair), Medusa (12-1, Tony Hall), Juslikeaqueen (15-1, Jeremy Smith) and Safe From Terror (20-1, Aaron Merriman). With just four cards left in the Miami Valley season, the excitement over Closing Weekend is building. The Friday night and Sunday afternoon programs will feature a dozen divisions of first leg Ohio Sires Stakes action for three-year-olds. The Saturday and Monday slates include 18 $15,000 divisions of first round Buckeye Stallion Series competition. The Friday night post time is 6:05 pm, Saturday is 7:05 (an hour later in deference to the Kentucky Derby), while both Sunday and Monday matinees will commence at 2:05.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – Elmo Blatch secured his spot as the winningest harness racing horse at the current Miami Valley Raceway meet on Sunday afternoon (April 29) by winning for the eighth time during the four month session, which is about to close on Monday, May 7.  After sweeping the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial series for non-winners of four pari-mutuels and then the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial series for non-winners of six pari-mutuel races earlier in the meet Elmo Blatch was forced to go directly to the Open ranks and he upset the talented field of the region’s finest trotters in just his second try. Dispatched at 15-1 odds, driver Tylor Lough left alertly from an inside post allowing only Rose Run Sydney (Jason Brewer) to cross over in front of him before reaching the :27 first quarter.  Content to sit in the pocket until the head of the stretch, Lough watched as first Another Breath (Chris Lems) and then eventual show finisher Walter White (Dan Noble)  challenged the frontrunner as they passed the half in :56 and the three-quarters in 1:24.3.  When that pair tired coming out of the final turn, Elmo Blatch pounced from the pocket and wore down a stubborn Rose Run Sydney in 1:53.3.  Backers of the upstart 5-year-old son of Andover Hall were rewarded with a $33.80 win mutuel. The exacta was a handsome $244.00. Lough’s father David owns Elmo Blatch, who he discovered late in 2017 readying to become an Amish  buggy horse. The jubilant winner’s circle photo included David and his wife Amy, Tylor’s significant other Casey and the couple’s infant daughter Kendra. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – A pair of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals for the finest harness racing 3-year-old pacers and trotters in Ohio were supposed to share the spotlight at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night (April 28).  While neither race disappointed, with two of the Buckeye state’s best sophomores displaying awesome speed, an all time-all age track record 1:49 performance in the $23,000 Open I Pace shared the limelight. It wasn’t just the horses putting on a tremendous show, either, as leading driver Dan Noble visited the winner’s circle seven times on the special Saturday program. Defending Ohio Sires Stakes freshman colt trotting champion Mission Accepted, who captured four of seven races including the final at two, broke the track record for the division in his first outing of 2018.  His 1:54.3 clocking is also the fastest in North America for a 3-year-old trotting colt thus far this year. Trainer Jeff Conger used two qualifiers at his home base of Northfield Park to prep his outstanding son of Manofmanymissions for the Scarlet & Gray. Despite a few anxious moments early, when eventual runnerup Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) didn’t relinquish the front end until past the :29.2 opening quarter, driver Ryan Stahl guided Mission Accepted through subsequent splits of :58 and 1:26.2 before sealing the deal with a :28.1 closing panel. The 3-1/4 length victory pushed the winner’s lifetime earnings to $215,800 in just eight trips to post. Sultan Of Cash held for second with longshot MVP Luke (Dan Noble) rallying for show. Veteran trainer Jeff Conger, particularly adept at developing young trotters, shares ownership of Mission Accepted with Knox Services Inc. and David Wills. Rockathon (Dan Noble) pulled a mild upset in the Scarlet & Gray colt pacing division, triumphing in 1:51.3 for a new personal best. Dragonology (Chris Page) was second and Hackett Memorial winner Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith) third after the three heavyweights slugged it out through the stretch. Rockathon moved to the front just past the :27.4 first quarter, then controlled the throttle through middle fractions of :55 and 1:24.1.  The son of Pet Rock is owned by Carl and Melanie Atley in partnership with trainer Bill Dailey’s wife Kimberly.  His bounty in his young career surpassed $155,000 with five wins in his first 13 starts. A packed grandstand at Miami Valley was buzzing as the fractions in the Open I were being posted for Nuclear Dragon, getting louder at each impressive split as announcer Barry Vicroy spit them out: 25.4, :53.1 and 1:20.2. The buzz turned into a roar as the 1:49 track record flashed up on the toteboard. In addition to being the fastest mile ever at Miami Valley, the clocking is currently the quickest over a five-eighths mile oval thus far in 2018. Nuclear Dragon, a 6-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding with red-hot Dan Noble in the sulky, was taking no prisoners on this occasion. With favored My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) leaving alertly from the rail, the pair sped past the first quarter station before Noble gained front-end clearance. From that point on the winner inched further and further ahead before sailing to the wire three lengths ahead. My Hero Ron raced gamely to hold second with Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) rallying from sixth at the three-quarters to earn a third place finish. Nuclear Dragon is trained by Jeff Johnson Jr. for owner Richard Mishkin. With the win, he eclipsed the $200,000 earnings plateau. Earlier in the evening, Bettor Than You (Josh Sutton) copped the $20,000 Open II Pace in 1:52.3, topping E Z Noah (Kayne Kauffman) and Lyons Jimmydean (Tyler Smith).  Trainer Steve Carter owns the 8-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding with partners Peggy Carter, Sheila Hummel and J. Beard. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals, featuring harness racing Buckeye-bred sophomore filly trotters and pacers, both produced Miami Valley Raceway track records - as well as national season's marks! Looking For Zelda (Tony Hall) captured the trotting division in 1:55.2, topping Red Storm (Aaron Merriman) by three parts of a length with Sesame (Chris Page) another half length behind. Hall was content to get away fifth with the winner of $228,675 at two as the daughter of Break The Bank K was making her initial 2018 start off two winning qualifiers. Trainer Norm Parker had Looking For Zelda ready to roll, though, and Hall drove her confidently. After a :28.2 opening panel posted by Non Smoker (Dan Noble), Hall vacated the pylons just prior to the :57.2 half and moved up in first-over position to second by the 1:26.3 third timing station. A stride-for-stride showdown ensued for most of the final quarter until Looking For Zelda edged ahead in the final 50 yards. "She's a nice one," exclaimed a jubilant Parker. "She won all four legs of the Ohio Sires Stakes last year before finishing second in the final. She won Grand Circuit stakes at Harrahs and The Red Mile and raced in the Breeders Crown at two, so we think a lot of her. I'm happy for Mr. Key (owner Robert J. Key)." The $50,000 filly pace went to Baron Remy (Chris Page) in a 1:52 track record, which is also the fastest mile by a sophomore filly pacer on a five-eighths mile track thus far in 2018. Page executed a quarter move from third to the lead just past the opening panel and held off all challengers to win by 2-3/4 lengths. Hackett Memorial winner Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) enjoyed a pocket trip throughout, but could do no better than second. Grant Me This (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) rallied in the stretch to grab the show dough. "Pretty darn nice filly," Page explained in the winner's circle. "Ronnie (Burke) always has them ready so I was sure she would put in a big effort and she did." Silva, Purnel & Libby, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi are all partners on the daughter of Yankee Cruiser with Burke Racing Stable. It is expected that both Scarlet & Gray winners will be back at Miami Valley next Friday night (May 4) when the first leg of the 2018 Ohio Sires Stakes program kicks off with the 3-year-old fillies action. A $25,000 Mares Open was also presented with Rockin Racer (Jared Finn) besting Cas Art Apparel (Josh Sutton) and Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith) in 1:52.3. The "boys" will be in action Saturday night (April 28) with another pair of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals as well as Open I and Open II events for the region's finest older pacers. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The fields are set for a quartet of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational races at Miami Valley Raceway this coming weekend. Many of the very best harness racing Ohio-sired 3-year-olds, divided by sex and gait, will be squaring off with the fillies going postward on Friday night and the colts on Saturday. All four Ohio Sires Stakes 2-year-old champions accepted invitations to take on the top three finishers in the recently-completed James K. Hackett Memorial championships as well as other sophomore pacers and trotters in fine recent form. The trotting fillies contingent includes returning O.S.S. champ Impinktoo, freshman Grand Circuit winner Looking For Zelda, and the trio of Hackett finalists that finished a neck apart at the wire-Red Storm, Spunky Bottom Girl and Non Smoker. Impinktoo, a half-sister to Pinkman, has earned $170,790 in her young career-the majority coming as the winner's share of the $250,000 O.S.S. final in September. Looking For Zelda entered that final undefeated in the four preliminary legs, but settled for runnerup in the most lucrative tilt before returning to winner's circles in the Simpson Stake and the International Stallion Stake. She banked $228,675 in her freshman season. Red Storm was ultra impressive in sweeping her elimination and the final of the Hackett, but Spunky Bottom Girl and Non Smoker came from far back in the early going to make the final into a thrilling stretch drive with a photo finish. Upset minded Sesame, Kellie's MVP and Tickle My Fancy will round out the field in the evening's 8th race. Two races later the pacing fillies will face the gate with defending O.S.S. champ Bad Girls Rule and 2017 Ohio Breeders Championship winner Baron Remy squaring off against seven rivals. Bad Girls Rule, who has already made $182,566 in bank deposits, found tough sledding in her initial 2018 start when she was parked out well past the quarter pole and failed to advance to the final, although still beat only 2-1/2 lengths. With any check in the Scarlet & Gray Baron Remy will eclipse the $100,000 earnings plateau. It is quite possible, however, that Hackett winner Up Front Flor Ida may be sent off as the betting favorite in this race. Although she has just four wins in ten starts thus far, her 1:52.4 clocking in the Hackett final established a new Miami Valley track record for sophomore pacing fillies. Second and third place finishers Kay Again and Big Bad Goldie both paced in 1:53, which would have equaled the old standard. The elite grouping for this $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational also includes Grant Me This, Ask Me If I Care, Auntmilly'smartini and Just Zip It, each capable of an upset. On Saturday night, the trotting colts division will feature the return to the races of Mission Accepted, the 2-year-old champion who earned $190,800, off a pair of impressive qualifiers. He will need to be in fine form to fend off Hackett champion Pass The Vape, who lead Sultan Of Cash and Sand Cash to the wire in 1:57.3 in the recent final. Mission Accepted was also an Ohio Breeders Championship divisional winner at Delaware last Fall, as was Sultan Of Cash. Pass The Vape won two out of four races as a 2-year-old, both after breaking stride at county fairs. He has been flawless in sweeping an elimination and the final of his Hackett in his first two 2018 efforts. Banker Twentyfive, MVP Luke, In My Dreams, Countthebenjamins and Doc Mossies Legacy are all eager to "tackle the big boys," and prove that they can go with them-maybe even prove that they are one of them in this race. In what MVG handicapper Pacey (The Wizard) Mindlin has called "The Race Of The Meet," Ohio's best pacing colts will congregate for Saturday's 12th race. Freshman champ Seeing Eye Single enters off a single impressive 1:51.4 qualifier at The Meadowlands. His $209,355 bankroll is tops in the field, but Rockathon has earned $131,212 and won a condition race last Saturday in 1:51.4. The top three Hackett final finishers will also have much to say about the outcome of this showdown. Sectionline Bigry has won four of five early in 2018 and scored from the 8-hole in 1:51.1 in the Hackett. Bounding Dragon was lapped on to the winner at the wire and show finisher Dragonology wasn't far behind. Upset minded in this $50,000 fray will be Rockn Motion, Stark Hanover, Harambe Deo and Oberlin. The Scarlet & Gray Invitationals, the latest innovation at Miami Valley, allows Ohio bred horses the ability to race for lucrative purses three straight times early in the year as well as close out the MVG meet in style. Last week the best Buckeye breds raced for $40,000 in the Hackett, this week $50,000 in the Scarlet & Gray, and next weekend $40,000 or more in the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Sectionline Bigry continued his winning ways Saturday night (April 21) at Miami Valley by capturing the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial harness racing championship for sophomore Ohio-sired pacing colts in a quick 1:51.1. The son of Pet Rock has now triumphed in four of his first five seasonal starts following a freshman campaign in which he won just one of ten while earning $41,479. "He had some bad posts, some bad luck and minor sickness problems that plagued him last year," said trainer Steve Bauder. "But he has filled out nicely while turned out and been razor sharp since we brought him back in. There's obviously going to be a lot of real nice Ohio 3-year-olds this year, but he is the sixth good horse his dam (Aquatic Yankee) has produced so he has a pedigree to continue improving." With the win, Sectionline Bigry got an automatic invitation to next Saturday's $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational at Miami Valley, then he plans to return for the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes series at MVG on Sunday, May 6. Runnerup Bounding Dragon (Josh Sutton) and show finisher Dragonology (Chris Page) are expected to follow a similar path. Rockathon (Dan Noble), last year's O.S.S. runnerup who made an unfortunate break in stride during his Hackett elimination, recovered nicely on Saturday night as well, winning a conditioned race in 1:51.4 and could be Scarlet & Gray bound. Bauder trains the Hackett champion for his uncle and cousin, Harold Lee and Harold L. Bauder. A $23,000 Open I Pace on the same program produced a major upset when My Buddy Ninkster (Josh Sutton) topped odds-on favorite My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) in 1:50.2. Bob Phillips, who recorded his 1,000th training win since 1996 (when the USTA began keeping trainer statistics) on Friday at MVG, conditions the 6-year-old son of Dali for John Jr. and Mary Krasnican. Nuclear Dragon (Chris Page) made his first jump into Open company a creditable one with a third place finish. The $20,000 Open II Pace went to Escape The News (Tyler Smith), who topped Totally Kissed (Peter Wrenn) and Dalhousie Dave (Kyle Ater) in 1:50. Tyler George trains the 9-year-old winner for Clifford Grundy. The son of Artiscape is approaching $900,000 in career earnings. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Pass The Vape passed his first major test of his sophomore season on Tuesday afternoon (April 17), capturing the $40,000 championship leg of the first-ever James K. Hackett Memorial for Ohio-sired harness racing 3-year-old colt trotters. Started in 1971 at Lebanon Raceway, the Hackett Memorials have featured the Buckeye state's best juvenile pacers for 4-1/2 decades, but the trotters weren't added until 2018 by Miami Valley Raceway. Driver-trainer Derek Watiker popped the pocket at the head of the lane to trot home a 1:55.1 winner in his $15,000 Hackett elimination a week ago, but decided to take no prisoners in the final. Leaving strongly from the 7-hole, the son of Dejarmbro encountered only limited resistance while cutting modest fractions enroute to a 1:57.3 triumph. Pass The Vape held favored Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), the other elimination winner, at bay by 1-1/2 lengths to score his fourth career win in just six lifetime starts. In his two wins as a 2-year-old, both at Ohio county fairs, the excitable colt overcame breaks in stride to still win. The next big test for Pass The Vape will be in the $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational at Miami Valley on Saturday (April 28). Sultan Of Cash and third place finisher Sand Cash (Chris Page) also stamped themselves automatic invitations to Miami Valley's newest innovation, four lucrative Scarlet & Gray races sandwiched between the Hackett championships and the first leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes season on MVG's closing weekend. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Red Storm, dispatched as the betting favorite based on an impressive elimination win last week and an inside post draw, prevailed in the first-ever $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship for Ohio-sired harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies held at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (April 16). Although the Hackett Memorial is one of the longest continuous events in Ohio harness racing, pre-dating even the Ohio Sires Stakes when it started in 1971, it has always featured pacers only until this year. Most of the best sophomore trotting colts in the Buckeye state will assemble Tuesday (April 17) afternoon for their $40,000 final. Red Storm withstood not only the challenge of a talented field of finalists-the top four finishers all got the identical time with a scant neck separating each one at the wire-but also the elements as a sudden snow squall accompanied by high winds descended on the track minutes before post time. Impinktoo , last year's 2-year-old Ohio Sires Stakes champion, was first away from the gate for driver Peter Wrenn, reaching the quarter mile station in :28.3. After she got a relative breather to the :57.4 halfway point, Red Storm (Aaron Merriman) made a bold brush to the front before the three-quarters was reached in 1:26.2. As the field fanned out coming off the final bend, a thrilling cavalry charge ensued to the finish line. Longshot Spunky Bottom Girl (Tyler Smith) got up for second followed by Non Smoker (Dan Noble) and California Love (Trace Tetrick). All four fillies were timed in 1:57.4. Sandra Burnett bred and is still the owner of Red Storm, who banked $109,975 in 2017 on the basis of a 3-2-1 scorecard in just seven starts. The chestnut daughter of Stormin Normand has learned all her early lessons from highly regarded trotting trainer Chris Beaver. The top three finishers in each Hackett final, as well as the defending Ohio Sires Stakes freshman champion (if qualified), receive automatic bids to one of the four $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals that Miami Valley will present on Friday, April 27 (fillies) and Saturday, April 28 (colts). Other owners and trainers with good Ohio-breds worthy of consideration should contact Race Secretary Gregg Keidel or enter online in hopes of receiving an invitation to take one of the remaining spots on the Scarlet & Gray starting gate. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Walter White not only stepped back into the Open trotting ranks on Sunday afternoon (April 15) at Miami Valley, but he stepped right to the head of the harness racing class. The 6-year-old son of Cantab Hall took advantage of an inside post draw which resulted in a close-up ground-saving journey and a tiring rain-soaked racing surface that took its toll on frontstepping Ladys Dude and made it difficult for other closers. With new driver Dan Noble at the controls, Walter White found room to split rivals in deep stretch and garner the winner's share of the $25,000 Open Trot purse in 1:55.1. Another Breath (Chris Lems) was the runnerup with longshot Jesse's Promise (Aaron Merriman) rallying for a show finish. Elmo Blatch (Tylor Lough), who entered the Open for the first time with a seven-race win streak, responded with a valiant first-over effort-actually getting a neck lead in midstretch-before fading to fourth. Lady's Dude held on for the final check in the nine-horse field. Walter White was the fourth consecutive different Open Trot winner at Miami Valley. Jim Eaton trains the winner for Robert Silberberg. Walter White now owns 19 lifetime wins and has earned $422,071. Miami Valley will present a Monday (April 16) matinee at 2:05 p.m. featuring the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial series championship for Ohio-sired 3-year-old trotting fillies. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway presented the $24,000 annual Craig Colston Memorial Open Pace on Saturday (April 14) honoring the memory of one of old Lebanon Raceway's staunchest harness racing supporters. When the winner, Night Pro, returned to the winner's circle he was surrounded by about 40 of Colston's family and friends. Owner-trainer-driver Dale Decker reverted to "catch me if you can" tactics for this victory, following a failed effort to win from behind last week. Night Pro had to work hard to secure the front in a :26 flat opening panel, but was able to throttle back to a :54.3 half before being pressured. The intact 8-year-old son of Pro Bono Best-out of the fantastic former race mare Midnight Jewel-continued to show the way to the 1:23 three quarters station, then tacked on a :28.4 final split to hold off all challengers in 1:51.4. Longshot Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) took full advantage of the innermost post position and a pocket ride throughout to gain runnerup laurels, while My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) rallied from last in the full field down the backstretch to grab the show dough. Co-featured on the Saturday card were a pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett eliminations for some of Ohio's finest 3-year-old colt pacers. Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith), who set the 1:51 track record for the age and sex in his last start, overcame an outside post to score a 1:51.3 tally over Bounding Dragon (Josh Sutton) and Bus Ninethirtysix (Chris Page). Also advancing to the $40,000 championship were fourth place finishers Oberlin (Kyle Ater) and Gotarockinmypocket (Peter Wrenn) on the merits of the quickest fifth place finish in the two eliminations. Harold Lee and Harold L. Bauder of Delaware, Ohio bred and still own the winning son of Pet Rock out of their prize broodmare Aquatic Yankee. Steve Bauder is trainer. Dragonology (Chris Page) from the Brian Brown Stable proved best in the second split, topping fellow championship qualifiers Stark Hanover (Josh Sutton), In Trouble Again (Jeff Nisonger) and Harambe Deo (Kayne Kauffman). The son of Dragon Again earned $75,000 as a freshman, including a third place finish in the $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship and a victory in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware. It was the first start of the promising colt's sophomore season for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and AWS Stables. The fields are now set for all four $50,000 Hackett Memorial finals next week. The 3-year-old trotting fillies will go postward on Monday (April 16) with the trotting colts vying for supremacy on Tuesday (April 17). It will be the sophomore pacing fillies contesting their final on Friday (April 20) and the pacing colts completing the annual Hackett series on Saturday (April 21). Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – The photo finish operator at Miami Valley had a busy night on Friday (April 13) as thrilling close finishes were the order of the day, including the three featured harness racing events.  A pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett Memorial elimination heats produced crowded photo finishes as did the $24,000 Mares Open Pace. Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) pulled a major upset in the initial Hackett elim, nosing out Filou Fly Fast (Chris Page) and Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) in 1:53.4.  Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder), who lead the field to the first quarter pole in :28, also qualified for the $40,000 Hackett championship next Saturday with a fourth place finish.  The top seven fillies in the ten-horse field were within 1-1/4 lengths at the wire.  The winner, a daughter of Woodstock who had just two wins and $15,824 in freshman earnings, paid $46.00.  Up Front Flor Ida is trained by Tim McKoy for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy. The second Hackett elim went to favored Kay Again (Chris Page), who won by 1-1/4 lengths and paid $3.20.  It took the camera to separate the next four finishers, however, as they were all noses apart.  Also advancing to the final were Grant Me This (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Badlilvelocity (Aaron Merriman), Auntmilly’smartini (Rocky Ward) and fastest fifth place finisher Merciless (Tyler Smith).  Kay Again also had just two wins, good for $45,190 in earnings, heading into the Hackett but now must be considered one of the favorites in a very competitive and evenly matched championship field.  The daughter of Dragon Again is owned by Alan Keith and trained by Mike Roth. The lucrative Mares Open Handicap was not to be outdone, producing another exciting photo finish.  American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) eeked out a mild upset over Colorful Sky (Aaron Merriman), Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) and Rockin Racer (Jared Finn)—all of which “you could cover ‘em with a blanket” at the finish line. It was the third seasonal win for American Girl, although she hadn’t visited the win circle in two months.  She paid $16.40 for topping the elite field with over $2.5 million in career earnings.  The 9-year-old Art’s Chip lass now has 49 career victories and $913,160 in life bounty for owners Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt.  Trainer Tyler George manages her daily routine. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – A pair of $15,000 eliminations in the James K. Hackett Memorial division for trotting colts and a milestone accomplishment by harness racing driver Chris Page were highlights of the Tuesday (April 10) matinee card at Miami Valley Raceway. Pass The Vape (Derek Watiker) was ultra-impressive in the first Hackett elim, crushing a field of 3-year-old Ohio-sired colts in 1:55.1.  With just a pair of qualifiers under his girth, the son of Dejarmbro—with just four starts and $6,169 in earnings as a 2-year-old—turned a two-hole trip into a dominating 3-1/4 length romp over Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Banker Twentyfive (Trace Tetrick).  Also qualifying for next Tuesday’s $40,000 championship were fourth-place finisher In My Dreams (Sandy Beatty) and fifth-place finisher Bealot (Cameron McCown). Pass The Vape is a homebred owned by Lionel Watiker, whose son was in the sulky.  Dispatched at 18-1  in a field that included two Ohio Sires Stakes 2-year-old finalists and a colt with Grand Circuit experience as a freshman, the winner paid $38.20.  His initial 2018 performance will likely make him the favorite with a decent post draw in next Tuesday’s final. Sand Cash, a recent acquisition by the Ron Burke Stable, won the second split in 1:56.4. Driver Chris Page rushed the son of Cash Hall to the front, briefly relinquished the lead to eventual runnerup Two O B Wonkenobi (Tyler Smith) between the quarter and the half, then cruised to a 3-1/2 length score.  Show finisher Ride The Rails (Tetrick) and fourth-place finisher MVP Luke (Dan Noble) also advanced to the $40,000 championship tilt. In addition to Burke Racing Stable, new partners on Sand Cash are Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Richard Lombardo and Josh Green. Chris Page surpassed the $30 million earnings plateau when he won with Clarksville Boy in the day’s second race.  The 34-year-old Mt. Vernon, Ohio native went winless in his first nine lifetime starts in 2000, earning $489.  After five more years of limited success, primarily at county fairs, his career blossomed in 2006 at age 22 and has been consistently excellent every campaign since.  Page has won over 150 races a year the past 12 seasons, including the last five years in which he has topped 400 victories.  Chris has totaled over 1,000 wins in 2016-17 alone and earned over $10 million with horses he has driven in the last two years. 2018 looks like another stellar season for Page.  He currently ranks third in the Miami Valley dash standings and has accumulated over 100 wins and over $1.1 million in purse earnings in the first 100 days of this calendar year. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Eliminations week for the James K. Hackett Memorial Series at Miami Valley Raceway is upon us. One of the longest running harness racing events in Ohio, the Hackett will add a new twist in 2018 when trotting events have been added for the first time. First raced at Lebanon Raceway in 1971, a year after Jim Hackett was killed in a racing accident at Latonia Raceway in northern Kentucky, the prestigeous Hackett Memorials have featured 3-year-old Ohio-sired pacers for five decades. Hackett was born in London, Ohio in 1917. A decorated World War II veteran, he went to work for the Doc McMillen Stable upon returning to Ohio. In 1952, he became the private trainer for the powerful Sam Huttenbauer Stable of Cincinnati. He broke, trained and drove numerous outstanding Grand Circuit horses, most notably Little Brown Jug winner Best Of All. The 2018 edition of the Hackett Memorials kicks off Monday afternoon (April 9) at Miami Valley, when two $15,000 eliminations of Buckeye-bred sophomore trotting fillies will go postward. Red Storm, with North America's leading dash driver Aaron Merriman in the sulky, has been installed the lukewarm 5-2 morning line favorite. A winner of three legs of the Ohio Sires Stakes series in 2017, the Chris Beaver-trainee banked $109,975 for owner Sandra Burnett last season. Impinktoo (3-1, Peter Wrenn) and California Love (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to provide stiff competition. Non Smoker, trained and driven by Dan Noble, gets the slight morning line nod in the second split at 5-2. Owner Stephen Sexton's gray filly earned $20,551 in her first year of racing, winning two fair races and placing in three O.S.S. outings. Bugs MVP (7-2, Trace Tetrick) and Sesame (4-1, Aaron Merriman), both from the Chris Beaver Stable, will also get considerable support at the betting windows. The top four finishers from each elimination, plus the fastest fifth place finisher, will advance to the $40,000 championship a week later. Colts and geldings step to the plate on Miami Valley's Tuesday matinee, also in two eliminations. Sultan Of Cash (5-2, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Slap Happy Sammy (7-2, Chris Page) and Banker Twentyfive (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to attract the most attention in the first split. Favorites in the second elimination are Ride The Rails (2-1, Tetrick), Sand Cash (5-2, Page) and Countthebenjamins (9-2, Wrenn Jr.). First race post time on Monday and Tuesday at Miami Valley is 2:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

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