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LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway is still seeking top harness racing drivers from throughout North America for its third annual North America Drivers Championship. The contest will feature up to 30 of the continent's best reinsmen chasing $25,000 in prize money and the prestigious trophy. Doug McNair of Ontario and Trace Tetrick of Indiana captured the first two editions by each managing multiple victories on the third and final day. Each driver will get a minimum of four drives on the opening two matinees on Sunday, January 6 and Monday, January 7 behind randomly drawn horses. The top ten in the point standings after two days will advance to the championship showdown on Tuesday, January 7 which will feature eight head-to-head races and a fresh scorecard. Miami Valley will pay for hotel accommodations and Ohio Racing Commission licenses for out-of-state entrants and all drivers will receive commemorative hooded sweatshirts with the North America Drivers Championship logo. Among the early entrants for the 2019 competition are (alphabetically) Simon Allard, Pat Berry, Dexter Dunn, Brady Galliers, Casey Leonard, Aaron Merriman, Bob McClure, Brett Miller, Lewayne Miller, Drew Monti, Dan Noble, Mike Oosting, Chris Page, Roger Plante, Trace Tetrick, Tyler Smith, Josh Sutton, Jimmy Whittemore and Sam Widger. Any other drivers interested in participating are asked to email the Race Secretary for Miami Valley at: greggkeidel@yahoo.com or call him at 651-260-8250. Further Drivers Championship information and entry blanks can be found at: www.miamivalleygaming.com and then hitting the Racing and Horsemens Info tabs. The December 22 deadline for entering is Saturday (Dec. 22) of this week, so top drivers are asked to please act quickly. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - In a thrilling come-from-behind victory the Buckeyes topped the Hoosiers in the fourth annual harness racing "Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Drivers Challenge" at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday night (Dec. 15) over a rain-soaked strip labeled good. The Ohio squad needed a minimum of a first, second and fourth place finish in the sixth and final leg to secure their third triumph in four years by a 359-335 margin. The winners erased a 26 point deficit and turned it into a 24 point score in their last ditch effort. Hoosiers captain Trace Tetrick tried valiantly to single-handedly capture team laurels for his fellow Indianans, winning four of the first five races in the competition, but the dominant Buckeyes performance in the final race overcame his early heroics. Winners, in order, were Townlinedaliscard (Trace Tetrick, 1:55.2, $56.40), trotter Kolbee's Star (Chris Page, 1:58.1, $11.00), Smiling Terror (Tetrick, 1:55, $5.20), Dateline Hanover (Tetrick, 1:54.4, $45.20), Whiskey Friskie (Tetrick, 1:53.4, $8.80) and the ironically named Indiana Cam (Jeremy Smith, 1:54.1, $17.40). With tongue in cheek, Buckeyes captain reiterated in the winner's circle that he guaranteed a victory and claimed the outcome "was never in doubt." It is doubtful anyone else in attendance felt that way until the final score was announced. Individual leaders were Tetrick with 145 points, Dan Noble with 96, Smith with 91, Brandon Bates 74 and Chris Page 65. Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway provided $2500 in prize money and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association pitched in $500. For the fourth consecutive year, the drivers from both squads donated the entire prize pool to Dayton Firefighters Local 126, who provides ambulance and EMT service for each of the Dayton programs throughout the meet. The local firefighters use the funds to purchase new toys and insure that every need child in their district has a gift on Christmas mornings. Hundreds of other new toys and over $1000 cash was donated by owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and employees of Dayton Raceway over the past several weeks in addition to the $3000 Drivers Challenge donation. Horsemens Bookkeeper Terri Mt. Pleasant and OHHA rep Brett Merkle again spearheaded the Dayton horse community's charitable Christmas efforts. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - The battle lines are drawn and now only the result of the fourth annual harness racing "Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Driver's Challenge" this Saturday night (Dec. 15) remains to be seen. Hoosier Park's top five available reinsmen will compete with Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway's five dash leaders in a six-race competition for bragging rights over the next 12 months. The Hoosier squad is captained by Trace Tetrick, the all-time leading driver at the Anderson, Indiana track, and also includes Ricky Macomber Jr., Lewayne Miller, Mike Oosting and Brandon Bates. Leading driver Jeremy Smith heads up Team Buckeyes and will be joined by Dan Noble, Chris Page, Josh Sutton and Kayne Kauffman. Myles Linderman, Dayton's morning line guru, has tabbed three Buckeyes and three Hoosiers as morning line favorites in the six contest legs carded as races 1,3,5,7,9 and 11 on the program slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. Each team will start from the odd numbered post positions in half the races and each of the ten drivers were pre-assigned post positions that added up to 33 over the half dozen races. Classic Comedy (Chris Page) is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first leg, an $8000 fillies and mares claimer, based on three victories in her last four starts. There are five other recent winners in the field plus three more who own place finishes in recent weeks. He's Got Pizazz (Dan Noble) got a narrow 3-1 nod in the second leg despite drawing outside in the mid-range conditioned trot. The class dropper will face a full field of squaregaiters who have all fashioned top three finishes in their last five tries. Blueridge Doc (Jeremy Smith) will open as the 5-2 favorite in a contentious $10,000 claimer slated as leg three. Again, every one of the ten horses in this race has at least a top three finish in recent starts, including three who won their last time out. Waterside Champ (Lewayne Miller) will start from the second tier, but is listed 5-2 in the fourth leg, a $15,000 claiming event. In a recurring theme, every combatant shows an on-the-board finish on the program page, five with recent victories. Whiskey Friskie (Trace Tetrick) drew the coveted rail in the fifth leg, a condition/claiming event for non-winners of ten races, to gain 5-2 morning line favoritism. Five of the nine horses with on-the-board finishes have been winners since November 1. Blooming Genius (Ricky Macomber Jr.) will open as the 5-2 choice in leg 6, the finale featuring $20,000 claiming pacers. Oddly, he is one of just two horses without a recent top three finish, but is dropping in class from the $30,000 level. Each winning driver in the six races will earn 30 points for their team. A place finish is worth 24 points, show gets 18 and then 14-11-8-5-3-1 for fourth through ninth place. In the unfortunate event of a scratch, that driver will receive 10 points for his team. The Buckeyes won the inaugural Drivers Challenge in 2015 and held on for a thrilling 351-333 victory last year. Sandwiched in between was the Hoosiers only triumph in 2016. Hollywood Dayton Raceway provides $2500 in prize money for the contest and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association throws in an additional $500. In the past, the drivers from both squads have graciously donated the entire $3000 pool to Dayton Firefighters Local 136, the unit that provides ambulance and EMT service to Dayton Raceway during each and every live racing program. The local firefighters and paramedics use the funds to purchase toys for needy children in their service area at Christmas time. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - A pair of impressive harness racing mares prevailed in the co-featured $18,000 Mares Open Pace and the $18,000 Open Trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night (Dec. 7). American Girl (Aaron Merriman) worked hard from an assigned outside post to gain command through the :26.2 opening panel, then coasted to a comfortable 5-3/4 length victory in the distaff pace. The final 1:50.3 time equaled the 9-year-old daughter of Art's Chip's lifetime best and pushed her closer to the $1 earnings plateau for owners Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt. With the $9000 winners share, American Girl has now banked $977,110. She has won three straight weekly features at Dayton following a pair of runnerup finishes since returning to the races in mid-October following a three-month layoff. Tyler George is her trainer. Rosemary Rose (Chris Page), who was ever so slightly favored, was runnerup while A Little Starstruk (Trevor Smith) was the best of the rest. Most 4-year-olds who have banked $125,000 made the majority of their bounty in their juvenile seasons at two and three. That's not the case for Party At The Banks, however, as she crushed a field of male Open trotters in 1:53 for her tenth win in 22 starts in 2018. She has now banked over $106,000 of her $125,000 in lifetime earnings since turning age four. The talented daughter of Break The Bank K now possesses a string of six wins and two place finishes in her last eight starts. She is trained by Ron Burke for the Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The odds-on favorite, driven by Chris Page, bested Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) by a length and a half with Monopoly Blue Chip (Kayne Kauffman) another two lengths in arrears. Although driver Dan Noble didn't get to visit the winner's circle following the co-featured races, he did pose for a picture after five other races on the card. He scored with Gold Record in 1:56.2 and subsequently triumphed with Rolling Thunder (1:54.3), J M Jet Set (1:51.2), Velocity Mattis (1:52.2) and Allbeastnobeauty (1:52.2). Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - The stage is set for the 4th annual "Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Driving Challenge" to take place at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday night, Dec. 15. The 'Buckeyes' prevailed in the first annual contest in 2015 and held on for a narrow 351-333 triumph in the third edition in 2017. The 'Hoosiers' captured the competition in its second year in 2016 and will look to even the score following this year's clash. The Hoosier squad will be captained by Trace Tetrick, the all-time leading driver at Hoosier Park as well as the winner of the second annual North American Drivers Challenge at Miami Valley Raceway last January. Tetrick once again topped the Hoosier Park dash standings in 2018 with 309 victories and a 19.1% win percentage. Tetrick's teammates will be Ricky Macomber Jr. (157 wins at Hoosier), LeWayne Miller (127), Mike Oosting (120) and Brandon Bates (112). Jeremy Smith has earned the right to captain the 'Buckeyes' squad as the leading driver at the current Hollywood Dayton Raceway meet. Through December 2, Smith had won 123 races as he seeks to score his first meet driver's title. The balance of the team will be comprised of the top five drivers in the Hollywood Dayton dash standings as of the completion of the Saturday, December 8 program. Currently that would be Dan Noble (83 wins), Chris Page (80), Josh Sutton (77) and Kayne Kauffman (51). Still in the hunt is Tyler Smith with 48 local scores. Three of the featured drivers rank in the Top 10 of the national dash standings. Noble is fifth on the year with 533 tallies, followed by Page in seventh with 480 wins and Tetrick in eighth with 475. The competition will be held over six races on the December 15 card with each squad getting even numbered post positions in half of the designated races. The scoring system used is 30 points for a win, then 24-18-14-11-8-5-3-1-0 for second through tenth place finishes. "I know the Hoosier drivers will be coming over here trying to even the score, but we've got other ideas about dominating this annual contest," said captain Jeremy Smith. "They've got about as much chance as Indiana would of beating Ohio State in football. I guarantee a victory!" Hollywood Gaming provides $2500 in prize money for the Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes contest and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association chips in $500. In the first three annual contests, the drivers on both squads graciously donated the entire prize pool to Dayton Firefighters Local 136, who provides the ambulance and EMT service to Hollywood Dayton for each race card, and who use the funds to distribute toys to needy children throughout their Dayton service area every Christmas. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Winwood Mac (Chris Page) flew through the stretch to capture the Saturday (Dec. 1) harness racing Open I Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway, passing pacesetter and place finisher Night Pro (Dale Decker) and show finisher My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) in the final strides. It was the sixth triumph in 2018 for the 6-year-old son of Canyon Wind, raising his seasonal earnings to $92,543 earning half of the $18,000 purse. The winner now sports 24 career wins and lifetime bounty of $334,421 for ownership partners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. Page was content to get away third during the sporty :26.2 opening quarter, was shuffled to fourth at the :55 half and fifth when the 1:23.2 third panel was reached. Speedy Winwood Mac, who has now won three of his six 2018 wins in recent months at the Hollywood Dayton meet, tacked on a :27.2 last quarter to sweep past his adversaries in the weekly feature race. It was the third consecutive runnerup finish for 8-year-old Night Pro, who is approaching $1 million in earnings and is soon to commence a second career in the breeding shed. For My Hero Ron, it was his second straight show finish as the 6-year-old nears completion of his second straight $100,000-plus season. Racing resumes at Hollywood Dayton on Monday (Dec. 3) and Tuesday (Dec. 4) with a pair of 14-race matinee programs beginning at 2:05. Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Despite being assigned the outside post position and being relegated to an almost journey long first-up attack on the outside, Endeavor (Trace Tetrick) made his initial harness racing visit at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway a winning one in the Saturday (Nov. 24) $18,500 Open I Pace. Tetrick left the gate hard enough to slip into the four-hole along the pylons briefly, but a sixteenth of a mile later launched his first-over assault that resulted in racing nearly side-by-side with Night Pro (Dale Decker) for well over a half mile. After healthy fractions of :26.1, :54.2 and 1:21.3 Endeavor was able to pass Night Pro in the final strides of the 1:50 mile. Pocket sitter My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) also was lapped on at the wire. Endeavor has amassed 14 wins during his five-year-old season, good for $166,910 in earnings. Dispatched at a surprisingly healthy 7-1 odds, he returned $XXXX for a $2 bet. Trainer Jeff Cullipher co-owns the son of American Ideal with partner Thomas Pollack. A co-featured $15,000 Open II Pace was captured by Missile J (Josh Sutton) in 1:51.3, topping Doctor Carter (Jason Beattie) and Fourboltmane (Tyler Smith). Walter 'Junior' Haynes trains the winner, another 5-year-old son of American Ideal, Missile J races for John McGill and Brian Carsey. His seven 2018 wins have contributed to a seasonal bankroll of $147,820. He paid a $7.20 mutuel. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH – Miami Valley Raceway is busy readying for its sixth season of live harness racing when the calendar turns to 2019.  The 87-day meet will begin on Friday, January 4 and end on Monday, May 6, with an initial qualifying session slated for Wednesday, January 2 to kick the season off.  The normal racing schedule throughout the meet will be 2:05 (EST) matinees on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays and 6:05 evening programs on Fridays and Saturdays. Among the many highlights will be the 3rd annual North America Drivers Championship which will pit 30 of the continent’s finest drivers in a head-to-head three-day competition January 6-8.  All top drivers throughout the United States and Canada are welcome to apply to participate by filling out the application that can be found at: www.miamivalleygaming, using the “Racing” and then “Horsemens Info” tabs.  If more than 30 apply, the field will be limited to those with the most career victories, including a minimum of 100 wins in 2018.  Inaugural winner Doug McNair and last year’s winner Trace Tetrick are both expected to return and chase a share of the $25,000 in prize money. Entry blanks are also available on the MVG website for most of the late-closing series offered during the meet, as well as ship-in applications and other pertinent information regarding the rapidly approaching 2019 season.  Trainers interested in racing must first submit a ship-in application and a waiver of liability form before entering.  The popular January “Claim To Fame” late closers commence the second week of the 2019 season and nominations must be received by Saturday, January 5. Condition sheets for the first week of racing at Miami Valley have also been posted on the U.S.T.A. website, including information on the preferences granted to Ohio-sired and Ohio-owned horses.  A double draw will take place on New Year’s Day (Tues., Jan. 1) for both the Friday and Saturday programs on Opening Weekend. Prior to January 1, inquiries or questions can be directed to the Race Secretary at: greggkeidel@yahoo.com. From the Miami Valley Media Department

DAYTON, OH. - Harness racing 'chalk' bettors enjoyed the $18,000 Open Trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night, while some others chasing longshots were rewarded in the co-featured $18,500 Mares Open Pace. Pine Dream was the repeat winner of the weekly top trot, scoring for driver Aaron Merriman in 1:53.3. The favorite paid $3.60 and gave Merriman his fourth victory on the night...and 993rd on the year as he seeks to become the first reinsman in harness history to record back-to-back 1,000 win seasons. The winning 6-year-old Kelly Chupp-trained gelding stopped the clock at every substation-the first in :27.2, then :55.4 and 1:23.4 before holding off runnerup All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) and show finisher Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) in the stretch. Pine Dream now sports 25 career victories in 102 starts, good for $186,867 in earnings. He is owned by Chupp Racing Stable of Illinois. Endeavors Star, claimed a week ago for $29,000, stepped back into Open company and rewarded her new owner Jason Shumway of Ohio with an initial $9,250 return on his 7-day old investment. New trainer Daniel Jones had the 4-year-old daughter of Keystone Endeavor ready to roll and first-time driver Dan Noble gave her a confident trip at 9-1 odds. Initially fourth along the pylons during the :27.1 opening panel, Noble moved Endeavors Star into second over position before the half was reached in :56.2. The winner moved up to second on the outside by the third quarter in 1:24 and then outdueled pacesetter Rockin Racer (Jared Finn) through the stretch. The final task was holding off favored Rosemary Rose (Chris Page), who made a furious late three-wide charge but could do no better than second. Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith) also closed well to gain a dead heat with Rockin Racer for third. It was the 12th win of the year for Endeavors Star and raised her seasonal earnings to $118,780. She owns a 1:50.1 speed badge taken at Scioto Downs this summer. Gregg Keidel    

DAYTON, OH. - Account Rollover (Josh Sutton) tipped three-wide nearing the three quarter pole in what turned out to be the winning move in the Saturday (Nov. 3) night $17,500 Open Pace at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. Sutton chose to sit near the back of the field during the :26.1 opening split, then moved into second-over position by the :54.2 halfway point. Sensing the heated early fractions were beginning to take their toll, Account Rollover was moved to the third lane as the field passed the 1:23 third timing station. Once getting the lead at the head of the stretch and opening up a couple lengths, the winning 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding dug down deep to hold off late challenges by runnerup Holdingallthecards (Jeremy Smith) and show finisher My Buddy Ninkster (Shawn Barker II). The final time was 1:52.1. Jim Eaton trains Account Rollover, who was making his third local start following place and show finishes in his first two. Robert Silberberg owns the 29-time winner who is nearing $300,000 in earnings. Dispatched at 7-1 odds, Account Rollover returned a handsome $16.20 win mutual. Excitement is building at Hollywood Dayton anticipating the return of Foiled Again next Saturday night (Nov. 10) for his final race in the state of Ohio. Patrons in attendance will have an opportunity to win a large Breyer replica of Foiled Again, win a double-seater jog cart ride behind Foiled Again (accompanied by driver Chris Page), or win one of dozens of smaller Breyer replicas of Foiled Again that will be awarded as pop-up gifts to random users of self-service betting terminals on that evening. From Dayton Raceway Media Department Gregg Keidel wins Dayton Billings Trot leg He doesn't get a chance to drive many times during the season but recently Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel has been performing admirably, especially with Nashville Holiday, Keidel has won two consecutive Billings trots with the altered 6-year-old son of SJs Caviar; the first two weeks ago at Northfield Park and this evening at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. In many ways harness racing is no different from other competitive sports in that cliches are part of the game. In this industry,sometimes there is what's referred to as racing luck, which occurs often for many drivers of horses who happen to be the first under the wire. And tonight in the second race in Dayton, Ohio racing luck played big part in Nashville Holiday's victory when Keidel hustled his trotter to the lead and then parked Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and the betting favorite, Stirling Boudica, to a :27.3 first quarter before smartly grabbing leather. But Keidel's luck tonight was a result of his own making. After letting Oldford's trotter gain commend Keidel sat patiently waiting for the quick first quarter to take a toll on the favorite. But fatigue from the pacesetter was a longtime coming as Oldford and Stirling Boudica got first call by the half in :57.3 and then again at the three quarters in 1:27.2. At that point Keidel again made a wise decision by not moving off the pylons when Fairground Drama and Richard "the Lion Hardhearted"Roach came calling. And when the leaders straightened for home Fairground Drama had his head in front of Stirling Boudica's with Keidel sitting chilling along the pylons waiting to make a challenge. That came when "Fast Greggy" and Nashville Holiday shot down the passing lane and rallied to a 1-1/4 length triumph as the final time flashed 1:57.2. Fairground Drama held second and a tiring Sterling Boudica faded badly but still earned the show dough. The winner is owned by Jeffrey and Toni Arvin and trained by Jeff Brewer. He paid $9.60. It was Keidel's second seasonal driving victory and the 105th of his amateur career. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

Northfield, Ohio--On Sunday evening, Oct. 21, ten trotters went to post in a mid-region Billings trot at Northfield Park and after studying the races betting patterns only three horses had a legitimate shot at victory and two were sent away by the betting public at odds of less than 2-1 with the third at 9-2. and when the judges posted the official sign Nashville Holiday and driver Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel (9-5) walked away with all the marbles. Keidel, who has delved in more aspects of harness racing than most, wasted no time in sending his charge to the lead from the two-hole despite a challenge from Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford with the slight (7-5) betting favorite, Santini. As the field marched to the quarter pole Keidel stepped on the gas and opened a position behind him for Oldford to fall in along the pylons which Steve did before the quarter pole timer flashed :28.4. Meanwhile, Michelle "The Belle"Ruvola and Better Call Saul, who started from post seven, got caught on the limb and they remained parked-out the entire mile. As the field passed the half in :58.4 Nashville Holiday was cutting the fractions and Santini tight on Keidel's back in the two hole. The order remained the same among the top two as Bob "Lumberman" Troyer moved Sneaky Sam into third place as they trotted by the three quarters in 1:29.4. Down the lane Keidel put the pedal to the metal and Nashville Holiday opened up a 2-1/2 length lead which he held over Santini all the way to the wire. Despite being parked all the way Better Call Saul chugged home for a third place finish. After five second place finishes and four thirds in 16 trips to post this season the seventeenth was a charm for Nashville Holiday who paid $5.80 for win. The 5-year-old altered son of SJ's Caviar is owned by Jeffrey and Toni Arvin and trained by Jeff Brewer. For Gregg Keidel, who has driven sparingly over the past decade, this marked his l04th winning drive. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series        

DAYTON, OH. - The Dayton Derbies, a pair of $150,000 Grand Circuit events, brought most of the best aged horses in North America to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Friday night (Sept. 28) producing an outstanding night of racing. The action resulted in four track records, including new all-age overall standards on both gaits in the two featured events. Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) obliterated the all-time fastest mile ever clocking at the 5-year-old Dayton Raceway, speeding to a 1:47.4 victory in the Dayton Pacing Derby. The old record was 1:48.4, a full second slower, established by State Treasurer in the 2015 Derby. Other previous winners are Clear Vision, Wiggleit Jiggleit and Rockin Ron. Western Fame (Brett Miller) gunned directly to the front in the Pacing Derby, speeding to the quarter in :25.2, seating Split The House (Scott Zeron)-who left with authority from the outermost post position-in the pocket. Shortly thereafter, Tetrick moved favored Donttellmeagain to the front to stay through subsequent fractional times of :52.3 and an eye-popping 1:20 flat. A final panel in :27.4 resulted in a 1-1/4 length tally over Western Fame and McWicked (Sears), who had a long overland grind the final half mile. "This horse isn't real big, but he's a real professional," said Tetrick. "I've liked him since he was a baby...and the trainer (Jim King Jr.) does a terrific job with him. The 4-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again is owned by Paton Racing Stables. He now sports 18 wins in 33 lifetime starts, good for $589,911 in earnings. Ariana G (Brian Sears), the only mare in a talented field for the Dayton Trotting Derby, lowered the overall track trotting record to 1:52.1 with an impressive triumph. Sears was patient with Ariana G , allowing first I Know My Chip (Kayne Kauffman) and then eventual show finisher Guardian Angel AS (Matt Kakaley) to mix it up on the front end in :26.4 and then :54.4. Moving to the outer flow in second-over position, Ariana G moved up to fourth at the 1:23.1 three-quarters before besting a fast-closing Warrawee Roo (Daniel Dube) by a half-length in the record time. "I knew they were trotting hard leaving the gate and I was content with my early position and those fractions," Sears related in the winner's circle. "Jimmy Takter (trainer) texted me that she was a versatile sweetheart, and he was definitely right." The 4-year-old winning daughter of Muscle Hill now has captured 26 of her 37 races and banked $2,367,709. She is owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Previous Dayton Trotting Derby winners were Market Share, Il Sogno Dream, Obrigado and Pasithea Face S. A pair of $18,500 Opens on the undercard also produced new divisional track record holders. Optimist Blue Chip (Jeremy Smith) forged to a 1:53.2 score in the Open Trot, matching the fastest mile by a 4-year-old male (Il Sogno Dream in 2015 Derby). Carol's Z Tam (Sears) became the fastest 4-year-old pacing mare in Dayton's brief history stopping the timer in 1:51 in the Open Mares Pace. by Gregg Keidel, for Dayton Raceway

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

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