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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

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

New track and national season harness racing records were set in both the 3-year-old colt trotting and pacing divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes on Sunday afternoon, May 6 at Miami Valley Raceway.    A total of 22 trotters and 29 pacers went postward in six $40,000 divisions in Leg One of OSS competition that saw the races held up an hour at one point in the program due to thunderstorms.   Gary & Barbara Iles’ Lather Up, trained by Brenda Teague and driven by her nephew, Montrell Teague, set a new Miami Valley track record and set a national season’s mark for a 3-year-old colt on a five-eighth’s mile oval when he paced to a winning 1:50 mile in the third OSS division for pacing sophomores.    The bay homebred son of I’m Gorgeous used wire-to-wire tactics, leaving smartly from the eight-hole at odds of 8-1 to sail through fractions of :27.1, :56, 1:22.2 before cruising home a full 2½ lengths in front of 6-5 Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith) and 3-1 Rockathon (Dan Noble).   Lather Up pushed his career earnings to $102,600 with the triumph, the sixth of his career in nine starts.  He is now two-for-two in 2018.   Mission Accepted was equally impressive among his diagonally-gaited rivals, stopping the timer in a new track record and setting a national season’s mark of 1:53 for 3-year-old trotting colts on a five-eighths mile oval in the second OSS division for trotting sophomores.     Trained and co-owned by Jeff Conger, along with Knox Services of Mt. Vernon, OH (who also bred the colt) and David Wills, Newark, OH, the son of Manofmanymissions was an easy 2-5 winner for Ryan Stahl.  The bay colt finished four lengths ahead of rivals 7-2 Pass The Vape (Derek Watiker) and 7-1 Uncle Buck (Trace Tetrick), who was 8½ lengths back.   The victory gave Mission Accepted his sixth career victory in nine starts, and pushed his seasonal earnings to $45,000 and his career bankroll to $235,800.  He is now two-for-two this season as well, having taken a $50,000 Scarlet & Gray division on April 28 at Miami Valley.   Sultan Of Cash captured the first OSS trotting division, as the 2-1 favorite with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. in the sulky, in a respectable 1:56.   Trained and owned by Roger Hughes, Jr., the Cash Hall son bested rivals 9-2 MVP Luke (Dan Noble) and 16-1 Get The Cash (Greg Grismore).   The victory pushed Sultan Of Cash’s career earnings to $172,765 and his seasonal monies to $46,250.  He now has eight victories in 12 career starts.   The third OSS division for trotters saw Northmedo Mission prevail in a healthy new lifetime mark of  1:56.3 for driver Danny Noble.  Trained by Mike Medors for the Northmedo Stable of Painesville, OH, the altered son of Manofmanymissions raced close up throughout the mile and went on to score a 3¼ length triumph over 8-5 favorite Two O B Wonkenobi (Sammy Widger) after snatching the lead at the 1:27 three-quarter mile marker. Magic MVP, a 23-1 longshot, was third for Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. From 14 career starts and six wins, the homebred Northmedo Mission now has $35,728 in his coffers.   Rockn Motion and driver Danny Noble took advantage of the rail slot in the first OSS pacing division to score as the public’s 5-2 choice in 1:51.1. Trained by Jim Dailey for breeder-owner Ronald Mersky of Paris, KY, the bay son of Pet Rock made a dramatic, three-wide move at the three-quarter pole to brush home in the stretch and best rivals 10-1 Seeing Eye Single (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and 5-1 Slick Mick (Ryan Stahl).    Unraced as a 2-year-old Rockn Motion now has four wins and a second in eight starts, with $39,625 in his wallet.  The 1:51.1 effort was a new life mark for the rangy colt.   Favorite (4-5) Bounding Dragon notched the second OSS division for pacing colts in 1:53, with a perfect steer by driver Josh Sutton.  Trained by Mike Roth for Alan Keith, Johnstown, OH and Carl and Melanie Atley of Xenia, OH, the brown Dragon Again colt used a second-over trip until the stretch, when he paced to a 2½ victory over 6-1 Sip And A Bite (Montrell Teague).    Longshot (54-1) Oberline was third with Kyle Ater in the sulky. Bounding Dragon, who was bred by Ohio’s Emerald Highland Farm and New York’s J&T Silva Stables, now has career earnings of $111,159 and seasonal earnings of $39,750, with four wins in 13 lifetime starts.   Leg Two of this series for sophomores will be as follows:  June 2 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old pacing fillies;  June 9 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old pacing colts;  June 11 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old trotting fillies; and June 15 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old trotting colts. Kimberly Rinker OSDF Administrato

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

Six divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes 3-year-old trotting and pacing fillies highlighted the Miami Valley Raceway program on Friday night, May 4, before a healthy crowd that packed the grandstand and outside apron, witnessing new tracks and a seasonal standard.   Red Storm and Non Smoker each captured a $50,000 OSS contest for sophomore filly trotters. Red Storm, a striking chestnut daughter by Stormin Normand, prevailed at 7-5 odds by a whisker in a brutal stretch drive over 2-1 rival Impinktoo (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:55.4. Aaron Merriman steered the speedy winner.   Owned and bred by Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH, and trained by Chris Beaver, Red Storm has amassed $174,975 in her career from 11 starts, with six wins, three seconds and a third. Alana's Ways, a 14-1 longshot, was third for Josh Sutton. Red Storm         - Brad Conrad Photo   Non Smoker, a gorgeous and diminutive My MVP lass, prevailed in a gutsy wire-to-wire effort in 1:54, a new Miami Valley track record with trainer Danny Noble in the sulky. Leaving the gate at 4-1, the grey filly held off the hard-trying 19-1 Risky Deal (Kurt Sugg) by half a length at the wire, with 3-5 favorite Looking For Zelda (Tony Hall) notching show honors.   Steve Sexton of Xenia, OH owns the winner of $57,851 lifetime, who now has four wins, one second and one third in 10 career starts. Non Smoker was bred by Stephanie Smith-Rothaug.   McPansy established a new track record and new national season's mark for 3-year-old pacing fillies on a five-eighths mile track by pacing to victory in 1:51.3 in the third of four $40,000 OSS divisions for sidewheeling distaffs. Trace Tetrick was in the sulky behind the 5-1 Brian Brown-conditioned daughter by McArdle, who is owned and was bred by the Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, OH. McPansy now has two wins in three career starts and $24,500 in her coffers, after going unraced as a freshman. One to nine favorite Baron Remy (Chris Page) was second with 28-1 longshot Believe In Waco (Aaron Merriman) third. McPansy         - Brad Conrad Photo   Earlier in the evening Brown, Tetrick and Emerald Highlands combined to score with 7-2 Queen Me Again in the first $40,000 OSS pacing division, as the Dragon Again filly paced to a winning 1:53 effort. Tetrick used come-from-behind tactics with Queen Me Again, as the filly nabbed her third straight victory after also being unraced at two. Even money favorite Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) was second, while Merciless (Tyler Smith) was third at 13-1. The victory upped Queen Me Again's earnings to $28,000. Queen Me Again        - Brad Conrad Photo   Pet Walker had equaled the Miami Vallely track record with a 1:52 clocking in the second $40,000 OSS contest, as the public's third choice. Dan Noble steered the Gregory Luther trainee for owner/breeder Black Magic Racing of Reynoldsburg, OH, as the Pet Rock filly finished three lengths ahead of 5-1 rival Auntmilly'sMartini (Tyler Smith) and third-place finisher, 9-5 favorite, Smiley Dragon (Trace Tetrick). Unraced as a 2-year-old, Pet Walker now has two wins in three starts and $23,720 in her coffers. Pet Walker       - Brad Conrad Photo   In the final $40,000 OSS pacing division, last year's 2-year-old filly pacing champion, Bad Girls Rule, didn't let being saddled with the eight-hole stop her, as she paced to a winning 1:54.1 with Dan Noble at the lines. Owned by the 3rd Floor Stables of Springboro, OH, the World Of Rocknroll lass upped her lifetime bankroll to $206,566 with the fifth triumph of her career in 12 starts. Jim Dailey conditions Bad Girls Rule, who was bred by Spring Haven Farm of Utica, OH. Bad Girls Rule     - Brad Conrad Photo   Noble used wire-to-wire tactics with the sizeable bay filly, who left the gate at 2-1 and finished nearly two lengths ahead of 5-1 Big Bad Goldie (Aaron Merriman), with 12-1 Missplacedrock (Chris Page) nabbing show honors.   Leg Two of this series for sophomores will be as follows: June 2 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old pacing fillies; June 9 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old pacing colts; June 11 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old trotting fillies; and June 15 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old trotting colts.     Kimberly A. Rinker    

The Buckeye Stallion Series kicks off this weekend with the harness racing 3-year-old colts at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday, May 5th, with six divisions of 3-year-old pacing colts and five divisions of trotters. Two of the colts, Rising Mvp and Bus Ninethirtysix, competing on Saturday were 2017 Buckeye Stallion Series $40,000 final winners as 2-year-olds. Trotting colt Rising Mvp (My Mvp - Nutmegs Winner - Credit Winner), trained by William Daugherty Jr and owned by Susan Daugherty will compete in Race 4 with his first start of the year. Rising Mvp was also an Ohio Fairs Championship winner in 2017. Trotting colt Bus Ninethirtysix (Mcardle - Otherpeoplesmoney - Pro Bono Best) will compete in Race 12. Bus Ninethirtysix is trained by Brian Brown and owned by Gabe Prewitt. Monday, May 7th the fillies will compete with four divisions of 3-year-old pacing fillies and three divisions of trotting fillies. Bugs Mvp (My Mvp - Char Catie Becca - American Winner), the 2017 Buckeye Stallion Series $40,000 final 2-year-old trotting filly winner will be back in Race 6. Bugs Mvp is trained by Christopher Beaver. She is owned by Michael Carter, Johnanna Beaver, Joe Sbrocco and Steven Zeehandelar. The Buckeye Stallion Series will consist of four legs this year racing at Miami Valley Raceway, Eldorado Scioto Downs, Champaign County Fair, Lake County Fair, Delaware County Fair plus the final will be held Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park on October 6. The number of nominations for the 2018 Buckeye Stallion Series is up 14.3% over 2017.  Regina Mayhugh Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association    

Trenton, NJ --- For the first time in her life, Barn Bella will experience the thrill of crossing a state border. And her connections hope she continues to give them thrills while mixing with harness racing “open” company. After tearing through the competition for two years on her home turf of New York, the 4-year-old mare will compete in her first race outside the Empire State when she makes her season's debut Monday (May 7) in the $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff for female trotters ages 4 and up. The Distaff, part of a Miami Valley Raceway card that also features the $102,200 Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial for older female pacers, attracted a field that includes defending champion and millionaire Charmed Life, multiple O’Brien Award-winner Caprice Hill, last year’s Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Ice Attraction, Ohio Sire Stakes champ Rose Run Sydney, and Indiana Sire Stakes champ Churita. “You’re excited about it,” Barn Bella’s co-owner/trainer Steven Pratt said. “I would have liked to have a couple starts to have an idea of where she’s at instead of going in blind. There’s a bunch of good ones in this race, that’s for sure. But she’s a good mare.” Good does not really cover it. In 24 career races, most against only New York-bred horses, Barn Bella has won 18 (with all her losses coming in races in which she went off stride) and earned $688,725. She was the New York Sire Stakes champion for filly trotters at ages 2 and 3. The horse has been so outstanding, Pratt is abandoning his usual practice of racing a horse at ages 2 and 3 and then selling it. As part-owner with wife Nancy and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables, the trainer will take a horse out of state for the first time since he began working with young ones 12 years ago. “Wanda was going to have to make a decision whether to sell or buy me out to race her,” Pratt said. “We talked about it. For her, she enjoys watching the race, so I’m good with that.” So, Barn Bella will take on the Grand Circuit against some of the best female competition in the land. She came close to going out of state last year when Pratt wrote a $62,500 check to supplement to the Breeders Crown before ultimately deciding not to go to the event. “You had to be third to break even, or even lose about $10,000 if you were third,” he said. “We decided enough’s enough. And rather than breed her this year we would give her a chance to race against the Grand Circuit horses and see what happens.” This year, she is staked to nearly a dozen races, including the Miami Valley Distaff, Graduate Series, Miss Versatility Series, Armbro Flight, Hambletonian Maturity, Dr. John R. Steele Memorial, Joie De Vie, Allerage Farms for mares, Breeders Crown and TVG championship. Pratt feels his horse is ready to meet the challenge. “She went last year in (1):51(.3) pretty handy,” he said. “She’s never been beat that she hasn’t made a break. With all the rest we’ve won. “She’s matured this year. She’s heavier; I hope she’s not too fat. But she’s matured a lot. She has a very nice temperament. She’s a nice horse to race; Jeff (Gregory) and Claude (Huckabone Jr.) have done a great job driving her.” A daughter of Conway Hall out of Bravissima, Barn Bella was purchased for $32,000 at the 2015 SUNY Morrisville Sale. Barn Bella has lived up to Pratt’s expectations, and has turned a tidy profit despite staying local. “It’s just limiting her starts and if they’re good enough, they’re going to win the Empire Breeders and the (NYSS) finals,” Pratt said. “Half a million’s enough without leaving the state. “I’m just small, I buy and race two or three of them. The simpler the better. I’m getting near the end of the tunnel. I’ve maintained that if they’re good enough, if they’re the best in New York, you’ll make enough. You don’t have to run around. A lot of times you’re just giving it back between stakes fees and shipping, stuff like that.” Pratt’s biggest concern with this season is time constraints due to travel, but that cannot offset his anticipation to see what his mare can do on the big stages. “The most exciting thing is that she won’t see a half-mile track except for Delaware,” he said. “She’ll be on the big track and that’s where she belongs, away from the half-mile. So we’ll give her a couple starts and we’ll see where she’s at. "She’s been a good one for us. They had some real nice fillies last year at 3 but she just was dominant. She can race on the front or she can race from behind. She’s just a nice horse. It’s always nice to be lucky enough to have a real nice one. It really is. We’ll see if she’s a real nice horse against the good competition.” Racing begins at 2:05 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Miami Valley. The Distaff is race eight and the Noble, which honors the late Ohio Hall of Fame horseman Chip Noble, is race 10. For the complete Miami Valley Distaff field, click here. For the complete Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial field, click here. by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

Six divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes harness racing sophomore trotting and pacing colts and geldings will line up behind the Miami Valley starting gate on Sunday afternoon, May 6. Twenty-two diagonally-gaited specialists and 29 sidewheelers passed the Miami Valley entry box, necessitating three divisions for each gait. First race post time is 2:05 pm, ET. Standouts returning from last season including $250,000 OSS 2-Year-Old Trot Championship winner Mission Accepted, a son of Manofmanymissions conditined and co-owned by Jeff Conger for Ohio partners Knox Services (also the breeder) and David Wills in the second division (Race 6). Mission Accepted owns a mark of 1:54.3 taken in his last start at Miami Valley, when he captured a $50,000 Scarlet & Gray division. His career earnings stand at a healthy $215,800. Sultan Of Cash-trained and owned by Roger Hughes, Jr.-was a multiple OSS winner in 2017, and has three second-place finishes in a trio of starts this year. The winner of $152,765 is by Cash Hall, out of the Conway Hall mare Anything But Love and starts from post two in the first division (Race 2). In the pacing ranks, Seeing Eye Single looks for another strong season, having captured the $250,000 OSS Championship for freshman pacing colts on Sept. 2, 2017 at Scioto Downs. The son of Dragon Again is conditioned by Ronnie Burke for Burke Racing, Silva, Purnel & Libby, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi and has $209,355 in his coffers. He'll go postward in the first division (Race 4) from post eight. Trainer Brian Brown sends out five pacing contestants, including $100,148-winner Dragonology and $70,248-earner Slick Mick in the first division (Race 4); the McArdle colt Lots To Live For in the second division (Race 8); and Rockin Away and Cinnamack in the third division (Race 12). Conditioner Brenda Teague sends a formitable trio postward-one in each division. Delaware Chrome, a son of Mr Apples, leaves from post seven in the first division (Race 4), while the I'm Gorgeous colt Sip And A Bite gets the four-hole in the second division (Race 8), fresh off a 1:54 triumph at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lather Up, another son of I'm Gorgeous, leaves from post eight in the final division (Race 12). As in past years, each of the 2018 OSS divisions for 2- and 3-year-olds include four legs, a Championship to be contested at Scioto Downs on Sept. 8, and a Consolation at Northfied Park on Oct. 13. The Championship purse increased this season to hefty $275,000, while horses in the Consolation will race for a respectable $60,000. This season, however, the legs have a fluctuating purse based on the number of nominated horses who enter. If only one division is required for a leg, the purse will be $60,000; if two divisions are required, the purses will be $50,000 each; and if three or more divisions are required, then each will carry a $40,000 purse. As well, $60,000 Veteran Championships for horses and mares of both gaits, 4-year-olds and up, have been reinstated this season, and will be held at Northfield Park on Oct. 6. Leg Two of this series for sophomores will be as follows: June 2 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old pacing fillies; June 9 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old pacing colts; June 11 at Northfield Park for 3-year-old trotting fillies; and June 15 at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old trotting colts. Kimberly Rinker

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

The 2018 Ohio Sires Stakes season commences this weekend with events for harness racing 3-year-old trotters and pacers of both genders at Miami Valley Raceway on May 4 & 6. Sophomore fillies are in the spotlight Friday night, with two $50,000 trotting and four $40,000 pacing divisons. Miami Valley Racing Secretary Gregg Keidel found 17 trotting and 32 pacing OSS eligibles in his entry box earlier this week for Leg One of the four-leg OSS series. Returning is last year's freshman standout Looking For Zelda, a multiple OSS winner in 2017, who comes into her division (Race 3) fresh off a 1:55.2 victory in the $50,000 Scarlet & Gray on April 27. The daughter by Break The Bank K, who was bred and is owned by Bob Key of Leechburg, PA, has been conditioned throughout her career by Norm Parker, and sports a hefty $253,675 bankroll. "Zelda had a good winter," confirmed Parker, from his training base at The Meadows. "She came back strong and is the kind of the same horse, just a little bit more mature. The (EHV-1) quarantine slowed us up a bit, but it actually helped, as it gave me a little more time to get her ready." Looking For Zelda is an eight-time winner in 12 career starts, and will start from post nine with regular pilot Tony Hall at the controls. Impinktoo, who captured the $250,000 OSS Championship for her division in 2017 in a mild upset in 1:57, returns to battle in the first OSS divisioin (Race 2). The Manofmanymissions distaff has earned $173,290 in her career, with a trio of wins in 12 starts for Ohio partners Joe McLead, Billy Walters and Rtk Racing, under the watchful eye of trainer Jim Dailey. Ohio's trotting guru Chris Beaver sends out three contestants in this first OSS leg, including Sandra Burnett's Red Storm in the first division (Race 2). This Storming Normand homebred captured both the $15,000 elim and $40,000 Hackett Final on April 9 & 16 respectively, upping her career earnings to $149,975, before finishing a close second to the aforementioned Looking For Zelda in the Scarlet & Gray. Beaver's other entrants include Californian Love (Race 2), who won a Northfield conditioned event on April 25 in 1:58.4 in a wire-to-wire effort, and Sesame (Race 3), a daughter of Triumphant Caviar with $87,797 in her lifetime bank account. In the four $40,000 divisions for 3-year-old Ohio-bred pacing fillies, last year's $250,000 OSS Championship victress Bad Girls Rule returns to vie from post eight in the fourth OSS division (Race 10). Conditioned by Jim Dailey for the 3rd Floor Stables of Springboro, OH, this daughter by World Of Rocknroll amassed $181,816 as a freshman, winning four of eight starts. Dailey also sends out $28,915-earner Mercilless in the first division (Race 4). The Tye Loy-trainee Big Bad Goldie also goes postward in the fourth division (Race 10). This Big Bad John daughter captured the 2017 OSS consolation for freshman pacing fillies in 1:54.3, and sports a lifetime bankroll of $60,701 for the Ohio trio of David Wills, Ricahrd Coad and Doug Gregory. Trainer Brian Brown-the 2017 Dan Patch Award Trainer of the Year & Good Guy award winner-sends seven fillies postward in the OSS pacing divisions, most notably, Prsntpretynperfect in division two (Race 6). The Big Bad John lass earned $125,166 for Jennifer Brown, Richard Lombardo and Marlene Taylor last season, sweeping all four $40,000 legs of her OSS contests, and the $43,333 Ohio Breeders Championship for 2-year-olds at Delaware. Baron Remy, a $124,189 winner for trainer Ronnie Burke, goes behind the gate in the third OSS divison (Race 8), vying against Believe In Waco, a $125,598 earner for trainer Steve Novak. The former is a daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Burke Racing, Silva, Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, while the latter is a Believeinbruiser distaff owned by Gerald Mijal of Michigan. Believe In Waco was a smart second in last year's $250,000 OSS Championship for 2-year-old fillies, while Baron Remy captured her $43,333 Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware and most recently took a $50,000 Scarley & Gray division at Miami Valley in a career best 1:52. Up Front Flor Ida, who won both her $15,000 Hackett elim and $40,000 Final (in 1:52.4), hails from post one in the first OSS division (Race 4). Trained by Tim McKoy for Kevin & Virginia McKinney, this bay Woodstock daughter has a bankroll of $55,824 and leaves from the coveted rail slot. Ohio Sires Stakes action continues on Sunday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway, with contests for 3-year-old pacing and trotting colts and geldings. Kimberly Rinker OSDF Administrator Ohio State Racing Commission

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

Being sent off as the odds-on favorite with Sum It Up harness racing driver Joey "The Jet" Putnam was undaunted after starting from the five-hole and sent his charge to the front and then made every pole a winning en route to a 1:57.1 triumph in his first start as a member of the Billings Harness Driving Series at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 29. In an evenly rated mile Putnam was well in hand at the finish winning by 1-1/2 lengths over Can'tcutthatchip, driven by Gregg "Fast Greggy" Keidel. Ronan and driver "Lawbook Larry" Farley finished third some 17-lengths behind the first two finishers. Putnam. a 20 year-old college student son of talented mid-west horseman Joe Putnam, is part of the youth movement employed this season by Billings vice president Steve Oldford to bolster the amateur ranks in the series mid-west regional division. According to Oldford, "the Billings series is seeking youth, 25 years or younger who have under 50 pari-mutuel wins without haven taken compensation and for a nominal fee can join the Billings events except for the travel series races." Added Billings president Tony Verruso"We are targeting young drivers for all divisions of the Billings who are working their way to the professional ranks and it should be noted that top reinsmen Cory Callahan and Ronnie Wrenn used the Billings series as their first step." The Billings is sponsored by the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Association. Any amateur driver seeking further information or if interested is joining the Billings Series , is urged to call Verruso at 917-697-8986 or Oldford at 810-300-3234. The Granddaddy of all amateur racing series, the Billings, will offer races weekly at various venues in both the United States and Canada and will culminate with the Gold and Silver Cup Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday, November 26. The leg at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday, April 29 was the first in Midwest Division series. The next Billings event is slated in the Eastern Division series at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, May 5. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series  

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

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series kicks off its 37th season on Sunday April 29 at Miami Valley Raceway followed by a leg at Freehold Raceway on Saturday May 5 . And six days after that, the talented amateur drivers will compete at the Meadowlands on Friday, May 11.. Then, almost weekly, there will be competitions at various racetracks in the United States and Canada through late November. Again the Billings will be run under the auspices of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association. The series which began in the early 1980's is considered the Grand Circuit of Amateur Racing. Known for its constant traveling sideshow over the years some of the best amateur drivers in North America compete, or have competed, in it. And because of the success of the Billings a multitude of amateur clubs have now become part of the harness racing landscape. "Amateur racing has never been more popular than it is now" noted Tony Verruso, the CKG Billings Series president. "Just look at the handle at the amateur races and you can see we are a good bet. And not only that, amateur races are needed to help fill overnight cards at many racetracks. "Last year amateur racing action was with weekly record braking handles in races at the Meadowlands and at Pompano Park. Wagering was also strong in the NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers, Freehold, and Monticello.' Various amateur clubs are now organized to help maximize the number of races and add benefits to the tracks that host them as well as abetting the various charities that each club represents. "Tens of thousands of dollars are raised each year through amateur driving for the benefit of each clubs charity. The CKG Billings is proud to contribute its driver's earnings to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame," Verruso added." This season being no exception Billings president Verruso has once again worked diligently and as a result has put-together another outstanding series of races at venues both in the United States and Canada. "You'll find that the current schedule has limited Canada dates as Billings member Dave Drew is still working tirelessly at getting us squared away up North", Verruso acknowledged. "So hopefully there will be some dates to add to our seasonal schedule." According to Verruso most rules remain the same except for the following: *The yearly earnings per start average has been lowered to $1,500 per start. * Because of the number of amateur clubs in the East, it is getting harder to fill two fields at any one venue and we never get two in the Mid-West. So this year we are going to let any horse entered for the $10,000 claiming price draw inside any horse entered for $15,000. " "It does not mean the $10,000 claimer will draw the inside post, just that said horse will draw inside of any $15,000 claimers," Verruso explained. "If need be, the race may be seeded and drawn in lots as is done in some of our races already." At season's end the Gold & Silver Cup Finals will be held at Yonkers Raceway on November 26th.. "Yonkers has graciously offered to host the races at our normal purse level. They will feature the Gold Cup on their France Simulcast Program which should be a great showcase for Amateur Racing here in the States. "There is a very big amateur colony in Europe so it will be very nice to put on a good show for them. We will have to go with 10 horses at 1 1/4 miles as all the French Races do," Verruso stated. To become a member of the Delvin Miller Harness Drivers Association or for a complete listing of conditions and nominating costs please contact Verruso at sulkyracer@hotmail.com or Billings Series VP, Steve Oldford atsteveoldford@oldford.biz. One can also get pertinent information on the Delvin Miller Harness Driving Series on the USTA website under amateur racing. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

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