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LEBANON, OH. - Krusty The Clown and John Jay won final preliminary divisions of the Survivor Series for male $5000 claimers at Miami Valley Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, setting themselves up as formidable hopefuls when ten championship harness racing finalists chase a $15,000 purse next week. Driver Cameron McCown, who claimed Krusty The Clown from the first elimination round of the Survivor Series, urged his new possession to a narrow 1:57.1 score over Swift Shark (Brett Miller) and Old Man River (Kyle Ater), who at 11 years of age just keeps on rollin'. Also advancing to the final were Ultra Shok N (Chris Page) and Don't Tell Rusty (Josh Sutton). John Jay (Ater) captured the second split in 1:57, despite starting from the outermost No. 9 post. The 6-year-old $150,000 career winner, racing for the first time for new owner Lases Racing and new trainer Alicia Hanners, topped Winds Of Terror (Sutton) and Lady's Man (Brady Galliers). Rounding out the championship field next week will be the remaining two check-getters, Royal Cam Hall (Page) and Total Sin (Dan Noble). From the Miami Valley Media Department  

LEBANON, OH. - First there were 40, then 20 and now 10 $5000 claiming mares still hopeful of becoming "Queen of the Hill" in the popular annual Survivor Series at Miami Valley Raceway. The ten finalists, who have survived by finishing in the top five during both preliminary elimination rounds, will chase a $15,000 championship harness racing purse next Monday afternoon (Feb. 18). Likely favorite in the final will be Grimalkin, who has won in both preliminary elimination rounds. The 4-year-old daughter of Pet Rock won the quickest of the two second round elims in 1:55.3 for driver Trace Tetrick, narrowly topping Star Of The Show (Tyler Smith) with Rockin Zendaya (Brett Miller) finishing third. Also advancing from that heat were My Shiyen (Trevor Smith) and Fancy Jess (Josh Sutton). The top three finishers were all claimed in both elimination rounds, despite a 30% base claiming price increase in the second week of the series, and will race for new connections in the final. Mystical Thread (LeWayne Miller) upset the other Survivor Series field at 25-1 odds to move on to the lucrative championship. Others who earned the right to advance were Karlee Sue (Sutton), Real Diva (Tetrick), Woo's Princess (Dan Noble) and Friskie Teddy (Brett Miller). The tandem Survivor Series for minimum tag male pacers will go postward on the Tuesday (Feb. 12) matinee program when two divisions will be whittled down to one championship field for the following week. Post time is 2:05 p.m. From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - The richest race of the season thus far at Miami Valley Raceway, the $37,500 championship of the Claim To Fame series for $30,000 claimers, produced unexpected results when three longshots with outside post positions completed the trifecta and lit up the toteboard. J M Jet Set (Dan Noble) went gate-to-wire in 1:51.4 at 22-1 odds followed at the finish by 20-1 Swapportunity (Mike Oosting) and 38-1 IYQ YQR (Chris Page). The win mutuel was $46.80, the $2 exacta paid $917.60 and the 50-cent trifecta returned a whopping $3,964.30. Despite drawing the 7-hole, Noble was intent of controlling the championship tilt-zooming off the gate and crossing over to the pylons early in the mile. Following a :26.2 opening panel, J M Jet Set was throttled back to a :55 halfway clocking before tripping the third beam in 1:23. The 9-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding coasted home an open lengths winner for his 35th career triumph, missing his lifetime best time by just two-fifths of a second. Noble also trains J M Jet Set for owners Rodney Lorenzo and Brian Running. A pair of Open trots were co-featured on the Sunday (Feb. 10) matinee. In the $24,000 Open I Monopoly Blue Chip (Kayne Kauffman) scored a thrilling upset victory in a race where all eight stellar trotters were within three lengths at the wire. The no-nonsense closer, who is owned by Shayne May and trained by Jeff Olsen, won the cavalry charge to the finish line over All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) and Another Breath (Noble) in 1:55.1. Although the winning son of Donato Hanover has been highly competitive in the top trotting class over the past four months, he was sent off at 15-1 by the public. The $20,000 Open II was captured by Hominy Hill, trained by Sandy Tetrick and driven by her husband Trace. The 7-year-old black gelding bested Classic Venture (Noble) and Impressive Chief (Brett Miller). From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - My Buddy Ninkster pulled another mild upset, as he often does, in the $24,000 Open I Handicap at Miami Valley on Saturday night (Feb. 9). Rarely dispatched as a favorite, this 1:51.1 victory was My Buddy Ninkster's tenth in the past 13 months against the best pacers in central and southwest Ohio. Todd Warren guided the 7-year-old son of Dali to the narrow come-from-behind score over open class heavyweights Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) and Granite (Brett Miller), who were lapped on at the wire. The winner paid $10.80. John Jr. and Mary Krasnican bred and have owned My Buddy Ninkster his whole life and he has rewarded them with $476,740 in career earnings. He is conditioned by veteran trainer Bob Phillips. A co-featured $20,000 Open II was captured in front-stepping fashion by Cruise Patrol (Brett Miller) in 1:50.4. The favored 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight topped Doctor Carter (Chris Page) and Whataboy (Tyler Smith) to earn his initial victory of 2019, raising his lifetime bounty to $251,056 by doing so. Chris Short has been training the impressive winner for owner Coleen Dowdall. Two divisions of the brand new Bill Dailey Memorial Medley series also were presented on the Saturday program. The initial leg of this late-closer featured 5/8th mile dashes for $12,500 purses. Next week the same horses will compete at the standard one mile distance for $17,500 bounties; and the $25,000 championship leg on February 23 will be contested at 1-1/4 miles. Both dashes were clocked in 1:08, just four-fifths of a second off the North American record for one lap around a 5/8ths oval. The Dark Shadow (Chris Page) pressed to the front just past the first quarter and held off runnerup Duel Of Truth (Kyle Ater) and show finisher Royale Rose (Mike Oosting) in the stretch. The heavily favored 5-year-old son of Shadow Play, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, returned $4.00. The second split went to Hunchie (Cameron McCown), who used the coveted No. 1 post position to full advantage. The Vince Hanna-trainee lead Southern Flight (Jason Brewer) and Angelo J Fra (Page) through the final teletimer beam in his first start of the year. Frederick Reed IV owns the 9-year-old by No Pan Intended who returned a healthy $21.00 to his mutuel backers. The 2:05 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 10) matinee at Miami Valley will feature a $24,000 Open I Trot, a $20,000 Open II Trot, and the $37,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame series for $30,000 claimers. From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - Feelin Red Hot (Chris Page) nosed out American Girl (Trace Tetrick) in Miami Valley's $25,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace on Friday night (Feb. 8), giving the 6-year-old harness racing daughter of Feelin Friskie her second straight weekly feature and postponing the christening of American Girl as a millionaire for at least another week. Page left enough to drop in fifth during the :27.1 opening panel, but was out and moving in the outer flow shortly thereafter. Positioned third-over and still in fifth past the halfway point in :56.1, Feelin Red Hot moved three-wide and was fourth after the 1:24.1 third stanza. As American Girl, who was setting the pace after clearing to the front just past the first quarter, began to tire on this chilly and windy night, Page and Feelin Red Hot showed the most resolve in the stretch by just barely wearing down her main adversary in 1:54. A win by American Girl would have pushed her career earnings to a few dollars more than $1 million, but now she'll have to wait in hopes of at least a second place finish in her next attempt. Ron Burke trains Feelin Red Hot for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She now sports 21 wins in 78 trips to the post, good for earnings of $238,479. Earlier on the card, two divisions of the first leg of the inaugural Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley for trotters were contested. The pair of first leg races were 5/8th mile dashes over Miami Valley's 5/8 mile oval. The second leg will be raced at the standard one mile distance; while the championship leg will be contested over 1-1/4 miles-or two laps. Brett Miller drove the winners of both $12,500 first leg dashes, Deweykknowigotit (1:11.2, $7.00 to win) and Double A Goldrush (1:11.1, $44.80). The North American record for the distance and track size is 1:10.3. Deweyknowigotit has now won four of his five starts at Miami Valley since the meet opened in early January. Lionel Watiker owns the 5-year-old gelded son of Deweycheatumnhowe and his son Derek Watiker does the conditioning. Rockinthepines (Dan Noble) was a hard-charging second with Cruzen Cassi (Tetrick) grabbing the show dough. Double A Goldrush rallied from off the pace to beat Rompaway Galaxy (Jason Thompson) and Lets Go Bucks (Kyle Ater). Ross Leonard trains the 5-year-old altered son of Elegant Man for owners Michael and Laura Lee and Terry Leonard. With 14 victories in 62 lifetime starts the winner is closing in on $200,000 in earnings. Racing resumes Saturday night (Feb. 9) at Miami Valley with a $24,000 Open Handicap Pace and two divisions of the new Bill Dailey Memorial Medley on tap. Post time is 6:05 p.m. From the Miami Valley Media Department

Anette Lorentzon shares a special connection with Ultimate Shopper, and it goes beyond winning races and money. The 6-year-old harness racing mare, who competes Friday in the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley for trotters at Miami Valley Raceway, was one of two yearlings Lorentzon bought at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale after being diagnosed with cancer. Lorentzon, who has overcome bone cancer and last year posted career highs for training wins and purses, purchased Ultimate Shopper for $140,000. She was familiar with the horse's family, having conditioned Ultimate Shopper's dam, Adelaide Hall, who finished third behind Possess The Magic and Pampered Princess in the 2006 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters. Adelaide Hall was injured while preparing for her 3-year-old season and never raced again. Her third foal was Ultimate Shopper, a full sister to stakes-winner All Laid Out. Ultimate Shopper has won 15 of 73 career starts and earned $351,515 for Lorentzon, who owns the mare with her family's ACL Stuteri and Kjell Johansson. "She means quite a bit to me and my family," Lorentzon said. "When they found out I had cancer, life changed in a heartbeat. I picked (Ultimate Shopper) out when I was going through my treatments. We didn't know what was going to happen. You never know how it's going to go when you get cancer. It might be the last thing you do. Luckily it didn't turn out that way." Lorentzon had femur replacement surgery as a result of her cancer. In December, she underwent a second operation to correct an issue with the first. She will be on crutches for a while, but is otherwise good. "The cancer has not been back," Lorentzon said. "Coming back after (the surgery) is what drives me crazy. I have to take it easy. I'm at the barn and checking on everything, but it's kind of tough because you really want to be out there. But in this case you've got to do what you've got to do." Lorentzon has nearly 70 horses in her stable, with 13 in New Jersey and the remainder in Kentucky. Last year, the stable produced 154 wins and earned $2.24 million. So far this season, it has 13 victories and $155,680. "The year has started out well on the track," Lorentzon said. "We just have to hope to keep it that way." Ultimate Shopper, who has won two of three starts this year, will try to do her part. The mare slumped after winning the Open Handicap at Northfield Park last August, but has returned refreshed after a two-month respite. She won a conditioned class by 10-1/4 lengths on Jan. 8 at Miami Valley, finished third in her next start, and after a bridle change bounced back with another victory. "She dropped in class when she was out of form," Lorentzon said. "If she didn't drop in class I might not have tried her back; we might have just bred her. I said to the owners that I wanted to give her a break and then try her and play it by ear. We do the breeding, but it is a lot of fun to have the good horses racing. That's what you want. As long as she is racing good she will be racing." Ultimate Shopper, who was a Grand Circuit winner at age 2, will start from post four in the first of two $12,500 opening-round divisions of the Beissinger. She will be driven by Elliott Deaton and is 7-2 on the morning line. Deweyknowigotit, with Brett Miller driving for Derek Watiker, is the 5-2 favorite. The races in the first round of the Beissinger Memorial Medley will be contested at five-eighths of a mile. The second-round will be contested at one mile and the final at 1-1/4 miles. The same format will be used in the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley for pacers, which will have two $12,500 opening-round divisions on Saturday. "I don't know what to think," Lorentzon said about the multiple-distances format. "I don't know how good she will be over the five-eighths (distance); I don't know how quick she is over five-eighths. I'm hoping she can be OK. She can leave the gate and all that, so that's why I'm hoping she will be OK. I think she will be better for the second week when we are racing the more normal distance. "But this (format) is the right thing, to try something new. There is nothing wrong with that. Hopefully she is all good and tight and ready to go." For Friday's complete Miami Valley entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of harness racing longshots that did not win preliminary legs of their respective Claim To Fame Series did capture championship finals at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday afternoon (Feb. 4) over a sloppy strip dulled by warming temperatures followed by a persistent chilly rain. Winwood Scout (LeWayne Miller) proved best in the $15,000 trotting split, besting favorites Undercover Strike (Kayne Kauffman) and Mikey Hanover (Brett Miller) in 1:56.3. Miller got away fourth with the 9-year-old son of Keystone Nordic before moving into the outer flow just prior to the halfway juncture. Still third at the three quarters station, Winwood Scout was steered wide at the head of the stretch to engage and ultimately wear down the more highly regarded frontrunners. Although the series finalists staggered home following taxing fractions over the sticky track, Winwood Scout showed the most resolve in the final strides. Jana Cromer claimed the winner of the $27,500 final just a week ago and entrusted him to Charles Stewart to prep for the series championship. Winwood Scout returned an $18.40 mutuel, despite the fact he was dispatched as the betting favorite in both of the preliminary legs. A purse of $17,500 was on the line when the $8000 claiming mares championship went postward. The race resulted in the largest win payoff of the day when driver Josh Sutton steered Turnitdownforwatt to a 1:55.1 victory despite the disadvantage of starting from post nine. The 5-year-old Shadyshark Hanover mare was ducked when the gate swung open, but moved early into the outer flow. With live cover, Sutton moved the ultimate champion up to fourth at the :56.2 half and third at the 1:25.2 third timer. With good momentum, Turnitdownforwatt collared even-money favorite Dolly's Girl (Trace Tetrick) in mid-stretch. Fellow longshot Endeavors Ladyluck (Trevor Smith) closed with resolve to grab the sizeable show dough. Turnitdownforwatt paid a whopping $80.40 to win while the exacta with Dolly's Girl returned a handsome $263.20 return. Larry Finn trains the winner for owner Joseph Baron. A $25,000 Open Trot was also presented with All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) returning to his winning ways for the first time in two months. The 6-year-old Swan For All gelding bested Pine Dream (Trace Tetrick) and Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) in 1:55.3 for his fourteenth career victory, increasing his earnings to over $168,000 for owners Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas. The 5-2 second choice of the betting public is trained by Ken Rucker. Four $6000 divisions of the first elimination round of a Survivor Series for bottom level $5000 claiming mares resulted in the field being reduced in half. The top five finishers in each of the four races advanced to round two next week when the purses jump to $7500. The top five from those eliminations will compete in a $15,000 championship a week later. Winners in Week One were Grimalkin (Brett Miller), Bugatti Beauty (Dan Noble), Friskie Teddy (Noble) and Star Of Our Show (Travis Seekman). The 50-cent Lucky Pick 5 at Miami Valley, contested over races ten through fourteen, went unsolved on Monday afternoon and now features a $4793 carryover into Tuesday (Feb. 5) afternoon's program. In conjunction with the USTA Strategic Wagering program, the Pick 5 pool will feature a $10,000 guarantee. Post time for the tenth race is usually around 5 p.m. on a matinee at Miami Valley. From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - Fan Of Terror is officially the 'King of the Hill' among $20,000 harness racing claimers at Miami Valley Raceway after capturing the $32,500 Claim To Fame final for that division on Saturday night (Feb. 2). For trainer Brady Galliers it was the second lucrative Claim To Fame final in as many weeks having copped the $12,500 split with RHP. In both cases, Galliers welcomed the winners into his stable just prior to the finals via the claim box. Galliers wisely chose red-hot Dan Noble to steer Fan Of Terror in the championship tilt. The result was a front-stepping 1:52.3 score for the son of Western Terror's seventh straight victory in southwest Ohio. The 4-5 favorite beat second choice Latest Desire (Trace Tetrick) and longshot Whiskey Friskie (Tyler Smith). New owners Brian and Ira Wallach recouped the majority of their purchase price for Fan Of Terror in just one week. Noble was right back in the winner's circle for the fifth time on the night-and ninth time on the weekend-following the $25,000 Open I Handicap Pace. Nuclear Dragon, making just his third start after a three-month vacation from the racing wars, pushed the starting gate out of the way at the start and pulled Noble around the five eighths Miami Valley oval on the front end in 1:51.2. The odds-on favorite topped longshots Whatchyastarinat (Kyle Ater) and Shagnwiththedragon (Mike Oosting) in the top weekly feature race. It was Nuclear Dragon's tenth triumph in the past year and pushed his earnings over the last 12 months over $200,000 for owner Richard Mishkin. A $20,000 Open II Pace on the Saturday card wasn't nearly as chalky. The longest shot in the race, 87-1 Mojoto Hanover (Elliott Deaton) made an ultra impressive three-wide rally around the final turn and through the lane to score the 1:53.3 tally and return $176.80 for a $2 bet. Cruise Patrol (Trace Tetrick) also made up a huge deficit to come from last at the half to second at the finish. Whataboy (Tyler Smith) nabbed the show dough. Mojoto Hanover is trained by Zachary Miller for owner Edward Dobrowolski. Two divisions of the second leg of the $30,000 Claim To Fame Series also went postward to determine the nine finalists for their $37,500 championship final on Sunday, Feb. 10. Tetrick guided both winners in an identical clocking of 1:53.1. In the first division, Swapportunity bested IYQ YQR (Chris Page) and Evergreen Elite (Kyle Ater). Claimed out of the first leg of the three-week series, Swapportunity was making his initial start for Lasalle Investments LLC and trainer Becky Zubkoff. Cyclone Kiwi N notched his second straight win in the second division, racing for new owner-trainer Adam Short who also plucked the winner from the leg one claim box. Indiana Cam (Todd Warren) raced huge from an outside post for his second consecutive runnerup finish, while Sammy The Bull N (Josh Sutton) proved best of the rest. Cyclone Kiwi N and Swapportunity will be joined in the lucrative final by JM Jet Set, Indiana Cam, Coal Hanover, Backstreet Lawyer, IYQ YQR, Prejudice and Sammy The Bull N. Miami Valley Raceway will be dark on Super Bowl Sunday. From the Miami Valley Media Department  

LEBANON, OH. - Feelin Red Hot (Chris Page), a 6-year-old Ohio-sired harness racing mare by Feelin Friskie, notched her 20th career victory in just 77 starts Friday night (Feb. 1) in Miami Valley's $25,000 Distaff Open Pace. The 1:52.1 tally was the winner's first at Miami Valley and increased her lifetime bankroll to $236,000. Page took no chances with the 4-5 favorite, cutting all the fractions before holding pocketsitter Lease Ness Monster (Sam Widger) at bay through the stretch. Zoe Ellasen (Trace Tetrick) closed well to earn the show check as her stablemate American Girl (Brady Galliers), who would eclipse $1 million in earnings with a win, ducked early from an assigned outside post position and failed to fire from the rear. Ron Burke trains Feelin Red Hot for the Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Driver Dan Noble scored a hat trick on the program to inch closer to leaders Trace Tetrick and Brett Miller in the current meet dash standings. He won with Southwind Indy, a conditioned pacer, for trainer Jeff Amann, then followed up with triumphs behind claimer David's Dream for conditioner Ray Farmer, trotter Semi Begonia from the Amy Wengerd Stable, and Mark Evers' Sugar Island in a higher conditions pace. Racing resumes Saturday night (Feb. 2) with a strong program that includes a $25,000 Open I, a $20,000 Open II, a $32,500 championship tilt between $20,000 claimers, and a pair of $27,500 divisions in the $30,000 Claim To Fame Series. There will be no racing at Miami Valley on Super Bowl Sunday. From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - Another pair of Claim To Fame Series champions were crowned Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 29) at frigid Miami Valley Raceway. Giovanni (Trace Tetrick) completed a clean sweep of the division for male $8000 claiming pacers, winning for the third straight week in the $22,500 final. Using the same come-from-behind tactics he employed in the two preliminary legs, Tetrick was content to ease away from the starting gate-falling in fifth along the pylons before the :26.4 quarter pole. The winner moved into the third-over position in the outer flow prior to the :55.2 midway point. Still in the same position at the 1:23.4 third teletimer, Tetrick moved Giovanni wider yet and swept easily to the lead in the stretch while clocking a 1:53.1 mile. Longshot Star Guitar (Kayne Kauffman) came up with a furious late rally to finish second ahead of show finisher Trixsen Gram (Dan Noble). Owner-trainer Tyler George claimed Giovanni just prior to the series and has earned $20,250 in the month of January with his new pupil. The fillies and mares $12,500 claiming champion Ginger Tree Alexis was claimed in each of the two preliminary legs and raced well for all three of her connections during the series. Following place and win finishes in the first two weeks, it was new owner-trainer Adam Short that got the biggest chunk of cheese by winning the $22,500 final. Driver Josh Sutton managed a perfect pocket trip for the 7-year-old winner, sitting snug behind pacesetter Golden Paradise (Tetrick) for most of the 1:55 mile. Always A Vision (Brett Miller) had the most pace in the stretch but fell just short as runnerup. Golden Paradise held on for the show dough. From the Miami Valley Media Department    

LEBANON, OH. - Pine Dream notched his first victory of the 2019 season on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 27) at Miami Valley Raceway, copping the Open Trot in 1:55.3. Driver Aaron Merriman got away third with the winner until the quarter was reached in :28.3, but was shuffled to fourth along the pylons at the :57.1 midway juncture and then fifth when passing the three quarters marker in 1:26.2. Finding racing room around the final turn, Pine Dream moved to the outer flow and then swung wide for the stretch drive. With a :29 final panel, the 7-year-old son of Pinetucky swept past show finisher Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith), runnerup All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) and tiring longshot pacesetter Sweet Mr Pinetucky (Mike Oosting) to secure the triumph. It was the twelfth win in 35 starts over the last year and ballooned Pine Dream's life bounty to $210,000. Kelly Chupp trains him for the Chupp Racing Stable Inc. On a day when favorites dominated the mutuel results, Pine Dream paid $10.80. Coupled with All About Cowboys the exacta returned $74.40; while a 50-cent trifecta including Primed N Powerful was worth $166.75. A $20,000 Open II trot was won handily by Boffin (Elliott Deaton), who disposed of Classic Venture (Brett Miller) and Pridecrest (Brewer) in 1:57.1. Three divisions of the Claim To Fame series for $30,000 horses finally were contested after back-to-back Sunday weather cancellations at Miami Valley. Prohibitive favorite Coal Hanover (Dan Noble) copped the first split by five lengths in 1:53.3 over a sloppy track caused by intermittent freezing and thawing for several days. Indiana Cam (Todd Warren) and Swapportunity (Josh Sutton) were next to cross the line. Coal Harbor had nine claims entered on him and will race next for new trainer Steve Crist. J M Jet Set (Noble) was a neck better than Backstreet Lawyer (Miller) and Verdad (Merriman) in the second division, clocked in 1:55. In the final heat, Cyclone Kiwi N (Merriman) won a narrow decision in 1:55.2. Prejudice (Chris Page) was moved up to second due to an interference call in the final quarter, while Given Up Terror (Lyle Scurlock) was moved up to third. Racing at Miami Valley resumes Monday afternoon (Jan. 28) with a pair of Claim To Fame Series championships highlighting the card. $8000 claiming mares will chase a $17,500 purse and $15,000 trotters will vie for a $27,500 bounty. Post time is 2:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - A star-studded full field of ten went postward in the Saturday (Jan. 26) harness racing $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at Miami Valley. When the dust settled, Granite won his second feature race of the meet and fourth in his last six tries in the region. In the process, the 6-year-old son of Real Desire equaled the quickest mile of the three-week old winter meet by stopping the teletimer in 1:50 flat for driver Brett Miller. Granite and Miller got away fifth in the talented field, but did not see the pylons for much of the mile. The pair followed Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the outer flow during the initial :26.2 panel, then were forced to face the elements first-up when that adversary cleared to the front prior to the :54.1 midway point. Lapped on to the pacesetter passing the 1:21.2 three-quarters station, Granite dug deep in the stretch to hold off hard-charging My Buddy Ninkster (Todd Warren) and Nuclear Dragon at the finish. Every horse in the field was a recent impressive winner and thus Granite was dispatched at 7-1 odds. He is trained by Ken Rucker for The Panhellenic Stable Corporation and is rapidly approached the $400,000 earnings plateau. Three divisions of second leg Claim To Fame action was also contested among $20,000 claimers racing for $26,000 tags, a 30% price enhancement following leg one two weeks ago. Winners, despite missing a week of racing due to a weather cancellation at Miami Valley last Saturday, were Artsmah (Josh Sutton, 1:52.4, $18.80 to win), Fan Of Terror (Trace Tetrick, 1:52, $2.80) and Denslow Hanover (Chris Page, 1:51.4, $9.80). All three advanced to next week's $32,500 championship tilt where they will be joined by fellow finalists Always A Fighter, Latest Desire, Vintage Grand, Gypsy Leather, Valiant Ivy and Whiskey Friskie. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - The first of seven harness racing Claim To Fame Series championships that will be decided in the coming days was contested Friday night (Jan. 25) at Miami Valley Raceway. RHP made it "seven straight in the Buckeye State" when he wired the field of finalists in the $12,500 claiming split for male pacers. Owner-trainer-driver Brady Galliers proved to be an astute pin-hooker as well, winning the $25,000 event and recouping the majority of the $16,300 he plucked down to claim the winner just last week. Galliers set sail from the get-go with the 6-5 favorite, putting RHP through fractions of :26.4, :54.2 and 1:22 before sealing the deal by equaling the 5-year-old son of Dali's lifetime mark of 1:51.2. Hezabluechipboy N (Dan Noble) tried valiantly to close in the stretch but couldn't collar the razor sharp RHP. Stonehouse Adam (Chris Page) was best of the rest. A race later, Colonys Best (Mike Oosting) did RHP one better. Patricia Brewer's 7-year-old Art Colony gelding won for the eighth straight time despite taking another step up the claiming ladder. Colonys Best's streak started at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 5000 claimers and has advanced through the $6500, $8000, $10,000 and now $12,500 ranks unscathed. The $25,000 Mares Open Pace also went postward on the program with the youngest entrant, JB's Shooting Star (Simon Allard), scoring an upset over Zoe Ellasen (Trace Tetrick) and Feelin Red Hot (Chris Page) in 1:53. The winning 4-year-old daughter of Straight Shooting was content to sit fifth during the first three quarters before unleashing an impressive three-wide stretch rally to produce the mild 8-1 upset. Jace Sundeen trains JB's Shooting Star for owner John Barnard of Miami, Florida. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway has introduced a pair of new Late Closing events with an exciting twist-odd distance harness racing. Both the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley for male pacers and the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley for trotters will feature three legs-a 5/8ths mile dash (one lap) the first week, a mile race the second and a 1-1/4 mile (two laps) final. The series are open to horses who have raced for purses of $7500 (min.) to $15,000 (max.) in each of their last three starts. "I introduced this concept at Northfield Park as the John Phillips Memorial Medley in the late 80's," said Miami Valley Race Secretary Gregg Keidel, "and it was one of our most popular events for close to a decade. The three different distances rewards versatile horses that can race well whether near the front or coming from behind. The odd distances also present a challenge for astute handicappers who like to think out of the box. You'd be surprised how many dashes were won by closers and how many distance races were won on the chooch." Bill Dailey, who died unexpectedly in the Fall of 2018, was widely recognized as one of the best trainers to ever make southwest Ohio (Urbana Fairgrounds) his home base. He was annually at or near the top of the Ohio Sires Stakes series standings and campaigned a large string of outstanding horses over the years. Dailey was often heard saying "Your horse might be better than mine, but he won't be in better shape than mine"-an indication of how fit and how versatile he wanted his horses to be on the racetrack. Howard Beissinger is unquestionably the most notable Grand Circuit trainer of trotters that ever stabled in southwest Ohio-in his hometown of Hamilton. The Hall of Famer won most every major trotting stake the sport has to offer, including three Hambletonians with Lindys Pride, Speedy Crown and Speedy Somolli. Widely recognized as a trotting master, Beissinger lead an interesting life. On his 80th birthday he went para-sailing in Mexico. On his 90th birthday, he went hang-gliding off a 3000 foot cliff in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Nominations ($400) for the Dailey and Beissinger Memorial Medleys are due Tuesday, Jan. 29. The first legs are on Friday, Feb. 8 for trotters; and Saturday, Feb. 9 for pacers. The purses for leg one will be $12,500, leg two will be $17,500 and the two-lap finals will go for $25,000. Nomination forms can be accessed at the website: www.miamivalleygaming.com then clicking on the 'Racing', 'Horsemen Info', 'Forms' and 'February Series' tabs. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - If the preliminary harness racing legs are any indication, the $22,500 championship finals of a pair of Claim To Fame late-closers next Tuesday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway should be hum-dingers. Five final divisions for $8000 claiming geldings and a pair of splits for $12,500 claiming mares were contested on this Tuesday's matinee (Jan. 22) to reduce the original hopefuls down to just nine for each final. Winners among the $8000 male pacers were Special Luke (LeWayne Miller, 1:54.2, $3.60 mutuel), Communicator (Todd Warren, 1:53.4, $6.40), Trixsen Gram (Dan Noble, 1:52.3, $9.00), Giovanni (Trace Tetrick, 1:53.3, $5.00) and Cool Like That (Brett Miller, 1:53.3, $5.00). As two-time winners in the series, Cool Like That and Giovanni are likely to favorites in the lucrative final with the others hot on their heels. In addition to the three other second leg winners, the field will also include Alero Blue Chip, Jacks Desire, Shift Right and Why Don't U Stay. On the distaff side, Townlinedaliscard (Chris Page, 1:54.2, $7.80) and Ginger Tree Alexis (Noble, 1:54.4, $4.20) copped divisions of the $12,500 mares series. There were no two-time preliminary leg winners among the females, so the championship in the class sets up as anybody's race to win. In order of preliminary leg earnings, the finalists are Ginger Tree Alexis, Cenalta Diamond, Townlinedaliscard, Always A Vision, Golden Paradise, Upfront Supersonic, Granny Pants, Shot Of Sweet Love and Likeafireballshot. The popular annual January Miami Valley Claim To Fame Series features seven different classes with two legs and a championship. The groupings were $8000 and $12,500 pacing mares; $8000, $12,500, $20,000 and $30,000 pacing males; and $15,000 claiming trotters. In the second leg of each series, a 30% claiming tag premium was allotted to each horse. There will be no claiming in the approaching lucrative championship tilts. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Harness racing ten-year-old American Girl won for the 54th time in her illustrious career on Friday night (Jan. 18) at Miami Valley Raceway. The daughter of Art's Chip is now just one win away from reaching the $1 million earnings plateau. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the $25,000 Mares Open Handicap, driver Trace Tetrick took no chances in the bulky 10-horse field, heading directly towards the front when the gate swung open. Getting where he wanted to go, though, wasn't as easy as it might have been. Although American Girl had her head in front she wasn't able to clear to the lead until well past the :27.2 first quarter. From there, however, there was little doubt about the outcome until runnerup JB's Shooting Star (Chris Page) rallied furiously through the stretch to make things interesting near the wire, reached in 1:54.2. Cast No Shadow (Josh Sutton) also raced admirably to grab the show money. Three final preliminary legs of the Claim To Fame Series for male $12,500 pacers were also contested. Winners were Rock Of The Ages (John DeLong, 1:52.1, $10.40 to win), RHP (Dan Noble, 1:53.1, $3.60) and Mosee Terror (Noble, 1:54, $3.60). In addition to that trio, finalists for next Friday's $25,000 championship leg are Stonehouse Adam, Max Hanover, Ruthless Call, Key Word, Hezabluechipboy N and Believe In Your Mach. With an extreme winter storm forecast for the weekend in Ohio, Miami Valley horsemen can expect a text alert by 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning in regards to the status of Saturday night's live program. Gregg Keidel  

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