Day At The Track

11,000th win for Aaron Merriman

07:48 PM 17 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Aaron Merriman, harness racing
Aaron Merriman posted the 11,000th win of his career Wednesday at Northfield Park
JJ Zamaiko Photography

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman scored the 11,000th win of his driving career while driving Brooklynite in Northfield Park's 10th race on Wednesday (Jan. 16). Brooklynite started from the second tier, brushed boldly and the half to take the lead and never looked back, winning by 5¼-lengths in 1:52.

Merriman, 40, keeps a torrid schedule, regularly competing at Northfield Park and The Meadows. However, he also races at various other venues throughout the year.

Aaron is the reigning North American dash champion. In fact, last year he became the first driver in harness racing history to post multiple 1,000-win seasons.

In 2013, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. He has won more races at Northfield than any other driver in the track's history. Last year, he broke the record for the most Northfield wins in a single season, posting 711 scores over the Flying Turns in 2018.

Aaron's talents have also been noticed on the national stage. He was just voted Harness Racing's Driver of the Year for 2018 and will officially receive this award at the annual Dan Patch Awards Ceremony in Orlando, Florida in February.

Merriman's richest win came in a $300,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final aboard Palazzo Princess. Aaron's fastest win was race timed in 1:48.3 aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in September, 2014.

Merriman remembers his first win as being aboard a pacing mare named Albert's Filly at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. Although there are 11,000 to choose from, Merriman says that he is definitely partial to his first, "It always feels great to win a race. I have had the same elated feeling every time I have been to the winner's circle," explained Merriman, "But that first one felt especially nice."

Aaron has sat behind countless horses, but one sticks out to him above all others: "I will always feel indebted to Midnight Jewel. She made me look good every week and really helped my career blossom."

Merriman started driving at the age of 21 and appreciates the successful 19-year career he has experienced so far; accomplishing the 11,000-win milestone and purse earnings in excess of $72,000,000.

"I've had a great run for a long time and so many owners and trainers that have helped me," said Merriman. "There are a lot of people who work very hard every day to keep racing alive and well and I just feel fortunate to be part of it."

Ayers Ratliff

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