Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman steered two Ohio Sires Stakes winners on a scorching Memorial Day at Scioto Downs. He won first with the trotter Its Jesse Time, then came back to win with the pacer Noble Trick. Merriman currently ranks tenth among all drivers in North America in wins.
Merriman shot Noble Trick, the 3-5 favorite, to the front at the start of his Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore colt pacers. The six other pacers, including the 3-1 second choice Gun Show, fell in line behind the leader and stayed there. That enabled Merriman to steal an opening half-mile in :58.4 and he knew then that he had the race won.
"From that point, it was like a training mile," Merriman said after the race.
Two quarters in :27.3 each sealed the issue for Noble Trick and he triumphed by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54 over Gun Show and Man Can He Skoot.
It was the first win of the season in three starts for Noble Trick, who is trained by Ron Steck and owned by Steck and partners Julie and Darlene Hawkins and Michael Claussen.
The other split of Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore colt pacers went to Jetstream Friskie, driven confidently by Kayne Kauffman for trainer Joe Essig and owner James Wampler.
Chip Noble sent the 2-5 favorite Feelin Cornered to the front at the start, but Kauffman soon came calling with Jetstream Friskie to take control at the half-mile marker. He kept rolling to a four length victory in 1:53.2.
It was the second straight Ohio Sires Stakes win for the brown colt. Feelin Cornered held for second while LOL Ken Win got up for the show money.
Merriman got his second Ohio Sires Stakes win behind the gelding Its Jesse Time. Merriman kept his trotter well off the fast pace set by Ray Paver and Master's Fly Trap as they steamed to the half-mile marker in :57.2.
Merriman picked up cover from Rockin H Cheery O past the half and when the leaders faded in the stretch, Its Jesse Time sailed past them to win in 1:57.3.
Jerry Lighthill trains Its Jesse Time for owner Charles W. Miller. It was his second win in six starts this season.
Whotooksam was also a winner in Ohio Sires Stakes action. Al Brown, Countmymuscles and Jailhouse Camryn all left fast in an effort to take command of the race and Al Brown won the battle. Soon after he was in front.
Whotooksam moved easily to the front and never relinquished the lead. He scored by three lengths in 1:57 for trainer-driver Ray Paver over Countmymuscles and Jailhouse Juice. It was his third win in five starts this season. Whotooksam is owned by Kelly Paver and Julie Davis.
The final Ohio Sires Stake went to the 2011 Ohio champion Count Me In who was an easy winner for driver Chip Noble and trainer Marty Wollam. He left alertly, then yielded to Ryan Stahl and Cody Coy. During the third quarter, Noble was on the move again with the 6-5 favorite.
"I'd seen Ryan's horse (Cody Coy) make some breaks and I didn't want to be trapped in behind him if he jumped," said Noble.
Count Me In was eased to the wire by 1-3/4 lengths in a measured win in 1:56.1. Cody Coy held for second while Rock N Jesse closed for third place.
For Count Me In, it was his second win in five starts this year, both coming in Noble's two drives behind him. Count Me In is owned by Patricia Wollam and Acadia Farms.
"He makes my job easy," said Noble of the bay son of.
Racing resumes at Scioto on Thursday (May 31).
by Dean A. Hoffman, for Scioto Downs