Day At The Track

Big stakes night at Northfield

08:30 AM 12 Oct 2019 NZDT
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The $120,500 Courageous Lady goes postward this Saturday (October 12) at Northfield Park. The Grand Circuit race is an open event for North America's top 3-year-old filly pacers and has attracted a very competitive slate of harness racing foes vying to become this year's champion.
 
Here is a closer look at Saturday's Field:

#1 She's Allright drew the rail in this year's Courageous Lady. This sophomore daughter of Sweet Lou is one of two fillies in this field for harness racing's leading trainer Ron Burke. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Michelle Yanek and Phillip Collura. She's Allright was a Jugette contender who has five career wins. Her lifetime mark is 1:52.1 (M1) with a career bankroll of $161,229. Northfield Park fan favorite Ronnie Wrenn Jr. will drive this 10-1 morning line longshot.

#2 Skater Chick drew post 2 and has been instilled as the 9-2 third favorite. She is a relative newcomer to the Mark Harder barn and is one of two entries in this race from Harder. She attracts harness driving standout Corey Callahan, who will be making his first appearance on the Flying Turns. Skater Chick has not been worse than third in her last three starts. This six-time winner is owned by Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste and Barth Bechtel. She has a career-best 1:50.3 (Wbsb 7/8) and a $95,504 bankroll.

#3 So Awesome is this field's 3-1 second choice and has drawn post three for trainer Scott Di Domenico and owner William Hartt. Harness racing's all-time winningest driver Dave Palone has been named to pilot. She enters this event off a runner-up performance in the $30,000 Simpson at Harrah's Philadelphia. So Awesome has won eight times and has been on the board in 18 of 23 career races, earning $446,113 and staking a 1:53.3 (Stga) mark.

#4 Under The Hood did not win a race as a freshman, but has scored four times in 11 races this year for trainer Nick Surick and owners Engle Stable of IL, J L Benson Stables and Louis Willinger. Brady Galliers has been named to drive this 15-1 contender. Under The Hood stepped out to stakes competition last month at the historic Delaware County Fairgrounds and made it to the final heat of the Jugette. This filly has earned $51,760 with a 1:53 (PcD 5/8) mark.

#5 JK American Beauty will start from post five and has been installed the 5-2 luke-warm favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. This filly is trained by Nancy Johansson, the daughter of Harness Racing Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter. Her trainee was a major player in the New York Sires Stakes scene this year and has recently made her presence known in open stakes company along the East Coast. Brett Miller has been given the driving assignment. She is owned by 3 Brothers Stable and enters with four victories, $323,648 in earnings and a mark of 1:51 (M1).

#6 Crazy Cute is one of two fillies in this field trained by Mark Harder, this one for owner Joseph Jannuzzelli. This daughter of Art Official has three wins to her credit. She has $100,623 in earnings and a 1:52.4 (Phl 5/8) record. North America's leading driver Aaron Merriman will be in the sulky. Merriman has won more races over the Flying Turns than any other driver in Northfield's history. Crazy Cute is a 12-1 longshot that enters this race off a runner-up finish in the $30,000 Simpson at Harrah's Philladelphia.

#7 Rose Run Uptowngal starts from the outside and is 6-1. She is one of two fillies in this field trained by Ron Burke and is the only Ohio-bred in this year's Courageous Lady. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Chris Page has been listed to drive. This Dragon Again filly has five career victories, $206,989 in earning and a 1:51.3 (ScD 5/8) lifetime mark.

This year's Courageous Lady has been slated as race nine on a 14-race program. A $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool has been added to the night. The guaranteed Pick-4 will begin with the Courageous Lady.

The undercard will feature two $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes finals for 4-year-old-and-up Ohio-bred trotters and two divisions of "The Pace for the Cure" featuring all female drivers.

Party At The Banks is the 7-5 favorite in the $75,000 OSS Final for 4-year-old-and-up trotting mares. She enter off a win in the $17,500 Open Trot at Dayton and has won 10 of 20 starts this year for trainer Ron Burke. Chris Page will be in her sulky. Sesame and Ronnie Wrenn Jr is the 7-2 second choice for trainer Chris Beaver, while Moolah Begonia and Aaron Merriman are third choice for trainer Jessica Roegner.

Pass The Vape is the even money shot in the $75,000 Final for 4-year-old-and-up trotting horse and geldings. He has cored in seven of 25 starts this year for owner trainer Lionel Watiker. While Watiker has driven Pass The Vape in a majority of his starts this year, he calls upon Pennsylvania heavyweight Mike Wilder to pilot. Joggingtothebank and Kurt Sugg is the second choice for Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame trainer Marty Wollam. Jailhouse Sam and trainer/driver Hugh Beatty checks in as the third favorite.

The "Pace for the Cure" is another exciting event on the evening. The event is for female drivers and is an effort to offer a novel event for horse racing spectators, as well as use harness racing's platform to raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer.

The event has been well received by horsemen and has grown to two divisions on the evening's program, with female drivers traveling to Cleveland to compete from New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania and all over Ohio. Horsemen will also show their support for the event by dressing their horses in pink harnesses, ribbons, sulkies, etc.

The one-mile dashes will each carry a purse of $7,000 and will help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Fans can join in the drive to eliminate breast cancer by purchasing raffle tickets ($1 each or five for $3) and depositing their raffle tickets in to bags that correspond with their favorite "Pace for the Cure" driver. Tickets from the winning bags will be entered in a drawing for prizes. Raffle tickets can be purchased at Northfield's promotional table on the first level of the grandstand on Saturday, starting at 6PM and continuing until post time for the "The Pace."

In addition, a silent auction will also take place from 6-9 pm. Items available in the auction are an MGM Northfield Park concert and dinner package, a YETI cooler filled with game time snacks, a Kitchen Aid Mixer and Ghirardelli baking package and a special dining package hosted by MGM Northfield Park's Executive Chef Chris Poplin.

Among the participants this year's first division is Jazmin Arnold, perhaps the highest percentage driver among women this year, sporting a .492 average. She recently won a race over the Flying Turns on Sunday. Arnold was also victorious in this year's Ohio Lady Driver Series Championship at the Delaware County Fair. She will take on Renee Bouslaugh, Lauren Harmon, Rachel Kaneoka, Monica Banca, Mary Birkhold, Alisha Binkley and Sabrina Shaw.

The second division clashes royal harness racing bloodlines as Devan Miller and Kiara Morgan, daughters of David Miller and Virgil Morgan Jr., square off. They will be facing Emily Hay, who won this event last year. Jayne Weller, the most accomplished driver among the two races is also in the second division. Weller has registered exactly 200 victories and is the daughter of June Weller, the only female to ever drive in harness racing's crown jewel, the Little Brown Jug.

The evening's first race post time is 6:40 PM. The first 1,500 guests that arrive starting at 6PM on Saturday will receive a Northfield Park travel tumbler. Inside each tumbler there will be cash, match play, Northfield Park merchandise or Center Stage concert tickets.

Fans can also participate in the Beer Slide on the outside patio from 7-8PM and the Pop-A-Shot contest from 8:30-9:30PM.

Northfield Park's Lady Luck's Clubhouse Restaurant is featuring a special $19.95 Courageous Lady buffet. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101.

by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
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