Day At The Track

Full Count daughters sweep Ohio Sire Stakes

06:10 PM 02 May 2015 NZST
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Virgil Morgan Jr. Josh Sutton
Virgil Morgan Jr. garnered his second straight Miami Valley training title in 2015. To date this year Morgan has won 66 races at MVR and sports an outstanding winning percentage of 30%.
Conrad Photo
Josh Sutton was presented with the Leading Driver award for an outstanding meet at Miami Valley in 2015 by Racing Operations Manager Helen Carlo and Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. Through the first 87 nights of the 89 program meet, Sutton steered 175 winne
Conrad Photo

LEBANON, OH. - 2015 Ohio Sires Stakes harness racing action kicked off on a warm 71 degree night at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday (May 1) with three $40,000 divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $40,000 divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Little Casino (Hugh Beatty Jr.) got things off to a rousing start with a divisional track record 1:58.3 win in the first trotting split. As the betting favorite, Beatty was content to sit fifth in the early going before joining the outer flow just before the half then swinging three-wide at the three-quarter pole and finishing with the best late kick to top Mid Pack (Dan Noble) and Countthechip (Ken Holliday). The winning daughter of Full Count broke her maiden in her only other start this season, but looks poised to make some noise in the division in her sophomore campaign. Owner Duane Lowe conditioned Little Casino as a two-year-old, going winless in a dozen starts but earning $17,221 at Ohio county fairs. She more than doubled her lifetime earnings with the $20,000 win check.

The second of the three splits for squaregaiters went to another daughter of Full Count. Student of Life (Kurt Sugg), third choice with the betting public, went gate-to-wire in 1:59.1 to beat Bettys Sam (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Uf Cashnmychips (Aaron Merriman). A winner of $65,106 at age two, this Marty Wollam-trainee was making her first start of the year off two qualifiers. She is owned by Acadia Farms and G & B Racing.

Little Casino's track record was short-lived as Dark Roast (Kurt Sugg) lowered the standard to 1:58 flat in the third and final O.S.S. split for distaff trotters. The victory solidified a clean sweep of the first leg of the filly trot as Dark Roast is also a daughter of Full Count. She, too, is trained by Marty Wollam and owned by Acadia Farms and G & B Racing. Also entering off a pair of tune-up qualifiers, the $49,043 earner topped Like Old Times (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Honey B (Kyle Ater) in the record mile.

Bell Flower (Chris Page), after three mediocre qualifiers, returned to her familiar form of 2014, flashing early front-end speed and playing catch-me-if-you-can-which no one could-through a 1:53.1 clocking in the first pacing fillies split. A winner of seven out of eight starts and $164,336 at age two, the daughter of Fly Fly Buckeye was purchased during the off season by Bruce Soulsby, Dean Davis and Carl Howard and entrusted to trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Favored Friskie Lil Devil (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), the impressive winner of the James K. Hackett Memorial a week ago, sat the pocket throughout but could not close on Bell Flower in a quick :27.4 closing panel. Feeling Wild (Dan Noble) was best of the rest.

Friskie Megan gave driver Hugh Beatty Jr. his second sires stakes victory of the night in the second pacing division, but made mutuel backers even happier with the highest win ticket return in Miami Valley's two-year history. Friskie Megan swung four-wide at the head of the stretch and just nipped E Ticket Ride (Dan Noble) and Karlee Sue (Jason Brewer) in the final strides of a 1:55.3 mile. Trainer Steve Bateson co-owns the Feelin Friskie filly with partner Harold Moore. Campaigned strictly at the fairs in 2014, she made her commercial track debut a whopping success, returning $212.40 for a $2 win ticket.

The $19,650 Fillies and Mares Open Pace also produced an upset when 12-1 Betit To Getit (Jason Brewer) triumphed over Skippin By (Josh Sutton) and All Terror (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:52.2, just one-fifth of a second off the track mark for older mares.

The season at Miami Valley concludes with programs on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Highlighting the Saturday card, which will begin at 7 p.m. due to the 6:35 Kentucky Derby post time, will be two divisions each of Ohio Sires Stakes action for sophomore colts and a $17,050 Open Pace. The Grand Circuit comes to town on Sunday with older pacing mares competing in the $75,000 Chip Noble Memorial; and older trotters going postward in the $86,500 Miami Valley Distaff.

Gregg Keidel

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