Day At The Track

Merriman/Rhoades sweep Northfield titles

04:39 PM 03 Jan 2021 NZDT
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Endeavors Star, harness racing
Endeavors Star (Aaron Merriman) and Bill Rhoades team up for a victory on Saturday night at MGM Northfield Park.
JJ Zamaiko Photography

Northfield, OH - Aaron Merriman and Billy Rhoades concluded the 2020 MGM Northfield Park harness racing season with victories in the driving and training titles respectively.

Merriman carved out 519 victories, while his nearest competitor, Ronnie Wrenn Jr, drove 452 winners, followed by Kurt Sugg (308), Chris Lems (235), and Ryan Stahl (230) to complete the top five.

Merriman a resident of Northfield, also who his sixth national dash championship leading all drivers in wins throughout the U.S.

Merriman has been on a tear the previous four seasons, with 1,000 wins or more in his previous three seasons prior to 2020. COVID-19 limited Merriman from reaching that milestone again, but he still managed to score 725 wins with over $5.9 million in earnings.

Merriman, who began driving in 1997 has won 12,692 races and earned just over $86 million in purse earnings.

"Northfield is home to me, I'm beyond happy and privileged to drive for the horseman here," said Merriman.

Rhoades won his first ever training title in 2020 with 181 victories in 708 starts with just over $1.1 million in earnings.

Brian Loney (154), Sam Schillaci (141), Ron Burke (138), and Jessica Roegner (86) completed the top five in conditioner standings.

Rhoades, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday (Jan.2 ), finished third among conditioners in North America in wins (213) behind Ron Burke and Richard Moreau.

Looking back on his first training title Rhoades commented, "It's a great feeling, I hope it's not the last."

Merriman and Rhoades teamed up for many victories together throughout the 2020 season.

"Northfield is my favorite place to race," said Rhoades. "I love being able to race there with my favorite driver (Merriman)."

Rhoades began his training career in 2004 and has 635 victories in just over 2,600 starts with over $4 million in earnings.

"It's a good feeling to do something you love as a job and to be able to provide for my family," said Rhoades.

Ayers Ratliff

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