Day At The Track

Champions crowned at Miami Valley

04:25 PM 29 Jan 2015 NZDT
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She’s A Ball Winchester
She’s A Ball (No. 1) captured the division for $8000 claiming mares
Winchester (No. 6) copped the split for $5000 male claiming pacers

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of $15,000 championship races were contested Wednesday night as 'finals week' of the popular harness racing "Claim To Fame" series continued at Miami Valley. The finales for $8000 claiming mares and for $5000 claiming geldings were on top and when the smoke cleared it was She's A Ball and Winchester that were crowned champions.

Driver Kyle Ater steered both winners, but used completely different tactics in the two lucrative races.

Ater sent She's A Ball alertly from her inside post position and cut all the fractions to best Brookletssugarland (Jeff Nisonger) and CC's Munchkin (Greg Grismore) in the mares clash. As the lukewarm 8-5 favorite She's A Ball cruised through fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24 before closing the deal in 1:53.3. The winner's championship victory capped quite a night for trainer Deborah Swartz, who had four steeds from her stable visit the winner's circle. She's A Ball was plucked from a $5000 claiming event in early December by owners Bradley Delaney and Scott Albaugh and has since won five of six races and banked an even $20,000.

As second choice in the $5000 and horses and geldings championship, Winchester was wrestled off the starting gate by Ater and watched a :26.4 speed duel develop up front between AK's Livin Large and Corey Road. After a demanding half in :56.2, Winchester was moved into third-over position in the outer flow past the 1:25.1 clocking. The entire field was well bunched at the head of the stretch with Ater swinging three-wide with Winchester full of pace. He gobbled up the tiring frontrunners and was strongest at the finish clocked in 1:54.1. Winchester, who has spent time in the Ater Stable in the past, was claimed by Dan Ater, Kyle's father, for $5500 last week and returned immediate dividends winning the $15,000 final. Fortune's Jenna (Josh Sutton) finished second with longshot Momma's Jolt (Jeremy Smith) completing the trifecta ticket.

Due to the fact that 50 $5000 claimers participated in this series, an $8000 Consolation Final was also carded. Jack Apple (Jason Brewer) bested Spirits Gone Wild (Randy Tharps) and Easton Bound (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:54. Brewer co-owns the winner with William Eltzroth.

Driver Shawn Barker II scored a hat trick on the program, winning with Eagle Jacob, Sissboombah and Ricky Blue Eyes, all trained by Deborah Swartz.

Racing resumes Thursday night at Miami Valley with a 6:30 PM post time.

Gregg Keidel

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