Day At The Track

The $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial

04:55 PM 20 Apr 2019 NZST
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The $40,000 Hackett Memorial
The $40,000 Hackett Memorial
Conrad Photo

LEBANON, OH - Rylee Roo (Aaron Merriman) upset Queen Of The Pride (Tony Hall) following a stirring harness racing stretch duel in the $40,000 championship of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Ohio-sired sophomore pacing fillies at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night (April 19).

The daughter of Pet Rock, trained by Steve Carter, sat a cozy two-hole throughout before Merriman angled her to the outside and took a shot at the 1-5 favorite in the final eighth of the mile. Rylee Roo returned $15.80 for her 1:54.1 score over a rain-soaked sloppy racing surface. Coupled with Queen Of The Pride, the defending Ohio Sires Stakes champion, the exacta was worth $27.

Queen Of The Pride, who won her elimination heat last week in a national season's best 1:51.4, cut reasonable fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:26.1 before falling prey to the howling winds and wet weather conditions at the end of a :28 flat final panel. Bad Sammie (Brett Miller) and Avaline Hanover (Chris Page) also raced creditably to finish third and fourth, respectively, and earn automatic berths to next Friday's $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational at Miami Valley.

Rylee Roo earned $74,375 as a two-year-old with two wins and two place finishes in just six starts. With the $20,000 Hackett paycheck she is currently sitting on the cusp of $100,000 in earnings. Steven Price of Sandy Springs, Georgia, owns Rylee Roo-who is a homebred result of breeding his Western Hanover mare Moonlite Delite to Pet Rock.

Rylee Roo

The $25,000 Mares Open Pace on the program was captured by Golden Paradise (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in 1:53.3, besting Rosemary Rose (Chris Page) and Big Bad Jane (Dan Noble). The five-year-old daughter of Allthatgltrsisgold flashed terrific early speed to grab an easy early lead in :27, then continued at a catch-me-if-you-can pace through subsequent timing stations in :55.3 and 1:25 before coasting to the line an open lengths winner. Wrenn Jr. co-owns the winner with partners Sam Schillaci and trainer Tyler George. A $30,000 claimer through most of the current meet, Golden Paradise now sports six wins in 11 seasonal starts and $57,760 in 2019 purse earnings, all at Miami Valley.

The final $40,000 Hackett Memorial final, for three-year-old Buckeye bred pacing colts, will go postward Saturday night (April 20) as the tenth race on the 14-race program. Seattle Hanover (Chris Page, 3-1) and Dislocator (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., 4-1) are the morning line favorites but a contentious race is expected as all nine finalists paced in 1:52.2 or faster in last week's eliminations.

Gregg Keidel

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