It's a great honor to win an Ohio Sires Stakes final, but it's a greater honor to win the harness racing championship two years in a row. On Saturday (September 10) at Scioto Downs, only two sophomores racing on Super Night have a chance to be crowned as the best in Ohio again. They are the pacing filly Osborne's Sweeper and the pacing colt Hare Craft.
Both were winners on Super Night last fall at Lebanon Raceway and both have earned a spot in this year's championship final on Saturday.
In winning on Super Night last year, Osborne's Sweeper suffered interference early in the race and broke stride. That left her in last place in the field with just a quarter-mile remaining. Somehow, through grit and determination, the bay lass managed to come from last to first in the final quarter and win by 1-3/4 lengths. It was a stunning performance that left many horsemen speechless.
Osborne's Sweeper comes into Saturday's $75,000 final with four wins and three seconds in eight starts this year. She's taken a mark of 1:53.4h this season for owner Jerome Osborne, trainer Eric Hamlet and driver Ryan Stahl.
Her stiffest opposition figures to come from Crossthreaded and Caris True. Osborne's Sweeper drew post three while Crossthreaded starts from post five and Caris True from post six.
Last year Hare Craft went off at odds of 43-1 in the juvenile colt pacing championship. He was reserved off the early pace set by favored Dancin Yankee. Driver Mike Wilder moved Hare Craft into contention in the final quarter and the colt swung wide around the final turn at Lebanon Raceway. He overtook the leaders and won by 7-1/4 lengths.
This year Hare Craft will meet Dancin Yankee again in the Ohio Sires Stakes final and once again Dancin Yankee is likely to be the favorite. Dancin Yankee starts from post five while Hare Craft will have post seven for his new owners from Canada.
In that race, I D K starts from the inside for driver Aaron Merriman and might well be a factor in the dash to the finish line.
by Dean A. Hoffman, for Scioto Downs