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LEBANON, OH - Winning Ticket and harness racing driver Aaron Merriman never had an anxious moment in the $40,000 championship leg of the James K. Hackett Memorial, crushing the competition in 1:54. What little competition there was came from the same barn as trainer Chris Beaver harnessed the top three finishers among the Ohio-sired sophomore colt trotters. That means 87% of the $40,000 championship purse will be sent to Beaver and his stable partners. Merriman sent the heavily-favored winning son of Triumphant Caviar immediately to the lead and never got a serious challenge before pulling away by better than three lengths over stablemates Panzano (Dan Noble) and Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.). Winning Ticket lowered her lifetime record by well over a second with the convincing win and now has six wins in ten career starts. In her only four losses, the fractious filly made breaks in stride. Winning Ticket is another in a long list of Triumphant Caviar-sired trotters that have graced the Beaver Stable over the last decade, earning Chris Beaver the nickname "Ohio Trotting Guru." WINNING TICKET REPLAY   "It is true that Triumphant Caviar has been very good to me and my owners," Beaver acknowledged in a post-race interview. "BUT," he exclaimed, "I think the landscape is changing. I've been a staunch supporter of Triumphant Caviar for years, but I think the What The Hill's (whose oldest foals are now two-year-olds) may be even better. I've got quite a few in training and I think they are going to shake things up in Ohio." A pair of other trot races shared the spotlight at Miami Valley on Tuesday afternoon. Mission Accepted (Chris Page) downed Lane Of Stone (Jeff Nisonger) and It's A Herbie (LeWayne Miller) in the $20,000 Open Handicap Trot, tripping every timer in :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24 before stopping the clock in 1:52. The six-year-old Ohio-sired son of Manofmanymissions has 22 careers victories and $914,497 in earnings. MISSION ACCEPTED REPLAY   In the top $18,000 conditioned trot on the same program, Yanks Dugout (Brett Miller) sped to a 1:53.4 score over Mr Charmbro (Tyler Smith) and Sweet Mr Pinetucky (Page). The triumph was the tenth in 20 lifetime starts for the four-year-old altered son of Triumphant Caviar and established a new track record for the age and gait. Duke Sugg trains Yanks Dugout and co-owns him with his father Ivan. YANKS DUGOUT REPLAY   Racing resumes Friday (April 16) and Saturday (April 17) with 4:05 p.m. post times. Top Ohio fillies will contest the $40,000 Hackett Memorial championship on Friday; while the colts will round out the 2021 Hackett Memorials when the glamour division squares off on Saturday. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway

LEBANON, OH - The Ohio-sired stakes season kicked off at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (April 5) with a pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett Memorial eliminations determining the nine sophomore harness racing pacing filly finalists. They will compete next week for a $40,000 championship purse. Katie's Lucky Day (Trevor Smith) was triumphant in the first split, passing heavily favored Swizzle Hanover (Mike Wilder) mid-stretch on the way to a 1:56.1 score. Longshot Ti' Punch (Josh Sutton) was best of the rest with Magic Credit Card (Brett Miller) grabbing the final slot from the division in next week's championship field. Bill Cottongim owns and trains the daughter of Uncle Peter who was making her second seasonal start. Katie's Lucky Day earned $74,479 at age two and won the $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes consolation final at Northfield Park. KATIE'S LUCKY DAY REPLAY   Ozma (Aaron Merriman) was victorious in the other division, beating I Am Winning (Miller) and Incomeorexpenses (Tyler Smith) in 1:56.2. Also qualifying for the nine horse championship field were fourth place finisher Chip It In (Wilder) and the fastest fifth place finisher Imalovelylady (Trace Tetrick). Breeder Sandra Burnett shares ownership of Ozma with trainer Chris Beaver. A winner of $49,874 at two, the Triumphant Caviar lass was making her seasonal debut in the Hackett preliminary. OZMA REPLAY   A tandem James K. Hackett Memorial division for three-year-old Ohio-sired trotting colts will go postward in two short fields as part of a Tuesday (April 6) 15-race matinee program beginning at 2:05 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

WASHINGTON, PA, March 10, 2020 -- She had to overcome 23-1 odds and finesse her way around a breaking horse, but Best Derby Native was up to the task, notching her second straight harness racing series win -- and third consecutive victory overall -- in Wednesday's (Mar. 10) Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows. Filly Speaks captured the other $10,000 second-leg split in the event for 3- and 4-year-old filly and mare pacers. The $15,000-added series final is set for Wednesday, March 17. Best Derby Native was enjoying a pocket trip behind 3-5 favorite Keep Watching when that one jumped it off near the three-quarters. Driver Aaron Merriman was able to check Best Derby Native, clear the breaker and preserve his rail position. The 4-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native-Best Suntan brushed through the lane and scored in a career-best 1.54.2, a length better than Twin B Chit Chat. Sparklinlikeitis finished third.       Dirk Simpson trains the winner for Dirk Simpson Stable. Filly Speaks, the 1-5 choice, had far less drama in her division, speeding to the point early and triumphing by 4 lengths in 1:54.4 for Tony Hall, trainer Scott Betts and owners Tim Betts, Nick Catalano and Keith Pippi. Lady Sophia and Aint Watching completed the ticket.       Hall collected four wins and Dan Rawlings three on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Thursday when the 13-race program features a pair of carryovers -- $2,831.01 in the final-race Super Hi-5, $999.71 in the Pick 5 (race 8) -- as well as the second legs of the Dale McConnell Memorial Trot and the Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot. First post is 12:45 PM EST. For full race results, click here. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Aaron Merriman had a big night at MGM Northfield Park on Wednesday (January 13) winning seven times on the 15-race program. Aaron's harness racing triumphs were with Taco Tuesday ($3.20) in race three, Difference Maker ($5.80) in race four, Rooney Blue Chip ($3.20) in race seven, Down On My Luck ($7.20) in race eight, Sir Pugsley ($3.20) in race 13, Catch Me Conrad ($2.80) in race 14 and Arthur Pendragon ($5.20) in race 15. Merriman won his first race in 1998, a $2,200 conditioned event at the former Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio, aboard Albert's Filly. Since breaking his maiden, Aaron has scored almost 13,000 more times with purse earnings over $86.5 million. MGM Northfield Park has announced a $20,000 guaranteed Pick 5 total pool for Saturday’s (January 16) race card.  Beginning in Race 6, the $20,000 guarantee includes a carryover of $4,495. The guarantee is being offered at part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.  The evening’s eighth race starts the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $7,082 carryover. Northfield’s Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5, Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced take-out rate of just 14%.  Saturday’s post time is 4:20 PM.   Ayers Ratliff

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

WASHINGTON, PA - Oct. 30, 2020 -- Defying a triple class jump and corresponding 10-1 odds, Macadoodledoo followed live cover and kicked home strongly to pull off the upset -- his third straight victory -- in Friday's $17,900 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Macadoodledoo was fifth down the backside when Aaron Merriman sent him after the first-over Wild Wild Western who made the front. But the 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Pirouette Hanover gelding overtook that rival through the final turn and scored in 1:51.3 in the slop. Father Ted GB shot the Lightning Lane for second, beaten a length, while Real Peace rallied for show.   Paul Corey trains Macadoodledoo, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $187,976, for Kenneth Ashba. Dave Palone and Merriman each collected three wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the 13-race program features a $97,701.97 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 8, 2020 -- Jessiejesorjessica quarter-poled to the front and never was in danger thereafter as she jogged to victory in Tuesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,400 Conditioned Trot, in a career-best 1:54.3. Jessiejesorjessica was away fourth, but when Dave Palone asked her for trot, she powered to the point and effectively locked up the win right there. The pocket-sitting You're Majestic was second, a length back, while Tamar rallied for show.   Shawn Johnston trains the 4-year-old daughter of Justice Hall-Ziggy Wiggy, who triumphed for the 10th time in 21 starts this year, for Gina Young. Aaron Merriman piloted four winners and Palone three on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 13-race program features a $13,305.61 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $2,567 carryover in the Early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 1, 2020 -- Blue Ivy shrugged off the challenge of her  harness racing stablemate, Touchamatic, and rolled to victory in Tuesday's $16,200 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Blue Ivy sped to the lead from post 6 in a demanding 26.3, a quarter that might have left her vulnerable. But when Touchamatic moved uncovered from third, Blue Ivy found more for Aaron Merriman and triumphed in a career-fastest 1:50.2. Pace Baby Pace rallied for second, beaten 1/2 length, while Touchamatic saved show.   Bill Bercury trains Blue Ivy, a 4-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous-All Blue who won for the sixth time this year and lifted her lifetime bankroll to $247,110, for Renee Bercury. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 13-race program features a $5,762.28 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows                    

While they may be a degree removed from the limelight most days, harness racing drivers Aaron Merriman, Montrell Teague and Jonathan Drury had their share of stories to tell in Sunday night’s (May 10) edition of COSA TV. After being forced to settle for a runner-up finish with Wiggle It Jiggleit in his first Pepsi North America Cup appearance, the Delaware-based Teague relished the chance to come back to the Toronto suburbs in 2018 with Lather Up — and he made the most of the opportunity. “It was definitely redemption, because I was pretty sour about finishing second (with Wiggle It Jiggleit),” Teague related to COSA TV presenter Greg Blanchard. “Getting the opportunity to do it with Lather Up was definitely redemption.” The redemption was paired with vindication, as Teague silenced scores of doubters in his ability in the sulky. “It felt great,” Teague continued. “I literally went through it with Wiggles and Lather Up — it was always the talk that if Brian Sears, Yannick, Tim Tetrick, Aaron Merriman were driving the horse, he would do much better. I proved them all wrong; that was the best feeling.” The next year, Lather Up and Teague teamed up for a pair of world record efforts at The Meadowlands — a 1:46 mile in the Graduate and the first nine-furlong race faster than 2:00 in the Sam McKee Memorial. Like Teague, Merriman makes the most of his handful of Grand Circuit appearances, but finds the bulk of his perennial success close to home. “I’ve had the opportunity to drive Grand Circuit races, but never the best horse,” said Merriman. “Everybody’s got a niche in this business, and I’m very happy with where mine is. I had to think of my children first, and (Ohio) was the best place to raise them.” Merriman, a home-grown Ohioan who learned the ropes of harness racing from his father, Lanny, has blossomed from humble beginnings racing for $1,200 purses at Raceway Park in Toledo into one of the sport’s top drivers — and the only one to ever record three consecutive 1,000-win seasons. “It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of luck, to be able to get from track to track and have the opportunity to drive nice horses,” said Merriman, who shuttles back and forth on Interstate 76 between Northfield Park and The Meadows. “The second time I did it (reached 1,000 wins in a season) actually meant so much. Last year, I didn’t think I had a shot, and to get it on the last night of racing made it special.” That fateful thousandth win came in his last drive of the season — aboard The Spinster N in a late-closing series final at The Meadows on Dec. 30. While primarily a half-mile track driver, Merriman credits the addition of The Meadows to his schedule as having improved his depth as a driver. “I’m so absent-minded a lot of times when I drive,” Merriman admits of driving at Northfield, where he has been a mainstay for the past two decades. “You know the drivers’ tendencies; you know a lot of the horses. Northfield’s a fast track; it’s got a lot of speed and it does overcompensate my driving some. “Going to The Meadows has made me a better driver — definitely a lot more thinking and a lot more tripping horses out.” Drury may fly under the radar more so than Teague and Merriman, but his experience as one of Betting Line’s two regular drivers in 2016 served to put him on the map in Canada’s premier driving colony. “He was a lot of fun to drive,” Drury said of dual classic winner Betting Line, with whom he teamed up for a 1:50.1 win in the Somebeachsomewhere and a trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. “He had just an unbelievable turn of foot to him. He never felt like he was out of place when you were sitting behind him; he just picked off horses so easily. “Horses like that make your job really easy. They can take care of you when you make a little mistake.” Before gaining the trust of Casie Coleman to drive Betting Line, Drury worked his way to the Woodbine Entertainment circuit by way of a couple Signature tracks in Ontario — and a brief detour south of the 49th parallel, too. “I started out driving a lot at Kawartha and Georgian, and I got hooked up driving for Carmen Auciello quite a bit,” Drury recounted. “He actually gave me a chance to go down and drive a little bit in the States when he had some horses first go there. Once I came back home, I drove a vast majority of his stable, and it took off from there.” Central Ontario Standardbred Association The entire broadcast, which aired on the Central Ontario Standardbred Association’s Facebook page, appears below.

WASHINGTON, PA, March 11, 2020 -- Vacation Money maintained her poise while her harness racing rivals blew up around her, then shot the Lightning Lane to pull off the 18-1 upset in Wednesday's Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot at The Meadows. Andover Contessa captured the other $12,500 second-leg split in the series for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. The Mary Wohlmuth is one of four late-closing series The Meadows currently is featuring, with the championship leg of each set for Friday, March 20. While four in the field of nine jumped it off, Vacation Money patiently stalked the leader, Tough Tootsie, from the pocket. When Aaron Merriman pointed her inside, the 3-year-old daughter of Break The Bank K-American Holiday surged past to score in a career-best 1:59.3. Aunt Bee rallied for second, beaten 1/2 length, while Tough Tootsie saved show.   Norm Parker trains Vacation Money for owner/breeder Bob Key. It was one of four wins for Merriman on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features a $1,725.40 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, March 4, 2020 -- Tad Krazy Hanover moved powerfully first over and romped to a convincing harness racing victory in Wednesday's opening leg of the Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot at The Meadows. Tough Tootsie took the other division in the series for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. The series honors the memory of the late Wohlmuth, longtime manager of the 2:00 Club at The Meadows. It's one of four late-closing events kicking off this week at The Meadows, with the championship leg of each set for Friday, March 20. Tad Krazy Hanover was third near the three-quarters when Aaron Merriman sent her after the leader, BL Super Sally. The 4-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover-Tune Kronos It cruised to the top and drew off to score in 1:57.2. DJ's Midnight Jazz was second, 2-1/4 lengths back, with Linnea Hanover third.   Justin Pirillo trains Tad Krazy Hanover for Dylan Fazio. Elsewhere on Wednesday's card, Blue Ivy extended her winning streak to seven -- five to close her sophomore campaign plus two this year -- with a 1:51.4 triumph for Merriman in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Trot. When Touchamatic finished second, she provided an exacta sweep for the mares' trainer, Bill Bercury, and owner, Renee Bercury.   Mike Wilder and Merriman each collected three wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features a $16,406.18 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association                                                        

WASHINGTON, PA, March 2, 2020 -- Ideal Bubby scored an impressive front-end harness racing victory in Monday's opening leg of the Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows. Rusty Décor and Vibrent Kally captured the other $12,500 splits in the series for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Ideal Bubby won only two of her first 38 starts but has come to hand for trainer Bill Kreutzer, who owns the 4-year-old mare with Denton Barrett, winning her last two. She captured Monday's division for Aaron Merriman in a series-fastest 1:54.2, by far the swiftest mark of her career and 3/4 lengths better than Windsun Juno. Jackpot Jessie completed the ticket.   The Donna Dunn Memorial, which honors the memory of the longtime Meadows horsewoman, is one of four late-closing series kicking off this week. The championship leg of each is set for Friday, March 20. Tony Hall piloted four winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a $12,651.31 carryover in the final-race Super Hi 5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4 (races 3-6). First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 26, 2020 -- Blue Ivy ended her outstanding sophomore harness racing season with five straight wins. But how would the daughter of Captaintreacherous-All Blue perform in her 4-year-old debut following a layoff of nearly 10 weeks? The answer: just fine, thank you, as Blue Ivy shot the Lightning Lane to capture Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Lakeisha Hall did the heavy lifting on the front end, with Blue Ivy stalking from the pocket. Once Aaron Merriman pointed Blue Ivy inside, she blew by Lakeisha Hall and downed her by 2 lengths in 1:53.2 over a "good" surface. Brown Brinny was a ground-saving third.   Bill Bercury trains Blue Ivy, who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for Renee Bercury. Mike Wilder enjoyed a huge Wednesday, piloting six winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features an $11,205.58 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 25, 2020 -- Hammered down to 3-5 in the wagering, Cherry Peep looked every bit the best as she powered to victory in Tuesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Cherry Peep was away second for Aaron Merriman but took the point with a quarter-pole move. She held off the determined uncovered bid of Sophia Lia and defeated her by 3/4 lengths in 1:56.3 over a "good" surface. Casey T earned show. Andy Rickert trains Cherry Peep, a 5-year-old daughter of Conway Hall-Jenny On The Block who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $169,873, and owns with Corey Hendricks and Nichole Stahl.   The race also marked a milestone for Bessie who, with her fifth-place check, soared over $500,000 in career earnings. The durable 9-year-old daughter of Equinox Bi-Cantab's Chorine has 49 wins in 223 lifetime starts and his hit the board on 66 other occasions. She's won $500,316 for trainer Rick Clapper and owners Paula Clapper, Umholtz Racing Stable and Kennedy Sports Corp. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $9,316.93 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Grove City, Ohio - Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman remains under the care of doctors following the five-horse accident at MGM Northfield Park Saturday night. Merriman says he is sore, and doctors advised him to take a few days off. "I have an appointment with the doctor Thursday morning and hope to be back in the bike this weekend." Merriman suffered a concussion in the crash. Merriman and Hunter Myers were injured in the 5th race at Northfield. Both were treated and the hospital and were released Saturday night. Merriman thanks his fans for their concern and looks forward to seeing them back at the track shortly. by Frank Fraas, for the OHHA  

The best harness racing pacers in the Midwest compete in the $16,000 Open Pace on Monday (February 10) at MGM Northfield Park.  Southwind Amazon is the 2-1 slight favorite over 5-2 Carolina Beach and 3-1 Windsong Leo in the evening’s featured ninth race. Southwind Amazon enters the race off two wins in a row against Northfiled’s Open competition.  He has won three of four starts already this year. The 10-year-old gelding has 90 lifetime wins and recently pushed his career bankroll in excess of a million dollars. Ronnie Wrenn Jr will be steering Southwind Amazon from post five for trainer Paul Holzman. Carolina Beach shakes a string on 7-holes to start from post-3 for trainer William Bercury and driver Aaron Merriman.  The 6-year-old gelding finished second, beaten by only a neck in his most recent race in Northfield’s Open. He has two wins and two seconds in five races this year and has won 30 of 90 career starts. Windsong Leo shows six straight wins in the program, all against Open Company at The Meadows near Pittsburgh.  The Pennsylvania Invader starts from the outside and is a perfect four-for-four this year. He has 54 lifetime successes with over $630,000 in earnings.  Ron Burke harnesses this 8-year-old contender for driver Chris Page.  Other horses starting in this featured event is #1 Derecho (Davis Lake), #2 Lancaster Park (Keith Kash Jr.) and #4 Just Toyin With Ya (Chris Lems). Monday’s post time is 6PM.  by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park        

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