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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        

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 4, 2020 -- Harness racing pacer Touchamatic stalked Lakeisha Hall from the pocket, then powered past her in the lane to capture Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Touchamatic and Lakeisha Hall distanced themselves from the rest of the field, effectively turning the stretch drive into a two-mare duel. Touchamatic had little trouble overtaking her rival, downing her by 2 lengths in 1:52.2 in the slop for Aaron Merriman. McDazzle rallied for show.   Bill Bercury trains Touchamatic, a 6-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Perfect Touch who boosted her career bankroll to $447,522, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone and Merriman each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $7,002.59 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $1,150.29 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 17, 2020 -- Carolina Beach worked hard for the early lead, then held off the Lightning Lane charge of K Ryan Bluechip to capture his second straight harness racing victory in Friday's $20,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. K Ryan Bluechip stretched out Carolina Beach to a 27 opening panel before settling into the pocket. In the stretch, however, Carolina Beach had just enough of his diminishing lead to down K Ryan Bluechip by a neck in 1:51.2 for driver Aaron Merriman. Do Work Son, who was out without cover before the half, was a well-meant third.   Bill Bercury trains Carolina Beach, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Laughandbehappy gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $331,093, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone piloted six winners on the 13-race card while trainer Ron Burke fashioned a triple. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the program features a $3,626.95 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, Jan. 14, 2020 -- Off nearly 11 months, millionaire Wind Of The North showed his harness racing class and huge heart when he moved strongly first over to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Wind Of The North was fourth when Aaron Merriman sent him uncovered after the leader, Icanflylikeanangel. The 10-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding drew even in mid-stretch before surging to down Icanflylikeanangel by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54.3. Cherry Peep finished third.   Bill Bercury trains and owns Wind Of The North, who now boasts career earnings of $1,085,908. Speaking of winning off the bench, Touchamatic was inspired by "Windy," her stablemate, to take Tuesday's co-feature, a $20,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace, off a five-week layoff. She prevailed in 1:53.3 on the front end. Long shot Magic Forces rallied for second, 3/4 lengths back, while Dark Force completed the ticket. Touchamatic, an 18-time winner last year, triumphed for Merriman, trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury, giving the trio a sweep of Tuesday's features. The 6-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Perfect Touch lifted her career bankroll to $436,122. Merriman collected three wins on the 13-race card.   Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $900.79 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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