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WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 9, 2017 -- Dapper Dude collected his 13th win this season when he withstood the determined challenge of Meadowbrook Tiger and captured Saturday's $20,000 harness racing winners over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dapper Dude retook the lead for Aaron Merriman following a swift 26.3 quarter only to face the menacing Meadowbrook Tiger, who gained steadily through the final turn. Dapper Dude shook loose in mid-stretch and scored in 1:53.3, a length better than the rallying Sam Hill, while Meadowbrook Tiger saved show. Bill Bercury trains Dapper Dude, an 8-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $1,178,280, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone, Jim Pantaleano and trainer Ron Burke each fashioned a three-bagger on the 12-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

After becoming only the fourth driver in harness racing history to win 1,000 races in a year, Aaron Merriman is looking to add as many victories to his total as possible by the end of the season. And while it will be impossible to surpass Tim Tetrick's record of 1,189 wins in 2007, Merriman could finish his campaign No. 2 on the list. "That would be phenomenal," Merriman said, adding with a laugh, "Then it would be two redheads at the top. People might want to start dying their hair." Merriman got his 1,000th win of the year Saturday and entered Monday with 1,006 victories for 2017. Merriman passed Tony Morgan, who won 1,004 times in 2006, for the third-most wins in a year and now has only Walter Case Jr.'s 1,077 triumphs in 1998 separating him from Tetrick. "It's pretty crazy," Merriman said. "To join the three other men that I have is just unbelievable. A lot of things have to go right to even win that many races in a year. It's tough. It's just very special in a sport that's so old. When I got it, it was just very surreal. It was a very special moment, a very special accomplishment. I'm just very proud." Merriman will end this year on top of the sport's standings in wins for the third consecutive year --- his 1,006 victories are 402 more than No. 2 George Napolitano Jr. --- and he is the first driver in history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years. Merriman won 890 races last year and 874 in 2015. His 841 victories in 2014 were second to Ronnie Wrenn Jr.'s 847. Entering Monday, Merriman had driven in 4,327 races this year while competing primarily at Northfield Park in Ohio, where he will end Wrenn's four-year reign as the top driver, and The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. "A lot of people don't realize, but it's not easy to stay fit and fresh for that many races," said Merriman, who has driven in 1,500 races more than any driver this year. "I think that's an accomplishment in itself. I'm almost more proud of being able to do that. Winning races is great, but to be able to keep up a frantic pace like that, a lot of people can't do that. It can wear on you mentally and physically. I'm very proud of that." For his career, the 39-year-old Merriman has won 9,735 races, which ranks 16th in North American harness racing history. He was the second-youngest driver to reach 9,000 victories, behind only Tetrick, who did it when he was 34. "You hope you're going to have a long career, but no one knows what is going to happen," Merriman said. "A lot of this seems to have happened in a blink of an eye. I guess time flies when you're having fun. I still consider driving horses a phenomenal time; it's very fun to me. "I think the people --- the drivers, the trainers, the owners, the grooms; everybody involved --- is the biggest reason why I love it so much. There are good days and bad days, but all in all it's all part of the process. I can't say enough about everybody that's been involved. I just love it. The camaraderie is what makes it so special." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman reached the 1000 win mark for the season this evening after driving Official Kisser to a wire to wire victory in the 6th race at Northfield Park . Trained by Herman Hagerman and owned by Charles Reeves. Official Kisser the 3yr old daughter of Art Official went the mile in 1:53.2 to give Merriman his 1000 win of the year. Only three other drives have reached the 1000 win mark in a season. Tim Tetrick who holds harness racing's record of 1,189 victories, set In 2007. Walter Case Jr. who won 1,077 races in 1998 and Anthony Morgan won 1,004 races in 2006 Merriman finished the card with 1 other victory to bring his season win total to 1001 giving him a 401 race lead over George Napolitano Jr. for the 2017 Dash Title Raymond Lance

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 7, 2017 -- Barn Girl zipped to the front for Aaron Merriman and had little trouble with the harness racing field or sloppy surface from there, powering to her 13th victory this year in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Ahead by a length at the three-quarters, Barn Girl poured it on late and defeated Bags For All by 3 lengths in 1:55.1, with the pocket-sitting Glidinthruparadise third. Bill Bercury trains the 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie, who triumphed for the 24th time over the past two seasons and extended her career bankroll to $546,968, for Renee Bercury. Dave Palone collected four wins -- including three for trainer Ron Burke -- while Brady Brown enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 31, 2017 -- Racing off a 40-day layoff and parked the entire first quarter from post 9, Barn Girl hung tough in the lane and captured Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing filly & mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl, who last performed in the Sept. 21 Miss Versatility final at the Delaware County Fair -- she finished third -- was dogged the entire back half by the first-over Classical Annie. But the 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie dug in for Aaron Merriman and edged Classical Annie by a neck in 1:55.2. Fancytucky rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, who won for the 12th time this year and now boasts $537,968 in career earnings, for Renee Bercury. It was one of three victories for Merriman on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Aaron Merriman got Dealt A Winner and will try to play a winning hand in Saturday’s (Oct. 28) $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Dealt A Winner and Mach It So each won an elimination last week, with David Miller driving both. Miller will drive Mach It So in Saturday’s final, so Merriman was called upon to drive Dealt A Winner. A 5-year-old gelding, Dealt A Winner is the 3-1 morning-line favorite, with Mach It So next at 7-2. The 39-year-old Merriman has appeared in one Breeders Crown final in his career, finishing fourth with 3-year-old female trotter Classical Annie in 2015. Merriman tops the sport with 891 wins this year, leading second-place George Napolitano Jr. by 356 victories. He is the first driver in history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years. Merriman has driven Dealt A Winner three times in his career and finished second with the gelding in September’s Dayton Pacing Derby. “It’s pretty cool,” Merriman said about getting the drive for the Breeders Crown. “He’s raced well for me each time I’ve raced him. He is a little bit funny, but I’ve been first over with him a couple times and he’s really hung in there against really good horses. “It’s definitely been a wide-open free-for-all year, so that helps my chances, as well as having that familiarity with him. You just try to give the horse the best possible trip, the best shot to win, and that’s it.” Dealt A Winner has won back-to-back starts heading to the Breeders Crown final. He has won five of 16 races this season, including the Allerage Farms Open Pace and Roll With Joe Stakes. Mark Silva, who won two Open Pace titles with Boulder Creek in the mid-2000s, trains Dealt A Winner for owner Jeff Snyder. Snyder has won three Breeders Crown finals. Mach It So, owned by Bamond Racing, has won four of 22 starts this year, including the William R. Haughton Memorial. Trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. is looking for his first Breeders Crown trophy, but Bamond and his father have won four times as owners. The race also features McWicked, who won a Breeders Crown trophy at age 3 in 2014, as well as stakes-winners Sintra, Keystone Velocity and All Bets Off. All Bets Off won the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby last month. He starts from the outside, post No. 9, in the Breeders Crown final. “It’s going to be a tough spot for him, but he’s the one horse of mine that can overcome almost anything,” All Bets Off’s trainer Ron Burke said. “That will be a good race. There will be a lot of action in it, so hopefully he can pick them up late.” Hoosier Park, located in Anderson, Ind., is hosting the $6 million Breeders Crown for the first time. The finals for female pacers and trotters are Friday night and the finals for male pacers and trotters are Saturday. Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) both nights. “To have the Breeders Crown in the Midwest is cool,” Merriman said. “It’s been a really long time since Midwest racing has had anything like this and it’s great to get the opportunity. Applause for Hoosier Park management for bringing the Breeders Crown here and doing such a great job with it.” Following is the field for Saturday’s Breeders Crown Open Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Sintra-Jody Jamieson-Dave Menary-5/1 2. McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-9/2 3. Dealt A Winner-Aaron Merriman-Mark Silva-3/1 4. Split The House-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes-10/1 5. Mach It So-David Miller-Jeff Bamond Jr.-7/2 6. Keystone Velocity-Dan Dube-Erv Miller-8/1 7. Manhattan Beach-Sam Widger-Walter Haynes Jr.-30/1 8. Rock N’ Roll World-John DeLong-Jeff Cullipher-30/1 9. All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1 10. Missile J-Tim Tetrick-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 Missile J starts in the second tier behind Sintra. Hoosier Park, in conjunction with Roberts Communications, will offer live steaming and replays of the Breeders Crown races here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

DAYTON, OH. - Colorful Sky made a successful debut into harness racing open mares company on Friday night (Oct. 13) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway, winning the featured $18,500 event in a new lifetime best 1:51.4 clocking. Defending national dash champion Aaron Merriman, who recently scored his 800th win for the fourth consecutive season and has announced a goal of 1000 wins in a single season for his first time this year, was the sulky sitter as the 5-year-old daughter of Skydancer Hanover notched her 16th career victory. Colorful Sky also passed the $100,000 earnings plateau with the win. Owner Grant Wilfong has campaigned the winner throughout her career, but recently relegated the training duties to Charles Stewart. In her first start under Stewart's tutelage, Colorful Sky finished second in a top distaff condition event that went in 1:50.4. In this week's clash, Merriman and Colorful Sky yielded briefly to Addys Way (Dan Noble) as they approached the quarter-mile marker in :26.4. Immediately moving back to the lead, Colorful Sky lead the field to the half in :55.3 and the three quarters in 1:23.3, then tacked on a :28.1 final panel to barely hold on over last week's Open winner Town Temptress (Kyle Ater) for the victory. Longshot Make Three Wishes (Josh Sutton) was best of the rest to garner the show dough. Gregg Keidel      

Aaron Merriman is not the type of person who sets statistical goals, but after becoming on Tuesday the first driver in harness racing history to win at least 800 races in four consecutive years, he admitted to having another number in mind: 1,000. Only three drivers have reached 1,000 wins. Tim Tetrick holds harness racing's record of 1,189 victories, set in 2007. Walter Case Jr. won 1,077 races in 1998 and Tony Morgan won 1,004 races in 2006. Morgan is the only other driver to win at least 800 races in three consecutive years, which he accomplished in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He has surpassed 800 victories a total of four years in his career, with the remaining time occurring in 1996. "That's cool," Merriman said Wednesday when told of his record streak. "I didn't know that. I thought someone else would have done it. That's awesome. "I don't set goals, which everyone kind of knows," he continued. "I just try to look at the smaller picture, day to day, and the drives that I have in front of me. But when I heard somewhere in late June or July that I got my 500th win, I actually set a goal. I'd like to win 1,000. I just think it's an amazing feat. I'd like to try to get that done. I'll be aggressively seeking that. Eight-hundred came up fast. I'm glad I'm on pace." He then added, with a laugh, "I hope I can eclipse the goal I actually set. If I don't, I'll never set another one again." Merriman, who entered Wednesday with 803 wins, is averaging nearly three victories per day and is on pace for 1,061 wins this season. He trails Tetrick's 2007 record-setting pace by 93 triumphs through a comparable number of days. "Timmy's record is pretty safe, I believe," Merriman said. "He's unbelievable. The pace he kept that year was awesome." Merriman's 803 wins lead North America and put him 325 victories ahead of second-place Jason Bartlett. Merriman led all drivers in wins in 2016, with 890, and in 2015, with 874. In 2014, his 841 victories were second to Ronnie Wrenn Jr.'s 847. "There are so many great drivers out there," Merriman said. "Some guys don't get as much due, maybe because of their location. But I'm telling you, there are many drivers that can drive a good horse. There is a handful at every track that could succeed anywhere with the right horses. Catch driving is definitely a trade now and guys are good at it. "I've got to race against David (Palone) every day," he added, referring to the sport's all-time leader in wins, with 18,090. "You think I like to win? Let me tell you something, Palone is sicker than I am. If he loses with a horse he thinks should win, he's upset. You can tell. I think that's great. He wants to do good. "You want to race with people like that. It makes you better. You're not going to play basketball with a bunch of kindergartners and ever get better. I love it." For his career, the 39-year-old Merriman has won 9,532 races, which ranks 18th in North American harness racing history. He was the second-youngest driver to reach 9,000 victories, behind only Tetrick, who did it when he was 34. "We are so fortunate to be able to drive horses for a living," said Merriman, who lives in Ohio and keeps busy by driving at multiple tracks several days a week. "It's unbelievable. We love the breed, we love the game, and I couldn't be more blessed to have the opportunity to do this for a living." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 2, 2017 -- Sassa Hanover blazed the opening quarter in 26.3 and didn't slow thereafter, easily capturing Monday's harness racing $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Sassa Hanover pocketed her stablemate, Tessa Seelster, before the quarter, and the pair drew away from the field late to transform the stretch drive into their own private battle. Tessa Seelster vacated the pocket but could not cut into the margin of Sassa Hanover, who prevailed by 3/4 lengths in 1:52 for Aaron Merriman. Shark Gal rode the cones for show. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover, a 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover who now boasts $1,211,024 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Larry Karr. It was one of three wins on the 13-race card for Merriman. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 29, 2017 -- It took her three tries, but Barn Girl finally wore down a determined Goodtogo Hanover and captured Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing filly & mare  $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. The two mares dueled for the early lead, and when Goodtogo Hanover and Brian Zendt refused to release Barn Girl, Aaron Merriman settled her into the two hole. She pulled the pocket and attacked once again down the backside but still could not clear. Finally, when it looked as though Goodtogo Hanover might pull off the upset, Barn Girl gathered her talent and resolve in the stretch and downed her stubborn rival by a head in 1:55. Classical Annie was third. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who won for the 22nd time over the past two seasons and extended her career bankroll to $511,108, for Renee Bercury. Mike Wilder piloted four winners while Tony Hall and Merriman each enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Because Wednesday's card at The Meadows is the final program of the Mountain Laurel meeting, no pool can be carried over. Therefore, the Pick 4, Pick 5 and final superfecta all are "must pay." First post is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 24, 2017 -- The harness racing veteran Tamarind displayed his class and toughness Wednesday at The Meadows when he sustained a first-over bid in the slop and went on to capture the featured race, a $13,000 conditioned trot. Tamarind was fourth near the half when Aaron Merriman sent him after the leader, Classic Banker. It took the 9-year-old son of Angus Hall-Spicegirl Kosmos most of the back half to wear down Classic Banker, but he drew off in the stretch to prevail in 1:55. Mike The Trader rallied for second, 2-1/2 lengths back, while Classic Banker saved show. Bill Bercury owns and trains Tamarind, who boosted his career bankroll to $892,084. Mike Wilder and Merriman each fashioned a three-bagger on the 12-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes with a special Friday card that features the $72,000 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. First post is 5 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 16, 2017 -- Stuck three-wide through a sizzling 26.4 opening quarter, Barn Girl showed her grit when she held off all harness racing challengers to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. When Barn Girl finally reached the front near the three-eighths, she shrugged off the first-over move of Bessie. A more serious threat was Princess Pablano, who went three-wide down the backside and drew even with Barn Girl into the final turn. But Barn Girl drew off for Aaron Merriman in late stretch and downed Princess Pablano by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:53.4. Bessie persevered for show. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who has won 18 times over the past two seasons and $455,108 for her career, for Renee Bercury. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 9, 2017 -- Bessie sat patiently through three-quarters before tackling the leader, Goodtogo Hanover, and nailing her in the stretch to capture Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing filly & mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Goodtogo Hanover enjoyed a comfortable 58 opening half, which discouraged any early challenges. But when Tony Hall tipped Bessie off the cones, the 6-year-old daughter of Equinox Bi-Cantab's Chorine steadily eroded the margin and downed Goodtogo Hanover by a length in 1:55.1 Princess Pablano was a ground-saving third. Rick Clapper trains Bessie, who vaulted over $300,000 in career earnings, for Paula Clapper, Umholtz Racing Stable and Kennedy Sports Corp. Aaron Merriman collected four wins and Hall three on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, April 4, 2017 -- Aaron Merriman, harness racing's "winningest" driver in 2015 and 2016, collected career win 9,000 Tuesday at The Meadows when he piloted DD's Comet to victory in the fourth race. A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Merriman, 38, has been driving at both The Meadows and Northfield Park for the past few years and has been rolling up wins at a rapid pace. He notched career win 6,000 in October 2013, meaning he has amassed 3,000 victories in the last 42 months. Why has he been so successful? "I think just showing up every day and trying to do your best is part of it," he said. "I'm not a guy who calls off. I show up. When you do that and win a few races, you build your confidence." Driving regularly at two tracks can be grueling, but Merriman says he expects to maintain his hectic schedule. "As long as the quality of racing is as it is or better, I can see myself doing it," he said. "Yeah, there are four tough days of doubleheaders, but that leaves three days to do things I need to do or relax. It's not the size of the purses so much that motivates me as the quality of the horses. There are such nice horses at both tracks now." Even when he gets the opportunity for a few days off, he doesn't take it. "One of my fears is I would lose my drives if I took a couple days off. That's not necessarily lack of confidence, but someone's always there to step up and drive your horses. Some days, I want to stay in bed and sleep, but I can't do it for fear I'd lose my horses. I know that sounds horrible; imagine what it's like to feel it." Merriman indicated he has no long-range plans -- for harness racing or anything else. "I'm a day-to-day guy," he said. "I don't look ahead at all, although I should. I just hope my kids find something they can get as attached to as I have." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, April 4, 2017 -- Dismissed at 18-1 thanks to a stale date and poor post position, Box Of Luck zipped right to the front and pulled off the harness racing upset in Tuesday's Tamarind Trot at The Meadows. DD's Comet captured the other $15,000 opening-leg division -- and gave Aaron Merriman his 9,000th career win -- in the series for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event honors Tamarind, long a top performer at The Meadows and still active for owner/trainer Bill Bercury. Box Of Luck earned $39,225 at 2 but ended his season Sept. 11 off a stretch of subpar performances. He hadn't raced since then and was saddled with post 8 for his return. But when Mike Wilder sent him to the lead, the Lucky Chucky-New DVD gelding thwarted the first-over bid of Rockefeller Lindy and prevailed in 1:58, 1-1/4 lengths better than Media Buzz. Rockefeller Lindy saved show. Robert Rougeaux III trains Box Of Luck for Brocious Racing Stable and Lone Wolf Stable. In the $13,500 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Trot, Goodtogo Hanover withstood nearly race-long pressure from Oho Diamond to down her by a head in 1:55, with the pocket-sitting Bags For All third. Brian Zendt drove for trainer Phillip Zendt and owner Gary Saul. The 4-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter-Grammy Hall extended her career bankroll to $171,427. Jim Pantaleano piloted three winners on the 13-race card.   The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, March 20, 2017 -- Dapper Dude stalked Mykindachip from the pocket, then blew by him in the lane to capture Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dapper Dude chased Mykindachip through a 1:23 three-quarters before Aaron Merriman vacated the pocket and asked the millionaire for pace. The 8-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest responded by wearing down Mykindachip and downing him by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:50.4. Heavenly Knox shot the Lightning Lane for show. Bill Bercury trains Dapper Dude, who boosted his lifetime bankroll to $1,060,520, for Renee Bercury. In Monday's companion feature, the $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace, Rockin Rum Springa cut out a brutal 25.3 opening panel but had enough to hold on and triumph by 1/2 length in 1:52.1 for Eric Goodell, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Dime A Dance and Southwind Roulette, a Doug Snyder-trained entry, finished second and third, respectively. A 4-year-old daughter of Rockin Image-Deferred Comp, Rockin Rum Springa now boasts $185,611 in career earnings. Dave Palone piloted four winners on the 13-race card while Burke fashioned a triple. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows  

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