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WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 16, 2015 -- R Marie Hanover reclaimed the lead at the quarter and had just enough lick late to capture Friday's $15,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred Pace at The Meadows. R Marie Hanover opened a 2-length margin at the top of the lane for Aaron Merriman but was all out to hold off the Lightning Lane charge of Certified Ideal, who fell a neck short. Doubelieveinmagic rallied for show in the 1:54 mile. Megan Rogers Racing Stables campaigns R Marie Hanover, a 5-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-R Ellen Hanover who now boasts $182,702 in lifetime earnings. Tony Hall piloted a pair of winners on the 12-race card. During Friday's program, The Meadows honored Merriman for his 7,000th career victory, achieved Thursday at Northfield, which also recognized his outstanding accomplishments. Merriman typically splits his time between Northfield and The Meadows. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Aaron Merriman scored the 7,000th win of his driving career while driving Ali Rush in Northfield Park's 9th race on Thursday (January 15). Ali Rush boldly left from the gate and led her competition from start to finish, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.3. Merriman, 36, keeps a torrid schedule, regularly competing at Northfield Park and The Meadows. However, he also races at various other venues throughout the year. In 2014 Merriman competed in 4,646 races, more than any other driver in North America. Merriman's talents have been noticed on the national stage and he has competed against the best of the best in harness racing. In 2014 Merriman found himself behind the starting gate of the Hambletonian, an elimination of the Little Brown Jug, the Kentucky Futurity, the Canadian Trotting Classic as well as a host of other Grand Circuit and major stake races. In August, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Merriman's richest win came in a $300,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final aboard Palazzo Princess. Aaron's fastest win was race timed in 1:48.3 aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in September, 2014. Merriman remembers his first win as being aboard a pacing mare named Albert's Filly at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. Although there are 7,000 to choose from, Merriman says that he has no favorite win, "It always feels great to win a race," explained Merriman, "I really don't have a favorite. I have had the same elated feeling every time I have been to the winner's circle." Merriman started driving at the age of 21 and appreciates the successful 15-year career he has experienced so far; accomplishing the 7,000-win milestone and purse earnings approaching $40,000,000. "I've had a great run for a long time," said Merriman. "There are so many owners and trainers that have given me opportunities and I will be forever grateful to them. The horses deserve credit too -- they are the ones who carry us around the track and deserve the real credit for my 7,000 wins." Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $25,000 Pick-4 total pool guarantee to Monday’s (January 19) program.  Beginning in Race 8, the $25,000 Pick-4 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $4,684.66. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.    Monday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Swartz Creek, MI --- Ronnie Wrenn Jr. won six races on Wednesday night (Dec. 31) at Sports Creek Raceway, giving him 849 victories for the season and his second consecutive North American dash crown. Wrenn won last year’s dash title with 714 wins. Wrenn and Aaron Merriman were in a fierce battle for the No. 1 spot in wins among all harness racing drivers in North America, with Merriman holding a 28-victory advantage, 799-771, heading into racing action on Dec. 12. But Wrenn closed out the month by winning 78 races over the final three weeks and vaulted past Merriman by one tally when he won four times on the Dec. 29 card at Northfield Park. He extended that margin to five when posting six wins to Merriman's two on Dec. 30 at Northfield. Both drivers headed to Sports Creek on Wednesday night with Wrenn winning six and Merriman scoring once. That gave Wrenn 849 winning drives for the season to Merriman's 839.   The 28-year-old Wrenn was sidelined for much of January because of wrist surgery and also endured the loss of his father to cancer in May. Wrenn changed his colors to his father’s black and maroon in tribute to his dad. Despite the hardships, Wrenn this season joined a small group of drivers to win at least 700 races in back-to-back years. The others are Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, Dave Palone, Walter Case Jr., Jack Moiseyev, Herve Filion, and Mike Lachance. Tetrick and Morgan are the only drivers to do it more than once and Morgan is the only one to extend the streak beyond two years -- winning at least 700 races from 2005-08 and also 1995-97. From the USTA Media Department

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. has found his mojo at the right time -- putting some distance between himself and Aaron Merriman with only one night of racing left to determine the 2014 National Dash Driving Title. Wrenn entered Northfield Park's Tuesday (December 30) program with a slim 837 - 836 lead over Aaron Merriman. He exited the card with a five win lead,  843 - 838. Wrenn's six wins included Mantaculater in race two, Romantic Play Date in race four, Credit Report in race five, Heeza Nordic in race nine, Mr Apollo in race 11 and Detroiter in race 12. Merriman's driving double consisted of Jojo In The Sky in race 14 and Movin' N Shakin' in race 15. The two are scheduled to square off again one final time in 2014 on Wednesday night at Sports Creek Raceway in Michigan. The Wednesday action is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park  

Talk about a battle right to the wire, harness drivers Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Aaron Merriman went at it neck and neck right down to the last of 16 races at Northfield Park Monday, but Wrenn emerged one win ahead of Merriman for the National Harness Racing Driving Title once the program was finished. Going into Monday’s card, Merriman held the national lead by one win, 834 to 833 over Wrenn. But Wrenn drew first blood and then some as he won three straight races, the 3rd, 4th and 5th races and then the tenth race to score a four-bagger on the night. Merriman still had some gas in the tank for the later races as he answered back with a driving double, winning the 13th and 15th races to close the margin to just one win in favor of Wrenn. Merriman had five second place finishes on the night to just one for Wrenn. Wrenn now has 837 victories to Merriman's 836 wins. Now the action resumes at Northfield Park on Tuesday night as both drivers will compete in all 16 races on the program. But it does not end there as Wrenn and Merriman will take it right down to the wire as both drivers will compete on the New Year’s Eve card at Sports Creek Raceway in Michigan with first post at 7 pm. The biggest winner on the card Monday at Northfield Park was Greg Grismore, who led all drivers with five winners. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Northfield, OH --- Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. continued their rockem sockem battle as each harness racing driver won four races on the Sunday night (Dec. 28) program at Northfield Park, which allowed Merriman to maintain his one victory lead in the North American dash standings. Wrenn had the hot hands early on Sunday night and briefly took over the top spot after winning the second, fourth, fifth and seventh races on the Sunday program, but Merriman came roaring back later on to win races nine, 10, 13 and 14. Merriman now has 834 victories on the campaign, while Wrenn has 833 wins. The two drivers will battle once again Monday night at Northfield Park. Each has a mount in all 16 of the races on the card. With files from the USTA

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. posted 714 wins in 2013, 69 more than any other driver in North America. In his quest to repeat as the winningest driver again this year, only one driver stands in his way, his friend and nightly competitor, Aaron Merriman. Wrenn started Friday (December 26) with 816 wins this year, which trailed Merriman's win tally by 10. Throughout Northfield Park's 16-race program, he whittled that lead to five. While Merriman posted three solid wins on the night, Wrenn made eight trips to the Winner's Circle. With five days left in 2014, both Merriman and Wrenn are chasing the driving title. "I have to continue getting horses in the right spots and winning races. "We race horses to win, that is what I like to do and that is why I'm in this sport," explained Wrenn. "A couple of weeks ago I did not like my chances at all. I just wanted the race between Aaron and I to go away, but things have really come together and I have been able to have some really big nights in the last week or so, putting me with a shot to win again." Meanwhile, Merriman states that becoming the 2014 National Dash Champion would be icing on the cake for the unbelievable year that he has experienced. "I have worked hard and hustled for a long time," explained Merriman. "Winning races is great and that it what racing is about, but the experiences I have had this year are indescribable." This year has put Aaron Merriman behind the starting gate of the Hambletonian, an elimination of the Little Brown Jug, the Kentucky Futurity, the Canadian Trotting Classic as well as a host of other Grand Circuit and major stake races. In August, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Merriman has taken Saturday off, while Wrenn has a full slate of drives in the 13-race program at Sports Creek Raceway. Both drivers will be back at the Flying Turns on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Neither driver has fully committed, but are both keeping the option open of driving at Sports Creek on Wednesday (December 31), depending on how the numbers stack up between now and then. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. are rivals when it comes to racing, but friends away from the track. The two are battling for the No. 1 spot in wins among all harness racing drivers in North America, with Merriman holding a 28-victory advantage, 799-771, heading into Friday's action. Wrenn won last year's dash title with 714 wins. He is the leading driver at Northfield Park, with 597 triumphs, and Merriman is second there with 447. Merriman also competes regularly at The Meadows, where he is fourth in the standings with 318 wins. The 36-year-old Merriman was the leading driver in North America in June 2010 when he broke both wrists and his left elbow in a racing accident that sidelined him for much of the remainder of the year. He was sixth in wins last year, with 568, and fifth in 2012, with 605. This year, Merriman is on pace to become the first driver since Tony Morgan in 2008 to win more than 800 races in a season. Merriman, who has won 6,923 races in his career, has set a career high with $6.31 million in purses this year. The 28-year-old Wrenn was sidelined for much of January because of wrist surgery and also endured the loss of his father to cancer in May. Wrenn changed his colors to his father's black and maroon in tribute to his dad. Despite the hardships, Wrenn this season joined a small group of drivers to win at least 700 races in back-to-back years. The others are Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, Dave Palone, Walter Case Jr., Jack Moiseyev, Herve Filion, and Mike Lachance. Tetrick and Morgan are the only drivers to do it more than once and Morgan is the only one to extend the streak beyond two years -- winning at least 700 races from 2005-08 and also 1995-97. Merriman and Wrenn recently spoke separately to Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their campaigns, their friendship, and the chase for No. 1. Their remarks are combined in the following "conversation." KW: Aaron, how do you feel heading into the last few weeks? Is winning the dash title something you think about? AM: I'm one that doesn't even want to look at it. I just like to do my everyday thing. It's definitely not over until the last day. Ronnie has the opportunity to win races in bunches. When you have a guy that can win six or eight or 10 races, you never think it's over. There are a lot of race days left. We're both going to have to be on our toes, that's for sure. That's one thing about this, there are no days off. KW: Ronnie, can you catch him? RW: There's always the chance, but it's going to be hard because not only am I down (28) wins but he's racing doubleheaders so I have to win double every day to what he does. But there's always a shot. It's in the back of my mind. Aaron is definitely on top of his game this year. He's having a great year. I'm happy with finishing second if that's the way it ends up. KW: How do you look at your season overall? AM: It's been a very successful year. I got to race in some of the signature races in the sport, and that really means more to me than winning a lot of races. Just being able to participate and be competitive against the best horses and best drivers -- and really make a good showing for the state of Ohio and myself and the drivers at Northfield Park that I feel I represent. RW: I'm very fortunate. When I moved to Ohio I was given the opportunity to drive at Northfield and drive for some well-respected trainers. Then Virgil (Morgan Jr.) gave me the opportunity to drive most of his horses at Scioto and that helped me break through there. I'm always aiming to do better. Next year I hope I have an even better year than this year. Maybe I can get a nice Grand Circuit horse or some nice sire stakes horses. I'm very happy with where I am. It's definitely been a rough year. A lot happened to me this year in my life with my dad passing away in the spring. It was definitely tough. But that makes you stronger. KW: With the passing of your dad, how did it affect you and your focus? RW: It was pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie. Some days it still is; it's still pretty fresh. As the year has gone on, I've gotten stronger. I feel like it's made me a better driver in a way because it's given me some perspective. There are way more important things in life than racing and sometimes you get caught up in winning races. It's our livelihood, but there are more important things. It helps me to relax and not take things too seriously. I think it helps me perform better on the racetrack. KW: Has it inspired you? RW: Definitely. I made the switch to his colors and I think that helps give me some motivation too. I've had a lot of starts this year and I was lucky enough to have a good year. Hopefully I can continue; I don't plan on slowing down. Hopefully I can compete on this level for many years. Things are really looking up in Ohio, so it seems like a pretty good place to be racing right now. KW: Aaron, what does it mean to you to be in this position after coming back from the accident in 2010? AM: It's a blessing to be in this position again. At one point when I was getting ready to go into surgery, I didn't even know if I was going to drive again. That's the truth. It might have taken a few years, but it's just a blessing to be back in this position. It's something I always wanted, to win the dash title. I hope it happens. (In 2010) I felt really confident and I was just on an unbelievable roll. It felt like I could do no wrong. God had other plans, but it's made me a better person and made me stronger. It's made me really appreciate things, that's for sure. KW: What has been the highlight of your season? AM: Driving in the Hambletonian, for sure. (Merriman finished fourth with Il Sogno Dream.) It was just a surreal experience for me. And the support I received. Not many people get to drive in the Hambletonian, it's one race a year. I've won a lot of races and gotten recognition, but that was my defining moment this year. RW: I think probably my favorite race was when I set the world record with Victory Is Coming. She trotted in (1):51 at Scioto. That's pretty cool to be able to set a world record. I never imagined I would be able to, and she's just an amazing horse. I was just thankful to be able to drive her. I have to thank the trainer (Ammon Hershberger) and owners (Betty and John Shaw) for giving me a shot with her. She had a great year and set track records at Northfield, Dayton and Scioto. Just being able to drive her made the year a little more special. KW: How would you describe your relationship with each other? RW: We're very good friends. Racing against each other almost every night, we're able to get to know one another, and when we raced at Scioto we roadtripped together from Northfield, which gave us a chance to get to know each other more. It's pretty cool that we're Nos. 1 and 2 in the country and we race at the same track. I know racing against him makes me a better driver because he's an amazing driver. I have to be on my 'A' game to even keep up with him. I think it helps us get the best out of each other. He always aims to beat me, and I always aim to beat him. I think it kind of makes us better drivers. AM: I think so too, especially when you can kind of needle each other a little bit. Over this last year, or year and a half, we've gotten to be pretty close. I consider him one of my best friends. He's just a great kid. It makes it more competitive, but it might make it easier if the other wins (the dash title). I'm sure we'll be happy for each other. He did it last year and, like I said, this kid can win races in bunches. He's very, very consistent. I'm just happy that he came here. He's been a good friend, he's been a true friend, and I wouldn't want to be in it with anybody else. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

North America's leading harness racing driver, Aaron Merriman, drove eight winners on Thursday (December 11) at Northfield Park, winning over half of the 15-race program. Merriman's eight scores included Vision Of Glory ($12.60) in race one, Snuff Box ($6.80) in race two, Wild Ride ($3.60) in race three, Noble Fitch ($3.40) in race four, Brown Titan ($2.40) in race seven, Chievous Dan ($3.80) in race 10, Loconotion ($12.00) in race 12 and Cause To Smile ($7.00) in race 15. Merriman, 36, began driving in 1997 and has since garnered 6,923 career victories. He is approaching $37.5M in total purse earnings. Merriman has posted 442 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, placing him second in the local driving ranks behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (593). However, Merriman splits his time primarily between Northfield Park and The Meadows, as well as a multitude of other racing venues. He has amassed an impressive 799 total wins so far this year. That win tally is more than any other driver in North America. Becoming the 2014 National Dash Champion would be icing on the cake for the unbelievable year that Merriman has experienced. "I have worked hard and hustled for a long time," explained Merriman. "Winning races is great and that it what racing is about, but the experiences I have had this year are indescribable." This year has put Aaron Merriman behind the starting gate of the Hambletonian, an elimination of the Little Brown Jug, the Kentucky Futurity, the Canadian Trotting Classic as well as a host of other Grand Circuit and major stake races. In August, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

The Northern Dude was a repeat winner of the $12,500 Open Trot on Monday (December 1) at Northfield Park. Curran Racing, LLC of Red Hook, New York owns the five year-old. Trainer Jessica Millner enlisted the driving services of North America's leading driver Aaron Merriman. The Northern Dude (Ken Warkentin - LR Alleys Concern - King Conch) left alertly from post seven and led his competition at every call. He set fractions of :27.3, :57, 1:25.4 and 1:56.4 and was a full-length in front at the finish. Completing the race were Mythical Hall, Mama Made Me Blue, Jesse's Messenger, Catching Katie, Diamond Hunter, Mary's Darvin and Zorgwijk Heavenly. Monday's victory represents the third consecutive win for The Northern Dude, who now has seven wins in 26 starts this year, 15 career successes and a bankroll of $177,030. He was the heavy favorite and paid $3.60 to win. Major Belle was impressive in winning the evening's $12,500 Open Pace. Ron Burke trains the six year-old for Pennsylvania owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi and New York connections of Cynthia Massari and Joseph Di Scala, Jr. Chris Page was aboard for the winning drive. Major Belle (Art Major - Meghan's Belle - No Nukes) started from the far outside and was content in the back of the pack while his competition carved stiff fractions of :26.3 and :54.4. Major Belle had moved into third at the 1:23.2 three-quarter pole and took the lead in the stretch and besting his competition by 2-lengths, in 1:53.2. Completing the race were Real Future, Top Of The Mark, Bettor's Choice, Midnight Dragon, Allamerican Pewter and Onhishonor Hanover. Mybrothergeorge was scratched. Monday's triumph was the seventh win in 28 starts this year for Major Belle. It increased his lifetime win tally to 22 and his earnings to $362,229. He returned $15.40 to win. Ayers Ratliff

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 25, 2014 -- Trailing by 8 lengths at the half, Do Me Honor took advantage of live cover to get into position, then brushed through the lane to capture Monday's $15,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred Pace at The Meadows. Do Me Honor was sixth down the backside when Aaron Merriman moved her third over in the cover flow. She needed to go wide to do it, but the 6-year-old daughter of Cheyenne Rei-Do Me Right overtook the leaders with authority, scoring in 1:54. Rescue Team was second, 1/2 length back, with Miss Kilo third. Bill Bercury trains and owns Do Me Honor, who extended her career bankroll to $526,177. Eric Goodell and Eric Ledford each piloted three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Despite pouring rain that delayed the start of the first race by a half hour, Habitat and Wild Honey did not mind the “off-track” as they both cruised to half-length victories in winning their respective divisions of the Matron Stakes Thursday afternoon at Dover Downs. Both were strong wins in the daily double for driver Yannick Gingras. Wild Honey started off the show in capturing her $203,600 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. The track was labeled good despite constant rain. Bright Baby Blues (David Miller) was the first to show but by the opening quarter mile in :27.4, driver Yannick Gringas had Wild Honey, the 1/5 favorite, on the move and took over the lead. From that point on the field raced Indian-style past the half mile in :57.4 before the action began to pick up. Corey Callahan was sitting third with Smexi and then came first-over with Gold Gora (Tim Tetrick) following the live cover in the backstretch and past the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Then coming down the stretch Gingras held the field at bay with Wild Honey. Bright Baby Blues came up the passing lane to try and mount a challenge but it was too little too late as Wild Honey won in 1:55.2. “She’s just a fantastic filly,” said trainer Jimmy Takter in the winner’s circle, “Despite the conditions she was just on cruise control.” It was the eighth straight win and ninth of the year in only ten starts for Wild Honey. The freshman daughter of Cantab Hall is co-owned by Christina Takter, John Fieldings, Herb Liverman and Jim Fieldings. She paid just $2.20 to win. Wild Honey The $237,500 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts saw Habitat and Gringras go to the early lead over Uncle Lasse (Ron Pierce) with the first quarter mile in :28. Then it was Cruzado Dela Noche and driver David Miller quarter moving to the front before the half mile marker in :56.1. As they hit the backstretch Pierce came back first-over with Uncle Lasse and trying to follow their outside cover was Billy Flynn (Brett Miller) but to no avail as they could not close the gap. Past the three-quarters in 1:25 saw Uncle Lasse in contention but then he began to tire and at the top of the stretch, Gingras left the pocket with Habitat to come after Cruzado Dela Noche and all the while, sitting in fourth place along the race was David Miller with Muscle Diamond and they shot up the passing lane. But it was not enough as Habitat was the strong horse, winning by a half length in 1:54.2 with Muscle Diamond nosing out Cruzado Dela Noche for second place. “He (Habitat) is a very consistent horse,” said trainer Ron Burke, “and he can do it all. I was glad to see Yannick give him a trip today. I think he will be in great shape for the upcoming Breeders Crown.” Sired by Conway Hall, it was the seventh win this year for Habitat. He is owned by the Hauser Brothers Racing, and J & T Silva Stables and paid $6.20 to win. Habitat By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Sweetheart Dance was a repeat winner in Northfield's weekly top distaff event when she cruised to victory in the $12,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday (October 17) at Northfield Park. She is trained by Kent Sherman for Pittsburgh, PA owner Keith Pippi. Aaron Merriman, North America's leading driver this year, was in the sulky. Sweetheart Dance (Yankee Cruiser-Somkindasweetypie-Life Sign) was assigned the outside. She had to work in the first quarter to make the lead, but never experienced an anxious moment once she struck the front. Sweetheart Dance led her competition through fractions of :27.4, :56.3, 1:25.1 and 1:54.3, besting her competition by two lengths. Completing the race were Rockratese, Y Mach Me, Shes Glorious, Lady Ideal, JK Geronimo and Non Pareil. Friday's win was the 10th victory this year in 29 starts. It bolstered her career win tally to 22 and her lifetime earnings to $243,091. She was heavily favored and returned $2.60 to win. by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 10, 2014 -- Visible Gold notched his Third Straight victory -- and 24th over the past two seasons -- when he followed live cover and scored in Friday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dave Palone found a seat fourth for Visible Gold in deference to a hot early pace and moved the 6-year-old Bettor's Delight-Gabrielle gelding behind the first-over cover of Southern Allie. Visible Gold shed his cover into the final turn and rolled home in 1:51.2, a length ahead of Carol's Comet. Major Belle finished third. Ron Burke trains Visible Gold, who extended his career bankroll to $342,444, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. Aaron Merriman drove five winners and Mike Wilder three on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 8, 2014 -- A winner in her debut at The Meadows, Anaffairtoremember was even more impressive next time out when she overcame post 8 to capture Wednesday's $16,500 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Trot. When new owner/trainer Bill Bercury introduced Anaffairtoremember to The Meadows, she rewarded him Oct. 1 with a tough first-over victory. On Wednesday, she found a seat fifth for Aaron Merriman, followed the live cover of Mistress Valentine and rolled home in 1:53.3, 2-1/4 lengths better than early leader Kandian Club. Mistress Valentine was a clear third. The 4-year-old daughter of Angus Hall-Val Lee Woman now boasts career earnings of $261,982. Tony Hall, Mike Wilder and Merriman each drove three winners on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday, when the card features a $50,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 5, races 11-15. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 5, 2014 -- Fly Past Hanover, a 3-year-old trotting gelding, shot the Lightning Lane and notched his second straight Pennsylvania Fairs championship Saturday at The Meadows On a festive evening that featured many family-oriented activities, The Meadows hosted all eight fairs finals, each with a purse of $25,000 -- up 25 percent from last year. Aaron Merriman piloted three champions, including a pair -- Fly Past Hanover and Wimborne Hanover -- for trainer William Daugherty, Jr. Fly Past Hanover stalked the favorite, Mr Weaver, from the pocket and blew by inside to triumph in 1:59.2 for his 22nd victory over the past two seasons, downing Mr Weaver by 2-1/4 lengths. Faust was third. Daugherty said he wasn't surprised the son of Cantab Hall-Flexible Spending was able to repeat as champion. "He's a good honest trotter -- 90 percent sound, no big problems," Daugherty said. "We got rained out three or four times this summer; that gave him a little rest." In the other championships: 3-Year-Old Filly Trot -- Sheema Star Sheema Star provided the night's tote board pyrotechnics when she shed excess cover in the lane to pull off a 50-1 shocker in 1:59.3 and give driver Brady Brown his first career victory at The Meadows. She Nuit was second by a head, with Hearts Content third. "When I saw I was following the morning-line favorite, I knew we wouldn't be on the fence long," Brown said. "I figured I would have cover carrying me all the way to the stretch. My plan was to come from the back anyway. Everything worked out." Ashley Brown owns and trains the daughter of SJ's Caviar-Hearts In Bloom. 3-Year-Old Filly Pace -- Wiggle It Hanover Not to be outdone by his buddy Brown, Shawn Johnston captured his initial driving victory at The Meadows when Wiggle It Hanover -- a daughter of Dragon Again-Western Gesture that Johnston also owns and trains -- rallied to capture only her second lifetime win in 1:56.3. La Fiesta, the PA Fairs juvenile champion, was second, a head back, while Fixed Income earned show. "They were all itching to get out of there, but she likes to come off the pace," Johnston said. "Was there anything holding her back? Probably me." Johnston received congratulations of sorts when his fellow horsemen doused him with two buckets of icy water. 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace -- Wellsaidandone Seated early by the determined Ruffle Up and Roger Hammer, Wellsaidandone had more pop late and blazed by the leader to score in 1:53.4 for Merriman, trainer Mike Gillock and owner Harry Locke. On a brusque night when stake records seemed safe, the Well Said-Yenta Hanover gelding missed the stake mark by a tick, an impressive performance. "That horse of Roger's looked like he'd been getting his own way at the fairs," Merriman said. "I thought if he got cheap fractions, he'd be tough to beat. My horse really exploded out of the hole and made my job extremely easy." 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot -- Wimborne Hanover Wimborne Hanover soared over $100,000 in earnings with his win in 1:59.3. Bambam Lauxmont was second, 3/4 lengths in arrears, while Music Man De Vie completed the ticket. The victory by the Muscle Massive-Wherley gelding wasn't surprising -- he was the 1-2 favorite -- but the front-end style was, as Daugherty previously indicated the youngster had become too hot. "In this field, I thought he might have to go to the front," Daugherty said. "He's been good and solid since I changed his bit, but he wasn't going to get a seat tonight. Aaron said he got a little lazy near the wire." 2-Year-Old Filly Trot -- Isabella Carina Brian Zendt drove Isabella Carina in her most recent outing, a Keystone Classic split, and what he learned proved instrumental in her victory Saturday. "We made some rigging changes," Zendt said. "She had a Murphy blind, and she acted like she couldn't see right. She had her head kind of cocked sideways. We took that off, and she was much better tonight. She's a Cadillac -- wants to do everything right." The daughter of Tom Ridge-Bellissimo moved three wide down the backside and drew off by 5-1/2 lengths to score in 1:59.2. Susie B and Peoplesayimnogood completed the ticket. Walter "Boots" Dunn conditions the homebred Isabella Carina for Dunn Stable. 2-Year-Old Filly Pace -- Keystone I Wish Although she trailed by 5 lengths down the backside, Keystone I Wish tracked down the loose leader, Angel Plus, and scored in 1:57. Tropical Terror, the "winningest" freshman in harness racing with 16 victories, lacked late racing room and settled for second, 1-1/2 lengths behind, while Angel Plus saved show. "I was a little concerned (with her position), but this filly will chase one down," said winning driver Todd Schadel, who trains the daughter of Art Official-I Will -- an $8,000 Harrisburg buy-back -- and owns with Christine Schadel. 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace -- Marshmallow Pulse Marshmallow Pulse not only grabbed the championship in 1:57.1, but he also extended a streak -- in the money in all 17 career starts. Tony Hall drove the Quik Pulse Mindale-Marshamarshamarsha gelding for trainer Jason Shaw and owner Mason Shaw who, although only 2, showed his savvy as a horseman yet again. Nippy was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, with Given Up Terror third. "He tries every time he goes on the racetrack," Jason Shaw said of his $4,500 yearling acquisition. "He gives you everything he's got. Next year we may try some early closers here, then back to the fairs." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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