Aaron Merriman drove six winners on Thursday (April 17) at Northfield Park. Merriman's winners included Common Creed ($14.40) in race two, Hula Lu ($6.00) in race four, Addys Secret ($10.00) in race six, Cams Van Go ($3.40) in race eight, Ride A Cowboy ($4.40) in race 10 and Mount Joy ($3.20) in race 12. Merriman, 35, began driving in 1998 and has since garnered 6,328 career victories and is in excess of $32,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 99 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him third in the local driving ranks. Only Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (134) and Josh Sutton (133) have more local driving wins this year than Aaron Merriman. Merriman also drives at The Meadows in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he has also been winning races at an impressive rate. To date, Merriman has garnered 204 wins so far in 2014, more than any driver other in North America. Although Merriman has more wins than any other driver this year he says that he is not pushing himself to win the 2014 Dash Title. "It would be great if it would happen," said Merriman. "But, I have not set any goals for myself to chase." Instead of chasing career goals by driving other venues on his days off, Merriman balances being a successful driver with being a successful father. Kristopher Merriman, Aaron's 11 year-old son and Tessa Koran, Aaron's girlfriend, take precedence. "They are the most important part of my life," stated Merriman. Among various family activities, Merriman helped coach Kristopher's basketball team to a third-place finish in their league. "Things are just going really well right now and I hope that continues," offered Merriman. "I love winning races. The winner's circle is always a happy place and it is very gratifying to make people happy." by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
WASHINGTON, PA, April 9, 2014 -- Steppin Out stepped lively during a determined uncovered bid and rolled on to victory in Wednesday's opening leg of the Unefoisdansmavie Trot at The Meadows. Donato's Peach and Silent Opera K also took $17,500 splits in the series for 3-year-old filly trotters named for Unefoisdansmavie, a fast-class trotter currently competing at The Meadows for the Ron Burke stable. Steppin Out took a mark of 1:57.2 as a freshman but had been hampered by recent gaiting problems. Trainer Chas Norris equipped her with hopples Wednesday, and she flashed her old form, scoring in 1:58.2 for Dan Rawlings. Exclusive Photo was second, 1/2 length back, with Glide By Shooting third. Glat Kosher Racing campaigns Steppin Out, a daughter of Yankee Glide-Quantum Darling. In something of an oddity, Unefoisdansmavie raced in the $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap on the same card that featured the series named for her. Poetic as a win might have been for her, it was not to be, as she encountered a buzz saw named Daylon Miracle, who captured her sixth victory in her last seven starts. Aaron Merriman moved Daylon Miracle twice -- once for position from post 8, once on a relentless first-over mission that carried her past the leader, Magic Wheel. The 5-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel triumphed in 1:54.1, 1/2 length better than the rallying Mistress Valentine. Magic Wheel saved show while the pocket-sitting Unefoisdansmavie had to settle for fourth. Bill Bercury owns and trains Daylon Miracle, who now boasts $320,003 in career earnings. Merriman drove four winners on the 15-race card while Mike Wilder and Brian Zendt each fashioned a triple. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, April 8, 2014 -- Cammikey exploded to the front at the quarter and widened his advantage from there, rolling to an easy victory in Tuesday's opening leg of the Visible Gold Pace at The Meadows. Mattamerican took the other $17,500 division in the series for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, which is named for Visible Gold, a fast-class performer from the Ron Burke stable. Using Lasix for the first time, Cammikey, the 2-5 favorite, zipped to the lead for Brian Zendt after getting away third and jogged in 1:53.4, a lifetime mark. Jackson Brady was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, with Time Running Out third. Bill Zendt trains Cammikey, a son of Somebeachsomewhere and 2004 Breeders Crown champion Always Cam, for owner/breeder Cam Land LLC. Mattamerican was a 10-race maiden entering the Visible Gold, but he, too, showed improvement in his initial start on Lasix. He moved first over for Greg Grismore to collar the leader, Heart Felt, and held off the late thrust off Dealin Dan to triumph by a nose in 1:54.2. Heart Felt saved show. Norm Parker conditions the son of Allamerican-Native-Mattadorable for owner/breeder Bob Key. In the $15,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Trot, Tamarind powered to the front past the quarter and thwarted the Lightning Lane charge of Trustworthy Kid to defeat him by a neck in 1:54.2 for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury. The first-over Kirty Dream was third. A 6-year-old son of Angus Hall-Spicegirl Kosmos, Tamarind soared over $500,000 in career earnings. Dave Palone drove four winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Driver Josh Sutton has been on fire in 2014 and again dominated most of the evening on Monday (April 7) at Northfield Park. The evening's Open Pace and Open Trot were just two of the six successful drives on the night for Sutton. Sutton, 31, began driving in 2000 and has since garnered 2,336 career victories and is approaching $13,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 113 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him second on the local driving ranks, just one victory behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Chasing Wrenn and Sutton are: Aaron Merriman (84), David Lake (46) and Robin Miller (45). Sutton has been driving at Miami Valley on Northfield Park's nights off and he has been winning there as well. He has 140 driving wins so far in 2014, ranking him as the seventh winningest driver so far this year in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (178), Corey Callahan (167), Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (164), Ron Pierce (157), Brian Sears (146) and Dave Palone (144) have more wins this year than Josh Sutton. Sutton captured the evening's $9,500 Open Pace with Lyons Josephjnr in the eighth race. Ron Burke trains the five year-old for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. Chris Page was the winning driver. Lyons Josephjnr (Million Dollar Cam-Lyons Sure Sign-Life Sign) started from post four and was fourth through an opening fraction of :27.1. Sutton tipped the pacer first over and he sustained a successful first-over bid through fractions of :56.1 and 1:25.4. Lyons Josephjnr cleared to the lead in the final quarter and bested his competition by two lengths in 1:54.3 on a very sloppy surface. Completing the race were I Found My Beach, Nathan Feelsgood, Goodnite Goodluck, Hall Of Memories, Forever Good and Kiasma. Monday's triumph increased Lyons Josephjnr's lifetime win tally to 13 and his earnings to $198,951. He was the race favorite and returned $3.60 to win. Sutton piloted Rose Run Logan to victory in the $10,000 Open Trot in the evening's 10th race. He is owned and trained by Jeff Hochstetler of Urichsville, Ohio. Rose Run Logan (Armbro Laser-How Miraculous-Baltic Speed) started from post seven and was parked every step through fractions of :28, :56.4 and 1:25.4. He took the lead in the stretch and completed the mile in 1:55.1. He was ¾-length in front at the wire. The win represents a new lifetime mark for Rose Run Logan. Completing the race were Action-Broadway, Mary's Darvin, Pembroke Snapshot, Sure Thing, Kahoku, Wind Surfer, Hello Carlo and Theraputic. Rose Run Logan now has 13 career successes and has won seven of eight starts in 2014. Monday's victory pushed his bankroll to $40,198. He paid $5.60 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
WASHINGTON, PA, April 4, 2014 -- Last at the half and facing a tough journey in the slop, Southern Allie unleashed a relentless first-over move to capture his second straight victory -- and fourth in his last five races -- in Friday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Southern Allie trailed by 7-1/2 lengths when Eric Ledford sent him after the leader, Dedi's Dragon, who was making his first start of 2013. He needed every bit of stretch to do it, but Southern Allie nailed Dedi's Dragon by a nose in 1:54, with early leader Brooklyn Flight a close-up third. Randy Bendis trains Southern Allie, a 7-year-old Allie's Western-Pershing Angela gelding who now boasts $688,019 in career earnings, and owns with Tom Pollack, Jack Piatt II and R. Lewis Hauber. Dave Palone drove four winners and Aaron Merriman three on the 14-race card while Tyler Stillings collected training and driving doubles. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, April 2, 2014 -- Magic Wheel sat comfortably behind 3-5 favorite Unefoisdansmavie, then blew by her in the Lightning Lane to capture Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Unefoisdansmavie cut out a leisurely 59 first half and appeared poised for an easy victory. But when Dan Charlino guided Magic Wheel to the Lightning Lane, the 6-year-old Kadabra-Ws Balanced Wheel mare had little trouble putting away Unefoisdansmavie, downing her by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Mistress Valentine also shot the Lightning Lane for show. Kris Hite trains Magic Wheel, who now boasts $528,220 in career earnings, for Tom Svrcek. Aaron Merriman drove six winners on the 15-race card, capping his spectacular day by urging Delightful One home at 18-1. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Rose Run Logan trotted to victory in the $10,000 Open Trot on Monday (March 31) in Northfield Park's eighth race. He is owned and trained by Jeff Hochstetler of Urichsville, Ohio. Josh Sutton was aboard for the winning drive. It was one of Sutton's eight wins on the card. Rose Run Logan (Armbro Laser-How Miraculous-Baltic Speed) started from post seven and was parked through fractions of :28.3 and :57.2. He took the lead approaching the three-quarter pole and completed the mile with times of 1:26.2 and 1:55.4. He was an uncontested 2 Â¼-lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Pembroke Snapshot, Julians Caesar, Kahoku, Wind Surfer, Talladega Hanover, Herbie L and Action-Broadway. Rose Run Logan now has 12 career successes and has won six of seven starts in 2014. Monday's victory pushed his bankroll to $35,198. He paid $6.00 to win. Forever Good captured the $10,000 Open Pace in the evening's ninth race. Barry Langley trains the 10 year-old for the VIP Internet Stable of Piscataway, New Jersey. Chris Page was the winning driver. Forever Good (Dream Away-Lasting Approval-Western Hanover) started from post three and let his competition carve out fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:24.2 before taking the lead in the stretch and besting his competition by a length in 1:53.4. Completing the race were Lyons JosephJNR, Hall Of Memories, Man He Can Skoot, Western Churchill, Goodnite Goodluck, T Red and Our McLovin. Monday's triumph increased Forever Good's lifetime win tally to 32 and his earnings to $345,436. He returned $13.40 to win. Monday hosted two divisions of the first legs of both the Legend Series and Hall of Fame Series. Both series are for $8,000 claimers with the Legend Series being for pacers and the Hall of Fame Series for trotters. I Know Your Lookin (trainer Harla Loney / driver Josh Sutton) and Chase The Sun (trainer Brian Loney / driver Josh Sutton) won the divisions of the Legend Series. Mr Jesse (trainer Ron Burke / driver Chris Page) and Life Long Hanover (trainer Crist Hershberger / driver Josh Sutton) captured the divisions of the Hall of Fame Series. Four horses were claimed out of the first leg of the series and Life Long Hanover, M A Roy, Nordic Venture and Soulful Delight have moved to new homes. Driver Josh Sutton dominated most of the evening, posting eight successful drives on the night. Sutton, 31, began driving in 2000 and has since garnered 2,297 career victories and is approaching $13,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 99 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him second in the local driving ranks. Only Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (102) has more local wins this year than Josh Sutton. Chasing Wrenn and Sutton are: Aaron Merriman (77), David Lake (44) and Robin Miller (42). Sutton has been driving at Miami Valley on Northfield Park's nights off and he has been winning there as well. He has 128 driving wins so far in 2014, ranking him as the seventh winningest driver so far this year in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (161), Corey Callahan (153), Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (147), Ron Pierce (146), Brian Sears (140) and Dave Palone (134) have more wins this year than Josh Sutton. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
WASHINGTON, PA, March 31, 2014 -- Foxy Lady zipped to the front, backed down the second quarter and never had an anxious moment thereafter as she rolled to an easy victory in Monday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. After Foxy Lady wrested the early lead from Tremor Hanover, Dave Palone gave her a second-panel breather in 29. The 6-year-old daughter of Real Desire-Judy is a Fox jogged from there, downing Tremor Hanover by 1/2 length in 1:53.2. Angelic Star was a ground-saving third. Ron Burke trains Foxy Lady, who now boasts $710,122 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables and Phillip Collura. Palone drove four winners and Aaron Merriman three on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, March 29, 2014 -- Imagine Hanover completed his sweep of the Ken Weaver Memorial Trot at The Meadows by romping away with Friday's $27,750 championship and rolling up a combined, four-leg victory margin of 36-3/4 lengths. Also taking series championships were Partyatbartsplace -- who also swept his four legs -- Hierarchy and Stirling Bella. Brett Miller (Imagine Hanover, Hierarchy) and Aaron Merriman (Partyatbartsplace, Stirling Bella) logged a sweep of sorts by winning all four finals between them. Imagine Hanover hadn't been performing terribly well in overnights prior to the series for 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses and geldings. But the 4-year-old Broadway Hall-Imposing Hanover gelding put it all together for the Weaver. Del S. Miller, who trains Imagine Hanover for James Beluscak and Robert Carson, can't put his finger on any specific reason for the improvement. "I really think we might have started him before he was ready," Miller said. "He qualified super, then threw in two or three clunkers. He just came around and put four races together really well. I just hope it continues. They make you pull your hair out, these horses. You think you have them figured out, then they prove you wrong." In Friday's final, Imagine Hanover moved easily first over and triumphed in 1:54, 11-1/4 lengths better than 80-1 Gotta Luv Cash, with Spicey Victor third. Miller said he likely will give Imagine Hanover some time off before resuming his campaign at The Meadows. In the other championships: $28,500 Walter Russell Memorial Pace, 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses and geldings Partyatbartsplace rushed to the lead for trainer Chas Norris and owner Thumbs Up Stable and held off the Lightning Lane charge of Mattamerican to down him by 3/4 lengths in 1:54.1. Hickory Icon earned show. Much like Imagine Hanover, Partyatbartsplace entered his series off several poor outings, but Merriman said he remained confident in the abilities of the 4-year-old Party At Artsplace-Miss Major Power gelding. "I watched him race at Northfield a lot," Merriman said, "and truthfully, he really isn't as alert on the front; he kind of waits on them. But he's turning into a nice little racehorse. Chas has done a great job with him." $30,750 Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot, 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares Shuffled to seventh and with no apparent racing room, Hierarchy found a seam late and won in a wild photo finish involving seven horses in 1:59. The rallying Mina was a hard-luck second, a head back, with Mystical Melody third. The win was especially gratifying for trainer Tim Twaddle, who purchased a piece of the 3-year-old Glidemaster-Mi Amiga filly after owner Karin Olsson Burgess bought her back at the Meadowlands sale. "She certainly had trot," Twaddle said. "Boy, the seas parted and we got through, thank goodness. She's in the next series here for 3-year-olds. From there on, we'll see how she develops." $28,500 Donna Dunn Memorial Pace, 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares Stirling Bella rushed to the pocket from post 8 and blew by the 1-2 favorite, Small Town Charmer, in the stretch to defeat her by 3/4 lengths in 1:54.3 and capture her third series leg. Fashion Katie completed the ticket. "I bought her to race, maybe put her in conditioned-claimers if she wasn't good enough," said Dave Zito, who trains the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Fast Princess for Mervin Wengerd. "I didn't even think about the series -- she just made it under the earnings limit by about $300. I thought, let's give her a shot. She's not a real big filly, so you can't beat her up real hard leaving, but she has some speed, and she's nice to drive. "We'll give her a couple weeks off and just keep racing her."
WASHINGTON, PA, March 25, 2014 -- A newcomer to The Meadows' trotting elite, Holy Halibut made it look easy Tuesday as he captured the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap in 1:54.1 for his second straight victory. Holy Halibut broke stride in his first two starts of 2013 but overwhelmed the field in winning his most recent outing, a conditioned event. On Tuesday, he got away third for Dave Palone and powered to the lead at the quarter pole. When he threw down a 56.4 back half, the 6-year-old Holy Guacamolie-CR Gone Fishin gelding was uncatchable. Tamarind raced well first over for second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Call To Post shot the Lightning Lane for show. Ron Burke trains Holy Halibut, who now boasts $225,145 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Michelle Yanek. Tony Hall and Aaron Merriman each drove three winners on the 15-race card. On Wednesday the Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $7,500-guaranteed pool for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. No one has correctly picked the Pick 5 for two consecutive programs, resulting in a carryover of $2,172.08 that prompted The Meadows to offer the “instant” guarantee. Minimum wager for the Pick 5, which spans Races 11 through 15, is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post Wednesday is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, March 21, 2014 -- A nine-race harness racing maiden entering Friday's Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows, Spiritina blew up the tote board with a shocking victory at 94-1 in the slop. There was no Show wagering in the race, but a $2 Win/Place ticket returned $422.20. Stirling Bella took the other $15,000, third-leg division in the series for 3- and 4-year-old filly and mare pacers. The Donna Dunn championship, along with the final legs of three other current series at The Meadows, is set for Friday, March 28. First post that day is 6:55 PM. Using Lasix for the first time, Spiritina got away fifth for Brett Miller and saved ground until the Lightning Lane beckoned. She outkicked Fashion Katie to down her by a head and score in 1:57.4. Sandy Hook Hanover was third. The 1-5 favorite, Small Town Charmer, ducked, followed dead cover and never was a factor. Norm Parker trains Spiritina, a 3-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native-Art Tina, for owner/breeder Bob Key. Stirling Bella had to duel for the early lead but was much the best once she got there, capturing her second Donna Dunn division in 1:58.1. The pocket-sitting Sure You Are was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, with Marissa third. Aaron Merriman drove the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Fast Princess for trainer Dave Zito and owner Mervin Wengerd. Friday's card also featured a pair of fast-class events won by Unefoisdansmavie and Brooklyn Flight. A 10-time winner last year, Unefoisdansmavie collected her initial 2013 victory in an $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace by brushing through the Lightning Lane for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III. The 7-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World, who extended her career bankroll to $386,757, scored in 1:57.1, 1-3/4 lengths better than Victory Is Coming. Vixy completed the ticket. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Brooklyn Flight moved powerfully first over to triumph for Miller in 1:55. The pocket-sitting Pop Cop was second, 1-1/4 lengths in arrears, while Southern Allie rallied for show. Frank Consiglio conditions Brooklyn Flight, a 6-year-old Panspacificflight-Brooklyn Belle gelding who now boasts $174,424 in lifetime earnings, for Team 19 Stables. Burke enjoyed a five-bagger, including four victories with Palone at the helm, while Miller drove three winners on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Josh Sutton drove five winners on Wednesday (March 19) at Northfield Park. Sutton's winners included Rose Run Leah ($3.20) in race one, Western Rival ($6.40) in race four, Near The Limit ($3.20) in race five, Fortune Sailor ($4.40) in race nine and KC Colt ($4.80) in race 12. Sutton, 31, began driving in 2000 and has since garnered 2,289 career victories and is approaching $13,000,000 in purse earnings. He has posted 78 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, ranking him second in the local driving ranks. Only Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (85) has more local wins this year than Josh Sutton. Chasing Wrenn and Sutton are: Aaron Merriman (65), Robin Miller (38), Keith Kash Jr. (38) and David Lake (38). by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
WASHINGTON, PA, March 18, 2014 -- Mogul Hanover and Partyatbartsplace each rolled to his third straight victory in Tuesday's Walter Russell Memorial Pace at The Meadows, setting up a showdown in the championship of the series for 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses and geldings. That final, along with the championship legs of three other current Meadows' series, is set for Friday, March 28, first post 6:55 PM. Mogul Hanover spurted to the lead from post 7 for Dave Palone and thwarted the first-over challenge of Fly By Ry to triumph in a career-best 1: 53.4. Energy Shakes shot the Lightning Lane for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Mattamerican third. Paul Kennedy trains the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Mary Mattgalane gelding for Doug Ackerman. Partyatbartsplace quarter-poled to the lead for Aaron Merriman and was in command thereafter, downing Dragontattooteen by 3/4 lengths in 1:54. Hickory Little Red rallied for show. Chas Norris conditions Partyatbartsplace, a 4-year-old Party At Artsplace-Miss Major Power gelding, for Thumbs Up Stable. In the $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, TSM Photo Bugger charged through the Lightning Lane to head Tamarind in 1:54.1, equaling his lifetime mark. Mike The Trader completed the ticket. Aaron Merriman drove for trainer Jan Fread and owner/breeder Ted Tomson. With the victory, the 7-year-old SJ's Photo-Rewarding Wink gelding vaulted over $400,000 in career earnings. Merriman drove four winners on the 15-race card while Palone and Brett Miller each fashioned a triple. $15,000 Pick 5 on Wednesday On Wednesday, March 19, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $15,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. No one has correctly picked the Pick 5 for two consecutive programs, resulting in a carryover of $4,746.31 that prompted The Meadows to offer the “instant” guarantee. Minimum wager for the Pick 5, which spans Races 11 through 15, is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Rose Run Logan trotted home for his fifth straight win Monday (March 17) in Northfield Park's opening race. The seven year-old gelding is owned and trained by Jeff Hochstetler of Urichsville, Ohio. Hochstetler called upon Jason Merriman for the winning drive. Rose Run Logan started from post five and sat the pocket in the first half of the mile through fractions of :28.1 and :57.1. Merriman pulled in the backstretch, took the lead and never looked back, closing out the mile with fractions of 1:26.4 and 1:55.3. The mile clocking represents the trotter's new lifetime mark. Rose Run Logan posted a dominant 5-length margin of victory over his closest competitor, Bookem (Josh Sutton). Monday's triumph was the 11 career success for Rose Run Logan (Armbro Laser-How Miraculous-Baltic Speed) and increased his lifetime earnings to $27,698. He was heavily favored and returned $3.00 to win. In the evening's sixth race, Goodnite Goodluck captured the $9,500 Open Pace for owner Mark Jakubik of West Seneca, New York. Trainer Andy Rickert enlisted the driving services of Aaron Merriman. Goodnite Goodluck (Bettor's Delight-Priority Overnite-Artsplace) started from the rail. He was in the garden spot through fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.3. Merriman pulled into the passing lane and won by 1 Â¼-length in 1:53.4. Completing the race were Lyons JosephJNR, Man He Can Skoot, Forever Good, Western Churchill, T Red and Curator. Goodnite Goodluck now has 34 career successes. Monday's victory pushed his bankroll to $302,547. He paid a healthy $18.20 to win. Julians Caesar was a repeat winner of the $10,000 Open Trot in the evening's eighth race. Ron Burke trains the seven year-old trotter for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Chris Page was the winning driver. Julians Caesar (Oaklea Julian-Twin B Lady-Royal Strength) started from post eight and let his competition carve out the fractions of :28.4, :58.2 and 1:28. He took the lead in the stretch and won by a full length in 1:57.4 despite being parked the entire mile. Completing the race were Action-Broadway, Pembroke Snapshot, Hello Carlo, Sure Thing, Mary's Darvin, Mythical Hall and Easy Strength. Monday's triumph increased Julians Ceasar's lifetime win tally to 13 and his earnings to $250,172. Despite winning this race last week, he returned $13.40 to win.
WASHINGTON, PA, March 14, 2014 -- Small Town Charmer overwhelmed the field once again, notching her second straight series victory in Friday's Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows. Black Silk Jammys and Radar Lover took the other $15,000, second leg splits in the event for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Dave Palone enjoyed a series double with Small Town Charmer and Black Silk Jammys. Palone allowed the dust to settle before moving Small Town Charmer, the 1-9 favorite, to the front before the quarter. The 3-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native-Brava Hanover sailed home in a career-best 1:53.2, 3-3/4 lengths better than Thunder Chaser. Eiffel Tower finished third. Ron Burke trains Small Town Charmer for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Elsewhere on the card, two of The Meadows' hottest performers entered their respective races with impressive winning streaks, but only one emerged with the streak intact. That was Daylon Miracle, who was first over forever in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot but still downed 28-1 long shot Chilitodayhotamale by 3/4 lengths in 1:56 to collect her fourth straight win. Victory Is Coming shot the Lightning Lane for show. Aaron Merriman piloted Daylon Miracle, a 5-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel who boosted her lifetime bankroll to $385,317, for owner/trainer Bill Bercury. In the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Automatic Slims saw his winning streak snapped at five when he got away poorly and could manage only fourth with a late rally. Visible Gold, who dead-heated with Automatic Slims in their last race, was sharp once again, moving first over for Mike Wilder to triumph in 1:52.3. Ballistic Tip was second at 26-1, 1-1/4 lengths back, with the pocket-sitting Pop Cop third. Burke conditions Visible Gold, a 6-year-old Bettor's Delight-Gabrielle gelding who now boasts $244,784 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. Palone, Merriman and Wilder each drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
When Aaron Merriman is spending part of the 80,000 miles a year behind the wheel of one of his vehicles, generally commuting between The Meadows and Northfield (he primarily uses a Cadillac, but "I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that has 4-wheel drive and is better in the winter"), he is often listening to the radio. Sometimes he listens to sports talk radio on Sirius/XM. Other times the 36-year-old listens to electronic and remix/DJ music, heavy on the drums. Does he ever wear earphones under his driving helmet, so that the driving beat of the music can help give him energy to drive his horse home first? "No," he answers with a chuckle. "It's more important to hear if any of my fellow drivers is saying something or shouting a warning." "My fellow drivers" is an "old-fashioned" phrase, but in the very best way, denoting a young man with manners and some thoughtfulness. If you know Aaron's father, Lanny, you have an idea of where some of that decorum comes from, but Aaron also seems to have added his own sound perspective to the way he thinks. Aaron is currently second in North America in 2014 driver victories, but he says "these days I don't think in terms of a title. 2010 maybe was going to be my year, but that didn't work out." The phrase "didn't work out" is a huge understatement: on June 10, Merriman, the #1 driver in North America at that time, was guiding a horse first-over at The Meadows when he broke and fell, with half the field going over the fallen duo. Aaron was away from the sulky for four months and four days after the big accident - and still wound up 13th on the continent with 490 wins that season. "I've thought about 'going East,' too," he added, "and I do get around a little. But my family is here in Ohio, and family comes first. I like living in this area, too. So I'll be staying on the Meadows-Northfield circuit, enjoy what I have, and accept what comes." What has come so far is 6246 career driving victories and the respect of horsemen wherever he has competed. What is to come for Aaron Merriman figures to be just as good. Driver Total Wins Tracks Track Wins Aaron Merriman 568 Meadows 328 Northfield 234 Scioto 5 Burton 1 By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com