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Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $10,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee on harness racing Wednesday's prgram(August 24th).  Beginning in Race 3, the $10,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $2,022.71. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.    Wednesday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. Ayers Ratliff        

Betting Line with harness racing driver David Miller in the sulky, won the $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park in 1:51 on Saturday (August 13). He started from post two and sat third through a :25.4 opening quarter. Miller pulled first over in the second turn and pressed the leader, Mr Wiggle Pants, through fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.3. Betting line bobbled around the final turn, but sprinted away after regaining composure, and bested his competition by four lengths. "I was just riding along with him up the backstretch and he started bearing in on me around the turn," explained Miller. "He got pinched and threw in a step or two. He proved again tonight that he has a high turn of speed and he can carry it a long way." Saturday's win is Betting Line's eighth consecutive victory. His lone loss this year was a runner-up performance in his 2016 Mowawk Racetrack debut. Betting Line (Bettor's Delight-Heather's Western-Western Hanover) increased his career bankroll to $1,427,422 for owners West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol. Casie Coleman trains Betting line and was relieved her horse overcame many obstacles to win. "Tonight was the first time he was ever shipped a long way, it was his first time on a half and it was his first time leaving Canada," said Coleman. "I feel really good about how things turned out. I have to get his turns corrected before he goes to Delaware for the Jug, but he has all kinds of speed. He is just awesome." Completing the 2016 Milstein field were the filly Pure Country, Magnum J, Mr Wiggle Pants, Sintra, Duel Of Truth and Don'tcallmefrancis. Boston Red Rocks was scratched from the race. Leading up to the Milstein, the inaugural $50,000 Myron Charna President's Pace was won by Dancin Yankee in 1:51.3. Dancin Yankee was driven by Brett Miller for trainer Josh Green and owners Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing. The Charna will be an annual event for four year old and up Ohio sired pacers. Ayers Ratliff

It’s only going to the post for a third time, but Saturday’s $300,000 Carl Milstein Invitational at Northfield Park, featuring the red-hot pacer Betting Line in a field of eight 3-year-olds, is already recognized as one of the key races on the North American harness racing stakes calendar.     The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock Milstein, immediately took over as Chairman of Northfield Park and is now also the Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, LLC, majority owner of the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, who purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980s. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year. The starting lineup and the morning line odds for Northfield’s richest race were finalized Tuesday morning.  The horses, with their drivers and trainers and earlybird odds are: PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Odds 1          Mr Wiggle Pants         Kayne Kauffman        Jim Mulinix                 10-1 2          Betting Line                David Miller                Casie Coleman            3-5 3          Duel Of Truth             Chris Page                   Brian Brown               20-1 4          Sintra                           Jody Jamieson             David Menary             6-1 5          Don’tcallmefrancis      Yannick Gingras         Ron Burke                   8-1 6          Pure Country               Brett Miller                 Jimmy Takter              9-2 7          Magnum J                   Doug McNair              Gregg McNair             25-1 8          Boston Red Rocks      Ronnie Wrenn Jr.        Steve Elliott                12-1 The Milstein Memorial, being raced as an invitational for the first time, will be the 11th event of a 15-race card. First race post time is 6 p.m. Horsemen and harness insiders know that if they want to win the Little Brown Jug, the most revered event in harness racing, the path to glory first passes through the stable gates at Northfield. The last two Jug champions, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Limelight Beach, both raced in the Milstein. Milstein favorite Betting Line is on a fast track for the Jug and his trainer, Casie Coleman, knows plenty about winning the big race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.  Coleman, just the second woman to train a Jug winner, has captured it twice, first with Michael’s Power in 2012 and then with Vegas Vacation the following year. Betting Line, a winner of 13 of 20 starts and $1,277,422, carries a seven-race win streak into the Milstein.  His latest score came in Sunday night’s $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series at Georgian Downs where he defeated Sintra, a Milstein rival, by a length in 1:51.4. “(He) was awesome, as he usually is,” Coleman told reporters after the Gold Series triumph. “He was steering and pacing perfect. I’m really happy with him. Now it’s off to Northfield.” Sintra is an interesting Milstein entry. He has won seven of 10 starts this year by a combined margin of 21 ¾ lengths. All three of his defeats have been to Betting Line. Magnum J, like Betting Line and Sintra, is shipping down from Canada for the Milstein. None of the three have ever started outside of Ontario. Magnum J also raced Saturday night at Georgian Downs, dropping a photo finish by a neck in a division of the Gold Series. The Milstein field includes its first female entry in Pure Country. Voted the top juvenile filly last year when she won all 10 of her starts, Pure Country has won six of 10 more starts this year and last Saturday finished fourth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths in the $320,000 Cane Pace at The Meadowlands. Among the other Milstein entrants is the Buckeye-sired Mr Wiggle Pants, winner of the Ohio State Fair pace at Scioto Downs on July 30. Carl Milstein Memorial night at Northfield will also include a Legends Driver Challenge and the $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace for Ohio-bred pacers four years-old and up. Other attractions include Seti’s Polish Boys Food Truck, as well as Draeger’s Hot Fudge Sundaes and Crooked Kettle Popcorn. There will be live music featuring Unknown Reason, a Northfield Park T-Shirt Toss after each of the first 12 live races, a dice roll for prizes (from 8 to 9 p.m.) and an appearance from WMJI’s Chip Kullik from 6 to 8 p.m. A special Lady Luck’s Buffet created and inspired by Hard Rock Executive Chef Chris Poplin will be available for $21.95.  Race fans can call 330-467-4101 for reservations. Ayers Ratliff

The champions of harness racing's two richest events for sophomore pacers are expected to headline the field in the $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park on Saturday, August 13. The connections of Betting Line, winner of the $1,000,000 (Cdn.) North America Cup, and Control The Moment, who was victorious in the $732,050 Meadowlands Pace, have accepted invitations to compete in the Milstein. Being contested for the first time as an Invitational, the Carl Milstein Memorial, which debuted in 2014, is named in honor of the late Chairman of Northfield Park who was integral in saving the track from closing in the 1980's and building it into one of the most successful venues in harness racing. The other six top three-year-old pacers committed to go postward in the Milstein are two-year-old Breeders Crown Champion Boston Red Rocks, multiple New York Sires Stakes winner Missile J, who also captured the $300,000 Art Rooney Memorial at Yonkers, Pennsylvania Sires Stakes stalwart Adrian Hanover, Canadian standout Sintra, New Jersey Stakes winner Don'tcallmefrancis and Ohio Sires Stakes star Mr Wiggle Pants. The Milstein Night undercard will feature the inaugural $50,000 Myron Charna President's Pace, a $50,000 Invitational for veteran Ohio-bred pacers, named for Carl Milstein's right-hand man at both Northfield Park and in his real estate empire. Millionaire Dancin Yankee is expected to return to the Buckeye State to vie for supremacy in the deep field of Ohio-breds. Multiple $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore colt pacers and a trio of $20,000 Open events for pacers, trotters and filly & mare pacers will also bolster the power-packed undercard. Northfield will offer a $20,000 Guaranteed Pick pool starting in race 8 which will be anchored by the Carl Milstein Memorial in race 11, which will also have a $30,000 Guaranteed trifecta pool. First race post time is 6:00 PM (Eastern). Ayers Ratliff  

Harness racing driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had a stellar night on Monday (July 18) at Northfield Park by posting eight wins on the 15-race program. Wrenn's triumphs were with Absolutely Certain ($3.20) in race one, Rusty's No Fool ($3.20) in race three, Cooter Dunn ($4.60) in race four, Thisoneandonemore ($3.20) in race eight, Like Old Times ($4.00) in race 10, Bettor's Choice ($2.60) in race 11, Hawaii And Sun ($3.00) in race 14 and Galex ($2.60) in race 15. Wrenn has been driving since 2008 and has since posted 3,349 career wins and has over $16 million in purse earnings. Ayers Ratlif  

Obrigado avenged last year's Cleveland Trotting Classic defeat with an impressive track record victory on Saturday (July 2). Last year's runner-up trotted like he had something to prove and bested his competition by 5 ¾-lengths. Obrigado ($3.40) started from the rail. He floated off the gate and two rivals were ahead of him at the 1/8-pole. Once the field was set, driver Mark MacDonald quarter-moved Obrigado. He took the lead just past the :27.2 opening quarter and never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile. He led his rivals through times of :56, 1:25 and 1:53.2. "He (Obrigado) is really sharp right now. I got him to the front and let things play out from there," said MacDonald. "Once this horse is near the lead, he does the rest." The 1:53.2 clocking replaces the 1:54.1 time of Kirty Dream (Aaron Merriman) as the fastest trotting mile ever on the Flying Turns for a five year-old and up gelded trotter. Kirty Dream's mark has held since 2014. Saturday's win is Obrigado's fourth win this year and 38th lifetime score, increasing his bankroll to $1,109,749 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. Completing the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were Muscle Up The Goal, Shake It Cerry, Il Sogno Dream, Maestro Blue Chip, Homicide Hunter and Like Old Times. "This is a great horse to drive. I love driving for Paul Kelley, and his owners are extremely patient," explained Mac Donald. "It is very meaningful to win races for guys like them." by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Northeast Ohio's premier trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (July 2) at Northfield Park. This will be the second edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $180,000. The Grand Circuit event has attracted some of the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 11th event on a 15-race program. First race post time is 6 p.m. 1-Obrigado, runner-up in this event last year, draws the rail for his return. He has been victorious in 37 of 68 career races, including a 21 race win streak earlier in his career. He has lifetime earnings of $1,019,749 and a 1:51.3 (M 1) mark taken last year. Although entering this event off a third place finish in the $200,000 Cutler Memorial, Obrigado has three wins in six races this year. Those wins include the $200,000 Maxie Lee at Harrah's Philadelphia and the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs. The six year-old is owned by Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. He is conditioned by Paul Kelley. Canadian native Mark MacDonald has been named to steer. 2-Homicide Hunter was sired my Mr Cantab and is owned by Michelle Crawford and Albert Crawford. With 20 career victories, he has been a model of consistency, finishing in the top three 29 of his 33 lifetime starts. He enters the Classic in very good form, just equaling his 1:51.4 lifetime mark in a $54,000 stake race on June 18 at The Meadows. That victory bolstered his career bankroll to $609,513. Christopher Oakes trains the four year-old gelding. Dave Palone, winner of more races than any driver in harness racing history, has been named to drive this 4-1 morning-line competitor. 3-Shake It Cerry has been named the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She is the richest in this year's field, sporting career earnings of $2,547,962. She has 50 lifetime starts and 28 career victories, including the $500,000 Breeders Crown in 2014. She is a five year-old daughter of Donato Hanover with a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 (Lex 1). Shake It Cerry is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Ronnie Wrenn Jr, Northfield Park's leading driver, has been given the driving assignment. 4-Il Songno Dream is one of two starters in this race from the powerful Christopher Beaver Stable. He has won 17, and been on the board in 32 of 54 career races. He has two runner-up finishes this year in three efforts. This five year-old son of Cantab Hall has career earnings of $803,077. His 1:50.2 (Lex 1) lifetime mark is the fastest in this race. Canadian Trevor Henry comes to drive this 10-1 morning line selection. 5-Muscle Up The Goal enters this race for owner Synerco Ventures, Inc. He is the second entrant in this field for trainer Christopher Beaver. 2015 Dash Driving Champion Aaron Merriman has been given the driving assignment for tonight's outing. The four year-old has already won three times in five tries this year and has won eight of 24 starts lifetime. He earned his 1:52 mark at The Meadows this year in a $20,000 Preferred event. In May of this year, Muscle Up The Goal broke the Northfield Park trotting record and a world record for four year-old trotting horses in 1:52.3. This son of Muscle Mass has lifetime earnings of $257,896. He carries an 8-1 morning line. 6-Maestro Blue Chip is owned by Richard Poillucci and trained by Jo Ann Looney-King. The four year-old enters this race off a 1:53.4 win on June 12 in the $75,000 Graduate at Tioga Downs. He has a total of 25 career starts with 13 triumphs, but has blossomed this year, winning 11 of 12 outings. He earned a 1:51.3 (M 1) lifetime mark just three races ago and has career earnings of $270,173. Victor Kirby has been named to drive this 6-1 morning-line starter. 7-Like Old Times was the 2015 Ohio Horse of the Year. She enters this race off two consecutive local victories, including a 1:55 track record performance and lifetime mark. This daughter of Chip Chip Hooray is owned by Keith Ross and trained on the Flying Turns by Northfield Park Wall of Famer and Ohio Trotmaster Don McKirgan. Like Old Times has 17 victories in 34 starts and has $343,350 in earnings. Ryan Stahl has been named to drive this 25-1 longshot. 8-Boffin, 25-1, enters off a runner-up finish in a $25,000 Open event at Scioto Downs. He has a 1:51.1 (PcD 5/8) lifetime mark and career earnings of $340,127. This son of Donato Hanover has won 28 of 85 career starts. Anette Lorentzon trains Boffin for owners ACL Stuteri AB, Kjell Johansson and Karin Lorentzon. Jason Merriman has been given the driving assignment. This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by three $20,000 Open events. One features Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing and a three-time Battle of Lake Erie winner. The Opens and the Trotting Classic comprise the evening's Pick-4, which carries a $10,000 guaranteed pool. In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101. Guests who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of free fanfare activities. These attractions include a free Northfield Park ball cap for the first 1,500 patrons, a t-shirt toss from the winner's circle by the successful driver of each race, country band Six String Cowboy performing on the apron from 6-10 p.m., spinning of the Northfield Park Prize Wheel for free cash and prizes from 8-9 p.m., and some of Northeast Ohio's favorite food trucks on the grandstand apron from 6-10 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Northeast Ohio's premier trotting race, the Cleveland Trotting Classic, will go to post Saturday (July 2) at Northfield Park. This will be the second edition of the Classic and it carries a purse of $180,000. The Grand Circuit event has attracted some of the best veteran trotters in North America. It has been slated as the 11th event on a 15-race harness racing program. First race post time is 6:00 p.m.   Shake It Cerry drew post three and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi. Although winless so far in 2016, the five year-old mare has 28 lifetime successes and earnings over $2.5 million.   Obrigado drew the rail and has been assigned a 3-1 morning line. He was the runner-up in last year's Classic and has three wins in six starts this season, most recently a 1:53.3 score in the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs on June 11.   Local favorite Like Old Times enters this event off two straight wins over the Flying Turns. She was the 2015 Ohio Horse of the Year and is conditioned by Northfield Park Wall of Famer and Ohio Trotmaster, Don McKirgan. Although programmed as a 25-1 longshot, she broke the track record for four year-old trotting mares just two weeks ago.   The 2016 Cleveland Trotting Classic field: Post Horse Driver Trainer M/L 1 Obrigado - Mark MacDonald Paul Kelley 3-1 2 Homicide Hunter - Dave Palone Chris Oakes 4-1 3 Shake It Cerry - Aaron Merriman Jimmy Takter 2-1   4 Il Sogno Dream - Trevor Henry Christopher Beaver 10-1   5 Muscle Up The Goal - Aaron Merriman Christopher Beaver 8-1   6 Maestro Blue Chip - Victory Kirby Jo Ann Looney-King 6-1   7 Like Old Times -  Don McKirgan - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 25-1   8 Boffin - Jason Merriman -  Anette Lorentzon 25-1   *Driver selections will be finalized by 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.   This year's Classic program undercard is highlighted by three $20,000 Open events. One features Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing and a three-time Battle of Lake Erie winner. The Opens and the Trotting Classic comprise the evening's Pick-4, which carries a $10,000 guaranteed pool.   In addition to superior racing action, the night will also offer guests a buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The buffet is just $19.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330.467.4101.   Guests who want to be close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron for an array of FREE fanfare activities. These attractions include a FREE Northfield Park ball cap for the first 1,500 patrons, a t-shirt toss from the winner's circle by the successful driver of each race, country band Six String Cowboy performing on the apron from 6-10 p.m., spinning of the Northfield Park Prize Wheel for FREE cash and prizes from 8-9 p.m., and some of Northeast Ohio's favorite food trucks on the grandstand apron from 6-10 p.m.   Ayers Ratliff

Haste trotted home for his 50th career victory, winning the 12th race at Northfield Park on Tuesday (June 21). The 14 year-old harness racing veteran, with 372 career starts, also has 56 seconds and 52 third place finishes. Haste (Inquirer-Over Proximity-Overcomer) has career earnings of $635,360 with a lifetime mark of 1:57.3 at Yonkers Raceway at age five. The trotter's richest win was in the $31,600 Ohio State Fair Stakes at Scioto Downs in 2005. Haste is a well-traveled campaigner -- his 50 wins have been spread across 20 different racing surfaces. Haste started from post three. He received a garden trip through fractions of :28, :58 and 1:27.3. He popped the pocket in the final quarter bested his competition by three-quarters of a length in 1:58.1. He returned $7.40 to win. Sue Stockwell trains Hate for owner Garry Martin of Aurora, Ohio. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was aboard for the winning drive. Ayers Ratliff

Like Old Times crossed the finish line faster than any other four year-old female trotter in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $13,500 Open Trot in 1:55 on Monday (June 20). The clocking formally broke the 1:55.2 harness racing record by Barn Girl (Joe Bongiorno) set earlier this year. Keith Ross owns Like Old Times. Don McKirgan is her conditioner and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. was in the sulky for the winning drive. Like Old Times (Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubador) started from post three. She led her competition through fractions of :27.4, :57.1, 1:26.2 and 1:55. Like Old Times now has two wins in eight starts this year. Monday's victory represents her 16th career score and bolstered her bankroll to $336,600. She returned $4.40 to win. Ayers Ratliff

Jason Merriman had a stellar night on Saturday (June 11) at Northfield Park by posting eight wins on the 15-race harness racing program. Merriman's triumphs were with Rosescape ($11.80) in race one, Raiders Lastchance ($2.60) in race three, Beckys Giftedangel ($2.40) in race eight, Ida Sophia ($13.00) in race 10, Annakate ($3.80) in race 11, Maddys Dolly ($4.00) in race 12, Fashion Fluzzy ($4.80) in race 13 and Hopeful Trust ($10.60) in race 15. Merriman posted his 2,000th career win less than a week ago and is driving with full confidence and momentum toward his next career milestone. Merriman has been driving since 2002 and has since posted 2,012 career wins and is approaching $9.5 million in purse earnings. Ayers Ratliff

Harness racing driver Jason Merriman made his 2,000th trip to the winner’s circle after winning with Stop Payment in Northfield Park’s sixth race on Monday (June 6). Merriman led at every call with Stop Payment, eventually besting his competition by 2-3/4 lengths.  The 1:53.2 clocking was the 14th career score for the eight year-old pacer, who returned $7.00 to win. The 29-year-old Merriman began driving in 2003.  His 2,000 wins have helped him garner over $9 million in purse earnings.  Merriman is a fourth generation horsemen and grew up immersed in harness racing.  “I was seven or eight when I jogged my first horse,” recalled Merriman.  “I’ve loved horses as long as I can remember and there has never been a question what my career choice was going to be.”    After attending Plymouth-Salem High School in Salem, Michigan, Jason Merriman began working with horses full-time. “I cannot picture myself doing anything else,” said Merriman. Jason drove his first race in June, 2003 at a Michigan fair.  It resulted in a 5th place finish in a $1,150 conditioned race with Riptide Rush.  In December, 2003 Merriman scored his first win.  It was a 1:59.3 victory in a $4,900 conditioned trot with I C U Talkin.  Merriman’s richest win was a $25,000 series final in 2014 at Northfield Park, aboard September Hall.  His fasted happened in 2013, a 1:51.1 win with Real Samart.  He rates the best horses he has ever driven as Real Samart and Table Wine.     Jason primarily raced in Michigan for most of his career, but moved his talents to Ohio in late 2013.  “Coming to Northfield made sense for me because the racing program is lucrative,” explained Merriman.  “I have the ability to drive in more races and earn a lot more money than what I would be able to in Michigan.” Merriman still resides in Monroe, Michigan and commutes daily to compete at the Flying Turns.  His wife, Nichole, is a Registered Nurse at Dearborn Hospital.  They have two children: a daughter (Alex, age eight) and a son (Chase, age four).    “I see moving closer to Northfield in our future,” offered Merriman.  “But the timing has to be right when you have a family.” Jason Merriman is relieved to put the pressure of a milestone behind him. “I am really glad I finally got this,” said Merriman.  “I can stop thinking about the pressure of getting my 2,000th win and just go back to driving horses with a clear head.” Merriman feels fortunate to have had good stock to drive in his career and says that winning races is a team effort. “There have been many people that have given me opportunities and I thank them all,” offered Merriman.  Ayers Ratliff

Wiggle It Jiggleit has traveled to Northfield Park's Flying Turns on two occasions and has two harness racing track records to prove it. Winner of the 2015 Carl Milstein Memorial in 1:49.3, the fasted mile paced at Northfield Park by a three year-old gelding, Wiggle It Jiggleit is now also the fastest four year-old gelding on the half-mile oval by virtue of his easy victory in Saturday's (May 21) $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover-Jenna's Beach Boy) is owned by the partnership of George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership. He is trained by Clyde Francis. Montrell Teague had the winning drive. Entering the Battle off two runner-up finishes, many analysts were not eyeing Wiggle It Jiggleit, but rather (#5) Freaky Feet Pete as their selection. Freaky Feet Pete entered the event off a nine-race win streak. "Almost every print I looked in has us picked for second, some even for third," said owner George Teague. "I wondered if I was looking at the same program as them, but it even had me doubting our chances in here." As the gate pulled away from the stellar Battle field, Wiggle It Jiggle left no doubt who would reign supreme. He led his rivals from start to finish. Wiggle It Jiggleit started from the rail and led his competition every step of the way through fractions of :28, :55.4, 1:23 and 1:49.4, besting his rivals by 4-1/4 lengths. Pacing an initial quarter in a leisurely :28, and sprinting his final quarter in :26.4, there was no catching Wiggle It Jiggleit. "My horse was unbelievably grabby and ready to roll," explained Montrell Teague. "Although we went slow early, no one would have had a chance to get the lead anyway." Saturday's win marks the 28th score for Wiggle It Jiggleit in 35 career races and increases his bankroll to $2,478,260. Ayers Ratliff

If racing fans are looking for a nightcap to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, Northfield Park has the perfect closing act – the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.   Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer.  Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist.     This year, the Grand Circuit one mile dash for veteran pacers has attracted Wiggle It Jiggleit, last year’s Horse of the Year and winner of the Little Brown Jug, Freaky Feet Pete, the 2015 Breeders Crown champ, and Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing.   Wiggle It Jiggleit has drawn the rail and has been installed as the even-money favorite. Racing for George Teague and Teague Racing Partnership, the 4-year-old gelded son of Mr Wiggles has won 27 of 34 career starts and $2.3 million.   This will be his second trip to the Flying Turns. Wiggle It Jiggleit won last year’s $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial, the track’s premier event, in 1:49 3/5, establishing a track record for sophomore gelded pacers.   Freaky Feet Pete, who drew the No. 5 post and is the earlybird second betting choice at 2-1, arrives at Northfield with a sparkling record, a winner of 27 of 30 starts and $1.1 million.    The son of Rockin Image will carry a nine-race winning streak to the gate.  His start in the Battle will be his first on a half-mile track.   “He trains on a half-mile track at home,” said Marty Rheinheimer, co-owner of Freaky Feet Pete. “I’m really not worried at all about him getting around the track. I think he will take to it just fine.”   Foiled Again will be making an unprecedented eighth consecutive start in the Battle of Lake Erie, a race he has won three times, including last year’s renewal. Now 12, the gelded son of Dragon Again, another Battle winner (2000), has won 86 of 253 starts and a record $7,372,138.   “Every time he steps on the track it’s history, so it’s cool” said trainer Ron Burke.   Foiled Again’s score in last year’s Battle sent his bankroll over $7 million. No other Standardbred has earned as much as $6 million. Ready Cash, a retired trotter, is second to Foiled Again with a bankroll of $5.7 million.    Dave Bianconi, Northfield’s executive vice-president of racing and simulcasting, who put the race field together, believes the Battle lineup is strong enough to threaten the track record.   “They have a shot at breaking it,” he said. “I can see a sub-1:50 mile if the conditions are right.”   A Rocknroll Dance holds the record, a 1:49 1/5 mile in the 2013 Battle of Lake Erie.   An impressive undercard featuring three $20,000 Opens and three $20,000 late closer finals will support this year’s Battle of Lake Erie.   In addition, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous dinner buffet in Lady Luck’s clubhouse. The special Battle of Lake Erie Buffet is just $19.95.  Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330/467-4101.     Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to sample the fare of some of northeast Ohio’s most popular food trucks.  Live music by Unknown Reason can also be enjoyed on the apron, and patrons will receive a FREE spin on the Northfield Park Prize Wheel from 8 to 9 p.m.   The Battle of Lake Erie is scheduled as the 11th event on the 15-race program with a first race 6:00 p.m. post time.  A Pick 4 will begin in race eight and offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool, while the Battle will offer a $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool. The 2016 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie Field:   Post Horse Driver Trainer M/L 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit Montrell Teague Clyde Francis 1-1 2 Ideal Cowboy Aaron Merriman Jeffrey Bamond Jr. 8-1 3 Roland N Rock TBA Rob Harmon 25-1 4 Foiled Again Joe Bongiorno Ron Burke 10-1 5 Freaky Feet Pete Trace Tetrick Larry Rheinheimer 2-1 6 Santa Fe Beachboy Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Brian Brown 25-1 7 Luck Be Withyou Dave Palone Chris Oakes 15-1 8 All Bets Off Matt Kakaley Ron Burke 12-1   by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Aaron Merriman had a monster night on Monday (May 16) at Northfield Park by posting eight wins on the 15-race harness racing program. Merriman's triumphs were with Fashion Chocolate ($2.20) in race three, Gale Force Hanover ($2.40) in race five, Kirty Dream ($2.40) in race seven, Milliron Pete ($11.80) in race eight, Mythical Hall ($10.20) in race nine, Fox River Mark ($8.80) in race 10, All Powerful ($16.00) in race 11 and Skull Of Roses ($6.60) in race 14. Merriman was the leading driver in North America in 2015 and is leading by more than 80 wins so far this year. He will be honored with a special presentation for winning the 2015 dash tile on Saturday (May 21). This ceremony is part of Northfield Park's Battle of Lake Erie festivities. Merriman has been driving since 1997 and has since posted 8,175 career wins and is approaching $48 million is purse earnings. Success over the Flying Turns is nothing new to Merriman. He has more wins than any other driver in the Northfield's history. Ayers Ratliff

Northfield Park is the place to be for this year’s Triple Crown action!  Plan your weekend with us for a fun time for both the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6.  Doors open early at 9:30 AM on both days with first post at Churchill Downs at 10:30 AM.  Northfield Park will offer a special $2,000 Churchill Downs Handicapping Contest each day where the winner could walk away with $1,000! Advance wagering on the Derby will be available, plus simulcasting from 40+ tracks from all over the world. Northfield Park will host its 5th Annual Food Truck Festival outside on the apron on Derby Day Saturday.  Eleven of Northeast Ohio’s top food trucks will be selling their specialties from 12 (noon) until 7 pm.  Food truck participants include The Beachcomber, Fire Truck Pizza Company, Get Stuffed Mobile Eatery, The Nosh Box, Seti’s Polish Boys, The Spread, Ye Olde School Treats N Eats, Zydeco Bistro, The Crooked Kettle Popcorn Co., Draegers Hot Fudge Sundaes and Hobos Gumbo. Don’t miss out on a Kentucky Derby favorite - the mint julep! Mint Juleps will be available all day long and be sure to pick up your commemorative Kentucky Derby glass too. Enjoy live music by Victory Highway 1:00 – 3:00 PM; Monica Robins & The Ninja Cowboys 3:30 – 5:30 PM; and Unknown Reason on the outdoor apron from 6:00-10:00 PM.  Enter our Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, sponsored by Seagram’s and WGAR from 12 Noon until 4:45 PM.  WGAR’s Brian and LeeAnn will be on-site from 4-6 PM for the judging and best hat wins $500!  Plus, ESPN Cleveland will broadcast live with the Street Team from 12-3 PM and visit Jeff Kurkjian from the Q-104 Morning Show from 2-4 PM.  If you are arriving early join Bob “Railbird” Roberts and track announcer Ayers Ratliff for a Churchill Downs Handicapping Seminar, which begins at 10:30 AM outside on the apron.  The “Railbird” will offer a second seminar at 5:30 PM highlighting the Kentucky Derby race. The excitement continues all afternoon for a chance to win big just for being here!  Over $10,000 in prizes will be given away throughout Derby Day.  Simply fill out the entry blank that you receive when you enter and deposit it in the contest bin located in the center of the grandstand.  Names will be drawn randomly throughout the day for a chance to spin our prize wheel.  Every spin is a winner and you could win great prizes like Cash, Kentucky Derby merchandise, $100 Kentucky Derby Win Wagers, Hard Rock Rocksino concert tickets, gift cards, sporting tickets and more.  Plus, you could spin the cash wheel for $500, $1,000 or the grand prize of $2,500 in cash! New to Derby Day 2016 is Live Racing! Northfield Park will offer 15 action packed races featuring the $13,500 Fillies and Mares Open. First race post time is scheduled for 6 pm.  Lady Luck’s clubhouse will be open featuring a Kentucky Derby themed buffet from 5:30-9 PM for $19.95 per person. For reservations call 330-467-410.. FREE admission and FREE parking every day at Northfield Park! Ayers Ratliff         

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