Day At The Track
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My Buddy Ninkster, a winner in his first start at Miami Valley Raceway four weeks ago, returned to the spotlight on Saturday (March 19) by winning the $20,000 Open Pace in 1:51.3. With the victory the four-year-old altered son of Dali becomes the third repeat winner of the weekly feature race during the current winter meet. Astreo's Love, who finished third this week, has won the Open I on four of the eleven occasions the $20,000 Open I has been presented since opening night on January 9. Mykindachip has also captured a pair of harness racing victories; while the other winners have been Talk Strategy, Fancy Creek Elusiv and Ice Scraper. Driver Kayne Kauffman gave My Buddy Ninkster a textbook drive in his most recent success, sitting chilly behind notorious frontrunner Turbo Mach through fractions of :27.4, :55.4 and 1:23.3 before angling out at the head of the stretch to pass the leader and then hold off Nitro (Chris Page) and Astreo's Love (LeWayne Miller). John and Mary Krasnican own the winner, who now has $133,825 in career bounty ($36,000 of it already this season). It was the 16th win of the current meet for trainer Chris Short. A $15,000 Open II pace was captured by Sports Sinner (John DeLong) in 1:51.2, a tick faster than the Open I. Steve Perkins owns and trains the five-year-old son of Western Ideal, who now has three wins in 2016 but this the first against open competition. King Otra (Randy Tharps) was a lapped-on second place finisher with E R Rudy (LeWayne Miller), who cut the quick early fractions in this mile, fading to third in the lane. Sports Sinner now sports 18 lifetime wins and bounty of $123,366. Favorites prevailed in a pair of divisions of the George Williams Memorial late-closing series for non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime. Startin Something (John DeLong) topped Joel's Legacy (Josh Sutton) and Artistic Blue (Ken Holliday) in the first split, clocked in 1:52.4. Prohibitive favorite Undertaker (LeWayne Miller) dominated American Paradise (Chris Page) and Goodtime Matt (Trace Tetrick) in the second section, returning a meet-low $2.10 payoff for win. The top nine money-winners in the series will line up for a $20,000 championship race next Saturday (March 26). Kayne Kauffman had a handful of wins on the program, two days after returning from several days of rest and relaxation on a New Orleans vacation. His triumphs, in addition to the open with My Buddy Ninkster, came behind Kiasma in a $10,000 claimer, Tyber Tyke in a high condition pace, Cosmicpedia in a $20,000 claimer and Fancy Creek Elusiv in the top condition pace. In addition to Startin Something and Sports Sinner, John DeLong also guided Franzo and Electric Lad to the winner's circle, giving the 27-year-old reinsman a grand slam. Gregg Keidel  

My Buddy Ninkster and harness racing driver Kayne Kauffman made his initial start at Miami Valley Raceway a memorable one, winning the $20,000 Open Pace in 1:51, topping Astreo's Love (LeWayne Miller) and Beach Memories (John DeLong) on Saturday night (February 20). The Chicago invader, who has been toiling at Balmoral and Hawthorne until being moved into the Chris Short barn in southwest Ohio recently, now has a dozen career wins in 51 tries and earnings of $118,825 for owners John and Mary Krasnican. Astreo's Love, assigned the outside post position on the merits of three straight open triumphs, charged aggressively to the lead and reached the first quarter pole in :27.1. Beach Memories, off two straight winning qualifiers following a 2015 season with earnings of $188,580, made a decisive quarter move to the front and lead the field through middle panels of :54.3 and 1:22.1 before understandably tiring in deep stretch. Kauffman was content to race My Buddy Ninkster near the rear through the three consecutive :27 and change splits before angling four wide for an impressive powerful stretch drive that resulted in the quick victory, just one second off the all-time track record. A $17,000 championship leg of a late-closer for male non-winners of $800 per start was contested a race earlier with Major Blue Coat (Josh Sutton) downing Keystone Real Deal (John DeLong) and Andy Roo (Jeremy Smith) in 1:52.2. As a lukewarm second choice in the betting, Sutton elected to blast Major Blue Coat directly to the lead and never look back. The strategy worked impeccably well as Andy Roo found the pocket which relegated the favored Ross Leonard-trained entrymates Keystone Real Deal and Legal Transfer to settle third and fourth until past the halfway point. With Sutton setting honest fractions of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:23 the first-up overland effort of Keystone Real Deal was impressive, with the Badlands Hanover six-year-old actually nosing in front of Major Blue Chip midway down the stretch, but the winner was game and battled back on the inside to claim the championship. Jeff Nisonger trains the winning son of Art Major for A Piece Of The Action LLC stable. Racing continues at Miami Valley Raceway with three consecutive 2:05 p.m. matinees on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The fillies and mares $5000 claiming "Survivor Series" started with 60 mares in seven elimination divisions in mid-January and narrowed down to one nine-horse championship field, chasing a purse of $17,500, on the Tuesday (February 2) matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. With bragging rights on the line, Cinderosa was crowned 'Queen' by slicing through traffic in deep stretch to triumph in 1:56.1 over a sloppy track dampened by a thirty minute rainshower just prior to post-time for the harness racing co-feature. Four mares were lapped-on to each other at the wire, with another four just a length or two in arrears. Driver Randy Tharps, just four wins away from his 5,000th career win, shot out quickly with Outback Alice when the gate opened, taking command before a taxing :26.4 first quarter. The longshot got a second quarter breather when the teletimer popped up :57.1, but favored Easter Surprize (Brady Galliers) was moving up rapidly on the outside and poked her nose in front moments later. Cinderose was sitting the pocket for driver Tyler Smith and Seaside Gal (Jeremy Smith) had taken up residence in the advantageous second-over position. With Outback Alice and Easter Surprize still racing stride-for-stride at the 1:26.2 third station, Seaside Gal swung three-wide and Make Way (Kyle Ater) angled out a lane further to take her best shot at championship glory. Midway down the stretch at least seven mares were still in serious contention until driver Tyler Smith found a seam for Cinderosa and pushed her nose in front in the final strides. Make Way's strong stretch effort netted the runnerup spot, while Seaside Gal garnered the show dough. VIP Internet Stable owns the winning eight-year-old The Panderosa mare, who hails from the Chris Short stable barn. Cinderosa now sports 19 lifetime wins and her earnings now exceed $240,000. Two races earlier on the program, just as the rain began to fall, a $12,800 championship tilt for $8000 claiming trotters went postward. Favored Without A Clue (Trace Tetrick) swung three-wide around tiring horses at the head of the stretch and swept to victory in 1:59.1. CDs Eldorado (Andy Shetler) and Pacific Wave K (Josh Sutton) both left aggressively from their outside posts and pressured pacesetting Cup Day Spur N (Kayne Kauffman) through fractions of :27.3, :57.4 and 1:27.2 before giving way to Without A Clue in mid-stretch. The trio of early leaders raced very creditably, though, as CDs Eldorado, Pacific Wave K and Cup Day Spur N held on for second, third and fourth place finishes, respectively. Without A Clue is owned by Anna Lorentzon and trained by Anette Lorentzon. The seven-year-old son of Donato Hanover made just seven starts in 2015 after promising three and four year old campaigns, but seems back on track with two wins and a third place finish in three 2016 tries. Gregg Keidel

Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II took no prisoners and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.3 harness racing victory with King Trut in a Billings trot at Scioto Downs on Friday night, June 26. But in doing so King Trut had to rebuff a strong late challenge from YF Crasher and driver "Marlin the Magician" Smith. "The complexion of the race changed dramatically when Steve Oldford's trotter (Bold Strike) made a break before the start which allowed my horse get away with soft early fractions," Ehrenberg explained. Bold Strike, the 1-2 betting favorite- was riding a two race win streak where he was victorious on the front end both times. However with him a non-factor King Trut and Ehrenberg were able to dictate their own fractions. They passed the quarter in :29 and by the half in 1:00 flat. However Smith had YF Crasher on Ehrenberg's back from the get go and when the two leaders rounded the final turn and headed for paydirt Smith had his trotter neck and neck with King Trut. They came down the stretch like a team hooked -to-pole but YF Crasher couldn't pass the pace-setter and King Trut valiantly fought off his challenger to score a neck decision. In third place three lengths further back was Hometown Jeff driven by Michelle "the Belle" Ruvola. King Trut, a 10 year old Self Possessed gelding owned by Aimee Ranger and trained by Chris Short returned a $19.80 win mutuel. It was King Trut's sixth seasonal triumph and Ehrenberg's 47 career driving victory. With his victory Ehrenberg, now with 24 points, moves into second place on the CKG Billings mid-west region leaderboard behind Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's 45. In third placewith 17 points is "Lawbook Larry" Farley followed by "Hurricane Hannah" Miller's 16. "Bullet Bob" Davis and Kelly "Sky" Walker are tied for fifth, each with 13 points. John Manzi

LEBANON, OH. - The first of nine "Lebanon Legends" series, honoring the memory of revered former successful Lebanon Raceway horsemen, kicked off at Miami Valley Raceway on Thursday night (March 12) with two divisions of the George Williams Memorial Series. Alwaysfoolnaround and E R Oliver captured their respective splits in impressive style. Randy Tharps guided Alwaysfoolnaround to a 1:53.4 triumph over Alwaysagoodthing (Dan Noble) and Tassies Little Art (Chris Page) in the first $7500 division. It was the first seasonal win in six tries for the Michael Goldberg-owned son of Always A Virgin, who recently was shipped to trainer Chris Short after a relatively unproductive stint at The Meadowlands. The winner returned $7.40 to win with the exacta returning $64.40. Tyler Smith swung E R Oliver four-wide at the head of the stretch and swept past the pacesetters to win in 1:53.1, a new lifetime best, over No Excuses Please (Dan Noble) and Awinkandagrin (Jeremy Smith). Heavily favored Poison Oak, who cut all the early fractions, faded to fourth. It was the second win of 2015 in five tries for E R Oliver, who is owned and trained by Don Eash. As the second choice of the betting public, the winner returned $11.00 and combined with the 65-1 runnerup to produce a $406.40 exacta. The George Williams Memorial Series is for male pacers who are non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime at time of nomination. Other Lebanon 'Legends' being honored with Memorial Series in the coming weeks are Red Owens, Omar Hiteman, Skeeter Brown, Herb Coven Jr., Ray Paver Sr., Tom Tharps and veterinarians Dr. Don Mossbarger and Dr. Dan Farwick. Gregg Keidel

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