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In late February the initial Pro-Am Competition was staged at Pompano Park and today (Tuesday, June 19) at Scioto Downs, the second edition of the challenge where the amateur drivers competed in races with and against some of the industry's top reinsmen was showcased. The competitions are the brainchild of Stacy Cahill, the director of racing at both Pompano and Scioto Downs. And from the participants at each venue monies were raised for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and for New Vocations. Participating professionals included Tim and Trace Tetrick, Dan Noble and Aaron Merriman while the remainder of drivers in each event were all amateurs. And to the surprise of no one, every one of the four contest races was won by a professional. The first contest race was won by Dan Noble with amateur driver, Steve Oldford second and Tim Tetrick third. Noble came back to win the second Pro-Am event as amateur driver Joey Putnam finished second. And Tim Tetrick was again third. Then in the third Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick turned back Aaron Merriman for the victory. Amateur driver Michelle Ruvola took home the show dough. And in the final Pro-Am event Trace Tetrick again emerged victorious with Aaron Merriman second and Michelle Ruvola third. But the amateur drivers had their day in the sun with a race strictly for Billings members late on the card. NED HODKINSON WINS THE BILLINGS TROT  Ned "the Insurance Man" Hodkinson and his trusty steed, Mutinyonthebounty, remain a perfect two-for-two this year after they out-footed nine others to score an impressive victory in a 1:58.1 clocking. After racing on the front-end relatively unchallenged the wire came just in time as a host of trotters were closing in on Mutinyonthebounty. But the veteran Mutineer gelding refused to lose and kept Winbak Charles M and driver "Lawbook Larry" Farley at bay for a head victory.. Better Call Saul was a neck farther back in third for "Michelle The Belle" Ruvola. Sent off the favorite in the race Mutinyonthebounty paid $5.90 for win. Hodkinson, who owns and trains the winner, notched his 61st lifetime driving victory. by John Manzi, for the Billing Series     

Columbus, OH - Despite a threatening night of thunder, lightning, high winds and showers, owner Bruce Trogdon couldn't have been happier June 9, when Cinnamack and Bounding Dragon finished first and second in the first of two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts at Scioto Downs.   "I was so happy to see both of them leading down the stretch," noted Trogdon. "Of course I was hoping my horse (Cinnamack) would get up for the win, but I was just so happy for both of them, as they are both out of two of my best mares."   Bounding Dragon had led throughout most of the mile for Josh Sutton, but in the late stretch Chris Page steered Cinnamack up the inside to nail down his fourth victory in five starts this year in 1:50.4 by a head over his rival--equaling his lifetime best score. The bay son by McArdle is out of the unraced Western Ideal mare Armbro Cinnamon, making him a half-brother to World Champion Fear The Dragon p,3, 1:48.4s ($1,578,547). To date he's earned $95,600 for Trogdon's Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, Ohio.   "I raised both of these youngsters, so it's always a great feeling to see both of them perform so well," Trogdon stressed.   Conditioned by Brian Brown, Cinnamack left the gate at odds of 2-1, as did rival Bounding Dragon. Sectionline Biguy (6-1) notched show honors with Tyler Smith at the lines.   "I also have a super-looking yearling who is a full brother to Fear The Dragon," Trogdon offered. That youngster's name is Dragon Roars Again.   Cinnamack is the sixth of seven foals out of his dam, and has a full brother in McSinner Man p, 4, 1:52.3s ($54,466), and half-siblings in Cinamony (by Art Officials) p, 4, 1:49.3f ($532,404) and Cndiana Jones p, 7, 1:53.1f ($115,599).   In the second $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore side-wheelers, Kimberly Dailey harnessed 9-5 Rockathon to a 1:51.1 victory with Danny Noble at the lines. The altered son by Pet Rock, who is owned in partnership by Dailey and Carl and Melanie Atley of Xenia, Ohio, picked up his sixth lifetime win in 16 starts, upping his lifetime bankroll to $186,012.   Rockathon wrestled the lead away from 21-1 longshot Parklane Official just past the :27.2 opening panel, and went on to lead at every post, before brushing home in a brisk :27.4 to win by a 1¼ lengths over the hard-trying 1-2 Slick Mick (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), with 9-1 JoJo's Pet Rock (Simon Allard) another seven lengths back in third.   Rockathon is the seventh foal out of The Panderosa dam Pantathlon p, 2, 1:54.4F ($20,221) and is a half-brother to: Pan From Nantucket (by No Pan Intended) p,5, 1:51.3h ($570,801); Rosemary Rose (by Foreclosure N) p,4,1:51f ($293,382); Panstakingly (by No Pan Intended) p, 3, 1:54.2s ($64,490); Nip Pan Tuck (by No Pan Intended) p,2,1:54.4s ($50,899); and Holiday Romance p,3, 1:56.2f ($39,289).   Ohio Sires Stakes action continues Monday evening, June 11 at Northfield Park, when 3-year-old trotting fillies line up behind the starting gate in Leg 2 action.   by Kimberly A. Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund  

LEBANON, OH. – Miami Valley Raceway ended its 87 card harness racing 2018 meet on Monday (May 7) with higher average daily handle for the fifth consecutive year and the highest purse distribution (over $14 million) in its brief history. Leading driver was Dan Noble with 176 wins, overcoming defending champion Trace Tetrick (149) in the final month.  Other top reinsmen during the meet were Chris Page (110), Jeremy Smith (99), Tyler Smith (96) and Kayne Kauffman (93).  All six leading drivers eclipsed $1 million in purse earnings by the horses they drove. On the training side, veteran Ohio Hall Of Fame conditioner Dan Ater garnered his first MVR title by a single victory, 39-38) over Nicole Stewart.  With a UTRS of .304, Ater’s barn earned $520,932 for the session.  Next in the standings were Tyler George, Bill Dailey, Jeff Brewer and Dan Noble.   A total of 13 trainer stables earned over $200,000 at Miami Valley in 2018, while an additional 23 surpassed the $100,000 earnings plateau. Miami Valley Raceway congratulates the winners and says thanks to all the 2018 participants that contributed so much to a very successful meet. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – A pair of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals for the finest harness racing 3-year-old pacers and trotters in Ohio were supposed to share the spotlight at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night (April 28).  While neither race disappointed, with two of the Buckeye state’s best sophomores displaying awesome speed, an all time-all age track record 1:49 performance in the $23,000 Open I Pace shared the limelight. It wasn’t just the horses putting on a tremendous show, either, as leading driver Dan Noble visited the winner’s circle seven times on the special Saturday program. Defending Ohio Sires Stakes freshman colt trotting champion Mission Accepted, who captured four of seven races including the final at two, broke the track record for the division in his first outing of 2018.  His 1:54.3 clocking is also the fastest in North America for a 3-year-old trotting colt thus far this year. Trainer Jeff Conger used two qualifiers at his home base of Northfield Park to prep his outstanding son of Manofmanymissions for the Scarlet & Gray. Despite a few anxious moments early, when eventual runnerup Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) didn’t relinquish the front end until past the :29.2 opening quarter, driver Ryan Stahl guided Mission Accepted through subsequent splits of :58 and 1:26.2 before sealing the deal with a :28.1 closing panel. The 3-1/4 length victory pushed the winner’s lifetime earnings to $215,800 in just eight trips to post. Sultan Of Cash held for second with longshot MVP Luke (Dan Noble) rallying for show. Veteran trainer Jeff Conger, particularly adept at developing young trotters, shares ownership of Mission Accepted with Knox Services Inc. and David Wills. Rockathon (Dan Noble) pulled a mild upset in the Scarlet & Gray colt pacing division, triumphing in 1:51.3 for a new personal best. Dragonology (Chris Page) was second and Hackett Memorial winner Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith) third after the three heavyweights slugged it out through the stretch. Rockathon moved to the front just past the :27.4 first quarter, then controlled the throttle through middle fractions of :55 and 1:24.1.  The son of Pet Rock is owned by Carl and Melanie Atley in partnership with trainer Bill Dailey’s wife Kimberly.  His bounty in his young career surpassed $155,000 with five wins in his first 13 starts. A packed grandstand at Miami Valley was buzzing as the fractions in the Open I were being posted for Nuclear Dragon, getting louder at each impressive split as announcer Barry Vicroy spit them out: 25.4, :53.1 and 1:20.2. The buzz turned into a roar as the 1:49 track record flashed up on the toteboard. In addition to being the fastest mile ever at Miami Valley, the clocking is currently the quickest over a five-eighths mile oval thus far in 2018. Nuclear Dragon, a 6-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding with red-hot Dan Noble in the sulky, was taking no prisoners on this occasion. With favored My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) leaving alertly from the rail, the pair sped past the first quarter station before Noble gained front-end clearance. From that point on the winner inched further and further ahead before sailing to the wire three lengths ahead. My Hero Ron raced gamely to hold second with Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) rallying from sixth at the three-quarters to earn a third place finish. Nuclear Dragon is trained by Jeff Johnson Jr. for owner Richard Mishkin. With the win, he eclipsed the $200,000 earnings plateau. Earlier in the evening, Bettor Than You (Josh Sutton) copped the $20,000 Open II Pace in 1:52.3, topping E Z Noah (Kayne Kauffman) and Lyons Jimmydean (Tyler Smith).  Trainer Steve Carter owns the 8-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding with partners Peggy Carter, Sheila Hummel and J. Beard. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Harness racing driver Dan Noble wasted no time on Sunday (March 25) afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway, accomplishing his mission for the day and registering his 5,000th career victory in the matinee's opening race. The 35-year-old reinsman, on the heels of a driving triple on Saturday night, urged Storyboard to the front of the field of $5000 claiming mares in Sunday's lidlifter. Once crossing over to the lead just prior to the quarter mile mark Noble was able to keep the 5-year-old daughter of Art Official on the point throughout the remainder of the 1:58 mile. It was the tenth lifetime triumph for Storyboard, trained by Greg Luther and owned by Black Magic Racing LLC. Noble was greeted in the winner's circle to commemorate his 5,000th win by his wife of 11 days, Christi, his mother Debbie, brother Sam IV, sister Meredith, his maternal grandparents, the newest Ohio State Racing Commissioner Greg Simpson, OHHA track rep Brett Merkle and track officials Helen Carlo and Gregg Keidel. Noble is a former national dash champion, winning 773 races in 2011 to lead all drivers in North America. 2017 has been Dan's highest earnings campaign to date when horses he drove banked over $4 million. The son of the late, great Ohio Hall Of Famer Sam "Chip" Noble III, Dan and Chip's career racing statistics are remarkably similar at this point. In an era with less racing opportunities and smaller purses, Chip amassed 5,105 victories good for $28.4 million in purse earnings. Dan's 5,000 wins have lead to $27.8 million in purse deposits. Dan is a fourth generation Noble training out of the same barn at the Xenia, Ohio fairgrounds for decades. It didn't take Noble long to get started on his next 5,000 wins as he scored two more wins, with Laughing Matters and Sports Sinner, in the first five races on the program. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Harness racing driver Dan Noble, whose stellar sulky career was chronicled on Saturday in the Dayton Daily News, was the star of the Opening Day show at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Monday afternoon. The 34-year-old, a fourth-generation reinsman who hails from nearby Xenia, copped six of the 14 races on the five-eighths mile oval's initial card of the season. Noble's opening six-pack gives him first-call in the early going of the local Dash Derby, but others will try to close the gap on the second session on the Tuesday (Sept. 12) matinee program that begins at 2:15 p.m. Defending champ Josh Sutton fashioned his own hat-trick on Monday, while Tyler Smith scored a driving double. Noble got the first of his half-dozen trips to the winner's circle when he guided Gun Show to a 1:54.4 tally for trainer Dustin Arledge in the second race, returning $4.80 for a $2 win ticket. The popular catch driver's other five scores came from five other different training stables, making the feat even more impressive. His successes included Rocks Noble Artist (1:55.4, trainer B. J. Roberts, $8.60), Showdown At Sun Up (1:54.2, Bill Dailey, $9.60), Karlee Sue (1:54, Clarence Foulk, $5.80), Turbo Mach (1:54.2, Brian Georges, $4.40) and Luvyatothemoon (1:56.3, Timothy Lane, $9.60). Fastest trotter of the day was Rock N Stien, who won a $10,000 conditioned trot in 1:56.2 for driver Peter Wrenn. On-track handle was ten percent higher than Opening Day 2016, while total handle including the export signal was up a whopping 40 percent year-over-year. Gregg Keidel          

The distance between Barn 4 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and the paddock at Hollywood Dayton Raceway is just 15.8 miles. That’s one reason for local harness racing fans to rejoice. It means Dan Noble; one of the best harness drivers in the nation, a guy who has won nearly 4,800 races and $26 million in purses — will be at Dayton Raceway when it begins its fourth season of racing Monday afternoon with a 14-race card that begins at 2:15 p.m. Noble has a real affinity for home and, because of that, the pari-mutuel track that’s closest to it. And as he said Thursday morning as he stood just outside Barn 4: “This is home.” “This goes back to my great granddad (Sam O. Noble), he built this barn. It was the first pole barn out here. And my grandpa (Sam Jr.) raced out of here after him and then my dad (Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Famer Chip Noble) did, too. I’m the fourth generation. So it means a lot. “I actually grew up just two miles down the road and I was in this barn almost every day as a kid. In the beginning I had to clean stalls, do everything the grooms do. My dad called it learning ‘from the ground up.’ “I was probably 8 when I jogged my first horse.” Eight years later — on the dirt oval just beyond Barn 4 — he won his first pari-mutuel race as a 16-year-old driver at the 1999 Greene County Fair. “After school, I’d change clothes and hurry out here,” he said. “I took care of two horses here and I just loved it.” Once he graduated from high school, he went off to college in Nashville. “I lasted about two weeks,” he shrugged. “It just wasn’t for me so I came right back out here to the barn and worked beside my father.” Once he began to stand out — winning driving titles at Scioto and Northfield in 2011, becoming the leading dash driver in all of racing that year with 773 wins and being awarded the Dan Patch Rising Star Award given by the U.S. Harness Writers Association — he drew interest from around the racing world. Some prominent East Coast horsemen tried to convince him to move to New Jersey so he could race regularly at the Meadowlands and other prominent tracks there, but again he said he decided not to leave home: “They asked me numerous times to come out and one year I did go out five weekends in a row to race and I enjoyed it. But then I came back home.” When Dayton Raceway opened in the fall of 2014 — just after Miami Valley Raceway’s debut that spring in Warren County — he said the close proximity of the two tracks made his staying in Xenia that much easier. The biggest reason though, he admitted Thursday, had been the January 2014 death of his 60-year-old dad after a battle with cancer. “Before the passing of my dad, I never really had planned on being a trainer even though I had trained alongside him for 14 years and had enjoyed every minute of it. But I figured staying here was a good way of carrying on the Noble name.” Last month he carried the name to Dublin, Ireland, where he’d been invited to take part in a gala, two-day affair — centered around the running of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Harness Race — at Portmarnock Raceway. He had caught the eye of Irishmen Derek and James Delaney, who put on the racing weekend to honor their late brother. Derek also owns the sire Foreclosure N that stood in Ohio for a year and produced several successful foals, including Drunk On Your Love, a gelded pacer that Dan drives. He accepted their invitation and brought his mom as well as his fiancé, Kristi Pokornowski. It was his first trip overseas and he made quite a splash. “The crowd was amazing,” he said. “The place was completely packed. It kind of looked like the Kentucky Derby with everybody dressed up. The women were in their dresses and big hats. It was like the Little Brown Jug, too. There was that kind of excitement. “I actually got more races than I expected. I drove four the first day and like eight the next. I ended up winning two and then broke the track record for the mile and a quarter. “It seemed like the people really loved me — I kind of wish we had had one more day afterward to see the sights.” Instead, he turned around, flew back home and was at Barn 4 soon after he landed. A family affair On the front of the barn, next to the big doorway, Dan has affixed a large wooden replica of the red and white silks worn by his father. “I hung them up in memory of my dad,” he said. But if the place is a totem to the past, it’s also home to the future. “My son Colton is 13 and he’s starting to get involved,” Dan said. “He started jogging horses two months ago and he keeps asking me when he can start driving. “His mother is in the business as well and until we split up, we kept him in the barn. So I guess he has the fever, too. “But I never thought he’d actually want to do it because he’s into video games and he sits with the Xboxes and PlayStations. But he’s really an intelligent kid and he’s even come up with a design for his own colors.” For the family’s first three generations, the racing colors were always red, white and black. Dan changed that, he said, after he got a dispensation: “I actually went to my grandfather and got permission to change them. He asked what the colors were and I told him purple and gold. He said, ‘OK, you can change to purple. It’s a sign of royalty.’ ” And Grandpa turned out to be prescient. Dan has shown time and again he is race-cart royalty. Last Saturday night, three weeks after his success in Ireland, he was a big winner on the Ohio Super Night card at Scioto Downs. He won a pair of $250,000 races, guiding Bad Girls Rule to victory in the two-year-old filly pace in 1:54.3 and taking the Ohio Sire Stakes with Drunk On Your Love in 1:53. Met in Buffalo Speaking of love, that was one of the topics that came up as I spoke to Dan and Kristi outside Barn 4 Thursday while they took a break from their morning chores with the dozen horses they had stabled inside. Later in the day they’d head to the Hardin County Fair in Kenton where they had two horses on the evening card. And the two nights after that they’d be back in Columbus to close out the meet at Scioto Downs where Dan — even with his break for Ireland — was third in driving wins. Each morning in Xenia, Dan handles the training, the rigging and any dealings with owners. Kristi is in charge of care for the horses, barn management and the paperwork. They make a good team because, like Dan, she’s a fourth-generation horseman. She grew up in Batavia, N.Y., and spent six years at Medaille College and D’Youville College, both in Buffalo, studying biology and veterinary technology. She worked at a veterinary practice two years, then returned to the race track. She met Dan when he drove for a while in Buffalo. “At the beginning of 2018 it will be six years we’ve been together,” teased Kristi. “On my birthday this Halloween, it will be four years since he gave me a ring.” Dan seemed to shuffle around a bit uncomfortably. He knew where this conversation — with some prompting — was headed. He told a story involving one of his buddies: “His fiancé brought up this same thing two nights ago. She said, ‘It’s been eight years and he just gave me a ring. Now it will be another five years!’ ” Kristi started to laugh and Dan squirmed a little more. “Well…uuuuh…we don’t really have that much time,” he mumbled. “Well, we might have time, but…aaahh… we’re not home a lot.” This from the guy who always gravitates to home? Yeah, right. By Tom Archdeacon Reprinted with permission of The My Dayton Daily News  

Harness racing driver Danny Noble continues to be on a hot streak as he captured both $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes splits for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Friday night, July 14 at Scioto Downs.   The 34-year-old Xenia, Ohio native first scored with Gabbysloosechange in 1:58 and then with Vatanna in 1:55.4 in the third leg for sophomore diagonally-gaited distaffs.   The latter is conditioned by Jim Arledge, Jr., whom he owns in partnership with Dustin Arledge, Mt Sterling, OH; Jude Jacobs; and Mary McLoughlin, Lancaster, OH. The sophomore daughter by Dejarmbro is the ninth foal out of the Armbro Iliad world champion mare Dj Babe, 5, 1:55.2F ($395,746), who was also campaigned by Arledge, Jr., to numerous Ohio divisional titles. The 34-race winner was named Ohio 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year and Aged Trotter of the Year in 1998 and 2000.   Arledge, Jr. says Vatanna is an "extremely talented filly" who has been a bit slow to mature, and hores she'll continue to gain confidence in herself.   "She's kind of lacked confidence all along and is just coming into her own," he admitted. "She trained down well prior to this season, and as good as her mom was, I really believe that Vatanna is the best foal out of her, and that her best efforts are ahead of her."   Vatanna is a half-sister to the Mr Vic mare Pink Ribbons, the first foal out of Dj Babe, who won 13 races and earned $236,525 en route to scoring a 1:54.3s record as a 4-year-old. Vatanna also has half-siblings in Silly Dreams (by Pegasus Spur) 3, 2:01.3h ($27,215) and Stand Up Please (by Sand Vic) 2, 2:02h ($20,259).   This latest victory in her Ohio Sires Stakes event was certainly Vatanna's most impressive, in part to the deft steer she received from Noble, who moved her three-wide at the 1:27.1 three-quarter mile clocking. She continued to race wide in the stretch and literally mowed down the leading 6-5 Rose Run Sydney (Jason Brewer) to score her second career win in 16 tries by a nose over her rival. Chim Swift and Aaron Merriman notched show honors, six lengths behind.   Vatanna, sent off at 13-1 odds, returned $29.80 on a two-dollar win ticket and pushed her career earnings to $51,215. She had previously finished third in OSS-leg 2 on June 17 at Northfield Park, after a fifth place finish on May 1 at Miami Valley Raceway in OSS-leg 1.   Vatanna     Gabbysloosechange, a Chris Beaver-trainee, was the 1-5 public's favorite in her OSS contest and did not disappoint her backers, going wire-to-wire with Noble sitting chilly in the sulky as his filly drew off by 2¾ lengths. The Marty Wollam-trained Purple Sona (7-1, Kurt Sugg) nabbed second, with 6-1 Away My Baby (Chris Page) getting up for third.   The Triumphant Caviar lass has yet to be bested in OSS competition this year as she won the first two legs of this series easily for Noble, in 1:57.2 (Leg 1) at Miami Valley Raceway on May 1 and in a career best clocking of 1:54.4 (Leg 2) on June 17 at Northfield Park.   Beaver owns Gabbysloosechange in partnership with breeder Johanna Beaver of Deleon Springs, FL. This solidly-gaited trotting lass pushed her lifetime earnings to $68,500 with this latest victory, the fifth of her career in seven starts. She was unraced as a 2-year-old.   Ohio Sires Stakes continue Monday, July 17 with five divisions of 2-year-old pacing fillies vying at Northfield Park in Leg 2 of the series.   Kimberly Rinker

The Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to announce today that one of North America's top drivers, Dan Noble, has committed to coming to Ireland for the Delaney Memorial Weekend, August 12 & 13, 2017. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Noble, "I was so surprised and pleased to be asked to come over. I was talking with Aaron Merriman about it and he told what a good time I will have. I've heard about what a great race weekend it is and now I'm gonna be part of it." Dan has been following the footsteps of his late father, top driver and trainer, Chip Noble. Dan first started driving in 1999 with just eight wins and now sports nearly 4,700 victories and is fast approaching earnings with the horses he has driver at $25 million. His banner year was 2011, when Dan won 773 races and was the leading dash winner in all of harness racing. He was the leading driver at both Northfield Park and Scioto Downs. That year Dan was also honored by the United States Harness Writers Association with the Dan Patch Rising Star Award. "How great it will be that Dan is coming over to Ireland for our brother's race," Said Derek Delaney, founder of the VDM with his brother James. The race is named after their younger brother who tragically passed away in 2011. "Not only is Dan a world class horseman, but he also drives Drunk On Your Love, perhaps the best 3-year-old in Ohio this year, who is sired by Foreclosure N, who we have standing at Oakwood Stud in Ireland." "Dan is a world-class driver," Delaney added, "And we are sure to show him a great time here both on and off the track. He will be sure to have some good drives at Portmarnock Raceway on Saturday and Sunday." The Vincent Delaney Memorial is the most grueling test in harness racing for two-year-old pacers with elimination divisions on Saturday and the finals the very next day on Sunday. The colt division is sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farm and the filly division by Diamond Creek Farm. Also on the program that weekend is the Alabar/Oakwood Stud Derby, the Yirribee Stud Australia Paul Murtagh, Sr. Derby, PJI Engineering FFA Pace, the Elvin/Delaney FFA Trot plus other big stakes events. Dan Noble says he does not think he has any Irish heritage in his bloodlines. "Not a drop that I know of," Noble laughed. "But I am sure it will not stop me from having a great time and meeting lots of great people there. "I'm bringing my girlfriend Christi Rae and my mom is also coming with us," Noble said. "I've got good help to take care of the 20 horses in my stable while we are away. Can't miss this chance. It will be a hellva experience." The list of special guests who are coming to Ireland this year for the VDM reads like a Who's Who of harness racing from around the world. Also attending are Murray Brown from Hanover Shoe Farm, Brett Coffey from Alabar Stud in Australia, Heather Vitale of Post Time and sister Susan Looney, Roger Huston will be calling the races again, Klaus Koch of Sweden's Elitloop fame, Rachel Keeney and Caroline Vazquez from Diamond Creek Farm, Clive and Anne Dalton from Australia, Mike Carter of the Mike & Mike Show, Australian promoter and publicist Bill Hutchison, Belgium breeder Filip Van Hauwermeiren, Dean Hoffman, former Hoof Beats editor, prominent USA owners Bill Donovan and Joe Sbrocco of the USA, who is bringing a group of ten people over. For more information about the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend, visit From the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee  

LEBANON, OH. - Safe From Terror (Dan Noble) returned to her customary winning ways on Friday night (April 28) in the $20,000 Mares Open I Handicap at Miami Valley Raceway. It was the 18th win in 2016-17 and 30th of her harness racing career, boosting her lifetime bankroll to $715,207. The 5-year-old Western Terror lass worked hard to get the front end during a :27.3 initial quarter, then cruised through middle fractiions of :55.2 and 1:23.3 before closing in :28.2 and holding favored Jerseylicious (Chris Page) at bay in 1:52 flat. A Little Starstruk (Aaron Merriman), who was last week's winner, rallied for a show finish. Winchester Baye Acres LLC owns Safe From Terror, who was sidelined for a month recently. She is trained by Mike Conklin. Town Temptress (Jason Brewer) captured a $16,500 Open II for mares on the same program. The 5-year-old Artiscape mare enjoyed a second-over trip through a driving rainstorm until tipping three-wide for the stretch drive and passing Shesasmokinlady (Ray Paver Jr.) and holding off Kiss Me Onthebeach (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in 1:53.3. Steve Bauder conditions Town Temptress for Gail and Robert Sanders. The talented lass won two of her last three starts at Dayton Raceway in 2016 and has now won two of her first three 2017 starts at Miami Valley. Due to severe weather, including major lightning in the area for a prolonged period, the final five races on the Friday night program were cancelled. Gregg Keidel    

LEBANON, OH. - Control Tower, a 5-year-old son of Panspacificflight, was in complete control of his trip from gate to wire on Saturday night (April 8) in the $27,500 championship leg of the harness racing Tom Tharps Memorial Series at Miami Valley Raceway. A runnerup in the George Williams Memorial Series final for non-winners of four races a month ago, Control Tower would not be denied in the Tharps, which was for non-winners of six races. Rushing to command immediately after starter Mike Woebkenberger signaled 'liftoff', driver (and trainer) Dan Noble reached the first quarter mile marker with Control Tower in :27.1. He followed up with middle splits of :54.4 and 1:22.2 before scooting home in :28.2 to complete the winning 1:50.4 mile. Evergreen Elite (Jason Brewer), who was favored despite the 8-hole after winning impressively in both preliminary legs, also left alertly but was forced to take the pocket ride after a parked out first turn and hung on for second, five lengths off the leader. Sossy's King Kong (Chris Page) managed to grab the show purse money in the lucrative championship. Stephen Sexton owns Control Tower, who now sports 11 wins in 24 lifetime starts good for $72,781. Lightly raced at ages 2 and 3, the late bloomer now has 5 wins and 9 on-the-board finishes in 11 2017 starts. A $20,000 Open I Pace was captured by My Buddy Ninkster (Josh Sutton), who topped Gerries Sport (Peter Wrenn) and Astreo's Love (Randy Tharps) in 1:50.4. It was the second straight win at the top level for the 5-year-old Dali gelding owned by John and Mary Krasnican and trained by Bob Phillips. The $16,500 Open II went to Hickory Icon (Jeremy Smith), who topped Steves Legacy (Chris Page) and Account Rollover (Kayne Kauffman). Randal Smith trains the 7-year-old son of Real Desire for Jessica Smith. Gregg Keidel    

LEBANON, OH. - Lets Go Bucks, who captured the Ohio Breeders Championship for sophomore trotters last September, added another notch to his girth when he captured the $22,500 final of the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial late-closing harness racing series on Monday afternoon (March 27) at Miami Valley. With the victory, the now 4-year-old And Away We Go gelding's career bounty exceeds $140,000 for owners Jim Burnett and Tim Homan. As the gate opened in the Paver final, Can't Fire Me (Trace Tetrick), a winner of divisions of both preliminary legs, exploded to the lead and held it through early quarter-mile fractions of :27 and :56.1. When Lets Go Bucks (Dan Noble)also riding a two-race series win streak, pulled from the four-hole along the pylons down the backstretch he encountered little resistance and rushed with relative ease to the front before reaching the third quarter station in 1:25. Maintaining an open lengths lead through the stretch, Lets Go Bucks and Noble coasted through the wire in 1:54.3, knocking one-fifth of a second off his lifetime best clocking taken in the OBC at Delaware last September. Ultimate Shopper (Elliott Deaton) raced gamely on the outside the last half of the mile to finish second, while Deep Question (Kayne Kauffman) was third. Prominent Ohio trainer Bill Dailey conditions both the winner and show finisher. It is hard to believe after tens of thousands of Standardbreds have been foaled in Ohio over the years, that the name Lets Go Bucks was still available in 2013 in the USTA database. Even harder to believe is that Lets Go Bucks, a near $100,000 winner in 2016 and riding an impressive two-race win streak, was dispatched at odds of 3-1 by the Buckeye faithful in the Miami Valley grandstand. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - Can't Fire Me (Trace Tetrick) and Lets Go Bucks (Dan Noble) both completed sweeps of the two preliminary legs of the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial Series on Monday afternoon (March 20) at Miami Valley Raceway. The showdown between the two, plus seven other finalists, will take place next Monday when the $22,500 championship of the series, for non-winners four pari-mutuel races or $35,000 lifetime, will be determined. Can't Fire Me scored his second gate-to-wire romp in the first split, besting Ultimate Shopper (Chris Page) and Energy Bar (Jeremy Smith) in 1:55.3. The 4-year-old Coventry-sired mare is owned by Marjorie Deshetsky and trained by Danny Collins. Lets Go Bucks used the same tactics, topping Trumpets (Ed Greeno Jr.) and Toy Crown (Jeremy Smith) in front-stepping style. Bill Dailey trains the 4-year-old And Away We Go gelding, who trotted the mile in 1:57.1, for Jim Burnett and Tim Homan. Racing resumes Tuesday afternoon (March 21) with a 2:05 post time. A $22,000 Open Trot will be featured, as well as three second-round divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial Series for male pacers that are non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime. From the Press Box at Miami Valley  

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of first leg divisions of the George 'Red' Owens Memorial Series highlighted the Sunday (March 19) afternoon matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. Melodies That Rock (Trace Tetrick) and Lyons Moonlight (Dan Noble) emerged victorious in the event restricted to fillies and mares that are non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime. Owens is one of nine deceased former greats remembered annually at Miami Valley with a "Lebanon Legends" series named in his honor. Melodies That Rock controlled her own destiny from start to finish in the first split as Tetrick took the lead early and cruised through fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:25.1 before finishing just over a length better than Rockin Peggy (Tyler Smith). Hot Cakes (Mike Oosting) earned the show dough in the $8000 race. Jim Ellison conditions the winner for Anna Ellison. The 4-year-old daughter of Rockin Image paid $5.40 as the lukewarm favorite. Lyons Moonlight got away fourth in the second heat until Noble pulled her after the first quarter was reached in :27.4. Racing first-over through middle fractions of :57.1 and 1:26.2, the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere lass finally took control nearing the head of the stretch and proceeded to a two-length victory in 1:55.3. The Jim Arledge Jr. trainee, who paid $7.80 to win, races for owner Pond-A-Acres. OHHA presents Outstanding Groom Award The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association presented its first Outstanding Groom Award on Sunday to Dawn Cunmulaj, wife of Sherif Cunmulaj. The couple relocated to Ohio over three years ago and have single-handedly raced a stable of six to ten horses year around ever since. The OHHA is presenting deserving caretakers with $200 gift cards twice during each meet at each Ohio commercial track. Trainers are encouraged to nominate their full-time helpers with the winner being chosen randomly by draw from among the nominations. 24 grooms were nominated for this award, with a second one to be awarded near the current meet's end. The $200 award isn't enough to head to Disneyland, "but it sure will be nice to have on my next trip to the outlet mall across the street" laughed an appreciative Dawn Cunmulaj. From the Miami Valley Press Box

LEBANON, OH. - Franzo, the former claimer, sped to his third straight harness racing Open victory at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night (March 11), the last two in sub 1:50 miles. On the heels of his all-age 1:49.1 track record performance a week ago, Franzo shot to the front from his assigned outside post position this week and never looked back. Driver Dan Noble guided the 5-year-old Rockin Image gelding through fractions of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:22.2 before tripping the final beam in 1:49.4. The Adam Short owned and trained winner was plucked from a $30,000 claimer six weeks ago and has since increased his 2017 bankroll to $61,535 on the basis of six wins in nine seasonal starts. My Buddy Ninkster (Tyler Smith) won a tight photo finish with Angelo J Fra (Chris Page) to claim runnerup honors. As the even money favorite, Franzo returned $4 to his legion of backers. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH. - Dont Rush, who was in no rush until the open trotters at Miami Valley neared the three-quarter station on Tuesday (March 7) afternoon, did rush home from there-swinging three-wide around the final bend and cruising to a 1:56 upset harness racing victory at 22-1 odds. Driver Dan Noble was content to hug the pylons near the rear of the compact field of six as favored Somebody AS (Trace Tetrick) cut the mile over the sloppy track through fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:25.1. I Know My Chip (Kayne Kauffman) and Penn (Jason Brewer) were content to hug the pylons behind Somebody AS, but when the 6-5 favorite began to falter as the stretch was approaching, Parkhill Lancelot (Mike Oosting), He's Got Pizzazz (Chris Page) and Dont Rush had formed an outer tier that prevented them from finding an early lane for the stretch drive. Dont Rush fanned three-wide with the fullest head of steam, while fellow longshot He's Got Pizzazz got up for second and Parkhill Lancelot finished third. Dont Rush returned $47.80 for a $2 win ticket, while the exacta paid $151.80 and a $2 trifecta was worth a whopping $1,634.40. The partnership of Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley and the JJ&M Stable own the winner, who is trained by Bill Dailey. The 5-year-old son of Infinitif now owns 18 wins in 51 starts and has earned $561,795. Gregg Keidel  

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