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LEBANON, OH. - A pair of $25,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship races were contested on Saturday night at Miami Valley Raceway, followed by an $8,500 Open Handicap pace that resulted in a harness racing all-age track record clocking.   Ohio-sired three-year-old fillies battled in the first Hackett final with favored Crown Time Keeper (Chris Page), one of the elimination heat victors last week, winning the war in 1:55. The triumphant lass was pressured to the half mile marker in :55 flat, but had enough in the tank through the stretch to hold off pocket-sitting Paydaze On The Way (Kayne Kauffman), the other elimination winner, and show finisher A P P Panda (Greg Grismore).   Crown Time Keeper is owned by Esther Crownover, who has raced harness horses continuously for over 30 years, and trained by Steve Carter. The daughter of Feelin Friskie now has seven wins and seven place finishes in just 17 lifetime starts.   A son of Feelin Friskie captured the colts division of the Hackett Memorial as well. Friskie Adam (Kyle Ater) took advantage of a relatively soft :57.1 first half before speeding home in :56.1 to stop the timer in 1:53.2 and earn the lion's share of the purse. Chance I Might (Page) and Dibs (Jim Pantaleano) shadowed the winner throughout but couldn't get closer than 2-1/2 lengths at the wire.   Dr. Jerry Maloon Stable owns Friskie Adam, who now has six career victories. He was broke and campaigned in his freshman campaign by the late Sam 'Chip' Noble, and has been turned over to veteran conditioner Dan Ater for his sophomore season.   The fastest horse in the short three-month history of Miami Valley Raceway is now Justified, who scorched the highly-acclaimed five-eighths mile oval in 1:51.1. Driver Chris Page took no prisoners in the $8500 Open Handicap coasting through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:23 on the way the the record-setting performance. Bursting Blaze (Josh Sutton) was 1-3/4 lengths back with I Found My Beach (Grismore) finishing third.   Justified is trained by Ron Burke and is co-owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   Miami Valley has just seven programs left in its 65-night inaugural meet which started February 8. The final three nights will include multiple $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for pacing and trotting fillies on Friday (May 2), multiple $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for pacing and trotting colts following the simulcast presentation of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 3), and conclude with a pair of Grand Circuit events on Sunday night, May 4.   An impressive list of nominees, with career earnings in excess of $20 million dollars and including several past Breeders Crown champions, are expected to make the $50,000 Chip Noble Memorial pace for older mares and the $60,000 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares a pair of Grand Circuit races to remember.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The fields are set for Saturday night's $25,000 James K. Hackett Memorial races for both Ohio-sired three-year-old filly and colt pacers at Miami Valley Raceway. A pair of $7500 elimination heats were necessary last weekend to whittle the nominees down to championship fields of nine of each gender. An impressive first round winner has drawn the outside post position in each final making the races more intriguing. Despite the nine-hole behind the gate Paydaze On The Way has been installed the lukewarm 5-2 favorite in the filly division on the merits of her 1:56.3 elimination win. Crown Time Keeper (Chris Page), the winner of the other elimination split, has been tabbed second choice at 3-1 odds. Second place elimination finishers Fayco Filly (Dan Noble) and Friskie's Angel (Randy Tharps) have been assigned opening odds of 4-1 and 6-1, followed by A P P Panda (Greg Grismore) at 8-1, the Bill Webb-owned entry of Baby Slider (Kyle Ater) and Mean Fever (Jason Brewer) at 10-1, God Only Knows (Jeremy Smith) 12-1 and Lady Julie (Kayne Kauffman) 15-1. Friskie Adam (Kyle Ater) got the slight favorite's role at 5-2 in the colts division following his 1:55.2 front-end score in the eliminations. The other elimination heat went to Big Bossman (Greg Grismore) in 1:55.3, but the talented colt drew the outside post and thus will open at 9-2 on the toteboard. Chance I Might (Chris Page), who was beaten just a head by Big Bossman in the elim, has been tabbed the 3-1 second choice, followed by Dibs 7-2, Feelin Speedy (Josh Sutton) 6-1, Hawks Cry Hoboken (Dan Noble) 8-1, U F Fast Feelin 10-1, Two Will Forever (Jeremy Smith) 12-1 and Led Schneppelin (Kayne Kauffman) 15-1. Post time for the 14-race card on Saturday night is 6:30 p.m.with the Hackett championship races carded as the ninth and eleventh on the program. From the Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department  

LEBANON, OH. - Big Bossman and Friskie Adam scored impressive harness racing triumphs in a pair of $7,500 elimination heats on Saturday night to determine the finalists for the $25,000 James K. Hackett Memorial at Miami Valley Raceway next weekend (April 26). Driver Greg Grismore left alertly with Big Bossman in the first split only to yield to Chance I Might (Chris Page) nearing the quarter mile marker. Content to sit the pocket through moderate fractions, the pride of the Parent Racing Stable and trainer Doug Hinklin found a seam along the pylons in the stretch and nailed the frontrunner in the final strides of the 1:55.3 mile.   Other Ohio-sired sophomore pacers who garned spots in the championship were third place finisher Dibs (Tony Hall), UF Fast Feelin (Dan Noble) and Led Schneppelin (Kayne Kauffman), who was the quickest of the two fifth place finishers (1:56.3) to earn the final spot in the final.   Friskie Adam was clearly the best in the second division posting a 5/1/2 length victory for driver Kyle Ater, trainer Dan Ater and owner Dr. Jerry Maloon. The heavily favored son of Feelin Friskie was never pressured during his 1:55.2 mile and appeared to be on cruise control at the finish.   Feelin Speedy (Josh Sutton) crossed the line second followed by Two Will Forever (Jeremy Smith) and Hawks Cry Hoboken (Noble) who all qualified for the impending championship race.   A $9,000 Open I pace was also presented in front of another full house of racing fans on Saturday and Royal Outlook (Jim Pantaleano) made his return to Miami Valley a happy homecoming notching a 1:52 score by a length over I Found My Beach (Grismore) and Justified (Hall).   It was the fourth consecutive Open I win at Miami Valley and sixth victory in seven local starts, interrupted only by a three week stint at Hoosier Park which resulted in one additional triumph. The razor sharp winner is trained by Terry Deters and owned by David Hudson, a former professional hockey player.   Racing resumes on Easter Sunday night at Miami Valley with a 6:30 p.m. post time.   From Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department      

LEBANON, OH. - The stage is set for the James K. Hackett Memorial filly division showdown next Saturday night, April 26. A pair of $7,500 eliminations were contested Friday night at Miami Valley Raceway to determine the nine Ohio-sired three-year-old harness racing finalists that will chase the $25,000 championship purse next week.   In the first division, Crown Time Keeper sped to a 1:56.1 triumph for driver Chris Page, besting Friskie's Angel (Randy Tharps) and God Only Knows (Jeremy Smith). Also advancing to the final were Lady Julie (Kayne Kauffman) and Mean Fever (Jason Brewer), who was the fastest fifth-place finisher from the two splits. Steve Carter conditions the winner for long-time standardbred enthusiast Esther Crownover, who also bred the daughter of Feelin Friskie.   Paydaze On The Way (Kauffman) was the easiest of winners in the second division going gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 as the deserved odds-on favorite. A compact field of rivals were all content to race single file behind the Ron Burke-trained daughter of Look Sharp as she coasted through pedestrian fractions of :28.2, :59.1 and 1:29 before pulling away with a quick :27.3 final panel to easily defeat Fayco Filly (Page), A P P Panda (Greg Grismore) and Baby Slider (Brewer) who also qualified for the $25,000 final. The partnership of Taylor, Gold, Lombardo and Rose own Paydaze On The Way.   A pair of $7500 Hackett Memorial eliminations for sophomore state-bred colts and geldings will race Saturday night at Miami Valley to determine the lineup for their tandem $25,000 championship on April 26. An $8500 Open trot was also contested on Friday night with J J Hall (Kauffman) stepping to a 1:55.1 all time track record for squaregaiters. The six-year-old son of Jailhouse Jesse was content to sit third through three-quarters of the mile, moved up to second at the head of the stretch and exploded home for a 4-3/4 length win over Bookem (Josh Sutton) and E L Rock (Chris Scicluna). The classy winning trotter is now two-for-two on the season for owner Douglas Millard and trainer Scott Mogan.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The all-age track record was equaled not once, but twice, on Saturday night at Miami Valley Raceway--and neither record-setting performance came in the featured $10,000 Open I pace, although the standard for four-year-olds did also get shattered in that race.   Spill The Beans was the first to tie Lookinforadventure's 1:51.4 record clocking when he bested a field of conditioned pacers chasing a $7000 purse. Leading driver Kayne Kauffman secured the pocket from the innermost post position and sat chilly behind pacesetting Lonesome Attack (Dan Noble) through fractions of :28, :55.2 and 1:23.1.   Halfway down the stretch a seam opened along the pylons and the five-year-old son of Tell All took advantage of the opportunity to nail Lonesome Attack by a neck in the final strides. Jetstream Friskie (Kyle Ater) got the show dough following the lightning fast mile. Chris Short conditions Spill The Beans for owners Michael Goldberg and White Bridle Racing.   Two races later a full field of ten $10,000 claimers lined up to compete for $7,000 and when the smoke cleared Bursting Blaze (Chris Page) had joined Lookinforadventure and Spill The Beans as co-track record holders.   When the six-year-old son of The Panderosa reached the wire in 1:51.4 he had a neck advantage over Mikes Hope (Kyle Ater) and Just Fred (Dan Noble). The Thumbs Up Stable claimed Bursting Blaze five weeks ago for $6500 and now have two wins, a second and a third with their new prized possession being trained by John Kina.   Can He Go (Greg Grismore) captured the Open I pace lowering his own track record for four-year-olds to 1:52.4. The Virgil Morgan Jr. trainee, owned by Majs NY Inc., Gerrie Tucker and RBH Ventures Inc., was a length better than longshot Tidewater Tomahawk (Shawn Barker II) at the wire with the entire field of nine within five lengths at the finish. Man He Can Skoot (Dan Noble) was third.   Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway    

LEBANON, OH. - Kayne Kauffman extended his lead in the dash standings at the inaugural meet at Miami Valley Raceway notching four wins on the Thursday night program.   The 35-year-old reinsman, determined to defend the dash title he earned at the final meet at nearby Lebanon Raceway in 2013, has 64 victories through the first 45 nights of racing. Runnerup Tyler Smith has 49 wins, Dan Noble 44, Jeremy Smith 37 and Jason Brewer 35. Rounding out the top twelve are Jim Pantaleano 31, Kyle Ater 30, Chris Page 29, Randy Tharps 27, Josh Sutton 25, Pat Berry 23 and Greg Grismore 21.   Kauffman's $257,022 also tops the 'Money Won' list with 20 of the 65 nights of the track's first meet still remaining. Noble's $201,000 is second while another ten drivers have earned over $100,000 with their mounts thus far.   His four wins on Thursday night came from four different stables. He won with Southern Accent for trainer Jim Arledge Jr., Gordyyys Pet for conditioner Chris Short, RM Mornin Sunshine for Gavin Bixler, and Countmymuscles, a trotter from his own barn.   The trainer's title is still up for grabs with Jeff Brewer and Virgil Morgan Jr. currently deadlocked at the top of the list with 23 triumphs. Doug Hinklin and Chris Short are well within striking distance with 18 victories apiece. They are followed by Conor Flynn 15, Kayne Kauffman 13, Sam Coven and Terry Deters 12 each, Dan Ater and Sherif Cunmulaj 11, and Roy Murphy Jr. 10.   Morgan's $91,210 narrowly heads the stable earnings list which boasts ten different trainers averaging over $1000 earned per program.   Statistically, post position five is winning at an alarming 18.1 % clip, followed by PP 4 at 15.3, PP 3 at 14.5, and PP's 2 and 1 both at 12.5. Post time favorites have won 33.47% of the races which are averaging over 8.6 starters per race.   From the Miami valley Publicity Department

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        

LEBANON, OH. - Holiday Shopper regained her winning ways on Sunday night at Miami Valley Raceway...and did it in style! The classy seven-year-old daughter of Camluck set an all-age track record for females when she sped to an impressive 1:52.1 triumph in the weekly $9500 open mares feature. Driver Jason Brewer got the winner away fourth from the inside post position in the field of eight, moved into second-over position approaching the half, cleared to the front just past the three-quarters and widened to a 4-3/4 length margin of victory through the stretch. It was the fourth win in eight tries in the top distaff event at Miami Valley this inaugural season and extended her 2014 bankroll to $21,825 at the current two-month old meet. Holiday Shopper is owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison and trained by Jeff Brewer. Whisty's Paradise (Randy Tharps) finished second with She's Shocking (Kayne Kauffman) picking up the show dough. Drivers Greg Grismore and Kyle Ater each scored triples on the program. Grismore scored with Tea Pot Hanover and Lucky Amy, a pair of Doug Hinklin trainees, as well as Babe's Chip, who captured the Mares Open II pace in 1:53.3 for trainer Brian Stephens. Ater's victories came for three different trainers: Danny Collins' trotter Jailhouse Tuff, his father Dan Ater's Ocean Pearl, and Harry Groves' Howdoyoulikeitnow in the nightcap. Miami Valley will race a make-up card tonight (Monday, April 7) with a 6:30 p.m. post time. From the Miami Valley Publicity Department

Hello Carlo and Kahoku dead heated in the $10,000 Open Trot in Northfield Park’s sixth race on Monday (March 3).  Hello Carlo is owned by Mario Caponi of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and trained by Larry Clabaugh.  Josh Sutton was aboard for the winning drive.  Margaret Mancini of Colts Neck, New Jersey owns Kahoku.  Crist Hershberger trains and drove.   Both trotters came from the back as the fractions were perfect for closers.  The first half was :58 and the back half was trotted in 1:00.  Finishing behind the pair of winners were Sure Thing, Julians Caesar, Saintfrancis, Pembroke Snapshot, Mythical Hall and Talladega Hanover.    Monday’s triumph increased Hello Carlo’s (Carry The Message-Last Turn-Supergill) lifetime win tally to 54 and Kahoku’s (SJ’s Caviar-Tags Goal-Tagliabue) to 11.  Hello Carlo has now earned $264,868 and Kahoku has bankrolled $75,513.  Neither totter was the race favorite, Hello Carlo paid $5.80 to win and Kahoku returned $21.00.  In the evening’s ninth race, Rose Run Logan trotted home for his fourth straight win over Northfield’s Flying Turns.  The seven year-old gelding is owned and trained by Jeff Hochstetler of Urichsville, Ohio.  Aaron Merriman was the winning driver.              Rose Run Logan started from post six and led at every call through fractions of :29.1, :58.1, 1:27.1 and 1:56.2.  He was well in hand the entire mile and bested his closest competitor (Al Brown, Don McKirgan) by four lengths.             Monday’s triumph was the 10 career success for Rose Run Logan (Armbro Laser-How Miraculous-Baltic Speed) and increased his lifetime earnings to $24,598.  He was heavily favored and returned $2.40 to win. Western Churchill was an upset winner in the evenings $10,000 Open Pace for owner New York Thunder Stable of Washington, Pennsylvania.  Northfield Park’s leading trainer, Calvin Hollar is his conditioner and listed Greg Grismore to drive. Western Churchill (Western Ideal-The Mattican-Matt’s Scooter) started from the rail and sat the pocket through fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:25.3.  Grismore pulled Western Churchill at the head of the stretch and was ¾-length in front at the finish in 1:54.2.  Completing the race were Shark Dressed Man, Man He Can Skoot, Forever Good, Nathan Feelsgood, Curator, Lucky Jet and Stevie Diamonds.         Western Churchill now has 15 career successes. Monday’s victory pushed his bankroll to $208,478. He paid $28.40 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Miami Valley Raceway opens Friday night in southwest Ohio and there will be no shortage of talent on the racetrack during the opening weekend. Among the drivers expected to compete are the three most recent national dash champions: Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Dave Palone and Dan Noble. Wrenn led North America in wins in 2013 with 714 while Palone led in 2012 with 675 and Noble was tops in 2011 with 773. The new five-eighths-mile harness racing track, located between Dayton and Cincinnati, opens Friday night with an 11-race card. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. Palone, who is based at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania, has won more races than any driver in North American harness racing history, with 16,223 victories to his credit entering Thursday. Wrenn, who was the leading driver at Northfield Park last year, and Noble are expected to be regulars at Miami Valley, along with Pat Berry, Jack Dailey, Greg Grismore, Tony Hall, Kayne Kauffman, Jeff Nisonger, Jim Pantaleano, Tyler Smith, and Randy Tharps. Hall was the leading driver at Scioto Downs last year and Smith, who is the youngest driver in history to amass 1,000 wins, was the leading driver at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Kauffman was the top driver at Lebanon Raceway, which closed in December to make way for Miami Valley, a $175 million racino with a grandstand to accommodate more than 1,000 fans and a casino with 1,600 gaming machines to help increase purses. "I think everyone is looking forward to the racing," said Smith, who is from Washington Court House, Ohio. "There's going to be a lot of new faces and it should be very competitive. It's good. I think Ohio needs more drivers, new faces, to make the racing better. "Whenever you've got money (for purses) you're going to get good horses, and good horses bring good races." Miami Valley, which will offer live racing Wednesdays through Sundays until early May, held qualifiers on Feb. 1, giving drivers and horses their first trips around the oval. In the 14 prep races, nine were won by a horse that was no worse than second at the half-mile point, although it is too soon to draw conclusions about how the track's design and surface will affect racing throughout the season. "It's going to take a while to get it set up, and making it tougher is the fact this is the worst winter we've had in 12 or 13 years," said Hall, an Ohio native who earlier this year surpassed 4,000 career wins. "I think the track is probably going to be a little tiring the first few months until it gets set up." Kauffman, who lives 10 minutes from Miami Valley, said the track is not banked as much as Scioto Downs, the state's other five-eighths-mile oval, which might factor into driver strategy. "At Scioto you can pull at the quarter and live for a long time," Kauffman said. "I think here people might sit and wait a little longer." Smith said he thought speed would hold up based on what he saw in the qualifiers. "Maybe that will change, but right now it looks like a front-end track," he said. There is no inside passing lane in the stretch at Miami Valley, which also will affect strategy. "That's a big game-changer," said Hall, who plans to race regularly at Miami Valley in addition to racing at The Meadows. "Usually you get a two-hole trip and it's a great place to be, but now you might look for other positions for horses you'd like to land up close. The track does have long straightaways, so that might help closing horses out some." Added Kauffman, "The stretch is longer and you do kind of drift out more, which might open up room for horses." Miami Valley Raceway, which has a 156-stall paddock, will host the James K. Hackett races for Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and fillies, with purses increased to $25,000 for the finals, on April 26. The track also will present the first legs of the Ohio Sire Stakes series when the state's best 3-year-old pacers and trotters compete on May 2 and May 3. In addition, the meet-ending May 4 card will include two new Grand Circuit races for older female pacers and trotters: The Sam "Chip" Noble III Memorial for the pacers and the Miami Valley Distaff Trot. "It'll be interesting to see how it all goes," Kauffman said. "They have some issues they need to address, but they're working on them and have been real receptive to suggestions. I think there will be plenty of horses. Hopefully everybody can be successful." "I think it's going to be a nice facility overall," Hall said. "People have waited a long time for an opportunity like this, and some had gone just about as far as they could go waiting for something good to happen. Like any new place, they've got some kinks to work out, but overall I think it's going to be great." By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Gregg Keidel, a native of Ohio and someone who has contributed much to Buckeye State harness racing in various capacities over the last 35 years, is “returning home” as the race secretary at both of the new Dayton-area racinos that will be filling the traditional racing spot formerly held by venerable Lebanon Raceway: Miami Valley Raceway, a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Delaware North which will soon open the 2014 racing season in southern Ohio, and Dayton Raceway, a “Hollywood Slots”/Penn National venture which will follow Scioto Downs’ traditional summer meet in what is envisaged as an almost year-round circuit. Most of Keidel’s experience, as those familiar with him know, was picked up in the northeastern part of the state, at what was known then (and still is by many) as Northfield Park in Cleveland. Following his selling a chain of weekly newspapers which he had managed to success at an early age, Keidel got into harness racing as an owner, but it wasn’t long before he was training and driving his own horses, racing at Northfield, Windsor in Ontario, and the county fairs. Gregg had two early successes in his stable’s black and green colors: the pacer Blastabaroness, a top two-year-old Ohio filly of 1984 who gave Keidel 12 of his 14 victories very early in his sulky career; and a caretaker plucked out of waiterdom from the Northfield clubhouse who would go on to be known to many fans over 6000 victories later, Jim Pantaleano. Keidel’s newspaper experience led him to supplement his stable’s income by serving as a part time publicist for the track, and when a position in the racing office as assistant to Dennis Haskell opened, Gregg saw a more “stable” life for himself and his family and decamped there fulltime, shortly becoming Northfield racing secretary, a post he would hold for over 20 years as Northfield built itself into one of the hardest-working successes in the sport. During most of this time, Keidel “kept himself in the stirrups” on the Billings amateur circuit, being named Amateur Driver of the Year in North America in 2001. “I’ve had some of the best experiences in my life from amateur driving,” Gregg states. “I’ve been blessed to make six overseas trips as part of a visiting team of amateurs taking on the host countries, and they certainly have provided quite a few good memories. I’m also proud I notched my 100th win during Jug week in Delaware,” in 2007. When Running Aces Harness Park opened north of Minneapolis in 2008, Keidel took on the challenge as race office boss during the summer meet, getting a midseason leave of absence from the Cleveland oval, and he combined the two jobs until deciding to focus on Running Aces in 2010, with Florida judging his other source of income (though he also handled the last meet at Toledo Raceway Park last year – mainly from Running Aces!). One of the great aspects for Keidel in his new jobs is that the spring meet at Miami Valley and the fall meet at Dayton Raceway bookend the summer action in Minnesota beautifully. “I think these new opportunities in Ohio are exciting,” Gregg opines. “The parent companies all come from a racing base, and they understand that you have to promote both the racing and the casino play, whereas elsewhere many of the owners come from straight from the casino world, and the racing is often given a very secondary status.” The new 5/8-mile track at Miami Valley, nine miles from Lebanon Raceway, will accommodate nine-horse behind the starting gate – and Keidel would be very happy to have some full gates as MVR opens on February 7. “I am being realistic about how many horses we will attract at first,” he said. “There is no barn area here – we had a lot of inquiries from horsemen about stabling, but there just aren’t that many stalls available in the area right now, although some county fairs are talking about refurbishing their barn areas and staying open as training centers all year. Also, we have had some of the most miserable weather in the last few weeks around here (Gregg, it hasn’t been just around you – ed.), and a lot of horsemen are behind schedule in bringing horses back.” Indeed, the day this story was written, qualifying standards of 2:10 for pacers and 2:12 for trotters within 45 days were announced as a temporary measure until trainers get back on their schedules. If the horses may need a start or two to hit top stride, the same cannot be said about the driving colony. The last three North American driving champions – Ron Wrenn Jr. (2013), Dave Palone (2012), and Dan Noble (2011) – have committed to racing at Miami Valley during opening weekend, and interest in regular racing has been indicated by five other drivers with 3000+ wins: Greg Grismore, Randy Tharps, Tony Hall, Pat Berry ,… …and remember that Northfield waiter who got his start with the Keidel barn? Yes, count Jim Pantaleano, now 6,150 wins ahead of his former boss, among those likely to be checking out Miami Valley. For the opening two cards, Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8, Miami Valley will draw on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Gregg Keidel and the rest of the Miami Valley team will be hoping for some luck rubbing off on that date – because that day it will have been exactly 50 years since Pompano Park staged its first-ever card. It will be much warmer in Florida than it will be in southwest Ohio, but Pompano certainly has had its share of magic over the years – and Gregg Keidel has been in the horse game long enough to take magic, luck, or anything else that will aid his cause and that of his management. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com

LEBANON, OH. - The race office at Miami Valley Raceway will open for the first time on Thursday morning (Jan. 30) from 8 a.m. until noon and again Friday morning from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The first order of business will be accepting entries for the first-ever qualifying races over the brand new five-eighths mile oval of Saturday (Feb. 1) starting at noon. Phone numbers for the race office are 513-934-7336, 513-934-7337 BS 513-934-7339, "We know that the prolonged arctic weather in southeast Ohio over the past month has been the worst in a quarter century," said Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Trainers are having a very difficult time maintaining the schedules they laid out in anticipation of our opening. Accordingly, we've relaxed the qualifying standards temporarily to get as many horses back to the races as we can as soon as possible." Opening Weekend is slated for Friday through Sunday, February 7-9 with a 6:30 p.m. post time each night. Trainers within shipping distance of Miami Valley are urged to check out the condition sheets for the first three nights, available at both www.ustrotting.com under the Horsemen tab and at www.miamivalleygaming.com under the Racing tab. Horses will be required to show a good clean charted line within 45 days of their anticipated race. "We may be able to direct trainers who want to race horses two or three nights on Opening Weekend and are shipping from longer distances to affordable nearby overnight stabling. We are talking to the county fairgrounds in both Lebanon and Dayton about offering overnight rates to trainers who pre-pay with a deposit," Keidel reports. Hall of Famer Dave Palone, the winningest driver in harness racing history with over 16,000 victories, has accepted an invitation to race Opening Weekend at Miami Valley Raceway. Over a dozen other drivers with over 1,000 wins have announced their intentions to compete regularly. In order of lifetime triumphs they are Jim Pantaleano 6251, Greg Grismore 6181, Randy Tharps 4618, Tony Hall 4013, Dan Noble 3511, Pat Berry 3024, Jack Dailey 2679, Jeff Nisonger 2644, Josh Sutton 2220, Kayne Kauffman 1653, Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 1325, J.D. Wengerd 1318, Tyler Smith 1227 and Mark Winters Jr. 1056. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway  

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 16, 2013 -- A pair of Winners Over $10,000 Life Trots, each worth $15,000, highlighted Monday's card at The Meadows, with Count Me In and Austin's Jon Jon taking the featured races. The first division became a family feud of sorts when Count Me In, trained by Marty Wollam, challenged No Doze, conditioned by Marty's son, Miles Wollam, in the stretch. Score one for the older generation, as Count Me In responded to Mike Wilder's urging and nailed No Doze by 3/4 lengths in 1:55. Better Caviar was third. Marty Wollam and Acadia Farms own Count Me In, a 4-year-old Full Count-Howl gelding who now boasts $246,791 in career earnings. Austin's Jon Jon captured his second straight when he angled off the cones in the final turn for Greg Grismore and scored at 7-1 in 1:55. Trustworthy Kid was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Go Tapaigh and Wing Tips dead-heated for show. Andy Rickert trains Austin's Jon Jon, an 8-year-old Giant Hit-Miss Dial Tone gelding who extended his career bankroll to $298,192, and owns with Mark Jakubic. Wilder and Dave Palone each drove three winners on the 16-race program. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows      

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 6, 2013 — Returning home to The Meadows after a respectable showing in the Breeders Crown, Unefoisdansmavie made short work of an accomplished field, capturing Wednesday’s $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot in a track record 1:53. Unefoisdansmavie finished fourth to Maven in the final of the Breeders Crown Mare Trot, outperforming her 49-1 odds. Back at her stomping grounds, though, she was bet down to 6-5 and had to overcome a parked-out first quarter. She did just that, grabbing the lead at the three-eighths and prevailing for Dave Palone, 3 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Trotslikethewind, with Itsghostlyoutside third. The time shaved a tick from the track record for older trotting mares that Unefoisdansmavie held jointly with Mystical Starlight and Perfect Chance. Ron Burke trains the 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World, who now boasts $351,317 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III. Palone and Burke each fashioned a four-bagger on the 15-race card while Greg Grismore and Aaron Merriman drove three winners apiece. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows  

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 1, 2013 — Pouncing on the tiring leaders, Isabella’s Magic circled from worst to first and pulled off a 24-1 shocker in Friday’s $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Isabella’s Magic was ninth at the quarter and still trailed by 4-1/2 lengths at the three-quarters. But aided by a hot pace and multiple lead changes, the 6-year-old daughter of Blissful Hall-Follow The Magic swung wide for Greg Grismore, gobbled up ground in the lane and scored in 1:52.1. Hearts N Flowers was second, 1/2 length back, with Sissy Bar third. Ray Simms trains Isabella’s Magic, who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for William Spotti, Jr. Mike Wilder drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows  

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 20, 2013 — Seemingly blocked behind a wall of horses, Isabella’s Magic knifed inside at the top of the lane, weaved a path between horses and scored a 9-1 upset victory in Friday’s $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Isabella’s Magic was third over for Greg Grismore, who elected to shift inside rather than send the 6-year-old daughter of Blissfull Hall-Follow The Magic well wide in the stretch. That move worked out perfectly when Isabella’s Magic found a seam and barreled home in 1:52, matching her career best. Early leader Darena Hanover was second, 1/2 length back, with Star Keeper third. Ray Simms trains Isabella’s Magic, who now boasts $194,662 in lifetime earnings, for William Spotti, Jr. Grismore and Brian Zendt each drove three winners on the 15-race card. With one victory on the program, Dave Palone pushed his career win total to 15,995 in his quest to become the first North American driver with 16,000 wins. Evan Pattak

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