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LEBANON, OH. - After a winless month of January, Fan Of Terror (John DeLong) returned to his winning ways on Saturday night (Feb. 8) at Miami Valley Raceway. The 8-year-old Western Terror gelding, whose 18 victories in 2019 fell just one short of being the most in the country, captured the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:52 despite being saddled with a second tier start in the full field of ten of the Midwest's finest older harness racing horses. DeLong got Fan Of Terror away fifth during the :26.4 first quarter and remained there until the halfway point in the mile was reached in :55. Swinging three wide down the backside and around the final turn, the winner was able to move up to third when the three quarters timer flashed 1:23.1. Fan Of Terror proved strongest during the stretch drive when a cavalry of closers came calling from near the rear of the field. 18-1 longshot Beyond Delight (Chris Page) came closest to catching the winner while 5-2 I'm A Big Deal (Brett Miller) got the show dough. Fan Of Terror, owned by Therl Hensley and trained by Peter Redder, paid $13.40 to win. Coupled with Beyond Delight, the exacta payoff was a hefty $254.60. The 50-cent trifecta return was $476.45. Fan Of Terror holds off Beyond Delight to capture Miami Valley’s $25,000 Open on Saturday Three divisions of the first leg of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley late closer were also contested on the program. The series began with the contestants squaring off in a trio of $12,500 five-eighths mile dashes. Week two next Saturday will feature one mile races for $17,500 purses; while the $25,000 championship will be decided over a mile and a quarter distance. First leg winners were American Dreamer (Kayne Kauffman, 1:09.1, $4.80), Lifeonthebeach A (Chris Page, 1:08.3, $2.40) and Dave And Dennis (Sam Widger, 1:09.2, $7.00). The Dailey Memorial Medley honors the memory of James "Bill" Dailey, one of the finest conditioners of young horses in Ohio's storied harness racing history. Dailey won seven of the eight divisional Ohio Sires Stakes championships offered for two and three year old Buckeye breds during his career and had a prime contender for the only one missing on his impressive resume at the time of his sudden and unexpected passing in 2018. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - If either the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers perform as well as harness racing star Windsong Leo has been lately at Miami Valley Raceway they should have no problem trouncing their adversary in the Super Bowl. Windsong Leo, who won 15 races in 30 starts in 2019, is undefeated in four 2020 starts-all in Open Handicap contests where he has been assigned an outside post. In his most recent triumph on Saturday night (Feb. 1) the 8-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding was again sent seeking the front end by pilot Chris Page. Stuck four wide midway through the first turn, Page backed the stellar winner off briefly to let the dust settle, but continued to the front as the leaders passed the quarter in :27 flat. As is his custom, Windsong Leo played catch me if you can from that point to the finish, and again nobody could. Despite a few tepid challenges along the way, Page patiently guided his overwhelming favorite through middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:23.4 before sealing the deal for the third consecutive week in 1:52.3. Longshots General Dolan (Sam Widger) and Lifewithjohn (Ricky Macomber Jr.) rallied for place and show finishes with My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith), Shagnwiththedragon (Brett Miller) and Beyond Delight (John DeLong) picking up the minor spoils in the full field of ten. Windsong Leo is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. Miami Valley will not race on Sunday (Feb. 2) due to the Super Bowl, but will resume the normal five-days a week schedule on Monday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Insomniac and Foolish Heart were crowned harness racing champions of their respective Claim To Fame Series on Monday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway. Each captured a preliminary leg enroute to the lucrative finals and each utilized the popular "give and go" strategy early in their triumphant championship miles. Insomniac proved best in the $15,000 claiming trot division, contested for a $27,500 purse, scoring a 1:58.1 triumph over a sloppy track besting Away My Baby (Tyler Smith) and Ray Hall (Ricky Macomber Jr.). Taking full advantage of an inside post draw, driver-trainer Brady Galliers allowed a single adversary to manage a temporary lead but retook control as the field passed the quarter mile marker. From there, the margin of victory was about the only thing in doubt as the 8-year-old gelded son of Crazed easily lived up to his 6-5 favoritism and cruised to an open lengths victory. A noted early speed trotter, Insomniac has been on the lead at the halfway point in each of his last five starts, resulting in three wins in addition to a second a third place finish. The 29-time winner has now amassed $350,517 in earnings. He is owned by Galliers Racing LLC. Insomniac Trace Tetrick guided Foolish Heart to victory in the $17,500 final of the Claim To Fame division for $8000 claiming mare pacers. The 6-year-old daughter of Foreclosure N reclaimed the lead from stablemate T C Scandal (Brett Miller) early in the trip then showed her heels to the field until reaching the wire in 1:56.2. Skyway Royalty (John DeLong) and My Caroline (Kyle Ater) did make a race of it in the stretch, but Foolish Heart held them off and returned $3.80 to her faithful. Partners Carl Howard, Dana Parham and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. claimed the winner out of the first preliminary leg in the series for $9600 and were rewarded with a $8,750 return in their first start with the new stable addition. The eight division Claim To Fame Series at Miami Valley will come to a close on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 28) when the $8000 claiming "boys" and $12,500 claiming "girls" will each decide their championships while chasing $22,500 purses. Post time is 2:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The Dark Shadow pulled a major harness racing upset in the $37,500 championship leg of Miami Valley's Claim To Fame series for $30,000 male pacers on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 26). Driver Sam Widger, perhaps buoyed by winning the $20,000 Claim To Fame division with Pet Shark as a longshot from an outside post position on Saturday, exploded his charge from the 8-hole behind the Woebkenberg starting gate. After reaching the quarter mile marker on top in :26.1, the 6-year-old Shadow Play gelding continued to keep the pedal to the metal tripping the middle clocking stations in :54.2 and 1:22.2. Facing pressure from eventual runnerup Street Boy (Jeremy Smith) throughout the final panel and then show finisher Southern Flight (Brady Galliers) up the inside in the lane, The Dark Shadow held off both challengers to score in 1:52.1 and take down the lion's share of the meet's largest purse to date. The winner, dispatched at 15-1 odds, paid $32.60. Coupled with Street Boy the exacta returned $239.60; while the 50-cent trifecta with Southern Flight kicked back $308.75. Owner-trainer Adam Short collared The Dark Shadow via the claim box for $30,000 from the first leg of the series. His wise investment has already returned $32,500 by winning the second leg and final. With his 16th win from 81 career starts, The Dark Shadow surpassed the quarter million dollar earnings plateau. There will be racing programs on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at Miami Valley Raceway followed by evening cards on Friday and Saturday. There will be no racing on Sunday, Feb. 2 in deference to the Super Bowl. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. – A pair of ultra-impressive harness racing performances, both by horses starting from the outermost No. 9 post position, highlighted the Saturday (Jan. 25) night action at Miami Valley Raceway. Windsong Leo (Chris Page) ran his win streak to five capturing the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:52 over a sloppy track.  The outstanding 8-year-old son of Jereme’s Jet has won three straight at the top level at The Meadows and now two straight at Miami Valley following a third place finish in the Preferred at The Meadowlands to end 2019. Page rushed his odds-on favorite, trained by Ron Burke, off the gate and controlled all the fractions (:27.1, :56 and 1:23.3) enroute to the victory.  Windsong Leo, a 53 time winner in 117 career starts, towed Gerardo (Kayne Kauffman), My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith), Shagnwiththedragon (John DeLong) and General Dolan (Trace Tetrick) across the wire. Pet Shark (Sam Widger) copped the $32,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame Series for $20,000 male pacers. After leaving with alacrity from his outside post, Widger and Pet Shark pestered favored Ponderingjacksfame (Page) through fractions of :27.4, :55.4 and 1:24.1. Despite being dispatched at odds of 17-1 and never seeing a pylon in the race, the winning 7-year-old Shadyshark Hanover gelding mustered a gutsy :29.2 final panel to hold off the late charges of Ram N Desire (Smith) and Cool Like That (Brett Miller). Owners Ryan Bellamy and Chris Bulak claimed Pet Shark for $26,000 a week ago in the final preliminary leg of the series and got $16,250 of that investment back in the final.  The winner now sports 19 triumphs in his 114 lifetime starts. Pet Shark was an upset winner in the $32,500 championship leg of Miami Valley’s Claim To Fame Series for $20,000 claimers. Racing resumes Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. at Miami Valley when the feature will be the $37,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame Series for $30,000 male pacers.  Gregg Keidel

 LEBANON, OH. – When you are good, you are good!  When you are hot, you are hot!!  A pair of five-year-old harness racing pacers, Hal N Sammy and Danikova, fit both clichés to a T on Friday night (Jan. 24) winning their respective lucrative championships in the first pair of finals in the popular Claim To Fame series’ currently underway at Miami Valley Raceway.  Both swept their series undefeated by winning a pair of preliminary legs leading up to the final as well. Hal N Sammy (Brett Miller) scored in 1:54.1 on the rain dampened oval over Hell On Wheels (Aaron Merriman) and Hopetobefirst (Trace Tetrick) in the horses and geldings division for $12,500 claimers.  The gelded son of Yankee Cruiser banked $26,250, including the winner’s share of the $25,000 final, in the three week span after winning just $22,673 in 29 starts last season.  Owner Gregory Gardner and trainer Brandon Piguet were racing the champion in $10,000 claiming events leading up to the start of the $12,500 series. The improving winner paid $7.00 after exploding from the pocket to collar pacesetting Hell On Wheels in midstretch. Danikova (Chris Page) was crowned queen of the division for $20,000 claiming mares when she also completed a sweep of her series with a nose decision over Velocity Lana (Aaron Merriman) and longshot Model (Trevor Smith).  The daughter of Bettor’s Delight overcame an overland journey from far back to nip the pacesetting runnerup in the final stride of the exciting 1:55 mile.  Danikova getting a nose decision in 1:55                           --Conrad photo The winner’s share of the $30,000 final boosted Danikova’s series earnings to $36,250 and her lifetime bankroll to $163,947.  She was bred and is still owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the M1 Stable.  She returned $8.80 at the mutual windows. The $25,000 Mares Open also featured a repeat winner in Golden Paradise (Trace Tetrick).  Sitting the pocket trip throughout, the six-year-old mare wore down the frontrunners and then held off closers Sandy Sue (Chris Page) and Debt Motivated (Brett Miller) to cop the 1:53.4 victory.  Golden Paradise’s bankroll swelled to over a quarter million dollars with the triumph for trainer Tyler George and his partners Sam Schillaci and Wrenn Jr. Racing LLC. Golden Paradise winning the Mares Open                        --Conrad photo Racing resumes Saturday night (Jan. 25) with a 14-race card highlighted by a $25,000 Open Pace and the $32,500 final of the Claim To Fame Series for $20,000 male pacers.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Sweet Mr Pinetucky (Trace Tetrick) returned to the harness racing winner's circle for the second time in three weeks on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 21) at Miami Valley Raceway, winning the $25,000 Open Handicap Trot in 1:53.3 over Walter White (Jeremy Smith) and Trumpets (Ed Greeno Jr.). The quick clocking, on a frigid 27 degree afternoon, equaled the winner's lifetime best and raised the 6-year-old's lifetime earnings over $230,000. He is owned by trainer Lester Raber in partnership with his breeder Floyd Raber. Finalists were also determined in a pair of Claim To Fame series, each carrying $22,500 purses in their championship finals next Tuesday. M E Radar Girl swept both preliminary legs to emerge as the money earning leader among the $12,500 claiming mares group. The remaining top nine earners were Smash, Don't Mach Mia, Galyns Gift, Crazy Bad K, Grant Me This, Sweet Western, Keystone Nikki and Grimalkin. Blacklist Z Tam topped the earnings list among $8000 claiming horses and geldings, who competed in seven preliminary divisions to determine the final field. Others who secured spots are N Expense, Legal Transfer, Double Impact, Putnams Attack, Colossal, Totally Kissed, New Patrol and Beachboy Desire. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Away My Baby and Entranced punched tickets to the 'Big Dance' by winning $17,500 splits of the harness racing final preliminary leg of the Claim To Fame Series for $15,000 trotters at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday afternoon (Jan. 20). The championship leg next Monday, Jan. 27, features a $27,500 purse. Away My Baby (Tyler Smith) pulled a major upset in the first division, edging runnerup Kiwi Pres (Brett Miller) and heavily favored show finisher Insomniac (Trace Tetrick) in 1:56.1. Sent off at 30-1 odds the Sherif Cunmulaj trainee, a 6-year-old daughter of And Away We Go, paid $63.80 for taking full advantage of an opening up the inside in deep stretch. Coupled with Kiwi Pres, who managed a brief short lead in the lane, the exacta returned $109; while the 50-cent trifecta with the favored Insomniac, who gave up the lead in the shadow the wire, kicked back $114.65. Insomniac, who was claimed off trainer Brady Galliers in the first leg, was claimed back by Galliers for the final. Entranced (John DeLong) narrowly defeated Ray Hall (Brett Miller) and Ursis Des Caillons (Kayne Kauffman) to secure his spot in the lucrative championship tilt. The 9-year-old Kadabra gelding, owned and trained by Joe Cirasuola, paid $6.60 following his come-from-behind triumph. The top nine money earners in the series comprise the final field. In order of earnings, they are Entranced, Insomniac, Away My Baby, Kiwi Pres, Infrontandforgetit, Here's The Magic, Ray Hall, Its Chocolate Time and Ursis Des Caillons. Two final preliminary heats of the Claim To Fame Series for $8000 claiming mares were also contested. Upsetter My Caroline (Kyle Ater) took the first division in 1:54.3; while D Gs Shadowsbell (Jeremy Smith) copped the other in 1:54.4. Joining those two winners in the $17,500 final next week will be Foolish Heart, TCs Scandal, Skyway Royalty, Elm Grove Joanette, Big Chute, Melanies Filly and Analyze. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The claim box at Miami Valley Raceway was flooded on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 12) as 18 $30,000 claims were submitted prior to the racing of the three harness racing divisions of the most lucrative annual Claim To Fame Series. After eliminating the duplicates by random draw, a total of eight horses changed hands for a total of $240,000, including a pair of first leg winners. Southern Flight (Brady Galliers) copped the first $25,000 split for the $30,000 claimers. The 1:53.1 upset winner ($26.00 win mutual) topped Best Man Hanover (Trevor Smith) and Class Six (Shawn Barker II) for owner Brian Witt and trainer Larry Finn. Favorites Rock Out and The Dark Shadow were both claimed from the race, but finished fifth and sixth in this first leg action. Heavily favored Street Boy (Trace Tetrick, $2.60) dominated the second division, besting The Book Of Life (Josh Sutton) and Noah Z Tam (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:52. The winner, entered by Allard Racing Inc. and trained locally by Tyler George, was plucked via claim from the race as was the runnerup. Tetrick also steered the winner of the final division, Normandy Beach ($5.60), who also clocked a 1:52 mile to beat Dakota Roadster (Trevor Smith) and Lincolnjames (Brady Galliers). Allard Racing also owned this winner with partners Bruce Soulsby, VIP Internet Stable and Chris Carson-although Normandy Beach will race for new connections in the second leg after being one of four horses snagged from this field. Others who shipped home in different trailers than they came were Lincolnjames, Get Around Town and Savage Seelster. Claiming prices escalate by 30% in the second leg of the series next Sunday (Jan. 19), with purses jumping to $27,500. The lucrative final in Week 3 will chase a purse of $37,500. Racing resumes at Miami Valley on Monday and Tuesday afternoons with the matinee programs beginning at 2:05 p.m.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The seventh season of live harness racing at Miami Valley Raceway kicks off with five straight days of 14-race programs on Friday night, Jan. 3 at 6:05 p.m.   Opening weekend is chock full of nine and ten horse fields with a trio of enhanced $30,000 purse Open events highlighting the cards. With an estimated total purse account nearing $15 million for the 87-day meet, Miami Valley will race for some of the highest purses in North America over the next four months.   My Tweed Heart (Brett Miller) has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Friday's $30,000 Mares Open Handicap by handicapper Rick Stevens-Gleason, followed by Allbeastnobeauty (Tyler Smith, 7-2), Always Giggling (John DeLong, 4-1), Rosemary Rose (Chris Page, 9-2) and Newsday (Kayne Kauffman, 6-1).   The 7-year-old favorite My Tweed Heart, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., is the richest mare in the field with $556,678 in career earnings. The daughter of Manhardt is owned by Winners Circle Stable LLC and Phil Harris of Columbus, Ohio.   I'm A Big Deal (Brett Miller) got the 5-2 nod over Fan Of Terror (John DeLong, 3-1) in Saturday's $30,000 Open Handicap for horses and geldings. The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere won his first start at Hollywood Dayton after being plucked from the Harrisburg sale by owner Dana Parham and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Since he has reeled off three straight runnerup finishes in the weekly Southwest Ohio feature, the last two to Fan Of Terror who is assigned outside this week.   Other stalwarts given a good chance are My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith, 4--1), Granite (Jeremy Smith, 5-1) and Tyd Theglyde (Trace Tetrick, 8-1).   The $30,000 Open Trot will be presented on Tuesday afternoon and is sure to include most of the Midwest's top squaregaiters.   Three of North America's winningest drivers will compete throughout the opening week at Miami Valley--Brett Miller, Trace Tetrick and Chris Page.   The regular schedule from Jan. 3 through May 3 will be Friday and Saturday evening programs followed by Sunday, Monday and Tuesday matinees.   "Track Superintendent Jimmy Shelton has done a great job getting the racing surface in the best possible shape," said Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "With the abundant horse supply, outstanding purses and elite drivers colony here at Miami Valley, I expect our seventh season to showcase some of the best racing you'll find anywhere! Let the good times roll!!!"   From Miami Valley Raceway    

DAYTON, OH. - Team Northfield Park harness racing drivers Kurt Sugg and Greg Grismore both scored driving doubles to lead their squad to a convincing 507-445 triumph in the initial "Buckeye Battle" at Hollywood Dayton--benefitting the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.   Sugg captured the sixth and seventh legs of the eight-race contest, while Grismore won leg two and the eighth and final leg to secure the victory for the Northern Ohio quintet. Aaron Merriman also won a leg to give Team Northfield a 5-3 advantage over Team Hollywood Dayton in the win column.   Tyler Smith, Jeremy Smith and Josh Sutton won "Buckeye Battle" races for the home team, who had a narrow 364-350 lead after six of the eight races.   Overall point leader was Kurt Sugg who accumulated 130 points. Greg Grismore was a close second with 119, followed by Jeremy Smith 112, Tyler Smith 96, David Lake 95, Aaron Merriman 94-1/2, Josh Sutton 84, Brett Miller 83, Kayne Kauffman 70 and Chris Lems 68-1/2.   Winning horses were Fancy Footwork (Tyler Smith, 1:54, $9.00), Colonys Best (Greg Grismore, 1:54.1, $8.00), Parkin In Heaven (Aaron Merriman, 1:53.3, $3.00), Vegas Again (Jeremy Smith, 1:53.2, $8.00), Imajean Rocks (Josh Sutton, 1:52.2, $5.80), Risk N (Kurt Sugg, 1:53.2, $16.60), Sportsmuffler (Kurt Sugg, 1:53.2, $10.00) and Arrival (Greg Grismore, 1:52.3, $28.40). $3000 was donated to the Disaster Relief Fund, which is being used to repair buildings as well as families following a horrific tornado that swept through Dayton last Memorial Day.   "It is just wonderful that people who weren't effected by the devastation keep coming together to help those that were," said the Dayton Foundation's Carrie Dalrymple. "We can't thank the horsemen enough for chosing to make a positive difference in total strangers lives tonight. Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association are to be commended for creating this fun event to raise awareness that this is a long term relief project that will take years to finish and more help is still needed."   Although Josh Sutton had the misfortune of having two horses scratched during the Buckeye Battle, he still lead all drivers on the overall 14-race program with a Grand Slam--four trips to the winner's circle on the night.   by Gregg Keidel, for the Buckeye Battle

DAYTON, OH. - Five of Northfield Park's top harness racing drivers will square off against a quintet of Hollywood Dayton's best reinsmen on Friday night (Dec. 13) in the first-ever "Buckeye Battle" to determine state bragging rights (North vs. South) as well as raise money for the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.   Hollywood Gaming and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association have joined forces to provide $3000 in prize money for the event--$2500 to the winners and $500 to the losers. All ten drivers from both teams have agreed to donate the entire amount to the relief fund, monitored by the Dayton Foundation, and being used to rebuild infrastructure in neighborhoods that were devastated by a Memorial Day tornado.   Team Northfield is captained by Aaron Merriman, the reigning 2019 national dash champion who currently has a comfortable lead in his quest to repeat and defend that title. He will be joined by Kurt Sugg, Chris Lems, Greg Grismore and David Lake. Team Dayton is led by local dash leader and native Ohioan Brett Miller, who is wrapping up his first year back as a Buckeye after a successful decade-long stint at The Meadowlands and other major harness tracks on the East Coast. Also competing for the local squad will be Jeremy Smith, Tyler Smith, Kayne Kauffman and Josh Sutton.   The drivers will go toe-to-toe and stride-for-stride in eight races on the Friday program, which starts at 6:15 p.m. Each of the ten drivers were pre-assigned approximately equal post positions over the course of the contest, with horses then randomly drawn in to those races. Points will be awarded as follows: 30 for first place, 24 for second, 18 for third, followed by 14-11-8-5-3-1-0 for fourth through tenth place finishes.   Five claiming events, ranging from the $6500 level up to $15,000, plus three high level condition races comprise the competition. Team Northfield will look to gain an early advantage as Merriman will guide the morning line favorite in three of the first four events. Team Dayton drivers, however, have been blessed with morning line favorites in the final three events.   The competition will be friendly, but also fierce, as these ten top reinsmen face off to determine if the northern Ohio or southern Ohio drivers win the inaugural "Buckeye Battle."   by Gregg Keidel, for the Buckeye Battle

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway management and racing officials are busy preparing for the kickoff of their seventh harness racing season on January 3, 2020. Condition sheets for the first week of racing have already been posted to the U.S.T.A. website; and Late Closing Series nomination forms are available at the website: www.miamivalleygaming.com, then clicking on Racing in the scroll down menu followed by clicks on Horsemens Info and scrolling down to "Forms." In addition to nomination forms for the January Claim To Fame series, February events include the Bill Dailey Memorial, Howard Beissinger Memorial trot and Survivor Series. Late February through March will feature Lebanon Legends series for green pacers and trotters that are non-winners of two, four or six pari-mutuel races. The popular James K. Hackett Memorials for sophomore colts and fillies on both the pace and trot are also scheduled for April. The MVG website also provides ship-in application forms, waiver of liability forms, purse authorization forms and information on race office hours and phone numbers. "We anticipate slightly higher purses for the overall meet with an estimated purse account in excess of $14 million," stated Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Business remains brisk at Miami Valley, horse supply should be good again this year, and I see no reason we won't have our biggest and best season so far." A pre-meet qualifying races session is scheduled for Monday, December 30 at noon. Trainers are encourage to enter the qualifiers online, or can call the Miami Valley race office from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, December 28. Opening week will feature a trio of enhanced $30,000 Open events--one for male pacers, one for female pacers and one for trotters. Due to the New Years holiday, a double draw for Friday, January 3 and Saturday, January 4 will be conducted on Monday, December 30 following the initial qualifiers, with the box closing at 2 p.m. From Miami Valley Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Dancin Yankee, arguably the best Ohio-sired harness racing horse of all time, burst through the $2 million earnings plateau winning the $17,000 Open Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday (Nov. 9) in 1:51.   The 11-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser was the oldest horse in the stellar field of eight and was saddled with the outside post, yet raced gamely as ever to score his 11th victory of 2019 and 80th of his lengthy and storied career. With the win, Dancin Yankee's lifetime bounty now stands at $2,003,907.   "He's the best blue collar horse I've ever driven," exclaimed driver Chris Page.   "He shows up every single week and gives you everything he's got every time out!"   This milestone triumph was a perfect example of Page's sentiments. Parked three wide for much of the first quarter, Dancin Yankee didn't clear to the front until after passing the first quarter in :26.3. While fronting the field, he sped past the :54.4 halfway point and the 1:22.1 third timing station while being heavily pressured by Fools Desire (Dan Noble), who ultimately finished fourth. With a :28.4 final quarter on a cool 38-degree evening, Dancin Yankee held off Granite (Jeremy Smith) and Tookadiveoffdipper (Brett Miller), both of whom came calling in the stretch before falling a half-length short.                                                                                             --Conrad photo   Dancin Yankee has been owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Melissa Patterson and Larry Karr in recent years. Ron Burke manages the $2 million winner, second trainer Jason Irwin often harnesses him when racing in Ohio, and longtime caretaker Carlee Comer is particularly proud of her prize pupil's accomplishments.   Echoing the sentiments of many of Dancin Yankee's Ohio race fans, announcer Barry Vicroy had this to say during the winner's circle presentation: "Its been an honor and a privilege to call many of his wins here in Ohio. Its not often a horse this great comes along and stays this sharp for this long. I'm a BIG Dancin Yankee fan!"     Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Ten of Ohio's best harness racing reinsmen will compete head-to-head on Friday night, December 13, in a team contest to determine- -for one night at least- -whether Northfield Park or Hollywood Dayton Raceway has the strongest drivers colony.   The real winner, however, will be the Dayton Disaster Relief Fund which was created by the Dayton Foundation to aid in rebuilding infrastructure and families following two horrific local events earlier this year--a devastating tornado on Memorial Day and the Oregon District mass shootings in early August.   Hollywood Dayton Raceway, in conjunction with the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association, is pleased to earmark $3000 in prize money for the "Battle of the Buckeyes," and the members of both the north and south squads have agreed to donate the entire prize money pool to the Disaster Relief Fund. The winning team will donate $2500 and the losers, although there are no losers in an event like this, will chip in their $500 in proceeds.   Team Northfield will be captained by their dash leader, Aaron Merriman, who is also the reigning National Dash Champion. Each team will be comprised of the top five in the track's dash standings. If the contest were today, Northfield would be represented by Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Kurt Sugg, Chris Lems and Ryan Stahl in addition to Merriman.   Team Hollywood Dayton will be headed by Brett Miller, who currently holds a 20 race advantage in the host track's standings. Barring a huge rally by another driver in the next month, the local squad would also include Tyler Smith, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Kayne Kauffman.   Team Hollywood Dayton captain Brett Miller                                          --Conrad photo   The Buckeye Battle will feature eight races on the December 13 program, with each team getting an equal amount of even and odd numbered post positions and each individual driver getting approximately even post positions over the course of the contest. Once the driver's post positions have been pre-decided, the horses will be drawn randomly into the races to determine their pilots.   Points will be awarded 30-20-15-13-11-9-7-5-3-1 for first through tenth place finishes in each race. At the conclusion of the competition, either Team Northfield Park or Team Hollywood Dayton will be deemed the Buckeye's Best for 2019, with the outlook good for this becoming an annual event.   Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Voyage To Paris (Dan Noble) turned the tables on Lane Of Stone (Jeff Nisonger) in the Thursday (Oct. 10) featured harness racing trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Six weeks ago the pair of 3-year-old colts finished one-two in the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship tilt at Northfield Park with Lane Of Stone getting a three-quarter length nod at the wire. Voyage To Paris extracted revenge in the rematch, however, holding off his main adversary in gate to wire fashion by a half length in 1:54.3. Signal Hill (Aaron Merriman), who left alertly from an outside post position, utilized a pocket trip to finish a close up third.   In fact, the top seven finishers in the $13,000 conditioned trot were bunched with 2-1/4 lengths at the end of the contentious affair.   The top two finishers have banked just under $500,000 this year racing exclusively in Ohio, an indication of just how lucrative the Buckeye state stakes program has become.   Voyage To Paris is a son of Dontyouforgetit owned by Stephen Richard and Lana Pollock. He is managed by longtime Ohio trainer Jim Pollock Jr.   Hollywood Dayton will race back to back matinees this coming weekend with programs starting at 2:15 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.   The Sunday card will feature an eight pack of highly competitive $40,000 Ohio Fair Finals, pitting the top nine point winners from races at over 60 Ohio county fairs throughout the summer.     Gregg Keidel

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