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DAYTON, OH. - Harness racing driver Kayne Kauffman, who started the day with 77 wins during the first 52 days of the current Hollywood Dayton Raceway meet, strengthened his hold on third place in the local dash derby with a handful (5) of victories on the Monday (Nov. 27) matinee. The 39-year-old red and white clad reinsman was met by five different trainers when he returned to the winner's circle with his winning charges. Kayne captured the lidlifter on the 14-race matinee program with favored Friskie's Angel, who won a $4000 claimer in 1:55 for trainer Chris Short, kicking back $3.80 to her supporters. Two races later, Kauffman guided Knockemstiff Nicki (1:56.2, $5.00) to a score in a non-winners of two condition/claimer for conditioner Steve Carter. Feel The Heat (1:55.1, $30.60), from the Sam Coven barn, upset a field of $5000 claimers for Kauffman's next triumph. Next up in Kauffman's victory string was Onestrong Magarita (1:56.1, $17.60) who topped a field of non-winners of two fillies and mares for trainer Ray Farmer. Jesse's Promise (1:55.4, $13.40) completed the reinsman's big day, trotting past a field of top conditioned horses for trainer Mervin Schmucker. Kauffman now sports 2795 career wins, providing owners of horses he has driven with almost $17 million. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. – Time To Casper and harness racing driver Kayne Kauffman launched an impressive three-wide brush nearing the three-quarters pole which carried them to victory in the “50 Shades Of Gray” Halloween Handicap pace on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 31) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.  The winner, a 3-year-old Art Official colt, proved best of the assembled gray horses currently competing at Dayton with the 1:55.1 score over runnerup Ghosts And Legends (Trevor Smith) and show finisher White Fish Flash (Mike Micallef).  The top three finishers were actually traveling in the last three spots as the scratch-shortened field of six hit the halfway point in :56.4 with Give Up The Ghost (Ryan Miller) on the engine and Mr Ruppel (Randy Tharps) and Empty Gun Ivy (Chris Page) in hot pursuit. Patrons who bet on the right gray (Time To Casper) received a $4.40 win mutual on the favorite.  At 21-1, Ghosts And Legends boosted the exacta return to a healthy $38.00.  White Fish Flash, at 2-1, rounded out the correct all-gray trifecta ticket which paid $161.60. Hollywood Dayton races on a five-day a week schedule through December 30.  Afternoon 2:15 matinees are presented on Mondays and Tuesdays; with 6:15 post times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The first of four February "Survivor Series" champions was crowned Sunday afternoon (Feb. 19) at Miami Valley Raceway. A Little Starstruk (Kayne Kauffman) proved to be queen of the harness racing elimination style 'elite series' for $10,000 claiming mares, triumphing over Ginger Spice N (Brady Galliers) and Fox Valley Pipa (Randy Tharps) in 1:53.3. Kauffman put the winning 6-year-old Well Said mare on the front end early, and save for a very brief give-and-go lead change with Fox Valley Pipa around the :27.4 first quarter mile marker, A Little Starstruk never had an anxious moment. Posting comfortable mid-mile fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.1 she had plenty left to post a :28.2 final quarter while opening up daylight on the other eight finalists through the stretch. Elated owner-trainer Chris McGuire plucked A Little Starstruk via the claim box from the first leg of the claiming series for $12,000 and almost recouped his entire investment in one week with the winner's share of the $20,000 championship purse. Miami Valley will be 'dark' on Monday (Feb. 20) due to Presidents Day, although simulcast wagering will be available throughout the day and night. Live racing resumes Tuesday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. when a $22,000 Open Trot and a pair of third elimination round races for $5000 male pacers will share the spotlight. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - After a four week absence, Noone To Depend On returned to the winner's circle following the Friday (Feb. 17) $22,000 Fillies & Mares Open Pace at Miami Valley Raceway. After reeling off harness racing victories at the top level the first two weeks of the meet in early January, the 4-year-old daughter of Santanna Blue Chip had only a fourth place finish to show for her next three starts (plus a week off). Trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman was on a mission this night, however, determined to put his talented lass on the engine and stay there. Leaving alertly from the three hole behind the gate, Noone To Depend On was first to clear to the pylons and reluctant to let anyone pass her the rest of the way. Stacking other adversaries with front end dreams four-wide until just before the :26.2 quarter, Kauffman was able to get a :29 breather for his outstanding mare once the others tucked behind her. Just before the midway mark favored American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) began her assault from fifth. Last week's winner moved up from fifth to third on the outside during the :28 flat third panel, and continued to inch closer all the way to the wire-but fell a little over a length short in the 1:52.3 mile. Aniston Seelster (Randy Tharps) closed best of all in the stretch to grab the show money. Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen own Noone To Depend On, who they purchased in November at the Harrisburg sale. She has returned double her purchase price in just two months of racing for her new connections. Excitement continued to build Friday night in the second leg of the Survivor Series for $10,000 male pacers. Four elimination heats went postward and were whittled down to two for next Friday's third and final preliminary elimination round. The ten 'survivors' will compete for a $25,000 purse on March 3. Quickest winner in the quartet of $12,000 purse races was Blueridge Doc (Dan Noble) in 1:52.3, who paid $8.00 to win. The other three winners were Status Quo (Tyler Smith, 1:52.4, $11.40), Ahdoughnolum (Tyler Smith, 1:53.1, $7.00) and Thisdeuceiswild (Jason Brewer, 1:55, $10.60). Seven of the 36 horses in the second round were claimed, including five that advanced to Round 3. Blueridge Doc and Thisdeuceiswild will be racing for new connections, who get the benefit of a 20% boost in claiming price next go-around. Gregg Keidel

A 4-year-old female pacer, Noone To Depend On has won four of six starts and established a harness racing track record at Hollywood Dayton Raceway since joining Kauffman's stable in November. On Friday night, she is the 4-1 morning line favorite from post 10 (in the second tier) in the Fillies & Mares Open at Miami Valley. Noone To Depend On enters the race off an eighth-place finish in the Jan. 20 F&M Open at Miami Valley, when she started from the gate's outermost post - No. 9. That loss snapped a four-race win streak, with two of the victories coming in the F&M Open at Miami Valley and another coming in her track-record 1:51.4 mile at Dayton. Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen own Noone To Depend On, who was purchased for $25,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale in early November. For her career, the Ontario-born mare has won 12 of 44 races and earned $120,746 in purses. "She's turned out really well so far," said Kauffman, who trains and drives Noone To Depend On. "Hopefully it continues. We thought she would be a useful racehorse down this way, but she's really overachieved and exceeded our expectations, for sure. It's just been headshaking. We didn't expect anything like this." Noone To Depend On is a daughter of stallion Santanna Blue Chip out of the mare Tipsy Taters. Her family includes a number of six-figure money-earners, including past O'Brien Award winner Cupcakesnwhipcream. Last year at age 3, Noone To Depend On was competitive on the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots circuit, winning three times, and had a fourth-place finish in a sire stakes Gold division event won by L A Delight. "She wasn't one of the top fillies, but she showed she could go with them," Kauffman said. "She was one of the five mares we had picked out at the sale. A couple of them went for more than we thought they were worth. We were shocked that we got her for $25,000. I thought she would bring over $30,000, for what they were bringing at the sale. "We thought she would run up and down the conditions and be a nice useful race mare. So far, she's just been super good. She's got a good attitude and she's a pleasure to be around." Noone To Depend On opened eyes with her 1:51.4 victory at Dayton despite cold (26 degrees) and snowy conditions. The time established the track record for 3-year-old filly pacers. "That was the only time we raced her on the front end, and she seemed to like it," Kauffman said. Kauffman will have a difficult time getting to the front early on Friday, starting from the second tier. "I'm not a big fan of the second tier," Kauffman said. "You're at the mercy of the (post) 1 and 2 horses. If the outside horses leave you're liable to get away seventh or eighth as opposed to being halfway close. But we'll play the hand that's dealt to us. We'll just have to see how the trip works out and go from there." The connections have no plans for Noone To Depend On, other than trying to keep her at the top of her game. "I gave her a month off between Dayton and Miami Valley to freshen her up a bit," Kauffman said. "As long as she keeps racing as good as she has, I think we'll keep going forward. She'll let us know when she needs a break. It's a long year, too, and we'd definitely like to race her at Scioto this summer, so we'll just have to play it by ear. Kauffman, who set career highs last year as a driver with 315 wins and $3.37 million in purses, is the leading driver at Miami Valley, with 45 victories. "So far the first month at Miami Valley has been exceptional," Kauffman said. "Hopefully we can keep it rolling." Ken Weingartner

LEBANON, OH. - Martz Time completed the sweep of weekly $22,000 feature open race repeat harness racing winners on Tuesday (Jan. 17) at Miami Valley Raceway. Noone To Depend On duplicated her mares open pace victory on Friday night, Meadowbrook Thunder did likewise versus the best 'boys' in southwest Ohio on Saturday night, and Martz Time topped MVG's best trotters for the second straight time on Tuesday afternoon. With outside horses leaving aggressively in the top trot, driver Kayne Kauffman was unhurried with Martz Time and content to race near the back of the pack during the first three-quarters of the fray. When the field bunched up around the final turn Martz Time was forced to swing three wide before picking off horses one-by-one through the stretch. Shortly after passing his final foe, the winner cruised under the line in 1:56.1 to top fellow closer Rockinthepines (Andy Shetler) and Cimeronken (Kyle Ater). Pacesetter Insomniac (Brady Galliers) faded to fourth after cutting fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:25.3. Walter Haynes Jr. trains Martz Time for owners John McGill and Brian Carsey. The 8-year-old gelding now sports 36 lifetime wins and $437,016 in earnings. Two divisions of $12,500 claiming mares went to post in first leg action of their "Claim To Fame" series. Ginger Tree Alexis (Tyler Smith) captured the first split in 1:53.1 over Transit Hanover (Kayne Kauffman) and Cenaltafirecracker (Chris Page). Caviart Scarlett (Mike Oosting) proved best in the second division, topping Geisha Girl N (Chris Page) and A Little Starstruk (John DeLong) in 1:53.1. A total of five of the 16 mares in the two contests were collared via the claim box by new owners. The $8000 male claiming pacers also opened their annual series in four full 10-horse divisions. Turbo Mach (Trace Tetrick) beat Dunside Art (Mike Oosting) and Sand Summerfield (Jeremy Smith) to the finish line in 1:54.2; Grantor Hanover (John DeLong) topped Perma Grin (Pierce Henry) and Pastapalooza (Jason Brewer) in 1:54; Mikes Hope (Trevor Smith) was a 1:55 victor over Peck Blue Chip (Jason Brewer) and Fantastic Rock (Trace Tetrick); and Status Quo (Tyler Smith) was a 1:56.1 upset winner in the final test over Holy Chip (Kyle Ater) and P L Inferno (Kayne Kauffman). A total of 14 of the 40 combatants were successfully claimed by new connections, most of whom will presumably enter the second leg when claiming tags grow by 25%. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Noone To Depend On made it four-in-a-row in O-H-I-O on Friday night (Jan. 13) when she captured the $22,000 Fillies & Mares Open Pace in 1:52.3 at Miami Valley Raceway. It was the second consecutive harness racing open triumph after a pair of wins in the highest condition/claiming event since entering the Kayne Kauffman Stable. Kauffman's victory was his third on the night as Noone To Depend On topped Cas Art Apparel (Kyle Wilfong) and American Girl (Trace Tetrick). Content to get away mid-pack, despite starting the rail post position, the winning daughter of Santanna Blue Chip was angled three-wide around the final bend before sweeping to victory in the lane. Sent off at 8-5 odds, the winner returned $5.40. She is owned by Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen, who plucked her from the November Harrisburg sale for $25,000. The first leg of a "Claim To Fame" series for $12,500 claimers went to post in four divisions and the claim box was extremely busy. A total of 43 claims were entered, but after duplicates were randomly drawn 16 of the 39 horses actually changed hands. Surprizingly, only one of the four first leg winners will have new connections in the second leg as Splended Party (Jason Brewer) moves into the Jeff Hollis Stable, due to drawing the lucky pill from among seven claiming offers on the 1:52.4 winner, who returned $6.20 as the 2-1 favorite. Including other races, a total of 19 claims were validated on the Friday card for a total of $277,000. Newcomer Simon Allard drove the winners of the other three first leg winners. His triumphs came behind John Jay (1:53.4, $15.60), B R Flying Dali (1:53.4, $10.20) and Bridge Jumper (1:54, $11.20). Other horses with multiple claims entered on them were Woo Shark (13), Summons (6), Smithers (5), Lieutenant Steve (10), Lancaster Park (6), Strother (2) and No Habla (2). In round two, all horses will carry claiming tags 25% higher than in round one. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Martz Time ended his 2016 harness racing season with a bang Monday afternoon (December 26) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Stepping back into open company following a conditioned win two weeks ago, the ultra-consistent 7-year-old gelded son of Primetime Ranger won for the seventh time this year, matching his 2015 figure and inching past his year-ago earnings. Martz Time's current season bankroll ends at $95,435, topping last year's earnings by just over $1000. In his career, Martz Time has won 35 times and earned $426,016. Driver Kayne Kauffman took no prisoners, motoring directly to the front and posting front-stepping fractions of :28, :58.4 and 1:27.2 on his way to the 1:56.2 score. Walter Haynes Jr. trains the winner for owners John McGill and Brian Carsey. Hollywood Dayton is in its final week of racing until next Fall. The five-eighths mile oval finishes its third campaign with a 2:00 matinee on Tuesday afternoon and nighttime cards at 6:15 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Gregg Keidel

Despite 26 degree temperatures, snowy conditions and an 11-degree windchill, Noone To Depend On established a new track record of 1:51.4 for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies on Friday night (Dec. 9) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Recently purchased for $25,000 at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale by Stephen Herrick and Mark Bogen, the new track standard-bearer was making her third local start in a non-winners of 10 races with a $30,000 claiming tag (plus allowances, bringing Noone To Depend On's sale price to $51,000). Trainer-driver Kayne Kauffman, who picked the horse out for her new owners at Harrisburg, was impressed with her first two starts for him, including a 1:53.3 score in the same class a week ago. "She showed me enough last week to think we might have something special, so I decided to test her a little more tonight because we're going to have to move up in class now and I wanted to know if she'd be competitive. Despite the snow and cold, the track was in very good condition under the circumstances so I kept her rolling and she responded." Noone To Depend On is a daughter of Ontario sire Santanna Blue Chip. She now has 10 victories in her career and with her latest triumph moved within two thousand dollars of the $100,000 earnings plateau. Halle Shark (Josh Sutton) and Cas Art Apparel (Chris Page) deadheated for the place position with Allthatjazzde Vie (Peter Wrenn) another short nose back in fourth. The Fillies and Mares Open pacers stepped onto the track a race later with Aniston Seelster (Sutton) downing American Girl (Travis Seekman) and Albanian Era (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53. The 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three recently switched from the Ron Burke Stable to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable, making an impressive debut from her new surroundings following a four-week furlough. Kara Witt owns Aniston Seelster, whose bankroll swelled to over $175,000 with the tally. Racing resumes at Hollywood Dayton on Saturday, December 10, highlighted by the second annual six-race "Buckeyes vs. Hoosiers Driver's Challenge." Leading Indiana drivers Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, Ricky Macomber, Tyler Smith and Andy Shetler will face Ohio reinsmen Josh Sutton, Kayne Kauffman, Jeremy Smith, Dan Noble and Peter Wrenn for regional bragging rights. In the 2015 inaugural event, it took the Buckeyes until the final race to secure the team title on their home turf. The real winners Saturday night, however, will be underpriviledged Dayton area children and a paramedic who manned the Dayton Raceway ambulance many of the nights during the track's first two seasons, but suffered an unfortunate fall from a ladder earlier this year and is paralyzed from the waist down. The ten drivers in the Buckeyes-Hoosiers contest have voted to donate their entire $2500 prize pool to paramedic Crystal Wilson to help with her mounting rehabilitation costs. Additionally, the drivers are urging fellow horsemen and patrons to bring new toys to the track for distribution before Christmas to need children in the Dayton Firefighters District 16, providers of the trackside ambulance on a nightly basis. The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association has chipped in with a $1000 donation to be split between the firefighters toy drive and Ms. Wilson; and leading Dayton driver Josh Sutton has pledged all of his Saturday night driver commissions to the toy drive. MIAMI VALLEY IS CALLING ALL TOP DRIVERS FOR $25,000 TOURNAMENT The deadline for driver applications to compete in the inaugural $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway is less than two weeks away.  Interested drivers can download application forms at: www.miamivalleygaming.com by clicking on “Racing” and then “Horsemen Info”; or by emailing race secretary/tournament coordinator Gregg Keidel at greggkeidel@yahoo.com.  The tournament will be conducted over three matinee programs on January 8-10, but the field will be finalized shortly after the December 23 application deadline. Half of North America’s top ten dashwinners have already committed to participate and others are expected to sign on soon.  If more than 30 drivers apply, those with the most career victories (including a minimum of 100 in 2016) will be selected to compete for the title and the $10,000 first place cash prize. If you think you have what it takes to beat the best, review the driver application and join the fun.  Nationally acclaimed reinsmen Brett Miller, Aaron Merriman, Jody Jamieson, Trace Tetrick and Simon Allard have indicated they will be at Miami Valley for the tourney, plus current Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana standouts Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Josh Sutton, Chris Page, Tony Hall, Dan Noble, Mike Wilder, Kayne Kauffman,  Jim Pantaleano,  Randy Tharps, Peter Wrenn, Eric Goodell, Jason Brewer and many more. Leading drivers from throughout the United States and Canada are encouraged to submit tournament applications with a $300 entry fee, which is fully refundable if your career win total doesn’t get you in.  The entry fee includes the chance to be named North America Driving Champion and share in the $25,000 cash prize pool, plus includes up to three nights of nearby hotel accomodations, a banquet in Miami Valley’s acclaimed Cin City Steakhouse, and covers your required 2017 Ohio State Racing Commission licensing fee. Gregg Keidel  

Fran Anna was unable to produce many victories on the racetrack because of injuries, but she has produced a solid group of winners for Ohio-based owners Jerry Zosel and Kathy Ratcliff during her years as a broodmare. The first was Igottafeelinfran --- named with a nod to the Black Eyed Peas' hit song --- who won Ohio Sire Stakes championships at ages 3, 4 and 5 and just last Friday picked up career victory No. 26, pushing her lifetime earnings to $473,515. Next was four-time winner Gottatigerinmytank, followed by Gotmoneyinmypocket. On Saturday night, Gotmoneyinmypocket aims to capture the $35,000 James K. Hackett Memorial for Ohio-sired 3-year-old male pacers at Miami Valley Raceway. A gelding, Gotmoneyinmypocket will start from post eight with Kayne Kauffman driving for trainer Jim "Bill" Dailey. "Fran Anna is a nice mare," Ratcliff said. "She would have made a good racehorse but she got hurt. We were real disappointed, but she's had some nice babies for us. She's got a lot of personality and every one of her babies has been kind of unique in their own way. They love people, but they're ornery too." Zosel and Ratcliff purchased Fran Anna for $7,000 at the 2006 Ohio Selected Jug Sale. She won two of three races before seeing her career come to an end. But as one chapter closed, another began. Gotmoneyinmypocket, a son of stallion Feelin Friskie and a full brother to Igottafeelinfran, won two of nine starts last year, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $62,598. His second victory came in a division of the Ohio Sire Stakes in a track-record 1:52.3 performance at Scioto Downs. He finished fifth-placed-seventh a week later in the OSS championship. This season, Gotmoneyinmypocket is 2-for-2, including a 1:52.2 triumph in his Hackett elimination last weekend. "I texted Bill after the race Saturday, and I just texted the word 'wow.' He texted me back and said he's for real," Ratcliff said. "His nickname is 'Frank the Tank,' and if you were to see him you'd understand how he got that nickname," she added. "He's just a lot of horse and very strong." Ratcliff, a retired bookkeeper who used to work for Zosel's construction parts-and-equipment company in Columbus and now oversees Big Barn Farm, has bred a number of horses with Zosel. Among their other successes have been the recently retired Don't Know Chip, who won the 2011 Horse & Groom Series at the Meadowlands; Deep Chip, who was Ohio's 2-year-old male trotter of the year in 2008, when he captured the Ohio Triple Crown; and Can'tcutthatchip, who has earned $217,992 to date. "We've had some nice ones," Ratcliff said. "We've been very lucky." Following the Hackett, Gotmoneyinmypocket is staked to the Ohio Sire Stakes, Ohio Breeders Championship, and the local fairs circuit as well as the Circle City in Indiana. "He's an awful nice horse," Ratcliff said. "He tries. He and his sister, they just love to come from behind and chase horses. He hasn't raced a lot, but he really puts his effort into it." Dailey will have a busy weekend with Hackett Memorial entrants. In addition to sending out Gotmoneyinmypocket, he also trains the Hackett's other elimination victor, Winna Winna, who triumphed in 1:53.3. On Friday, he has 2-1 morning line favorite My Tweed Heart in the $35,000 Hackett Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Farwick Memorial Final to Tricky Nick LEBANON, OH. - Tricky Nick completed his own Miami Valley Raceway hat trick on Tuesday afternoon when he captured the $25,000 championship of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial trotting series-his third consecutive victory since shipping from The Meadows to Miami Valley specifically for this three week long late closer. Trainer Norm Parker at The Meadows had been training the 4-year-old Band's Gold Chip gelding for owners Megan Rogers and Derek Jacobus, but shipped him to the Randy Tharps Stable after nominating him to The Farwick, written for non-winners of six pari-mutuel races at time of nomination. With the three Miami Valley wins for trainer-driver Tharps, Tricky Nick now has eight pari-mutuel track wins and is nearing $100,000 in career bankroll. The winner had to work hard to gain the front end from post position three, then was pressured all the way to a sub :57 half over a rain-dampened track. Still Tharps was able to keep Tricky Nick alive through a grueling back half and hold off fellow preliminary heat winners Infiniti AS (Chris Page) and Honey B (Kyle Ater), who completed the trifecta, in 1:56.1. The Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial championship was the ninth and last of the 2016 "Lebanon Legends" late closers established in 2015 to honor the memory of notable great horsemen who made Lebanon Raceway their base of operations over a prolonged period of time in years gone by. by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA  

Considering the Major League Baseball season is two days away, harness racing trainer Scott Mogan chose the appropriate analogy for Feelin Lika Winner. “He’s not the best hitter in the lineup but he always seems to come through in the clutch times,” said Mogan, who trains and co-owns the horse with Diamond Chip Stable, AWS Stables and Charles Guiler. “If it’s a 7-1 game, he’ll strike out. But if it’s a 2-2 ballgame in the bottom of the ninth, he’s the guy you want coming up to the plate.” He also sounds like he could steal a base or two. “He’s a very fast horse,” Mogan added. “Off the right trip for an eighth-mile or quarter-mile, he’s probably got as quick a burst of speed as any horse I ever trained.” As Mogan noted, he doesn’t hit for average, having won 11 of 62 career races. But he was a power hitter early in his career, blasting tape measure home runs each of his first two seasons. The 6-year-old gelding pacer was the Ohio Sire Stakes champion as both a 2- and 3-year-old, beating favorite That Friske Feelin both times. After being purchased at the 2011 Blooded Horse Sale for $16,000, Feelin Lika Winner has earned $278,796. “The sale was kind of short on the yearlings, both number wise and quality wise that year, but he was one of my top three picks,” said Mogan, who has a stable of 26 horses at Scioto Downs in Columbus. “I got outbid on the first two, luckily I snagged him for $16,000. I knew the family, and also conformation wise he was probably one of my top three picks that I looked at that year for pacing colts.” Feelin Lika Winner makes his season’s debut Saturday in the $20,000 Open at Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio. Kayne Kauffman will be in the sulky, as he has been for all but three of Feelin Lika Winner’s career starts. “He’s training down real well,” Mogan said. “He had an issue with a bone bruise and ankle as a 4-year-old. It was kind of a disappointing season. Last year he started off a little slow. He actually was as good at the end of the year as he was at any time.” The horse was shut down in December, however, as the trainer is not a big fan of winter racing. In fact, he limits most of his horses’ races, as 25 races in a season would be considered a lot. “I usually shut down from December to the first of March,” Mogan said. “I probably should have kept him racing, but he’s trained down very well.” The Lockbourne, Ohio, resident isn’t looking for big things on opening night, mainly because of Feelin Lika Winner’s mindset on the track. He’s pleasant in the barn, but cantankerous upon seeing a starting gate. “He’s a nice horse, a very fast horse, but he’s kind of a tough horse to drive,” Mogan said. “If he was a good horse to drive and you could leave with him and get position I still believe he’d be an open type pacer. You could turn somebody loose and know he would settle in and relax. He’d be a lot better horse. But to leave with him a few times, he’s a handful. “He can grab into you so bad. When he decides to grab into you, he can feel like he’s just going to run over the top. When you leave with him he gets really fired up. We duck him four out of every five starts off the gate.” For that reason, Mogan would rather have started him a little lower in class this season. “Unfortunately we have to go right into the Open our first start,” he said. “I’m not expecting a whole lot this week. But you never know. We’re always racing to win. We’re going to race him off the pace. And if they go fast fractions you never know, he might pick them up at the end of it.” Feelin Lika Winner always has the potential to surprise, just as he did by beating That Friske Feelin in two straight Sire Stakes finals. He got a second-over trip near the stretch as a 2-year-old and a pocket trip the following year. Kauffman was the driver both times, as he has shown a knack for handling a horse that’s hard to handle. “He’s a great handler,” Mogan said. “He can get a horse to relax pretty good. He’s done a really amazing job, not just with him but the rest of my horses. He’s been driving everything for three years.” Kauffman took over for the late Chip Noble, who was Mogan’s main driver for 15 years. The 56-year-old Mogan has been in the business since age 15 and has had a public stable since 1983. Until recently, he mostly dealt with younger horses and made it a point to try and have the same driver for every race. He and Noble teamed up on K F Pro Sam, Ohio's 2- and 3-year-old Horse of the Year in 1999-2000. The pacing male was typical of Mogan’s aversion to over-working his horses, as he raced just 60 times in five years and earned $635,578. “K F Pro Sam kind of set the bar for me,” Mogan said. “He built my house and everything else. But J J Hall is still my favorite. He’s still in my barn and will probably be in my backyard when he’s done racing.” J J Hall was Ohio’s 2011 Horse of the Year, also driven by Noble. Not long afterward Chip, who died of cancer in 2014, had some young horses with a lot of potential that he wanted to drive. He gave his friend some advance notice and suggested he might start looking for another driver. Mogan began to check out the talent in Ohio and found what he was looking for in Kauffman. “I tried to look for somebody a little conservative, like Chip was,” Mogan said. “Kayne kind of impressed me as much as anybody, as far as being as close to Chip as I could go and get. He started driving him (Feelin Lika Winner) as a 2-year-old and of course it worked out. “Kayne has been driving for me as much as he can. He trains a stable of his own so we have a few conflicts, but he’s always going to be the first choice for my horses. I guess the biggest thing is his loyalty. He stays pretty loyal to me. It’s kind of a working relationship.” As for how the relationship will work between the racetrack and Feelin Lika Winner this year, Mogan is staying fairly confident. “We’re just taking things as they come,” he said. “I have great partners, they’re very loyal. They love their horses, they like to come to races. We’re just hoping he has a good year. “Like I said, I don’t really think he’s an open type pacer. If he was more controllable, maybe. But we’re just hoping for a nice Saturday night, conditioned racehorse that they can come watch. Hopefully we’ll have a little luck, make a little money.” So there you have it. Play ball! by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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

Trainer Sam Coven notched his 500th conditioning win on Monday afternoon (February 15) at Miami Valley Raceway, just miles from where he was born 45 years ago in Lebanon, Ohio. Born into a harness racing family, Sam never seriously considered anything but following in the family footsteps. His father Herb Coven Jr. won multiple driving titles at both Lebanon Raceway and Latonia before succumbing to cancer way too early in his life, at age 44. His mother Mary, still doing well today at age 71, was an accomplished trainer in her own right and taught her son the business after school and on weekends, until Sam graduated from Lebanon High School and submerged himself full-time into the racing business. During the 90's Sam averaged close to 200 starts per year as a driver, winning 181 races, before losing his zeal for sulky sitting following the sudden and unexpected death of his dad. For the past two decades, Coven has concentrated on the training side, with solid results in all but two years out of the last twenty. Sam entered 2016 coming off his two best seasons in the business. In 2014 he sent 45 horses to the winner's circle while amassing $240,741 in stable earnings. Last year his win total of 43 propelled the Coven Stable earnings to $242,231. In all, Coven's 500 training triumphs have resulted in just shy of $2 million in purse winnings. "I can't take much of the credit," Coven laughs, "because my wife Jennifer has been the backbone of the stable since we got married almost ten years ago. She is also from a harness racing family (her father is Keith Justice) and she knows the horses as well as I do. I'll tell you how dedicated she is...both of our daughters were born on a Sunday, and both times Jennifer paddocked a horse on Saturday, the night before!" Coven's best horse to date was Compass Connection, an Ohio Sires Stakes standout who won all five preliminary legs as a two-year-old before finishing third in the final. "My mom picked him out at the Ohio yearling sale and owned him with Charles French, who was a longtime Coven Stable supporter. Chip Noble and Brett Miller drove him that two-year-old season, then we sold him for a handsome profit," Sam recalls. Meersburg, a $5000 claimer owned by Cheri Watts and driven by friend Kayne Kauffman, got the Coven Stable to the coveted 500 plateau. His 1:57.4 come-from-behind victory over Hidden Hall and Oyster Bay on a sloppy track was the 19th overall for the five-year-old Sand Shooter gelding. Three races later, Coven started on his next 500 wins when his own Jackson Wyatt captured a $5000 conditioned race over Independent Spirit and Woo Shark in 1:58.1. Gregg Keidel

Mykindachip burst through the door he had been knocking on for the past month to capture the $20,000 Open Pace at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night (February 13), following three straight bridesmaid finishes in the harness racing weekly feature race.  With Astreos Love, the Open winner the last two outings on the sidelines, driver Kayne Kauffman took full advantage with odds-on favored Mykindachip, leaving alertly from the two-hole to take control of the race and coasting through fractions of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:23.4 enroute to the 1:52.3 score.  A nine-time winner in 2015, Mykindachip notched his 32nd career tally and enhanced his lifetime earnings to $546,467 for owner Carl Atley and trainer Jim Dailey.  Kauffman thought briefly about letting My Temudjin N (Chris Page) clear to the front just past the first quarter station, but saw another foe right behind and made the winning split second decision to continue to control the race on the front end.  Despite being parked almost the entire way, My Temudjin N did hang on for a third place finish, with longshot Radar Warning (Tyler Smith) splitting rivals in the stretch to get the place money. Finalists were determined on Saturday following three $8000 divisions of the final preliminary leg for horses that were non-winners of $800 per start in 2015-16.  Keystone Real Deal (John DeLong) is the likely morning line favorite for the $17,000 championship next week based on back-to-back victories, including his latest 1:52.4 score.  Hall Of Memories (Chris Page, 1:54.2) and Allstar Seelster (Chris Page, 1:53.3), the other divisional winners on Saturday, also advanced to the final.  Those three will be joined by other top series earners Major Blue Coat, Legal Transfer, CC Big Boy Sam, Franzo, Andy Roo, Evergreen Trigger and Verbal Assault to determine the series champion. The Saturday claim box at Miami Valley remained busy with another ten horses changing owners and barns for a total of $114,000.  Through the first 25 nights of the 2016 meet at Miami Valley, 106 horses have been collared through the claim box. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Hollywood Dayton Raceway closed the curtain on a successful second season on Wednesday night (December 30) with an overall average nightly handle increase of 20% over the inaugural 2014 harness racing session. Over $5.2 million in purses were paid out over the 75-night meet. Josh Sutton successfully defended his 2014 driver's dash title by winning 116 races (through the 8th race on closing night) and earning nearly $600,000 in purse money. At age 33, Sutton has won 3,288 races in his career and is nearing $20 million in purse earnings. He currently ranks seventh in the national dash standings, one of four Ohio-based drivers in the top ten. Kayne Kauffman also cracked the 100 wins barrier to finish second with Dan Noble, Chris Page and Jeremy Smith rounding out the top five. Trainer Jeff Brewer garnered his first Hollywood Dayton trainer's title, harnessing 46 winners with stable earnings of almost $200,000 for the meet. The 56-year-old Brewer has sent a total of 1,675 horses to the winner's circle in a productive career that also includes training titles at Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs, Lebanon Raceway and Thunder Ridge. Horses in his care have earned just under $8 million over the years. The remainder of the top five were Virgil Morgan Jr., Kayne Kauffman, Chris Short and Sam Coven. An astounding total of 440 trainers made at least one start during the 3-1/2 month Hollywood Dayton season. New track records were established on both the pace and trot. State Treasurer (David Miller) copped the $138,500 Dayton Pacing Derby in 1:48.4, the fastest mile ever at Dayton; while Penn (Josh Sutton) lowered the square-gait standard to 1:52.3 in a December open event. Hollywood Dayton Raceway put an exclamation point on its successful second season with another all-time record handle, $366,773, on the final program of the year--eclipsing the old record established a week earlier of $357,603. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Harness racing drivers Kayne Kauffman and Tyler Smith each scored hat tricks at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Monday night (November 9), while Jason Brewer notched a driving double.   Kauffman has now won eight races over the last two programs, as he visited the winner's circle five times on Saturday night, and has catapulted himself back to the top of the local dash standings.   Kauffman guided Real Infusion to a 1:54 score in a bottomed condition pace for trainer Chris Short, Jollyinjail to a 1:58.4 triumph in a bottom condition trot for trainer Larry Richardson, and Mr Why to a 1:53.2 tally for conditioner Mike Polhamus in a second level condition pace.   With his trio of Monday night wins Kayne now has 61 victories in the first 38 nights of the current meet, four better than Josh Sutton and Chris Page, who are deadlocked for second with 57 apiece.   Smith, who has been plying his trade primarily at Hoosier Park this Fall, but who likely will spend more nights at Hollywood Dayton once the Indiana oval closes for the season after this week, also made three different trainers happy on Monday. The Ohio native steered trainer Danny Collins' She B Jeebeez to a 1:54.4 score in a non-winners race for fillies and mares; trainer Tricia Shepard's Fox Valley Action to a 1:55.4 triumph in a mid-level condition pace; and finished his night with a 1:54.1 tally with Wounded Warrior in a $5000 claimer for trainer Aaron Hamilton.   Jason Brewer managed a driving double to reach 40 wins for the meet, which is currently in sixth place among local reinsmen.   Gregg Keidel

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