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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

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

LEBANON, OH - Royal Outlook (Jim Pantaleano) captured the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night weathering a parked-out trip from the assigned outside nine-hole and still besting Ardyne Ace (Randy Tharps) and Doubletrouble (Josh Sutton) in 1:52.4.   The Canadian invader, sent to trainer Terry Deters just over a month ago, has soared to the top of the best class at the new five-eights mile oval and has earned a well-deserved week off next Saturday following three consecutive victories in the weekly feature race.   Driver Kayne Kauffman had the hot hands on the program as he inched closer to leading driver Tyler Smith, who was at The Meadowlands for their Legends vs. Phenoms Driving Challenge, with five triumphs.   Kauffman's stellar evening started by winning both halves of the daily double with Jim Arledge Jr. trainees No Satin Intended and Camart Hanover. He had back-to-back wins again in the middle of the card with Jetstream Friskie, trained by Joseph Essig, and Soil The Beans from the Chris Short stable. Kauffman captured his fifth race with Ra Ra Steven who resides in his own stable at nearby Lebanon fairgrounds.   Josh Sutton scored a driving triple guiding A Luck Duck and Mybrothergeorge, a pair of recent claims by trainer Barry Langley, into the winner's circle as well as Southbound for conditioner Brett Landis.   One of the most exciting races on the 14-race program was the $6,000 male gender semi-final in the month-long Miami Valley Madness In March tournament for $4,000 claiming pacers.   Olive Loaf (Kyle Ater) eeked out a neck-long 1:54.4 upset victory over City Pizza (Jeremy Smith) with Communicator (Pat Berry) also lapped on at the finish. Earning the fourth and final spot in an $8,000 "Battle of the Sexes" championship race versus the four best female finishers from a tandem brackets tournament elimination match on Sunday night was C D's Report (Kauffman). The "final four" boys will face off against the "final four" girls on Sunday, March 30 to culminate the Miami Valley Madness in March event.   From the Miami Valley Publicity Department  

LEBANON, OH. - Despite a four-month layoff, Fusion Man started his 2014 campaign in impressive fashion Friday night capturing the $9000 Open Handicap Trot at Miami Valley Raceway.   Leading driver Tyler Smith, who will miss the Saturday session at Miami Valley to compete in the Legends vs. Phenoms drivers challenge at The Meadowlands, sent the five-year-old son of Valley Victor directly to the front and gamely held off Cashahallic (Jim Pantaleano) and Mama Made Me Blue (Dan Noble) in a three-horse photo finish.   It was the eleventh career victory for the winner who is trained by Tyler's father Jeff Smith and owned by Tdtrot LLC of Florida. His 1:56.1 clocking was just one-fifth of a second off the track trotting record established in the first six weeks of the five-eighths mile oval's inaugural meet.   The win was one of three on the night for Tyler Smith who also scored in both halves of the early daily double with pacer Gigaro and trotter Unfazed. Kayne Kauffman, who is second in the dash standings, kept pace with three tallies of his own behind pacers Cowboy Cal and Bluebird Ideal and the trotter Treasurer John. Scoring doubles on the program were Dan Noble, Randy Tharps and Josh Sutton as only five drivers combined to win all twelve of the Friday night races.   by Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH. - Not only did father/trainer Jeff Brewer and son/driver Jason Brewer sweep the Open I and Open II mares features on Sunday night at Miami Valley Raceway, but they stamped their stable as the one to beat in the distaff final of the Madness In March tournament for minimum claimers as well.   Holiday Shopper captured her third victory in five local tries in the $10,000 Open I event closing from 5-1/2 lengths off the leader at the head of the stretch to triumph over Addys Way (Jeremy Smith) and That's My Girl G (Randy Tharps) in 1:55.1. Owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Hutchison, the winning seven-year-old Camluck mare now has amassed 22 lifetime tallies and a bankroll of almost $330,000.   The same connections surprised the Open II field when Upfront Miss Major pulled a 1:56.4 upset over Artie's Last Party (Kayne Kauffman) and The Shoe Fits (Chris Page). The five-year-old Art Major mare was sixth and moving at the halfway point and took command in the final strides to reward her backers with a handsome $29.80 mutuel return.   Rock Ann Rolling established herself as the favorite in the 'Madness' elimination tournament by winning the fastest of two $5000 quarter-final splits in 1:56 over Taylors Artist (Josh Sutton) and May Street Bon (Jim Pantaleano). Jason Brewer owns the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover lass who now has back-to-back elimination week wins.   The Brewers will have a coupled entry in the $6000 female final next Sunday as their Boiler Heidi Ho finished second in the other division to C L Life Road (Pat Berry) with Tips Girl (Tyler Smith) getting the show dough. Following next week's race the top four mares will advance to face the top four males from a tandem elimination bracket in an $8000 'Battle of the Sexes' on March 30.   Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway

LEBANON, OH. - A pair of contentious $5,000 'Sweet 16' races were contested Saturday night at Miami Valley Raceway.   When the dust cleared the field was set for next week's 'Elite 8' horse and gelding competition in the month-long tournament for $4000 claiming pacers.   The top four finishers from this week's eliminations will face off in a $6000 male championship race next Saturday. Then the 'Final Four' boys will advance to an $8000 'Battle of the Sexes' championship on March 30 to face the top four female $4000 claiming pacers who advance through a similar tournament structure on Sunday nights.   The first elimination was captured by Communicator (Pat Berry) in 1:55, edging City Pizza (Jeremy Smith), T Boone (Brad Hanners) and Cole Diddy (Tyler Smith)--all of whom paced miles under 1:56. The top four finishers in the second split all recorded official finish times of 1:55.3 as Five Cougars A (Jason Brewer) just nipped Majestic (Jack Dailey), CD's Report (Kayne Kauffman) and Olive Loaf (Jeremy Smith) in the blanket finish.   The only entrant who will carry a claiming price next week will be T Boone, who was claimed in each of the first two elimination weeks. If entered he will carry a $5000 tag for new owner Bucky Troute.   The Miami Valley Madness In March tournament started with 64 $4000 claimers and will be reduced to eight males and eight females following a pair of distaff eliminations Sunday night.   From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH. - Kayne Kauffman, the leading driver at the final meet at nearby Lebanon Raceway in 2013, is not going to relinquish Southeast Ohio's top reinsman rights without a battle.   Despite the deeper and more talented driver's colony that has descended on the new Miami Valley Raceway, the 35-year-old sulky-sitter vaulted into a tie for third in the dash standings on Wednesday night by winning three of the first four races on the program.   Tyler Smith, the 21-year-old phenom who was the youngest driver ever to reach 1,000 wins, leads the standings with 28 wins through 18 nights of the 65-night meet. He is followed by Dan Noble, the North American dash leader in 2012, who has 23. Kauffman and Tony Hall are next with 19 each. All four grew up in Southeast Ohio and got valuable early lessons at Lebanon, which was appropriately dubbed the "Cradle of Drivers" due to the number of nationally acclaimed drivers who started their careers at that half-mile oval.   Noble captured the fastest race of the night when he scored with My Brother George in 1:54.3 in a $5000 conditioned pace. The Frank Bellino & Sons-owned gelding, conditioned by Virgil Morgan Jr., bested Major Marcus (Smith) and Truly The Best (Hall) for his 17th career victory.   Driver Chris Page scored the quickest trotting triumph when he guided Mischievous Jesse to a 1:57.1 tally over Good Friend (Hall) and Kiss Me I'm Loaded (Kyle Ater) in a $5000 conditioned event. The Ohio-sired squaregaiter, now owned by T C Stables and trained by Erik Jaeck Jr., has 26 lifetime wins.   A total of 45 $4,000 claimers dropped into the first elimination round of Miami Valley's Madness in March tournament set to open this Saturday night.   The large response necessitated the use of a preference system outlined in the conditions which rewarded horses and geldings which had already started at Miami Valley with spots followed by the highest money winners in their most recent five starts.   Four fields of ten will go postward for $4,000 purses on Saturday with the top four official finishers in each race advancing to next week's Sweet 16 round for $5,000 purses. In the third week of the Miami Valley Madness tournament, the Elite 8 will race for a $6000 bounty. The Final Four males will advance to the $8000 Battle of the Sexes championship on March 31 to face the four best females from a tandem tournament which will be conducted the next three Sundays.   Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH. - Driver Jason Brewer and his partners had a huge night at Miami Valley Raceway on Thursday. Not only did the talented reinsman win three races, but he was an ownership partner on each of them.   Brewer's big night started with Brooklets Sugarland in the seventh race. Following a brief give-and-go back to the front end, the lukewarm favorite was on the engine the entire mile to beat All Tanned Up (Tony Hall) and May Street Bon (Jim Pantaleano). The $4000 claiming mare is owned by Brewer in partnership with Vince Orlando.   In the very next race Volleyball Star became the first three-time winner at Miami Valley, besting a field of $5000 claiming mares in 1:55.2. Although just mildly favored in the race, Brewer stepped alertly to the front of the class off the wings of the gate and widened to a six-length margin of victory at the wire. Co-owned by the Holland Racing Stable, the winner bested Dangerous Forever (Tyler Smith) and Dora Des Rivieres (Jeremy Smith).   Brewer proved it wasn't just favorites he could guide to victory when he returned to the winner's circle after race ten, a $5000 conditioned distaff event captured by Autumn Seelster in 1:56.2. The triumphant lass was parked on the outside much of the mile but managed to reach the finish line a length ahead of fellow longshot Bella Sophia (Randy Tharps) and Babes's Bistro (Kayne Kauffman). Bettors who thought Brewer could score the hat trick were rewarded with a $27 win ticket mutual. The $2 exacta in the race returned $960.40 while the winning 50-cent trifecta combination paid $954.70. Brewer's partner on Autumn Seelster is William Fleming.   On Wednesday night, 21-year-old Tyler Smith, who currently stands atop the driver's dash standings at the initial Miami Valley meet, visited the winner's circle four times to bring his total to 20 triumphs after 13 nights of racing. Racing continues at Miami Valley on a Wednesday through Sunday night schedule with a regular 6:30 p.m. post time. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Dept.

LEBANON, OH. - Heavy favorites had won the first two weekly $10,000 Open paces at Miami Valley's inaugural harness racing meet, establishing track records in each, but that certainly was not the case Saturday night as Master Of Desire pulled a giant upset and rewarded $2 backers with a $72.80 mutuel return.   The seven-year-old Illinois invader, racing for the Chupp Racing Stable of trainer Merv Chupp, sat fifth at the :27.1 quarter mile marker and :55.1 halfway point, then was guided by reinsman Josh Sutton into the outer flow. Still fourth at the 1:23.2 three-quarters and double-wide the son of Real Desire exploded with a final panel of :28 to stop the clock in 1:52, just one-fifth of a second off the track standard. I'm Feelin Good (Tony Hall) and Carmens Best (Pat Berry) were seven lengths back at the wire but earned the place and show checks.   Earlier on the card a $7000 conditioned pace produced a 1:53.2 winner as Fly Away (Berry) topped Justa Cowboy (Robert Smolin) and Spill The Beans (Kayne Kauffman). Sherif Cunmulaj trains the five-year-old son of All American Native for the Baron Racing Stable.   Racing resumes Sunday night at Miami Valley with a 6:30 p.m. post time. On Saturday, February 22, 2014 10:03 PM, Brad Conrad <bconrad516@gmail.com> wrote: attached is the photo from the open pace on Saturday night.    

LEBANON, OH. - Holiday Shopper (Jason Brewer) captured her second consecutive Fillies & Mares Open pace at Miami Valley on Saturday night, just nipping Aqua Artist (Chris Page) in the final stride in 1:55.1. Everymileamemory (Pat Berry got the show dough in the $9500 feature race.   Owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison, the winning mare is trained by Jeff Brewer who is off to an impressive start at the new five-eighths mile oval. The father-son Brewer tandem also won the night's first race, a $4000 distaff claiming event with Brookletssugarland.   Blind Spot Hanover (Tony Hall) won the secondary feature besting Bazooka Terror (Berry) and Sectionline Yankee (Page) in a $7000 conditioned event for mares. The 1:55.2 clocking gave the Roy Murphy Jr.-trained winner her second triumph of 2014 and 18th of her career. She is owned by Tommy Householder.   A pair of conditioned claiming races also produced quick miles as Quiteaworkofart (Kayne Kauffman) topped Real Future (Page) and Shady Maple Bullet (Rod Allums Jr.) in 1:55.1. The $6500 event was for non-winners of eight races who all carried $10,000 claiming tags. A similar race for non-winners of five with $8000 claiming prices was won by Stealth Flight (Dan Noble) in 1:55.2 over Dragon Tattoo (Berry) and Say It Ain't So (Tyler Smith).   A $7000 trot produced a very tight 1:57.3 photo finish with Kaffir Kemp (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) nosing out Team Zordin (Noble) and Baby Blaze (Page) who was also lapped on the winner. For trainer Terry Deters, who just returned to Ohio after racing at Pompano Park in Florida for several years, it was his second success at Miami Valley in two tries. Michael Guest owns the five-year-old triumphant trotter.   In addition to Jason Brewer, Dan Noble and Kayne Kauffman also fashioned driving doubles on the 11-race program witness by a packed house in the new Miami Valley grandstand.   Through the first five cards at the new venue, favorites have won 39.6% of the time despite the fact the average number of starters has exceeded eight during difficult winter weather. The average win price, however, is a very healthy $14.56 after the first 53 races as four 50-1 plus longshots have also found their way to the winner's circle.   Racing resumes Sunday night (Feb. 16) with an impressive program featuring a $10,000 Open pace. Post time is always 6:30 p.m.   Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway    

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  

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  

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