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LEBANON, OH. - The Bill Dailey Memorial Medley, featuring odd distance races, got underway on Saturday (Feb. 6) at Miami Valley in two harness racing divisions. Although the track was listed as 'good' and was damp due to partial thawing, both divisions were clocked in 1:09.1 and were captured by the betting favorites. Crimson And Chrome closed well in the homestretch to pass Shane Adam (Sam Widger) and Goldinthebadlands (Brett Miller). Leading driver Trace Tetrick was in the sulky, driving for his brother Tim, who owns Crimson And Chrome. Trace's 63 wins at Miami Valley since the meet commenced on Jan. 3 ranks second in the country behind only Aaron Merriman. Tim, who races in the East, is currently sixth on the U. S. leading drivers list as he rapidly approaches the coveted 12,000 victories plateau.   It was the 15th career triumph for the 5-year-old by Sweet Lou from just 48 trips to the gate. Shagnwiththedragon (Dan Noble) won the other split by holding off longshot Snowball's Romeo (Chris Page) and Prince Bayard (Kayne Kauffman). Tessa Perrin owns the 7-year-old son of Dragon Again and entrusts the training to her husband J. D. The winner now sports 24 wins from 115 lifetime starts. GD Western Joe (Page) visited the winner's circle for the fifth time in his last seven starts in the $20,000 Open I. He now has a string of eight straight races with first or second place finishes in Open competition. The Burke Brigade stable stalwart topped My Hero Ron (Josh Sutton) and Tivo Hanover (Kauffman) in 1:53.2 for his 28th victory in his 100th career start. The unaltered son of Real Desire, with a 1:49.3 best at Miami Valley in 2020, passed the $600,000 earnings benchmark with the win. An $18,000 Open II was also carded and was won by Loutenant (Tyler Smith) in a mild 10-1 upset in 1:52.1. Favored Voracity (Noble) was runnerup with Never Say Never N (John DeLong) finishing third. Chief Mate (Brett Miller), a recent $225,000 purchase at the Meadowlands January auction by Black Magic Racing LLC of Ohio, exploded in the stretch to capture a top condition pace in 1:52 for trainer Todd Luther. Business has been brisk in the first 25 days of the 2021 meet, with an average daily handle of $540,179, which represents a 35% increase over previous year levels. Racing resumes on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7) with an early 12::05 post time. From Miami Valley Raceway                                

LEBANON, OH - The Friday (Feb. 5) night harness racing feature at Miami Valley was the $22,500 Mares Open Pace, won by Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) for the second straight week, but the most anticipated races were a pair of divisions going 5/8ths of a mile dashes in the first leg of the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley. The second leg of the annual Beissinger Memorial will go a standard mile, then the third and final $25,000 championship leg will go 1-1/4 miles on Friday, Feb. 22. Nominated horses could not have raced for a purse over $15,000 in their last three overnight starts. Compelling (LeWayne Miller) won the most exciting split, racing in the back half of the pack throughout most of the one lap contest before charging from sixth to first in the stretch drive. The Next Triumph (Trace Tetrick) went nose-to-nose with Compelling most of the stretch, but settled for second in the end. Pink Tulip (Jason Brewer) got up to garner the show monies. Verlin Yoder owns Compelling, who he shipped back from Florida to the LeWayne Miller barn early in January. She has responded well to the cooler weather by hitting the board in all four of her starts to commence the new season. Shake It Mary (Dan Noble) copped the other division in 1:11, giving the distaff set a sweep of the Beissinger's first leg action. In this heat, the front end held up as Noble cut the fractions of :27.1 and :56 for the first half-mile, then tacked on a :15 final eighth to win it. Lets Go Bucks (Jeremy Smith) made a valiant late rush to secure a solid second place finish, while Perfect Chapter AS (Page) was next to cross the line. Sherif Cunmulaj conditions Shake It Mary for the Rushcreek Stable. After a productive 2020 campaign, the 5-year-old daughter of Dontyouforgetit has put together an impressive three race win streak of late. Racing resumes Saturday (Feb. 6) when the first leg of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley for pacers will commence with a pair of 5/8ths mile dashes. From Miami Valley Raceway                

Family and friends play a big part in the Krasnican clan's enjoyment of harness racing, even if only in name. John Krasnican Jr. and his mom Mary have been breeding and owning horses together for a couple decades. Often, they name horses after family members or friends. The most successful of those -- My Buddy Ninkster -- competes in Saturday's $20,000 Open I Handicap for male pacers at Miami Valley Raceway. My Buddy Ninkster, a homebred 9-year-old gelding, enters the event with 45 wins in 231 career starts and $585,781 in earnings. He's accumulated that money the old-fashioned way; he's earned it. None of his 159 check-collecting finishes have come in a race with a purse greater than $25,000. "To do what he's done is impressive," John Krasnican Jr. said. "He's a special horse. He's been the bread-and-butter of everything. He's the type you dream of having." My Buddy Ninkster spent his first two seasons in Indiana, where his competition included stars Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2015 Horse of the Year, and Freaky Feet Pete, the 2015 Breeders Crown champion. At age 4, My Buddy Ninkster headed first to Chicago and then to Ohio. In his first start at Miami Valley Raceway in 2016, he opened eyes with a last-to-first rally to capture the Open I Handicap. My Buddy Ninkster was eighth, six lengths off the lead, at three-quarters but used a three-wide move around the final turn to win going away by 1-3/4 lengths. "It looked like he had no prayer," Krasnican said. "I still have it on video at home and watch it quite often. It's my favorite race of all time to watch. It was pretty special." My Buddy Ninkster, named after one of Krasnican's friends, is not the family's only success. The horse's dam, the homebred Sporty Ellie, was named after Krasnican's daughter and visited the winner's circle 13 times in her career.   Another homebred, Johns My Buddy, named after Krasnican's oldest son, earned $119,061 lifetime. Big Brad, an $11,000 yearling purchase renamed after Krasnican's youngest son, set the track record of 1:51.1 for a 2-year-old colt pacer at Balmoral Park in 2012, erasing a mark established 10 years earlier by Yankee Cruiser, and earned more than $300,000 for the family before he was claimed away. "We name the horses after family and friends and try to get other people interested in the business," Krasnican said. "It's kind of a way to promote it a little bit. If people are unfamiliar with racing, you name a horse after them and all of a sudden they're interested and watching." Krasnican became interested in racing as a teenager through trips to the track with his dad. "I was always interested in the sport, it was always fun to watch," he said. "We liked to bet the horses. We don't bet as much now. We figure what we've got invested is our bet." Krasnican at one time considered becoming a trainer but decided the best way for him to be hands-on in the sport was as a breeder. "My parents got involved as owners in the mid-1980s and I got involved in '96 with them," the 48-year-old Krasnican said. "I told dad that if you want a horse to race for a lot of money, you need young ones. I thought the easiest way to do that was breeding them." He added with a laugh, "After doing it for 20-some years, I don't believe that's true anymore." Krasnican, who works full time, has scaled back on breeding in recent years, keeping three broodmares at his 20-acre farm in Streator, Ill., where he gets assistance from his dad and brother Chuck. "It's kind of a family affair," Krasnican said. "I couldn't do it without my dad and my brother. They help a lot on the farm. "Three (broodmares) is a comfortable number where you can still have fun with it. I always want to be in the business. I just want to make it so it's enjoyable. We've had some success for being a small stable." Racing begins at 4:05 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Miami Valley. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner,  for the USTA

LEBANON, OH. - The betting public got it right on Tuesday (Feb. 2) at Miami Valley, sending It's A Herbie off as the 4-5 odds on harness racing favorite. The 5-year-old son of Here Comes Herbie responded with a relatively easy 1:55.1 victory for driver-trainer LeWayne Miller, besting Workinitonbroadway (Chris Page) and longshot Milford's Z Tam (Mitchell Cushing). It was the 15th career triumph for the winner, boosting his lifetime bounty to $465,242 for owner Verlin Yoder. The Tuesday matinee also featured Round One action in the Survivor Series for $5000 claiming pacing mares, divided into three divisions. The winners over the sloppy track were Princess Oshie (Trace Tetrick, 1:57.4, $4.20), Dilly Dali (Dan Noble, 1:58, $3.20) and Mary Catherine A (Tetrick, 1:58.4, $3.20). The top six finishers in each of the three divisions advanced to Round Two, which will be contested in a pair of $7500 splits, and determine the ten finalists for the $15,000 series championship on February 15. The R. J. Brown Memorial trotting series for non-winners of two races or $20,000 also got underway in four full fields. Howyadoinbub (Noble, 1:59.3, $3.80), Ti Punch (Josh Sutton, 2:02.2, $10.80), Pick Me Upper (Brandon Bates, 1:58.2, $4.40) and Circle Of Life AS (Tyler Smith, 2:01.1, $51) were the winners of the quartet of $10,000 divisions. Many of the same green trotters will compete in $12,000 second round divisions next week before the top money winners gather for a $20,000 final on February 16. Next racing at Miami Valley will take place on Friday (Feb. 5) with a 4:05 post time. Following another 4:05 start on Saturday (Feb. 6), Miami Valley will start early (noon) on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7).   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The annual Miami Valley "Survivor Series" for male $5000 claimers got underway on Monday (Feb. 1) afternoon with eight harness racing divisions of ten horses, each going for a $5000 purse. The top five finishers from each elimination race advanced to Round 2 next Monday, when the purses will be $6000. Round 3 will feature the 20 horses still standing chasing $7500 purses; and the series will culminate with a $20,000 championship tilt on Monday, Feb. 22. A total of ten of the 80 horses in Leg 1 were claimed. They will be the only ones carrying claiming tags in Leg 2, but with a 30% premium added to their base prices. Quickest winner from the eight first round heats was Dovuto Hanover (Brady Galliers), who clocked a 1:55.2 mile and returned a $5.60 win mutual. Others who triumphed were 14-year-old Montana Pablo A (Trace Tetrick, 1:56, $2.80), Sammonsletsroll (Shawn Barker, 1:56.4, $7.60), Guns An Roses (Brandon Bates, 1:56.2, $3.60), Century Chancellor (Sam Widger, 1:56.1, $5.60), Seen Before Heard (Widger, 1:56.3, $5.80), Skip Jive (Jimmy Whittemore, 1:56.1, $4.40) and Monte Cristo (Joey Putnam, $15) who was placed first when race winner Beach House (1:55.2) drifted in the lane causing interference. Racing resumes Tuesday (Feb. 2) at Miami Valley when three divisions of the first leg of a similar Survivor Series for $5000 claiming mares will be contested. Post time is 2:05 p.m. Miami Valley has moved up post time for next Sunday, Feb. 7, to 12:05-two hours earlier than normal to allow patrons, horsemen and staff to enjoy the Super Bowl later in the day.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Fan Of Terror  with harness racing driver Brett Miller in the bike not only extended his win streak to four with a 1:51.2 score in the Saturday (Jan. 30) Open Pace at Miami Valley, but he scored his 50th lifetime win as well. The 9-year-old gelded son of Western Terror sports a bankroll of $530,234. Owner Therl Hensley's prize possession closes out the month of January with four wins in four tries, equaling his win total from 2021. All four victories came in gate to wire fashion as trainer Peter Redder has kept Fan Of Terror on the top of his game all month, banking $36,150 for his current month's efforts. Longshot Big Bad Mike (Tyler Smith) managed to nose out Shadyjake (Trace Tetrick) for second, with Tivo Hanover (Kayne Kauffman), Benson Boys N (Jason Brewer) and The Dark Shadow (Trevor Smith) also picking up paychecks in the ten-horse field. Fan Of Terror Fan Of Terror paid $14.60 to win. Coupled with Big Bad Mike the exacta kicked back $235.80. No one solved the Buckeye High 5 wager in the race resulting in a $1,687 carryover into the 12th race wager on Sunday, which has a first race 2:05 p.m. post time. Miami Valley has announced that post time has been moved up two hours next Sunday, Feb. 7 to allow patrons, horsemen and staff to enjoy the Super Bowl later in the day. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - It is not unusual to see a horse from the Ron Burke Brigade win a race at any number of harness racing tracks across North America. It happens on an almost daily basis and often includes multiple wins at multiple venues. What is rare, however, is to see the sport's leading trainer win with a homebred. It happened on Friday (Jan. 29) at Miami Valley, though, when Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) pulled a mild upset in the $21,000 Mares Open. As expected, The Bethinator (Tyler Smith)-who entered the race with five open class wins and two runnerup finishes in her last seven starts-sailed off the gate and assumed an easier-than-usual lead at the :28 quarter. When the timer flashed :57.2 at the half many thought the race would be for place behind the 3-2 favorite. At that point, Page angled outside from fourth along the pylons and soon thereafter flushed eventual runnerup Miss You N (Jeremy Smith) to gain second-over position at the 1:25 three quarters station. With a closing kick under :28, Pace Baby Pace swept past Miss You N and held off show finisher Caviart Cherie (Brett Miller), while The Bethinator faded to fourth. The 1:53 final time, including a back half in :55.3, was impressive in light of the sub-freezing temperatures. The winner paid $8.40, the exacta was worth $44.60 and a 50-cent Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi LLC bred the 5-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou, whose earnings have swelled to $219,500 on the strength of 14 wins in 53 starts. Miami Valley will present a strong 14-race card on Saturday (Jan. 30), featuring a $22,500 Open Pace and $166,500 in total purses. Post time is 4:05 p.m.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The final pair of Claim To Fame finals were contested at Miami Valley on Tuesday afternoon wrapping up the popular harness racing  series that was divided into nine different claiming classes and doled out over half a million dollars in purses. In the split for $12,500 claiming mares, Persistant Xample overcame the outermost post position draw and sailed gate to wire in 1:56 over a damp track that was at least two seconds off. Driver Brett Miller launched the Virgil Morgan Jr. trainee and never looked back after reaching the top just past the :28.2 opening panel. Pressing forward through middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3, the 5-year-old Bettor's Delight daughter held the competition off in the lane for a 1:56 score. Bellini Seelster (Josh Sutton) tried gallantly to catch Persistant Xample, but ultimately had to settle for second. Glenferrie Bronte N (Billy Mann), a winner of two straight preliminary legs, garnered the show dough in the $20,000 event. The $8000 claiming horses also gathered for their $22,500 championship tilt. Believeinthespirit (Dan Noble) bested Anarchy Hanover (Miller) and Portrstownchris IR (Chris Page). The 10-year-old son of Art Major had no problem grabbing the track winning in 1:53.4. Although Noble retained the drive behind the winner throughout the three week series, he had three different owners as he was collared via the claim box in each of the two preliminary legs. Jana Cromer owned Believeinthespirit for the final with Charlie Stewart training.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Dan Noble drove the winners of both Claim To Fame Series championships on Monday (Jan. 25). He guided Classic Comedy, trained by his wife Christi, to a narrow harness racing victory over Justabitofcharm (Chris Page) in the split for $8000 pacing mares and followed up by battling back in the stretch to cop the $20,000 claiming trotters division. Classic Comedy needed every foot of the racetrack to finally wear down the pacesetter Justabitofcharm in 1:55.2 over the sloppy surface. It was the 33rd career win for the 9-year-old daughter of Classic Card Shark. Her half of the $17,500 purse boosted her lifetime bounty to $200,000. She is owned by James Morris, who claimed her from the first leg of the series. Another Breath, an 8-year-old son of Lou's Legacy, was actually headed by runnerup Hill Side (Jordan Ross) early in the stretch, but fought back to capture the $30,000 trotting race in 1:55. For A Dreamer (Brett Miller) grabbed the show dough. Trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and partners Carl Howard and Bottom Line Racing LLC also plucked the winner from the first leg of this series. Another Breath is a well known trotter in Ohio as he has won the majority of his 24 triumphs and his $458,226 in earnings at Ohio tracks throughout his career. Racing resumes Tuesday (Jan. 26) at Miami Valley when the features will be the final pair out of nine Claim To Fame series that have been conducted in January at the southwest Ohio five-eighths mile oval. $8000 male pacers will chase a $22,500 purse while the $12,500 distaff set will battle over $20,000.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. -  Secret Threat (Trace Tetrick) and Voracity (Dan Noble) finished first and second in the $37,500 championship leg of Miami Valley’s Claim To Fame Series for $30,000 claimers on Sunday (Jan. 24).  The pair are currently the two horses in North America with the most 2021 earnings, a list dominated by Miami Valley horses with seven of the top eight seasonal earners. Secret Threat was on top of the field when it hit the first quarter beam in :27.1, but was relegated back to fourth before the halfway point was reached in :55.2 by Voracity.  Voracity held the lead through three quarters in 1:22.2 and kept the field at bay until Secret Threat prevailed in the final steps.  The 1:51.1 clocking was the quickest of Secret Threat’s three wins this year, to go with one place finish.  Trainer Tyler George owns the 9-year-old son of Palone Ranger with longtime friend Justin Lloyd.  The Tetrick-George driver-trainer combination has been a dominant force in the first month of the Miami Valley meet with Tetrick well ahead in the dash derby and George sporting  a Universal Training average close to .600. The champion was also determined in the Claim To Fame division for $10,000 trotters on Sunday.  Air Assault (Kayne Kauffman) captured the title in 1:57.2 despite an outside post position draw.  Owner Chad Stone and trainer Larry Finn collared the winner via the claim box in the first round of the series, then proceeded to win Leg 2 and the $22,500 final to bank $17,250 in just two weeks of ownership. P C Foreign Affair (Jason Brewer) and Jailhouse Buckaroo (John DeLong) were next to cross the finish line.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Fan Of Terror extended his 2021 win streak to three by capturing the $21,000 Open Pace on Saturday (Jan. 23) at Miami Valley. The 9-year-old son of Western Terror has regained his best form following a less than spectacular end to his 2020 season, when he failed to cash in four consecutive open events. The three recent wins, two in high class conditions and this one in the Open, have Fan Of Terror sitting on a potential 50th career win in his next outing. His 49 current lifetime victories in 167 starts have helped produce $519,019 in earnings. Peter Redder trains the winner for owner Therl Hensley. Driver Dan Noble took full advantage of Fan Of Terror's favorable draw, leading the featured pacers through fractions of :26.3, :55, 1:22.4 before closing in :28 to complete the 1:50.4 score. Favored GD Western Joe (Chris Page), winner of the last two Opens at Miami Valley, rallied for a place finish despite starting in the outermost post position. Tivo Hanover (Kayne Kauffman) completed the trifecta finishers. Fan Of Terror Two races later, Windsun Gotham pulled a major upset in the richest race thus far this season at Miami Valley, the $32,500 championship tilt for $20,000 Claim To Fame finalists. Driver Jeremy Smith was particularly grateful for this triumph as the race was named in memory of his late friend 'Wild' Bill Taylor, whose family and friends joined in the winner's circle presentation. Smith got away seventh in the Taylor Memorial field and found himself eighth (in fourth over position on the outside) about five-eighths of a mile into the fray. Once tipped three wide into the final turn,Windsun Gotham began passing his competition fast and furiously. Despite having to finish in the middle of the track, the 7-year-old son of American Ideal posted the quickest final quarter and beat Jet Rock (Trace Tetrick) and Absolut Rocks (Noble) in 1:51.4. Rick Howles and Souren Hovsepian co-own Windsun Gotham, who is trained by Payton Ode. Windsun Gotham captured the $32,500 Claim To Fame Series championship for $20,000 claimers, dubbed the Bill Taylor Memorial, in 1:51.4 Racing at Miami Valley resumes on Sunday (Jan. 24) afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. post time. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The Bethinator, the youngest harness racing mare (at age 4) with the least earnings in the field, won the Miami Valley $22,500 Mares Open Pace on Friday (Jan. 22). It was the daughter of Somebeachsomewheres fourth win at the top level in her last six tries on the Miami Valley-Hollywood Dayton circuit. Driver Tyler Smith set sail early and was determined to dictate all the fractions with the razor sharp odds-on favorite. The outcome was never really in doubt as The Bethinator coasted through the mile in fractions of :27.3, :55.4, 1:23.3 and 1:51.4. Although all nine of her challengers had career earnings over $200,000, she has just reached $147,309 for her owner-breeder Megan Rogers Racing Stable. The Bethinator is trained by Nelson Willis. Sharing the Friday spotlight were a pair of lucrative Claim To Fame series finals. The finalists in the $20,000 claiming split for mares chased a purse of $30,000, while the male $12,500 claimers went for $25,000. Malnificent (Trace Tetrick) proved her many faithful were correct when she fronted the distaff field in 1:52.4 and returned a $3.00 win mutual. Owned by Ira and Brian Wallach Racing and trained by Tyler George, the winner bested Duck Duck Dragon (Chris Page) and M E Radar Girl (Tyler Smith) to claim the championship. J M Jet Set (Dan Noble) got the best of a very evenly matched field of championship hopefuls in the male division. Franzo (Sam Widger) and Armabluechipboy N (Kayne Kauffman) were next across the finish line, reached in 1:53. All nine finalists had won a heat of the series in the past two weeks. Noble's wife Christi conditions and owns the 11-year-old winner who now sports 40 career wins and over $400,000 in lifetime bounty.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Lane Of Stone (Dan Noble) surpassed the half million dollar earnings plateau with a convincing 1:54 triumph in Miami Valley's $22,000 Open Trot on Tuesday (Jan. 19). The five-year-old son of Ohio sire Wishing Stone now has 21 harness racing career wins and $509,052 in earnings, although only four of those victories have come in the last year. Signal Hill (Brett Miller) beat favored Lane Of Stone off the gate, but Noble persevered until finally crossing over in front after the pair passed the opening quarter in :28.1. Following a sensible second quarter in :29 seconds, Noble let Lane Of Stone trot a little more, reaching the three quarter station in 1:25.2, before thwarting a late-closing effort by It's A Herbie (LeWayne Miller) for the 1:54 score. Mark Winters Sr. trains the winner, who was a dominant force in the juvenile stakes in the Buckeye state, for owner Harry Horowitz. Finalists were determined in two Claim To Fame series that had their preliminaries conclude on Tuesday. Two divisions were contested by $12,500 claiming mare pacers. Glenferrie Bronte N (Billy Mann, 1:54.4) was a repeat winner in 1:54.4 to establish herself as a probable favorite in the $20,000 final next week. Persistant Xample (Miller, 1:53.4, $5.60) captured the other split and will get strong support at the betting windows as well. The remaining finalists will be Pappy Rocks, Bellini Seelster, Sweet Western, Official Treasure, Corner Pocket, Ideal's Nicole and U'll Learn. Three groups of $8000 male claiming pacers squared off to determine the top nine money earners in the series, the benchmark for making the $22,500 championship leg. Winners were 14-year-old Montana Pablo A (Trace Tetrick, 1:53.4, $5.20), Believeinyourmach (Kayne Kauffman, 1:54.1, $10.80) and Bettor's Dream (Tyler Smith, 1:54.3, $10.60). Also qualifying for the lucrative final were Believeinthespirit, Tyber Tyke, Anarchy Hanover, Gallery Opening, Cool Like That and Portrstownchris IR. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Driver Dan Noble will have an enviable decision to make following the draw for the $30,000 championship of the Claim To Fame series for $20,000 claiming trotters to be held next Monday (Jan. 25). He managed to win both harness racing divisions of the final preliminary leg this Monday (Jan. 18), guiding both Here Comes Moony (1:56, $8) and Another Breath (1:56.4, $7.60) to relatively easy victories. There were no repeat winners in the two weeks of preliminaries, so the final should be contentious. In order of series earnings, which determined the final combatants, the championship field will be comprised of Another Breath, Majestic Brayden, Here Comes Moony, For A Dreamer, Hill Side, Swan Before All, Riverdancing Diva, Luminosity and Mr Houdini. Justabitofcharm (Chris Page, 1:55, $2.80), Classic Comedy (Noble, 1:55.2, $4.60) and Tequilas Jet (Sam Widger, 1:54.3, $14.20) were triumphant in a trio of similar splits for $8000 distaff pacing mares to determine the finalists to chase $17,500 purse next week. Those three winners will likely line up versus Astroffical, Don't Mach Mia, Titi's Ava, Oh Miss Rylee, Shuffle We Will and Faye's Jet Mile. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Four harness racing divisions of $30,000 male claiming pacers comprised the final preliminary round of their Claim To Fame series at Miami Valley on Sunday (Jan. 17) with ten of them earning spots in the $37,500 championship tilt next week. Winners in this leg were Voracity (Brett Miller, 1:51.3, $6), Ginger Tree Marty (Chris Page, 1:53.2, $3.20), So So Delightful (Trevor Smith, 1:53, $13.60) and Don't Judge A Book (William Mann, 1:51.4, $6). Voracity and So So Delightful were repeat winners in the series, but both will race for new connections in the final. Both were claimed by new owners for $39,000 (30% premium over base starting price) and will be among the favorites in the final. Due to a tie for ninth in the standings, ten qualified for the final. They are (in order of series earnings): Voracity and So So Delightful, Ginger Tree Marty, Secret Threat, Don't Judge A Book, Venom, Dashing To Da Wire, Never Say Never N, Revelry and Shane Adam. There were two divisions of Claim To Fame action for $10,000 claiming trotters. Air Assault (Kayne Kauffman, 1:57.3, $4.40) and Infrontandforgetit (Josh Sutton, 1:59.1, $6.20) were victorious and secured spots in their $22,500 final. There were no repeat winners in the series, so the championship should be a wide open affair. Air Assault had the highest earnings with a win and a third place finish, followed by: Master Of Excuses, Infrontandforgetit, Windsun Missile, Here's The Magic, PC Foreign Affair, Unforgetable, Jailhouse Buckaroo and Ozymandias.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Despite ducking to the back of the pack from an assigned outside post position, razor sharp GD Western Joe circled the entire harness racing field to win Miami Valley's $22,000 Open Pace on Saturday (Jan. 16), his fourth win at the head of the class to go with one runnerup finish in his last five starts. After leaving the gate for good early position in his last six starts, driver Chris Page implemented a different strategy in this outing. Starting a length off the gate, Page guided the six-year-old son of Real Desire to the pylons trailing all eight of his adversaries when the quarter was reached by favored Stars Align A (Dan Noble) in :26.2. Sensing a rapid pace, Page was content to keep his charge in arrears past the halfway juncture in :55.1. It wasn't until the field was nearing the 1:23.1 three quarter mark that GD Western Joe was moved into the outer flow. Moving wider and wider around the final turn, Page was five wide as the stretch drive got underway. When the early fractions took their toll on Stars Align N a cavalry charge to the wire ensued. GD Western Joe prevailed in 1:52, followed by Tivo Hanover (Kayne Kauffman) and The Dark Shadow (Trevor Smith). The winner, trained by Ron Burke, paid $8.40. A $2 exacta was worth $49.40, a 50-cent trifecta returned $97.10, and a correct 10-cent Buckeye High 5 ducat returned $1,263.43. Five $22,500 divisions of the final preliminary leg of the Claim To Fame series for $20,000 horses and geldings determined the finalists for next week's $32,500 championship tilt. Saturday winners were Ron's EOM (Trace Tetrick, 1:51.3, $9), Jet Rock (Tyler Smith, 1:52.2, $3.60), Cyclone Kiwi N (Tetrick, 1:52.4, $4.20), Polak A (Tetrick, 1:53, $10.20) and Townline Flight (Josh Sutton, 1:53.3, $6). Repeat winners Jet Rock and Townline Flight tied for the most series earnings and will be joined in the final by Dubious Claim, Polak A, Windsun Gotham, Ron's EOM, Absolut Rocks and Jeremes General.   Gregg Keidel

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