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LEBANON, OH. - Former North American dash champion Dan Noble, who won that harness racing title in 2011 with 773 victories, accumulated 112 points over his eight drives on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 8) to capture the 2019 edition of Miami Valley Raceway's annual $25,000 North America Drivers Championship. He follows in the footsteps of Doug McNair and Trace Tetrick, who won the $10,000 first prize in the initial two competitions. Noble trailed Brett Miller by eight points with just one race remaining. The 36-year-old native of nearby Xenia, Ohio, managed a second place finish with Rockin Hot Lady to earn 20 valuable points. Miller, unfortunately, finished last in the final event and finished with 100 points-good for second place in the final standings and $5000 in prize money. Drew Monti, the leading driver on the Buffalo/Batavia circuit, finished a strong third (95 points) to win a $3000 bonus payday. Travis Henry (87) from Ontario won $2000 for his fourth place finish, followed by Randy Tharps (86, $1500), 2015 World Drivers Championship winner Dexter Dunn (85, $1250), Jeremy Smith (76, $1000), Joe Bonjiorno (67, $750), Aaron Merriman (53, $500) and Anthony Napolitano (39). Noble is the first local reinsman to win the NADC at Miami Valley. The son of the late, great Ohio Hall Of Famer Chip Noble grew up about 25 miles from Miami Valley and is the fourth generation Noble to occupy the same barn at the Xenia Fairgrounds over the years. A winner of 5,465 races, Noble lists a 1:47.4 career fastest mile behind Pet Rock, winning the prestigious Kaltenbach Award as the leading Ohio Sires Stakes driver of the year, and his national dash championship as his most memorable highlights. "Winning this championship, especially so close to home, ranks right up there with those other highlight moments though," exclaimed a jubilant Noble on his way back from the winner's circle presentation to the paddock. Noble's 112 points came on the strength of one win, one place finish, two show finishes, two fourths, a sixth and a seventh place finish over the eight races with ten-horse fields. The eight winners during the Championship Round were: The Optimist (Brett Miller, $6.20), Desires Lady (Dan Noble, $18.40), Twin B Honour (Joe Bonjiorno, $3.60), Cool Like That (Drew Monti, $14.80), One Sweet Woman (Randy Tharps, $12.80), E R Hilary (Travis Henry, $10.40), Colonys Best (Dexter Dunn, $28.80) and Northernflightlady (Tharps, $11.00). The ten finalists in today’s NADC Championship Following the winner's circle presentation, Noble was rushed back to the paddock where he had to literally run inside to get a whip and run to jump on the sulky as the horses entered the track for his final mount of the day in a $4000 overnight event. In typical Noble fashion, he won again with Crombie A, returning $6.80 to his faithful at the windows. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The stage is set for the Championship Round of Miami Valley's 3rd annual $25,000 North America Drivers Championship on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 8). In one of the closest races in the contest's short history, the field of harness racing driver finalists was whittled from thirty to ten after two preliminary rounds to engage in an eight-race head-to-head battle for the trophy, the title and the $10,000 first prize. The 'race' to make the Championship Round was so close, in fact, that five drivers tied for the final spot and had to draw randomly to determine which one got to advance. Although he didn't win a race on Day Two, Brett Miller managed three runnerup finishes from his four drives and emerged as the point leader of the preliminary rounds. His 144 point total topped Jeremy Smith (136), Randy Tharps (122), Joe Bonjiorno (115), Dan Noble (114), Drew Monti (113), Aaron Merriman (106), Dexter Dunn (98), Anthony Napolitano (91) and Travis Henry (86)-the lucky winner of the draw to advance. Others in the tie at 86 points were Simon Allard, Pat Berry, Shawn Gray and Chris Page. Conditions call for a clean scoring slate for Championship Round with all ten drivers starting again from scratch. Points are awarded 30-20-14-11-9-7-5-3-1 for first through ninth place finishes. A total of ten drivers scored triumphs during the twelve NADC races on Monday. Simon Allard and Jeremy Smith scored the only doubles. Winners, in order, were Fudge (Noble), Ideal Magic (Allard), Townlinedaliscard (J. Bradley Harris), Friskie Teddy (Smith),Fleet Bumblebee (Allard), Three Card (Merriman), IYQ YQR (Monti), Cast No Shadow (Henry), Velocity Mattis (Bonjiorno), Llama Llama (Dunn), Howabout Hanover (Smith) and Scwartz Bros Beaty (Napolitano). Immediately following the Round Two races, drivers were drawn randomly into fields of horses that were previously drawn. In front of a full room of anxious finalists invited to witness the draw, the results were revealed. Those who draw morning line favorites in the eight-race competition, in order, were Jeremy Smith (Gold Coast Muscle), Anthony Napolitano (Carries Desire), Randy Tharps (Rock Is Sweet), Dan Noble (Mgsperkg Bluegrass), Tharps (One Sweet Woman), Noble (Gone Girl), Napolitano (Bettor Win) and Noble (Rockin Hot Lady). Post time for Tuesday's North America Drivers Championship program is 2:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Harness racing driver Brett Miller enjoys a slim lead after the first of two preliminary rounds in the $25,000 North America Drivers Championship currently being contested at Miami Valley Raceway. The native Ohioan, who plans to return to the Buckeye State for the 2019 season, accumulated 75 points with a win, a second, a third and a fourth place finish in his four drives. Randy Tharps, who scored the only driving double on the day, is a solid second with 72 points. Only ten of the thirty drivers competing will advance after Monday afternoon's second round to the Championship Round on Tuesday when they will compete head-to-head in eight races to determine who wins the trophy, the title and the $10,000 first prize. In addition to Miller and Tharps, the Top Ten after Day One are: Shawn Gray (63), Aaron Merriman (57), Jeremy Smith and Sam Widger (55 each), Joe Bonjiorno (54), Chris Page (53), Pat Berry (50) and Drew Monti (49). All but one of the top ten drivers recorded a win-worth 30 points-- in the competition, as did Mike Oosting (47 points) and J. Bradley Harris (40 points). Shawn Gray did not reach the winner's circle, but benefitted from three runnerup finishes worth 20 points each. Win mutuels in the spirited contest ranged from $3.60 to $40.20 with the average payoff a healthy $13.00. The featured $27,500 Open Handicap Trot was captured by the day's longest shot, The Next Triumph (Brett Miller), scoring in 1:56 over fellow longshots Monopoly Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) and Flight Of The Kiwi (Chris Page). In addition to the $40.20 win price, the exacta paid a whopping $523 while a 50-cent trifecta returned $2,117.50. Monday's Round Two of the North America Drivers Championship begins at 2:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

Hightstown, NJ — Bruce Ranger, who returned to harness racing in October following a three-year absence, will see a lot of new — and younger — faces when he participates in the third annual $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway. The 59-year-old Ranger is the elder statesman of the event, which features 30 drivers in a three-day competition that begins Sunday. Nineteen of the 30 drivers are age 40 or younger, including 2018 Driver of the Year Aaron Merriman and North America Drivers Championship defending champion Trace Tetrick. The others in that group are Simon Allard, Joe Bongiorno, Billy Davis Jr., Dexter Dunn, J. Bradley Harris, Travis Henry, Bob McClure, Frank Milby, Drew Monti, Anthony Napolitano, Jeff Nisonger, Dan Noble, Chris Page, Jeremy Smith, Tyler Smith, Josh Sutton, and Jimmy Whittemore. Ranger, who drove nearly exclusively at Pompano Park in the five years prior to his now-abandoned retirement, is unfamiliar with many of them. “A lot of them, it will be all new to me,” Ranger said, adding with a laugh, “I think I’d have a better chance racing with their fathers probably. “I’m excited. It will be fun. Something different, for sure.” Ranger has won 8,959 races in his career, which began in his native Maine in 1978. He enjoyed success in New England and the Delaware Valley before becoming the all-time leading driver at Pompano Park. He is in the Florida and New England halls of fame. In 2015, Ranger decided it was time to retire from racing as the result of the wear-and-tear on his body. He returned to Maine with no thoughts of driving ever again. But last summer Ranger began driving the starting gate on the state’s fair circuit and soon found the competitive juices starting to flow. “Nobody was more surprised than me,” Ranger said about his return to the sulky. “After about three weeks at the fairs, I started to get the itch to race again. It definitely wasn’t in my plans. It was really something. I can’t say it hasn’t been fun. It gets the adrenaline going again.” Ranger has won 43 of 179 races since his return. His participation in the competition at Miami Valley will be his first action of 2019. For the event, each driver has four randomly drawn horses and post positions on each of the first two programs. Following Monday afternoon’s results the top 10 in points will advance to Tuesday’s championship round and race head-to-head starting with a clean scoring slate over eight races on the card. Thirty points are awarded to the winner of each contest race with 20-14-11-9-7-5-3-1 points earned for second through ninth place finishes. Although Ranger is unfamiliar personally with many of the drivers, he respects them and what they’ve accomplished. “These guys work hard,” Ranger said. “Look at Aaron Merriman. He drives well over 4,000 times a year. I don’t even know how that’s possible. He’s got to be tough.” Ranger plans to remain in New England to race, although he would consider driving in Ohio this winter if he could get opportunities. “Florida was real good to me, but I’ve earned my wings,” Ranger said. “I just wasn’t happy there anymore. It just wasn’t working for me. I enjoy the cooler weather and the seasons. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I got back north. I do some outdoors stuff, some biking and skiing. I grew up doing that. “I’m not sure how it’s going to go. There’s a lot of racing in Ohio. I’m going to see how it feels this weekend. If it looks like I can get work maybe I’ll stay and race for a bit. It’s pretty quiet in New England at this time of year. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be fun. I was out of the loop for a while. At this point in time, I’m rested and not all banged up and burned out. It’s exciting to go.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

LEBANON, OH. - The battle lines have been drawn for the third annual $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley from Sunday, January 6 through Tuesday, January 8. Three consecutive matinee harness racing programs will decide which of the 30 talented drivers in the contest will emerge with the title, the trophy and the $10,000 first prize.   Each driver has four randomly drawn horses and post positions on each of the first two programs.   Following Monday afternoon's results the top ten point getters will advance to Tuesday's championship round and race head-to-head starting with a clean scoring slate over eight races on the card.   Thirty points are awarded to the winner of each contest race with 20-14-11-9-7-5-3-1 points earned for second through ninth place finishes.   Based on post positions alone, Dexter Dunn--the Down Under sensation who won the 2015 World Drivers Championship--gained a slight nod over his competitors. With an average post position draw totaling 44 over each driver's eight opportunities on Day 1 and Day 2, Dunn's starting posts equal 30.   A total of seven drivers drew post positions totaling under 40. The others were Anthony Napolitano (31), Bruce Ranger (32), Jeremy Smith (33), Brett Miller (34), Randy Tharps (35) and Drew Monti (36).   On the flip side, there are six drivers who drew post positions adding up to over 50. Joe Bonjiorno will have his work cut out for him with a total of 64, although that number is skewed by an assigned outside post behind Grana Padanno--a winner of two straight at the top level at Northfield Park--in the $27,500 Open Trot on Sunday. Others who didn't fare particularly well at the draw are Roger Plante Jr. (55), Bob McClure (55), Dan Noble (53), Pat Berry (51) and Simon Allard (51).   Dunn will be looking to get off to a fast start as his four Day 1 drives include two rails and just nine in total post positions.   Others who will have a slight advantage as they try to top the leader board early are J. Bradley Harris (11), defending champion Trace Tetrick (13), national dash champion Aaron Merriman (16) and top Chicago-land reinsman Casey Leonard (16).   Those with an excellent chance of moving up the leaderboard on Day 2, based on post positions alone, will be Hollywood Dayton Raceway's recently named dash champ Jeremy Smith (9), Billy Davis Jr. (13), Anthony Napolitano (14), 8959-time winner Bruce Ranger (14) and the all-time winningest African-American driver Randy Tharps (16).   "We look forward to an exciting championship that goes right down to the wire, just as the first two editions of this competition did," said Tournament Director and Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Unless someone gets really hot, the winner isn't usually known until they hit the wire in the last race. These drivers have over 120,000 collective wins so they all know how to reach a winner's circle. I hope the fans and the participants enjoy this unique contest format and may the best man win!"   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - The roster for the 3rd annual $25,000 North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway in early January is now set. The thirty outstanding harness racing drivers who will descend on the southwest Ohio oval January 6-8 to compete for the title have an astounding 120,385 collective victories. Aaron Merriman, the reigning national dash champion and recently named USHWA 2018 Driver of the Year, heads the winners list with 10,922 career wins through the Dec. 22 contest entry deadline. Eight of the drivers have surpassed the 5,000 wins plateau, five more have over 4,000 triumphs. A dozen drivers have win totals between 2,000 and 4,000 while the remaining five reinsmen all exceed 1,000 wins. Defending champion Trace Tetrick, the winningest driver in Hoosier Park history, will return to seek back-to-back trophies. Here's the alphabetical list of contestants with their win totals in parenthesis: Simon Allard (3531) Pat Berry (3797) Joe Bonjiorno (1526) Billy Davis Jr. (2495) Kyle DiBenedetto (6383) Dexter Dunn (2311) Shawn Gray (4096) J. Bradley Harris (1443) Travis Henry (1044) Casey Leonard (2579) Aaron Merriman (10,922) Bob McClure (2251) Frank Milby (2678) Brett Miller (7919) Drew Monti (1244) Anthony Napolitano (2729) Jeff Nisonger (3204) Dan Noble (5457) Mike Oosting (6517) Chris Page (4561) Roger Plante Jr. (2489) Bruce Ranger (8959) Jeremy Smith (2142) Tyler Smith (2754) Josh Sutton (4515) Trace Tetrick (4834) Randy Tharps (5300) Todd Warren (4842) Jimmy Whittemore (1639) Sam Widger (6224) If any driver on this list has had an emergency which will prevent them from participating, there is a short list of alternates so please contact the Race Secretary (greggkeidel@yahoo.com or 651-260-8250) prior to the draw on January 1st for the first two days of the tournament. Gregg keidel

Lebanon, OH---By winning the final three events of the harness racing contest, Hoosier Park’s leading driver Trace Tetrick just nipped Ohio’s Chris Page to win the $10,000 first prize in the North America Driving Championship Tuesday night (Jan. 9) at Miami Valley Raceway. Page, the only other multiple winner with a pair of triumphs on championship day, finished second after leading most of the afternoon. Tetrick ended the eight-race head-to-head competition with 124 points, while Page scored 114. The other finalists were Simon Allard 101, Peter Wrenn 90, Aaron Merriman 84, Doug McNair 77, Jason Brewer 67, Billy Davis Jr. 65, Louis-Philippe Roy 43 and Corey Callahan 35. Tetrick’s consecutive wins during the contest finale were with Twin B Honour ($10.80 to win), Flyin Orion ($19.80) and Dalianna ($4.20). Page’s winning mounts were Allthatjazz De Vie ($11.40) and J-S Livethedream ($6.40). The other winners were all longshots -- Real Revenge (Simon Allard, $216.40), Mcaartic Ocean (Peter Wrenn, $74.80) and Hoosier Rikki (Billy Davis Jr., $28.80). In addition to Tetrick’s three championship contest wins, he also scored with Feelnlikearockstar ($7.20) and Caviart Midnight ($6.80) in overnight events. Miami Valley offered its first Instant Guarantee $10,000 Pick-5 pool on the card with 10 lucky winners each collecting $1,353.10. Miami Valley Gaming and Raceway 

Lebanon, OH---The stage is set for the $25,000 North America Drivers Championship day on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 9). Ten finalists have emerged from a total of 30 talented harness racing reinsmen who were competing during the first two preliminary days. Heading the list is Simon Allard, who finished in first place after his eight drives over two days, with 144 points. He was followed by Peter Wrenn with 130, Corey Callahan and Chris Page with 117 each, Louis Phillipe Roy 116.5, defending champ Doug McNair 116, Billy Davis Jr. 114, national dash champion Aaron Merriman 111, Trace Tetrick 106 and Jason Brewer 102. Narrowly missing the cut were Pat Berry and Brady Galliers, each with 101. Post positions for the eight races to determine the champion were drawn randomly following the final preliminary race on Monday. In accordance with the published conditions, the scoring slate will be wiped clean to start the championship round. Scoring will be identical to the preliminary rounds, with 30 points for a win, 20 for second, then 14-11-9-7-5-3-1-0. A driver is awarded 8 points in the unfortunate event that a horse is scratched. All ten finalists will compete in all eight races. First prize is $10,000 for the winner. Monday’s contest winners were Big Bad Bobby (Callahan, $4.00), Screaman Seaman A (Berry, $17.20), Velocity Sonja (Allard, $4.60), Savage Seelster (Trevor Henry, $5.00), Mach It Paiden (Tetrick, $10.40), Dante Ivy (McNair, $28.40), Blake North (Davis Jr., $9.00), Jiggles The Clown (Page, $6.40), Amazing Chip (Wrenn, $10.80), Bettor Win (Wrenn, $8.40), After Alimony (Page, $6.40) and Milliondollar Art (Roy, $26.80). Miami Valley’s Pick 5 has a carryover of $5862.73 going into Tuesday, which has prompted a guaranteed $10,000 gross pool on the wager covering races 10 through 14. Miami Valley Gaming   

Lebanon, OH --- A pair of “Buckeye” harness racing drivers, national reigning dash champion Aaron Merriman and upstart Brady Galliers, each captured two races on the first day of two preliminary rounds to snare the top spots in the standings after the first day of the North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday (Jan. 7). Round Two will be Monday afternoon (2:05 p.m. post time) with only the top 10 of the thirty drivers in the contest advancing to Championship Day on Tuesday. The Round One top 10 scorecard reads: Aaron Merriman 83, Brady Galliers 66, Peter Wrenn 61, Simon Allard 60, Billy Davis Jr. 56, Louis Phillipe Roy 54.5, James MacDonald 53, Chris Page 52, defending champion Doug McNair 50 and John Cummings Jr. 49. With each driver getting four more drives on Monday, and a scoring system heavily weighted for on-the-board finishes, no driver is out of contention for a berth on the deciding day of the tournament. First day winners were Tanzanite Love (Galliers, $8.60 to win), Burn Time Hanover (Merriman, $12.00), Upfrontoutthedoor (Trace Tetrick, $17.00), Idle Bones N (Allard, $17.40), Flashy Trick (John DeLong, $7.00), Onefinejimmerjohn (Roy, $11.00), Love To Roll (Cummings Jr., $8.60), Jessi’s Western (Merriman, $5.80), Delaware Heat (Galliers, $11.00), Another Breath (Chris Page, $6.00), Rockin Bikini (Davis Jr., $36.20) and Why Don’t U Stay (Tyler Smith, $48.40). Feature race on the first Sunday matinee of the season was the $27,500 Open Trot, won by Another Breath (Chris Page) is 1:54.1—equaling the 5-year-old’s lifetime mark. Jeff Johnson Jr. trains the winner for owner Richard Mishkin. As the co-favorite, Another Breath returned $6.00 and coupled with 46-1 longshot runnerup Marty De Vie (Peter Wrenn) the exacta returned a handsome $273.20. Miami Valley Raceway

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