Day At The Track
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Grove City, Ohio - Pass The Vape hit the board in half of his starts, winning eight times, as he is named the 2020 Ohio Aged Trotter of the Year. Pass The Vape, son of Dejarmbro out of Vapor Rises, started 24 races for harness rascing trainer Derek Watiker and his father, the owner, Lionel Watiker. Pass The Vape earned $109,642 in 2020. Pass The Vape scored his biggest win of the year in the $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Aged Trotting Championship at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway. "It's nice having a homebred perform so well," said Derek Watiker. "He shows up every week and I'll take a full barn of racehorses that show up every week." Pass The Vape will be honored during the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association's virtual award show on January 16, 2021. The awards show is scheduled to air on the OHHA YouTube channel at 7:00 PM. For more information:   Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

LEBANON, OH. – Pace Baby Pace, named to mimic Miami Valley handicapper Pacey Mindlin’s signature sign-off slogan, won her first open company race in southwest Ohio on Friday night (Jan. 15).  Driver Chris Page was content to race midpack in the early going, then moved into the outer flow following The Bethinator (Tyler Smith) as the field approached the halfway point of the $22,500 Mares Open.  Swinging three wide for the stretch drive, Pace Baby Pace edged past The Bethinator and then collared frontrunner Miss You N (Jeremy Smith).  The 1:52.4 score was the 13th of the winner’s harness racing career and pushed the 5-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou’s earnings over the $200,000 plateau, much of it coming from wins versus top company at The Meadows. Pace Baby Pace is a homebred owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.  Finalists were also determined during Friday action for the first two of nine Claim To Fame series currently underway at Miami Valley. Five divisions were necessary in the final preliminary leg for $12,500 claiming male pacers.  Quickest winner was Sprinter N, who won his second straight in the series, this time in 1:52.  Brett Miller drove the winner who paid $7.40.  Other winners were Franzo (Sam Widger, 1:52.3, $3.60), Commentariat (Miller, 1:54.1, $5.40), The Great Buzz N (Trace Tetrick, 1:53.2, $7.80) and Ohio Larry (Kayne Kauffman, 1:54, $32). The nine top money winners in the preliminary legs, who will compete for a $25,000 championship purse next Friday, are (in order of earnings): Sprinter N, Commentariat, Franzo, Ohio Larry, The Great Buzz N, Armabluechipboy N, J M Jet Set, Persistent Threat A and Panoramic View. Two splits for $20,000 claiming mares also went postward with repeat winners in both divisions.  American Cheer (Josh Sutton, 1:52.3, $3.40) and M E Radar Girl (Tetrick, 1:53.2, $10) established themselves as the favorites for the $30,000 final. The championship field will include: American Cheer, M E Radar Girl, Duck Duck Dragon, Malnificent, Part Time Hanover, Juslikeaqueen, American Empress N, D Gs Elsa and I Choose You.   Gregg Keidel

Grove City, Ohio - The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association (OHHA) 2020 Virtual Awards Show will air Saturday, January 16, beginning at 7PM. The show can be seen on the OHHA's YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/fvfl_HNH-d8. The awards show will feature Ohio's top equine athletes of 2020 including the announcement of the 2020 Horse of the Year. Other Ohio award winners honored will be the Terry Holton Youth Award, Maynard and Stella Hagemeyer Significant Contribution Award, Ohio Outstanding Groom Award, and the Special -Service to Harness Racing Award. In addition, the United States Harness Writers Association - Ohio Chapter annual awards will also be presented as will the Ohio State Racing Commission's Kaltenbach Awards. For more information:   Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

Aaron Merriman had a big night at MGM Northfield Park on Wednesday (January 13) winning seven times on the 15-race program. Aaron's harness racing triumphs were with Taco Tuesday ($3.20) in race three, Difference Maker ($5.80) in race four, Rooney Blue Chip ($3.20) in race seven, Down On My Luck ($7.20) in race eight, Sir Pugsley ($3.20) in race 13, Catch Me Conrad ($2.80) in race 14 and Arthur Pendragon ($5.20) in race 15. Merriman won his first race in 1998, a $2,200 conditioned event at the former Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio, aboard Albert's Filly. Since breaking his maiden, Aaron has scored almost 13,000 more times with purse earnings over $86.5 million. MGM Northfield Park has announced a $20,000 guaranteed Pick 5 total pool for Saturday’s (January 16) race card.  Beginning in Race 6, the $20,000 guarantee includes a carryover of $4,495. The guarantee is being offered at part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.  The evening’s eighth race starts the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $7,082 carryover. Northfield’s Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5, Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced take-out rate of just 14%.  Saturday’s post time is 4:20 PM.   Ayers Ratliff

Grove City, Ohio – Penpaperpaige had a September to remember, winning the Ohio Sires Stakes Final and the Ohio Breeders Championship on her way to being named the 2020 Ohio 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. Penpaperpaige, the daughter of Pet Rock out of Park Lane Paige won four of her 12 starts, hitting the board nine times winning $250,080 for trainer Jeff Smith and owner Shirley Le Vin.  As a two-year-old, Penpaperpaige won the Buckeye Stallion Series final.  In her three-year-old season, she jumped ranks to the Ohio Sire Stakes and was a champion again.  She won the $300,000 OSS Final at Eldorado Scioto Downs and then won the OBC at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Smith credits his son Tyler for much of the horse’s success.  “Tyler has done an excellent job driving her.  He deserves all the credit.  If it weren’t for him getting her around the track, she wouldn’t be where she is,” said Smith.  Penpaperpaige will be honored during the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual award show on January 16, 2021.  The awards show is scheduled to air on the OHHA YouTube channel at 7:00 PM. For more information:   Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

It’s Time For Fun has brought plenty of pleasure to the Wilfong family over the years and trainer Brett Wilfong hopes the 6-year-old female pacer will add to the enjoyment in 2021. Lynn Wilfong, Brett’s dad, bred and owns It’s Time For Fun, who was an Indiana Sire Stakes champion at age 3. She has earned $312,395 during her harness racing career, winning 17 of 71 races and cashing a paycheck 55 times. After a brief bout with sickness, It’s Time For Fun makes her seasonal debut in Friday’s $22,500 open for fillies-and-mares at Miami Valley Raceway. Kyle Wilfong, Brett’s son, will be in the sulky, leaving from post five in a field of nine. It’s Time For Fun is 8-1 on the morning line. Miss You N is the 3-1 favorite. “I think if she stays healthy, she could have her best year this year,” Brett Wilfong said. “She’s going to have to battle the open mares or the class below that all year, but if we can keep her healthy, she can have a good year. She tries hard that last quarter, and that’s worth a lot. She has a real good closing kick. “She’s pretty competitive in that top class. If you can go for $15,000 to $25,000 every week, you can have a pretty good year.” It’s Time For Fun closed last season with five consecutive on-the-board finishes, including one victory. Earlier in the campaign, she finished second in the Indiana Sire Stakes championship for older female pacers. In 2018, It’s Time For Fun won the Indiana Sire Stakes championship at odds of 11-1 with Kyle Wilfong at the lines at Hoosier Park. “That sure was a nice evening,” Brett said. “There are a lot of good memories.” It’s Time For Fun is a daughter of Skydancer Hanover out of Irwin’s Character. She was limited to six starts at age 2 because of a foot infection, but Brett liked the horse all along. “We thought she had a lot of potential,” Brett said. “She was a beautiful animal. She could pace free-legged, didn’t really need the hobbles too much. She just had an effortless gait. Once she got over her foot infection, she had a lot more opportunity to show what she really was.” The Wilfongs owned It’s Time For Fun’s sire and dam. The family, which has farms in Indiana and Illinois, has bred hundreds of horses over the years. “It’s very family oriented,” Brett said about the Wilfongs’ involvement in harness racing. “Everyone is active, everyone enjoys the races, enjoys the horses. My mom (Barbara) and dad enjoy watching the races and they raise the yearlings and take care of some of the broodmares. Dad needs to be occupied. When you’ve been a self-employed horseperson your whole life it’s hard to sit down and not do anything.” Lynn Wilfong was inducted into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame last year. In addition to breeding and racing, he helped lobby for pari-mutuel racing in Indiana and spent a dozen years as president of the Indiana Trotting & Pacing Association. In 1993, he received the very first Breeders Award given by the Standardbred Owners and Breeders of Indiana, now known as the Indiana Standardbred Association. “It’s a night we won’t forget,” Brett said. “My dad and uncle Ralph were part of the grassroots effort in Indiana to get pari-mutuel betting passed in the state legislature. My dad has a lot of ties other than owning a lot of horses over the years. I know my dad was very proud of it. It was pretty special for our whole family. “We have a lot of good memories.” With It’s Time For Fun aiming to create more.   by Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

Grove City, Ohio – Action Uncle picked up in 2020 where he left off, winning nine races on the way to being named the Ohio 3-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. Action Uncle, the son of Uncle Peter out of Action Broadway, started ten times in 2020, winning nine and finishing second once.  He earned $351,960 for harness racing trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and owners Carl Howard, Joyce McClelland, and Larry Wills. In 16 career starts, Action Uncle has 12 wins, three second place finishes and one third place with earnings of $577,535. It is the second straight year that Action Uncle has won the year-end award as the top trotter in his division. Last year he was named the 2019 Ohio 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year.  An Ohio Triple Crown winner in 2020, Action Uncle set a world record in the Ohio Breeders Championship on the Delaware County Fairgrounds half-mile track tripping the wire in 1:52.4. “It’s a thrill to train him,” said Morgan.  “He is a special horse, arguably the best trotter I have ever trained, and I have trained some very nice trotters including his mom.” Action Uncle will be honored during the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual award show on January 16, 2021.  The awards show is scheduled to air on the OHHA YouTube channel at 7:00 PM.   For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

Grove City, Ohio – The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) has added three stallions to the Stallion Auction to benefit P.A.C.E.R. (Political Action Committee for Equine Racing).  Catch The Fire, Lather Up and Well Said join the list of 22 stallions up for bid.   The three additions stand at Sugar Valley Farm in Delaware, Ohio. P.A.C.E.R. helps the OHHA to support candidates and initiatives that impact Ohio harness racing. On-line bidding is available until Saturday January 16th at 5:00 p.m.  For information on how to bid visit https://hoofbid.com/OHHA. Bidders can create an account in the HoofBid app.  Phone bidding will also be accepted on the final day of the auction beginning at 1:00 PM EST.  The on-line bidding time for each stallion auto-extend in one-minute increments until the bidding activity stops for one full minute.  All contracts are subject to P.A.C.E.R. and farm approval and are not transferable to another mare or individual without the consent of both.  P.A.C.E.R. helps the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association to support legislative quests for expanding gaming and other issues that could positively impact Ohio harness racing.   For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

MGM Northfield Park has announced a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 total pool for Wednesday's (January 13) race card. Beginning in Race 2, the $100,000 guarantee includes a carryover of $25,032. The guarantee is being offered at part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. The evening's eighth race starts the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $4,774 carryover. Northfield's Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5, Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced take-out rate of just 14%. Wednesday's post time is 4:20 PM.   Ayers Ratliff

LEBANON, OH. – Swan Chase (Trace Tetrick) narrowly defeated Pass The Vape (Trevor Smith) and Lane Of Stone (Dan Noble) in the Tuesday (Jan. 12) featured $22,500 Open Trot at Miami Valley.  The 1:53.4 clocking was the quickest of the eight day old 2021 harness racing meet thus far. The winner was on top at the quarter mile marker, but yielded to last week’s winner Workinitonbroadway (Chris Page) shortly thereafter.  A first-over bid by Pass The Vape had Swan Chase pinned in the pocket when the full ten horse field reached the three quarter beam, but Tetrick found room coming off the final bend and assumed command early in the stretch.  From there it was up to the 7-year-old son of Swan For All to hold off the persistent Pass The Vape, which he accomplished,  The victory was the 30th of Swan For All’s career and pushed his earnings to $547,517.  Luis Quevedo trains the victor for owner John Barnard. Four divisions of first leg action in an $8000 Claim To Fame series for male pacers also went postward, as did a pair of divisions for $12,500 mares in a similar series. Believeinthespirit (Dan Noble) won the quickest split for the $8000 hopefuls by stopping the clock in 1:53.4 and returning $5.60 to win.  Other winners were Gallery Opening (Noble, 1:54, $10), Tyber Tyke (Tetrick, 1:54.2, $6.20) and Cool Like That (Page, 1:55, $10.60).  A total of nine of the 40 combatants were claimed from the initial leg, including Believeinthespirit and Gallery Opening. Bellini Seelster (Josh Sutton) captured the fastest division of $12,500 ‘girls’ races in 1:54.2, returning $2.60 as the heavy favorite.  Glenfame Bronte N (William Mann, 1:55.1, $20) copped the other division.  Bellini Seelster, a winner of eight of her last nine races was the only mare collared via the claim box among the distaffers. Racing resumes at Miami Valley on Friday afternoon with a 4:05 p.m. post time.   Gregg Keidel

The Ohio Chapter will honor Louise and Jay Weller as the recipients of the Winner’s Circle Award for the Ohioan who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past year; Chris Presley as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner as the young Ohioan who is an “up-and-coming” star among harness racing horsemen; Jim Dailey into the Immortal Hall of Fame; Dancin Yankee into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and Kurt Sugg as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades. The Weller’s were the owners of Designer Specs, the two-year-old filly trotter who completed her freshman season a perfect 14-for-14 and was the winningest two-year-old in all of North America. The daughter of Full Count concluded her season with a gutsy victory in the $40,000 Ohio Fair Championship at MGM Northfield Park in a lifetime best 1:57.4. Presley is a 25-year-old native of Michigan and resident of Heath, Ohio. He is enjoying a great year with 76 driving wins and seasonal earnings approaching $600 thousand million in purse money. Presley currently sits just outside the top 10 in the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway driver’s standings. As a driver, James “Bill” Dailey made 2,301 trips into the winner's circle. He trained multiple Ohio Triple Crown winners and numerous Ohio and Indiana Sire Stake champions. He conditioned at least 1,200 winners and in excess of $12.3 million in earnings. He was awarded the Jerry Kaltenbach Memorial Award as the OSS’s top trainer on three occasions. Dailey passed away suddenly in 2018 at the age of 57. Dancin Yankee is a double World Champion and a three-time Ohio ‘Older Pacer of the Year.’ The son of Yankee Cruiser recorded 80 career wins and over $2 million in earnings. Dancin Yankee had several ownership groups and is currently owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Melissa Patterson and Larry Karr. Next spring Dancin Yankee will stand his first season at stud at Cool Winds Farm. Driver/trainer Kurt Sugg was born into a harness racing family – the son of Hall of Fame trainer Ivan Sugg and Patty Sugg. A veteran of 34 years, Sugg has won more than 4,600 events as a driver and has over 1,000 victories as a conditioner. His career earnings are more than $26 million. He has been supportive of all levels of Ohio racing. Sugg will finish 2020 with more than 375 driving wins and $2.9 million, both are career highs, despite missing a significant amount of time due to the COVID shutdown. The award winners will be honored at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual banquet on Saturday, January 16.   Jay Wolf

Grove City, Ohio – As a two-year-old, the connections of Ocean Rock knew he was special, but they did not realize how special until his first start as a three-year-old when he rallied down the stretch for his first harness racing win of the year on the way to being named Ohio 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. Ocean Rock, the son of Rockin Amadeus out of Ocean Pearl hit the board nine times in ten starts, winning six and earning $363,360 for his owner and breeder Sandra Burnett.  Trained by Christi Noble, Ocean Rock won the $300,000 Ohio Sire Stake Final at Eldorado Scioto Downs and the Ohio Breeders Crown at Delaware, and the Ohio Fair Finals, earning the Ohio Triple Crown. “He’s kind of cocky, he has a presence about him.  He knows he is a good horse,” said Noble.  “He is very versatile.  He is quick off the gate, but he can also race from behind.” Ocean Rock will be honored during the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual award show on January 16, 2021.  The awards show is scheduled to air on the OHHA YouTube channel at 7:00 PM.   For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

Grove City, Ohio – Summer Touch made sure there was no doubt who the top 2-Year-Old pacing filly in Ohio was, as she set a harness racing world record and won the Ohio Triple Crown on the way to being named the 2020 Ohio 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. Summer Touch, the daughter of Well Said out of Real Touch finished second in her first start and then won her next six races for trainer Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services, Slaughter Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, earning $285,550. Summer Touch is an Ohio Triple Crown Winner, winning the $300,000 Ohio Sire Stakes final, the Ohio Fair Stakes, and the Ohio Breeders Championship.  She set a world record at MGM Northfield Park in the fourth leg of the Ohio Sire Stakes, covering the half mile track in 1:51.4.    “She’s a pleasure to work with,” said driver Chris Page.  “Summer Touch isn’t the biggest filly, but she is very slick gaited and gets over the track easily.”  Summer Touch will be honored during the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual award show on January 16, 2021.  The awards show is scheduled to air on the OHHA YouTube channel at 7:00 PM.   For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

LEBANON, OH. - Harness racing driver Josh Sutton reached the coveted 5,000 career victory plateau at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (Jan. 11), guiding Wegottatruckyea to the wire first in the very first race. It wasn't long before Sutton commenced his trek for 10,000 wins as he also captured the second race with Astroffical, prompting a daily double that returned $20.60 to Sutton faithful. Sutton was born in Henderson, Kentucky, just a stone's throw from Audubon Raceway, in 1982. He began working for trainer Brian Loney when he was 14, mucking stalls and jogging horses. Hooked for life on harness racing, Sutton quit school at age 15 and hitched a ride to Los Alamitos in California where he found work on the backstretch for the winter meet. When that ended Josh returned to Lexington and he has been a mainstay in Midwest America racing circles ever since. After another year of grooming and jogging horses, Sutton get his qualifying license in 1999 and drove in 18 of those tests. As soon as he turned 18, Sutton was awarded his driver's license and Loney and trainer Clint Binkley gave the young reinsmen his first work. Sutton's career has progressed nicely since those early days. He has raced at Fairmount Park, where he won his first qualifier, Colonial Downs, where he won his first real race, and a plethora of other tracks throughout the Midwest over the past 20 years. He has raced at Maywood, Hawthorne and Balmoral in Chicago, Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs in Indiana, as well as stints at The Red Mile and Pompano Park. For the past seven years Sutton has been a mainstay on the southern Ohio circuit of Miami Valley, Hollywood Dayton and Scioto Downs. Sutton's mounts have earned almost $36 million and he has notched over 100 victories in 16 of the last 18 years. Josh's best year was 2016 when he triumphed 550 times, earned $5,060,722 and sported a .319 UDRS. One of many highlights of his career was winning four Ohio Sires Stakes championship races on a single night at Northfield Park in that season. Josh Sutton is congratulated on his 5000th career win by Race Secretary Gregg Keidel, his girlfriend Ashley Holliday, longtime friend Brett Schultz and Miami Valley Race Manager Larry Alexander.       Conrad photo When asked to name his favorite horse, Sutton quipped "The last one that I won with! I hate losing even more than I like winning." On his goals moving forward, "10,000! This is what I do and I plan on doing it as long as I'm able." Sutton and his girlfriend, outrider Ashley Holliday, purchased a horse farm several years ago that keeps them busy in their spare time. "I don't have a lot of hobbies, other than rooting for the Kentucky Wildcats in basketball, but there's always something to do at the farm."   Gregg Keidel

Grove City, Ohio – Noah Kenneth Newman of Streetsboro, Ohio has been named the recipient of the 2020 Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association Terry Holton Youth Award.  Newman, a sophomore at Streetsboro High School, has taken advantage of his opportunity to work with his family’s horses in 2020.  When Covid-19 shut down schools and high school athletics, Newman began helping at the barn. “He would wake up at 5:30 and begin work at the barn,” said his grandmother Melinda Bailey.  “His dad thought he would waver, but during the year he only became more determined.” Newman has been jogging horses since he was ten and he is enjoying the experience of working with his dad and grandfather.  “I enjoy being out of the house and working with the horses,” said Newman.  “I like training horses and getting more experience.”  Newman said he is not sure about his future but knows horses will be a part of it.  “I know I would like to drive at some point in the future.” In addition to working with the horses, Newman is active in other sports including baseball, football, and golf.  The award, in its 20th year, is named for Terry Holton, a 2005 inductee into the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame.  Holton of Newark, Ohio, was the winner of over 1,700 races in his career.  He overcame many obstacles in his life, the biggest may have been overcoming pancreatic cancer. The Terry Holton Youth Award is awarded to a youth between the ages of 13 and 19 who has actively participated in harness racing during 2020 as a driver, trainer, groom, breeder, race office/publicity assistant, track maintenance crew or has provided outstanding service to harness racing.   For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

MGM Northfield Park has announced a $25,000 guaranteed Pick 5 total pool for Tuesday's (January 12) race card. Beginning in Race 6, the $25,000 guarantee includes a carryover of $4,140. The guarantee is being offered at part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association. The evening's eighth race starts the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $2,045 carryover. Northfield's Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5, Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced take-out rate of just 14%. Tuesday's post time is 4:20 PM.   Ayers Ratliff

1 to 16 of 1977
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