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LEBANON, OH - Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton) returned to the winner's circle for the second time in four tries this month after winning the featured $25,000 Open Trot at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday afternoon (March 24). The 7-year-old son of Crazed nosed out last week's winner, All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) in 1:54.1. Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) also raced well to finish third. Anette Lorentzon trains Andy Ray for owner Yinson Quezada. He sports 23 victories and has earned over $560,000 in his career. A pair of $12,000 second leg divisions of the George 'Red' Owens Memorial Series for green (N/W 2 PM races or $20,000 lifetime) fillies and mares were also presented on the Sunday matinee. Avaline Hanover (Chris Page) overcame the difficult 9-hole behind the wings to capture the first split in 1:54. The Dragon Again filly made her seventh lifetime start a triumphant one, besting Home Town Girl (Brett Miller) and Delight Kate (Tyler Smith) in front-stepping fashion. The promising filly, who made just four starts as a freshman, is part of the powerful Burke Brigade. Machs Dragon (Tyler Smith), another filly by Dragon Again, broke her maiden in the second Owens Memorial division, topping Ben's Jenna (Trace Tetrick) and Reraise (Chris Page) in 1:55.1. Michael Rardon owns and trains the winner who was making just her third career appearance. The $20,000 championship of the Owens series is slated for next Sunday (March 31). The top nine money winners in the two preliminary legs, thus qualifying for the final, are (in order of earnings): Ben's Jenna, Avaline Hanover, Machs Dragon, Delight Kate, Home Town Girl, Respect, Dojea Rita, Reraise and Sugar And Spite.   Gregg Keidel

Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $20,000 Super Hi-5 total pool guarantee to its harness racing card on Monday (March 25). The thirteenth race features the $20,000 20¢ Super Hi-5 guaranteed total pool, which includes a carryover of $6,780.58. Northfield's Pick 5, Pick 4's, Pick 3's and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent. The evening's ninth race starts the 20¢ Northfield Single Six, which offers a $17,941.16 carryover. Monday's post time is 6:00 p.m. Ayers Ratliff

Northfield Park has announced the dates of four Iron Maiden Late Closing Series. These series offer increased racing opportunities for younger horses to start their seasons. All of the late closers carry a condition of non-winners of one pari-mutuel race (Ohio breds n/w two) or non-winners of $7,500 lifetime (through 3/23/19). The series are divided into filly and mare pacers, colt and gelding pacers, filly and mare trotters, and colt and gelding trotters. However, the trotters will be combined if at least 12 horses do not pay into each event. A one-time $200 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible. Payments are due by March 30. Each series consists of four $7,000 legs and a $20,000 final. Conditions for the series can be found at www.northfieldpark.com. Ayers Ratliff

LEBANON, OH - The Tuesday (March 19) matinee at Miami Valley Raceway featured both trotters and pacers in "Lebanon Legends" late closing series harness racing action. Three divisions of the first leg of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial trot for non-winners of six races or $60,000 went postward, as did a trio of first leg divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial featuring non-winners of two or $20,000 male pacers. The quickest mile in the $15,000 Farwick splits came in the first division when Vatanna (Elliott Deaton) narrowly topped Red Rose Swan (LeWayne Miller) in 1:55.3. Best of the rest was Showboat (Brett Miller). The five geldings in the seven horse field were no match for the winner and runnerup, who were the only mares in the contest. Anna Lorentzon owns Vatanna, a 5-year-old by Dejarmbro, who has now notched three wins in six tries in 2019. Air Assault (Dan Noble) captured the second Farwick split in 1:56.1, besting Sesame (Brett Miller) and Starlight AS (Elliott Deaton). The 4-year-old son of Yankee Glide races for the partnership of Charles Kline and trainer Mike Hollenback. The clocking equaled the lifetime best for the ultra-consistent Air Assault. Another pair of 4-year-old mares showed their heels to the field in the final Farwick division. Missprimetimemel (LeWayne Miller) took full advantage of an early miscue by heavily-favored The Lionking AS to wire the field in 1:56.2. Peggy Sue (Brady Galliers) was a close second with Mr Quaker (Brett Miller) the show finisher. The winning daughter of Pilgrims Chuckie, also trained by LeWayne Miller for owners Nathan Yoder and Stephen Stoll, surpassed the $50,000 earnings plateau with the win. Missprimetimemel was a mild upset winner in the first leg of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial trot series at Miami Valley on Tuesday. - Conrad photo Dealer's Table (Josh Sutton), a 3-year-old by American Ideal making just his second lifetime start, sped to a 1:52.3 score in the fastest $10,000 Hiteman Memorial division. Injured and unraced at two, the winner made his first money start a winning one in 1:54.4 last week and followed up with a dominating effort in his second. "He's the real deal," quipped Sutton as he hung up the lines after beating Smilenmyles (Dale Hiteman) and Parklane Knight (Tyler Smith). Trainer Jeff Cullipher co-owns Dealer's Table, a New York bred, with partner Pollack Racing LLC. The other two victors in the Hiteman heats scored identical 1:54. Triumphs. DL's Big Elvis (Brett Miller) headed Jack's Major (Trevor Smith) and Star Of Oz (Dan Noble) across the finish line. The 3-year-old son of Mister Big earned just $5000 as a freshman, but has already doubled that amount in his first four starts of 2019. Charlie Stewart is training the winner for Rod Harness and breeder Dave Scott. Doctor Jimmy (Cam McCown) remained undefeated by winning his division over Skyway Three Ball (Trace Tetrick) and Seattle Hanover (Chris Page). Brian Brown trains the winning son of Well Said for the partnership of Country Club Acres, Milton Leeman and Richard Lombardo. The 3-year-old colt is now four-for-four to start his promising career.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - A sure sign that Spring is right around the corner is the commencement of the "Lebanon Legends" harness racing late closer series for green pacers and trotters at Miami Valley Raceway. On Monday afternoon (March 18) three divisions of the first leg of the Robert J. Brown Memorial Series for non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime trotters were contested. When the limestone dust settled, winners were Monday Nite (Randy Tharps), Voyage To Paris (Kayne Kauffman) and Crews Hilltopper (Trevor Smith). Tharps sent Monday Nite, a 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide, directly to the front of the field and reeled off comfortable fractions when no serious challenge developed during the 2:00.1 mile. A pair of Ohio-sired fillies, My Pure Honey (Brett Miller) and Bad Babysitter (Josh Sutton) completed the trifecta in the $10,000 contest. Zachary Miller owns Monday Nite, who is booked to the court of Indiana sire Swan For All at the conclusion of this series. Kauffman guided Voyage To Paris to an upset ($19.40 to win) victory in the second split, narrowly defeating Innisfallen (Brett Miller) and Oh My My My (LeWayne Miller) after a thrilling stretch drive. The 3-year-old gelding by Dontyouforgetit lowered his best-ever mark to 1:57.4 for owners Stephen Richard and Lana Pollock. Jim Pollock Jr. conditions the winner. Crews Hilltopper is a well-seasoned county fair standout who topped Call Me Thefireman (Chris Page) and B Fluffinover (Alex Hawk) in 1:59.1. Larry Tinch trains the 4-year-old son of Break The Bank K for owners John Foster and Ray Helton. It was his 11th overall triumph, but just his second at a commercial venue. Including county fair earnings Crews Hilltopper has banked $62,534 in his first 39 career starts. Racing resumes Tuesday afternoon (March 19) at 2:05 p.m. when the highlight will be a trio of first leg divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial Series for green male pacers.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) dominated the $25,000 Open I Trot at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday afternoon (March 17), establishing a new lifetime mark in the process. The 6-year-old Ken Rucker-trainee grabbed the front end during a :27.1 first quarter, then proceeded to trip the subsequent timing beams in :56.1 and 1:25.2 before scooting home in :28.1 to record the 1:53.3 victory. The gelded son of Swan For All towed pocket sitter Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) through the finish line in second with Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton) rallying from fifth to third in the stretch. The triumph was the 16th in 91 career starts for All About Cowboys, who blew past the $200,000 earnings plateau with the win. Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas of Illinois own the ultra-consistent winner who has banked $58,180 in eight 2019 starts at Miami Valley. A $20,000 Open II Trot was captured easily by Mugshot Man (Chris Page), who was open lengths better than Pass The Vape (Derek Watiker) and Impressive Chief (Brett Miller) in 1:54.4. It was just the second win in the last two seasons for the 6-year-old son of Jailhouse Jesse, but was the quickest of his ten lifetime victories. Fred Morgan Jr. trains Mugshot Man for owner John Holman. The Red Owens Memorial late-closer for green fillies and mares got underway on Sunday as well. Heavily-favored Ben's Jenna (Trace Tetrick) lived up to the public's expectations, but only narrowly. The Mach Three-sired sophomore won for the third time in just six lifetime starts in 1:56.3. Delight Kate (Tyler Smith) and Respect (Kyle Ater) were next best in a tightly bunched field at the finish. Tyler George conditions the winner for David Kryway and the Ontario LTD stable.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Tura Lura Lural (Kayne Kauffman) completed a clean sweep of the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial Series, winning the $25,000 Championship leg on Friday night (March 15) at Miami Valley Raceway. The 4-year-old daughter of The Panderosa also captured a pair of preliminary legs before topping Avaline Hanover (Chris Page) and McPansy (Brett Miller) in the final. The Coven Memorial featured distaff pacers who lacked four wins or $40,000 in lifetime earnings at the series' commencement. Kauffman was intent on dictating the action, wrestling the lead away from McPansy just past the quarter mile mark of the race. Fending off a prolonged challenge by Scwartz Bros Beaty (Trace Tetrick), Tura Lura Lural then had to contend with Avaline Hanover for the length of the stretch before cruising under the wire a three-quarter length winner in 1:54.3. Kauffman's wife Natalie shares ownership of the winner with Douglas Millard and Sandra Burns of Ontario, Canada. She now sports five wins in just 25 lifetime starts and career earnings rapidly approaching $100,000.     -Conrad photo A $22,500 Mares Open Pace was won by Big Bad Jane, an Ohio-sired 5-year-old Big Bad John daughter making her initial start in open company for trainer-driver Dan Noble and owner Sandra Burnett. Content to sit next-to-last in the field of seven, Noble sent Big Bad Jane three wide at the halfway station, moved up to third with two furlongs to go, and cruised to a 2-1/4 length triumph over E R Hilary (LeWayne Miller) and fast-closing Rosemary Rose (Chris Page) in 1:53.4. Big Bad Jane has captured 17 of her 53 races to date and her bankroll has soared to $221,694. Big Bad Jane      - Conrad photo Racing resumes Saturday night (May 16) at Miami Valley with the $25,000 championship of the George Williams Memorial series on tap as well as a $25,000 Open I and a $20,000 Open II. Post time is 6:05 p.m.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Using identical tactics, Pine Dream stormed from last to first down the harness racing backstretch and went on to capture his second straight $24,000 Open Trot at Miami Valley on Sunday afternoon. With leading driver Trace Tetrick on vacation this weekend, Chris Page got the nod behind the winning 7-year-old son of Pinetucky. Newcomer Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton), fresh in from Yonkers Raceway, closed well for second, while All About Cowboys (Jason Brewer) hung on for third after dictating the fractions. For Page, who resides in fourth place in the current Miami Valley dash standings, it was his third consecutive day with an Open class victory. After winning the $25,000 Mares Open Pace with Feelin Red Hot on Friday, Chris guided Mykindachip to an impressive $20,000 Open II triumph on Saturday. Pine Dream has cashed in all seven of his 2019 tries at Miami Valley, all in the weekly Open Trot features. With three wins, two seconds and two fourth place finishes the Chupp Racing Stable stalwart has now banked $52,495 in the first two months of the season. Despite snowy conditions and a sloppy track, Pine Dream trotted his most recent mile in 1:56.1 for trainer Kelly Chupp. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH - Proving once again that the race is never over at the draw, the two horses that drew the outermost posts for the harness racing $25,000 Open I Pace at Miami Valley on Saturday night (March 2) finished one-two at long odds. My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) soared past the $800,000 career earnings plateau with an upset 1:51.1 victory, followed across the line by Fan Of Terror (Sam Widger)-who has been a mainstay on the North American Top 10 seasonal earners list thus far in 2019 by dominating the $20,000 claiming ranks. Smith sat chilly towards the back of the field as My Buddy Ninkster (Todd Warren) sprinted to the front and fended off challenges by Granite (Brett Miller) first and then show finisher Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble). My Hero Ron was third-over in the outer flow down the backside and had live enough cover to carry him to the head of the lane before swinging three wide for the stretch drive. The Danny Dubeansky trainee, owned by Brian Witt and Cory Atley, was dispatched at 14-1 odds and paid $30.60 to the faithful who believed the ultra-consistent 7-year-old son of Well Said could do it from an outside start. Fan Of Terror was sent off at 20-1 thus the hefty exacta payoff of $517.40. A $20,000 Open II was captured by Mykindachip (Chris Page), another super consistent old timer, who bested Feelnlikearockstar (Mike Oosting) and Cinnamack (Brett Miller) in 1:50.4. It was the 55th lifetime victory from exactly 200 starts for the 10-year-old son of Art's Chip and boosted his career bounty to $869,732. Page managed an ideal two-hole trip for the winner, who hails from the Ron Burke Stable. A pair of first leg George Williams Memorial Series divisions were contested earlier on the Saturday program. The late closer for non-winners of four races or $40,000 lifetime produced a pair of 4-year-old winners who each took impressive new lifetime marks. Gerardo (Kayne Kauffman), a recent $50,000 purchase at auction, sped to a 1:51.3 triumph over Noah Z Tam (Kyle Ater) and Velocity U Betcha (Brett Miller) in the first $12,500 split. Kauffman, who eclipsed the $20 million mark in purse earnings on Friday, also trains the son of Rockin Image for new owner Mark Bogen. Velocity Smoke (Dan Noble), trained by Mark Evers for his Velocity Standardbreds stable, scored in 1:52, besting Trial By Fire (Josh Sutton) and Reagan's Avenger (Chris Page). Racing resumes Sunday afternoon (March 3) with a 2:05 p.m. matinee. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Feelin Red Hot (Chris Page) got back on the winning track capturing the $25,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night (March 1). Driver Kayne Kauffman also had a memorable evening scoring a hat trick with three horses, all from his own barn. Feelin Red Hot drew the best of the four outside posts grouping and took full advantage. Once Page wrestled the front away with the 6-year-old daughter of Feelin Friskie he opened a couple lengths on the field and maintained the margin through the wire reached in 1:52. Lease Ness Monster (Kyle Ater) and Gone Girl (Dan Noble) were the best of the rest in the feature race. Ron Burke trains the winner, who now has three triumphs in six tries at this level in 2019, for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Kayne Kauffman not only reached the winner's circle three times, but also eclipsed the lofty $20 million purse earnings plateau. His first win came behind Tura Lura Lural in the second division of the first leg of the Herb Cover Jr. Memorial Series for distaffers who are non-winners of four races or $40,000 lifetime. The 4-year-old daughter of The Panderosa pounced from the 2-hole at the head of the stretch and sailed to a 1:53.4 score over Scwartz Bros Beaty (Sam Widger) and Canadian Rocker (Mike Peterson). Kauffman's wife Natalie co-owns the winner with partners Douglas Millard and Sandra Burns. Kayne Kauffman eclipsed the $20 million purse earnings plateau with a hat trick on Friday at Miami Valley.  He is congratulated by Racing Operations Manager Helen Carlo and Senior Marketing Director Jerry Abner. - Conrad photo Dan D Dune (1:53) gave Kauffman his second tally beating Strong Playin King (Dan Noble) and Whata Twist (Josh Sutton) in a $12,500 claimer for pacing geldings. Mary Megerle owns the 6-year-old who won for the second time in eight seasonal starts at this level. Mary Megerle also owns Kayne's third victor of the night, Lerato N (1:53.2), a 6-year-old mare who topped the highest condition class for the female set. The upset winner paid $33.20 for topping Strong Opinion (Sutton) and Sandy Sue (Page). Kauffman began his career in 1994 with one win in four starts and purse earnings of $423. Since then the 40-year-old reinsman has accumulated 3066 wins in addition to 3382 place and 3363 show finishes. Kayne's first two $1 million seasons came in 2013 and 2014, followed by $2 million-plus seasons in 2015 and 2018. In 2016 and 2017 the red-and-white clad driver managed $3 million-plus campaigns. He owns 14 100-plus win seasons, including the last 11 years. He scored over 300 victories in three straight years from 2015-2017. In this age of catch drivers, Kauffman is also an accomplished trainer who manages a full stable. He has recorded 810 training wins and his horses have earned over $4.6 million.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH - Trace Tetrick, the defending dash champion and leading driver at the current Miami Valley Raceway meet, won five of the first eight races on the Monday afternoon (Feb. 25) matinee including both divisions of the first leg of the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial late-closer for trotters. The Paver Memorial, for non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $40,000 lifetime, is the first of nine "Lebanon Legends" series that will be presented during March and the early days of April at Miami Valley. Air Assault captured the first $12,500 split in 1:56.2, besting P C Foreign Affair (Jason Brewer) and Missprimetimemel (LeWayne Miller). The favored 4-year-old son of Yankee Glide is trained by co-owner Mike Hollenback, whose partner is Charles Kline. The Lionking AS was victorious in the second division, downing MVP Luke (Dan Noble) and White Pants Forever (Walter Haynes Jr.) in 1:57.2. Tyler George recently assumed the conditioning duties on the 4-year-old Lionhunter gelding that is owned by ACI Stuteri AB. Both winners showed six victories prior to their first leg triumphs with three each coming at commercial tracks and three at county fairs. The second leg of the series next week will feature $15,000 divisions while the top nine combatants will chase a $25,000 championship purse on March 11. Tetrick's other tallies came behind Missplacedrock (1:57.4) in a bottom condition mares pace, Galyns Gift (1:56.1) in a $6500 mares claimer, and Insomniac (1:56.4) in a mid-range condition trot.   Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - All About Cowboys was all about business on Sunday (Feb. 17) afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway, winning the $22,500 Open I Trot in a front-stepping 1:55 effort. The 6-year-old black son of Swan For All has now put together a streak of four weeks with two wins and two place finishes in the weekly harness racing top trot. Driver Jason Brewer guided the winner through a well-rated mile that included checking in at the early stations in :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.4. Sent off at 3-1, All About Cowboys had to hold off a furious late rally by Pine Dream (Chris Page) to notch the narrow victory. Monopoly Blue Chip (Kayne Kauffman) was best of the rest, while Another Breath (Dan Noble) and Trotting Grace (Brett Miller) picked up the remaining paychecks. Ken Rucker trains All About Cowboys for owners Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas. The victory was his 15th in 88 career starts and raised his lifetime earnings to $186,000. Mystical Power (Chris Page), moving up from the $20,000 claiming level, garnered to honors in a $20,000 Open II Trot. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide mare bested Impressive Chief (Miller) and Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) in 1:55.4. It was the winner's tenth win overall and fourth in her last five starts, but the first in open company. Clarence Foulk conditions Mystical Power for L & L Stables. Racing resumes Monday afternoon (Feb. 18) at 2:05 p.m. at Miami Valley. Featured will be the $15,000 Survival Series championship leg for $5000 claiming mares, slated as Race 10 on the program.   From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - A star-studded full field of ten went postward in the Saturday (Jan. 26) harness racing $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at Miami Valley. When the dust settled, Granite won his second feature race of the meet and fourth in his last six tries in the region. In the process, the 6-year-old son of Real Desire equaled the quickest mile of the three-week old winter meet by stopping the teletimer in 1:50 flat for driver Brett Miller. Granite and Miller got away fifth in the talented field, but did not see the pylons for much of the mile. The pair followed Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the outer flow during the initial :26.2 panel, then were forced to face the elements first-up when that adversary cleared to the front prior to the :54.1 midway point. Lapped on to the pacesetter passing the 1:21.2 three-quarters station, Granite dug deep in the stretch to hold off hard-charging My Buddy Ninkster (Todd Warren) and Nuclear Dragon at the finish. Every horse in the field was a recent impressive winner and thus Granite was dispatched at 7-1 odds. He is trained by Ken Rucker for The Panhellenic Stable Corporation and is rapidly approached the $400,000 earnings plateau. Three divisions of second leg Claim To Fame action was also contested among $20,000 claimers racing for $26,000 tags, a 30% price enhancement following leg one two weeks ago. Winners, despite missing a week of racing due to a weather cancellation at Miami Valley last Saturday, were Artsmah (Josh Sutton, 1:52.4, $18.80 to win), Fan Of Terror (Trace Tetrick, 1:52, $2.80) and Denslow Hanover (Chris Page, 1:51.4, $9.80). All three advanced to next week's $32,500 championship tilt where they will be joined by fellow finalists Always A Fighter, Latest Desire, Vintage Grand, Gypsy Leather, Valiant Ivy and Whiskey Friskie. Gregg Keidel  

Trenton, NJ — For harness racing driver Dakota Jackson, ignorance may not have been bliss, but it sure was advantageous. On Nov. 21, the 20-year-old recorded his first driving win when he guided Dontcallme Dude to victory at Ohio’s Northfield Park. What Jackson did not know when the race started, is that his horse went off at odds of 6-5, making him the favorite for the first time in his young career. “If I knew I was the favorite, I probably would have found some way to mess up the race and mess up my drive,” Jackson said with a laugh. “I thought I expected to be maybe third or fourth choice. I didn’t expect to be 6-5 and have everybody putting their money on me.” Sitting in third after the opening quarter-mile, Jackson decided to make his move.   Dakota Jackson recorded his first driving win when he guided Dontcallme Dude to victory on Nov. 21 at Northfield Park. JJ Zamaiko photo.   “I was kind of hesitant to pull,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to pull this horse too early and I’m going to get beat.’ I looked over and thought ‘If I don’t get out now I don’t know if I’ll ever get out.’ At about the half-mile pole I kicked the plugs on him and going past the paddock, my dad and my brother and everyone was standing there, and I just let out the biggest holler I could let off. As soon as I did that the horse pinned his ears back and just went. It was exciting.” Dontcallme Dude won by 3-1/2 lengths, leading to a feeling Jackson never had before. “When I came across the line I was shaking,” Jackson said. “I didn’t really think I had it won. I could still hear everyone behind me so I wasn’t going to count it until I got across the line. When I did I thought ‘Aw gee, this is nice.’” Jackson has not won since then, although he has barely raced since he does not have winter colors. He is anxiously awaiting the start of the season while he works as a trainer for James Stiltner in Ohio. Dakota and his twin brother, Zachary, have wanted to drive and train ever since they were boys growing up in Monroe, Mich. Their parents, Kelly and Charles, met at the Indiana State fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Charles is also in the business, which is one of the reasons he wanted his boys to stay out of it. “My dad wanted me and my brother to go into the military,” Jackson said. “He knew how hard it was. He wanted us boys to have good financial stability. My mom was kind of a little hesitant, but if we wanted to drive or train horses or be a blacksmith, my mom was always kind of ‘Go ahead do what you want, I’ll be supporting you the whole way.’” Pretty much everyone in Monroe who knew the Jackson twins knew where their hearts lied. “A lot of people will tell you, when Raceway Park was opening up, every morning and every afternoon before the races, me and my brother would actually hook race bikes to the fence at Raceway Park and we’d actually pretend we were driving,” Dakota said. “We kind of had a gist that we wanted to be drivers and trainers for a long time.” Jackson jogged his first horse at age 6 and trained his first at age 12. “My dad was jogging one on the track, he told me not to go do it; I went ahead and did it anyway,” he said. “It was at the Red Mile where I trained my first horse. We didn’t go very fast, it was like 2:45 or something.” At age 12, the boys moved with their mom to Mentor On The Lake, Ohio, a town on Lake Erie just northeast of Cleveland. Jackson continued to learn the business and at age 18 he got his driving license. He also bought his first horse — which he still owns — an 11-year-old by the name of Milliondollardad. He purchased him for $2,500 from David McNeight III and feels it was a successful purchase despite limited monetary success. “He hasn’t made me a whole lot of money but he’s taught me how to drive, he’s taught me patience and taught me a lot of respect for a horse,” Jackson said. “I would never have had the chance to even start driving without him. I owe big things to Davey McNeight and that horse.” Asked how the horse helped him so much, Jackson said Milliondollardad did things he never thought a horse could teach a person. “At first a lot of people said he was dangerous,” Dakota said. “In my eyes he was never really dangerous. He was more or less a real finicky horse. You can’t fight with him, you can’t be hard on his mouth. You’ve got to learn patience with him, you’ve got to do it his way. You’ve got to work with him instead of against him. “Me being 18 years old, I was eager to drive, I wanted to have a horse with a lot of gate speed. He could leave a little but he could never really leave a whole bunch. The guys here (at Northfield) are seasoned drivers, they want you to earn your respect as much as they want to give you your respect. So I kind of got stuck toward the back a little bit and picked up a lot of thirds, fourths and fifths with him. Aaron Merriman drove him on Jug Week in Delaware. He ended up fifth. That was my first Jug Week as a trainer so the horse raced huge, I thought.” With the support of his girlfriend, Lexi Chadbourne, Jackson plans on claiming a horse or two, and also wants to start driving Milliondollardad more frequently. “Lexi really gives me confidence,” Dakota said. “She has a horse too and I drove her horse (Three New Dawns). She does a lot for me when it comes to getting confidence. If I have a bad race, she’ll still come up and tell me ‘Hey, you drove him fine.’” While he is both a trainer and driver, Jackson’s ultimate goal is to be a catch driver. “I want to have a couple horses on my own and I want to be able to catch drive for other people,” he said. “I’m just not getting a lot of chances. But my mom said ‘Sooner or later it will come, you’ve just got to wait.’” Jackson is willing to wait for as long as it takes, considering he never wanted anything else. “My sister, Hillary Miller, will tell you she doesn’t know why we want to do it, she just knows we want to do it and she’ll support us 100 percent,” Jackson said. “My brother and I have always wanted to be in this business our whole life. There was never a question about it.” by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

LEBANON, OH. - If the preliminary harness racing legs are any indication, the $22,500 championship finals of a pair of Claim To Fame late-closers next Tuesday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway should be hum-dingers. Five final divisions for $8000 claiming geldings and a pair of splits for $12,500 claiming mares were contested on this Tuesday's matinee (Jan. 22) to reduce the original hopefuls down to just nine for each final. Winners among the $8000 male pacers were Special Luke (LeWayne Miller, 1:54.2, $3.60 mutuel), Communicator (Todd Warren, 1:53.4, $6.40), Trixsen Gram (Dan Noble, 1:52.3, $9.00), Giovanni (Trace Tetrick, 1:53.3, $5.00) and Cool Like That (Brett Miller, 1:53.3, $5.00). As two-time winners in the series, Cool Like That and Giovanni are likely to favorites in the lucrative final with the others hot on their heels. In addition to the three other second leg winners, the field will also include Alero Blue Chip, Jacks Desire, Shift Right and Why Don't U Stay. On the distaff side, Townlinedaliscard (Chris Page, 1:54.2, $7.80) and Ginger Tree Alexis (Noble, 1:54.4, $4.20) copped divisions of the $12,500 mares series. There were no two-time preliminary leg winners among the females, so the championship in the class sets up as anybody's race to win. In order of preliminary leg earnings, the finalists are Ginger Tree Alexis, Cenalta Diamond, Townlinedaliscard, Always A Vision, Golden Paradise, Upfront Supersonic, Granny Pants, Shot Of Sweet Love and Likeafireballshot. The popular annual January Miami Valley Claim To Fame Series features seven different classes with two legs and a championship. The groupings were $8000 and $12,500 pacing mares; $8000, $12,500, $20,000 and $30,000 pacing males; and $15,000 claiming trotters. In the second leg of each series, a 30% claiming tag premium was allotted to each horse. There will be no claiming in the approaching lucrative championship tilts. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Harness racing ten-year-old American Girl won for the 54th time in her illustrious career on Friday night (Jan. 18) at Miami Valley Raceway. The daughter of Art's Chip is now just one win away from reaching the $1 million earnings plateau. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the $25,000 Mares Open Handicap, driver Trace Tetrick took no chances in the bulky 10-horse field, heading directly towards the front when the gate swung open. Getting where he wanted to go, though, wasn't as easy as it might have been. Although American Girl had her head in front she wasn't able to clear to the lead until well past the :27.2 first quarter. From there, however, there was little doubt about the outcome until runnerup JB's Shooting Star (Chris Page) rallied furiously through the stretch to make things interesting near the wire, reached in 1:54.2. Cast No Shadow (Josh Sutton) also raced admirably to grab the show money. Three final preliminary legs of the Claim To Fame Series for male $12,500 pacers were also contested. Winners were Rock Of The Ages (John DeLong, 1:52.1, $10.40 to win), RHP (Dan Noble, 1:53.1, $3.60) and Mosee Terror (Noble, 1:54, $3.60). In addition to that trio, finalists for next Friday's $25,000 championship leg are Stonehouse Adam, Max Hanover, Ruthless Call, Key Word, Hezabluechipboy N and Believe In Your Mach. With an extreme winter storm forecast for the weekend in Ohio, Miami Valley horsemen can expect a text alert by 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning in regards to the status of Saturday night's live program. Gregg Keidel  

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