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Talk about a battle right to the wire, harness drivers Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Aaron Merriman went at it neck and neck right down to the last of 16 races at Northfield Park Monday, but Wrenn emerged one win ahead of Merriman for the National Harness Racing Driving Title once the program was finished. Going into Monday’s card, Merriman held the national lead by one win, 834 to 833 over Wrenn. But Wrenn drew first blood and then some as he won three straight races, the 3rd, 4th and 5th races and then the tenth race to score a four-bagger on the night. Merriman still had some gas in the tank for the later races as he answered back with a driving double, winning the 13th and 15th races to close the margin to just one win in favor of Wrenn. Merriman had five second place finishes on the night to just one for Wrenn. Wrenn now has 837 victories to Merriman's 836 wins. Now the action resumes at Northfield Park on Tuesday night as both drivers will compete in all 16 races on the program. But it does not end there as Wrenn and Merriman will take it right down to the wire as both drivers will compete on the New Year’s Eve card at Sports Creek Raceway in Michigan with first post at 7 pm. The biggest winner on the card Monday at Northfield Park was Greg Grismore, who led all drivers with five winners. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Northfield, OH --- Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. continued their rockem sockem battle as each harness racing driver won four races on the Sunday night (Dec. 28) program at Northfield Park, which allowed Merriman to maintain his one victory lead in the North American dash standings. Wrenn had the hot hands early on Sunday night and briefly took over the top spot after winning the second, fourth, fifth and seventh races on the Sunday program, but Merriman came roaring back later on to win races nine, 10, 13 and 14. Merriman now has 834 victories on the campaign, while Wrenn has 833 wins. The two drivers will battle once again Monday night at Northfield Park. Each has a mount in all 16 of the races on the card. With files from the USTA

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. posted 714 wins in 2013, 69 more than any other driver in North America. In his quest to repeat as the winningest driver again this year, only one driver stands in his way, his friend and nightly competitor, Aaron Merriman. Wrenn started Friday (December 26) with 816 wins this year, which trailed Merriman's win tally by 10. Throughout Northfield Park's 16-race program, he whittled that lead to five. While Merriman posted three solid wins on the night, Wrenn made eight trips to the Winner's Circle. With five days left in 2014, both Merriman and Wrenn are chasing the driving title. "I have to continue getting horses in the right spots and winning races. "We race horses to win, that is what I like to do and that is why I'm in this sport," explained Wrenn. "A couple of weeks ago I did not like my chances at all. I just wanted the race between Aaron and I to go away, but things have really come together and I have been able to have some really big nights in the last week or so, putting me with a shot to win again." Meanwhile, Merriman states that becoming the 2014 National Dash Champion would be icing on the cake for the unbelievable year that he has experienced. "I have worked hard and hustled for a long time," explained Merriman. "Winning races is great and that it what racing is about, but the experiences I have had this year are indescribable." This year has put Aaron Merriman behind the starting gate of the Hambletonian, an elimination of the Little Brown Jug, the Kentucky Futurity, the Canadian Trotting Classic as well as a host of other Grand Circuit and major stake races. In August, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. Merriman has taken Saturday off, while Wrenn has a full slate of drives in the 13-race program at Sports Creek Raceway. Both drivers will be back at the Flying Turns on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Neither driver has fully committed, but are both keeping the option open of driving at Sports Creek on Wednesday (December 31), depending on how the numbers stack up between now and then. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Northfield, OH --- After spending the weekend with their families in Michigan, Ron Wrenn Jr. and Jason Merriman hit the road back to Ohio at 4 a.m. to spread some good cheer Monday morning (Dec. 22). Joined by Kurt Sugg, his wife Becky and children Brandon, Kiersten and Kaitlyn, the trio of Northfield Park drivers suited up in their colors and dispersed nearly $3,000 worth of toys, electronics, movies, CDs and gift cards among those at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. The gifts were all gathered within five days through donations from not only Northfield Park horsemen but of those in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, plus individuals who called to give after simply reading of the fundraiser. Heather Miller, an employee of the clinic and longtime horsewoman, helped arrange the visit. The donations will be dispersed and used throughout the year at the hospital's many campuses. The hospital cares for children who range in age of a few months to 18 years old with various medical issues. Many were confined to ventilators, wheelchairs or their beds but none of them were hampered by the ability to smile as Merriman, Sugg and Wrenn entered the room. Spending a few minutes with each child and posing for pictures was an obvious honor for the men who more than willingly gave of their time and resources. “As much as it may have brought joy to the kids, it brings me much more,” said Sugg. Future charitable acts are being planned for horsemen and horsewomen, plus their families. Those under consideration are volunteering at the Akron Food Bank and Haven of Rest Ministries. by Amy Hollar

Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. are rivals when it comes to racing, but friends away from the track. The two are battling for the No. 1 spot in wins among all harness racing drivers in North America, with Merriman holding a 28-victory advantage, 799-771, heading into Friday's action. Wrenn won last year's dash title with 714 wins. He is the leading driver at Northfield Park, with 597 triumphs, and Merriman is second there with 447. Merriman also competes regularly at The Meadows, where he is fourth in the standings with 318 wins. The 36-year-old Merriman was the leading driver in North America in June 2010 when he broke both wrists and his left elbow in a racing accident that sidelined him for much of the remainder of the year. He was sixth in wins last year, with 568, and fifth in 2012, with 605. This year, Merriman is on pace to become the first driver since Tony Morgan in 2008 to win more than 800 races in a season. Merriman, who has won 6,923 races in his career, has set a career high with $6.31 million in purses this year. The 28-year-old Wrenn was sidelined for much of January because of wrist surgery and also endured the loss of his father to cancer in May. Wrenn changed his colors to his father's black and maroon in tribute to his dad. Despite the hardships, Wrenn this season joined a small group of drivers to win at least 700 races in back-to-back years. The others are Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, Dave Palone, Walter Case Jr., Jack Moiseyev, Herve Filion, and Mike Lachance. Tetrick and Morgan are the only drivers to do it more than once and Morgan is the only one to extend the streak beyond two years -- winning at least 700 races from 2005-08 and also 1995-97. Merriman and Wrenn recently spoke separately to Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their campaigns, their friendship, and the chase for No. 1. Their remarks are combined in the following "conversation." KW: Aaron, how do you feel heading into the last few weeks? Is winning the dash title something you think about? AM: I'm one that doesn't even want to look at it. I just like to do my everyday thing. It's definitely not over until the last day. Ronnie has the opportunity to win races in bunches. When you have a guy that can win six or eight or 10 races, you never think it's over. There are a lot of race days left. We're both going to have to be on our toes, that's for sure. That's one thing about this, there are no days off. KW: Ronnie, can you catch him? RW: There's always the chance, but it's going to be hard because not only am I down (28) wins but he's racing doubleheaders so I have to win double every day to what he does. But there's always a shot. It's in the back of my mind. Aaron is definitely on top of his game this year. He's having a great year. I'm happy with finishing second if that's the way it ends up. KW: How do you look at your season overall? AM: It's been a very successful year. I got to race in some of the signature races in the sport, and that really means more to me than winning a lot of races. Just being able to participate and be competitive against the best horses and best drivers -- and really make a good showing for the state of Ohio and myself and the drivers at Northfield Park that I feel I represent. RW: I'm very fortunate. When I moved to Ohio I was given the opportunity to drive at Northfield and drive for some well-respected trainers. Then Virgil (Morgan Jr.) gave me the opportunity to drive most of his horses at Scioto and that helped me break through there. I'm always aiming to do better. Next year I hope I have an even better year than this year. Maybe I can get a nice Grand Circuit horse or some nice sire stakes horses. I'm very happy with where I am. It's definitely been a rough year. A lot happened to me this year in my life with my dad passing away in the spring. It was definitely tough. But that makes you stronger. KW: With the passing of your dad, how did it affect you and your focus? RW: It was pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie. Some days it still is; it's still pretty fresh. As the year has gone on, I've gotten stronger. I feel like it's made me a better driver in a way because it's given me some perspective. There are way more important things in life than racing and sometimes you get caught up in winning races. It's our livelihood, but there are more important things. It helps me to relax and not take things too seriously. I think it helps me perform better on the racetrack. KW: Has it inspired you? RW: Definitely. I made the switch to his colors and I think that helps give me some motivation too. I've had a lot of starts this year and I was lucky enough to have a good year. Hopefully I can continue; I don't plan on slowing down. Hopefully I can compete on this level for many years. Things are really looking up in Ohio, so it seems like a pretty good place to be racing right now. KW: Aaron, what does it mean to you to be in this position after coming back from the accident in 2010? AM: It's a blessing to be in this position again. At one point when I was getting ready to go into surgery, I didn't even know if I was going to drive again. That's the truth. It might have taken a few years, but it's just a blessing to be back in this position. It's something I always wanted, to win the dash title. I hope it happens. (In 2010) I felt really confident and I was just on an unbelievable roll. It felt like I could do no wrong. God had other plans, but it's made me a better person and made me stronger. It's made me really appreciate things, that's for sure. KW: What has been the highlight of your season? AM: Driving in the Hambletonian, for sure. (Merriman finished fourth with Il Sogno Dream.) It was just a surreal experience for me. And the support I received. Not many people get to drive in the Hambletonian, it's one race a year. I've won a lot of races and gotten recognition, but that was my defining moment this year. RW: I think probably my favorite race was when I set the world record with Victory Is Coming. She trotted in (1):51 at Scioto. That's pretty cool to be able to set a world record. I never imagined I would be able to, and she's just an amazing horse. I was just thankful to be able to drive her. I have to thank the trainer (Ammon Hershberger) and owners (Betty and John Shaw) for giving me a shot with her. She had a great year and set track records at Northfield, Dayton and Scioto. Just being able to drive her made the year a little more special. KW: How would you describe your relationship with each other? RW: We're very good friends. Racing against each other almost every night, we're able to get to know one another, and when we raced at Scioto we roadtripped together from Northfield, which gave us a chance to get to know each other more. It's pretty cool that we're Nos. 1 and 2 in the country and we race at the same track. I know racing against him makes me a better driver because he's an amazing driver. I have to be on my 'A' game to even keep up with him. I think it helps us get the best out of each other. He always aims to beat me, and I always aim to beat him. I think it kind of makes us better drivers. AM: I think so too, especially when you can kind of needle each other a little bit. Over this last year, or year and a half, we've gotten to be pretty close. I consider him one of my best friends. He's just a great kid. It makes it more competitive, but it might make it easier if the other wins (the dash title). I'm sure we'll be happy for each other. He did it last year and, like I said, this kid can win races in bunches. He's very, very consistent. I'm just happy that he came here. He's been a good friend, he's been a true friend, and I wouldn't want to be in it with anybody else. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Northfield Park's leading driver, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., drove eight winners on Tuesday (December 9) at Northfield Park, dominating the 15-race program. Wrenn's eight scores included Heeza Nordic ($2.40) in race one, Lou Lous Princess ($3.60) in race three, Action Aubree Rosa ($10.60) in race six, Best Dream Seeker ($3.40) in race nine, Feel The Heat ($2.10) in race 10, Get Packin ($4.00) in race 12, Rountuit Bluegrass ($2.20) in race 13 and Moreland Flash ($3.00) in race 15. Wrenn, 28, began driving in 2008 and has since garnered 2,089 career victories. He is approaching $8.5M in total purse earnings. Wrenn has posted 585 victories so far this year over Northfield's Flying Turns, placing him on top of the local driving ranks. Chasing in the Northfield standings are Aaron Merriman (431), Josh Sutton (282), Kurt Sugg (173) and Jason Merriman (158). Wrenn won the national driving title last year by posting 714 wins. He has more wins so far this year (764), but trails Aaron Merriman by 19 victories for this year's title. Ayers Ratliff

Y Mach Me was the winner in Northfield's weekly top distaff event when she crossed the wire a winner in the $12,500 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday (November 21) at Northfield Park. She is trained by Pat Karcher for Carey, Ohio owner Lucky Draw Racing Stable. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was in the sulky. Y Mach Me (Mach Three-Sunnie Corleone-Pacific Rocket) started from the second tier and was fifth at the :28.1 opening quarter. Wrenn pulled the six year-old first over in the second quarter and she steadily advanced through times of :57.4 and 1:26.3. She cleared to the lead in the final turn and hung on to win by a head in 1:55.1. Completing the race were Mama Said, Sweetheart Dance, Eradikate, Pantsuit Hilary, Coupon Lady, Champagne Tonight and Jump Start. Shes Glorious was scratched. Friday's win was the eighth victory this year in 39 starts. It bolstered her career win tally to 16 and her lifetime earnings to $113,544. She returned $5.60 to win. Y Mach Me was just one of seven wins on the Friday program for Northfield Park leading driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. He was also triumphant with Liveandinconcert ($15.40) in race one, Stone Of Magic ($2.80) in race two, Fritzie Chic ($2.80) in race four, Im Shameless ($11.60) in race five, Special Lady D ($19.80) in race six and JK Geronimo ($3.40) in race 14. Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $7,500 Pick-5 total pool guarantee to Monday’s (November 24) program.  Beginning in Race 3, the $7,500 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $1,263.91. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.    Monday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. made his 2,000th trip to the Winner's Circle after winning with Western Kissed in Northfield Park's fourth race on Monday (November 10). Wrenn led at every call with Western Kissed, eventually besting his competition by 1 ½-lengths. The 1:55 clocking was a season's mark for the nine year-old pacer, who returned $7.60 to win. The 28-year-old Wrenn began driving in 2008. His 2,000 wins have helped him garner over $8 million in purse earnings. He won the 2013 national dash driving title and is currently second this year. Wrenn is a 2005 graduate of Hartland High School in Hartland, Michigan. He played center field for and graduated from Mott Community College in Flint. Although Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. comes from a horse racing family, he did not take an interest and become involved at an early age. "I was 19 or 20 when I jogged my first horse. I was always really busy with sports and stuff," said Wrenn. "I didn't really have time for it." "I was just sitting at the table working on stuff from school on my computer one night and looked up and told my dad I wanted to be a driver. He looked at me like I was crazy. But I was old enough that he really didn't have a lot of say, and so far it has worked out." Wrenn has found success and has been a regular to the winner's circle since his very first time behind the starting gate. He won in his very first race, aboard Artful Power in a $1,400 Billings race at a Michigan fair. "It was hard breaking in at first. I guess I got lucky to be put on some good horses and things just took off," offered Wrenn, "My parents and grandparents really helped me a lot as well as countless other people." Wrenn recalls his fastest win as being 1:50 with Rockin Finish. Ronnie's richest win was for a purse of $200,000 with Friskie Lil Devil, in an Ohio Sire Stake Final at Scioto Downs. He rates the best horses he has ever driven as Night Pro or Arch Madness. Ronnie credits several people as having large influences on his career. Along with his father and uncles, "My mom is my biggest fan and has been more supportive than anyone could even imagine. I am also very lucky to have Briana (his girlfriend). She is simply amazing and is vital to the success I have had." Wrenn says his ultimate dream race to win would be the Little Brown Jug, "But I would take the feature races at Northfield too. I am a big fan of the Cleveland Classic, Battle of Lake Erie and now the Milstein Memorial," said Wrenn. "I just like to win races. As unbelievable as this sounds, the purse really doesn't matter to me. Whether it is a $200 per start or an Open, it just feels good to win and make people happy." by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Can't Best My Art prevailed in the $15,000 Friday Night Lights Series Final at Northfield Park on Friday (November 7). She is trained by Doug Hinklin for the NRS Stables LLC of Thornville, Ohio. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. drove her to victory. Can't Best My Art (Western Ideal-Deringer Gal-Cambest) started from post three. She went straight to the lead as the wings were folding on the starting gate, and never looked back. Can't Best My Art led her competition through fractions of :27.3, :56.4, 1:25.2 and 1:54.4, besting her competition by one length. The mile clocking represents a lifetime best for the sophomore filly. Completing the race were Threefold Breanna, Tarport Belle, Sand Sonya, Littlewhitekiddie, Lotsa Juice, Work Week, DVC Kahlua Breeze and Basic Survival. Friday's win was the seventh score in 18 starts this year. It boosted her career earnings to $26,700. She was the race favorite and returned $3.60 to win. Northfield Park is announcing the addition of a $5,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee to Monday’s (November 10) program.  Beginning in Race 3, the $5,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $1,025.46. Northfield’s Pick 5, Pick 4 and the Pick 3’s offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.    Monday’s post time is 6:00 p.m. Nine new late closers at Northfield Park Northfield Park has announced the dates of nine progressive claiming series.  “These new late closers are just part of the increased opportunities offered here at Northfield,” said Dave Bianconi, Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting.  “As our purses have increased, we would like to fill more and more straight claiming races.  These series will give claimers a real opportunity to race for solid purses in each leg and a big money final.”  Each series starts with a base claiming price of $4,000, $8,000 or $15,000 and progressively increases throughout the series, with no claiming allowed in each final.  Each of the three claiming prices will be available for horse and gelding pacers, filly and mare pacers, and for trotters.  A one-time $200 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible.  Payments are due by November 25.  Exact conditions for the series at www.northfieldpark.com.  The link is near the bottom of Northfield’s homepage.   by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Feel The Heat has been named the overwhelming 7-5 morning line favorite in Thursday's (November 6) $15,000 Halloween Series Final at Northfield Park. The race is slated as the 10th race on a 15-race program with an initial 6:00 p.m. post time. Feel The Heat is a gelded sophomore pacer owned by Perkins Racing Stable, LLC of Hilliard, Ohio. Virgil Morgan Jr. is his trainer and gives his driving assignment to Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Feel The Heat has won five times in 18 starts this year earning nearly $100,000, which has bolstered his career bankroll to $133,082. He has a 1:52.4 mark taken at the Delaware County Fairgrounds when he won the $29,617 Ohio Breeders Championship in September. Feel The Heat starts from post five. Among his eight competitors, Feel The Heat's main rivals appear to be Hanky L and Billy The Colt. They both enter this final fresh off of victories. Hanky L carries a 3-1 second choice morning line and starts from the rail for trainer Herb Le Van and driver Ryan Stahl. He has raced in two legs of this series, winning both. He has a mark of 1:53 and earnings of $93,102. Billy The Colt is the 6-1 third choice for trainer Ryan Shaffer and driver Jason Merriman. He has won two of his last three starts. He appears to be a late bloomer and has raced very well since coming to Northfield in September. He has earnings of $19,345 and a mark of 1:55.2. The $15,000 Halloween Series Final Field: PP Horse Driver M/L 1- Hanky L Ryan Stahl 3-1 2- Oil Slicker Tyler St Louis 20-1 3- Billy The Colt Jason Merriman 6-1 4- Clayton Morris Robin Miller 8-1 5- Feel The Heat Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 7-5 6- Luckey Rei Kurt Sugg 12-1 7- Ubetterubetterubet Aaron Merriman 10-1 8- Jollyroger Hanover Jason Thompson 25-1 9- Igottaguyforthat Keith Kash Jr. 15-1 by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

Fiftyshadesdarker took the $12,500 Open Pace on Monday (October 20) at Northfield Park. Brian Loney owns and trains the winning four year-old and enlisted the driving harness racing services of Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Fiftyshadesdarker (Bettor's Delight - Crystal Slipper - Artiscape) started from the rail and virtually led the field from start to finish through fractions of :27.4, :57, 1:25.2 and 1:54.1. He was 1/2-length in front at the finish. Completing the race were DJ Lance, Mybrothergeorge, Our McLovin, Hall Of Memories, Playin For Keeps, Master Stroke, Just Crowned and Aligned Hanover. Fiftyshadesdarker now has six wins in 30 starts this year, 10 career successes and a bankroll of $79,460. He was the race favorite and paid $3.00 to win. Kirty Dream was impressive in winning the evening's $12,500 Open Trot. Jeff Hochstetler trains the seven year-old for owner Mario Caponi of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Jason Thompson was aboard for the winning drive. Kirty Dream (Cantab Hall - Klelia - Cezio Josselyn) started from post seven. He was parked with cover through fractions of :27.4, :57.3 and 1:27 before taking lead in the stretch and besting his competition by 1 ¾-lengths, in 1:57.1. Completing the race were Mythical Hall, Mary's Darvin, Wind Surfer, Mischievous Jesse, Zorgwijk Heavenly, Action SJ, Calling A Victory and Edit. Monday's triumph was the ninth win this year for Kirty Dream. It increased his lifetime win tally to 20 and his earnings to $271,709. He returned $7.00 to win. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

DAYTON, OH. - The best older Ohio-sired harness racing mares converged on Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night to contest a pair of $50,000 state championship races, one for each gait. Favorites captured each division as world champion Victory Is Coming (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) won the distaff trot; and Igotafeelinfran (Dan Noble) proved best in the pace. Victory Is Coming, who established a world record on August 22 with a 1:51 triumph against open company at Scioto Downs, left alertly from an outside post position for Wrenn, despite the fact she has been racing from off the pace in her recent starts. The seven-year-old daughter of Victory Sam cleared to the lead just before the :27.2 opening panel then eased up on the throttle through a middle half-mile in :59 seconds. She then cruised home in 1:55.4, despite strong headwinds in the stretch, for an easy three-length win. Easy Strength (Josh Sutton) raced gamely to finish second with Jesse's Messenger (Dan Noble) garnering the show dough. Victory Is Coming now has 48 career victories and has earned $546,365 for owners John and Betty Shaw. Ammon Hershberger has trained the classy lass over the past couple years. Igotafeelinfran, who prepped with a pair of impressive wins in Dayton Raceway's first two Fillies & Mares Opens, ran her local win streak to three with a 1:55 tally over Crosswind Colleen (Jason Brewer) and So Jazzy (Chris Page). Noble was content to sit fourth with the odds-on favorite until the :56.3 halfway station, then launched a first-over bid through the third quarter reached in 1:25.1. Once clear of pacesetter So Jazzy, Igotafeelinfran got a scare from Crosswind Colleen who was on even terms with the winner before breaking stride briefly in mid-stretch. Trainer Jim Dailey's wife Kimberly owns the four-year-old Feelin Friskie mare in partnership with Jerry Zosel and Kathy Ratcliff. She has 17 wins and $369,871 in earnings in her first three years of racing. Hollywood Dayton Raceway will present another pair of $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship races for older male pacers and trotters on Saturday night. First race post time is 6:35 with the finals slated as races 6 and 10 on the 14-race program. From the press box at Dayton Racway

Batavia, NY---Timing is everything and driver Jim McNeight had his down to a science Wednesday night (Oct. 1) in winning the $8,500 mares Open pace feature at Batavia Downs with Infrontigo Hanover. Going directly to the wood off the gate, McNeight settled Infrontigo Hanover in fourth while Taylor Rei (Aaron Byron) and Fiftyonefifty (Mike Whelan) played give-and-go to the quarter. When the dust settled at that post in :28.2, McNeight saw his chance and Infrontigo Hanover was quickly pulled at the three-eighths and took the lead before they hit the half. From then on the only thing left to figure out was how fast and by how many? Infrontigo Hanover opened up a six-length lead going to the three-quarters in 1:25, then turned the corner and paced home uncontested to a wrapped-up three and one-half length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2. The winner paid $9.10. Bazooka Terror (Kevin Cummings) closed sharply for second and Dontch Remember (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) finished third. It was the fourth win in 28 starts for Infrontigo Hanover and raised her seasonal earnings to $34,844 for owners Summer Wind Stable of New York Inc. and Bob Gruber. The 6-year-old Western Hanover mare is trained by Bob Gruber. Second leading North American dash winning driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was at the Downs Wednesday and pulled closer to leader Aaron Merriman as he came away with five winners on the card. He scored with Kill A Rockingbird ($28.60), Blissful Escape ($3.90), Delightful Syd ($5.80), Stonetag ($4.40) and Helena's Hope ($3.30). Jim McNeight had the hat trick and Kevin Cummings doubled up. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 3) with post time at 6:35. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Ardyne Ace and Randy Tharps grind out a win in the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:50.4. Ardyne Ace is an 8-year old gelded son of Ace's N Sevens. He's trained by Jim Pollock Jr.for David Ehrenberg II and Daniel Fawcett of Ohio. Ardyne Ace started from assigned post five in the scratched down field of eight and Randy Tharps had the lines. Tharps was content to take off the gate and race from off the pace when a slew of leavers left hard for command. Santa Fe Beachboy and Josh Sutton landed on the front after the opening quarter that was paced in :26.4. The Indiana invader, Paco Labrook and Brad Hanners got the pocket ride behind the betting second choice. Before the half that was paced in :54.2, Ardyne Ace and Tharps were underway in their first over bid. The pressed the pace down the backside and hit three quarters in 1:22.2. Even after the :27.3 parked third quarter Ardyne Ace was far from tired. He have a game effort to win by a 1-length over a late charging Lucky Lime and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. J's Six Pak Attack and Dan Noble completed the trifecta. A mere 5-lengths covered the entire field of talented pacers. Scioto Downs continues the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge General Manager of Racing Operations,Stacy Cahill was joined by drivers, Aaron Merriman, Kayne Kauffman,Zach Mogan, Tyler Smith and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who were challenged by Friday nights supporters of ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out prior to first race post time. The group made donations and challenged drivers and executives at Northfield Park. Racing continues on Wednesday (August 20) First race post time is 6:30. From Scioto Downs Racino

After last night's cancellation due to poor weather conditions, the horses went back to work today only to be greeted by more rain and a track rated "good". But that didn't keep BZ Glide from going worst to first in the Open trotting feature on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 3). As soon as the gate pulled away from the six-horse field, I'm The Cash Man (Drew Monti) crossed over from post two and had the lead before they hit the turn. The remainder of the field followed in drawn order until just before the half when Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) pulled first over from third to challenge the leader. By the time the group passed the half in 59.4 and headed to the three-quarters, a full outer flow had developed when Serious George (Jack Flanigen) and 1-2 betting favorite BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came out to join the fray. At the top of the final turn, Serious George tipped three-deep and BZ Glide fanned four-wide as they motored towards the payoff. It was at that point that BZ Glide appeared to have a gas pedal as he easily sped away from the pack to win by a widening two-length margin. The betting choice paid $3.10 for the win. The victory timed in 1:59.1 was the third of the year for BZ Glide and brought his seasonal earnings up to $32,120. The 5-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer is both owned and trained by his driver, Mike Caprio. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had four winners on the card and that effort put him in a tie with Aaron Merriman for the North American dash-winning driver title with 453 victories each. Wrenn won with Bailey's Magic ($5.90), Launching Tonight ($13.00), Ol' Man River ($7.50) and Four Starz Credit ($3.00). Live racing resumes on Wednesday evening at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. Also please remember that all Back to the Track activities originally scheduled for last night (Aug. 2) have been moved to next Saturday (Aug. 9) do to the weather related cancellation. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Dean Davis, Monica Drago, Nadine Habke, Deb Sweney and Dr. Dan Wilson will be recognized as part of the Wall of Fame ceremonies at Northfield Park on Sunday, August 10, 2014. The banquet festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. Dean Davis is the newest recipient of Northfield Park's Distinguished Owner Award. Davis has had success in harness racing on and off the racetrack. He has made tremendous contributions to the sport, earning respect as a loyal and encouraging owner with a keen eye for young racing prospects. His racing stock has been extremely successful. Davis has owned such prominent horses as Lisa Mac, Blastaway Sahbra, Gramma Gordie and his pride and joy, Dunkster. Davis convinced Northwestern Ohio trainer Ivan Sugg's son, Kurt, to go out on his own and helped the younger Sugg throughout his career launch. The two have been an owner/trainer team since 1995. "He's treated me like a son," described Kurt of their relationship. Monica Drago and Deb Sweney will be recognized with the Outstanding Caretaker Awards. They are very important to their stables' operations, and both exude passion and dedication toward their craft. Drago, a native of Stockholm Sweden, works for 2004 Wall of Fame Inductee Clair Umholtz. At the barn each morning by 5:15 a.m., she is responsible for the same five horses every day. Monica can be found in the Umholtz barn seven days a week, usually leaving by 2:00 p.m. She often returns at night to groom one of her horses or catch-paddock. Her cooperative nature and knowledge of horses makes her an asset to Umholtz and to the entire horse scene at Northfield Park. "Everyone on the backstretch knows that Monica is the best," Clair Umholtz flatly stated. Outstanding Caretaker Deb Sweney has been a groom at Northfield for 22 years. She has worked for Kathy Shermak, John Lee, Don McKirgan, Ray Crawford, Mike Weller, Mark Deaton and, since 2007, Tye Loy, a 2010 Wall of Fame Inductee. Deb is at the Loy barn by 7:00 a.m., usually six days a week, and stated she is done by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. She gets Sundays off. Sweney, consistent with her quiet and unassuming nature, is known as a caring groom with a soft touch. She goes the extra mile and truly loves horses. "She can work anybody under the table," stated Loy, echoing the sentiments of co-workers and former employers who extol her work ethic. Nadine Habke will be the recipient of the Willie C. Banks Ideal Employee Award. Loyalty, dedication, ability and desire are sought-after qualities in an ideal employee, and Nadine embodies them all. Her ability is unquestioned, and when one talks to Nadine, it becomes very clear how much she likes outriding and how strong her dedication is to the sport of racing and to Northfield Park. The outrider at Northfield since 2001, Habke's proven competence has earned the respect and confidence of the driver-trainer colony. Summed up Aaron Merriman, the nation's leading dash driver: "She is completely awesome. I cannot say enough good things about her." Dr. Dan Wilson will receive the John Lee Good Fellowship Award. He has been a fixture on the Northfield backstretch for nearly 40 years. Wilson is known as an extremely honest and skilled veterinarian who cares deeply about horses and horsemen. "There is no nicer person than Doc. He comes to the barns every day with a smile on his face, always asking how he can help," said Amy Hollar, Northfield Park Track Representative for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association. "In the 14 years he has been our vet, I have never seen him have a bad day." Northfield Park's Wall of Fame Banquet is a triennial event. Candidates are nominated and considered by the Wall of Fame Trustees. Once a consensus is reached among the trustees, additional input and final approval is sought from the track's Wall of Fame Advisory Committee. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Dan Noble also will be recognized for their National Dash Driving Championships at the August 10th banquet. The highlight of the evening will be the induction of five new members into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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