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Considering the Major League Baseball season is two days away, harness racing trainer Scott Mogan chose the appropriate analogy for Feelin Lika Winner. “He’s not the best hitter in the lineup but he always seems to come through in the clutch times,” said Mogan, who trains and co-owns the horse with Diamond Chip Stable, AWS Stables and Charles Guiler. “If it’s a 7-1 game, he’ll strike out. But if it’s a 2-2 ballgame in the bottom of the ninth, he’s the guy you want coming up to the plate.” He also sounds like he could steal a base or two. “He’s a very fast horse,” Mogan added. “Off the right trip for an eighth-mile or quarter-mile, he’s probably got as quick a burst of speed as any horse I ever trained.” As Mogan noted, he doesn’t hit for average, having won 11 of 62 career races. But he was a power hitter early in his career, blasting tape measure home runs each of his first two seasons. The 6-year-old gelding pacer was the Ohio Sire Stakes champion as both a 2- and 3-year-old, beating favorite That Friske Feelin both times. After being purchased at the 2011 Blooded Horse Sale for $16,000, Feelin Lika Winner has earned $278,796. “The sale was kind of short on the yearlings, both number wise and quality wise that year, but he was one of my top three picks,” said Mogan, who has a stable of 26 horses at Scioto Downs in Columbus. “I got outbid on the first two, luckily I snagged him for $16,000. I knew the family, and also conformation wise he was probably one of my top three picks that I looked at that year for pacing colts.” Feelin Lika Winner makes his season’s debut Saturday in the $20,000 Open at Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio. Kayne Kauffman will be in the sulky, as he has been for all but three of Feelin Lika Winner’s career starts. “He’s training down real well,” Mogan said. “He had an issue with a bone bruise and ankle as a 4-year-old. It was kind of a disappointing season. Last year he started off a little slow. He actually was as good at the end of the year as he was at any time.” The horse was shut down in December, however, as the trainer is not a big fan of winter racing. In fact, he limits most of his horses’ races, as 25 races in a season would be considered a lot. “I usually shut down from December to the first of March,” Mogan said. “I probably should have kept him racing, but he’s trained down very well.” The Lockbourne, Ohio, resident isn’t looking for big things on opening night, mainly because of Feelin Lika Winner’s mindset on the track. He’s pleasant in the barn, but cantankerous upon seeing a starting gate. “He’s a nice horse, a very fast horse, but he’s kind of a tough horse to drive,” Mogan said. “If he was a good horse to drive and you could leave with him and get position I still believe he’d be an open type pacer. You could turn somebody loose and know he would settle in and relax. He’d be a lot better horse. But to leave with him a few times, he’s a handful. “He can grab into you so bad. When he decides to grab into you, he can feel like he’s just going to run over the top. When you leave with him he gets really fired up. We duck him four out of every five starts off the gate.” For that reason, Mogan would rather have started him a little lower in class this season. “Unfortunately we have to go right into the Open our first start,” he said. “I’m not expecting a whole lot this week. But you never know. We’re always racing to win. We’re going to race him off the pace. And if they go fast fractions you never know, he might pick them up at the end of it.” Feelin Lika Winner always has the potential to surprise, just as he did by beating That Friske Feelin in two straight Sire Stakes finals. He got a second-over trip near the stretch as a 2-year-old and a pocket trip the following year. Kauffman was the driver both times, as he has shown a knack for handling a horse that’s hard to handle. “He’s a great handler,” Mogan said. “He can get a horse to relax pretty good. He’s done a really amazing job, not just with him but the rest of my horses. He’s been driving everything for three years.” Kauffman took over for the late Chip Noble, who was Mogan’s main driver for 15 years. The 56-year-old Mogan has been in the business since age 15 and has had a public stable since 1983. Until recently, he mostly dealt with younger horses and made it a point to try and have the same driver for every race. He and Noble teamed up on K F Pro Sam, Ohio's 2- and 3-year-old Horse of the Year in 1999-2000. The pacing male was typical of Mogan’s aversion to over-working his horses, as he raced just 60 times in five years and earned $635,578. “K F Pro Sam kind of set the bar for me,” Mogan said. “He built my house and everything else. But J J Hall is still my favorite. He’s still in my barn and will probably be in my backyard when he’s done racing.” J J Hall was Ohio’s 2011 Horse of the Year, also driven by Noble. Not long afterward Chip, who died of cancer in 2014, had some young horses with a lot of potential that he wanted to drive. He gave his friend some advance notice and suggested he might start looking for another driver. Mogan began to check out the talent in Ohio and found what he was looking for in Kauffman. “I tried to look for somebody a little conservative, like Chip was,” Mogan said. “Kayne kind of impressed me as much as anybody, as far as being as close to Chip as I could go and get. He started driving him (Feelin Lika Winner) as a 2-year-old and of course it worked out. “Kayne has been driving for me as much as he can. He trains a stable of his own so we have a few conflicts, but he’s always going to be the first choice for my horses. I guess the biggest thing is his loyalty. He stays pretty loyal to me. It’s kind of a working relationship.” As for how the relationship will work between the racetrack and Feelin Lika Winner this year, Mogan is staying fairly confident. “We’re just taking things as they come,” he said. “I have great partners, they’re very loyal. They love their horses, they like to come to races. We’re just hoping he has a good year. “Like I said, I don’t really think he’s an open type pacer. If he was more controllable, maybe. But we’re just hoping for a nice Saturday night, conditioned racehorse that they can come watch. Hopefully we’ll have a little luck, make a little money.” So there you have it. Play ball! by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

September 13, 2015 - It was a tight finish this week as the two admitted techno-cappers battled all the way to the 14th race at Scioto Down in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Earl "Super Computer" Paulson collected 166 HANA Grand Circuit points by selecting 4 winners on the evening. The key to Earl's victory was landing the largest priced winner. He was the only one to successfully come up with Doo Wop Hanover to upset in the Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto. In second was Rusty "The Worksheet" Nash who also selected four winners including the second best price of the evening on Nvestment Bluechip in the Champlain two year old pace at Mohawk. Four other handicappers finished with four of six winners for the evening. While Saratoga Harness had a triple dead heat Saturday evening, the HANA Grand Circuit had a double dead heat. Tied for third were Mark McKelvie and Bobby Zanakis at 143 points. Tied for the final spot on our weekly Pentafecta ticket were Bryan Owen and tour leader Sally Hinckley at 124 points. It is also worth noting that four handicappers hit the board in all six races. These consistent players were Ray Garnett, Derick Giwner, Rusty Nash and Brandon Valvo. The top five in the overall Grand Circuit Tour remain exactly the same this week. Sally Hinckley remains on top with 2,918 points. She was able to maintain an impressive lead of more than 300 points. Mark McKelvie did gain a little bit of ground and still remains the "Best Of The Rest." Anne Stepien, Bob Zanakis and Gordon Waterstone complete the black type. Next week we break up the week starting with the Nadia Lobell from The Meadows on Wednesday. Then we visit Mohawk again on Saturday for an exceptional evening of five finals. They are The Peaceful Way, The Maple Leaf Trot, The William Wellwood, The Canadian Trot Classic and The Elegant Image. Finally on Monday we head back down the Atlantic Coast to Harrington Raceway for the Bobby Quillen. It gets busy shortly thereafter as Little Brown Jug week gets rolling! By Rusty Nash for HANA Harness  

Eight $225,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championships (OSS) featured Ohio's top-bred 2- and 3-year-old pacing and trotting, colts and fillies, on Saturday night, Sept. 12 at Scioto Downs. An equal amount of harness racing longshots and even-money favorites gave the titanic crowd a great bank for their gambling buck.   2-Year-Old Filly Trot   Mild longshot (13-1) Count On Kami picked the perfect time to break her maiden as she bested favorite Kestrel by a whisker in the OSS Championship for 2-year-old trotting fillies. The daughter of Full County-Joys Second Call-Call Toll Free tripped the timer in 1:58.1 for the one mile test with driver Kurt Sugg at the lines for trainer Marty Wollam.   "After she raced in the first leg, I really thought I had the best horse in this series," Sugg noted. "But then she's just been finishing second all summer and I kind of thought it wasn't going to happen. Tonight, I got the perfect two-hole trip and I think Aaron's (Merriman, driving Kestrel) horse wasn't quite as sharp as she normally is."   Co-owned by Wollam, Vienna, OH; David Wayne Vannatta, Mt. Vernon, OH; and Acadia Farms Inc., Canfield, OH; Count On Kami pushed her career earnings to $167,591.   "I really thought all along this filly would be good and tonight she just put it all together," Sugg added.   "We raised this filly from a baby," said Charlotte Vannatta, "She's been with us since day one and we also have a half-sister to her. She's been one special filly for us and finishing second was okay but this just takes the cake!"   Kestrel (Aaron Merriman) was second for trainer Chris Beaver, while Consolidator (Chris Page) finished third for trainer Jim Arledge, Jr.   2-Year-Old Filly Pace   Brenda Teague harnessed Miss Me Yet to her third career victory in six tries for owner and co-breeder George Teague, Jr., of Harrington, DE in the OSS 2-year-Old Filly Pace Championship. Reined to a 1:54.3 clocking by George's son and Brenda's nephew Montrell Teague, the daughter of I'm Gorgeous-Live Inspired-Western Hanover was co-bred by Fannin Racing, LLC.   "This filly has been very good to us," Brenda noted. "She's tough as nails and always gives you 100% on the track."   An 8-1 mild longshot, Miss Me Yet held off My Tweed Heart (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) by nearly a length, with Big Bad Ashley (Dan Noble) gobbling up show honors. The win upped her career bank account to $171,300. She had captured two previous legs of OSS action.   2-Year-Old Colt Trot   Heavy favorite MJB Got Faith did not disappoint her owner--11-year-old Breana Casey of Connersville, IN--in the OSS test for 2-year-old trotting colts. The daughter of Trainforthefuture-Imageofasweetgirl-Striking Sahbra got a perfect steer by driver Peter Wrenn to best the hard-trying Emerald Chip (Josh Sutton) by a neck in 1:58.3 Kanthaka (Dave Palone) finished third.   "He's always a strong horse finishing and tonight he really wanted to step out of there," Wrenn noted. "He's really wanted out of the pocket and when I finally turned him loose, he just exploded."   Trained by Steve Carter, MJB Got Faith was bred by the Gbw Breeding Farms Inc. His owner has donated 10% of the horse's earnings to the Brad Hanners Fund. Breana's dad Brian, said the idea to help Hanners was all Breana's idea.   "Breana believes in giving and in giving back to the community," stressed her father, Brian Carsey.   The filly has now earned her young owner $192,500, having won all four legs of the OSS series, in addition to the Championship.   2-Year-Old Colt Pace   Love Tap Hanover captured the OSS 2-Year-Old Colt Pace Championship in 1:54.2 with David Miller in the sulky. The son of Big Bad John-Love Lace Mindale-Jenna's Beach Boy used come-from-behind tactics to nab career win number three over Friskie Cruiser (Ryan Stahl) and Mr Wiggle Pants (Kayne Kauffman).   "He raced great here last week," noted Morgan, Jr. "Of course tonight the post and the trip didn't hurt him at all.   Virgil Morgan, Jr. conditions the freshman, who is owned by Rick Phillips, Tappan, NY; Peter Paul Venturini, Rockaway, NJ; and Mark Harder of Freehold, NJ. Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, PA, Love Tap Hanover now has $166,457 in his career coffers. "I drove this horse quite a bit when he was out East," driver David Miller admitted. "I'm not surprised to see him do well in here. I always thought he'd make a nice youngster." For Morgan, Jr., the victory was bittersweet as his other entrant in this same division--Primo Giovanni--did not have his usual spunk after capturing all of his previous OSS tests, and finished eighth. 3-Year-Old Filly Trot Favorite Like Old Times and driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., used a near wire-to-wire performance to capture the OSS 3-Year-Old Filly Championship for trotters in 1:57.2. The daughter of Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubadour grabbed the lead at the half and never looked back, drawing off by 3¼ lengths over rival Student Of Life (Mike Wilder), with the gutsy Dark Roast (Kurt Sugg) getting up for third.   "She's an absolute Cadillac to drive," Wrenn, Jr., admitted. "The rail isn't the best spot to get away from at Scioto and there's always a little bit of concern when you're racing for $225,000, but she really didn't require any urging from me at all tonight. She's just really on her game right now."   Bred and owned by Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, OH, Like Old Times is conditioned by Don McKirgan. This was her 14 career win and pushed her lifetime earnings to $315,117.   3-Year-Old Filly Pace   Even-money favorite Karlee Sue stepped up to the plate for trainer Al Tomlinson, capturing the OSS 3-Year-Old Filly Pace Championship in 1:54.3 with David Miller at the lines. "She had some ovary problems that we had a tough time getting regulated," said co-owner Tomlinson--who conditions the filly for Daniel Mitchell, Novi, MI and Dennis Stolz, Midland, MI. "But once we got those issues straightened out, she's seemed so much more comfortable." Bred by Midland Acres, the daughter of Feelin Friskie-Magical Jeanie-Magical Mike utilized a two-hole trip to nail down the win, the fifth of the season and the sixth of her career. Friskie Lil Devil (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) made up a ton of ground to finish second, just a length behind the winner, while Sectionlinefriskie (Greg Grismore) nabbed show honors. The victory pushed Karlee Sue's career earnings to $221,727 for her connections.   3-Year-Old Colt Trot Favorite I Know My Chip and driver Chris Page left hard from post nine and were never headed in the OSS 3-Year-Old Colt Trot Championship, besting Really Deep Chip (Kayne Kauffman) by two lengths at the wire. The gutsy Neely's Messenger (Mike Wilder) finished a hard-fought third. "He's really been getting stronger and stronger," Page noted. "I was a little worried because it is a cold night and the front end really wasn't holding up, but this horse is just spectacular right now." The son of Deep Chip-Madeline's Chip-Pegasus Spur posted a 1:56.3 clocking for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Frederickstown, PA; Weaver Bruscemi, Cannonsburg, PA; and Paul Collura, Mountain Top, PA. Bred by Kimberly Dailey, I Know My Chip pushed his career earnings to $350,778. The victory--the 13th of his career--was his fourth straight in OSS competition.   3-Year-Old Colt Pace   In an exciting stretch duel, 3-1 Rock N Randall (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) bested rivals Nobles Finesse (Kurt Sugg) and Imtoofastforyou (Josh Sutton) in 1:55. The son of Dave Panlone-Appealing Sammi-Nobleland Sam notched career victory number nine for trainer Brian Brown and owner-breeder Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH.   "This horse is very lazy," said Brown. "He really doesn't care if he wins or not and we do a lot to make the game interesting for him. For instance this week we trained him with side cheeks on, and then raced him in a different rigging. He's a good eater but really isn't all that interested in racing or training. Lucky for us that tonight, he seemed into racing. He'll go to Delaware next."   Rock N Randall upped his career earnings to $253,808 with the win, his fourth triumph of the season in 14 starts.   Coming Up: Ohio Sires Stakes action for aged trotting and pacing horses and mares continues with four $50,000 Championships on Oct. 24 at Hollywood at Dayton Raceway.   By Kimberly Rinker, Ohio Standardbred Development Fund    

Limelight Beach on Saturday will race in Ohio for the first time since winning last year's Little Brown Jug. Not counting, of course, all the times co-owner Charles Wingfield has enjoyed replays of Limelight Beach racing in the Jug from his Kenton, Ohio, home. "I'd hate to say how many times I've watched it," said a laughing Wingfield, who is joined by brothers Robert, Thomas and William as part of Limelight Beach's ownership group. "It would be a bunch. That (win) is our biggest thrill in racing." Limelight Beach is among the 10 horses in Saturday's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older male pacers at Scioto Downs. State Treasurer, who last weekend won the Canadian Pacing Derby for his fourth victory in a row, is the 7-5 morning line favorite. Limelight Beach finished third in the CPD. Saturday's "Super Night" card at Scioto Downs also includes the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older trotters, where Wind Of The North is the 2-1 morning line choice, and eight $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships. In addition, there will be a fundraiser for driver Brad Hanners, who was diagnosed recently with kidney cancer. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Noble Memorial is race No. 3 and the Ewart Memorial is No. 14. Limelight Beach, trained by Ron Burke, has one win in 15 races this year but has earned $186,986 as the result of picking up a check in 13 starts. He finished second to stablemate All Bets Off in the Prix d'Ete two weeks prior to his third-place finish in the Canadian Pacing Derby. His earnings from the CPD pushed his career purses to $1.01 million. "Last week he was really good; he finished ahead of some awful nice horses," Wingfield said. "He's only won one time, but he's doing alright. With the caliber of horses he's racing against and the purses, you don't have to win them all. He's respectable, I think. It's just nice to have a horse like him to follow around." Limelight Beach is owned by Wingfield Brothers, Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and M1 Stable. Charles Wingfield was among the horse's original owners, with his brothers being added to the ownership prior to the beginning of Limelight Beach's 3-year-old campaign. The remainder of the current group came on board in July 2014. The gelding began his career with trainer Brian Brown, winning divisions of the Bluegrass, International Stallion, and Arden Downs stakes at age 2. Last year Limelight Beach's wins included the Jug and divisions of the Bluegrass and Circle City. He won an elimination for the Breeders Crown, defeating McWicked by a half-length, but was scratched sick from the final. Wingfield is looking forward to seeing Limelight Beach in Ohio again, even though he faces a tough task in the Ewart. In addition to State Treasurer, the field includes All Bets Off, Graduate Series champion Doo Wop Hanover, and Levy Series winner Domethatagain. "It's a horserace," Wingfield said. "I was hoping State Treasurer wouldn't be there. He is really on a roll. But there are a lot of them in there that are just tough to beat. Who knows? You just hope for the best. "A lot of the family is going to make it," he added. "They don't get to see him race (in person) very often. Everyone is excited." Following is the field in post order for the Ewart Memorial with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore, 7-5 2. Mykindachip, Jason Brewer, Jim Dailey, 15-1 3. Limelight Beach, Chris Page, Ron Burke, 10-1 4. Let's Drink On It, Aaron Merriman, Joe Seekman, 12-1 5. Doo Wop Hanover, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Steve Elliott, 7-2 6. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 4-1 7. Domethatagain, Dan Noble, Rene Allard, 12-1 8. Kanaris, Josh Sutton, Joe Seekman, 20-1 9. Bigtown Hero, Dave Palone, Rene Allard, 8-1 10. Somewhere In L A, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 10-1 Following is the field in post order for the Noble Memorial with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Southwind Pepino, Hugh Beatty, Hugh Beatty, 6-1 2. Gural Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 3-1 3. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, Chris Beaver, 5-2 4. Kirty Dream, Josh Sutton, Jeff Hochstetler, 15-1 5. Wind Of The North, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier, 2-1 6. Rompaway Galaxy, Chris Page, Krista Harmon, 5-1 7. Major Athens, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 12-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Scioto Downs plays hosts to the richest night in Ohio harness racing history on Saturday evening, Sept. 12 with $2,285,000 in purses dangling precariously on the finish line as Buckeye State's best Standardbreds battle for first-place prize money. The five-eight's mile oval will feature a 17-race card highlighted by eight $225,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) Championships for 2- and 3-year-old trotting and pacing colts and fillies. In addition, the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial, the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial and the $40,000 Ryder Steck Memorial will also be contested. Post time is approximately 6:30 pm, ET. Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang's Kestrel will be trying for a perfect five for five in the $225,000 OSS (Race 4) for freshman trotting fillies. This daughter of Triumphant Caviar has swept her division--winning each of her $40,000 OSS legs with aplomb--with her best effort coming at Scioto Downs one week ago, when she trotted to a 1:57.3, wire-to-wire victory. Bred by Wilbur Lang, Kestrel has $110,900 in career earnings. Beaver will also harness two other top 2-year-old fillies in this same event--Kerfuffle Cookie and Evanora. The former is a daughter of Chip Chip Hooray owned jointly by Beaver and Synerco Ventures of Toronto, ON who has won three OSS legs, while the latter is a daughter of Pilgrims Taj, bred and owned by Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH who captured two OSS legs. Alan Keith's Queen Ann M--who has triumphed in three OSS legs--carries the hopes of trainer Mike Roth into the $225,000 OSS Championship (Race 5) for freshman filly pacers. This daughter of Big Bad John gets the benefit of the rail slot in the nine-horse field and will have regular driver Chris Page at the controls. Bred by Jay Mossbarger, Queen Ann M has $74,325 in her seasonal coffers. Miss Me Yet, John's Sunny Girl, Big Bad Ashley and My Tweed Heart have each won two OSS legs for their connections in this same division.   Chris Beaver will also be adjusting the rigging on the 2-year-old colt Kanthaka, who starts from post eight in the $225,000 OSS Championship (Race 6) for freshman trotters. Owned jointly by Beaver and breeder Wilbur Lang, the son of Triumphant Caviar has $105,250 in career earnings and has swept all four OSS legs of this series. MJB Got Faith is another who has swept all four, $40,000 OSS legs for 11-year-old owner Breana Carsey of Connersville, IN. Bred by Gbw Breeding Farms Inc., the son of Trainforthefuture has amassed $80,000 with his clean sweep of this series for driver Peter Wrenn and trainer Steve Carter. Carl Howard's Primo Giovanni is six for six lifetime and that includes victories in all four OSS legs--including a 1:53.1 posting at Scioto in the fourth leg on Sept. 5, and headlines the $225,000 OSS Championship (Race 7) for freshman pacing colts and geldings. The son of Big Bad John--who was bred by his owner--has $107,575 in his career bank account, and is conditioned by Virgil Morgan, Jr. Stephen Sexton's Friskie Cruiser has won three OSS legs in this same division, amassing $69,198 in career earnings for trainer Brian Brown. The son of Feelin Friskie was bred by his owner and took a career record of 1:54 in his OSS test at Northfield Park on Aug. 21. Like Old Times and Dark Roast--both three-time winners in their respective OSS legs are set to wage war in the $225,000 OSS Championship (Race 8) for sophomore trotting fillies. Harnessed by trainer Don McKirgan, Keith Ross' Like Old Times has $70,000 in career earnings and a career mark of 1:56 taken in her OSS leg at Scioto on Aug. 28. The daughter of Chip Chip Hooray was also bred by her owner. Dark Roast--who was bred by Marvin Raber and is owned by Acadia Farms of Canfield, OH and G&B Racing of New Wilmington, PA, has $79,245 in her coffers. The daughter of Full Count is conditioned by Marty Wollam and recorded her top mark of 1:57.1 with Kurt Sugg at the lines in her OSS test on Aug. 14. Crosswinds Cupcake brings a five-race win-streak into the $225,000 OSS Championship for 3-year-old pacing fillies (Race 9). Conditioned by David Elliott for Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH and breeder Crosswinds Farm of Waynesville, OH, the daughter of Stand Forever has $105,690 in her seasonal coffers and $146,362 in lifetime earnings. She has a trio of OSS legs to her credit and will have Dan Noble in the sulky from post eight. Rival Karlee Sue has the benefit of the rail post in this same divisions, with Hall of Famer David Miller in the sulky for the first time. Trained by Al Tomlinson, the daughter of Feelin Friskie captured an OSS leg in 1:55.1 at Northfield Park on Aug. 14. A trio of 3-year-old diagonally-gaited specialists--who have each won two OSS legs--will butt heads in the $225,000 OSS Championship (Race 10) for sophomore trotters for the first time. I Know My Chip, Neely's Messenger and No Whip Chip are dual winners in this series--with each youngster hailing from a different sire. I Know My Chip, a son of Deep Chip, is conditioned by Ron Burke and co-owned by his trainer, Weaver Bruscemi and Paul Collura--all residents of Pennsylvania. This speedy sophomore has earned $$132,875 this season with six wins in 10 starts and was bred by Kimberly Dailey. Neely's Messenger is a gelded son of Neely Dunn and is the richest trotter in the field of nine with $287,545 in career earnings. Trained by Marty Wollam for Dale Sweet, Toledo, OH and Julie Sweet of Akron, OH, Neely's Messenger has 11 wins lifetime from 16 starts. No Whip Chip is conditioned by driver Dan Noble for his mother, Debbie Noble of Xenia, OH. Unraced at two, the Victory Sam gelding has three wins in eight lifetime starts and $60,400 in career earnings.   Indian Spirit--owned by Gregory Forcum of Chillicothe, OH--has captured three OSS legs for his trainer Dan Ater and starts from post six in the $225,000 OSS Championship for sophomore pacing colts and geldings (Race 11). Bred by Bruce Lane, the son of Tyler's Big Mark will have Kyle Ater in the sulky from post six--looking to add to his already hefty bankroll of $121,219. Nobles Finesse (Kurt Sugg-post 4); Gray Camo (Chris Page-post 9); Imtoofastforyou (Josh Sutton-post 7); Dyno Mite Man (David Miller-post 3) and Chief Talkalot (Aaron Merriman-post 2) are others in this same division with a single solid OSS leg triumph to their credit.     Kimberly A. Rinker  

Columbus, OH --- Ohio’s best night of racing, Super Night, will be held at Scioto Downs this Saturday (Sept. 12) with a first post time of 6:30 p.m. Anchoring the card (races four-11) will be eight $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes finals for 2- and 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and pacers. State Treasurer headlines the 10-horse $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Pace. The 6-year-old son of Real Desire most recently won the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack in 1:47.4 last week and is the 7-5 morning line favorite with David Miller set to drive. Nine other pacers, including 2015 Gene Riegle Memorial winner Mykindachip (Jason Brewer), 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach (Chris Page), 2015 Graduate final winner Doo Wop Hanover (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and 2015 Prix D’Ete winner All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) are also set to start. Other races on tap for the evening include the $100,000 Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial Trot, the $40,000 Ryder Steck Memorial Pace and a pair of $30,000 Open Paces. Before the first race even starts, there will be a plethora of activities for fans to enjoy. A driver autograph session will start at 5:30 p.m. down by the winner’s circle and a special Man vs. Horse race, with 1988 Olympic gold medalist Butch Reynolds, will be at 6 p.m. A 50/50 raffle will be held trackside to benefit the Butch Reynolds Care for Kids Foundation (must be 18-plus to purchase and participate in the raffle). Other happenings at the track include receiving a logoed gift when you buy a live racing program and driver interviews and t-shirt tosses after each winner’s circle presentation. In the breezeway between the clubhouse and racino a fundraiser will take place all night long for longtime driver Brad Hanners, who was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma and is preparing to begin treatment at The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital. Saturday evening caps an exciting 2015 Scioto Downs summer meet, in which 95 days of racing were held for more than $15 million in purses. For more information about the 2016 racing season, and other winter activities held at the racino, including the opening of The Brew Brothers, a microbrewery and restaurant, by Jason Roth, for Scioto Downs 

A fundraiser will be held Saturday at Scioto Downs to benefit harness racing driver Brad Hanners, who in July was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. Hanners is at The Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital, preparing to begin treatment. The 43-year-old Hanners, an Ohio native who lives 50 miles southwest of Columbus with his wife Alicia and children JorDan, Austin, Luke and Mia, has posted 4,888 wins as a driver and 357 victories as a trainer during his career. He enjoyed some of his greatest successes at Harrington Raceway in Delaware, where he captured three consecutive driving titles from 2003-05. He also was a driving champion at Dover Downs. Hanners set career highs with 478 wins and $4.74 million in purses in 2005. His top triumphs include the 2009 Dan Patch Invitational with Mister Big. The fundraiser will include a raffle for a race bike and harness plus a silent auction featuring a variety of items from equipment to harness racing memorabilia and sporting event tickets. Also, "Hanners Strong" T-shirts will be available for purchase. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in an area between the Scioto Downs clubhouse and grandstand. Scioto Downs is hosting Super Night on Saturday, with a full slate of Ohio Sire Stakes championships plus the Jim Ewart Memorial Pace and the Chip Noble Memorial Trot. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to help offset medical and travel expenses for Hanners and his family. In addition to Saturday's fundraiser, a GoFundMe account has been set up for donations. The account can be found here. "Brad never really had any symptoms of being sick other than back pain, and what driver doesn't have back pain," said Brandi Sykes, who is helping to coordinate the event. "We'd just like everybody to pray for him and help him get through this." Ken Weingartner

Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) action continued Saturday night, Sept. 5 at Scioto Downs as six, $40,000 divisions of harness racing freshman pacing and trotting colts and gelding battled.   Carl Howard’s Primo Giovanni continued to dominate his division, notching his sixth career victory in as many tries with a 1:53.1 track record clocking in the first OSS pacing test with Chris Page at the lines.   “This colt has a great mouth and is just a Cadillac to drive,” Page noted.  “Virgil (trainer Morgan) has done a great job with him and he just does everything right.”   The son of Big Bad John-JK Reunited-Bettor’s Delight pushed his earnings to $107,575 with a perfect, come-from-behind steer by Page.  Primo Giovanni—who was bred by his owner—has now won all four legs of this series.  Aloha John (Kurt Sugg) was second, with Winna Winna (Kyle Ater) was third.   The second OSS pacing division saw the homebred, 5-1shot Gotmoneyinmypocket get up to win in a new track record time of 1:52.3 for driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.  The son of Feelin Friskie gave trainer Jim Dailey his 1,000 career victory and was the colt’s lifetime win in his seventh start.  Owned by Jerry Zosel and Kathy Ratcliff, Gotmoneyinmypocket pushed his career earnings to $58,957.  Smoke Up Johnny (Greg Grismore) was second while Friskie Cruiser (Ryan Stahl) got up for third.   Love Tap Hanover nailed down his first triumph in OSS competition.  Having joined Virgil Morgan’s barn just a week ago, this son of Big Bad John prevailed in 1:53.4 for driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.  The gutty Trayvon (Montrell Teague), who was parked for most of the mile held on for second, while Mr Wiggle Pants (Kayne Kauffman) got up for third.   “Mark Harder has had this colt and done an excellent job with him,” Morgan, Jr. explained. “He told me to just treat him like he was my own and that’s what we’ve done.  He’s a very nice youngster and is still a bit green.”   Love Tap Hanover now has $53,857 in earnings for owners Rick Phillips, Paul Venurini and Mark Harder of New York and New Jersey.  He was a $60,000 yearling purchase at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg.   In the first OSS for trotting youngsters, Emerald Chip and Josh Sutton emerged victorious for trainer bobby Brower in 1:59.2.  The $15,000 yearling purchase from the 2014 Ohio Select Sale—who is co-owned by Sutton—picked up career win two in just four lifetime starts for the VIP Internet Stable, NJ and Mystical Marker Farms, IN.   “This colt didn’t race in the first leg of the sires stakes,” Sutton explained. “He’s still very green and I’ve never really been able to race him hard until tonight.  He’s still learning.”   The son of Chip Chip Hooray used a perfect, two-hole trip to garner the victory and pushed his career earnings to $48,300.  He was bred by Doug Millard and Spring Haven Farm.  Lone Valley Sam (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was second and The Next Triumph (Ken Holiday) was third.   Favorite MJB Got Faith won his fourth OSS leg in 1:57.2 in come-from-behind fashion for driver Peter Wrenn—equaling the Scioto Downs track records en route to a new career mark.  The son of Trainforthefuture-Imageofasweetgirl-Striking Sahbra is owned by 11-year-old Breana Carsey of Connorsville, IN and conditioned by Steve Carter.   “This colt has a great attitude and that’s everything,” Wrenn stressed. “He doesn’t know he’s small in size.”   Bred by Gbw Breeding Farm, MJB Got Faith is now four for four lifetime with $80,000 in his coffers.  His young owner picked out the gelding’s dam when she was in foal and named him after herself and her siblings (MacKenzie, Jordan & Breana), using the first three letters of their names, along with the added mantra of “Got Faith.”  She also donates ten percent of the horse’s earnings to the Brad Hanners Fund.   The hardy Kanthaka changed tactics—coming from off the pace—to capture his sixth straight career win in as many starts for driver Ryan Stahl and trainer Chris Beaver in the third and final OSS test for 2-year-old trotters.    The son of Triumphant Caviar posted a new track record clocking of 1:57.1. for owners Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH and trainer Beaver, pushing his career earnings to $105,250.  Heza Home Run (Hugh Beatty) was second, while Hello Pilgrim (Kayne Kauffman) nailed down show honors.   The $225,000 OSS Championships for all divisions of 2- and 3-year-old pacing and trotting fillies and colts & geldings will be contested on Sept. 12 at Scioto Downs.   Kimberly Rinker

Harness racing trainers Chris Beaver and Doug Hinklin harnessed two freshman fillies each to victory in Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) contests at Scioto Downs on Friday, Sept. 4.   Beaver adjusted the bridle on a pair of OSS trotting fillies while Hinklin rigged two pacing distaffs--taking four of six $40,000 tests in the fourth leg of this series for 2-year-old Ohio-bred Standardbred females.   It was a fantastic night for the Parent Racing Stable, LLC of Holland, OH, as they collected a pair of OSS trophies via John's Sunny Girl and Angry Shelby--both conditioned by Hinklin and both steered by veteran reinsman Greg Grismore.   John's Sunny Girl paced to a winning 1:53.2 in wire-to-wire fashion--a career best for the daughter of Big Bad John-Sunshine State-Dragon Again. Miss Me Yet (Montrell Teague) was second, while Hooray For Hazel (Chris Page) nailed third place honors.   It was John's Sunny Girl's second victory in OSS competition, as she won leg one of this series on July 3 at Northfield Park in 1:55.4 by an impressive eight lengths. Bred by Midland Acres, the victory--the fourth of her career in seven starts--pushed the bay filly's earnings to $74,625.   John's Sunny Girl was a $32,000 yearling purchase at the 2014 Ohio Select Sale, and is the fourth foal out of her dam. She is a half-sister to Olde Time Hockey (by Art Major) p, 3, 1:50.3 ($213,147) and to Blue Chip Sunshine (by American Ideal) p, 4, 1:50.1s ($100,122).   Angry Shelby tied her lifetime mark with a 1:54.1 clocking in her OSS division. The Big Bad John-Tura Hanover-Dragon Again filly had made breaks in all three of her previous OSS tests, but put it all together in the fourth leg as she scored her third lifetime win in six starts. Her earnings now stand at $53,600. Big Bad Ashley (Dan Noble) was second, while My Tweed Heart (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was third. Bred by Spring Haven Farm, Angry Shelby was also a $32,000 yearling purchase at the 2014 Ohio Select Sale and is the sixth foal from her dam. She is a half-sister to All Terrain (by Tell All) p, 4,1:52.2h ($101,733); Pick N Scoop (by Bettor's Delight) p, 5,1:55.1f ($60,686); and Town Temptress (by Artiscape) p, 2,1:53.1f ($58,201). The other OSS pacing division saw longshot Naked By Nine score impressively in a come-from-behind, 1:54.1 effort for driver Kayne Kauffman and trainer Mark Winters, Sr. The daughter of Manhardt-Innocent Sahbra-Expensive Scooter was bred and is owned by Dennis Shaner of Wapakoneta, OH. The brown filly pushed her career bankroll to $40,950 with the win--the fifth of her career--that saw her best rivals Big Bad Chickie (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and Save My Tootsie (Aaron Merriman). The indomitable trotting filly Kestrel didn't disappoint her connections as she captured her fourth OSS leg in as many tries--prevailing in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:57.3 for Aaron Merriman and trainer Chris Beaver. The daughter of Triumphant Caviar has won every leg of this four-part series and is now five-for-five lifetime, as she also triumphed in a $61,800 Ohio Fair Stake (OFS) on Aug. 5 at Scioto by six lengths. Co-owned and bred by Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH and Beaver, Kestrel is the first foal out of the unraced Credit Winner mare Blackrose and has $110,900 in career earnings. Rivals Haley Chip (Josh Sutton) and stablemate Evanora (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) picked up place and show honors respectively. Beaver's other trainee--the Chip Chip Hooray filly Kerfuffle Cookie--kept her cool as she trotted to a front-stepping 1:58.2 victory with Aaron Merriman at the lines. Owned by her trainer and the Synerco Ventures of Toronto, ON, Kerfuffle Cookie notched her third career win and third OSS contest--having won the first two legs of this series previously, one each at Scioto and Northfield Park. Shut Up And Dance (Hugh Beatty) was second, while Buckeye Lady One (Chris Page) picked up third-place money. Bred by Lmn Bred Stables, the brown filly now has $60,000 in career earnings and is out of the unraced Conway Hall mare Minor Skirmish. A $20,000 yearling purchase at the 2014 Ohio Select Sale, Kerfuffle Cookie is a half-sister to Allie's Gift (by Holiday Road) p, 3, 1:57.1 ($46,810) and to Special Agent Man (by Federal Flex) p, 3, Q1:59.1s ($45,037). Finally, it was the late-blooming Consolidator who took the other trotting division for driver Chris Page and trainer Jim Arledge, Jr. in 1:58. Using gait to wire tactics, Page sent his charge right to the front and never looked back. It was the second straight win in OSS competition for the daughter of Triumphant Caviar, upping her earnings to $50,616. She now has two wins and a third in four career starts. Count On Kami (Kurt Sugg) was second and Hoorah Hoorah (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was third. Consolidator is owned by the Green Acquisition Corp. of Canfield, OH and was bred by Rose Run Farm. She was a $25,000 yearling at the 2014 Ohio Select Sale and is the sixth foal out of the $107,728-winning Muscles Yankee broodmare Muscle Toy. Ohio Sires Stakes action continues Saturday night (Sept. 5) at Scioto Downs as freshman colts vie in six divisions, three each for pacers and trotters. The $225,000 OSS Championships for each of the 2- and 3-year-old divisions will be contested on Scioto Downs' Super Night, on Saturday, Sept. 12. By Kimberly Rinker, Administrator, Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

With the $225,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) Championships just one week away, the action among the 2-year-old pacing and trotting colts is heated. On Saturday night, Sept. 5 at Scioto Downs, a total of 55 youngsters will line up behind the starting gate to vie in the fourth leg of OSS action. A total of 30 pacing and 25 trotting colts and geldings battle for $40,000 each dash. Post time for the evening's 15-race card is approximately 6:30 pm, ET.   OSS Pacing Divisions Carl Howard's Primo Giovanni has been assigned post ten in the first (Race One) of three OSS pacing divisions. The son of Big Bad John-JK Reunited is looking for his sixth career victory in as many tries and his fourth OSS victory. He won OSS leg one on July 4 at Scioto Downs in 1:56.2; his second OSS leg at Northfield on July 24 in 1:55.2; and his third OSS leg on Aug. 21 at Northfield in 1:55.1. Conditioned by Virgil Morgan, Jr., Primo Giovanni has $87,575 in his career coffers. Regular driver Chris Page will steer the speedy pacer, who was bred by his owner. In the second OSS pacing division (Race Four) Smoke Up Johnny hopes to regain the form that made him a winner in the first leg of this series. The son of Big Bad John-Leda's Twoeleven scored his first career victory on July 4 at Scioto Downs en route to that $40,000 OSS triumph, clocked in 1:56. Owned by the Parent Racing Stable LLC of Holland, OH, Smoke Up Johnny is conditioned by Doug Hinklin and has seasonal earnings of $59,925. Greg Grismore drives the youngster, who was bred by Conquest Acres of Indiana, from post one. Rocknroll Wildcats, who won the third OSS leg on Aug. 21 at Northfield Park in a career best 1:54.1, will be right beside Smoke Up Johnny. Trained by George Anthrop and owned by Toman Enterprises LTD of Battle Creek, MI, the son of World of Rocknroll-Matter of Business-Matt's Scooter has been on the board in all six of his career starts. Bred by Mark Marroletti of Florida, Rocknroll Wildcats has $32,300 in his career bank account. Longshot Whataboy won his OSS division at Northfield on Aug. 21 in 1:54.3. The son of Big Bad John, who is trained by Virgil Morgan for Majs Ny Inc., Gerrie S Tucker and RBH Ventures, is looking for his second career win from post seven with Chris Page in the sulky. The winner of $37,113 was bred by the Dm Stables LLC of Florida. The Teague family's Trayvon is the clear standout in the third (Race Seven) OSS pacing division. This son of I'm Gorgeous-She'saknockout-Badlands Hanover has earned $42,362 this season for owner George Teague, Jr. of Harrington, DE-with his lone victory coming in OSS competition on July 24 at Northfield Park. The youngster was clocked in 1:56 for the one mile test with trainer-breeder Brenda Teague's nephew Montrell in the sulky. OSS Trotting Divisions The Chris Beaver-trained Lone Valley Sam and driver Chris Page will start from the rail in the first (Race Two) of a trio of OSS divisions for diagonally-gaited specialists. This youngster's lone victory came in his first OSS test on July 4 at Scioto Downs, when he trotted to a 2:00.1 victory with Page at the lines. The Iron Duke-Wallaby Wannabee colt is co-owned by his trainer along with Synerco Vent of ON and S. Zeehandelar of Worthington, OH and D. Lang of Hilliard, OH. Bred by Eli Miller, Lone Valley Sam has $35,166 in career purse earnings. MJB Got Faith-who has won all three of his OSS contests in as many lifetime starts, heads up the second OSS trotting division (Race Three). This son of Trainforthefuture-Imageofasweetgirl is trained by Steve Carter for Breana Carsey of Connersville, IN and notched his first career victory in OSS competition on July 4 at Scioto, when he was clocked in 2:00.4. He followed that up with a 2:01.3 triumph in his second OSS contest at Northfield on July 24 and then stormed to victory in 2:00 in the third OSS leg at Northfield on Aug. 21. A winner of $60,000, MJB Got Faith will have Peter Wrenn in the sulky from post six. The bay gelding was bred by Gbw Breeding Farms Inc. of Ohio. The mighty Kanthaka will be trying for career win six in as many starts in the last OSS trotting division (Race Nine). He's won all three of his OSS legs to date-in 1:58.3 at Scioto on July 4; in 1:58 at Northfield on July 24; and in a lifetime best clocking of 1:57.1 at Northfield on Aug. 21. Conditioned and co-owned by Chris Beaver and breeder Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH, the son of Triumphant Caviar-Elena-San Pellegrino now has $85,250 in earnings. Ryan Stahl will pilot Kanthanka from the rail. The Kurt Sugg-trained and driven Mickey Moose will try to become a five-time winner this season from post three in this same event. This son of Triumphant Caviar-Chippedinstrawberry-Chip Chip Hooray has a three-race win-streak to his credit, including his last at Northfield on Aug. 21, when he captured his OSS test by nine lengths in a lifetime record of 1:57.3. This bay gelding, who was bred by Richard Mairs and Shari Starner, now has $37,544 in his coffers. He is owned by Dean Davis of Wooster, OH and Ashley Dunn of Polk, OH. Ohio Sires Stakes competition for this and all 2 and 3-year-old divisions culminates in the $225,000 Championships on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Scioto Downs.hoto Cutlines:   Kimberly A. Rinker

Six Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) contests for harness racing freshmen fillies are set for Friday night, Sept. 4 at Scioto Downs. A total of 48 fillies, 26 of the pacing gait and 22 of the trotting gait will vie for $40,000 in each one mile dash. Post time is set for approximately 6:30 p, ET. This is the fourth and final leg in the rich series for Ohio-bred 2-year-old trotting and pacing distaffs, which will culminate in $225,000 Championships on Sept. 12 at Scioto Downs. OSS Pacing Divisions In the first event for pacing fillies (Race One) Save My Tootsie will try for her second straight victory in OSS competition-having captured the third leg of this series on Aug. 21 at Northfield Park in 1:54.4. Aaron Merriman will pilot the daughter of Big Bad John-Save My Life-Life Sign once again for trainer Ron Potter and owner Clyde Perfect of Lawrenceburg, IN from the coveted rail slot. Save My Tootsie, who has $35,935 in career earnings, was bred by Spring Haven Farm. Give No Lip scored a front-stepping 1:54.3 triumph in the second leg of this series on July 25 for Jeremy Smith, who'll be aboard the daughter of Big Bad John-Loyal TO My Heart-Cole Muffler from post seven. Trainer Ron Steck owns the young lass in partnership with JA Breece of Pataskala, OH and BA & P Soulsby of Powell, OH. Bred by Greg and Holly Martin, Give No Lip has $33,526 in career earnings. Miss Me Yet heads up the second pacing division (Race 3) from post four for driver Montrell Teague, trainer Brenda Teague and owner George Teague, Jr. of Harrington, DE. The daughter of I'm Gorgeous, out of the Western Hanover mare Live Inspired, was bred by her owner and Fannin Racing, Inc. and now has $48,800 in career earnings. Miss Me Yet finished third in the first leg of OSS action on July 3 at Northfield Park, timed in 1:57.2, but then scored a lifetime best clocking of 1:53.4 in the second leg at Scioto Down son July 25, and followed that up with a 1:56.2 score in the third leg on Aug.21 at Northfield Park, drawing off by 4½ lengths for her connections. The Doug Hinklin-conditioned John's Sunny Girl, who won her July 3, OSS leg with a gate-to-wire effort in 1:55.4 for owners Parent Racing Stable LLC of Holland, OH, starts from post seven. Bred by Midland Acres, the daughter of Big Bad John-Sunshine State-Dragon Again has $54,625 in career earnings and last finished second in her OSS test on Aug. 21 at Northfield Park. Awakening will leave from post eight with Kayne Kauffman driving for trainer Mike Polhamus and owner-breeder Marjorie Polhamus of Fletcher, OH. The daughter of Feelin Friskie-Sidewalk Sleeper-Jate Lobell romped to a 1:57 wire-to-wire victory at Northfield on July 3 in the first leg of this series, and was a close second in the third leg on Aug. 21 at Northfield Park. She has amassed $34,786 in her brief career. The third (Race Five) of the trio of pacing divisions looks to be the most competitive. Queen Ann M, a daughter of Big Bad John-Full Fledged-Grinfromeartoear, starts from post five for trainer Mike Roth and driver Chris Page. Bred by Jay Mossbarger of Bloomington, OH, Queen Ann M won the first OSS leg in 1:56.4 in a come-from-behind effort with Page at the lines on July 3 at Northfield, before recording her second OSS victory in a career best 1:55 on July 25 at Scioto. She followed that up with a resounding 1:55.2 score on Aug. 21 at Northfield. Alan Keith of Pataskala, OH owns the speedy bay filly, who has $71,125 in career earnings from just four starts, with three wins and one second. Big Bad Ashley starts from post six for driver Dan Noble and trainer Jim Arledge, Jr. The daughter of Big Bad John-Cruise On Ashley-Yankee Cruiser won her OSS first leg at Northfield Park on July 3 in 1:56, and her second OSS leg on July 25 at Scioto Downs in 1:54.2. Big Bad Ashley was bred and is owned by Winchester Baye Acres, Inc., of Powell, OH, and has $68,177 in her career bankroll. My Tweed Heart leaves from post nine with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., in the sulky for trainer Jim Dailey. This daughter of Manhardt-Tweedle D-Towner's Big Guy captured her first OSS leg handily in 1:59.1 at Northfield on July 3 and her second OSS leg on Aug. 21 at Northfield in 1:55.1. Bred by Stanley Swango, III of Florida, My Tweed Heart has $62,250 in career earnings for owner Carl Atley of Xenia. OSS Trotting Divisions The first division (Race Two) of trotting fillies will likely be one of the best events on the 13-race card, as it pits rivals and stablemates Evanora and Kestrel in another Chris Beaver-conditioned slug-fest. Evanora, who's been assigned post one, will have Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. up, and is trying for her third OSS triumph. The Pilgrim's Taj-Nessa Rose-Chip Chip Hooray lass scored OSS wins on Aug. 21 at Northfield in a lifetime best clocking of 1:59.2 and on July 3 at the "home of the flying turns" in 2:01. Evanora, who is owned and was bred by Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH, has $41,550 from five starts and three wins in her career. Kestrel, a daughter of Triumphant Caviar-Blackrock-Credit Winner scored a 1:59 front-stepping clocking with Aaron Merriman in the sulky to record her first career win on July 3 at Northfield Park and is now four for four lifetime. Co-owned (along with Beaver) and bred by Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH and Beaver, of Delaware, OH. Kestrel also scored a 1:57.3 triumph on July 25 at Scioto, then captured an Ohio Fair Stake (OSF) on Aug. 5 at Scioto, before posting a 1:58.3 victory at Northfield Park in the third OSS leg on Aug. 21. Belle'svictoryring has drawn the rail in the second division (Race 11) for co-owner, trainer and driver John Konesky, III. This daughter of Victory Sam-Belle Legrand-Striking Sahbra, who was bred by Midland Acres led at every call to capture her OSS test on July 25 at Scioto in a career best 1:58.4. Konesky co-owns the filly-a winner of $46,151 lifetime-in partnership with Patrick Konesky of Bowling Green, OH. Count On Kami will start from post four with Kurt Sugg driving for trainer Marty Wollam. This daughter of Full Count-Joys Second Call-Call Toll Free keeps hinting in all of her OSS tests, and has been second five times and third once in six starts. She was bred by David Vannatta of Mt. Vernon, OH and is co-owned by Vannatta and Wollam, of Vienna, OH and Acadia Farms Inc., of Canfield, OH and has $45,091 in seasonal earnings. Consolidator, with just three starts lifetime, leaves from post six for driver Chris Page. Conditioned by Ron Potter, this daughter of Southfork-Special Move-Moving Forward captured her last start, the third OSS leg, on Aug. 21 at Northfield impressively in 1:58.3. Trained by Jim Arledge, Jr. for owner Green Acquisition Corp. of Canfield, OH, Consolidator has $30,616 in earnings, and was bred by Rose Run Farm. Kerfuffle Cookie, another Chris Beaver trainee, looks to be the solid choice in the third OSS division (Race 12). Owned by the Synerco Ventures, Inc. of Toronto, Canada, Kerfuffle Cookie was bred by the LMN Bred Stables, Inc., of Ohio. Aaron Merriman will steer from post five against six foes. This daughter of Chip Chip Hooray-Minor Skirmish-Conway Hall romped in a wire-to-wire triumph on July 3 at Northfield Park in 2:00.1 unchallenged and captured her second OSS test on July 25 at Scioto Downs, timed in a lifetime best 1:58. She's been plagued by breaking problems since, but if she minds her manners, could be on target add the winner's share to her bankroll of $40,000. Another erratic but speedy filly is Shut Up And Dance, who hails from the Hugh Beatty stable for the first time. Her trainer drives from post one for owner James Bafia of Minooka, IL. The daughter of Triumphant Caviar-Passport To Love-Yankee Glide scored a 1:58 wire-to-wire victory in the first OSS leg at Northfield on July 3, and was second on July 25 at Scioto, before winning an Ohio Breeders Stake (OBS) there on Aug. 12. She was not able to stay on gait, however, in the third leg of this series on Aug. 21 at Northfield and failed to garner a check. Bred by Steve Stewart & Kemppi Stable of Kentucky, Shut Up And Dance has $43,350 in her coffers. Ohio Sires Stakes competition for this and all 2 and 3-year-old divisions culminates in the $225,000 Championships on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Scioto Downs. Kimberly Rinker

Columbus, OH - Four divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes 3-year-olds battled Saturday night at Scioto Downs, each vying for a purse of $40,000 in the fourth leg of this series for Buckeye-bred colt and gelding trotters and pacers. Indian Spirit prevailed in the first pacing division over rival Gray Camo in 1:52.4. The Tyler's Big Mark gelding was guided by Kyle Ater for his father, trainer Dan Ater and owner Greg Forcum of Chillicothe, OH. "This is the best horse I've ever had," an excited Forcum said in the Scioto Downs winner's circle. "This horse has a ton of heart and just never gives up. He loves chasing horses." Bred by Bruce Lane, Indian Spirit pushed his seasonal earnings to $86,810 with the win, his sixth of the season in ten starts. Lifetime, he has $121,219 in his bank account. "I turned him over to Dan (trainer Ater) late last season," Forcum explained modestly. "I thought he was a little bit better horse than I needed to be fooling with and that it might be better to give him to Dan, who has a lot more experience with top horses than I do." After eventual third-place finisher Gray Camo (Chris Page) led the field through fractions of :27, :55.2 and 1:23.3, the younger Ater pulled his charge first over and the pacer responded with a solid burst of speed that put him two lengths in front at the wire. Rock N Randall (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was third. Indian Spirit has now won the second, third and fourth leg of his OSS contests. The second OSS pacing division saw 4-5 favorite Imtoofastforyou and Josh Sutton emerge victorious with a 1:54 clocking. The son of Mantacular-Lady Camette-Artsplace hails from the powerful Virgil Morgan, Jr. Stable and notched career win two in his ninth try. Unraced at two, Imtoofastforyou--who was bred by Midland Acres--pushed his career earnings to $54,150. "He had some knees that were open and he just wasn't ready to race last season," noted Morgan, Jr. "And he was an orangutan to deal with as a youngster, so we gelded him, and that's helped his attitude tremendously. Unlike some of these colts, he didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this season either mentally or physically, and so he's really come a long way." Owned by Carl Howard, Powell, OH; Gerrie Tucker, Montreal, QC, CA; and Brian Kohen, Dayton; Imtoofastforyou maintained his cool despite a recall caused by Nobles Finesse. Once the wings sprang, the bay colt took the lead and never looked back, snapping off fractions of :28, :57.2, and 1:28.3 before posting a three-quarter victory over Nobles Finesse (Kurt Sugg) and Chief Talkalot (Aaron Merriman). I Know My Chip and Chris Page captured the first of two $40,000 OSS trotting divisions handily in 1:55. The gelded son of Deep Chip-Madeline's Crown-Pegasus Spur was bred by Ohio's Kim Dailey and is trained by Ronnie Burke. "This horse has just gotten better and better as the season goes on," Burke stressed. "He's turned out to be a much better horse than I originally thought." This was I Know My Chip's second win in OSS competition in 2015 and pushed his seasonal earnings to $132,875 and his career totals to $238,278 for owners Burke Racing Stable of Frerickestown, PA; Weaver Bruscemi, Cannonsburg, PA; and Paul Collura of Mountain Top, PA. He now has nine checks in all ten starts this season. The brown gelding, a 1-5 shot, took the lead away from the hard-trying Neely's Messenger (Mike Wilder) at the :58 half, and never looked back, posting a 3½ length triumph. The aforementioned rival held on for second, while Reel Deep Chip (Kayne Kauffman) was third, followed by Kick A Lot (Kurt Sugg) and Chips Starr (Hugh Beatty). It was an emotional, tear-feared winner's circle that welcomed No Whip Chip for a well-deserved photo after a gate to wire triumph in 1:57.1. The son of Victory Sam-Merediths Hope-Master Lavec notched his third win in eight starts for trainer-driver Dan Noble and his mother, owner Debbie Noble. "These are happy tears," Debbie Noble explained. "This horse belongs to a group of youngsters that Chip (the late Sam Noble III) bred and raised. He raced this horse's parents and to win with this colt is just even more emotional than it would be normally because I know he wanted so much to be here, to see what this colt has become. We feel so blessed to have this horse and we feel sure that Chip is watching over us." The victory pushed No Whip Chip's lifetime earnings to $60,440 as he nailed down his third lifetime win in eight starts. Unraced as a freshman, the bay gelding has missed only one check in his career. My Friend Jim (Jeremy Smith) was second, followed by Cooter Dunn (Louis Bauslaugh). Ohio Sires Stakes for freshmen colts and filly of both gaits continue next weekend (Sept. 4 & 5) at Scioto Downs, while the $225,000 Championships for all 2- and 3-year-old divisions will be contested on Saturday, Sept. 12 during Super Night festivities at the five-eighth's mile oval. By Kimberly Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

Columbus, OH - Driver Dan Noble had a stellar night of Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) action, piloting three of the four divisional winners at Scioto Downs on Aug. 28. The 32-year-old Kettering, Ohio native piloted both of the pacing and one of the 3-year-old trotting filly victresses for Buckeye-bred distaffs. Longshot E Ticket Ride was Noble's first score, as he guided the daughter of Feelin Friskie-Double E Hanover-Western Hanover to a 1:54.1 career best clocking for trainer David Elliott and owner Bret M. Schwartz of Washington Court House, OH. "This filly got a little bit of a rough start initially," Noble explained. "She didn't race as a 2-year-old and David (trainer Elliott) really took his time with her. She was pretty green this year and is just starting to come around into form at the right time." Bred by Midland Acres, the big, chocolate-brown filly pushed her career earnings to $52,820 with the victory, the second of her career in 12 trips postward. Returning $14.20 to her backers on a two dollar win ticket, E Ticket Ride bested favorite Karlee Sue (Kayne Kauffman) by half a length at the wire, while the gritty Hailstorm Gracie (Josh Sutton) got up for third. In the first of two OSS events for trotters (Race Three), Noble steered another longshot--Song Of The Valley-- to a career best 1:57.1 triumph for trainer Christ Hershberger. Owned and bred by Philip Baldauf of Akron, OH, the daughter of Pine Valley-Surf Song Yankee-Yankee Cruiser bested the highly regarded and multiple OSS distaff Dark Roast (Kurt Sugg) by 1¾ lengths. Chip Chip Page (Chris Page) was third with a well-steered, come-from-behind effort. "I never sat behind this filly before," Noble said. "But before the race Christ (trainer Herseberger) told me that if I was able to get her out of the gate okay, he thought she'd be super tough in here. She's a good, strong, back-half horse and the race couldn't have worked out any more perfectly for her." Song Of The Valley pushed her seasonal earnings to $33,319 with the victory, the second of the season. Lifetime she's amassed $53,827 from 17 starts, with a trio of wins, three seconds and three thirds. Noble then pulled of the perfect hat trick as he piloted 1-9 favorite Crosswinds Cupcake to a 1:55.1 clocking in the second OSS test for pacing fillies. The daughter of Stand Forever-Keystone Mulberry-Artsplace notched her fifth straight victory for Noble, pushing her 2015 earnings to $105,690. "She's much more mature and manageable this season," Noble stressed. "You can do whatever you want with her now as she's become a much more versatile filly." Bred and co-owned by Crosswinds Farm, Waynesville, OH and Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH, Crosswinds Cupcake was put on the front end early by Noble and was never challenged, finishing 1¼ lengths in front of rival Sectionlinefriskie (Greg Grismore) at the wire, while Friskie Lil Devil (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was third. Her career earnings now stand at $146,362. In the second OSS trotting division, Like Old Times and Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., came from off the pace to score in 1:56. The daughter of Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubadour was harnessed by Don McKirgan for owner-breeder Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, OH, pushing her career earnings to $192,617. "I was a little concerned because of the soft first half (:58.1)," Wrenn, Jr. admitted. "But this filly does her job and raced great tonight. She's versatile and can race anyway you want her to." After sitting through a first-quarter panel of :27.4 set by Honey B (Kyle Ater), Like Old Times made a bold power move, grabbing the lead just past the half to take the field through a 1:26.4 third panel before pacing a modest :29.1 final brush to nail down her tenth win of the year in 12 starts. Her career earnings now stand at $192,617. Expresso Joe (Dan Noble) finished second by 2¾ lengths, with Honey B held on for show honors. Ohio Sires Stakes action continues tonight with four divisions at Scioto Downs for 3-year-old pacing and trotting colts and geldings. Post time is 6:30 pm, ET. By Kimberly Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund

The fourth leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) for harness racing 3-year-old trotting and pacing colts will be contested Saturday night at Scioto Downs. Post time is 6:30 pm, ET. Each of the four divisions will vie for a purse of $40,000. The $225,000 Championships for all divisions of 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits will be contested at Scioto on Saturday, Sept. 12. Rivals Gray Camo and Indian Spirit will battle in the first $40,000 OSS pacing test, carded as Race One on the 13-race program. Gray Camo, an altered son of Pine Valley-Cg's Gem-Shady Character leaves from post two with Chris Page in the sulky. A winner of $129,229 in his career, the roan pacer is conditioned by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable of Frederickstown, PA; Weaver Bruscemi, Cannonsburg, PA; Richard Suda, Darien, IL and Jason Melillo, Powell, OH. Gray Camo was a $10,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Blooded Horse Sale and is a full brother to Pink Camo p,2,1:52.3 ($210,766) and Dibs p,3,1:53.2f ($218,698). A winner of four races as a freshman, Gray Camo's lone victory this year came in the first leg of OSS action on May 2 at Miami Valley Raceway when he scored a career best clocking of 1:53.3. He was bred by Charles Gajda of Volant, PA. Indian Spirit has five victories to his credit this season, with triumphs in a July 17 OSS in 1:56.1; on June 20 (1:53) and June 6 (1:54.3) in Ohio Breeders Stakes (OBS); and in both his elimination (1:55.2) and $30,000 final (1:54) of the Hackett on April 25 at Miami Valley Raceway. He'll be harnessed by trainer Dan Ater and driven by Kyle Ater, the conditioner's son. Owned by Gregory Forcum of Chillicothe, OH and bred by Bruce Lane of Frankfort, OH, Indian Spirit is a son of Tylers Big Mark-Bettacular-Mantacular who has $101,219 in career earnings from eight lifetime wins, four seconds and a pair of thirds in 21 trips behind the starting gate. In the second $40,000 OSS pacing division (Race Five) favorite Nobles Finesse hails from the rail with trainer Kurt Sugg at the lines. Owned by Dean Davis, Wooster, OH; Joyce McClelland, Zanesville, OH; and the Mullet Stables, Millersburg, OH, Nobles Finesse will be trying for his seventh victory of the season. A winner of $154,321 lifetime, the bay son of Feelin Friskie-Lady Lonesome-Nobleland Sam won an OSS leg on July 17 at Northfield Park in 1:55.4 and is a five-time Ohio Fair Stake (OHFS) winner in 2014. Bred by the late Ohio driving champion Chip Noble, Nobles Finesse has half-siblings in Lonesome Attack (by On The Attack) p,5, 1:50f ($386,929) and Lonesome Cruiser (by Yankee Cruiser) p,5,1:54h ($85,715), among others. Chief Talkalot hails from the powerful Brian Brown Stable and will have America's leading driver, Aaron Merriman, in the bike. This son of Feelin Friskie-Jardin Des Arts-Jeremy's Gambit has one lone win to his credit this season-but it came in an OSS on May 2 at Miami Valley Raceway when he was clocked in a lifetime best 1:55.2. The bay gelding is co-owned by breeder Steve Stewart, Paris, KY, along with Michael Robinson, Lewis Center, OH; Robert Mondillo, Delaware, OH and Steve Cheatham, Petersburg, TN. Chief Talkalot has amassed $83,642 in career earnings from a trio of wins, two seconds and one third in 11 career trips postward. A pair of OSS trotting divisions feature a field of five (Race Two) and six (Race Three) diagonally-gaited sophomores. In the first $40,000 test I Know My Chip, a son of Deep Chip-Madeline's Crown-Pegasus Spur battles Neely's Messenger, a Neely Dun-Fun Message-Carry The Message gelding. I Know My Chip is conditioned by Ron Burke, who co-owns the gelding along with Weaver Bruscemi, Cannonsburg, PA and Paul Collura, Mountain Top, PA. Bred by Ohioan Kimberly Dailey, this bay 3-year-old has missed only one check in all nine of his starts this season-and has finished no worse than second in the other eight, with victories in Ohio State Fair (OSF) and OSS events, with seasonal earnings of $112,875. Lifetime he's amassed $218,278 for these connections. He starts from post four with Chris Page driving. Neely's Messenger was a multiple OSS victor as a freshman, with earnings of $215,945 for owners Dale and Julie Ann Sweet of Toledo and Akron, OH. Conditioned by Marty Wollam, the altered son of Neely Dunn-Fun Message-Carry The Message won seven of eight starts in 2014 and this year has four wins, one second and one third in just seven trips postward. Bred by Ohio's Albert Yoder, Neely's Messenger has won a pair of OSS tests this year, along with OBS events and an OHFS in his last start on Aug. 23. No Whip Chip in the second OSS trotting division (Race Three) is a true family horse. The son of Victory Sam-Merediths Hope-Master Lavec is owned by Deborah Noble of Xenia, OH; was bred by the late Sam "Chip" Noble, and is trained and driven by the couple's son Danny Noble. He's been assigned post five in the field of six and will be trying for victory number three of the season. Unraced as a 2-year-old, No Whip Chip captured his OSS division on July 17 at Northfield Park, stopping the timer in a hasty 1:58.2, with an impressive :27.3 final brush. Cooter Dunn, a son of Neely Dunn-Sweet Edith-Stoneking-who starts outside of No Whip Chip-will be trying for his fifth win this year in 13 tires. Bred, owned and trained by Renee Bauslaugh and driven by Louis Bauslaugh, Cooter Dunn has $99,228 in career earnings from 10 lifetime victories in 26 starts. Kimberly Rinker

Four divisions of harness racing sophomore fillies are set to wage war on Friday night at Scioto Downs Racino, vying for $120,000 in combined Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) purses. A total of 15 pacing and 19 trotting Buckeye-bred distaffs will line up behind the starting gate, beginning with a first race post time of 6:30 pm, ET. Multiple OSS victress Karlee Sue headlines the first $40,000 division of OSS pacing fillies (Race One) for trainer and co-owner AL Tomlinson. The Novi, MI-based conditioner has harnessed the daughter of Feelin Friskie-Magical Jeanie-Magical Mike to $99,227 in career earnings for partners Dennis Stolz of Midland, MI and Daniel A. Mitchell of Novi, MI. Karlee Sue, a $20,000 yearling purchase from the 2013 Blooded Horse Sale, captured the third leg of this series on Aug. 14 at Northfield Park, stopping the timer in 1:55.1. She captured leg two on June 12 at Scioto Downs, timed in 1:54.2. Bred by Midland Acres, Karlee Sue will leave form post two in the eight horse field with Kayne Kauffman at the lines. Her seasonal earnings stand at $73,088. Rival Bell Flower will leave from post four in this same race for Chris Page and trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. This daughter of Fly Fly Buckeye-Our Lady Countess-Artsplace was an $8,000 yearling at the 2013 Blooded Horse Sale and has returned $198,501 to her investors. Owned by Bruce & Patricia Soulsby of Powell, OH, Dean Davis of Wooster, OH and Carl Howard of Powell, OH, Bell Flower is a multiple Ohio Fair Stake (OHFS) winner and captured the first leg of this OSS series on May 1 at Miami Valley Raceway in 1:53.1 in wire-to-wire fashion. She has ten career wins, a second and one third in 16 trips postward. In the second $40,000 OSS pacing division (Race Five), Crosswinds Cupcake, a homebred daughter of Stand Forever leaves from post four with Danny Noble in the sulky. Conditioned by David Elliott for owner Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH and Crosswinds Stable Farm of Waynesville, OH, Crosswinds Cupcake has seasonal earnings of $85,690 to date. She won her OSS test on Aug. 14 at Northfield Park wire-to-wire in 1:54.1 and had won the second OSS leg on June 12 at Northfield in similar fashion, timed in 1:55. A winner of $126,362 lifetime, this venerable filly is out of the unraced Artsplace mare Keystone Mulberry, a multiple stakes producer. Friskie Lil Devil starts from post seven in this same event for trainer Brian Brown and driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. The daughter of Feelin Friskie-Devils Desire-Cole Muffler won the $200,000 OSS Championship and one $40,000 leg of this series as a 2-year-old, amassing $177,266 during her freshman campaign. Bred by Midland Acres and owned by the Lil Devil Stables of Findlay, OH, Friskie Lil Devil was a $20,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Blooded Horse Sale. She won the $38,000 Hackett at Miami Valley Raceway on April 24 and has added an additional $52,924 to her coffers this season. Dark Roast, who has captured every leg of this OSS series to date for diagonally-gaited specialists, will start from post nine in this fourth $40,000 leg (Race Three). The daughter of Full Count-Edens Mardi Gras-Armbro Mesquite will be reined by Kurt Sugg for trainer Marty Wollam, and owners Acadia Farm of Canfield, OH and G&B Racing of New Wilmington, PA. Bred by Marvin Raber of Baltic, OH, Dark Roast has $118,288 in career earnings, with six wins, a trio of seconds and four thirds in 16 lifetime starts. She won leg one on May 1 at Miami Valley Raceway in 1:58; the second leg on June 12 at Northfield Park in 1:57.3 and the third leg on Aug. 14 in 1:57.1, with wire-to-wire ease. To date this season she has $69,245 in earnings. Lisa Jane and driver Ryan Stahl will leave from post six for trainer Scott Cox. Owned by the Parent Racing Stable LLC, Holland, OH and G Peters of Akron, OH, Lisa Jane won her OSS test on June 12 at Northfield in 1:55.4, leading at every post. The daughter of Neely Dunn-Vanilla B-Donerail was bred by Henry Burkholder of Homesville, OH and was a $10,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Blooded Horse Sale. Lisa Jane also won an OBS on June 19 at Scioto Downs in 1:56.3 and has only missed one check all season. She last finished second to the aforementioned Dark Roast in that Northfield, Aug. 14 OSS outing, and has seven career victories to her credit in 18 starts. In the second, $40,000 OSS trotting division (Race Six) Like Old Times leaves form post four with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. aboard. Trained by Don McKirgan for breeder-owner Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, OH, the daughter of Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubadour has amassed $108,512 in seasonal earnings, and has captured two previous OSS series legs. Like Old Times won her last OSS test on Aug. 14 at Northfield, leading at every post, in 1:57. She captured the second leg of this series on June 12 at Northfield Park in 1:57 and won an Ohio Breeders Stake (OBS) on June 9 at Scioto Downs in 1:56.2. This 3-year-old lass has 12 career victories to her credit with $172,617 in lifetime earnings. From 12 starts this season, she's garnered nine wins and a trio of third-place finishes. Student Of Life hails from post ten, in the second tier, for driver Kurt Sugg and trainer Marty Wollam. The daughter of Full Count-Lynn's Slider-Andover Hall has earned $86,300 during her sophomore campaign, with five wins, three seconds and one third in ten tries. She last finished second to Like Old Times in that OSS test at Northfield on Aug. 14, but had previous won a $53,150 Ohio State Fair-Pride Of Ohio Stake on Aug. 7 at Scioto Downs in 1:57.3. She also won an OHFS in 1:57.1 at Northfield on Aug.1 and had won the first leg of this series on May 1 at Miami Valley Raceway in 1:59.1. Bred by Marvin Raber of Baltic, Ohio, Student Of Life is owned by Acadia Farms of Canfield, OH and by G&B Racing of New Wilmington, PA. Kimberly Rinker

As the most successful horseman in Ohio harness racing, Scioto Downs-based trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. has license to spend his mornings lollygagging in his loungewear and his evenings hobnobbing in the clubhouse. Morgan, 49, is the first North American harness trainer to reach 5,000 victories since records were first kept in 1992. His horses have won more than $47 million in purses in his career, during which he has finished among the top-10 winningest trainers in 16 of the past 19 years. Morgan has dominated Scioto Downs so thoroughly in recent decades that the track lost count of his consecutive training titles. After double-checking, it was determined that Morgan is on pace for his 22nd straight. Clearly, Morgan is the best at his home track and one of the best in his sport. But he can be better, he said. His horses can be better, he said. So Morgan will wake at his Grove City home at 4:55 a.m., as he does most days, and there will be precious little downtime until he gets home from the track late in the evening, as he does most nights. “Your top trainers, they’re all like that,” said driver Josh Sutton, who picks up most of Morgan’s drives at Scioto Downs. “But he’s more hands-on than most trainers. That means a lot. You can tell when you sit behind the horses and see how they are.” On a typical day, Morgan will have sent a mass text message to his employees by 6:30 a.m., laying out the day’s training schedule. By 7, he has made sure his horses’ racing schedules are set. By lunchtime, he has checked in with his blacksmith and veterinarian, reviewed any health issues and has been on the track for several training sets behind multiple horses. “I don’t require a lot of sleep,” Morgan said. Nor does he require a lot of praise or pomp. Although he did show up to an event in which he was presented with the key to Grove City in 2013, Morgan is not one for winner’s circle photos or for chit-chat, unless it’s with his teenage children, son, Tre, and daughter, Kiara. “Virgil just doesn’t have time for small talk,” said owner Carl Howard, the CEO of the Fazoli’s restaurant chain who has 20 to 25 horses in training with Morgan, including many that they co-own. “That can be something that doesn’t go over too well with people. He’s nice to people, but he has to move on. He has work to do.” Morgan bought his first horse at 17 and later started working for Scioto Downs-based trainer Randy Owens before striking out on his own in the late 1980s. Morgan’s horses won more than $1 million in purses for the first time in 1998. These days, Morgan can have as many as 70 horses in his stables at a time, with 15 or 20 more based at his satellite operation in New Jersey. Although he employs a staff of about 30, including assistant trainers, grooms and caretakers, Morgan is a hands-on horseman, priding himself, he said, on giving as much personal attention to the lowliest claimer as he does a prized invitational horse. The jogging cart and equipment bag are arguably his most important tools. Some days, the staging area outside Morgan’s barn can look like “a runway at LaGuardia,” with horses waiting for and returning from their spins around the track with Morgan at the reins, said Harolene Johnston, Morgan’s sister and administrative assistant. “With some large stables, and I’ve worked for many, if you pay Joe Blow to train your horse, Joe Blow never gets behind that horse,” said blacksmith Dave Thomas, who has been working for Morgan for more than two decades. “If you pay Virgil Morgan to train your horse, you get Virgil Morgan.” What comes with that is Morgan’s knowledge of the important aspects of harness racing and an uncanny ability to produce winners that has been developed by more than three decades of experience at tracks across Ohio. Morgan prefers to keep a low profile at Scioto Downs on racing nights. He will hit the paddock to chat with Sutton or head to the clubhouse, where he often sits alone with his reading glasses perched on his nose, a pile of paperwork and closed-circuit television controls close at hand. Morgan keeps close tabs on racing throughout North America, parlaying that knowledge into an ability to expertly classify his horses, making sure they are racing at the right place at the right time and against the right competition. He has long been a major player in the claiming game, never afraid to add a new horse to his stable if he thinks it can help his operation. Morgan, too, is obsessive over the equipment and shoeing setups of his horses, and is unafraid to try new setups or training regimens. Past successes don’t matter much if he thinks a horse can do more. In fact, Morgan said, he prefers not to know much about the routine or setup of any new horse that comes to his stable. “Other trainers see a successful horse and just keep doing the same thing,” said John Reichert, a Grove City equine veterinarian who has worked with Morgan for years. “He’ll change things up and see if it makes the horse happier. He’s very perceptive of what a horse is going to respond to.” Morgan keeps himself in prime physical condition, looking much younger than 49. He loves sports — he played football, basketball and baseball growing up in Grove City — and he views his horses as athletes. Morgan is big on sports analogies, comparing Sutton to a quarterback, his grooms to offensive linemen and himself to a head coach. The horses are his skill players. “And they can’t talk, so they’re tough to coach,” Morgan said. Yet, Morgan loves the challenge. He studies their blood work, their gait and their temperament, always in search of more speed. Horses have fascinated him since he was a child, when his late father, “Big Virg,” and uncle dabbled in thoroughbred ownership and were regulars at Scioto Downs. “He’s got stopwatches, the old kind, the silver ones, all over the place,” Johnston said. “He wants to have the fastest and the best, and he’s got a knack for it. He wants the best for those horses and he gets to know them very, very well. ” Howard said Morgan would never admit it, but he is a trainer who can get attached to his horses because he is around them so much. Morgan secretly hates seeing them claimed or sold, he said. Morgan’s bread-and-butter remains overnight and stakes racing in Ohio, though he has hit it big on occasion, training six horses that won $1 million or more in their careers. Mister Big was a two-time Dan Patch winner as the pacer in his division in 2007 and 2008. Pet Rock, one of the fastest pacers in the sport’s history, won almost $2 million before retiring in 2013. Both helped ease the burden on Morgan when Ohio’s harness industry was struggling before the legalization of casino-style slots injected new life into the state’s tracks in 2012. A new era was beginning to dawn, and Morgan said he finally allowed himself to step back and enjoy Pet Rock’s run. “Usually, when a horse hits the wire, I’m immediately thinking about what I want to do with the horse the next week or if there is anything I can do to improve the performance,” Morgan said. “I think sometimes I don’t enjoy the racing as much as I should or could, but nobody really cares that you won 5,000 races or $50 million in purse money. They care about the next race.” Morgan considered moving his entire operation to the more lucrative East Coast in the 2000s but elected to stick it out. Now, he trains all year at Scioto Downs, keeping his stable there even in winter. His presence adds panache. “I’m sure some don’t want to hear it, but there would not be this quality of racing in Ohio right now if he was somewhere else,” Howard said. “He’s brought in other owners with some unbelievably talented hoses. If he was gone, it would have taken a lot longer for the quality of racing that we have to come back.” By Shawn Mitchell Reprinted with permission of The Columbus Dispatch 

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