LEBANON, OH. - Kayne Kauffman, the leading driver at the final meet at nearby Lebanon Raceway in 2013, is not going to relinquish Southeast Ohio's top reinsman rights without a battle. Despite the deeper and more talented driver's colony that has descended on the new Miami Valley Raceway, the 35-year-old sulky-sitter vaulted into a tie for third in the dash standings on Wednesday night by winning three of the first four races on the program. Tyler Smith, the 21-year-old phenom who was the youngest driver ever to reach 1,000 wins, leads the standings with 28 wins through 18 nights of the 65-night meet. He is followed by Dan Noble, the North American dash leader in 2012, who has 23. Kauffman and Tony Hall are next with 19 each. All four grew up in Southeast Ohio and got valuable early lessons at Lebanon, which was appropriately dubbed the "Cradle of Drivers" due to the number of nationally acclaimed drivers who started their careers at that half-mile oval. Noble captured the fastest race of the night when he scored with My Brother George in 1:54.3 in a $5000 conditioned pace. The Frank Bellino & Sons-owned gelding, conditioned by Virgil Morgan Jr., bested Major Marcus (Smith) and Truly The Best (Hall) for his 17th career victory. Driver Chris Page scored the quickest trotting triumph when he guided Mischievous Jesse to a 1:57.1 tally over Good Friend (Hall) and Kiss Me I'm Loaded (Kyle Ater) in a $5000 conditioned event. The Ohio-sired squaregaiter, now owned by T C Stables and trained by Erik Jaeck Jr., has 26 lifetime wins. A total of 45 $4,000 claimers dropped into the first elimination round of Miami Valley's Madness in March tournament set to open this Saturday night. The large response necessitated the use of a preference system outlined in the conditions which rewarded horses and geldings which had already started at Miami Valley with spots followed by the highest money winners in their most recent five starts. Four fields of ten will go postward for $4,000 purses on Saturday with the top four official finishers in each race advancing to next week's Sweet 16 round for $5,000 purses. In the third week of the Miami Valley Madness tournament, the Elite 8 will race for a $6000 bounty. The Final Four males will advance to the $8000 Battle of the Sexes championship on March 31 to face the four best females from a tandem tournament which will be conducted the next three Sundays. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
LEBANON, OH. - Driver Jason Brewer and his partners had a huge night at Miami Valley Raceway on Thursday. Not only did the talented reinsman win three races, but he was an ownership partner on each of them. Brewer's big night started with Brooklets Sugarland in the seventh race. Following a brief give-and-go back to the front end, the lukewarm favorite was on the engine the entire mile to beat All Tanned Up (Tony Hall) and May Street Bon (Jim Pantaleano). The $4000 claiming mare is owned by Brewer in partnership with Vince Orlando. In the very next race Volleyball Star became the first three-time winner at Miami Valley, besting a field of $5000 claiming mares in 1:55.2. Although just mildly favored in the race, Brewer stepped alertly to the front of the class off the wings of the gate and widened to a six-length margin of victory at the wire. Co-owned by the Holland Racing Stable, the winner bested Dangerous Forever (Tyler Smith) and Dora Des Rivieres (Jeremy Smith). Brewer proved it wasn't just favorites he could guide to victory when he returned to the winner's circle after race ten, a $5000 conditioned distaff event captured by Autumn Seelster in 1:56.2. The triumphant lass was parked on the outside much of the mile but managed to reach the finish line a length ahead of fellow longshot Bella Sophia (Randy Tharps) and Babes's Bistro (Kayne Kauffman). Bettors who thought Brewer could score the hat trick were rewarded with a $27 win ticket mutual. The $2 exacta in the race returned $960.40 while the winning 50-cent trifecta combination paid $954.70. Brewer's partner on Autumn Seelster is William Fleming. On Wednesday night, 21-year-old Tyler Smith, who currently stands atop the driver's dash standings at the initial Miami Valley meet, visited the winner's circle four times to bring his total to 20 triumphs after 13 nights of racing. Racing continues at Miami Valley on a Wednesday through Sunday night schedule with a regular 6:30 p.m. post time. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Dept.
LEBANON, OH. - Heavy favorites had won the first two weekly $10,000 Open paces at Miami Valley's inaugural harness racing meet, establishing track records in each, but that certainly was not the case Saturday night as Master Of Desire pulled a giant upset and rewarded $2 backers with a $72.80 mutuel return. The seven-year-old Illinois invader, racing for the Chupp Racing Stable of trainer Merv Chupp, sat fifth at the :27.1 quarter mile marker and :55.1 halfway point, then was guided by reinsman Josh Sutton into the outer flow. Still fourth at the 1:23.2 three-quarters and double-wide the son of Real Desire exploded with a final panel of :28 to stop the clock in 1:52, just one-fifth of a second off the track standard. I'm Feelin Good (Tony Hall) and Carmens Best (Pat Berry) were seven lengths back at the wire but earned the place and show checks. Earlier on the card a $7000 conditioned pace produced a 1:53.2 winner as Fly Away (Berry) topped Justa Cowboy (Robert Smolin) and Spill The Beans (Kayne Kauffman). Sherif Cunmulaj trains the five-year-old son of All American Native for the Baron Racing Stable. Racing resumes Sunday night at Miami Valley with a 6:30 p.m. post time. On Saturday, February 22, 2014 10:03 PM, Brad Conrad <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: attached is the photo from the open pace on Saturday night.
Fourth in a series of stories about 2013’s leading drivers, the vehicles they drive in pursuit of victory, and other current relevant facts. 2013 North American dashwinning champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr. owes a good deal of thanks for his learning the skills that helped win him that title to his father, Michigan Hall of Famer Ron Wrenn Sr. – and he also is appreciative of his dad for providing another kind of “horsepower.” “I did most of the driving in my truck, a 2011 Ford F-150, between racetracks during last summer,” said the 27-year-old recently, “but when I decided to race at Northfield during the week and take advantage of the fact that Colonial Downs (near Richmond VA, 450 miles away) raced on weekends last fall, my dad, along with a Northfield regular named “Road Dog,’ got behind the wheel of the truck most of the time so I could get some sleep between the Friday night Northfield card and the Saturday afternoon racing at Colonial.” The truck had 160,000 miles on it by year’s end – “probably 60,000 or 70,000 miles just last year,” Ron Jr., also known as "Ronnie," adds – but also at year’s end Ron had 714 wins, clear by 69 victories for the North American crown. Among the top ten drivers, only he and another Ron (Pierce) had 50 or more wins at four different tracks, and no one but Wrenn had 20+ wins at seven different ovals. One of those tracks, Raceway Park in Toledo, isn’t back in 2014, which Ron Jr. laments (you would too if you had a .532 UDR at a track that was closing). But he’s trying his hand at the new Miami Valley oval presently, and he’s only four wins behind leader Tony Hall while driving a limited schedule as he continues to make Northfield, the track where he won 388 races last year, his base. In fact, it’s remarkable that Wrenn has climbed back to third in the Northfield 2014 standings already – considering he underwent surgery at the start of the season and didn’t race at the Cleveland oval until January 29. “I had to get my right wrist, which I broke playing football when I was younger, operated on. I had been dealing with the situation for a while – I had been going to therapy for three years for it – but it was just time to get the situation fixed properly. I’ve recovered well, and I’m feeling awesome right now.” Which is bad news for those trying to keep Wrenn from defending his dash title. Despite driving on only 17 cards this year, Ronnie has 40 victories at press time, good for 21st in North America in “half the season” the others have had available to them. (One win higher in the standings – his uncle Peter, at 9,200+ career wins.) Ron Wrenn Jr. says he tries to keep up with sports news when he is driving his truck – “My favorite is ESPN Sports, and I can usually find a station with it wherever I drive.” If he keeps up his winning rate since coming back from his injury, Ronnie may hear his name over the airwaves in ten months or so -- the national media will have to sit up and take note if a 28-year-old already has two national win titles to his career credit. Driver Total Wins Tracks Wins Ron Wrenn Jr. 714 Northfield 388 Northville 96 Scioto 88 Raceway Park 52 Buffalo 29 Colonial 27 Batavia 21 Hazel Park 7 Monticello 4 Wooster 2 By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com
LEBANON, OH. - Despite sub-freezing temperatures Lookinforadventure scorched the new Miami Valley five-eighths mile oval in 1:51.4 on Sunday night to capture the featured $10,000 Open-Preferred pace and lower the track record. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. left alertly and opted to sit the pocket throughout most of the record-setting mile. Eventual runnerup I'm Feeling Good (Tony Hall) posted front-end fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 1:23.4 before yielding halfway down the stretch to finish 1-1/2 lengths behind. Ardyne Ace (Jim Pantaleano) raced gamely from the outside post position in the field of nine to garner the show dough. Green Acquisition Corporation owns Lookinforadventure, a six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the Jate Lobell daughter Student Driver. The winner was recently moved to the Virgil Morgan Jr. stable as he approaches the half-million dollars in career earning plateau. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
LEBANON, OH. - Holiday Shopper (Jason Brewer) captured her second consecutive Fillies & Mares Open pace at Miami Valley on Saturday night, just nipping Aqua Artist (Chris Page) in the final stride in 1:55.1. Everymileamemory (Pat Berry got the show dough in the $9500 feature race. Owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison, the winning mare is trained by Jeff Brewer who is off to an impressive start at the new five-eighths mile oval. The father-son Brewer tandem also won the night's first race, a $4000 distaff claiming event with Brookletssugarland. Blind Spot Hanover (Tony Hall) won the secondary feature besting Bazooka Terror (Berry) and Sectionline Yankee (Page) in a $7000 conditioned event for mares. The 1:55.2 clocking gave the Roy Murphy Jr.-trained winner her second triumph of 2014 and 18th of her career. She is owned by Tommy Householder. A pair of conditioned claiming races also produced quick miles as Quiteaworkofart (Kayne Kauffman) topped Real Future (Page) and Shady Maple Bullet (Rod Allums Jr.) in 1:55.1. The $6500 event was for non-winners of eight races who all carried $10,000 claiming tags. A similar race for non-winners of five with $8000 claiming prices was won by Stealth Flight (Dan Noble) in 1:55.2 over Dragon Tattoo (Berry) and Say It Ain't So (Tyler Smith). A $7000 trot produced a very tight 1:57.3 photo finish with Kaffir Kemp (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) nosing out Team Zordin (Noble) and Baby Blaze (Page) who was also lapped on the winner. For trainer Terry Deters, who just returned to Ohio after racing at Pompano Park in Florida for several years, it was his second success at Miami Valley in two tries. Michael Guest owns the five-year-old triumphant trotter. In addition to Jason Brewer, Dan Noble and Kayne Kauffman also fashioned driving doubles on the 11-race program witness by a packed house in the new Miami Valley grandstand. Through the first five cards at the new venue, favorites have won 39.6% of the time despite the fact the average number of starters has exceeded eight during difficult winter weather. The average win price, however, is a very healthy $14.56 after the first 53 races as four 50-1 plus longshots have also found their way to the winner's circle. Racing resumes Sunday night (Feb. 16) with an impressive program featuring a $10,000 Open pace. Post time is always 6:30 p.m. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
LEBANON, OH. - With Miami Valley Raceway still in its first week of live racing it is not surprising that a pair of track records were established Wednesday night. It is surprising, however, how impressive the clockings were in light of temperatures that had dipped to about 12 degrees (near zero with the wind Chill Factor) when the races went to post. Rehab Mountain clocked the fastest trotting mile in the young history of the five-eighths mile oval winning the $9500 Open Handicap in 1:57.1 to best Baby Blaze (Chris Page) and Boy Meets Girl K (Tony Hall) by just over four lengths. Brad Hanners trains and drove the Duke Of York gelding to his 19th career triumph in 71 starts, increasing his bankroll to over $166,000. The late-blooming trotter won ten times in 2013 and is now one-for-three in 2014 for the B6 Racing Stable. The standard for pacing mares was lowered to 1:54.4 when Artie's Last Party (Kayne Kauffman) bested Bazooka Terror (Dan Noble) and Eve Marie Seelster (Kyle Ater) in a $7000 conditioned event. Owned by Steven Herrick, the five-year-old Artiscape mare won for the tenth time in her life. Holiday Shopper tripped the timer in 1:55 in an $8000 Open Mares event. The father-son trainer-driver team of Jeff and Jason Brewer had the seven-year-old Camluck mare in prime shape for her initial 2014 voyage in which she bested Julie Lou (Tyler Smith) and Dazzling Diana (Dan Noble). It was the 20th career tally for the winner who is owned by Drs. Robert and Randall Van Hutchison. Brad Hanners, Tony Hall and Tyler Smith all scored driving doubles on the 11-race program. Racing resumes tonight (Thursday, Feb. 13) with the normal 6:30 p.m. post time. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 10, 2014 — Out at the three-eighths, Certified Ideal wore down the leader and drew off to a comfortable victory in Monday’s $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. Although she was uncovered, Certified Ideal relentlessly pursued Blissfull Romance, putting her away before the three-quarters. The 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba’s Last easily held off the late bid of Phone Terror to defeat her by 2 lengths in 1:53.4 for Tony Hall. Mystic Karissa was third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who extended her career bankroll to $143,142, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Brett Miller drove four winners and Dave Palone three on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Miami Valley Raceway opens Friday night in southwest Ohio and there will be no shortage of talent on the racetrack during the opening weekend. Among the drivers expected to compete are the three most recent national dash champions: Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Dave Palone and Dan Noble. Wrenn led North America in wins in 2013 with 714 while Palone led in 2012 with 675 and Noble was tops in 2011 with 773. The new five-eighths-mile harness racing track, located between Dayton and Cincinnati, opens Friday night with an 11-race card. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. Palone, who is based at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania, has won more races than any driver in North American harness racing history, with 16,223 victories to his credit entering Thursday. Wrenn, who was the leading driver at Northfield Park last year, and Noble are expected to be regulars at Miami Valley, along with Pat Berry, Jack Dailey, Greg Grismore, Tony Hall, Kayne Kauffman, Jeff Nisonger, Jim Pantaleano, Tyler Smith, and Randy Tharps. Hall was the leading driver at Scioto Downs last year and Smith, who is the youngest driver in history to amass 1,000 wins, was the leading driver at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Kauffman was the top driver at Lebanon Raceway, which closed in December to make way for Miami Valley, a $175 million racino with a grandstand to accommodate more than 1,000 fans and a casino with 1,600 gaming machines to help increase purses. "I think everyone is looking forward to the racing," said Smith, who is from Washington Court House, Ohio. "There's going to be a lot of new faces and it should be very competitive. It's good. I think Ohio needs more drivers, new faces, to make the racing better. "Whenever you've got money (for purses) you're going to get good horses, and good horses bring good races." Miami Valley, which will offer live racing Wednesdays through Sundays until early May, held qualifiers on Feb. 1, giving drivers and horses their first trips around the oval. In the 14 prep races, nine were won by a horse that was no worse than second at the half-mile point, although it is too soon to draw conclusions about how the track's design and surface will affect racing throughout the season. "It's going to take a while to get it set up, and making it tougher is the fact this is the worst winter we've had in 12 or 13 years," said Hall, an Ohio native who earlier this year surpassed 4,000 career wins. "I think the track is probably going to be a little tiring the first few months until it gets set up." Kauffman, who lives 10 minutes from Miami Valley, said the track is not banked as much as Scioto Downs, the state's other five-eighths-mile oval, which might factor into driver strategy. "At Scioto you can pull at the quarter and live for a long time," Kauffman said. "I think here people might sit and wait a little longer." Smith said he thought speed would hold up based on what he saw in the qualifiers. "Maybe that will change, but right now it looks like a front-end track," he said. There is no inside passing lane in the stretch at Miami Valley, which also will affect strategy. "That's a big game-changer," said Hall, who plans to race regularly at Miami Valley in addition to racing at The Meadows. "Usually you get a two-hole trip and it's a great place to be, but now you might look for other positions for horses you'd like to land up close. The track does have long straightaways, so that might help closing horses out some." Added Kauffman, "The stretch is longer and you do kind of drift out more, which might open up room for horses." Miami Valley Raceway, which has a 156-stall paddock, will host the James K. Hackett races for Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and fillies, with purses increased to $25,000 for the finals, on April 26. The track also will present the first legs of the Ohio Sire Stakes series when the state's best 3-year-old pacers and trotters compete on May 2 and May 3. In addition, the meet-ending May 4 card will include two new Grand Circuit races for older female pacers and trotters: The Sam "Chip" Noble III Memorial for the pacers and the Miami Valley Distaff Trot. "It'll be interesting to see how it all goes," Kauffman said. "They have some issues they need to address, but they're working on them and have been real receptive to suggestions. I think there will be plenty of horses. Hopefully everybody can be successful." "I think it's going to be a nice facility overall," Hall said. "People have waited a long time for an opportunity like this, and some had gone just about as far as they could go waiting for something good to happen. Like any new place, they've got some kinks to work out, but overall I think it's going to be great." By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 4, 2014 -- TSM Photo Bugger unleashed his first-over bid before the three-quarters and wore down the leader to capture Tuesday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Run And Tell Pap was unchallenged on the front until Mike Wilder turned TSM Photo Bugger loose. The 7-year-old SJ's Photo-Rewarding Wink gelding scored in 1:56 on a sloppy surface, 3/4 lengths better than Run And Tell Pap. Austin's Jon Jon finished third. Jan Fread trains TSM Photo Bugger, who now boasts $384,868 in career earnings, for owner/breeder Ted Tomson. Tony Hall and Wilder each drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows
LEBANON, OH. - When trainer Ben Davis guided Julie Lou onto the Miami Valley Raceway track to warm up at 10:48 Saturday morning, the five-year-old mare was the first horse to ever set foot on the brand new five-eighths mile oval. Four hours later, 14 qualifying races had been completed successfully with high praise for the racing surface and an aire of eager anticipation for opening night of the pari-mutuel meet this coming Friday, February 7. Due to the worst prolonged arctic blast in a quarter century in southern Ohio the qualifying standards were relaxed significantly to allow horses to both get a "tightener" under their belts and return to the "real" racing wars as soon as possible. A total of 155 horses were entered for the initial qualifiers which necessitated not only the 14 races on Saturday, but another four that were carried over to Sunday. The expansive new paddock at Miami Valley can accommodate 14 full field races, but not more. With the temperature over the freezing mark for the first time in a long while, a first-stage thaw made the well-groomed racing strip slightly slower than it is expected to be in the coming weeks. Still 102 of the 110 horses that lined up behind the starting gate qualified with ease on Saturday. Quickest mile belonged to Don't Sugarcoat It, a 1:58.4 winner for trainer Terry Hall and driver Tony Hall. The five-year-old gelding, who won $49,662 in an outstanding 2013 season, was seventh at the quarter mile marker, fourth at the half but then threw a :29.4 final quarter split to pull away by 3-1/2 lengths. Other sub 2:00 winners were pacing mare Upfront Miss Major, a 1:59.4 come-from-behind winner for the father-son trainer-driver duo of Jeff and Jason Brewer; and Glass Pack, a ten-year-old gelding approaching a million dollars in purse earnings, with a 1:59.4 garden trip victory for driver Tyler Smith and trainer Ron Best. Driver Dan Noble sat behind four of the 14 winners on the day. Jason Brewer notched a pair of victories with eight other reinsmen getting one win apiece. Beginning Friday night (Feb. 7) Miami Valley Raceway will present live programs five nights a week, Wednesday through Sunday, with all cards starting at 6:30 p.m. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
Gregg Keidel, a native of Ohio and someone who has contributed much to Buckeye State harness racing in various capacities over the last 35 years, is “returning home” as the race secretary at both of the new Dayton-area racinos that will be filling the traditional racing spot formerly held by venerable Lebanon Raceway: Miami Valley Raceway, a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Delaware North which will soon open the 2014 racing season in southern Ohio, and Dayton Raceway, a “Hollywood Slots”/Penn National venture which will follow Scioto Downs’ traditional summer meet in what is envisaged as an almost year-round circuit. Most of Keidel’s experience, as those familiar with him know, was picked up in the northeastern part of the state, at what was known then (and still is by many) as Northfield Park in Cleveland. Following his selling a chain of weekly newspapers which he had managed to success at an early age, Keidel got into harness racing as an owner, but it wasn’t long before he was training and driving his own horses, racing at Northfield, Windsor in Ontario, and the county fairs. Gregg had two early successes in his stable’s black and green colors: the pacer Blastabaroness, a top two-year-old Ohio filly of 1984 who gave Keidel 12 of his 14 victories very early in his sulky career; and a caretaker plucked out of waiterdom from the Northfield clubhouse who would go on to be known to many fans over 6000 victories later, Jim Pantaleano. Keidel’s newspaper experience led him to supplement his stable’s income by serving as a part time publicist for the track, and when a position in the racing office as assistant to Dennis Haskell opened, Gregg saw a more “stable” life for himself and his family and decamped there fulltime, shortly becoming Northfield racing secretary, a post he would hold for over 20 years as Northfield built itself into one of the hardest-working successes in the sport. During most of this time, Keidel “kept himself in the stirrups” on the Billings amateur circuit, being named Amateur Driver of the Year in North America in 2001. “I’ve had some of the best experiences in my life from amateur driving,” Gregg states. “I’ve been blessed to make six overseas trips as part of a visiting team of amateurs taking on the host countries, and they certainly have provided quite a few good memories. I’m also proud I notched my 100th win during Jug week in Delaware,” in 2007. When Running Aces Harness Park opened north of Minneapolis in 2008, Keidel took on the challenge as race office boss during the summer meet, getting a midseason leave of absence from the Cleveland oval, and he combined the two jobs until deciding to focus on Running Aces in 2010, with Florida judging his other source of income (though he also handled the last meet at Toledo Raceway Park last year – mainly from Running Aces!). One of the great aspects for Keidel in his new jobs is that the spring meet at Miami Valley and the fall meet at Dayton Raceway bookend the summer action in Minnesota beautifully. “I think these new opportunities in Ohio are exciting,” Gregg opines. “The parent companies all come from a racing base, and they understand that you have to promote both the racing and the casino play, whereas elsewhere many of the owners come from straight from the casino world, and the racing is often given a very secondary status.” The new 5/8-mile track at Miami Valley, nine miles from Lebanon Raceway, will accommodate nine-horse behind the starting gate – and Keidel would be very happy to have some full gates as MVR opens on February 7. “I am being realistic about how many horses we will attract at first,” he said. “There is no barn area here – we had a lot of inquiries from horsemen about stabling, but there just aren’t that many stalls available in the area right now, although some county fairs are talking about refurbishing their barn areas and staying open as training centers all year. Also, we have had some of the most miserable weather in the last few weeks around here (Gregg, it hasn’t been just around you – ed.), and a lot of horsemen are behind schedule in bringing horses back.” Indeed, the day this story was written, qualifying standards of 2:10 for pacers and 2:12 for trotters within 45 days were announced as a temporary measure until trainers get back on their schedules. If the horses may need a start or two to hit top stride, the same cannot be said about the driving colony. The last three North American driving champions – Ron Wrenn Jr. (2013), Dave Palone (2012), and Dan Noble (2011) – have committed to racing at Miami Valley during opening weekend, and interest in regular racing has been indicated by five other drivers with 3000+ wins: Greg Grismore, Randy Tharps, Tony Hall, Pat Berry ,… …and remember that Northfield waiter who got his start with the Keidel barn? Yes, count Jim Pantaleano, now 6,150 wins ahead of his former boss, among those likely to be checking out Miami Valley. For the opening two cards, Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8, Miami Valley will draw on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Gregg Keidel and the rest of the Miami Valley team will be hoping for some luck rubbing off on that date – because that day it will have been exactly 50 years since Pompano Park staged its first-ever card. It will be much warmer in Florida than it will be in southwest Ohio, but Pompano certainly has had its share of magic over the years – and Gregg Keidel has been in the horse game long enough to take magic, luck, or anything else that will aid his cause and that of his management. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com
LEBANON, OH. - The race office at Miami Valley Raceway will open for the first time on Thursday morning (Jan. 30) from 8 a.m. until noon and again Friday morning from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The first order of business will be accepting entries for the first-ever qualifying races over the brand new five-eighths mile oval of Saturday (Feb. 1) starting at noon. Phone numbers for the race office are 513-934-7336, 513-934-7337 BS 513-934-7339, "We know that the prolonged arctic weather in southeast Ohio over the past month has been the worst in a quarter century," said Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "Trainers are having a very difficult time maintaining the schedules they laid out in anticipation of our opening. Accordingly, we've relaxed the qualifying standards temporarily to get as many horses back to the races as we can as soon as possible." Opening Weekend is slated for Friday through Sunday, February 7-9 with a 6:30 p.m. post time each night. Trainers within shipping distance of Miami Valley are urged to check out the condition sheets for the first three nights, available at both www.ustrotting.com under the Horsemen tab and at www.miamivalleygaming.com under the Racing tab. Horses will be required to show a good clean charted line within 45 days of their anticipated race. "We may be able to direct trainers who want to race horses two or three nights on Opening Weekend and are shipping from longer distances to affordable nearby overnight stabling. We are talking to the county fairgrounds in both Lebanon and Dayton about offering overnight rates to trainers who pre-pay with a deposit," Keidel reports. Hall of Famer Dave Palone, the winningest driver in harness racing history with over 16,000 victories, has accepted an invitation to race Opening Weekend at Miami Valley Raceway. Over a dozen other drivers with over 1,000 wins have announced their intentions to compete regularly. In order of lifetime triumphs they are Jim Pantaleano 6251, Greg Grismore 6181, Randy Tharps 4618, Tony Hall 4013, Dan Noble 3511, Pat Berry 3024, Jack Dailey 2679, Jeff Nisonger 2644, Josh Sutton 2220, Kayne Kauffman 1653, Ronnie Wrenn Jr. 1325, J.D. Wengerd 1318, Tyler Smith 1227 and Mark Winters Jr. 1056. Submitted by Miami Valley Raceway
WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 21, 2014 -- The track was listed "frozen," but 13-1 Montenegro was sizzling, blowing by the leader on the backside and holding on late to capture Tuesday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Away fifth, Montenegro moved first over for Tony Hall and brushed to the front. But she was all out to hold off the Lightning Lane charge of Shine N Shimmer, who missed by a nose, with Western Drag third. The winning time was 1:56.3. Randy Bendis trains Montenegro, a 6-year-old daughter of Camluck-Cyber Wave who vaulted over $400,000 in career earnings, and owns with Tom Pollack. Hall drove four winners and Dave Palone three on the 16-race card while Tyler Stillings enjoyed a training triple and a winning drive. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 15, 2014 -- Princess Pablano roared past her stablemate, Perfect Chance, in the stretch and notched her third consecutive victory in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Pace at The Meadows. Fourth down the backside, Princess Pablano followed the live cover of Definitely Mamie before Dave Palone tipped her wide for the drive. The 4-year-old daughter of Holy Guacamolie-CR Princess Bride scored in 1:57.2 on a "good" track, a neck better than the rallying Sam's Princess. Perfect Chance saved show. Ron Burke trains Princess Pablano, who soared over $100,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Tony Hall, Mike Wilder and Palone each drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 9, 2014 -- Tony Hall notched career win 4,000 when he piloted Precise Accusation to victory in Thursday's sixth race at The Meadows. "It's a nice number for me," Hall said. "It feels good. I was hoping to get it a little quicker." Hall, 35, grew up in Carlisle, Ohio near Lebanon Raceway, where he began his career and won several driving titles. He moved from Lebanon to Northfield Park and relocated to The Meadows in 2006. While splitting his time between The Meadows and Ohio tracks in 2013, he ranked seventh in wins (155) and fifth in UDRS (.260) at The Meadows. Hall is working exclusively at The Meadows now, but he expects to continue shuttling between The Meadows and Ohio venues, although any Grand Circuit assignments could change that. "I don't have any now," he said, "but I've been around long enough to know that can change at any moment." Hall and his wife, Ashley, are developing a stable they hope will be at full strength soon. "We have four horses now, but we hope to have 10," he said. "I've always had an interest in training, but it was hard to do when it was just me. Ashley has her trainer's license, and she'll pretty much run the barn when I'm on the road." Despite a layoff of nearly a month, Princess Pablano followed cover beautifully and scored an 8-1 upset victory in Thursday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Princess Pablano last raced Dec. 13 when she won a conditioned event at The Meadows, but she showed no signs of rust when Mike Wilder tipped her off cover in the stretch. She glided through the slop and triumphed in 1:58.1, three-quarter lengths better than Definitely Mamie. Sam's Princess rallied for show. Ron Burke trains Princess Pablano, a 4-year-old daughter of Holy Guacamolie-CR Princess Bride, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Tony Hall, Brett Miller and Dave Palone each drove three winners on the 15-race card; Hall's haul included the 4,000th victory of his career. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows