LEBANON, OH. - Up Front Kellie Jo hopped into Miami Valley Raceway on Easter Sunday and hopped out with her fifth straight open mares harness racing victory in the Buckeye state, the first four coming at Northfield Park. The eight-year-old Bettor's Delight mare is obviously as sharp as ever, despite her advanced age of eight, as she prevailed over Y Mach Me (Kyle Ater) by a head in 1:52 and Bazooka Terror (Randy Tharps) who was a half-length away at the wire. Driver Josh Sutton left like a bunny who had backed into a porcupine and got the lead in less than an eighth of a mile despite being assigned the outside nine-hole. The favored winner raced unchallenged through moderate fractions before stepping on the gas at the three quarters station. Although she responded well, the others did make the race quite interesting and were closing furiously at the finish. Up Front Kellie Jo is owned by Ed Mullinax and Mark Ford and trained by Rob Harmon. The triumph was one of three for Sutton on the holiday program. Jeremy Smith and Dan Noble also fashioned driving doubles on the nine-race card. From the Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department
LEBANON, OH. - The 'girls' pretty much had their way with the 'boys' in Sunday night's $8000 championship final of the month-long Madness in March tournament at Miami Valley Raceway. A field of 64 $4.000 claiming horses began the Madness in March elimination tournament with the field reduced to 32 after week one, 16 after week two and the Elite 8 after week three. While the 'brackets' for the first three weeks were divided by gender, the final pitted the top four surviving geldings versus the top four surviving mares in a "Battle of the Sexes." When the dust settled, Rock Ann Rolling was crowned Tournament Queen following a track-record 1:53.4 performance, the fastest clocking ever by a female over the age of four at Miami Valley to date. A pair of other mares raced creditably against their male counterparts with Taylors Artist (Josh Sutton) finishing third and C L Life Road (Dan Noble) fourth across the finish line. Rock Ann Rolling is owned by driver Jason Brewer and conditioned by his father Jeff Brewer. It was the 13th career win for the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare. The best any of the four geldings could do in the championship was a runnerup finish by Communicator (Pat Berry) who fell just three-quarters of length short for the P T Stable, who claimed him in the first week of the tournament. Olive Loaf (Kyle Ater) garnered the final paycheck for his fifth place effort. A pair of co-featured Fillies and Mares Open paces were also highlights of the program. Rev Me Up (Dan Noble) captured the $9500 Open I for the second straight week in 1:54, which stood for one race as the track record for older distaffers until Rock Ann Rolling bested it. Despite the eight-hole, Rev Me Up fired when the wings opened and went gate to wire, holding off Whisty's Paradise (Pat Berry) and Canary Island (Chris Page) in a thrilling photo finish. Patrons who backed the repeat winner were rewarded with a $22.80 mutuel payoff on the Kathy Millman trainee who is leased by Merl P'Pool. The $7,500 Open II went to favored Ohmybelle (Tyler Smith) with a narrow victory over Everymileamemory (Pat Berry) and Bazooka Terror (Randy Tharps). The speedy 1:53.3 clocking established a new standard for four-year-old mares who have raced at Miami Valley during the track's initial two months in business. Janet Banks owns the daughter of Ponder who is trained by Tyler's father, Jeff Smith. From Miami Valley Raceway Publicity Department
Almost half of Saturday’s 13-race card at Balmoral are ICF stake elimination races to decide the finalists for next weekend’s Southland Festival of Racing program. A fifth place finish or higher is needed on Saturday to advance to gain the ICF finals of the $65,000 Loyal Opposition for 2-year-old ICF fillies, the $65,500 Mini Me for freshman pacing colts and geldings and the $59,000 Incredible Finale for second season male pacers. The fifth race first division of the Incredible Finale came up strong with Cardinal champion Fancy Creek Elusive (programmed 3-1, Dave Magee), Hanover winner Mystical Walter (2-1, Casey Leonard) and last year’s freshman division titleholder Fox Valley Action (9-2, Todd Warren) all squaring off. They’ll be challenged by Monopoly Man (6-1, John De Long), Sage Ruck (6-1, Mike Oosting), Colechester (12-1, Dave Magee) and Bazooka (10-1, Kyle Wilfong. Only two of the seven starters will be eliminated. The second Incredible Finale split is headed up by the Cardinal runner-up Crankin’ It Up (5-2, Kyle Wilfong) and four-time season winner Big Brad (9-2, Bobby Smolin), second best to Latest Desire in last week’s Hanover open stake. Also looking for a berth in the final are Darth Quaider (9-2, Mike Oosting), Fox Valley Norman (6-1, John De Long), Silver Devil (6-1, Jamaica Patton), Mr Three Quarters (12-1, Casey Leonard, Kostas Wine (10-1, Dave Magee) and Sweet Water Jack (20-1, Brian Carpenter). As expected, eliminations were not necessary for either of the ICF 3-year-old trotting stakes. In fact only six horses—American Empress, Divination, Just For Fun, Kelsey’s Star, Little Ms Chrissy and Trot Fudge Sundae—will compete in the $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Final for fillies. The reigning colt division leader King Mufasa has eight challengers in the $51,500 Kadabra Championship: Fox Valley Camo, Fox Valley Dubai, Fox Valley Legend, Powerful Mel, Powerful Poe, Semper Fit, Showstopin Monkey and Skyline Road. Saturday I’ll highlight the ICF two-year-old stake eliminations for the Loyal Opposition for the gals and the Mini Me for the guys. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association
Ben Wallace is no stranger to conditioning harness racing champions. In 1999, the Milton resident trained the Triple Crown winner, Blissfull Hall, voted Canada's Horse of the Year who went on to bank $1,468,648 in lifetime earnings.
The countdown is underway at Western Fair for the London track’s signature annual event, the 36th edition of the $250,000 Molson Pace, less than eight weeks away on Friday, May 30th.