Day At The Track

David Millers scores in both Derbies

04:29 PM 03 Oct 2015 NZDT
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Il Sogno Dream state treasurer.jpg
Il Sogno Dream upset favored Shake It Cerry in the $135,750 Dayton Trotting Derby
Brad Conway Photo

DAYTON, OH. - Despite howling winds, at times reaching 30 miles per hour, as well as intermittent rain showers all day and night, the two Grand Circuit races at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night (October 2) produced harness racing track records on both the trot and pace.

Native Ohioan and Hall-Of-Fame driver David Miller was aboard both winners, reminding the locals who watched him master his craft at nearby Lebanon Raceway and Scioto Downs before moving east to The Meadowlands to ply his trade why he was annointed with the nickname "Purple Jesus" before ever leaving the Buckeye state.

Il Sogno Dream upset favored Shake It Cerry (Yannick Gingras) in the $135,750 Dayton Trotting Derby, establishing a track record for four-year-olds of 1:53.2.

In a post-race interview, Miller revealed that trainer Chris Beaver (also from Ohio) had told him the horse was in top form and "don't be afraid to race him aggressively." Miller obliged with a first-over journey that resulted in racing over a half-mile side-by-side with odds-on favorite Shake It Cerry before pulling away in the final strides.

Ontario owners Bill and Dan Manes and Leonard and Randy Christopher benefitted from Beaver and Miller's confidence as they were rewarded with their horse's twelfth career win and one of his largest paydays.

Southwind Pepino (Hugh Beatty) garnered the show dough.

Miller used a much different strategy in the $138,500 Dayton Pacing Derby, sending favored State Treasurer directly to the front and never looking back in an all-age track record 1:48.4 performance.

Shamballa (Rick Zeron) raced gamely to finish second, with Let's Drink On It (Travis Seekman) next across the line.

The winning six-year-old son of Real Desire now has nine seasonal wins, including the Graduate Series final and the U. S. Pacing Championship in addition to the Dayton Derby.

Canadians Sally and Paul MacDonald own the sport's current top-rated older pacer and entrust his training to Dr. Ian Moore. The pair of races enticed stellar fields of outstanding horses and many of the sport's top reinsmen.

The combined earnings of the nine horses in the Pacing Derby exceeded $13 million. The races showcased the winningest driver of all time (Dave Palone), fellow Hall Of Famers John Campbell and David Miller, the top money earning driver this season (Yannick Gingras) and the leading dash driver the past two seasons (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.)

Hollywood Dayton Raceway would like to thank all the participants in the 2015 Derbies and compliment the exceptional job the track maintenance crew did to keep the racing surface in lightning fast shape despite trying day-long weather conditions.

Gregg Keidel

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