Day At The Track

Historic Night of Champions

03:26 AM 13 Sep 2019 NZST
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Columbus, MN - A total of 111 Minnesota-Sired horses have been carded over fourteen races for the 2019 Night of Champions program at Running Aces, a number that is a testament to the continued growth of the Minnesota harness racing program.

The total purses on Night of Champions is $543,500 which is a record amount, by a large margin and also indicates the success of Minnesota harness racing and the success of Running Aces as a growing multi-faceted Casino, Racing and Entertainment destination.

Heading up the Night of Champions program is MD Magic, who was the dominant two year old male trotter in Minnesota last season, and set a record for single-season earnings in the Minnesota program with his $70,300 in freshman purses earned.

MD Magic (post #3 in his final) has a big chance to re-write that record again this year as he heads into Saturday night's program with 2019 earnings of $62,550 and will be the favorite to win his $40,000 Championship race. MD Magic is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC and is trained and driven by Nick Roland, he has been posted as the 6-5 morning line favorite.

The $40,000 Minnesota-Sired three year old colts & geldings pace event will feature eight talented starters and is headlined by 2018 Minnesota Horse of The Year Burning Blaze (Steve Wiseman) who is also looking for his second consecutive championship title and comes into this year's title event with eleven wins in twenty-two career starts and $97,220 in purse earnings,

He is the 2-1 morning line favorite from post three. Also among the favorites in the eight horse field will be SB Bodacious, set at 5-2 on the morning line from post four for Trainer/Driver Rick Magee, who leads the division in seasonal earnings ($46,311) and is coming in fresh off a recent 1:55.1 win, and has the fastest winning mile of the year in the group (1:52.2).

The $40,000 three year old filly pace has 9 starters and is headlined by last year's two year old champion filly Windmeupnwatchmego (post three,Dean Magee) who shows six wins in nine outings this year, and twelve career wins in just seventeen starts, is the 5-2 favorite on the line, and her chief rival in this group will be Sweet Vivian (post one, Mooney Svendsen) who has won three races this year, and has hit the board in the top three in twelve of seventeen races as a sophomore, she is listed at 3-1.

The $50,000 two year old filly Trot Championship has a field on nine and features both of the current track record holders in the category with (#2) Susie's Sister (Don Harmon) being installed as the 8-5 favorite from post position 1, and co-record holder (#8) SB Madam Secretary (Darrell Wright) billed as the 3-1 second choice from post eight.

The $50,000 two year old colts & geldings pace is headlined by the very sharp freshman Bunkerhill Phil, who has dominated the division for most of the year and has nine wins in twelve starts at Running Aces to claim the title of the winningest horse of the season. Bunkerhill Phil is driven by Don Harmon, and has been installed as the 6-5 favorite from post three in the nine horse field.

The $40,000 four year olds & up pace event promises to be an exciting contest, with last year's champion (#7) Stuckey Dote (Rick Magee) back at Running Aces and in top form to defend his title, and (#1) Whatchyastarinat (Don Harmon) poised for battle after a huge effort in the Open Pace on Sunday night, finishing a close second in the fastest mile ever at Running Aces (1:50.1). Stuckey Dote is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, while Whatchyastarinat has been installed as second choice at 5-2.

The other Championship events promise to be exciting contests as well, the overall card of races is by far the best and most competitive group of horses we have ever seen on Finals night, we are excited to see the races unfold and she which Minnesota-Sired Trotters and Pacers shine brightest on the biggest night of the year.

The 20 cent Pick-5 wager will comprise the last 5 races of the night, and features full competitive fields and a $20,000 Guaranteed Pool, as well as a carryover of $8,139.20. Last year's Night of Champions Pick-5 pool exceeded $50,000. There will be Mandatory Payouts in all pools on Saturday night.

The entire Night of Champions card will be broadcast live from the track apron, with Track Announcer Darin Gagne, and special guests Rod Allums, Jr, Mike Pribozie, and Ray Cotolo of NAHUpicks.com, as well as Ken Terpenning from Harness Racing Replays 2.0.

In addition to traditional race analysis and handicapping, the team will provide additional content such as interviews and biographical information.

Fans will have many chances to win prizes during the program, with losing ticket drawings being held between races from the broadcast table. Prizes will range from hats to Running Aces gifts and promotional items, to dining certificates and betting vouchers.

Post time for the 12 race betting card is 6 pm (Central), and there are two undercard (non-wagering) races starting at 5:10 pm.

By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

 

 

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