Day At The Track
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LEBANON, OH. - Pine Dream proved last week's upset victory in Miami Valley's Open Trot was no fluke, returning to the winner's circle for the second straight week following the Tuesday (March 21) matinee $22,000 feature. When harness racing driver Trace Tetrick saw his three inside foes behind the Woebkenberg Starting Gate revving up to compete for early supremacy he decided to relegate his charge to fourth along the pylons behind the trio of leavers who raced three abreast until reaching the :27.2 first quarter. It wasn't until past the :56.1 half that Tetrick angled Pine Dream to the outside and took up second-over position through the 1:25.1 third quarter clocking. Swinging three-wide at the head of the stretch, the 5-year-old son of Pinetucky joined Infiniti AS (Chris Page) and He's Got Pizzazz (Josh Sutton) in a heart-pounding eighth of a mile duel to the finish wire. Pine Dream surged in the final strides to gain a slight advantage over his lapped-on adversaries in 1:54.4. Chris McGuire has been training the winner for owner Marvin Raber since the start of the Miami Valley meet in January. Through his first five starts this year he has banked $29,050. Three $8000 divisions of first leg action in the Omar Hiteman Memorial Series also took place on Tuesday. The late-closer was open to male pacers with less than three pari-mutuel wins or under $15,000 lifetime. Hot Rod Dylan (Mike Oosting) was a very impressive 1:53.2 winner over Sunny's Bro (Greg Grismore) and Starry Nite Teen (Josh Sutton). The 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding has now won five straight races in 2017 after going winless and making just $1440 at ages two and three. Nelson Willis conditions the late bloomer, Hot Rod Dylan, for owner Shirley LeVin. The second split was captured by Camwood (Dan Noble) in 1:54.3, topping We Rob Banks (Trace Tetrick) and Sir Bradford (Greg Grismore). It was the first career victory for the sophomore son of Woodstock, although he did earn $10,333 in three starts as a freshman. Mike Polhamus trains him for his wife Constance and her partner William Parsons. Favored Catfish Dinner (Trace Tetrick) won a tight photo over Bamski (Greg Grismore) and Howards Place (Kayne Kauffman) to cop the final division in 1:55. Pat Melloy Jr. manages the 4-year-old Always A Virgin's career for owner Lisa Gosselin. Gregg Keidel                  

LEBANON, OH. - The first of four February "Survivor Series" champions was crowned Sunday afternoon (Feb. 19) at Miami Valley Raceway. A Little Starstruk (Kayne Kauffman) proved to be queen of the harness racing elimination style 'elite series' for $10,000 claiming mares, triumphing over Ginger Spice N (Brady Galliers) and Fox Valley Pipa (Randy Tharps) in 1:53.3. Kauffman put the winning 6-year-old Well Said mare on the front end early, and save for a very brief give-and-go lead change with Fox Valley Pipa around the :27.4 first quarter mile marker, A Little Starstruk never had an anxious moment. Posting comfortable mid-mile fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.1 she had plenty left to post a :28.2 final quarter while opening up daylight on the other eight finalists through the stretch. Elated owner-trainer Chris McGuire plucked A Little Starstruk via the claim box from the first leg of the claiming series for $12,000 and almost recouped his entire investment in one week with the winner's share of the $20,000 championship purse. Miami Valley will be 'dark' on Monday (Feb. 20) due to Presidents Day, although simulcast wagering will be available throughout the day and night. Live racing resumes Tuesday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. when a $22,000 Open Trot and a pair of third elimination round races for $5000 male pacers will share the spotlight. Gregg Keidel

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