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DAYTON, OH. - Every superlative has been uttered about Atlanta over her illustrious career, and she lived up to all of them on Saturday (Oct. 3) winning the $175,000 Dayton Trotting Derby at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.   Dispatched at even money, the five-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven established a new Dayton Raceway track record of 1:51 by coming from behind for driver Yannick Gingras to wear down Manchego (Dexter Dunn) and then hold off runnerup Lindy The Great (Andy Miller) and show finisher Crystal Fashion (Jordan Stratton).   Lindy The Great left with alacrity to hit the first quarter beam in :27.3 before yielding to Manchego (Dexter Dunn) who coasted through middle fractions of :56 and 1:23.3 on the lead. Atlanta got away fourth, moved up to third on the outside at the half, second in the outer flow at the three quarters, then on even terms with Manchego around the final turn.   At the top of the lane, Manchego broke in stride, leaving little doubt about the outcome.       Ron Burke trains Atlanta for Crawford Farms, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor. She has won half of her lifetime starts (24 out of 48) and banked $2,450,203.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

Twice in recent years harness racing fans were treated to seeing a top 3-year-old male pacer face older foes in the season-ending TVG Series Championship. This year, they will not have to wait as long. Three-year-old gelding Ocean Rock will meet older rivals Saturday (Oct. 3) when he competes in the $176,500 Dayton Pacing Derby at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway. Ocean Rock has won six of nine races this season and $363,360 for breeder/owner Sandra Burnett, driver Dan Noble, and trainer Christi Noble. Saturday's card also includes the $175,000 Dayton Distaff Derby, where defending Horse of the Year Shartin N is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in a field that includes Milton Stakes winner Kissin In The Sand and 2019 Breeders Crown champ Caviart Ally, and the $175,000 Dayton Trotting Derby, with Maple Leaf Trot winner Atlanta the 2-1 favorite. Ocean Rock in his most recent start won an Ohio Breeders Championship at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in 1:49.2 to complete a sweep of the Ohio Triple Crown (OBC, Ohio Sire Stakes final and Ohio State Fair Stakes). The time equaled Wiggle It Jiggleit's track record for a gelding and was just two-fifths of a second off the world record. Only a quarter-length loss to Odds On Osiris from post eight in the Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park separates Ocean Rock from a five-race win streak heading to Dayton. That five-race stretch began with a track-record 1:48.4 victory at Scioto Downs, erasing a 20-year-old mark established by Gallo Blue Chip. "His last four or five performances have been unbelievable," Dan Noble said. "The night he went (1):48 was unbelievable. In the Milstein he really showed a lot of guts; he came up sick, but he performed very well. "He loves his work, anything you throw at him, and he takes very good care of himself. He's had a phenomenal year." Ocean Rock was not staked to any of this year's remaining Grand Circuit races, so his connections supplemented him to the Dayton Pacing Derby. He will start from post six and is 8-1 on the morning line. Sam McKee Memorial winner Bettor's Wish, last season's top 3-year-old male pacer, is the 5-2 favorite. Bettor's Wish faced older horses in last year's TVG Series championship, where he finished second. In 2013, Captaintreacherous took on the older horses in the TVG and was sixth. The most recent 3-year-old male pacer to knock off older foes in a major race was Niatross, who won the American Pacing Classic at Hollywood Park in 1980. Ocean Rock began this season by beating older horses in a conditioned race at Scioto Downs. Three starts later, he finished third against older horses in another conditioned race, also at Scioto. "I think he fits good," Noble said about Ocean Rock in the Dayton Pacing Derby. "We could have drawn a little closer to the inside, but the six hole is not too bad at this track. "We didn't really want to stop with him, but we didn't have much left for him. We figured we would give the race a go, and it's close to home. We probably should have had him staked to a lot more, but during the staking time he just felt like your average horse." Of course, that assessment has been revised. "He's definitely a good one," Noble said. Ocean Rock could be supplemented to other upcoming Grand Circuit races, including the Breeders Crown, but Noble said those decisions would be made after the Dayton Pacing Derby. For his career, Ocean Rock has won 11 of 18 races and $519,737. Last year, he set the world record for a 2-year-old gelding on a half-mile track, 1:51.1, at Northfield. He is a son of Rockin Amadeus out of Ocean Pearl, a Burnett homebred mare who was trained during her racing days by Dan's father Chip. "(Ocean Rock) has been a gift for my wife and I," Noble said. "He's just a gift for all of us." Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Dayton. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

DAYTON, OH. - Hollywood Dayton Raceway will present its marquee harness racing program of the 2020 season on Saturday night, October 3, featuring eleven stakes races and three Open events with purses totaling $1,131,500. Headlining the evening will be a trio of Dayton Derbies for male pacers, female pacers and trotters including 11 millionaire horses.   The $176,500 Dayton Pacing Derby includes a full field of nine of the sport's current superstars. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn, 5-2) has been given the slightest morning line nod, but a case could be made for every entrant as all sport 2020 records of 1:49.1 or faster.   Trainer Chris Ryder's 4-year-old son of Bettor's Delight has earned $2,124,783 in purses and two months ago won the Sam McKee Memorial at The Meadowlands in 1:47.3. Second choice Ceentury Farroh (David Miller, 3-1) could become a millionaire with a win in the Derby. He captured the Dan Patch at Harrah's Hoosier in mid-August.   Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith, 7-2) will be one of four in the Derby with local ties. The 5-year-old son of Ohio stallion Pet Rock is owned by Harold Bauder of Delaware, Ohio and trained by Steve Bauder. He has won 26 or 62 lifetime starts and last week lowered his record to 1:48.1 winning an Invitational at Hoosier while going a second faster than the Hoosier Pacing Derby on the same card.   Other Derby hopefuls are Dancin Lou (Brian Sears, 9-2), Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick, 6-1), Ocean Rock (8-1, Dan Noble), This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras, 10-1), Bllack Hole (Scott Zeron, 12-1) and Our Majordan A (Brett Miller, 15-1).   Ocean Rock is the first 3-year-old in the seven year history of the Dayton Derby to enter the track's marquee event.   The sophomore son of Rockin Armadeus has been triumphant in 11 of his 18 races over two seasons, including a 6-2-1 slate in nine starts this year. He won the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship a month ago at Eldorado Scioto Downs for owner Sandra Burnett of nearby Wilmington, Ohio and the driver-trainer team of Dan and Christi Noble.   Bllack Hole is another Ohio-sired combatant, owned by L & L Stables of Springfield, Ohio. He owns a 1:48 speed badge taken at The Meadowlands and would sport a lower morning line designation if not for his post eight draw.   Our Majordan A is the oldest Derby hopeful at age eight and will be saddled with post nine behind the starting car. The Virgil Morgan Jr.-trainee is one of three in the field with sub 1:48 seasonal victories, and he is the winningest horse in the field with 33 triumphs. In addition to being stable in Ohio, the Australian-bred is co-owned by Ned Hodkinson of Blacklick, Ohio.   The $175,000 Dayton Distaff favorite will be Shartin N (Tim Tetrick, 6-5), who will face a compact field of six that includes four million dollar winners. With $2,394,049 in her purse coffers, Shartin N is the richest mare in the race, but Kissin In The Sand (Dexter Dunn, 7-2, $1,383,094), Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy, 9-2, $1,870,311) and Warrawee Ubeaut (Yannick Gingras, 6-1, $1,743,523) can't be discounted. Treacherous Reign (TBA, 8-l) and Stonebridge Soul (Brett Miller, 12-1) complete the field.   The $175,000 Dayton Trotting Derby will feature four of the finest older mares face five male counterparts. The mares Atlanta (Yannick Gingras, 2-1) and Manchego (Dexter Dunn, 7-2) have each won over $2 million and are expected to get heavy mutuel backing.   Majestic Player A (Brett Miller,4-1) has won 13 of 17 races this season and is familiar with the Dayton Raceway surface. Others win the field include Lindy The Great (Andy Miller, 9-2), Guardian Angel AS (Tim Tetrick, 6-1), Crystal Fashion (Jordan Stratton, 8-1), When Dovescry (David Miller, 10-1), Soul Strong (TBA, 12-1) and Pure Chance (Scott Zeron, 15-1).   The outstanding program will also include eight $60,000 Buckeye Stallion Series championship races to reward Ohio-sired two and three year olds who have competed throughout the state all season long.   A $75,000 Dayton Derby Consolation, as well as $25,000 Opens for pacing mares and trotters will complete the card.   Post time on Saturday is 6:15 p.m.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway  

DAYTON, OH - Hollywood Dayton Raceway reminds horsemen that the draw for Saturday night, October 3 is Tuesday morning with the box closing at 10 a.m.   The program includes the Dayton Trotting Derby, the Dayton Pacing Derby and the Dayton Distaff Pacing Derby. It also features the eight championship races of the Buckeye Stallion Series.   Three undercard Opens will also be carded for $25,000 (min.) purses. The Mares Open Pace and the Open Trot look like they will feature local and regional horses as it is not likely there will be six Derby nominees in either race that do not get into the main event.   Race office phone number is 937-235-7860.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Hollywood Dayton Raceway announces it is adding a new twist to its marquee harness racing night of the 2020 meet on Saturday, October 3. In addition to three Dayton Derbies ($200,000 est. Dayton Pacing Derby, $175,000 Dayton Distaff Derby and $175,000 Dayton Trotting Derby) the program will include eight $60,000 Buckeye Stallion Series championship races.  The $1,000,000-plus 14-race card will be completed with three brand new invitational races with potential purses of $75,000 each. “The response from nominators to our Dayton Derbies has been fantastic and we believe more than nine will enter each of them,” said Director of Racing Jason Bluhm. “Rather than returning nominating fees to those entrants that do not get spots in a Derby as one of the top nine 2020 money earners, we’re giving them the option of racing in a Derby Consolation (Invitational).  If six or more Derby-eligible horses agree to enter, the purses will be $75,000 each, with no additional starting fee.” Open non-Derby eligible horses are welcome to enter the new Invitationals to create full fields, but nominated Derby horses will receive preference.  If less than six Derby-eligible horses agree to race, their nomination fees will be returned and that particular race will revert to an Open event with an enhanced purse of $25,000. Dayton Derby entrants are asked to make online entries as soon as possible and indicate in the notes if they are interested in the $75,000 consolation if their earnings doesn’t qualify for the main event. Questions can be directed to Race Secretary Gregg Keidel at 937-235-7859 or Updated earnings standings to determine Dayton Derby standings can be found at.    Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - While 98 outstanding older harness racing horses have already made nominating and sustaining payments totaling $3000 each, it is not too late to make a "Catch-up Nomination" ($10,000) to get eligible for one of three $175,000 guaranteed Dayton Derbies to be held on Saturday, October 3 at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.   "Due to the Covid-19 issue this year, many horses may have gotten a late start or had their stakes nominations reduced or canceled," reasoned Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. "This supplemental nomination opportunity, which has been in the race conditions for two years, may be ideal for razor sharp horses peaking at the right time."   All three races: Dayton Trotting Derby (both sexes), Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Distaff Derby will be showcased on the same evening and feature the nine highest 2020 money earners that enter. In the event more than nine enter any event, those that fail to earn a berth due to the earnings condition will get a full refund of all paid in fees.   "This is the first year for the Distaff Derby and it is not often open mares get to race for $175,000. If you've missed the normal nomination process with a top notch pacing mare (or other horse), we invite you to 'catch up' via this unique supplemental nomination opportunity and come visit our beautiful facility in southwest Ohio on October 3," said Director Of Racing Jason Bluhm.   Supplemental nominations must be postmarked by August 15 and sent to the Hambletonian Society, 109 South Main St., Suite 18, Cranberry, N.J. 08512-3174.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Manchego not only won the $171,250 Dayton Trotting Derby over a talented field of older male trotters, the 4-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill obliterated the Hollywood Dayton Raceway track record and established a new World Record for trotting mares on a five-eighths mile oval. The 1:50.1 clocking shaved a fifth of a second off the previous best by both Mission Brief and Emoticon Hanover. Driver Dexter Dunn left the gate alertly, despite entering the Derby off a three week layoff. Manchego sped to the lead and showed her heels to the field through :26.3, :54 and 1:22.2 intervals.   Widening her lead with every stride the $1.7 million winner increased her commanding margin to nine lengths at the culmination of her record setting mile. Sent off as the second choice on the tote board, Manchego bested Fiftydallarbill (Tim Tetrick) and I Know My Chip (Jeremy Smith) and paid $5.80.   Nancy Johansson trains Manchego for owner Black Horse Racing of New Jersey.   Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) upset a field that included five millionaires to capture the $151,750 Dayton Pacing Derby. The 10-1 long shot topped McWicked (Brian Sears) and Western Fame (Dan Noble) by a length and a quarter in 1:48.3. Western Fame made the pace through :26.1, :53.3 and 1:20.4 splits before McWicked came calling around the final bend with Jimmy Freight in tow. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) joined the trio of combatants and it looked like anybody’s race until Jimmy Freight pulled away in deep stretch.  “I was hoping I could follow McWicked in this race and it worked out perfect,” said Zeron in the winner’s circle. “Scott DiDomenico does a great job with this horse and I’m real happy for owner Adriano Sorella, who was here tonight.”   Jimmy Freight returned a $23.20 mutuel.   From Hollywood Dayton Raceway    

Yannick Gingras will head to Hollywood Dayton Raceway looking to sweep Friday's harness racing Grand Circuit stakes at the Ohio oval with morning-line favorite Mission Accepted in the Dayton Trotting Derby and second choice This Is The Plan in the Dayton Pacing Derby. It will be Gingras' first time behind Mission Accepted since the duo lost the Crawford Farms Open Trot by a nose on Aug. 11 at Tioga Downs. The 4-year-old stallion has not won since the Vincennes on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands, but Gingras has been impressed with the horse's efforts in his recent starts. Mission Accepted enters the Dayton Trotting Derby off a second-place finish to Lindy The Great in last week's Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park. Mission Accepted was eighth in the outer flow for the first three-quarters of a mile before fanning four-wide off the final turn and rallying for the place spot. Two weeks earlier, he was third, beaten only a half-length, in the Charlie Hill Memorial won by Atlanta. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Accepted is 2-1 on the morning line in the $171,250 Dayton Trotting Derby. "He's been super sharp," Gingras said. "Last time, he was loaded with trot finishing. I was really impressed with how much trot he had. And the race before, he was loaded that day too. He couldn't be coming into the race in better form. I think he's coming into the race in the right way." For the season, Mission Accepted has won four of 17 races, hit the board a total of 11 times, and earned $244,345. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, breeder Knox Services Inc., David Wills, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership. "He's very versatile and sweet to drive," Gingras said. "He's not the biggest horse, he's not the most powerful horse, but you know he's going to go on the track and give you everything he's got." This Is The Plan enters the $151,750 Dayton Pacing Derby off a win in last week's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. After racing from the front in most of his starts this season, Gingras decided to race This Is The Plan from off the pace at Hoosier and got a second-over trip behind favorite McWicked en route to victory. "I did go into the race wanting to change tactics," Gingras said. "He had several tough starts in a row, and I figured it would be nice to try to get him covered up. You always have to respect McWicked and I thought that maybe if I could get McWicked in front of me, that might work out. Usually it doesn't work out that way, but for one time the plan worked out to perfection." McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, is the 5-2 favorite from post one in the Dayton Pacing Derby. This Is The Plan is 3-1 from post five. This Is The Plan has won three of 16 races this year and finished second on six occasions, earning $743,598. He ranks third in purses among all older pacers in North America, trailing only Shartin N and Lather Up. For his career, the 4-year-old gelding has won 10 of 49 races and earned $1.38 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. Gingras hopes last week's change in style and subsequent victory results in more versatility down the road. "He's been super consistent," Gingras said. "He's got crazy gate speed and puts himself into the race. I really didn't know how he would race from behind. Heading to the Breeders Crown and the other big races coming up, I wanted to see how he would respond. Hopefully now he will be a little more well-rounded. Last week he showed he was able to do it. Hopefully he can continue in that direction." Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. For complete Friday entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

DAYTON, OH. - Battle lines have been drawn for Friday's $171,250 Dayton Trotting Derby as well as the $151,750 Dayton Pacing Derby at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. The seventeen harness racing horses in the combined fields have accumulated a whopping 376 victories and amassed over $20 million in career earnings. Mission Accepted (Yannick Gingras) has been installed the 2-1 morning line favorite in the Dayton Trotting Derby, based largely on his impressive runnerup finish in the recent Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park. The former Ohio Sires Stakes champion by Manofmanymissions, trained by Ron Burke, seeks his fifth win of the season and will surpass a quarter million dollars in earnings with any check in this race. Manchego (Dexter Dunn), one of two mares in the elite field, will open at 7-2 odds for trainer Nancy Johansson. The 4-year-old $1.7 million earner by Muscle Hill was a Breeders Crown winner and two and Hambletonian Oaks champion at three. Speeding Spur N (Brian Sears) has been assigned a 4-1 morning line. By far the oldest horse in the race, the 8-year-old by Pegasus Spur captured the $148,000 Crawford Farms stake at Tioga six weeks ago for trainer Linda Toscano. Others descending on Dayton on Friday are Custom Cantab (Aaron Merriman, 9-2), Fiftydallarbill (Tim Tetrick, 6-1), Two O B Wonkenobi (Brett Miller, 8-1), Bridge To Jesse's (David Miller, 10-1), I Know My Chip (Jeremy Smith, 12-1) and Elmo Blatch (Jason Beattie, 15-1). McWicked (Brian Sears) got the ever-so-slight 5-2 favorites nod over 3-1 This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) and 4-1 Western Fame (Dan Noble) in the Dayton Pacing Derby. McWicked tops the eight combatants with $4.6 million in lifetime earnings, although five of the other seven have earned over $1 million, too. McWicked, trained by Casie Coleman and now 8, has won a host of the sport's most prestigious races including the Breeders Crown, Canadian Pacing Derby, William Haughton Memorial, Progress Pace and the Adios. His 2019 triumphs include the Jim Ewart Memorial, the Roll With Joe and the Gerrity Memorial. This Is The Plan copped the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby in his most recent start. Western Fame paced the second fastest mile in Dayton Raceway history (1:48.1) in his local tune up. 2018 Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice (Brett Miller, 9-2) is sure to be heard from in this contest, as are Filibuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley, 6-1), defending champion and Dayton track record holder Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick, 8-1), Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron, 10-1), and Endeavor (Sam Widger, 12-1). In total, the Dayton Pacing Derby field has visited 168 winner's circles and banked over $13.2 million. Post time for the stellar Friday night card at Hollywood Dayton is 6:15 p.m. Estimated post time for the Dayton Trotting Derby is 9 p.m. with the Dayton Pacing Derby slated for two races later at approximately 9:40 p.m. From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Millionaire Western Fame tuned up for next Friday night's $150,000 (est.) Dayton Pacing Derby with an impressive 1:48.1 tally on Saturday (Sept. 21), the second fastest harness racing mile in the six year history of Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Scoring from an assigned outside post position in the $17,500 Open Pace for trainer-driver Dan Noble, the six-year-old son of Western Ideal was used hard to clear upset minded Fan Of Terror (Brett Miller) and My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) who eventually settled for seats in second and third along the pylons as the trio sped past the opening quarter mile marker in :25.3. From there Noble and Western Fame cruised to the half in :53.1 and three-quarters in 1:20.2 before turning back the mild challenge of Fan Of Terror in the stretch. It was the 23rd career victory from 64 starts for the $1.7 million winner. He is owned by Go Fast Stable of Ohio, S. Klunowski of Ontario, B & I Stable LLC of New Jersey and Gil Short of Virginia. In the rapidly approaching Dayton Pacing Derby, Western Fame will face the only quicker winner over the Dayton Raceway five-eighths mile oval-Donttellmeagain, who captured the 2018 edition for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:47.4. Among the other notable stalwarts who are eligible and expected to join the fray are This Is The Plan, who captured the Harrah's Hoosier Derby on Friday night (Sept. 20), McWicked, Endeavor, Miso Fast and Courtly Choice. The Friday, September 27 card at Hollywood Dayton will also include the $170,000 (est.) Dayton Trotting Derby, which also sports a very impressive list of eligible squaregaiters. The list includes Lindy The Great, Mission Accepted, Guardian Angel AS, Crystal Fashion, Marion Marauder, Custom Cantab, Manchego, Speeding Spur N and I Know My Chip. Entries for the Dayton Pacing and Trotting Derbies are due by Monday morning at 10 a.m. From Hollywood Dayton Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is busily preparing for its sixth season of live harness racing action. The 78-day schedule is set to commence on Monday, September 9 with a 2:15 matinee program and end Saturday night, December 28. The normal five-days-a-week schedule will be Monday and Tuesday matinees at 2:15 coupled with Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening racing beginning at 6:15 p.m. The only exceptions will be dark days September 16 through 19 (in deference to Little Brown Jug week at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds), additional Sunday matinees on September 29 (Buckeye Stallion Series championships) and October 13 (Ohio County Fair Finals), and racing on Wednesday, November 27 instead of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28. New Director of Racing Jason Bluhm is optimistic that the 2019 season will be a big hit with both horsemen and patrons. "We have added an aggressive line-up of promotions and giveaways in hopes of generating new fans and luring old ones back to the track," he noted. "Plus, in the past month we've worked diligently--with the help of noted trackman Jimmy Shelton--to reshape and resurface the racetrack to its original specifications. We've restored the 12 percent banking on both turns as well as accomplished the desired consistent base all the way around the 5/8ths mile oval." The highlight of the meet will be the sixth renewal of the Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby on Friday, September 27. The $150,000 races have annually attracted the best horses and drivers in North America to Dayton Raceway. The list of eligible horses to the Dayton Pacing Derby includes ten that have earned over $1 million. Among the notables are Lather Up, McWicked, This Is The Plan, 2018 Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice and defending champion Donttellmeagain. The Dayton Trotting Derby nominees include a half dozen million dollar winners, including Crystal Fashion, Marion Marauder and Homicide Hunter plus Guardian Angel AS. “I expect another stellar season,” exclaimed Race Secretary Gregg Keidel.  “We have been blessed with adequate horse supply and full fields in the past and expect more of the same in 2019.  I expect all of our top ten drivers to return, giving us one of the deepest and most talented colonies in the sport.  The addition of the Buckeye Stallion Series championships and the Ohio County Fair Finals on a pair of special new Sunday matinees should add excitement to our program.  With our outstanding paddock and a complete reconditioning of our track surface, which looks great, I think Dayton is “the place to race” for the next months!’ Hollywood Dayton Raceway will conduct a pre-meet session of qualifying races on Tuesday, September 3 at 1 p.m.  Trainers are asked to enter by Friday, August 30 at 1 p.m. Condition sheets for the initial week of racing will be posted soon. From the Dayton Raceway Media Department

DAYTON, OH. - The Dayton Derbies, a pair of $150,000 Grand Circuit events, brought most of the best aged horses in North America to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Friday night (Sept. 28) producing an outstanding night of racing. The action resulted in four track records, including new all-age overall standards on both gaits in the two featured events. Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) obliterated the all-time fastest mile ever clocking at the 5-year-old Dayton Raceway, speeding to a 1:47.4 victory in the Dayton Pacing Derby. The old record was 1:48.4, a full second slower, established by State Treasurer in the 2015 Derby. Other previous winners are Clear Vision, Wiggleit Jiggleit and Rockin Ron. Western Fame (Brett Miller) gunned directly to the front in the Pacing Derby, speeding to the quarter in :25.2, seating Split The House (Scott Zeron)-who left with authority from the outermost post position-in the pocket. Shortly thereafter, Tetrick moved favored Donttellmeagain to the front to stay through subsequent fractional times of :52.3 and an eye-popping 1:20 flat. A final panel in :27.4 resulted in a 1-1/4 length tally over Western Fame and McWicked (Sears), who had a long overland grind the final half mile. "This horse isn't real big, but he's a real professional," said Tetrick. "I've liked him since he was a baby...and the trainer (Jim King Jr.) does a terrific job with him. The 4-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again is owned by Paton Racing Stables. He now sports 18 wins in 33 lifetime starts, good for $589,911 in earnings. Ariana G (Brian Sears), the only mare in a talented field for the Dayton Trotting Derby, lowered the overall track trotting record to 1:52.1 with an impressive triumph. Sears was patient with Ariana G , allowing first I Know My Chip (Kayne Kauffman) and then eventual show finisher Guardian Angel AS (Matt Kakaley) to mix it up on the front end in :26.4 and then :54.4. Moving to the outer flow in second-over position, Ariana G moved up to fourth at the 1:23.1 three-quarters before besting a fast-closing Warrawee Roo (Daniel Dube) by a half-length in the record time. "I knew they were trotting hard leaving the gate and I was content with my early position and those fractions," Sears related in the winner's circle. "Jimmy Takter (trainer) texted me that she was a versatile sweetheart, and he was definitely right." The 4-year-old winning daughter of Muscle Hill now has captured 26 of her 37 races and banked $2,367,709. She is owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Previous Dayton Trotting Derby winners were Market Share, Il Sogno Dream, Obrigado and Pasithea Face S. A pair of $18,500 Opens on the undercard also produced new divisional track record holders. Optimist Blue Chip (Jeremy Smith) forged to a 1:53.2 score in the Open Trot, matching the fastest mile by a 4-year-old male (Il Sogno Dream in 2015 Derby). Carol's Z Tam (Sears) became the fastest 4-year-old pacing mare in Dayton's brief history stopping the timer in 1:51 in the Open Mares Pace. by Gregg Keidel, for Dayton Raceway

Tim Tetrick is on the verge of extending his harness racing record for consecutive $10-million seasons to 12 -- he needs $251,403 to accomplish the feat --- and is grateful to drive a group of workmanlike horses that have helped get him there. "I'm enjoying my run," said the 36-year-old Tetrick, who sits atop this year's driver standings for purses with $9.74 million and ranks fourth in North American harness racing history with $198.5 million. "A lot of nice horses have come through for me. I've got some nice horses that show up every time. They carry their lunch pail with them and take it home when they're done." Tetrick will drive two of those horses Friday at Hollywood Dayton Raceway: Will Take Charge in the $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby and Donttellmeagain in the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby. Will Take Charge is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in his race while Donttellmeagain is the 3-1 second choice in his. Will Take Charge, trained by Jeff Gillis, has won nine of 19 races this year and earned $409,965. His victories include the Crawford Farms Open Trot and Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational and he was second in the John Cashman Memorial as well as the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, with Tetrick in the bike for all four of those races. Tetrick has driven the 5-year-old gelding on nine occasions this season. "He's been good just about every start," Tetrick said about Will Take Charge, who has hit the board a total of 15 times this year. "He's great gaited, he's good to drive, and he's fast. He's got all the attributes." Will Take Charge, owned by Mac Nichol, finished eighth in the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but rebounded with a 1:53.2 triumph at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 15 with Mark MacDonald in the sulky. The winning time was one-fifth of a second off the fastest trotting mile in history at Yonkers. "I used him hard getting back to the lead (in the Maple Leaf) and he just came up short," Tetrick said. "I think he's better chasing. The bigger miles he's gone for me have been chasing, having somebody to look at." Will Take Charge has raced on a five-eighths-mile track, such as Dayton, four times this year. He won three times. "I think the five-eighths is kind of his cup of tea," Tetrick said. "I think he's sitting on a big race." Homicide Hunter, who won the Great Northeast Open Series championship on Sept. 2 and finished third in the Caesars Trotting Classic last weekend, is the 3-1 second choice in the Dayton Trotting Derby. Ariana G, the only mare in the race, is the 7-2 third choice. Donttellmeagain, trained by Jim King Jr., has won four of 12 races this season and earned $293,851 for owner Paton Racing Stables. His wins include the Graduate Series championship and he heads to the Dayton Pacing Derby off a third-place finish behind New Zealand-bred star Lazarus and North American standout McWicked in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. He was beaten by a half-length and paced his final quarter-mile in :25 seconds. "Honestly, another four steps and I think he would have tracked those horses down," Tetrick said. "I really do. I just ran out of real estate. I had a pretty good trip, third over following McWicked, but (Lazarus) got a real easy middle half and that was the difference in the race." Tetrick has driven Donttellmeagain in all but five of his 32 career races. The 4-year-old gelding has won 17 times and hit the board a total of 29 while earning $514,911. "I've gotten to stay with him all along and he's a pretty special little horse," Tetrick said. "I really don't think he's ever gone a bad race. He doesn't always win, but he's always right there. "He's just a good little horse. He shows up to work and he's fast, he's tough, he's strong. You can race him on the lead, off the pace; I can call an audible any time I want. He's not the biggest horse out there, but whoever he's following, he's trying to beat. He's got that I-will-beat-you attitude. He drives like a car. He just does a lot of things right." McWicked, a former Dan Patch Award-winner who has won seven of 13 races this year and earned $946,364, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Dayton Pacing Derby. Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT). The Dayton Trotting Derby is race No. 10 on the card and the Dayton Pacing Derby is race No. 12. Following are the fields for those two races. Dayton Trotting Derby PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Moonshiner Hanover-Aaron Merriman-Chris Beaver-8/1 2-Ariana G-Brian Sears-Jimmy Takter-7/2 3-I Know My Chip-Kayne Kauffman-Walter Haynes Jr.-10/1 4-Homicide Hunter-Scott Zeron-Chris Oakes-3/1 5-Guardian Angel As-Matt Kakaley-Anette Lorentzon-6/1 6-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-5/2 7-Warrawee Roo-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-15/1 8-JL Cruze-Brett Miller-Eric Ell-9/2 9-Bridge To Jesse's-Josh Sutton-Roger Welch-12/1 Dayton Pacing Derby PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 2-Beckhams Z Tam-Aaron Merriman-Jamie Macomber-10/1 3-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-3/1 4-Western Fame-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-4/1 5-Missile J-Kayne Kauffman-Walter Haynes Jr.-15/1 6-Rockin Ron-Chris Page-Ron Burke-6/1 7-Bit Of A Legend N-Jordan Stratton-Peter Tritton-8/1 8-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-2/1 9-Split The House-Scott Zeron-Chris Oakes-5/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

This Week: Bluegrass Stakes, Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; and John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 27) at Red Mile with four divisions in the $343,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Friday (Sept. 28) card at the Lexington oval will feature four divisions in the $373,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $273,100 Bluegrass for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Saturday (Sept. 29), Red Mile will offer the $350,000 (est.) Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $200,000 (est.) Bluegrass for 3-year-old filly pacers. The first week of racing in Lexington will conclude on Sunday (Sept. 30) with $200,000 (est.) Bluegrass events for 3-year-old male and female trotters and male pacers. Also on Thursday, Harrah's Philadelphia will contest three divisions in the $107,410 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $85,000 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Friday card at Harrah's Philadelphia will see three divisions in the $98,800 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers and a pair of divisions in the $96,000 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night will feature a pair of Grand Circuit stakes in the $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Prior to last Thursday's $436,560 Little Brown Jug final, driver David Miller was asked what he expected from his horse, Courtly Choice, in the race. Just an hour earlier, Courtly Choice had been the favorite in his elimination, but went off stride behind the starting gate and needed to rally furiously to advance to the final. Miller, known for his reserved demeanor, responded firmly: "He's going to win." A little less than an hour later, Courtly Choice delivered Miller to the winner's circle. Courtly Choice was a 1:49.4 winner in the Little Brown Jug final. Courtly Choice won the 73rd Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old pacers at the Delaware County Fair to cap a day harness racing fans -- the 46,126 in attendance as well as those watching elsewhere -- will talk about for years to come. The colt earned the trophy with a sustained first-over grind covering nearly five-eighths of a mile, passing pacesetting favorite Lather Up in the stretch and then holding off Dorsoduro Hanover by a neck in 1:49.4. Lather Up, who earlier in the day won his elimination in gate-to-wire fashion, finished third and Hayden Hanover was fourth. The top four finishers were separated by three-quarters of a length. "The first heat, he raced great but I felt horrible," an emotional Miller said following Courtly Choice's victory. "The only way he was going to make it better was if he won. He puts up a big fight, he's pretty game, and I give him a lot of credit. I have him all over the track a lot of times and he just keeps pushing forward. "The last 20 yards I saw he was getting up and I couldn't have been happier. I was pushing on him pretty hard and he was still digging. I was pretty excited when we hit the wire." Courtly Choice's elimination, the second of the day's two $102,720 first heats, will be remembered for its twists and turns. Courtly Choice, starting from post one at odds of 1-2, went off stride before the race began and was last in the six-horse field for the first half of the race. He fought back, racing three-wide at one point, to finish third behind Stay Hungry and Dorsoduro Hanover, beaten by only a length. But the story of that elimination did not end there. The inquiry light came on and Stay Hungry, who was bidding to become the sport's 11th Pacing Triple Crown winner, was disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with Hayden Hanover entering the second turn. Dorsoduro Hanover was elevated to first place, Courtly Choice to second, and Hayden Hanover to third. All four advanced to the final, but Stay Hungry was later scratched. "He was very revved up and that's usually not his characteristic," Miller said about Courtly Choice's miscue at the start of the elimination. "I got him into the gate just a little too quick. Usually I'm chasing him to keep up with the gate. He just kind of got balled up in there and bent around to the outside and rolled off. He made a huge recovery." Courtly Choice was not staked to the Little Brown Jug but was eligible as the winner of the Meadowlands Pace to enter for a $45,000 payment. "He's deserved it, he's earned it, and he proved today what a champ he is," said trainer Blake MacIntosh, who is part of the horse's ownership group made up of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms. The win was Miller's fifth in the Little Brown Jug, moving him into a tie with Billy Haughton and Mike Lachance for the most in history. Courtly Choice is a son of Art Major out of Lady Ashlee Ann and was bred by Winbak Farm. He has won 10 of 14 races this year and earned $899,353. For his career, the colt has won 12 of 26 starts and $952,704. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 980; 2. Tim Tetrick - 955.5; 3. David Miller - 701.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 454; 5. Jordan Stratton - 288. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 802.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 724; 3. Tony Alagna - 493.5; 4. Jim Campbell - 336; 5. Erv Miller - 267. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 229; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 182.8; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 171.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 153.2; 5. Robert Key - 142. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. Featured will be the Kentucky Futurity, the third leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap will be the companion Kentucky Filly Futurity for the sophomore fillies, the Tattersalls Pace and the Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, four International Stallion Stakes races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, and four Allerage contests for open pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Dayton, OH --- Will Take Charge and McWicked have been installed as the morning line favorites in a pair of $150,000 Dayton Derbies which will be contested this Friday (Sept. 28) at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. The favored 5-year-old son of Kadabra comes into the Derby off a win in the Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway two weeks ago. The Jeff Gillis-trainee also won the $186,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Tioga and was runner-up to Marion Marauder in the $286,650 Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands last month.Will Take Charge, with Tim Tetrick listed to drive, got the slight nod over Homicide Hunter (Scott Zeron), Ariana G (Jimmy Takter) and JL Cruze (Brett Miller) in the talented Trotting Derby field. The nine trotters entered in the race have combined for 214 wins and $8,866,470 in lifetime earnings. World and Indiana champion Homicide Hunter has won seven of 11 seasonal starts, including the $100,000 final of the Northeast Open Series at Pocono Downs. Dual Dan Patch Award-winner Ariana G, the lone mare in the race, is the richest participant with a $2,292,709 bankroll. She captured the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity earlier this year. JL Cruze is the oldest entrant at age 7 and owns the only sub-1:50 speed badge. He has made just four starts since returning to the races recently and was a fast-closing second in the $200,000 Caesars Trot at Hoosier Park last Friday. Others in the field are Guardian Angel AS (6-1), Moonshiner Hanover (8-1), I Know My Chip (10-1), Bridge To Jesse’s (12-1) and Warrawee Roo (15-1). Despite drawing the post position eight, McWicked will be the likely betting favorite (2-1 morning line) in the Pacing Derby. The 7-year-old son of McArdle will be seeking his 30th career victory while trying to increase his $3,267,876 bankroll. He won the prestigious $462,000 Canadian Pacing Derby earlier this month for trainer Casie Coleman. Other contenders—all stakes winners in their own right--are Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick, 3-1), Western Fame (Andrew McCarthy, 4-1), Split The House (Scott Zeron, 5-1), Rockin Ron (Chris Page, 6-1), Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, 8-1), Beckhams Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr., 10-1), All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, 12-1) and Missile J (Kayne Kauffman, 15-1). The Pacing Derby field has produced 215 triumphs and earned $13,997,574 in purses. The $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby will go as the 10th race on a 14-race program, with an estimated post time of 9:26 p.m. The companion $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby is slated two races later with a 10:13 p.m. scheduled start. From Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

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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