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LEBANON, OH - The first of four $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship races for Ohio-sired sophomore harness racing trotters and pacers was featured on Monday (April 12) at Miami Valley Raceway. Swizzle Hanover (Mike Wilder), a daughter of Uncle Peter, was impressive winning in 1:55.4 over Ozma (Aaron Merriman) and Magic Credit Card (Brett Miller). Despite a second place finish in last week's elimination heat, the public sent Swizzle Hanover to post as the 3-5 favorite and she looked the part throughout the championship tilt. Wilder patiently marched his filly forward before clearing to the front as the :28.2 first quarter beam was tripped. From there he rated a mile with splits of :57.3 and 1:26.1 while elimination winner Ozma (Aaron Merriman) sat nose-to-helmet on his back. Despite his attempt to rally Ozma in the stretch, Merriman couldn't get any closer as the winner crossed the finish line in 1:55.4 with a margin of just over a length on the runnerup. SWIZZLE HANOVER REPLAY   As a two-year-old Swizzle Hanover won two races and earned $75,575 for her owner-trainer Randy Bendis and his partner Reed Broadway. To start her sophomore season, she has won three races out of four, plus the second in the Hackett elimination, and has pushed her earnings to $108,125. In addition to Swizzle Hanover, Ozma and Magic Credit Card, I Am Winning (Chris Page) also earned an automatic berth in the $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational at Miami Valley on Friday, April 23. The remainder of that field will be announced when it is determined. The $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship race for state-bred sophomore trotting colts will be featured on Tuesday (April 13) as the ninth race on a 14-race program that starts at 2:05 p.m. Elimination heat winners Winning Ticket (Merriman) and Panzano (Dan Noble) have been installed as morning line favorites, followed by Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Credit Ace (Brett Miller) and Lockbox (Chris Page). Three of the five favorites hail from the Chris Beaver stable, while the other pair are members of the Ron Burke brigade. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - Charlie May opened his sophomore harness racing season in style by winning an elimination heat of the James K. Hackett Memorial late closer in 1:51.4, despite a rain-soaked sloppy racing surface at Miami Valley Raceway Saturday. Brett Miller surged the defending Ohio Sires Stakes champion past Heart Of Chewbacca (Dan Noble) in the final strides in the highly anticipated early season showdown between the two best Ohio-sired two-year-olds in 2020. Official Bean (Trevor Smith) , who prepped with a pair of early season wins at Miami Valley, finished third. Charlie May (McArdle) had a freshman scorecard of 9-7-2-0, good for $329,627 in earnings. Heart Of Chewbacca was nearly as impressive in his rookie racing season, compiling a 7-5-2-0 stat line and pushing $195,598 into his owners coffers. Neither horse left the gate with alacrity, but both were moved into the outer flow before the :57.1 halfway point in the mile. Heart Of Chewbacca was first to reach the front after a :26.2 third panel before Charlie May finally collared him nearing the finish line. The same scenario played out in the $300,000 O.S.S. championship tilt at Eldorado Scioto Downs last September. CHARLIE MAY REPLAY   Steve Carter trains homebred Charlie May for owner Don Tiger. The other Hackett Memorial elimination heat went just 2/5ths of a second slower as Laughagain Hanover (Dan Noble), who finished third in the aforementioned Buckeye freshman final, easily defeated Just Playing (Josh Sutton) and Third Edition (Miller). It was the fifth lifetime triumph for Laughagain Hanover and raised his earnings to $120,584 for the partnership of Cimaglio, Richardson and Gilmartin. Noble's wife Christi trains the son of McArdle. LAUGHAGAIN REPLAY   Joining the first three finishers in the eliminations will be fourth place finishers Siri Said (Mitch Cushing) and JW's Chrome (Kayne Kauffman). There was a tie for the fastest fifth place finish with both Imagine It (Sutton) and Just Marvelous (Trevor Smith) posting identical 1:54.1 clockings. If all ten horses enter there will be a coin flip between the fifth place finishers to determine who makes the nine-horse field for the $40,000 final. In a $22,500 Open I Pace Gold Digger King notched his second straight Saturday feature race victory, topping The First Step (Chris Page) and Americanfirewater (Kauffman) in 1:52. Linda Van Camp owns and Scott Mogan trains the five-year-old son of Pet Rock who now sports 14 career wins and $280,387 in earnings. Omega Cat (Tyler Smith) nosed out Yacht Week (Kauffman) and Grantmeawish (Sutton) in the $20,000 Open II. When Smith reached the wire in 1:51.3 it gave him his 100th win of the year at Miami Valley, a day after he reached the $100,000 seasonal earnings plateau. Racing resumes with 2:05 14-race matinees on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Miami Valley. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway        

LEBANON, OH - Making a strong bid to be named 2021 Horse Of The Year at Miami Valley, Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) won the featured Friday night (April 9) $25,000 Mares Open Pace for the sixth time in eleven tries. Using the winner's usual come-from-behind tactic, Page managed to reach the lead at the head of the stretch and then held off a late charge by Checks On The Way (Brett Miller) in 1:52. Pansy's Image (Tyler Smith) was also flying at the finish while settling for the show spot. For Page, the win was his 100th at the current Miami Valley meet. For trainer Ron Burke, the win was number 36 at Miami Valley this year as he attempts to overcome Tyler George's meet leading 39 victories before the curtain comes down on May 3. PACE BABY PACE   A race earlier on the program, driver Tyler Smith became the fifth Miami Valley reinsman to crack the $1 million purse earnings plateau. Five of the top 13 money-earning drivers in North American have been Miami Valley regulars since early January. Trace Tetrick was the first to surpass $1 million and currently leads the sport in the category. Other southwest Ohio stalwarts are Dan Noble (2nd nationally), Brett Miller (6th), Chris Page (7th) and Smith (13th). Also on Friday, driver-trainer Bruce Sturgeon guided King Klueber to his first win in just his second lifetime start. The three-year-old son of Allamerican Native, owned by Sturgeon and Karen Heaberlin, was impressive triumphing in 1:52.4 over Sweet Oliver (Ed Hennessey) and Serious Miki (Kayne Kauffman). Although Sturgeon has won over 900 races and earned over $3 million in his sulky career, the victory was the first since 2017 for the 59-year-old driver. Racing resumes Saturday (April 10) at Miami Valley featuring a showdown between Charlie May and Heart Of Chewbacca in the second elimination division of the annual James K. Hackett Memorial late closer. The two colts finished one-two in the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship for two-year-olds last season and both have announced intentions to venture outside Ohio to look for national acclaim when their scheduling allows this year. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - Miami Valley seeks the best Ohio-sired harness racing three year olds to showcase in four Scarlet & Gray Invitationals, each for a purse of $50,000, on the weekend of April 23 and 24. Sophomore fillies, both trotters and pacers, will be featured on Friday with the colts of both gaits going postward on Saturday. The top four finishers in each of the four $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championships a week earlier will get automatic bids with the remainder of the nine-horse fields filled by invitation of Race Secretary Gregg Keidel. Owners or trainers of horses that would like to be considered are asked to contact Keidel at 513-934-7336 or via email at: Gregg.keidel@mvgrllc.com. "The Scarlet & Gray Invitational fields may not be finalized until the day before the draws," explained Keidel, "but I'd like to have a list of interested parties on a list long before then." There is no nomination or starting fees for the Scarlet & Gray Invitationals. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - After a two month absence, It's A Herbie returned to the Miami Valley harness racing winner's circle following Tuesday (April 6) afternoon's $20,000 Open Trot. Using the winner's customary come-from-behind tactic, driver LeWayne Miller rallied him from sixth and last at the half and fourth at the top of the stretch to edge Lane Of Stone (Trevor Smith) in 1:52.4. The clocking represents a new lifetime mark for the five-year-old son Here Comes Herbie. Shake It Mary (Dan Noble) earned the show dough in the compact field. Verlin Yoder owns It's A Herbie, who now has 17 career victories and eclipsed the half million earnings plateau with the win. IT'S A HERBIE REPLAY   Ohio-sired trotting colts went postward in two $15,000 elimination divisions of the annual James K. Hackett Memorial late-closer, which kicks off the Buckeye stakes season. The $40,000 championship leg will be raced next Tuesday (April 13). Winning Ticket (Aaron Merriman), who banked $95,047 as a two-year-old, commenced his sophomore season by coasting to a 1:55.3 score over Fire Cross (Trace Tetrick) and Lockbox (Chris Page). Come On Sail (Tyler Smith) also qualified to advance to the lucrative final from the first split. Trainer Chris Beaver co-owns Winning Ticket with partners Steve Zeehandelar, Tim Homan and Jim Burnett. WINNING TICKET REPLAY   Panzano (Noble) guided another Beaver trainee to victory in the other division, beating Credit Ace (Chris Page) and Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in 1:56.1. The Spaaaartners Stable own the son of Coraggioso, who also earned $75,224 in his two-year-old campaign. Peter's Royalty (Josh Sutton) and Poets N Pirates (Tetrick) also earned spots in the $40,000 championship field. PANZANO REPLAY   Racing resumes Friday (April 9) and Saturday (April 10) at Miami Valley with the customary weekend 4:05 p.m. post times. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway            

LEBANON, OH - The Ohio-sired stakes season kicked off at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday (April 5) with a pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett Memorial eliminations determining the nine sophomore harness racing pacing filly finalists. They will compete next week for a $40,000 championship purse. Katie's Lucky Day (Trevor Smith) was triumphant in the first split, passing heavily favored Swizzle Hanover (Mike Wilder) mid-stretch on the way to a 1:56.1 score. Longshot Ti' Punch (Josh Sutton) was best of the rest with Magic Credit Card (Brett Miller) grabbing the final slot from the division in next week's championship field. Bill Cottongim owns and trains the daughter of Uncle Peter who was making her second seasonal start. Katie's Lucky Day earned $74,479 at age two and won the $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes consolation final at Northfield Park. KATIE'S LUCKY DAY REPLAY   Ozma (Aaron Merriman) was victorious in the other division, beating I Am Winning (Miller) and Incomeorexpenses (Tyler Smith) in 1:56.2. Also qualifying for the nine horse championship field were fourth place finisher Chip It In (Wilder) and the fastest fifth place finisher Imalovelylady (Trace Tetrick). Breeder Sandra Burnett shares ownership of Ozma with trainer Chris Beaver. A winner of $49,874 at two, the Triumphant Caviar lass was making her seasonal debut in the Hackett preliminary. OZMA REPLAY   A tandem James K. Hackett Memorial division for three-year-old Ohio-sired trotting colts will go postward in two short fields as part of a Tuesday (April 6) 15-race matinee program beginning at 2:05 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - Gold Digger King (Tyler Smith) pulled a mild harness racing upset over co-favorite GD Western Joe (Chris Page) and My Hero Ron (Josh Sutton) in Saturday's $23,000 Open I Handicap Pace at Miami Valley. The five-year-old son of Pet Rock, trained by Scott Mogan for owner Linda Van Camp, was making just his second start of 2021 after a stellar 2020 season when he won eight and was runnerup on five other occasions in just 18 starts. His 1:50.1 clocking established a new lifetime mark for the $269, 137 career winner. Smith negotiated a pocket ride throughout the tilt after forcing GD Western Joe to a :27 opening quarter before turning him loose. Page got a brief breather for his charge before reaching the :55.2 halfway point, but was forced to go :26.4 to repel first-up challenger Dojea Gizmo (Brett Miller) in the third quarter. When clearance appeared at the head of the lane Gold Digger sprinted past a stubborn GD Western Joe to secure the triumph. GOLD DIGGER KING REPLAY   The winner paid $10.60 and the exacta returned $35.20. The championship of the annual Tom Tharps Memorial series was also contested for a $30,000 purse. The top three finishers were noses apart as Velocity Poprocks (Sutton) threaded traffic to nip Hamsandwich (Dan Noble) and Thrasher (Kayne Kauffman) in the evenly-matched field of finalists. "I thought I was in great shape at the three quarters, in third over position after three straight :27 (and change) quarters," said a relieved Sutton immediately after the race. "Then he dove in a little coming off the final turn and I had to straighten him up. After that I had to get lucky to just barely get up at the wire!" Mark and Sylvia Evers' Velocity Standardbreds Stable own Velocity Poprocks, a six-year-old by Pet Rock who missed his entire five-year-old season. A 1:51.2 winner in the first preliminary leg of the Tharps series, 'Poprock' was roughed up a little in the second preliminary, but bounced back nicely for this 1:51.4 score. VELOCITY POPROCKS REPLAY   The winner paid $14.40 to his mutual faithful. The exacta kicked back $138 and a winning 50-cent trifecta ticket was worth $302.15. A $20,000 Open II Pace produced another stirring stretch duel between a pair of seven-year-old sons of American Ideal. American Dreamer (Page) prevailed over American Firewater (Kauffman) by a neck in 1:51.4. Miami Valley will be dark on Easter Sunday, but will present 2:05 matinees on Monday (April 5) and Tuesday (April 6). For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) won Miami Valley's Mares Open Pace for the fifth time in ten 2021 tries on Friday (April 2). In doing so, the Sweet Lou lass snapped the three race win streak of Big Bad Jane (Dan Noble), who won last week's Friday feature race. Although she has been favored on most recent occasions, Pace Baby Pace has not spent any time on the front end during the first three quarters of any mile. The notorious closer used the same strategy for this win. She settled in fourth until nearing the half when Page steered her to the outside and moved up to second. Still second by less than a length as the field reached the head of the stretch, Pace Baby Pace finally assumed command mid-way down the lane and cruised to a victory by just over a length in 1:52. Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own the winner, who also won ten of her 21 starts last season. Her bankroll has swelled to $257,250 with $61,025 earned already this year. PACE BABY PACE REPLAY   For Page, the win was one of four during the first eight races on the card. His other triumphs came with Drama Act (1:51.4, $2.40), who won for the tenth time and will now need to test the waters in the Open, as well as Danikova (1:52.4, $17.20) and Baba O'Riley (1:54.4, $6). The Saturday (April 5) card at Miami Valley will begin at 4:05 p.m. and feature two Open Paces and the $30,000 championship final of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

Trenton, NJ — As an outrider working to keep horses calm and safe on the track, Ashley Holliday has faced numerous perilous situations and found herself dropped from the saddle multiple times. Whenever it happened, she always got up and immediately remounted to continue the work that she loves. Until Aug. 18, 2020. That’s when Holliday met her match in the injury world. Ashley was completing her stint as an outrider during a morning training session at Cincinnati’s Belterra Park Thoroughbred track, jogging her horse along the outer lane, when a horse finishing a workout mile passed at the inside rail. Ashley’s horse reacted to a noise as the other horse went by, setting off a chain of events that led to Ashley ending up with a broken back that kept her sidelined for more than five months. Despite an accident that may have sent less courageous souls into another line of work, Holliday was back riding in February and recently began working fulltime again at Miami Valley Raceway. She will return to both Belterra and Scioto Downs when they open in May. If anyone thought three broken vertebrates and three ruptured discs were going to keep the 32-year-old Holliday down, they need to get to know her better. Fear or pain will never keep her off a horse. “I love it,” the Ohioan said. “If I could be a millionaire doing this, I’d probably be the happiest girl in the world. Nobody loves what they do more than I do. I go home at the end of the day and if I’m on Facebook, I’m looking at outrider horses; I’m looking at stuff to buy for my outrider horses. I’m thinking about what I can do to make them better. I really thoroughly enjoy horse racing.” That love comes from her upbringing. Ashley’s parents owned up to 30 horses at one time. Their vacations revolved around racing. Her mom Sherri Holliday is a former trainer and her dad, Ken Holliday, has 5,562 wins as a driver. Ashley’s interest, though, had nothing to do with sitting behind a horse. “I just always wanted to ride; I’m fascinated by it,” said Holliday, who currently has three riding horses that she alternates for work. “I read all the horse racing books until my parents finally caved and bought me a riding horse. “Outriding just combines all the things I love. I love horse racing, I love riding horses in general. To be able to combine two of those things and make a living doing it, is a childhood dream come true for sure.” With plans on being a veterinarian after high school, Holliday was hired as outrider at Minnesota’s Running Aces by Gregg Keidel. She figured it would be her summer job. “Running Aces is a seasonal spring-summer meet, and I thought I could work my school schedule out to make it a summertime gig,” Holliday said. “I never imagined at that point it would turn into what it did. After a couple years doing it seasonally, I thought I was ready to go into it fulltime. It just was hard finding the right opportunity at the right spot. It took me four or five years before I fell into working for some good tracks and kind of expanded things and it really took off as a viable career.” Keidel, now the race secretary at Miami Valley, hired her once more. “It’s pretty cool,” Ashley said. “The same guy that gave me my first shot hires me again now, 13 years later.” All was well with the world until that fateful August day in the Queen City. It was 10:15 a.m.; the track was closing in 15 minutes. Holliday thought she was through for the morning, but her adventure was just beginning. As a horse breezed at the rail, a noise — perhaps a clump of dirt from the horse’s hooves hitting the rail and echoing — caused her horse to stop suddenly. “It was hot, my horse was sweaty, things were slick, and everything had loosened up throughout the day,” Ashley said. “My saddle kind of slipped back, and he didn’t like that very much. “So, within half a second it went from jogging along nice and easy, to not moving at all, to bam! We were galloping wide open and bucking like a bronc. Even though I was staying upright on his back, I just had no control over him. I was in the middle of his back, way further back than I’d like to be. “At that point, he wanted the saddle off, he was scared. I realized I was fighting a losing battle. I tried to gracefully tuck and roll and get off the horse. It didn’t quite go as I planned. I kind of fell, half-jumped; half got thrown all at the same time.” Ashley’s horse took himself off the track and returned to the barn on his own. But Holliday hit the ground so hard she came out of both boots. The pads inside her safety vest got twisted and the zipper busted open. “I finally quit rolling on the ground, and I was like, man, that’s a first,” she said. “I just popped right up, and I couldn’t quite stand all the way up straight. I couldn’t catch my breath; I had this feeling that I broke my tailbone or something. I thought something wasn’t quite right.” And yet, the ultimate professional wasn’t about to shirk her duties. “I wanted to keep going; I had to work the races at Scioto that night,” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t have time to be hurt, I’ve got to get home, got to get in the shower, get in the car and get up to Scioto. I can’t take off.’ Only I had ever used the horse up there at Scioto. I thought I can’t call another girl to ride that horse; they’re not familiar with it. I was just so adamant I was fine.” But halfway through her drive home, Holliday could not catch her breath and called her husband, driver Josh Sutton, to talk her through the remainder of the drive. When Sutton saw his wife emerge from the truck, they immediately went to the hospital. Upon arrival, Ashley was still insisting things were fine. “I remember being in the hospital bed and I told my husband he could go to work, go ahead and drive, that I was OK,” she said. “Within five minutes after he left, the doctor came back and said, ‘OK your back is broken.’ I was like, ‘Wait … what? My back is … huh?’” Sutton had the same response. “I called him and said, ‘Hey babe, can you come back, my back is broken,’” Holliday said. “He was like, ‘Wait … it’s what?’” Word spread quickly among friends, family and employers and the reaction was usually the same — can she walk? She could, but work was not an option that night, or for months to come. Holliday was able to function for a normal life, although getting up and down stairs and getting in and out of bed was difficult for a while. “It was awful,” she said. “My entire life is horses; I live, eat, sleep, and breathe them. I was in the saddle at least 10 hours a day and I go from that to where I could barely walk out on my deck and look at them for the first two months. It was hard. It makes you realize exactly how much your life is invested in one thing.” She also had another revelation during that time after hearing a harness driver had a severe accident at a fair and needed immediate surgery. “I thought, wow, I was pretty lucky,” Holliday said. “I credit that to wearing my safety vest. I think that is probably what saved me from getting a lot worse off than I was.” During her recovery, Ashley did a lot of TV binge watching, with her favorite being Heartland, a show about horses, of course. As for how she kept from going nuts, Holliday just turned the tables. “I think I drove my friends crazy,” she said. Anxious to return, Ashley bent the doctor’s orders only slightly when it came to easing back into riding. Having seen her dad be involved in a number of accidents and try to come back too fast was a lesson for Ashley. When she finally returned to outriding last month, Ken had some valuable advice. “He’s been in a lot of wrecks on the racetrack and gone down a lot of times and always came back from them,” Holliday said. “He said, ‘You’ve got to remember what happened, you went through it. At the same time, you’ve got to put it out of your head and move on, because if you don’t do that now, you’re never going to. You’re going to think about it all the time.” She took her dad’s advice and, three weeks into Ashley’s return, she had to catch a loose horse on the track. “I’m glad it happened as quick as it did because I don’t have to think about it anymore,” she said. “It was like, OK, I got it over with, I’m back. It’s all good. I didn’t really think about it that much but everyone else was like ‘You think you’re going to be scared? Will you be nervous?’ I was like, should I be nervous?” She’s not nervous, nor is she out of shape any longer. Admitting that it’s “hard to mimic the rigors of a 14-race card,” while laid up, Holliday feels her body is back to where it was before the injury and she feels 100 percent recovered. When it comes to her broken back, Ashley chalks it up to another lesson learned. “There’s been hairy moments I remember now than more so at the time,” she said. “Having scary situations you’ve been in, with things that went right and didn’t go right, you have to learn from them and remember them. “At the same time, you have to put them out of your head because if you worry too much about everything that could go wrong, you’ll scare yourself to death with the what-ifs, and what-could-bes and what-might-have-happened. You just have to focus on what’s going on right in front of you.” Fortunately for Holliday and the harness racing world, she still has an outriding career in front of her. It will take more than a broken back to keep such a devout horse lover down, let alone out. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA

LEBANON, OH - Heavily backed Kikimora (Brett Miller) did not disappoint in the $27,500 championship leg of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial trotting series at Miami Valley on Tuesday (March 30). The four-year-old Chris Beaver-trained daughter of Triumphant Caviar dominated her foes with a 1:54.1 tour of the five-eighths mile oval. Dude Included (John DeLong) drafted behind Kikimora as long as he could but could not mount a serious challenge while finishing as runnerup ahead of longshot Mr Charmbro (Tyler Smith) who grabbed the show spot. Beaver co-owns the winner with her breeder Sandra Burnett. It was the eighth career win for Kikimora, who has now banked $328,372. KIKIMORA REPLAY   The featured $20,000 Open I Trot was captured by Mission Accepted (Chris Page) who nosed out Lane Of Stone (Dan Noble) and It's A Herbie (LeWayne Miller) in a thrilling 1:52.2 battle royale. The winner sat third along the pylons for the first half of the race, then moved up to second on the outside at the three quarters marker before engaging Lane Of Stone in a side by side, stride for stride slugfest the length of the stretch. It was the 21st lifetime triumph for Mission Accepted, one less than Lane Of Stone's 22, as the two celebrated Ohio-sired horses added to their impressive earnings credentials. Six-year-old Mission Accepted has now banked $904,497, while five-year-old Lane Of Stone has earned $526,152. MISSION ACCEPTED REPLAY   Both horses are still owned, at least in part, by their breeders. Knox Services bred Mission Accepted and shares current ownership with Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Harry Horowitz bred Lane Of Stone with his late wife Iris and maintains ownership while entrusting Mark Winters will his conditioning. An $18,000 Open II Trot was won by Jailhouse Sam (Miller) who topped Shake It Mary (Noble) and Black Mamba AS (Smith) in 1:54. Miller was subbing in the sulky for veteran trainer-driver Hugh 'Sandy' Beatty, who is currently recovering from a freak non-racing related injury. Casey Clemens, who also bred the seven-year-old son of Victory Sam, is still the owner of the $383,257 career money maker. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway  

LEBANON, OH - Harness racing driver Josh Sutton scored a Grand Slam on the Monday (March 29) matinee program at Miami Valley Raceway, strengthening his hold on the sixth spot in the driver's standings at the southwest Ohio five-eighths mile oval. Sutton's triumphs came for four different trainers as he tallied with Slymar's Dragon (1:55.1, $3.60) for trainer Mark Evers, Harper (1:54.1, $4.60) for Alesha Binkley, Dancin Anna (1:52.2, $3.80) for Daniel Shetler and Velocity Ian (1:53.4, $5.20) for Chris McGuire. SLYMAR'S DRAGON REPLAY   The stellar drivers colony at Miami Valley includes four of the first six reinsmen in North America to surpass the $1 million seasonal earnings plateau. Trace Tetrick was the first to topple the $1 million mark, followed by Dan Noble, Brett Miller and most recently Chris Page. Tyler Smith is within $100,000 in purse earnings and could soon be the fifth Miami Valley driver to add his name to the list. Racing resumes Tuesday afternoon at Miami Valley with a 2:05 p.m. post time. For full results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway        

Black Magic Racing has announce the acquisition of the open pacer and stakes winner Dojea Gizmo after his stellar performance at the Meadowlands this past Saturday night (March 27).  The 4-year-old gelded son of Tellitlikeitis has been undefeated since he changed hands more than four months ago and will now begin racing at Miami Valley Gaming with the best horses in the state. DOJEA GIMO REPLAY   As part of Greg Luther’s goal in acquiring Grand Circuit stock, this is the eighth Grand Circuit level horse he’s picked up since October of last year. The Indiana-bred pacer is expected to make his first start for his new connections this Saturday at Miami Valley Gaming. From Black Magic Racing

GD Western Joe continued his mastery of the open harness racing class at Miami Valley on Saturday (March 27), notching his fifth win in the top class in ten seasonal starts. The six-year-old Real Desire stud has also been second three times and third once. Driver Chris Page waited until just past the :27 initial quarter to take command. Once on top, Page throttled the winner to a :56.1 halfway juncture, then sped through a back half in an eye-popping :54.1 to secure the victory. My Hero Ron (Josh Sutton) gave futile chase in the stretch before setting for second, while Our Majordan A (Brett Miller) tried valiantly from an assigned outside post to catch GD Western Joe around the final bend, but ultimately faded to third.   GD WESTERN JOE REPLAY     Finalists for the $30,000 championship leg of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series were determined in a pair of final preliminary legs on the Saturday card. Two huge upsets make next Saturday's final look like a wide open affair. E Mode's Desire paced a new lifetime mark of 1:50.4 for owner-trainer-driver Mike Peterson to score at 15-1 odds over No Quarter (Mitch Cushing) and heavily favored Louie Louie (Chris Page). The five-year-old son of Real Desire, who made an uncharacteristic break in stride in the first prelim in the series, needed the impressive come-from-behind victory to advance to the lucrative final. It was the sixth pari-mutuel triumph in E Mode's Desire's career and boosted his earnings to over $90,000.   E MODE'S DESIRE REPLAY     Sunshine List (Cushing) was an even more shocking upset winner in the second Tharps Memorial split, returning a $50 win mutual for beating Shvaiko (Brett Mille) and Hamsandwich (Dan Noble). The 1:51.4 tally was the fifth of four-year-old Sunshine List's career and secured the son of Sunshine Beach's spot in the championship. Mike Hitchcock conditions the winner for owner William Hartt.   SUNSHINE LIST REPLAY     Series earnings determine the nine finalists who will battle in the $30,000 championship tilt next Saturday (April 3). In order, they are Louie Louie, Sunshine List, E Mode's Desire, Shvaiko, Velocity Poprocks, No Quarter, Thrasher, Lou's A Pansy and WF Eeyore. Hamsandwich would move in should any of the finalists fail to enter. Another highlight on Saturday was the first sub-1:50 winner of the meet. Opportune Hanover (Page) scorched the lightning quick five-eighths mile oval in 1:49.4, beating Townline All Good (Noble) and Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) in a $14,400 conditioned event. Ron Burke trains the four-year-old son of Dragon Again who now sports $155,769 in lifetime earnings.   OPPORTUNE HANOVER REPLAY     Driver Brett Miller became the third reinsman at Miami Valley to surpass the $1 million purse earnings plateau in 2021, joining Trace Tetrick and Dan Noble in the top five on the national purse earnings list. Chris Page is on the brink of joining the seasonal $1 million earnings fraternity; while Tyler Smith isn't far off and likely will also join the club in the coming weeks. The winners of eight of the first ten races took new career speed badges as track superintendent Jimmy Shelton and his crew took full advantage of Friday's rain coupled with beautiful sunny, warm weather on Saturday to produce a perfectly manicured speedy surface. Racing resumes on Sunday at Miami Valley with the normal early week matinee post time of 2:05 p.m EDT. For full race results, click here. by Gregg Keidel, for Miami Valley

LEBANON, OH - Big Bad Jane (Dan Noble) extended her harness racing win streak to three at Miami Valley on Friday (March 26) capturing the $20,000 Mares Open in 1:50.3. Although the seven-year-old daughter of Big Bad John is no stranger to the winner's circle, with 32 victories in just 97 lifetime starts, this triumph was her first versus Open company since last Fall. Noble rushed Big Bad Jane directly to the front before the quarter was reached in :26.4 and lead the field through subsequent fractions of :55 and 1:22. Checks On The Way (Brett Miller) enjoyed a cozy pocket trip throughout until mounting a serious challenge in the final strides, only to come up a neck short. Longshot Coral Reef Hanover (Brady Galliers) proved best of the rest while Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) and Fully A Virgin (Tyler Smith) picked up the remaining paychecks. Owner Sandra Burnett was co-breeder of Big Bad Jane with Dan Noble's late father Chip. Now in her sixth racing season, the winner has banked $452,734 in her stellar career. She is now trained by Christi Noble, Dan's wife, who is having a spectacular season thus far in 2021. BIG BAD JANE REPLAY   The win for Dan Noble was his fourth on the program in the first six races. Two races later another impressive triumph was recorded by Drama Act (Page), who defeated Sandy Sue (Miller) and Colorful Sky (Noble) in 1:52.1. The four-year-old daughter of Well Said won The Courageous Lady at Northfield Park and the Keystone Classic at The Meadows last season before ending her sophomore season by qualifying to the Breeders Crown final in her division. Drama Act is a homebred owned by the OK Corral of Illinois and is trained by Ron Burke. Racing resumes Saturday (March 27) at Miami Valley with a 4:05 p.m. post time. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway                

Harness racing driver Trace Tetrick is off to the best start of his career and now gets to look forward to the home portion of his season. The 34-year-old Tetrick leads all drivers in North America in purses and is second in wins as he prepares for Friday's opening night at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Tetrick lives five minutes from the Anderson, Ind., oval and has won seven consecutive driving titles there. "It's exciting," said Tetrick, who has spent the first part of this year competing at Ohio's Miami Valley Raceway, a roundtrip four-hour journey. "It's great to be back close to home and racing. Hoosier is a great place to race and I'm glad to have that opportunity. "The commute will be a lot nicer," he added with a laugh. "Four hours a day in the car kind of gets old after a while." Tetrick has made the most of his travels, though, with $1.16 million in purses and 130 wins. He leads Miami Valley drivers in both categories. "Everything has been very good over there," said Tetrick, whose win total is a career best for this point in the year. "I've been very fortunate." Tetrick, who has won 5,883 races lifetime, kicks off his Hoosier Park season with drives in all 14 of Friday's races. "I'm looking forward to it," Tetrick said. "I like the style of racing at Hoosier. You can race on the front or from off the pace, you have options. You're not committed to the speed in a sense because you're not as dependent on the draw. It's not great to have posts eight or nine at Hoosier but it's not as bad as some other places." Last year, posts four and five produced the highest percentage of winners, at 15.7 and 15.3, respectively. Post eight was 7.7 percent and post nine was 6.9 percent. "At some other tracks, you're more dependent on the pace or you have to go hard to get to where you need to be," Tetrick said. "When it comes to the post draw, Hoosier is a little more forgiving." In additionto winning the past seven driving titles at Hoosier, Tetrick is looking for his 10th overall crown. He got his first in 2008 and his second in 2012. "I hope (I can get No. 10) but it's a long way off," he said. "It's a long summer and a lot of things have to go right; a lot of pieces have to fall into place. Hopefully, they do, and that puzzle comes together, and everything looks good at the end." Last year, Tetrick won an Indiana Sire Stakes championship with 2-year-old female trotter Swift Swanda and had second-place finishes with 2-year-old male pacer What's Your Beef, 3-year-old female trotter Rock Swan, and 3-year-old female pacer Mystical Carrie. "I think (Swift Swanda) will be a good 3-year-old with the way she finished up," Tetrick said. "She just needed to mature a little bit. She's got a great way of going and she's got a great attitude. She just needed to learn and develop good habits. "I'm looking forward to seeing the young horses this year and seeing what they're going to do, how good they're going to be," he added. "In the past, they've just come out like gangbusters, right off the bat. Horses are just more gifted." For more about Hoosier Park's new season, click here. For Friday's complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

LEBANON, OH - Favorites won both divisions of the final preliminary leg of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial trotting series at Miami Valley on Tuesday (March 23). In doing so, both took new lifetime best speed badges and established themselves as favorites for next week's $27,500 championship tilt. Howyadoinbub (Dan Noble) beat Mary Mag Delene (Chris Page) and Lights Down Low (John DeLong) in the first split, stopping the teletimer in 1:54.3. The four-year-old son of Dejarmbro skipped the first leg of the Farwick but secured his spot in the final with the triumph. Bobbie Jo Brewer trains Howyadoinbub, who has won five in seven tries under her tutelage, for owners Kevin Manley and Brian Georges. HOWYADOINBUB REPLAY   Heavily favored Kikimora (Brett Miller) dominated the second division, besting Dude Included (DeLong) and Shine All The Way (Noble) in 1:53.3. The four-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar, notorious for flagging her tail from start to finish, won both series tune ups for trainer Chris Beaver and his partner Sandra Burnett, who bred Kikimora. A lightly raced winner of over $300,000 lifetime, the victory was just her seventh in 24 lifetime starts. KIKIMORA REPLAY   In addition to Howyadoinbub and Kikimora the series finalists include Mr Charmbro, Mary Mag Delene, Shine All The Way, Dude Included, Bridge Works, Susie D and Lights Down Low. Bluebird Deacon would move in if any of the finalists fail to enter. A $22,000 Open Handicap Trot was captured by Lane Of Stone (Trevor Smith), who also lowered his win record with an impressive 1:53.1 mile. Smith pulled the mild upset by making a quarter move to the front with the five-year-old son of Wishing Stone and then holding off favored Mission Accepted (Page) and I Know My Chip (Brandon Bates). LANE OF STONE REPLAY   Lane Of Stone was a stalwart in the Ohio Sires Stakes while a juvenile and now has won two of five attempts versus Open company in 2021. Harry Horowitz owns the 22-time winner who is trained by Mark Winters. Racing will resume Friday and Saturday nights at Miami Valley with 4:05 p.m. post times for both programs. For full race results, click here.  From Miami Valley Raceway  

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