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Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had a monster night on Monday (April 18) at Northfield Park by posting eight wins on the 15-race program. Wrenn's triumphs were with Ultimate Winner ($3.00) in race one, Jagger Blue Chip ($3.80) in race two, Mcport In A Storm ($7.60) in race four, Absolutely Certain ($5.00) in race five, Mythical Hall ($6.20) in race nine, Major Marcus ($16.00) in race 10, Rusty's No Fool ($7.80) in race 11and Orse Power ($4.60) in race 13. Wrenn is Northfield's leading driver with 184 local wins so far this year. Aaron Merriman (156), Kurt Sugg (89), Joe Bongiorno (80) and Ryan Stahl (78) complete the top five. Being the leading driver at Northfield is nothing new to Ronnie, who won Northfield's 2013, 2014 and 2015 local titles. Wrenn has been driving since 2008 and has since posted 3,168 career wins and is approaching $15 million is purse earnings. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park

LEBANON, OH. - American Girl recorded her fifth win in ten tries at the 2016 Miami Valley Raceway meet in Friday night's $20,000 Mares Open Pace. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. sent the seven-year-old Art's Chip mare winging from the get-go to score the one-length victory over favored Safe From Terror (Chris Page), who was last week's winner of the weekly Friday featujre race. Wrenn Jr. guided the winner through fractions of :27.4, :57, and 1:24.4 before tripping the teletimer in 1:54 over a damp track rated 'good'. Page backed the runnerup off the gate at the start, then worked out a second-over trip that fell just one tick short. Hidden Land (Peter Wrenn) got the ground-saving pocket ride and finished third. Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt own American Girl, who now boasts $55,400 in seasonal earnings and $643,188 in her fabulous career. She has 33 wins, 25 place and 29 show finishes in just 122 lifetime starts, an impressive 71% in-the-money scorecard. A pair of final preliminary round divisions of the Dr. Don Mossbarger Memorial Series were also contested for mares that were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $50,000 at the outset of the late-closer. Ginger Tree Alexis (Josh Sutton) copped the first split in 1:56.2 over Tucson Breeze (Dan Noble) and Dolly's Girl (Kayne Kauffman). Howard Taylor owns the four-year-old winning daughter of Dragon Again, who was shipped to the Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable for this event. Jackie's Rocket (Brady Galliers), already the winner this season of the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial Series, pulled off a narrow 'nose' upset triumph in the second division, topping Townlinedaliscard (Kayne Kauffman) and Southwind Roulette (Chris Page) in 1:56. Those six mares will be joined by Cool Desire, Swinging Cami and Dandys Beauty when the $25,000 championship final goes postward next Friday. Miami Valley has been on a roll handle-wise with back-to-back betting records on Monday and Tuesday afternoons earlier this week. Following a handle of $395,433 on the Monday matinee, a total of $401,001 was wagered on the Tuesday program. From the Miami Valley Media Department

Harness racing driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. made his 3,000th trip to the winner's circle after winning with Say It Again Sam in Northfield Park's fifteenth race on Wednesday (February 3). Wrenn led at every call with Say It Again Sam, eventually besting his competition by 4-1/4 lengths. The 1:58.1 clocking was the 13th career score for the six year-old pacer, who returned $2.60 to win. The 29-year-old Wrenn began driving in 2008. His 3,000 wins have helped him garner almost $14 million in purse earnings. He won the 2013 and 2014 national dash driving titles and finished second in 2015. Wrenn is a 2005 graduate of Hartland High School in Hartland, Mich. He played center field for and graduated from Mott Community College in Flint. Although Wrenn comes from a racing family, he did not take an interest and become involved with horses at an early age. "I was 19 or 20 when I jogged my first horse. I was always really busy with sports and stuff," said Wrenn. "I didn't really have time for it." However, after weighing his options and slowly becoming more interested with the family business, Ronnie decided on a career in racing. "I was just sitting at the table working on stuff from school on my computer one night and looked up and told my dad I wanted to be a driver. He looked at me like I was crazy. But I was old enough that he really didn't have a lot of say, and so far it has all worked out pretty well." Wrenn has found success and has been a regular to the winner's circle since his very first time behind the starting gate. He won his first race, aboard Artful Power in a $1,400 Billings race at a Michigan fair. "It was hard breaking in at first. I guess I got lucky to be put on some good horses and things just took off," offered Wrenn. "My parents and grandparents really helped me a lot as well as countless other people." Wrenn's fasted and richest win ever came in last year's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs with Doo Wop Hanover in 1:49.2. He rates the best horses he has ever driven as Arch Madness, Betterluvnexttime, Doo Wop Hanover, Luck Be Withyou, Night Pro and Victory Is Coming. Ronnie's favorite horse to drive is Victory Is Coming. Her 1:53.3 world record performance on July 3, 2015 at Northfield Park stands as Wrenn's favorite of his 3,000 victories. He was most impressed with her effort in that race because she won despite being parked the entire mile. Ronnie credits several people as having large influences on his life and career. Along with his father and uncles, "My mom is my biggest fan and has been more supportive than anyone could even imagine. I am also very lucky to have Briana (his girlfriend) and my two sisters, Sandy and Katie." Wrenn says his ultimate dream race to win would be the Little Brown Jug, "But I would take the feature races at Northfield too. I am a big fan of the Battle of Lake Erie and the Milstein Memorial," said Wrenn. "There are many owners and trainers that have given me opportunities and I will be forever grateful to them," offered Wrenn. "To win races, a driver has to drive fast horses for talented trainers with good owners." Although this milestone victory came in a $4,600 condition race, Wrenn was happy to win a milestone victory with a horse conditioned by Virgil Morgan Jr. "Virgil was one of the very first trainers in Ohio to use me and give me a chance with nice horses. He really helped jump start the success I have had." Ayers Ratliff

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. again topped the local harness racing driving ranks in 2015, winning 653 races over the Flying Turns. His nearest competitor, Aaron Merriman, drove 579 winners. Jason Merriman (338), Ryan Stahl (210) and Kurt Sugg (199) completed the top five reinsmen. Wrenn, 29, resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and now has four driving titles under his belt. He won the dash titles at Northfield Park in 2013 and 2014 and Northville Downs in 2013. Ronnie's 2015 total victory tally was 796, which ranked him third among all drivers in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (873) and George Napolitano Jr. (832) had more wins in 2015 than Wrenn Jr. Wrenn began driving in 2008 and has since won 2,968 races and purses of $13,731,914. Wrenn's fasted and richest win ever came in last year's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs aboard Doo Wop Hanover in 1:49.2. Northfield Park's 2015 leading trainer Brian Loney won 54 more races than any other local conditioner. He garnered 153 victories throughout last year. Sam Schillaci finished second with 99 wins. Michael Dowdall (86), Jessica Millner (70) and Andy Rickert (67) rounded out the top five Northfield Park trainers for 2015. Brian, originally from Hager Hill, Kentucky, has relocated to Northfield, Ohio. He and wife Harla Renae have three children: 15 year-old son Gannun, 11 year-old son Payton and six year-old daughter Polly. Loney, 37, has 1,330 career victories and purse earnings of $3,241,750. The 2015 Northfield title is the fourth local dash victory for Brian. He has also won titles at Bluegrass Downs, Fairmount Park, The Red Mile and Thunder Ridge. Brian recalled that his first training win was with the gelding pacer Stealth Fighter at Fairmount Park in 1996. Wrenn and Loney will each be presented with a plaque and dining gift certificate to the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in a winner's circle ceremony later in January. Ayers Ratliff      

Harness racing driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., piloted the winners of two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) for pacing and trotting mares, 4-year-olds & up, Friday night at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. The black and maroon-clad reinsman steered favorites Igotafeelinfran and Victory Is Coming to resounding wins in both divisions for aged distaffs.   Wrenn first guided Igotafeelinfran to victory over six rivals in the pacing division, clocked in 1:54.1.   Trained by Jim Daily, the 5-year-old daughter of Feelin Friskie used an easy, gate-to-wire steer to nail down her 25th career victory and eighth of the season, pushing her career totals to $461.520 for Ohio owners Jerry Zosel, Kathy Ratcliff and Kimberly Dailey.   "She's a Cadillac to drive," Wrenn, Jr., stressed. "Just a very classy mare. I felt confident that she was the best in there and could win as long as I avoided any road trouble."   Wrenn, Jr., did just that, sending Igotafeelinfran right to the top and snapping off fractions of :26.4, :56.3 and 1:24.3, before pacing home her final panel in a modest :29.3 and drawing off by 2½ lengths. Igotafeelinfran was a multiple OSS winner at ages two and three, and captured this same event last year as a 4-year-old in 1:55. Co-owner Jerry Zosel said he wasn't sure what was up next on the agenda for Igotafellinfran, but said he felt sure that trainer Jim Dailey would be giving the mare a well-deserved rest in the near future.   "He might wind her down in a few weeks and give her a little break during the winter," Zosel said. "It's not about the money at this point with her. She's been awfully good to us."   Igotafeelinfran's stablemate Lady Julie (Randy Tharps) finished second, while 40-1 longshot Shakin Friskie (Dan Noble) did well to be third.   Wrenn, Jr., next guided the diminutive but mighty Victory Is Coming, who scored her 60th career win en route to establishing a new track record for aged trotting mares over Dayton's five-eighths mile oval, clocked in 1:54.3 for the one mile test. Owned by Betty and Red Shaw and trained by Ammon Hershberger, the 8-year-old mare upped her career earnings to $656,952. "She has such a good, fluid way of trotting," said Wrenn, Jr., in the winner's circle. "She can race anyway you want her to--from on or off the pace, and she always give you her best effort. She just loves her job and I never chased her at all tonight. It was all her."   Wrenn, Jr. got away in the three-hole but moved Victory Is Coming quickly from the rail at the :27 first quarter, took the lead, and never looked back--leading the field of nine trotters through fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.3. She used a final brush of :29 to win by nearly nine lengths over rival, 24-1 longshot, Miss Lulu Belle (Don Irvine, Jr.), while Rose Run Nellie (Josh Sutton) got up for third. Kimberly Rinker

“Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.” -- Leroy “Satchel” Paige, legendary Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Harrisburg, PA --- Mr. Paige, this is Aaron Merriman and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Ronnie, Aaron -- this is Mr. Satchel Paige, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher and icon. He is the author of the quote that starts this story. And the “something” he refers to is named George Napolitano Jr. For most of 2015, a casual glance at the leading dashwinning drivers in North America might have given you “déjà vu all over again,” as another baseball legend noted. Aaron Merriman has had the lead in the standings, with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. right behind. This is exactly the same scenario as happened in 2014, when Merriman led until the final days of the year, then saw Wrenn make a tremendous late push to secure himself his second straight North American title. But over the last three-plus months, a new wrinkle has emerged. (Well, not exactly new -- he was third behind “Double A” and “Ronnie” in 2014, and was national champion in 2010.) But the graph below shows what is meant by “a power move in the middle of the race”: MONTHLY AND SEASONAL TOTALS                                     AARON MERRIMAN   GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.   RON WRENN JR.     Month Year   Month Year   Month Year                     end of April     290     124     263 May   66 356   101 225   78 341 June   70 426   77 302   61 402 July   79 505   100 402   67 469 August   63 568   106 508   62 531 September   52 620   92 600   75 606 Oct. 1-11   28 648   43 643   23 629 That’s right -- “George Nap,” 166 victories off Merriman’s lead at the end of April, has narrowed the gap to five after the racing of Sunday (Oct. 11). Wrenn has stayed within 20 or so victories of the lead throughout the year -- but now he finds himself looking up at two people, not one. And Napolitano shows no signs of present abatement, as the October numbers posted above show. A brief background: Merriman and Wrenn both have a base at Northfield Park in Cleveland. Wrenn has 488 seasonal victories there as of Oct. 11, Merriman 401, though their UDRs are practically the same (Wrenn .398, Merriman. 396). Where Merriman has gotten his edge is by doing “double duty,” also racing regularly at The Meadows near Pittsburgh, where he is in fourth place with 209 wins, behind perennial leader Dave Palone and the “second-third interchangers,” Mike Wilder and Tony Hall. The double duty sometimes means Merriman misses the last few races at The Meadows or the first few at Northfield; interestingly, the same thing happens with Napolitano. Napolitano’s season has one focus: a 100-mile strip of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and its Northeast Extension, between The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (which races in 2015 from March 21 to Nov. 21, at night) and Harrah’s Philadelphia (which races March 20 to Dec. 11, during the day). During the eastern PA winter hiatus, Napolitano has in the recent past been going to his “official USTA” home in Florida, where he races a much-reduced, intermittent schedule at Pompano (he had 26 wins between the end of 2014 at Philly and its 2015 opening, with only 85 drives in 21 cards raced). But what a focus he has had in the Keystone State in 2015, by George! He had 100 or more wins in three different months (May, July, and August), and he had 10 winners in one day three times (July 26, Aug. 16, and Sept. 16). Between Philly and Pocono, there have been 124 cards between July 1 and Oct. 11; George has participated in 121 cards, and he has had at least one victory on 118 of those cards (97.5 percent). He is the runaway leading dashwinner at both tracks; at Pocono this will be his ninth win title, breaking a mark he shares with Bill Lambertus. This spectacular success rate has enabled Napolitano to get into the thick of the discussion of the North American sulky leadership. If he would have a couple of weeks producing at his current rate, it would not be a surprise to see George Napolitano at the top of the charts soon. Postscript “Objects in the rear view mirror may appear larger than they actually are.” --- A song by Meat Loaf, among other things Having said all of the above, it does not seem likely that George Napolitano Jr. will wind up as North American driving champion in 2015. Pocono raced its last Friday of the season this past weekend; there will be racing only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday until season’s end, 18 more cards. Philly has four cards a week the rest of October, then reduces to three a week up to the final week of its season, 31 more cards. So Napolitano has fewer than 50 racing days left in his prime time. Even if he wins at his per-card rate since July 1 of 2.88, that would mean 141 more wins this season, 784 in all (if he can maintain this breakneck pace). George did not drive at Pompano at all from Dec. 14 of last year until Jan. 17 of this year. Merriman has his regular doubleheaders; Wrenn has been known for supplementing his Northfield total with day excursions to other pari-mutuel ovals (especially in his native Michigan, where he has 57 wins this year). And just for one example, Wrenn won more than 100 races last December alone in wrestling the win crown from Merriman in the final days. So, Mr. Paige, thank you for your counsel. It’s usually never a good idea to focus on what may be behind -- it’s always what’s up front, the pursuit of the next goal, that is the primary motivating force. I think these three talented “youthful veterans” would thank you and agree with you -- and they’ll go out and give North American harness fans some real excitement as the clock on 2015 winds down. by Jerry Connors  Jerry Connors is a freelance writer living in Pennsylvania and was recently voted into the Communicators Hall of Fame. The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. had a monster night on Friday (September 18) at Northfield Park by posting nine wins on the 15-race harness racing program. Wrenn's triumphs were with Lady Sand Terror ($3.40) in race one, Ultimate Winner ($3.40) in race two, Stonebridge Damsel ($2.60) in race three, Princess Baby Ella ($2.60) in race four, Cypress Hill Rose ($12.00) in race six, Bonnie's Beach ($2.80) in race seven, CG Satin ($5.00) in race eight, Schmatie ($3.20) in race 10 and Allie Oakley ($3.60) in race 13. Friday is the third time that Wrenn has posted nine wins on a single Northfield program. It is also the third time that he has been only one win shy of Northfield's record of the most wins in a single card. That record was set in 1999 by Walter Case Jr. Friday's stellar performance is also one win shy of Ronnie's personal best of 10 wins on a single card, set in 2013 at Northville Downs. Wrenn is the 2013 and 2014 National Dash Driving Champion and is currently second in 2015. He won 714 races in 2013, 847 in 2014 and has posted 588 victories so far this year. His win tally is 12 behind Aaron Merriman, who he beat by only six wins last year. Wrenn is Northfield's leading driver with 552 local wins so far this year. Aaron Merriman (366), Jason Merriman (186), Ryan Stahl (150) and Kurt Sugg (138) complete the top five. Winning a Northfield driving title is nothing new to Ronnie, who won Northfield's 2013 and 2014 local titles. Wrenn has been driving since 2008 and has since posted 2,760 career wins and is approaching $13 million is purse earnings. Ayers Ratliff

Columbus, OH --- Doo Wop Hanover led all the way to win the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for free-for-all pacers in 1:49.2 on harness racing's Ohio Super Night Saturday (Sept. 12) at Scioto Downs. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. took Doo Wop Hanover off the gate first, followed by All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) and Limelight Beach (Chris Page). Doo Wop Hanover led to the quarter in 26.1 and half in 54.2 before being challenged by Limelight Beach, who was flushed from third by favored State Treasurer (David Miller). Past the three-quarters in 1:21.2 and into the stretch, the 5-1 Doo Wop Hanover paced strongly down the stretch to win by a head over All Bets Off from the pocket. State Treasurer was third. “The one I was worried about was the one behind me, and he almost got me at the wire, but my horse dug in,” said Wrenn. “The front-end wasn’t really a good spot to be tonight—it’s a cold night—but he overcame it and everything worked out.” Trained by Steve Elliott for co-owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks, Doo Wop Hanover is a 4-year-old horse by Rocknroll Hanover. He has won seven of 15 starts, with three seconds and one third. Second trainer Jake “Shorty” Leamon was with the horse, who shipped from his home base at Showplace Farms in New Jersey. It was Wrenn’s first drive on the horse, so Leamon gave him one piece of advice: the more you grab him, the more he goes. “I told him that you can’t really fire him up, because then he won’t come back to you, but he seemed pretty manageable when they got to the half,” said Leamon. “I told him just to keep the bit in his mouth and he will be good for you.” The race is named after Jim Ewart, who worked at 18 different racetracks during his career, serving as race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976-2002. He died on Feb. 14, 2002. The first edition of the race was contested in 2013, with Pet Rock winning in a world-record 1:47.2. Bigtown Hero won the 2014 edition in 1:48.2. Saturday’s “Super Night” card also includes the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older trotters, won by Wind Of The North in 1:53.2, and eight $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships. In addition, there was a fundraiser for driver Brad Hanners, who was diagnosed recently with kidney cancer. A special Man vs. Horse race, with 1988 Olympic gold medalist Butch Reynolds, was won by the horse when Reynolds pulled up at the sixteenth pole, citing an issue with his shoe. However, more than $800 was raised for the Butch Reynolds Care for Kids Foundation. USTA Communications Department 

Don Irvine Jr. and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. each won six times throughout Northfield Park's 15-race harness racing program on Wednesday (August 19). Irvine's triumphs were aboard Un Poco De Loco ($4.40) in race one, Cautious Optimism ($9.80) in race three, Happy To Scoot ($7.20) in race seven, Endless Desire ($7.60) in race nine, Star Studded Gun ($8.00) in race 11 and A Million Thanks ($3.80) in race 14. Wrenn posted wins with Let Loose Hanover ($6.40) in race two, Iwilldowhatido ($2.20) in race four, Bonnie's Beach ($2.40) in race eight, Y Mach Me ($2.40) in race 10, Roca Rei ($6.20) in race 13 and Charlie B ($2.10) in race 15. Irvine, 64, has been a fan favorite at Northfield for decades. He has 6,985 career wins and is approaching $35 million in total purse earnings. He currently sets ninth in Northfield's local driving ranks with 71 wins so far this year. Throughout his long and successful career Irvine has competed in nearly 40,000 races and has six local dash titles to his credit. He was the leading driver over the Flying Turns in 1975, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1984. Don Irvine Jr.'s success gained him the honor of being a Northfield Park Wall of Fame inductee in 1991. Wrenn, 28, began driving in 2008 and has since garnered 2,679 career victories and is approaching $12 million in total purse earnings. Ronnie leads Northfield's local driving ranks with 390 wins posted so far this year. Aaron Merriman (327), Jason Merriman (167), Ryan Stahl (126) and Kurt Sugg (114) complete the top-five drivers over the Flying Turns so far in 2015. Wrenn holds the 2013 and 2014 National Dash titles for posting more wins than any other driver in North America in each of the last two years. He is currently second in 2015. Wrenn has won 507 races so far this year, trailing Aaron Merriman by 31. George Napolitano Jr. (470), Corey Callahan (449) and Bruce Aldrich Jr. (442) complete the top-five winningest drivers in North America so far this season. Ayres Ratliff

Two fields of 3-year-old pacing fillies vied for first money in a pair of harness racing $40,000 Ohio Sire Stakes (OSS) events on Friday night, June 12 at Northfield Park. Karlee Sue, a bay daughter by Feelin Friskie, took the first OSS division handily in 1:54.2 for Hall of Fame driver David Miller. After getting away at the back of the pack, Miller skillfully brought Karlee Sue up through splits of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:25.2, utilizing a modest :29 final brush to nail down the victory.   Friskie Tel Dawn (Aaron Merriman) finished second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, with Friskie Lil Devil (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) getting up to nail show honors.   Bred by Midland Acres, Karlee Sue is conditioned by Al Tomlinson of Mason, Michigan, who owns the filly in partnership with Daniel Mitchell and Dennis Stolz of Michigan. The victory pushed the filly's career earnings to $65,765.   The second OSS split for sophomore pacing fillies was captured by the public's choice Crosswinds Cupcake and driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., in a lifetime best clocking of 1:55. Owned and bred by the Crosswinds Stable Farm of Waynesville, Ohio, this daughter of Stand Forever picked up her second victory of the year in six starts and now has $67,172 her lifetime bankroll.   After wrestling the lead away from Happy Jude at the :28 opening panel, Crosswinds Cupcake paced solidly through quarter fractions of :57.3 and 1:26 before brushing home in :29, drawing away from her rivals by 5¼ lengths. Corner Girl (Ryan Stahl) was second best while Happy Jude held ground to be third.   Third leg OSS action shifts to Northfield Park on July 17 for the colts of both gaits, while the fillies go postward on Aug. 14 at Northfield. Fourth road contests will take place at Scioto Downs on Aug. 28 for the fillies and Aug. 29 for the colts.   The $225,000 championship events for all the 2- and 3-year-old divisions will be held on Saturday (Sept. 12) during Scioto Downs' Super Night festivities. By Kimberly Rinker, Administrator, Ohio Standardbred Development Fund    

Lease Ness Monster won her third straight $13,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Thursday (May 28) at Northfield Park. David Waltz of Clayton, Michigan owns the pacer with her trainer Matthew Waltz, also of Clayton. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was aboard for the winning drive. Lease Ness Monster (Lease On Life-Sheza Hot Monster-Mark Johnathan) was assigned post eight. She fired off the gate and led her competition through fractions of :27.2, :56.1, 1:24.3 and 1:53.1. There was never an anxious moment for the winner, who bested her competition by a full length. Completing the race were So Long My Love, Wild Dream, Schmatie, Prima Dragon, Get Your Armor, Cadie's Gotta Gun, Power Everywhere and Hot Mandy. Lease Ness Monster now has five wins in 13 starts this year. Thursday's victory represents her ninth career score and bolstered her bankroll to $78,368. She returned $6.80 to win. Not only did Wrenn win the featured event of the night, he scored five more times on the 15-race program. Ayers Ratliff    

Like Old Times was much the best in Northfield's harness racing feature race on Wednesday (May 27). She romped in the $17,500 Gin Blossom Series Final. The sophomore filly is trained by Don McKirgan for owner Keith Ross of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was aboard for the winning drive. Like Old Times (Chip Chip Hooray-Royal Two-Royal Troubador) began from post seven. She was parked through the initial :28.3 and :58.4 fractions. She took the lead in the third panel and remained on top through times of 1:28.2 and 1:58.1. She was an uncontested four lengths in front at the wire. Completing the race were Es Mucho, Sammy De Vie, Guth, Lu's Neely, Northern Cone, Mr Fix It Elwood, Treasure Volo and Sammy Sammy Sammy. Wednesday's win was Like Old Times' fourth victory this season in five starts. It bolstered her career win tally to seven and her lifetime earnings to $91,105. She was heavily favored and returned $2.80 to win. Ayers Ratliff          

London, May 27, 2015 -- Michigan-based harness racing trainer Dale Decker has never been to The Raceway at The Western Fair District, but he’ll have a not-so-secret weapon on his side when his star five-year-old Night Pro goes to the gate Friday night from post four in the $150,000 Molson Pace. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. will be in Night Pro’s sulky. “He’s the leading dash driver in the country the last two years,” said Decker. Make that the leading dash-winning driver in North America. Wrenn, Jr., 28, won the 2014 continental title with 847 wins and the 2013 crown with 714 victories. This year, Wrenn, Jr. currently sits a close second behind Aaron Merriman in North America with 330 wins. In just eight years in the bike, Wrenn, Jr. has already surpassed 2,500 career victories, most of that over the last four seasons. The Ohio-based driver has made just one career start at The Raceway at The Western Fair District — a fourth-place finish driving Rock Bottom in an overnight in January of 2011. Decker said he had to do a little convincing to get Wrenn, Jr. to give up his full slate of drives Friday at Scioto Downs in Columbus, OH to come to London, but thinks racing in the Molson Pace could be a good stepping stone to bigger races for the driver. “He’s kind of got to make a decision if he wants to try to venture into the Grand Circuit ranks or just stay local,” Decker said. Night Pro has proven to be a horse worth following on the stakes trail. In three years of racing, the son of former Ontario-based star Pro Bono Best out of Midnight Jewel has amassed over $500,000 in earnings and sports a startling record of consistency with 29 wins in 49 starts. The pacer has finished no worse than third in 84 per cent of his starts. “He’s a true racehorse,” Decker said. “He’s the best one I’ve had, by far.” Decker also owns and raised Night Pro, the 5-1 fourth choice in the Molson Pace, behind Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off (post 1, 8-5), two-time defending Molson Pace champ State Treasurer (post 8, 2-1) and Duc Dorleans (post 6, 9-2). The Molson Pace is race 12 in a promotion-packed night of racing at Western Fair. The first race post time is 7:15 p.m. Last year, Night Pro regularly held his own racing against such star older pacers as Foiled Again, Sweet Lou, Clear Vision and Bettors Edge. He posted a record of 12-3-3 in 24 starts and earned over $230,000 racing in stakes in the Midwestern United States, close to Decker’s base close to Toledo, OH. “I try to stay more local to where I’m at, within about a four-hour ship. Horse racing, even though I wish it was my full-time occupation, it’s not. So, time is limited,” said Decker, a residential home builder by trade. “Besides, (Night Pro’s) not the best shipper in the world, either. He’ll be sweating when I get (to Western Fair).” Decker was the one that was sweating when he took Night Pro to the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale in 2010 to be sold on behalf of breeder Linda Marckel. Night Pro is the second foal out of Midnight Jewel. Her first foal, Starzzz Of Jewel, sold for $40,000. When it came time for Night Pro to sell, there was little interest. “I was in a state of shock at the sale,” Decker said. “I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not kidding you. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. The bidding stalled at $4,500. That’s when I jumped in… I did have the money to buy him. So, it wasn’t an issue. But I had plenty of horses and I was just trying to make (his breeder) some money. I ended up with him.” The cost was $14,000. “I had no idea I was going to end up with him because I didn’t want another horse. I already had a barn full. I didn’t want to spend $14,000 either, because I’d have to go home and explain that to my wife,” Decker said. “She wouldn’t let me sell him now.” Though Night Pro is a bigger horse, Decker said The Raceway’s tight half-mile oval doesn’t concern him because his farm track is smaller than a half and Night Pro, “gets around here just fine… He’s pretty universal. That’s what’s nice about him. He can race any way and he can race on any size track.” Fans will be able to enjoy all 12 races on the Friday card on a large infield video tote board that will feature an enhanced broadcasting coverage all night. The Molson Pace card will offer betting patrons a cornucopia of wagering options. There’s a $7,500 guarantee on the early Pick 4 and the Super Hi-5, a $10,000 guarantee on the late Pick 4 and Super Hi-5 and a $2,500 guarantee on the Pick 3 offered in races one through three. Other promotions include scratch and win programs giving patrons a one-in-six chance to win a prize, a guest horse outside the main entrance to greet fans, a raft of prizes and giveaways courtesy of Molson and the OLG and, throughout the night, fans can even take a spin around the track in a double-seated jog cart with the Wanna Ride team. For more information, please visit: Greg Blanchard

Graceful Beauty captured the $17,500 final of the harness racing Wallflower Series on Thursday (May 21) at Northfield Park. She is owned and trained by Adam Short of Archbold, Ohio. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was in the sulky. The five year-old pacing mare had competed in three legs of the Wallflower Series leading up to Thursday's final. She proved herself to be a true force for her competition by posting two victories and a third place finish in those legs. Graceful Beauty (Rocknroll Hanover-Mango Hanover-Big Towner) started from post two. She led her competition at every call through fractions of :27.2, :56.4, 1:27.3 and 1:57.1, besting her competition by 1 ¾-lengths. Completing the race were Winemen Dine Me, Yourplaceormine, APP Panda, Feelin Outragous, Lucky L and Dream Roll. Thursday's win was the fourth victory this year in seven starts. That quintuplet of wins this season also represents her career. Her lifetime earnings now stand at $34,432. She was heavily favored and returned $2.80 to win. Ayers Ratliff

Lease Ness Monster crossed the finish line faster than any harness racing four-year-old mare in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $13,000 Fillies and Mares Open in 1:52.1 on Thursday (May 7). The clocking breaks the 1:52.2 former record by Don't Blame Her (Greg Grismore) in 2007. David Waltz of Clayton, Michigan owns Lease Ness Monster. Scott Bateson is her trainer and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. was in the sulky for the winning drive. Lease Ness Monster (Lease On Life-Sheza Hot Monster-Mark Johnathan) started from the rail. She led her competition through fractions of :27.3, :55.4, 1:23.1 and 1:52.1. There was never an anxious moment for the winner, who bested her competition by six-lengths. Lease Ness Monster now has three wins in 11 starts this year. Thursday's victory represents her seventh career score and bolstered her bankroll to $65,368. She was the race favorite and returned $5.00 to win. Ayers Ratliff  

LEBANON, OH. - Friskie Lil Devil, who captured the $200,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship for freshman pacing fillies in her final 2014 start, opened her 2015 harness racing campaign by copping the $38,000 James K. Hackett Memorial championship race at Miami Valley on Friday night.   Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. decided to take the safest route possible by leaving alertly and cutting all the fractions in an impressive gate-to-wire performance.   The pride of the Lil Devil Stable, the Brian Brown-trainee coasted through quarter splits of :27.3, :57.4, 1:27.1 and 1:55.4 to garner the relatively easy 1-1/2 length victory over stablemate Corner Girl (Josh Sutton) and E Ticket Ride (Dan Noble).   With the Hackett victory, Friskie Lil Devil is approaching $200,000 in career earnings from just nine lifetime races with three wins and six place finishes.   Sent off at 3-5 odds on Friday she will undoubtedly be favored again next weekend when the first legs of the 2015 Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore pacers and trotters are scheduled at Miami Valley.   The Brian Brown Stable enjoyed a huge night as Candy's A Virgin also captured the $17,050 Fillies and Mares Open Pace in her initial 2015 start; and her stablemate Candy's A Virgin won the $21,000 distaff invitational at Hoosier Park within the same hour. Both daughters of Always A Virgin, owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, are being pointed next at the $75,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial Grand Circuit stake for older female pacers on Sunday, May 3, which is closing day on the Miami Valley season.   Reinsman Chris Page guided Candy's A Virgin towards the front from the outside post position in a field of eight, gaining command just past a :26.2 first quarter. After tripping the middle teletimer beams in :54.3 and 1:23.3, the gray four-year-old posted a :28.3 final panel to win by a comfortable length in 1:52.1. Favored Native Dream (Dan Noble) sat the pocket throughout and finished second with Tarport Belle (Josh Sutton) finishing strong to complete the trifecta ticket.   Page had five trips to the winner's circle during the 12-race card. His other winners were Fox Valley Bonita (1:56.3), trotter Mischievous Jesse (1:58.1), Sectionline Aqua (1:53.2) and Buckeye Thea (1:54.1).   Racing resumes Saturday night at 6:30 with the $30,000 Hackett Memorial for pacing colts and an $18,150 Open Pace on tap.   Gregg Keidel

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