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Merriman, Schillaci Win Northfield Titles

Published: January 9, 2022 8:26 pm ET

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Aaron Merriman again topped the local driving ranks at Northfield Park in 2021, while Sam Schillaci earned the title as Northfield's top trainer for the season.

Merriman won 548 races over the Flying Turns. His nearest competitor, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., drove 399 winners. Kurt Sugg (326), Chris Lems (250) and Hunter Myers (245) completed the top five reinsmen.

Merriman, 43, resides in Northfield, Ohio and now has 10 driving titles under his belt. He won the dash titles at Northfield Park in 2006–2009, 2012, and 2017–2021. Merriman has won more races at MGM Northfield Park than any driver in the track’s 65-year history. He is also the youngest person ever inducted into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame.

Aaron’s 2021 total victory tally was 860, which again ranked him as the winningest driver in North America. Tim Tetrick was the runner-up with 658 wins. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. (611), Trace Tetrick (559) and George Napolitano Jr. (508) complete the top-five North American drivers. The 2021 season marks the seventh consecutive North American Dash Title won by Aaron Merriman.

Merriman began driving in 1997 and has since won over 13,500 races and purses approaching $95 million. Merriman’s fasted win ever was aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in 1:48.3 in 2014. The richest purse he has ever won is $300,000, which he has done multiple times in both Ohio and Kentucky Sire Stake Finals.

MGM Northfield Park’s 2021 leading trainer Sam Schillaci won 22 more races than any other local conditioner. He garnered 170 victories throughout last year. Bill Rhoades finished second with 148 wins. Brian Loney (132), Edward Miller (104) and Ron Burke (93) rounded out the top five Northfield Park trainers for 2021.

Sam, originally from Warsaw, New York, now lives in Macedonia, Ohio with his wife Jodi and their three dogs.

Schillaci, 59, scored his first training win in 1991 at Buffalo Raceway. Sam has nearly 1,400 career training victories with purse earnings approaching $12 million. The 2021 Northfield title is the second local dash victory for Sam. He has also took the Northfield training honors in 2018.

Merriman and Schillaci will be honoured with an official presentation in the Winner’s Circle later this month.

(Northfield Park)

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