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Smith Sweeps Dayton Features

Published: December 26, 2020 10:41 pm ET

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Driver Tyler Smith stole the show at Hollywood Dayton on Saturday (Dec. 26) by winning both co-feature events, the $18,400 Open Handicap for male pacers and the $17,800 sister event for the best distaff pacers in the region.

Despite a 41-day layoff, Smith hustled Stars Align A to an early lead in the "boys" event before allowing GD Western Joe to clear to the front just steps before a :26.3 first quarter. The winning 7-year-old son of Art Major enjoyed a pocket ride through middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.4, then swung to the outside coming off the final bend. Despite a quick :27.4 closing quarter, Stars Align A managed to collar GD Western Joe in deep stretch for his 10th win on the season and his 34th from 91 races ovearll. Havefaithinme N finished a creditable third in the 1:50.3 mile.

Joshua Graber owns Stars Align A and entrusts the training to Christi Noble. He now has banked $465,398.

The Bethinator, a filly by Somebeachsomewhere, held off a fast-closing Miss You N to capture the Mares Open Handicap in 1:52. Summer Charm got the first-quarter call in :26.3, but Smith had The Bethinator in high gear to grab the lead shortly thereafter. Following a breather to the :56.1 halfway marker, the winner was joined by Sugar Dance in a speed duel to the third timer in 1:23.4. After racing side-by-side around the entire final turn, The Bethinator battled back inside and then barely held off Miss You N, who made up about 10 lengths in the last quarter before coming up just short in 1:52. Its Time For Fun garnered the show dough.

Veteran Nelson Willis conditions the homebred winner for the Megan Rogers Racing Stable. She now sports a dozen victories over two years and has earned $119,154.

Tyler Smith wasn't the only happy camper at Hollywood Dayton after the Saturday program. An all-time all sources handle record of $726,775 was recorded to the delight of the entire racing management team, led by Director of Racing Jason Bluhm. The old record of $664,945 was recorded on Dec. 23, 2019.

There are just three cards left in the 2020 Hollywood Dayton season. A trio of 14-race programs will be presented on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week. Each will begin at 1:30 p.m. (EST).

(Hollywood Dayton Raceway)

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