Smith, Morgan Win Dayton Titles

Published: December 29, 2018 10:43 pm EST

Jeremy Smith and Virgil Morgan Jr. were recognized as top driver and top trainer, respectively, at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Saturday, Dec. 29, as the curtain fell on the track’s fifth 75-program season of live harness racing.

Smith set a new standard for wins during a Dayton meet with 154 victories, good for $1.1 million in purse earnings. It is Jeremy’s first dash crown in the post-VLT era in Ohio as his only other title came at old Lebanon Raceway prior to the commencement of the racing renaissance in the Buckeye state over the last five years. Previous dash champs at Dayton have been Josh Sutton (2014, 2015 and 2016) and Kayne Kauffman (2017).

Morgan Jr. is no stranger to training titles as he has been the perennial champ at Scioto Downs over the past two decades. This title marks his third award at Hollywood Dayton, having won previously in both 2014 and 2016. The only other training winner has been Jeff Brewer, who captured the crown in both 2015 and 2017. Morgan managed 45 wins during the 2018 campaign from 197 starts—earning over $325,000 in purses.

On the track, the closing-night Open Handicap Pace was won by My Hero Ron for the second-straight week.

Despite being assigned an outside post in a full field of nine, driver Tyler Smith managed to get away sixth along the pylons during the :26.4 opening panel. Shuffled farther back on the way to the :55.2 half, Smith managed to squeeze My Hero Ron into second-over position in fifth by the time the leader and eventual runner-up Night Pro tripped the third quarter beam in 1:23.

Smith was on a mission through the stretch and used a :27.3 closing kick to nail the leader in the final two strides.

Despite his ultra-consistent 2018 scorecard, which read 33 7-11-7 with $153,090 in earnings going into the race, My Hero Ron returned $10.60 to win. He is trained by Danny Dubeansky for owners Brian Witt and Cory Atley.

Hollywood Gaming wishes to thank every owner, trainer, driver, caretaker, official, employee as well as its racing patrons for making Dayton Raceway their home for harness racing over the past four months.

(With files from Hollywood Casino Dayton)

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