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Merriman 13th To 10,000 Wins

Published: March 17, 2018 4:01 pm ET

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Aaron Merriman, whose quest for career win 10,000 suffered a temporary setback this week when an administrative ruling cost him two 2017 victories, got the milestone mile Saturday at The Meadows when he piloted Icy Crystals to victory in Race 6. Merriman collected win 9,999 with Im Feelin Good in Race 3 and win 10,001 with Gee Wizz George in Race 9.

Merriman, 39, harness racing’s “winningest” driver in each of the past three years, became the 13th driver in North American harness racing to reach the 10,000 plateau.

On Friday, Merriman thought he had 9,999 wins and needed only one victory among his assignments at Miami Valley to reach 10,000. He got that win. Earlier in the day, however, Merriman learned that the appeals of disqualifications of two horses he drove to apparent victory last October had been denied, thereby reducing his win total by two.

“It was just one of those things,” Merriman said. “I actually laughed about it. I try to block out all those things when I’m going into a race. I just literally enjoy racing horses.”

Merriman maintains a hectic schedule, working daylight cards at The Meadows and often driving at either Northfield or Miami Valley -— in his native Ohio —- in the evening. He said he likely will maintain that pace for the foreseeable future.

“It’s not the racing, it’s the travel that wears on you,” he said. “But it’s the way I make my living. I am worried about my family, and I would like to spend more time with my kids.”

To create that family time, he indicated he might be more selective about accepting Grand Circuit assignments this year.

“It’s a special feeling to be part of the Grand Circuit, especially when you get an opportunity to drive a nice horse,” he said. “I might not chase the longer shots like I’ve been doing. I may evaluate things a little bit differently.”

Even as he celebrated his milestone win, Merriman said his thoughts were elsewhere — with fellow driver Matt Kakaley, who was injured in a mishap at Yonkers last Tuesday.

“I’d like to give Matt a shout out,” he said. “I talk to him about every day. He’s doing well, but it’s a scary thing. Here I’m enjoying this accomplishment, and he’s in the hospital. It doesn’t seem fair. My heart goes out to him.”

(with files from The Meadows)


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