Strong Opening Weekend For Scioto Downs

Carbine winning at Scioto Downs
Published: May 12, 2024 02:31 am EDT

The 2024 opening weekend at Eldorado Scioto Downs has come to a close. The cool night air during all three race cards may have hampered the fans on the patio, but inside establishments were full, especially Saturday night with a sold-out clubhouse.

The $36,986 Open Pace on Saturday was the first sub-1:50 mile of the season when Carbine and driver Austin Hanners went gate-to-wire to win by a neck over Little Rocket Man and Jeremy Smith in 1:49.2. Little Rocket Man got away fourth and pressured Carbine for the last quarter mile, posting a :26.4 final panel but came up just short of the win. Carbine, a six-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere who is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. and owned by Odds On Racing, is doing double duty this spring as he is both breeding and racing. He has now won eight of 14 starts with $232,590 earned on the year which pushes his lifetime earnings to nearly $570,000.

Statistically, Scioto is starting out stronger than it has ever been:

  • Handle: the first three nights, handle is up 47.6 per cent over 2023 and 78.34 per cent over 2022.
  • Entry box: the box for opening week (Thurs-Fri-Sat-Tues-Wed) has been flooded with entries – 1,281 to be exact. With 16 races carded each day, 457 horses raced opening weekend with another 319 in-to-go Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Winning margins: of the 48 races carded over the first three days, 29 of them had blanket finishes with the winning margin being a length or less.
  • Percentage of winning favourites: 37.5 per cent (18 of 48).

Scioto’s 29-time leading trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. has six wins to take the early leading trainer spot with Herman Hagerman and Ron Burke tied for second with three wins on opening weekend. Jeremy Smith has 10 wins through the first three cards with Chris Page sitting second with seven.

Also on Saturday, the drawing for the nine slots for the Next Generation two-year-old colt pace was held live after the sixth race. Thirteen entries were received by the April 15 deadline, with each nominator paying $8,000 USD. Winning entrants are Tom Ceraso, Dark Horse Farm, Jeff Fought Racing, Lionel Construction, Greg Luther, Odds On Racing, Dennis Owens, and Mark Weaver.

The four nominators who did not receive a slot will have their nomination returned. For the other Next Generation divisions, the two-year-old filly trot was fully subscribed with nine nominations and is considered closed after the April 15 deadline. There are still openings for the two-year-old filly pace and two-year-old colt trot, of which $10,000 USD nominations can be made if postmarked by May 15. Full conditions for the Next Generation, which will be raced on Saturday, July 6, are available on the United States Trotting Association website.

Racing continues at Scioto Downs on Tuesday, May 14 with a 5:45 p.m. post. There are 16 races on the card with a small carryover for the early Pick-3, starting in Race 2.

The 90-day 2024 Eldorado Scioto Downs race meet runs through Saturday, Sept. 14. Races are held Tuesday-Saturday, with special holiday cards on Memorial Day and Labour Day taking place instead of the Tuesday card that week. First post is at 5:45 p.m. each day except for Thursday, July 4, with a post of 3:15 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 13, which will have a 6:15 p.m., post to help accommodate horsepeople attending the Ohio Selected Yearling Sale.

(Scioto Downs)

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