The Ohio Sires Stakes (OHSS) contests could have been called the “Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Show,” as the young reinsman captured three of the four $40,000 events for three-year-old Ohio-bred colt trotters on Saturday, June 4 at Northfield Park.
A total of 28 diagonally-gaited equines went postward in the second leg of the series for Buckeye-sired sophomores, with Wrenn Jr., capturing the second, third and fourth divisions, while Kurt Sugg steered Overdressed to victory in division one.
A winner in leg one of OHSS action on May 7 at Miami Valley Raceway, Overdressed prevailed for Sugg despite making an uncharacteristic break in the first turn.
Conditioned and co-owned by Marty Wollam, and partners Dale Sweet of Florida and G&B Racing of Pennsylvania, the son of Full Count trotted to a new career 1:57.3 clocking in a race marred by multiple breakers.
“This colt has had a couple of rough journeys in the Sires Stakes,” Sugg acknowledged. “And he’s always managed to overcome them. Tonight, I think he caught a boot in that first turn, but he recovered quickly. Marty [trainer Wollam] does an excellent job at having all of his horses in great shape and ready to race.”
D Count (Jason Merriman) led the field through fractions of :28.2 and :57, as several trotters broke stride, including Overdressed, who appeared to be out of contention. However, Overdressed quickly caught back and made a bold move on the outside going into the final turn, following Triumphants Chip, who went off stride. From there, Overdressed trotted solidly all the way to the wire.
The big, rangy colt, who was bred by Marvin Raber, pushed his lifetime earnings to $94,329 with the triumph, his second victory in four start this year, and the third of his career in 12 starts Were Gone (Ryan Stahl) got up for second, with Noble Dunn (Keith Kash Jr.) picking up show honours.
The second OHSS division was captured by even-money favourite The Next Triumph in 1:56.1. Driven by Wrenn Jr. for co-owner and trainer Ron Steck, Robert Smolko and Rene Allard, the bay son of Triumphant Caviar had won his OHSS leg one test on May 7 at Miami Valley in 1:57.2.
“I thought I had a good shot to win a couple of the Sires Stakes tonight,” Wrenn Jr. said. “When Pete [Wrenn] couldn’t make it because he had commitments at Scioto Downs, I was fortunate to pick up some very good drives in the Sires Stakes.”
The Next Triumph took this second leg in a similar wire-to-wire effort, trotting handily through fractions of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:26.3 and tying his career mark in the process of scoring his third consecutive victory.
Bred by the Second Chance Stable, The Next Triumph upped his seasonal earnings to $49,700 and his career earnings to $103,506. Rival Lets Go Bucks (Ryan Stahl) got up for second, while SR Rader (Aaron Merriman) was third.
Wrenn was back in the winner’s circle for the third OHSS division, this time steering last season’s Ohio Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter of 2015 to his first victory of 2016. MJB Got Faith showed the form that made him an Ohio champion last season, grabbing the lead just prior to the :29 first quarter and settling in through fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.4, before striding home to win in career-equalling mark of 1:57.2. He was challenged multiple times throughout the mile, but never wavered and simply drew off from his rivals turning for home, to flash under the wire all alone.
“This colt isn’t very big and he doesn’t trot the prettiest, but he’s got a great big heart,” Wrenn Jr. declared. “I got away third and moved to the front just coming out of the turn and he took it from there. He’s able to trot fast with that funky gait of his and it doesn’t hamper his attitude in the least.”
Owned by Breana Carsey of Indiana, the diminutive son of Trainforthefuture notched his sixth career win in nine starts, pushing his seasonal earnings to $23,200 and his lifetime earnings to $215,700. MJB Got Faith had finished fourth in his first OHSS test this year, on May 7 at Miami Valley Raceway.
“That was his first start back and he really didn’t seem to handle the track all that well that night,” Brian Carsey, the owner’s father, noted. “We really couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He’s always had a funny way of going, but tonight he raced like his old self.”
Another Breath (Sandy Beatty) procured the bridesmaid role, while Lion Image (Keith Kash Jr.) held on for third.
Wrenn returned for a photo opportunity for the third time in OHSS action with Roundtown Rocker in the fourth and final division. The son of Hard Rock N Roll was making his first foray into OHSS action for trainer and breeder Bill Hartman, who owns the colt in partnership with Tami Hartman.
“This colt is one of the best horses I’ve ever trained,” Hartman admitted. “Last year, he trained with four pacers and he could go by all of them. But he got sick and missed all of the Sires Stakes last year. He’s always been very handy and will just do anything you ask of him. I didn’t feel he was quite ready for the first leg this year, so I waited for this race.”
Wrenn Jr., ever crafty, used the rail to his advantage, with Roundtown Rocker trotting easily through panels of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:29.1, before striding home confidently in a new record clocking of 1:58.3.
“He was really nice to drive,” Wrenn Jr. said. “He was very strong and was definitely a pleasure to sit behind. I’m really thankful that Bill [trainer Hartman] gave me this opportunity.”
The win was the first of the season for the brown gelding, and pushed his lifetime earnings to $44,494.
Kanthaka (Aaron Merriman) was a hard-trying second, while Fantasy League (Chris Page) was third.
(With files from OSDF)