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Merriman, Beaver Sweep OHSS Trots

Published: June 5, 2021 11:54 pm ET

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Aaron Merriman and trainer Chris Beaver captured both $50,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes (OHSS) for three-year-old trotting colts on Saturday evening (June 5) at Northfield Park.

Spaaaartners’ Panzano captured the first OHSS contest in a brisk 1:55.3 from a dramatic, multi-length finish after stalking the leading Street Gossip throughout the mile.

“Chris’ (trainer Beaver) horses are always tight and ready to race,” said Merriman, who drove the son of Corraggioso, pushing his career earnings to $139,724, to his fourth career victory in 13 starts.

Panzano was bred by Chris Coyle and is the first foal out of his dam Grace N Charlie (by SJs Caviar), who earned $225,830 and took an eight-year-old record of 1:55.4f. Both Panzano and Street Gossip left the gate at 4-5 odds, while third place Elliotstone was the 24-1 choice among bettors.

Winning Ticket kept his unbeaten win streak intact with a front-stepping 1:54 victory in the second OHSS trotting division for sophomores. With Merriman driving for Beaver, the son of Triumphant Caviar is now two-for-two in this series.

“I love this horse,” said Beaver. “He’s the nicest son of Triumphant Caviar that I’ve trained. My goal is to keep him on track for the three-year-old Championship here at Northfield in September. He should have won last year’s two-year-old Championship but came up sick for that race.”

Lockbox, at 6-1, got up for second for driver Chris Page, with 45-1 longshot Omyheart finishing third for Tyler Smith.

Winning Ticket is owned by Beaver, Steve Zeehandelar, Tim Homan, and Jim Burnett and was bred by James Bender. He upped his career coffers to $199,547 with this win, the ninth of his career and fifth in as many starts this season. Winning Ticket is the second foal out of his dam, the hardy Credit Winner race mare Lotto Winner (7, 1:56.1H [$166,461]).

Two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes contests for three-year-old pacing fillies provided more thrills for the Northfield Park crowd on the Saturday card.

In the first division, 1-9 favourite Summer Touch notched her second-straight victory in the series for driver Chris Page and trainer Ronnie Burke, clocking this mile in 1:52.3. The daughter of Well Said had captured her first OHSS event in 1:53.1 at Miami Valley for owners Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services, Slaughter Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.

“There’s no other word for this filly than special,” Page said. “Last year she won the Ohio triple crown and came back great this year at three.”

Last year’s $300,000 OHSS Championship winner now has homebred lass has $353,800 in her coffers from nine wins and two seconds in 11 starts. Summer Touch scored her victory in wire-to-wire fashion, besting longshot rivals 60-1 Ball Diamond and 45-1 Lacey.

Smothastenesewisky, the 7-2 choice, pulled off a mild upset in the second OHSS division, stopping the timer in a career-best 1:52 for driver Hunter Myers, who was piloting the daughter of Nob Hill High for trainer Brian D. Haynes of Washington Court House, Ohio.

“She didn’t leave the gate the way I had wanted to, so I got a second over trip and then when I pulled her three-wide down the backstretch, she had a lot of go and it worked out,” Myers said.

The victory was the first this season in four tries for Smothastenesewisky, who was bred by Robert Mondilio and Donald Robinson. She now has $105,981 in career earnings. Shameful Eyes was second for Aaron Merriman at 6-1 odds, while 7-1 Rainy Day Chic got up for third with Tony Hall in the bike.

(Ohio Sires Stakes)

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