Thousands of people headed out to Scioto Downs Racino for “Back to the Track” on Saturday evening. Four Ohio Sire Stakes races, three Opens and an Invitational race highlighted the racing card, while other activities were going on throughout the racetrack.
Contessa Leigh and Pink Camo continued their incredible domination in their respective trotting and pacing Sire Stakes divisions. Sam “Chip” Noble drove reigning Sire Stakes champion Contessa Leigh to a new lifetime mark, 1:56.4, for trainer Marty Wollam. The filly by Full Count out of the Overcomer mare Howl now has three wins in four starts this year, with each win being in a Sire Stakes event.
“She started out kinda anxious this year and tonight she was just perfect,” said Noble. “She was very much within herself there.”
“She’s so handy on a half-mile track,” he continued. “When I raced her at Lebanon [May 3] she felt like she could have gone two seconds faster down there [when she won in 1:59.4], it was amazing.”
Pink Camo (Pine Valley-CGs Gem) kept her Sire Stakes win streak alive when she won by five and three-quarter lengths in 1:55 for driver Tony Hall and trainer Ron Burke.
“She’s just very versatile, she’s just an all around nice horse,” said Hall. “She can do it any way. Today she really didn’t want to get off the gate, [she got away third out of the four-hole], but it worked out. She always gives you what she’s got.”
The other two divisions were won by Diplomats Mistress (Master Lavec-Diplomatic Pouch) in 1:58.4 and Igottafeelinfran (Feelin Friskie-Fran Anna) in 1:53.4. David Myers drove the Mike Sowers-trained Diplomats Mistress to a one and three-quarter length victory over race favourite MJs Victory Wish (Chris Page).
Igottafeelinfran was driven by Dan Noble for trainer Jim Dailey and won by a nose over Crosswind Colleen (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) while race favourite Two Friskie (Kyle Ater) was two and a half lengths behind the pair.
“I had a great feeling coming from behind," said Noble of the filyl who got away seventh in the eight-horse field. “She really likes to have a trip chasing horses down. I felt real good coming off the bottom turn. I wasn’t real sure if I had it or not, I was just hoping she held in there and she did. I want to follow her around [to drive] wherever she needs to go.”
In the Open Trot, Southwind Pepino, co-owned, trained and driven by Hugh “Sandy” Beatty, set a new track record for aged stallions of 1:54. The five-year-old son of Chocolatier out of the Dream Vacation mare Southwind Pamona did not race at two, but in three racing seasons so far has earned $173,037 racing mostly in overnight events.
Saturday’s races were part of the nationwide event “Back to the Track,” which is a joint effort between the U.S. Trotting Association and racetracks across the country to promote a great weekend of events surrounding harness racing. Scioto’s evening of participation during the 4th of July weekend started at 5:00 p.m. with a handicapping seminar put on by Director of Mutuels Steve Carpenito. The first 500 people to buy a program received a trucker style hat and before the races 10 drivers came over to sign autographs and to hand out commemorative t-shirts.
Connections of the winning horses on the 15-race card gave winner’s circle interviews as well as throwing out racetrack t-shirts. There was a special flag presentation by Zach Mogan, local trainer Scott Mogan’s son, and racehorse Starry Night Star before the third race. There was also Harness Racing Bingo, a driver dunk tank, balloon twisters and the opportunity to get pictures taken with Scioto Sammy, the on-track mascot. Members of the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Ohio brought out six retired racehorses trackside so people could pet, take photos with and learn about the careers they have had since the racetrack.
Racing will continue Wednesday (July 10) with a 6:30 p.m. post time. Races will also be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the same time with Saturday again being host to Ohio Sire Stakes events, this time for two-year-old colts.
(With files from Scioto Downs)