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Minnesota Champions Close 'Aces' Meet

Published: September 13, 2015 3:15 am ET

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Eleven Minnesota State Champions were crowned Saturday night (September 12) on closing night of the 2015 Running Aces season.

A total of $201,000 in purse money was distributed in eight $21,000 championships for each of the divisions for two and three-year-old pacers and trotters. An additional three $11,000 divisions featured older state-bred pacers, divided by sex, and the best aged trotters in Minnesota.

Cruzin Coco (Steve Wiseman), owned by Ron Emerson and trained by Mark Holtan, captured the two-year-old filly pace in 1:57.2, besting American Dancer (Luke Plano) and Fancy Little Girl (Dean Magee). The win was the fourth of the year for the half-sister to Restless Yankee and increased her freshman season bankroll to $26,100.

Relentless Spirit (Luke Plano) was crowned three-year-old filly pace queen with an open-length 1:55.3 score over Moonshinenmonkeys (Tim Maier) and Queen Of Denial (Nick Roland). The winning daughter of Relentless Yankee notched her second win of her sophomore campaign and increased her earnings to $20,231 for owner Edward Gutin and trainer Bob Lems.

Place N First (Steve Wiseman) was best in the contest pitting the best older pacing mares. The race favourite flew home the last three-eighths of a mile to score in 1:53.1 over Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) and Place At The Beach (Gerry Longo). Jenni King both owns and trains the Place To Be six-year-old mare, who now has 18 wins and $106,738 in lifetime bankroll.

Stuckey Dote (Tim Maier) downed Swagasaurusrex (Steve Wiseman) and Dag For Gold (Duane Roland) in 1:56.2 to garner the two-year-old pacing colt laurels. The black son of Voracious Hanover now sports an impressive 7-2-0 line in nine lifetime starts. He has earned $35,460 in his rookie season for owner/trainer Merlin Van Otterloo.

Toatsmygoats (Rick Magee) didn’t disappoint as the odds-on favourite in the sophomore pacing colt split. The Relentless Yankee gelding, owned by Van Otterloo Stables and trained by Dave Flinn, topped Whatchyastarinat (Gerry Longo) and Goochs Hot Rod (Dean Magee) to successfully defend his freshman season state championship. The winner is now credited with 11 wins in 20 career starts and earnings of $79,010.

Chewy Baca (Travis Bowman) clocked the quickest mile of the evening with a 1:52.3 score in the nightcap for older pacing horses. Headsup Yankee (Nick Roland) finished just a head behind, with Its Getting Hairy (Steve Wiseman) garnering the show dough. Chewy Baca, one of the winningest Minnesota-breds ever, now has 35 victories and earnings of $165,821 as a six-year-old son of Relentless Yankee. Owner Dr. James Findlay entrusts the training duties to Sean Lancaster, whose stable is now headed for Fraser Downs in western Canada.

RSS Express (Duane Roland) was best in the trotting fillies freshman class, downing Hall Of Riches (Tim Maier) and Watevershesgot (Jenni King) in 2:04.2. The Rail Splitter daughter has put together an outstanding first season with five wins, five seconds and one third-place finish in 11 starts — good for earnings of $35,125 thus far. Driver Duane Roland co-owns the winner with wife Connie.

Becky Badger Baby (Nick Roland), as expected, was an impressive 2:01.1 winner in the sophomore lasses' trotting division, beating Texakota (Lemoyne Svendsen) and Marisas Lady (Tim Maier). Owned by Dale Hein in partnership with Royal and Barbara Roland, the Rail Splitter lass has 21 wins in 32 starts over her first two seasons, including back-to-back Minnesota State Championships. With the win, she now has banked $99,983.

Mr Jackpot (Dean Magee) continued his winning ways with a 2:00.3 triumph in the frosh trotters' split to kick off the program. The chestnut son of Rail Splitter was over three lengths better than Big Red Rail (Duane Roland) and Margins Echo (Rick Magee) to notch his fifth win in nine tries and increase his earnings to $33,410. The son of Money Talks is owned by Glen Wilson, trainer Brett Ballinger and Carl Swanson. His full sister will race for the same connections next year after they forked over $13,000 for her at the recent Minnesota yearling sale.

Go See Lo Go (Nick Roland) proved best in the three-year-old male trotters section, holding off Al Mar Skip Bo (Rick Magee) and Drakensberg (Luke Plano) in 2:00.4. The Lorenzo Gooch-owned Rail Splitter son has 15 career trips to the winner’s circle and has banked $84,698 in his first two racing seasons.

French Eclipse (Gerry Longo) was an upset winner for owner/trainer Jenni King, taking full advantage of a break in stride by favoured Al Mar Pizzazz to best Switcheroo (Rick Magee) and One Bad Cookie (Tony Succarotte) in 1:58.4. The five-year-old son of Lunar Eclipse sports a dozen victories in 59 lifetime starts, good for $74,827 in earnings.

With both Nick Roland and Steve Wiseman notching driving doubles on the final 2015 program, Roland won the hard-fought, season-long, back-and-forth battle for the dash crown by a 76 to 73 margin. Tim Maier, Luke Plano and Gerry Longo rounded out the top five.

On the trainer’s side, Nick Roland was an easier winner, with his stable winning 51 races and banking well over $250,000 on the season.

(With files from Running Aces)

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