Running Aces closed out it’s 2021 live harness racing season with the annual Night of Champions program on Saturday (Sept. 18).
The closing night card featured a new record of $560,000 in purses for the 12 Championship races, eclipsing the previous record of $540,000 from last year’s closing night program. Stuckey Dote and driver Jacob Cutting took the headlines on the historic night, as the pacer recorded his fifth Championship win and the young Alberta reinsman posted a driving grand slam on the program.
Stuckey Dote added the record fifth Championship win to his resume in the $45,000 aged male pacing event, which went to post with a field of eight talented Minnesota-sired pacers.
Stuckey Dote got away in the pocket from post one while longshot Whatchyastarinat (Tony Kerwood) and race favourite SB Bodacious (Rick Magee) set the early pace through a solid :55 opening half-mile. Cutting activated Stuckey Dote into attack mode as they made their way down the backstretch and headed for the far turn, and drew alongside the leader as they rounded for home. Stuckey Dote ($14.20) made the lead as they straightened for the wire and SB Bodacious fought gamely in the lane but in the final sixteenth of a mile there was no doubt about the winner. Stuckey Dote posted a 1-1/2 length tally in 1:52.1 for his 45th career win.
The winner is an eight-year-old gelding by Voracious Hanover. He is trained by Brett Ballinger for owner/breeder Merlin Van Oterloo and he has now amassed $453,623 in career earnings.
Alilthundadownunda (Nick Roland, $2.20) posted another big performance in the $45,000 sophomore male pacing event, delivering as the heavy favourite and picking up his 15th win of the season to sit on top of the list for seasonal wins in the sport in North America.
Mibwest Kid (Rick Magee) was fast off the gate for the first call, and Roland floated away in third before he activated his star pacer early to surge to the lead. They made the front right near the quarter-mile post in :28 before yielding to SD Watch Me Now (Brian Detgen). Roland then moved right back to the front as they rounded past the half mile post in :57.2 and they faced a new challenger as Mayo Neighs (Gerald Longo) advanced toward the front. The third panel was registered in a very slow 31 seconds, and as they rounded toward the top of the lane, Alilthundadownunda turned on the speed. He straightened for home with a two-length margin and then sprinted to the wire to check in 4-1/2 lengths in front of Mayo Neighs and SD Watch Me Now in a 1:56.4 mile.
The winner is a gelded son of Malak Uswaad N, owned and bred by Set The Pace Racing and also trained by Roland. In addition to all of his other accomplishments this year, he has also set a new single season Minnesota earnings record with $113,710 earned so far in Minnesota this year. He now has overall seasonal earnings of $122,925 and career earnings of $156,964 to date.
Rush To The Bank (Nick Roland, $2.10) was much the best in the $45,000 sophomore male trot event, posting a 1-1/2 length tally in 1:59.1 for his 10th win of the season and 20th career victory. The winner is owned by Jeralene Roland and Vickie Rush and is trained by Dan Roland. Hide Your Banker (Luke Plano) was second and Ice titan was third. The top two finishers are by Banker Volo. Dan and Jeralene Roland are also the winning breeders.
Park With Me Nancy (Luke Plano, $2.20) was a very game winner of the $50,000 freshman filly pace event, holding off stablemate Give Me This Dance (Nick Roland) in a thrilling finish in 1:56.2 for five wins in a row and eight career wins. Both of the top two fillies are by Wind Me Up, and both are owned by breeders Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and trained by Justin Anfinson. Kitty Wampus (Jacob Cutting) was home in third.
Shes A Showstopper (Jacob Cutting, $10.80) picked up her second straight Championship win for owner/breeders Van Oterloo Stables in the $45,000 sophomore filly pace event. The Its That Time filly took control just past the quarter-mile and was never in doubt after that, keeping a one-length margin all the way to the wire over heavy favourite Maze (Rick Magee) in 1:55.3, with May Day Maggie (Nick Roland) well back in third. Gordon Graham is the winning trainer.
Shadowfax (Dean Magee, $5.80) completed a Championship double for owner/breeders Set The Pace Racing, getting up to win by a nose over favourite Poko Loki (Tony Kerwood) in a dramatic stretch battle in 2:02.4 in the $50,000 freshman male trot event. It was just the second career win for Shadowfax, who was bred by Lesa Peters and is trained by Nick Roland.
Coatofmanycolors (Brian Detgen, $2.80) delivered as the overwhelming favourite in the $45,000 sophomore filly trot event with a game victory by a neck in 1:59 over Its So Fluffy (Luke Plano), with The Royal Queen checking in third. The winner is by Tymal Templar and is owned and trained by Jenni King. She now has 11 wins in 17 starts this season and career earnings of $109,811. The winning breeder is Spring Valley Farm.
The $50,000 freshman male pacing event went to Fiffer Feffer Fef (Jacob Cutting, $9.20) for his third straight win. Cutting floated away in fourth and then activated the gelded son of Easy Again and they quickly swept to the lead before the half mile post while Antetokounmpo (Rick Magee) had the early lead and then followed in the pocket. Those two battled in the lane and Fiffer Feffer Fef held gamely for a half-length tally and three wins in a row with a mile in 1:57.1 while Lovin On You (Brady Jenson) checked in third. The winner is owned by his breeder Merlin Van Oterloo, who had two victories on the program.
Scroll On By (Tony Kerwood, $5.80) completed a Championship double for trainer Dan Roland and breeder Jeralene Roland with a 1-1/2 length tally in 2:01 in the $50,000 freshman filly trot event. Scroll On By worked a bit to get the lead from post seven and was never in doubt after that. CR Promise To You (Brady Jenson) was second best and Calico Creek (Luke Plano) completed the trifecta. The winner is by Banker Volo and is owned by Kennedy Roland.
Susies Sister (Brady Jenson, $3.20) took the $45,000 aged trotting mares event with a 2-1/2 length tally in 1:56 for her 23rd career win. She traded leads early with SB Madam Secretary (Tony Kerwood) and then squared off gamely against Teachmehowtotory (Nick Roland) in the middle stages. Teachmehowtotory held second with SB Madam Secretary taking third. The winner is a daughter of Claudius Augustus and is owned by Lynchris, LLC and trained by Jenni King. Susies Sister now has career earnings of $187,468. The winning breeder is A Piece Of The Action, LLC.
The $45,000 aged pacing mares event went to Cruzin Coco (Nick Roland, $4.00) for her 38th career win. The daughter of Voracious Hanover went gate-to-wire and held off a late charge from Its Pacific Time (Rick Magee) to post the win by a neck in 1:56.2 for owner Cathy Dessert. Brooklyn Moonshine was home in third. Roland is also the winning trainer and Ronald Emerson is the winning breeder. The Championship win elevated her career earnings to $311,499.
The final event of the Night of Champions program was the $45,000 aged male trotting event and Bringoverthemoney (Jacob Cutting, $3.20) stole the show with a dominating 4-1/4 length tally in 1:55.3 for his second consecutive Championship win. The impressive six-year-old son of Money Talks covered the mile in a sharp 1:55.3 for his fourth win of the season. The victory also pushed his career earnings to $211,162 for owner Joshua Horvat. Katie Horvat is the winning trainer and breeder. Hearduwhispermynam (Luke Plano) was second best and Bringthegold (Nick Roland) was home in third.
In addition to Cutting’s grand slam, Nick Roland also posted a driving triple and a training triple. Trainers Dan Roland, Brett Ballinger and Jenni King all posted doubles on the Championship program.
Driver Nick Roland took honours as the 2021 leading driver at Running Aces with 85 wins and also took the title as leading trainer, with 56 wins.
(With files from Running Aces)