McWicked stalked swift fractions and lunged through the stretch to nab victory in the $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial by the slimmest of margins, while Atlanta also took the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial by a tight margin on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs.
Filibuster Hanover pushed for the front while stablemate This Is The Plan let him clear past a :25.3 first quarter. This Is The Plan pulled pocket past the stands first time to retake command as Western Fame floated off the pegs to press for the lead nearing a :52.4 half. McWicked caught cover from third over but gapped up the backstretch as This Is The Plan and Western Fame sped to three-quarters in 1:20.
The backfield swarmed the leaders in the stretch with Western Fame surging past This Is The Plan late but failing to hold off McWicked as he stuck a nose in front at the finish, stopping the clock in 1:49. Western Fame finished second in a dead-heat with Donttellmeagain rallying from off the speed while Courtly Choice took fourth.
“I was still asking him for pace just keeping up,” winning driver Brian Sears said after the race. “He’s an amazing horse...I want to thank Ed James for bringing him back this year and giving me a chance to drive him again because he’s a lot of fun, so easy to drive and just an amazing horse. The older he gets it takes a little while to get his form back, but there’re some real good horses that he has to face every week and it’s tough racing but he gets his share.”
Owned by S S G Stables, McWicked won his fourth race from 11 starts this season and his 38th from 104 overall, earning $4,620,405. Casie Coleman conditions the eight-year-old son of McArdle who paid $6.20 to win.
Driver Yannick Gingras floated Atlanta towards the front past the quarter and held control the remainder of the mile to take the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial in a track-record mile of 1:51.4.
Stablemate Mission Accepted cleared command from Plunge Blue Chip rounding the first turn and approaching a :27.1 first quarter. Atlanta slowly advanced towards the lead and cleared command past the stands first time. Guardian Angel As - parked from the start - gradually progressed towards the pacesetter through a :56 half and towards three-quarters in 1:24, only reaching Atlanta's wheel before stalling. Atlanta spun into the stretch maintaining command while Plunge Blue Chip shot through the open stretch to finish a neck shy of victory. Mission Accepted settled for third while Guardian Angel As finished fourth.
"Honestly I was kind of measuring a little bit late," Gingras said after the race. "Ake [Svanstedt and Plunge Blue Chip] was coming kind of fast. [Atlanta]'s a way better mare following horses but the way the race was going tonight I went to the front. Ronnie called me after [the Maple Leaf Trot] last Saturday and said he wanted to race her here, trying to find a couple of starts before the [International Trot] and this was the perfect place. The track was good and she put on a good performance."
Winning her seventh race from 11 starts this season and her 19th from 35 overall, Atlanta has amassed $1,799,089 in earnings. The four-year-old Chapter Seven mare is trained by Ron Burke for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. She paid $5.80 to win.
BIG OHIO SIRES STAKES NIGHT FOR BRETT MILLER
(Courtesy Ohio Standardbred Development Fund)
Driver Brett Miller had a spectacular Saturday night at Scioto Downs, as he captured one $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championship for pacing mares and three $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes consolations.
Miller, 46, a resident of Blacklick, Ohio, began his four-race win streak by steering 5-1 Homer Hall to victory in the $75,000 OSS Three-Year-Old Colt Consolation. Trained and co-owned by Steve Carter along with Jay Mossbarger and Cass Gallagher, the son of Broadway Hall was clocked in 1:54.3 for Miller.
Bred by Midland Acres, Homer Hall bested 3-5 rival Morally Flexible (Danny Noble) by a length with 21-1 Workinitonbroadway (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) nailing down third-place honours. The victory, Homer Hall’s tenth of the year and 17th lifetime in 26 starts, upped his lifetime bankroll to $193,742.
Next, Miller guided Patti Roth and Alan Keith’s Bad Sammie to a 1:53.1 clocking in the $75,000 OSS Three-Year-Old Filly Pace Consolation. The Big Bad John lass left the gate as the 3-5 favourite and bested 3-1Twinsburg (Danny Noble) by half a length with 16-1 Lofty Beach (Yannick Gingras) third. Mike Roth trains Bad Sammie, who was bred by Midland Acres and now has $132,740 in career earnings from just four wins in 21 starts.
Miller then reined 5-2 B Like Cruiser to a 1:51.4 triumph for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and owners Michael Cimaglio and William Richardson in the $75,000 OSS Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace Consolation. The homebred gelded son of Yankee Cruiser finished a neck ahead of 18-1 Rose Run Ulysses (Tim Tetrick) at the wire, with 16-1 Ohio Vintage (Aaron Merriman) another short neck back. Unraced as a freshman, B Like Cruiser now has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 13 trips postward with $110,301 in his coffers.
Finally, Miller used a three-wide move in the last turn to bring 7-1 Up Front Flor Ida home first in the $75,000 Veteran Mares Pacing Championship in 1:51.3. The four-year-old daughter of Woodstock is owned by Kevin McKinney and Virginian McKoy, and is trained by Tim McKoy. She now has career earnings of $269,890 from 15 wins, eight seconds and ten thirds in 52 lifetime starts. Using a :28.4 final brush, she easily paced to the win ahead of 50-1 Berazzled (Aaron Merriman), with 60-1 McDazzle (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) getting up for third.
Harold Bauder’s Sectionline Bigry captured the $75,000 OSS Veteran Pacing Championship for horses and geldings impressively in 1:49.2 as the 1-5 favourite. Driven by Tyler Smith for trainer Steve Bauder, the four-year-old homebred son of Pet Rock has been a strong contender in the Ohio open and invitational ranks all season. This latest victory—his 11th of the season and 18th lifetime—upped his career earnings to $365,027. Whataboy was second at 8-1 for Danny Noble, while 90-1 Barley Up was third for Ronnie Wrenn Jr.
Driver Aaron Merriman got the evening started by piloting 6-5 Chris Beaver trainee Delovely Hall to a 1:58.1 triumph in the $75,000 OSS Two-Year-Old Filly Trot Consolation. Renee Bercury owns the Cash Hall lass who picked up a perfect time to score her second career victory.
Danny Noble had no trouble bringing 1-5 Buxton home first in 1:57.2 for owner Carter Duer and trainer Bob Stewart in the $75,000 OSS Two-Year-Old Colt Trot Consolation. The homebred Dejarmbro colt picked up his second career win in six starts and now has $60,460 in his bankroll.
Trainer Brian Brown then sent out the next two OSS winners—the first being PJs Legacy, a 1-2 daughter of Big Bad John who stopped the clock in 1:53 in the $75,000 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace Consolation for driver Ryan Stahl. Brown then harnessed 6-5 Stanford Court, with Ronnie Wrenn Jr., taking the youngster to a 1:52.4 victory in the $75,000 OSS Two-Year-Old Colt Pace Consolation.
Chris Page brought Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi’s 3-1 Buckeye Starlet into the Scioto winner’s circle after the Uncle Peter filly took the $75,000 OSS Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Consolation in 1:56. The win was the fourth of the year and fifth lifetime for Buckeye Starlet, who now has $95,681 in career earnings.