Fresh off a win in the Canadian Pacing Derby, Tattoo Artist shipped south to Eldorado Scioto Downs to take the $260,000 10th annual Jim Ewart Memorial Pace in 1:48.2 on Saturday, Sept. 9.
In his seasonal debut, Beach Glass and Yannick Gingras went straight to the front from post nine with Chase H Hanover (Tony Hall) sitting in the pocket. After settling in fifth for the :25.4 opening quarter, Tattoo Artist pulled first up at the three-eighths. As the field hit the :54.1 half, Tattoo Artist was third, drafting Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) second over with Charlie May (Brett Miller) third over.
Those three horses continued to advance on the outside at the 1:22.1 three-quarters. Mid-way through the last turn Tattoo Artist was powering away from the field while Beach Glass was retreating. Backstreet Shadow finished second with Charlie May getting up for third.
Going off as the even money favourite, Tattoo Artist paid $4.00 to win. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore and owned by Let It Ride Stables, Frank Cannon, Diamond Creek Racing and Bottom Line Racing, the Hes Watching six-year-old stallion now has five wins in 17 seasonal starts with nearly $3 million in lifetime earnings.
With the win, Tattoo Artist and Roy remain a perfect team. The tandem has won all four of their appearances.
Incommunicado delivered on his pari-mutuel promise as the even money favourite to prevail in the $250,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot.
Yannick Gingras settled the even money choice into third as Kildare King (Tim Tetrick) trotted through a :26.4 opening quarter and :55.3 half. Pretender (Dexter Dunn) made a brush first up to challenge Kildare King, with Incommunicado slipping out to stalk second over. The third quarter was reached in 1:23.1, with Pretender rolling offstride in that far bend.
That break was a lucky break for Incommunicado, who started to advance and made gains on the leader turning for home. With the wire in sight, Incommuncado found another gear and sprinted down the stretch to hit the wire first. The mile was timed in 1:51.4, with Kildare King holding on for second over Jujubee (Tony Hall) and Smoking Jet (Chris Page).
Now a winner of five straight starts, Incommunicado (Chapter Seven - Gran Cavalla) is trained by Ake Svanstedt for Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Del Ray Beach, Fl., Little E LLC of New York, N.Y., Art Geiger of Livingston, N.J. and locally based David Stolz of Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s a wonderful feeling because I knew Charlie Hill…I knew Lavern Hill,” said co-owner David Stolz in the winner’s circle. “With Yannick in the bike, you always feel good. All you gotta do is be close. I wasn’t that happy about the horse coming here because he does so well on the east coast on the small tracks. But Yannick is the difference, he’s a big difference maker…and obviously he got the job done.”
Making his 49th start, five-year-old Incommunicado now sports a lifetime summary of 21-7-6 with $798,257 in earnings.
The Ewart and the Hill were part of Ohio Super Night on Saturday, Sept. 9, the richest day in Ohio harness racing history with 18 races and $3.7 million in purses.
Sugar Instead, Rose Run Yolanda, Grand Revival and Tennessee Tom were crowned as the best in the trotting divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes in 2023 after winning their respective $300,000 Scarlet Championships.
Sugar Instead (Ronnie Gillespie) capped off an undefeated run through the sires stakes with a track record 1:55 victory in the final for two-year-old fillies. Sugar Instead was in the pocket at the :26.3 opening quarter but squeezed out between leader Possibility (Dan Noble) and a three-wide My Rory (Tony Hall) to take over the top spot past that marker. After she had control, Sugar Instead backed down the middle-half to :55.4 and 1:25.2 en route to winning by 4-3/4 lengths from Roxanna (Aaron Merriman) and Iam Independent (Chris Page).
"To be honest, I kind of went over the race, and the only horse that I knew had a shot was Chris Page's horse. I didn't know who was on the outside of me, and I thought it was Chris Page, so I came right back out," Gillespie said about his strategy early in the mile. "I wanted to be on his back or him on my back. It means a lot. This is something that I had a vision of for many years, and it's just coming to pass."
A daughter of Volstead bred by Elmer Miller, Sugar Instead is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. for owners Joyce McClelland and Larry Wills. She has pocketed $331,125 to go with her six triumphs and two runner-up finishes in eight outings and paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favourite.
Rose Run Yolanda (Brett Miller), who won the sires stakes final for rookie trotting fillies in 2022, defended her title this year, rallying off a second-over trip to a 1:53.3 win. Swinging Senorita (Anthony MacDonald) cut fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:24.4, but she was overtaken by a first-up Rose Run Yanae (Chris Page) past three-quarters, with Miller tipping out three-wide after tracking Rose Run Yanae's cover. Rose Run Yolanda surged into the lead in the lane and would go on to defeat Rose Run Yanae by a length and a half, with Global Girl (Don Irvine Jr.) back in third.
"She's actually going to be on the Grand Circuit after this race, so this was huge tonight. It's so exciting to see what's happened in Ohio with our breed and all of us celebrating such a huge night here tonight," remarked winning owner Greg Luther. "I've been able to be involved on the breeding side - I own Catch The Fire - and getting some great racehorses here, it's just been so much fun and very exciting.
"She's got the pedigree, she's got the heart, and our driver showed up. I told Brett I fired him five times in that race, but I re-hired him at the finish."
Rose Run Yolanda, by Triumphant Caviar, is trained by Todd Luther and was bred by Rose Run Farm. Rose Run Yolanda has a record of 13-4-0 from 18 attempts, pushed her earnings to $640,864 and returned $2.40 to win as the 1-5 choice.
Miller was right back in the winner's circle after the final for three-year-old colts and geldings as 24-1 Grand Revival prevailed from first-over in 1:53.1. Positioned fourth at the :27.2 quarter and :56.2 half, Miller put Grand Revival in motion on the rim approaching that half-mile marker. Grand Revival quickly accelerated and moved up to join leader John Dutton (Chris Page) on the front-end at the 1:24.4 three-quarters, then wore that rival down around the final bend and into the lane to win by a length and a quarter. Jet Hill (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) tracked the winner from second-over but had to settle for runner-up honours, and John Dutton came in third.
"The first time I drove this horse I moved to the front at the half, and I felt like maybe the horse didn't like the front. His very next start, I put him on the front, and I said 'he definitely doesn't like the front,' so I said tonight we'll just wait to make the front until the end," Miller offered after the win.
Steve Carter trains Grand Revival, a Creatine gelding bred by Diamond Creek Farm, for owners Jeff Fought Racing, Brian Carsey and Adam Friedland. Grand Revival made his eighth appearance in the winner's circle, has put away $251,007 and paid $50.60 to win.
The two-year-old colts and geldings finished out the proceedings for the trotters, and Tennessee Tom (Page) won impressively in 1:55.1. Tennessee Tom was fifth at the :28.3 quarter set by Royal Precedent (Wrenn Jr.) and continued to watch from that position as Spaaaanzano (Aaron Merriman) brushed to the top. Racing to the :57.1 half, Page fired Tennessee Tom off the pylons first-over, and he came with a quick burst that carried him around Spaaaanzano well before the 1:26.1 three-quarters. It was all Tennessee Tom from there as he downed Spaaaanzano by 3-3/4 lengths, with E-Pass (Trevor Smith) completing the trifecta.
"I thought personally, I'm not being arrogant or whatever, but I thought that was the only way I'd lose the race, if he ran," Page quipped post-race. "I just kind of babysat in the first turn and then let him race from there."
Tennessee Tom, by Long Tom and bred by Albert Miller, is conditioned by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Hatfield Stables and Knox Services Inc. He's a five-time winner from eight trips behind the starting gate, has banked $289,850 and returned $4.60 to win as the 6-5 second choice.
Four $100,000 Gray Championships, which served as Ohio Sires Stakes consolations, were won by:
- Hot Tea, a two-year-old daughter of Enterprise bred by owner Joyce McClelland, in 1:57.1 for driver Tyler Smith and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr.;
- Docs Boo Boo, a three-year-old filly by Downbytheseaside (yes, a Downbytheseaside trotter!) in 1:56.2 for driver Jeff Nisonger, trainer Mark Winters and owner/breeder Jr Stable Llp;
- Hung Over, a two-year-old Creatine colt, in 1:56.2 for driver Dan Noble, trainer Bob Stewart, co-owner/breeder Bluestone Farms LLC. and co-owner Lynda Stewart;
- Bidenurtime, a three-year-old Creatine gelding bred by Steve Stewart and William Jones, in 1:55.2 for trainer/driver Sandy Beatty and owners Roger Wallace and Larry Riffe.
The Ohio Sires Stakes season for pacers concluded on Saturday night at Eldorado Scioto Downs with four $300,000 Scarlet Championships. Two-year-old colt Clever Cody was the only favourite to win as Daisys Star (30-1), Tarapasta (87-1) and Wicked Character (10-1) lit up the tote board in the other events.
Daisys Star kicked off the Championships for the pacers with the upset in the event for two-year-old fillies. She blasted to the top from post eight for driver Sam Widger, put up fractions of :26.2, :55 and 1:23 and held sway in a :29.1 last quarter, defeating favoured Seaside Diva (Chris Page) by a length and a quarter in a life's-best 1:52.1. Rose Run Zoey (Tyler Smith) finished third.
By Racing Hill, Daisys Star was bred by trainer Johnson Hill Jr. and owner Brent Tartar. She has a record of 3-1-2 from six efforts, has now pocketed $238,126 and returned $63.20 to win.
"I was worried about the trip, getting out there, you can get hung up, and you don't know if you're going to find a spot, but she did great. I was thrilled," Tartar said after the race, adding that Daisys Star will be heading to the Ohio Breeders Championships at the Delaware County Fair and then Bluegrass Series action at The Red Mile. "I've always believed in the filly. She's been amazing. She's shown a lot of heart and a lot of perseverance. I knew she could do it. We just had to get the right trip, and she showed she's a champion."
Clever Cody (Aaron Merriman) was also a front-stepping winner. After charging to the engine from post position three, he chopped out panels of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23.1 and repelled passing lane bids by Pariss Dragon (Dan Noble) and Janelle Granny (Brett Miller) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.1.
"Brian Brown gave me a sale book for the select sale coming up here in a couple weeks. I will be here this year for sure. I love Ohio," said winning trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "It looked good, especially when Brett didn't move with Janelle Granny. I thought that was good for us, maybe. I trained him a little differently the prior start to this, and he wasn't quite as good maybe, but this time I went back to what I had been doing before - trained him one trip on Thursday and shipped him Friday - and that seemed to be what he liked."
A colt by The Panderosa and bred by Marvin Raber, Clever Cody is trained by Dr. Moore for owner Clever Cody Stable. He's won five of his eight starts so far and banked $291,050. The 3-2 favourite, he paid $5.00 to win.
Tarapasta was the longest shot on the board in the three-year-old filly pace but fanned out widest on the final bend from last and off contested fractions of :26.1, :54.1 and 1:22.1 set by Seaside Tina (Noble) and McSeaside (Page) to win in 1:51.2, giving Merriman another victory. Cruise Alert (Brett Miller) was the runner-up, three-quarters of a length behind Tarapasta, and Kassagi (Widger) grabbed third.
"It worked out really well. We wanted one towards the front and one towards the back, kind of see what happened with the fractions," said victorious owner Greg Luther, who had Tarapasta and Seaside Tina in the event. "There were hot fractions up front, and she came from dead last. It was absolutely awesome."
The winning filly is by Downbytheseaside, was bred by Tara Hills Stud and is trained by Todd Luther. She made her sixth trip to the winner's circle in her 24th try, boosted her earnings to $226,000 and paid a whopping $176.60 to win.
Act Fast (Page) lived up to his name in the final for sophomore colt and gelding pacers as he took the lead away from Rockmelikeyameanit (Noble) after a :25.3 quarter and then kept the pedal to the metal in the second quarter to put the half on the board in :52.3. That hot tempo took its toll on Act Fast past the 1:21 three-quarters, though, as he was worn down and overtaken by Burnout (Widger), then dropped out of contention. Wicked Character (Yannick Gingras) had followed Burnout all the way, however, and after angling off his cover on the final bend, Wicked Character kicked home nicely to the wire and won by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:49.4. Burnout held off Quick Trick (Smith) for the third spot.
"Sam in the first turn, he was looking for a spot, and I figured he'd be a good one to follow. They were marching right along on the front," Gingras said. "My horse felt good all the way through, and he kicked home real good in the stretch, too."
Ron Burke trains Wicked Character, a gelding by Yankee Cruiser, for owners Winterwood Farm, Timothy Sullivan, Robert Jackson, and Tom Wilson. Wicked Character won for the eighth time in his life, has put away $301,800 and returned $22.60 to win.
The $100,000 Gray Championships, which served as Ohio Sires Stakes consolations, were won by:
- Beautiful Lather, a two-year-old daughter of Lather Up bred by Galliers Racing LLC., in 1:53.1 for driver Aaron Merriman, co-owner/trainer Tye Loy and co-owners David Wills, Richard Coad and Douglas Gregory;
- Racing Rebel, a two-year-old colt by Racing Hill, in 1:53.2 for driver Sam Widger, trainer Dan O'Mara, and owner/breeder Marjorie Polhamus;
- Stormy Serena, a three-year-old Fear The Dragon filly bred by owners Emerald Highlands Farm, Dolne Farm Services LLC. and Wrenn Racing LLC. in 1:52.3 for driver Peter Wrenn and trainer Melanie Wrenn;
- Ants Marching, a three-year-old gelding by Downbytheseaside bred by Sugar Valley Farm, in 1:49.4 for driver Dexter Dunn, co-owner/trainer Nancy Takter, and co-owners Howard Taylor, Joe McLead and Billy Walters.
The replay of the live stream is available below.
(With files from DRF / Scioto)