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Buckeyes Vs Hoosiers This Saturday

Published: December 12, 2018 12:16 pm ET

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The battle lines have been drawn and now only the result of the fourth annual “Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Driver’s Challenge” this Saturday night (Dec. 15) remains to be seen.

Hoosier Park’s top five available reinsmen will compete with Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway’s five dash leaders in a six-race competition for bragging rights over the next 12 months. The Hoosier squad will be captained by Trace Tetrick, the all-time leading driver at the Anderson, Indiana track, and also includes Ricky Macomber Jr., Lewayne Miller, Mike Oosting and Brandon Bates. Leading driver Jeremy Smith will head up ‘Team Buckeyes’ and will be joined by Dan Noble, Chris Page, Josh Sutton and Kayne Kauffman.

Myles Linderman, Dayton’s morning line guru, has tabbed three Buckeyes and three Hoosiers as morning line favorites in the six contest legs that have been carded as Races 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 on the program, which is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. Each team will start from the odd-numbered post positions in half the races, and each of the ten drivers were pre-assigned post positions that added up to 33 over the half-dozen races.

Classic Comedy (who is to be driven Chris Page) is the 5-2 morning line favourite in the first leg, an $8,000 fillies and mares claimer, based on three victories in her last four starts. There are five other recent winners in the field, plus three more who own place finishes in recent weeks.

Hes Got Pizazz (Dan Noble) got a narrow 3-1 nod in the second leg despite having drawn outside in the mid-range conditioned trot. The class dropper will face a full field of squaregaiters that have all fashioned top three finishes in their last five tries.

Blueridge Doc (Jeremy Smith) has been listed as the 5-2 early favourite in a contentious $10,000 claimer that has been slated as leg three. Again, every one of the ten horses in the race has at least a top-three finish in recent starts, including three who won their last time out.

Waterside Champ (Lewayne Miller) will start from the second tier, but has been listed at 5-2 for the fourth leg, a $15,000 claiming event. In a recurring theme, every combatant shows an on-the-board finish on the program page, five with recent victories.

Whiskey Friskie (Trace Tetrick) drew the coveted rail in the fifth leg, a condition/claiming event for non-winners of ten races, to gain the 5-2 morning line favouritism. Five of the nine horses with on-the-board finishes have been winners since November 1.

Blooming Genius (Ricky Macomber Jr.) will open as the 5-2 choice in leg six, the finale which will feature $20,000 claiming pacers. Oddly, he is one of just two horses without a recent top-three finish, but will be dropping in class from the $30,000 level.

Each winning driver in the six races will earn 30 points for their team. A place finish is worth 24 points, show gets 18, and then 14-11-8-5-3-1 for fourth through ninth place. In the unfortunate event of a scratch, that driver will receive 10 points for his team.

The Buckeyes won the inaugural drivers challenge in 2015 and held on for a thrilling 351-333 victory last year. Sandwiched in between was the Hoosiers only triumph in 2016.

Hollywood Dayton Raceway provides $2,500 in prize money for the contest and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association throws in an additional $500. In the past, the drivers from both squads have graciously donated the entire $3,000 pool to Dayton Firefighters Local 136, the unit that provides ambulance and EMT service to Dayton Raceway during each and every live racing program. The local firefighters and paramedics use the funds to purchase toys for needy children in their service area at Christmas time.

(Hollywood Dayton Raceway)

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