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Hackett Memorial To Get Underway

Published: April 8, 2018 5:06 pm ET

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Eliminations week for the James K. Hackett Memorial Series at Miami Valley Raceway is upon us.

One of the longest running racing events in Ohio, the Hackett has added a new twist in 2018, as trotting events will take to the track for the first time. First raced at Lebanon Raceway in 1971 – a year after Jim Hackett was killed in a racing accident at Latonia Raceway in northern Kentucky – the prestigious Hackett Memorials have featured three-year-old Ohio-sired pacers for five decades.

Hackett was born in London, Ohio in 1917. A decorated World War II veteran, he went to work for the Doc McMillen Stable upon returning to Ohio. In 1952, he became the private trainer for the powerful Sam Huttenbauer Stable of Cincinnati. He broke, trained and drove numerous outstanding Grand Circuit horses, most notably Little Brown Jug winner Best Of All.

The 2018 edition of the Hackett Memorials will kick off Monday afternoon (April 9) at Miami Valley when a pair of $15,000 eliminations of Buckeye-bred sophomore trotting fillies will head postward. Red Storm, with North America’s leading dash driver Aaron Merriman in the sulky, has been installed the lukewarm 5-2 morning line favourite. A winner of three legs of the Ohio Sires Stakes series in 2017, the Chris Beaver trainee banked $109,975 for owner Sandra Burnett last season. Impinktoo (3-1, Peter Wrenn) and California Love (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to provide stiff competition.

Non Smoker, trained and driven by Dan Noble, has received the slight morning line nod (5-2) for the second split. Owner Stephen Sexton’s gray filly earned $20,551 in her first year of racing, as she won a pair of fair races and placed in three OHSS outings. Bugs MVP (7-2, Trace Tetrick) and Sesame (4-1, Aaron Merriman), both from the Chris Beaver Stable, will also get considerable support at the betting windows.

The top four finishers from each elimination, plus the fastest fifth place finisher, will advance to the $40,000 championship a week later.

Colts and geldings will step to the plate for two eliminations during Miami Valley’s Tuesday matinee. Sultan Of Cash (5-2, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Slap Happy Sammy (7-2, Chris Page) and Banker Twentyfive (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to attract the most attention in the first split. Favourites in the second elimination are Ride The Rails (2-1, Tetrick), Sand Cash (5-2, Page) and Countthebenjamins (9-2, Wrenn Jr.).

First-race post time on Monday and Tuesday at Miami Valley will be at 2:05 p.m.

(Miami Valley Raceway)

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