XENIA — Harness racing fans will want to keep the evenings of July 30-31 open. That’s when some of the state’s top drivers and horses will be racing around the Greene County Fairgrounds.
According to Bob Briley, who along with fellow Fair Board of Directors Scott Beegle and Dave Elliott is a member of the Horsemen’s Racing Committee, this year’s fair harness racing schedule could feature some of the state’s best. And they’ll be competing for purses as high as $8,500 dollars.
Briley says the inaugural Chip Noble Memorial race, in honor of Xenia harness racing veteran Sam “Chip” Noble III who passed away in January, is expected to draw some of the top 2-year-old filly pacers around.
Noble was a third-generation harness racer and trainer from Xenia who was considered one of the nation’s very best at his craft. Briley believes that Chip’s son, reknowned racer Dan Noble, could be in the Greene County Fair field.
“Chip is an internationally known driver who was well respected. The memorial race in his honor will drive a purse of at least $8,500, and it could be more,” Briley said. “We’ll also be officially naming the track after Chip Noble.”
Area trainers and drivers expected to be on hand include Zach Henry, Charles Bower, Gail Impson, Roy Murphy, Russell and Deborah Swartz, John Ingram, Steve Sexton and Mark Wagner among others.
According to Briley, trotter and pacer events for 2-year-old fillies will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30. At least four Ohio Colt Racing Association races, several non-winner overnight heats, the Noble Memorial, and the Ray Henley Memorial signature series race will take place on that date.
The Henley Memorial is named after a famous Greene County race horse who had dominated harness racing in the 1930s.
Thursday’s second day of racing action will feature trotter and pacer events for the 3-year-old fillies, also with a 6:30 p.m. start. OCRA-sanctioned events, the Steve Phillips Memorial signature series event, and more overnight heats will take place.
The original car-drawn receding starting gate seen at the start of most harness races across the country was originally invented by Xenia’s own Steve Phillips.
“We’re hoping to have 12 races each night, and of course we’ll have all the big-name drivers in the state and all the good horses, racing in the Ohio Colt Racing Association stakes races,” Briley said.
Be sure to buy a racing program. Race officials will be holding prize giveaways between each race, but fans will need a program to win. Briley says several Greene County area businesses provided prizes for this year’s giveaways.
The OCRA Signature Series competes at Ohio county fairs in Circleville, Wilmington, Washington Courthouse, Lebanon, Eaton, Xenia, Chillicothe, Troy, Greenville, Dayton and Lancaster, with top points winners receiving awards at the end of the season.
The purse money listed below was provided earlier by the Greene County Fair, but Briley says state money from area racinos could raise the purses as high as $5,000 per race.
Horsepower of another kind
The fair will once again provide plenty of motorsports action this year. One minor change is that the demolition derby will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, Aug. 2. The event had been held on Fridays in the past, but organizers wanted to give drivers more opportunity to compete.
Competitors do not have to pre-enter, but please go to cavalcadeofthrills.com/rules to make sure the car is eligible to compete. Heats for stock, modified, semi-modified and compact cars will take place. A $4,000 purse and trophies will also be awarded. Call 606-836-8852 or 937-241-3556 for more details.
A Tug-A-Truck competition will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28 at the grand stand. Call Josh Fisher 937-689-5890 for more information regarding rules and regulations. Contestants pay $20 to enter, pit passes are $10 each. Weight classes are for trucks 6,500 pounds and lower; 6,525 lbs. to 9,000 lb. Fans’ gate admission will be $6.
The Ohio State Tractor Pull Association will return to the Greene County Fairgrounds for its annual tractor and truck pull competitions, starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1. Four pulling classes will be on hand with a $3,581 purse for each. Gate admission is $6, pit passes are $10 and Grandstand admission is $5. For more information, please call 491-289-6560.