By John Bombatch
Several area horse owners and trainers had plenty of success Sept. 3 during the 2016 Ohio Sires Stakes harness racing event at Northfield Park, near Cleveland.
At least three race winners and two runners up had Greene County ties in the $250,000 championship races at Northfield Park.
Two days later, Greene County was well represented in the consolation events held at Columbus’s Scioto Downs as well.
Driver Josh Sutton piloted Rose Run Spanky to the win in the $250,000 Championship race for 2-year-old trotting colts. The horse is owned by S.G. Hines of Jamestown, Kim Dailey of Mechanicsburg, and D. Snyder of South Charleston.
“When (race favorite) Buckeye Boss broke (stride), I knew we were in for a big effort. I thought my horse had a good shot going into the race, but when that happened, I was even more confident,” Sutton said to an Ohio Standardbred Dvelopment Fund official after the race. “Nothing’s ever certain with these 2-year-olds anyway — they’ll make you rack your brain to figure them out.”
Rose Run Spanky earned a $161,800 paycheck for the win. Hope Ima Victory, owned by Stephen Sexton of Xenia, finished seventh among the state’s top-8 entries and earned $32,000.
Sutton wasn’t done driving winning horses, however. He piloted Scotch McEwan, a horse owned by Xenia’s Carl Atley, to the win in the $250,000-purse championship for 2-year-old pacing colts. Scotch McEwan won $179,800 for the win. Sexton’s horse, Corner Con Artist, finished in the runner up spot to earn $97,700.
In the Ohio Sires Stakes finale for 3-year-old Filly Pacers, Sutton again drove a Greene County horse to victory. This time it was My Tweed Heart, owned by Carl and Melanie Atley of Xenia, and Alan Keith of Pataskala, and trained by Mechanicsburg’s Jim Dailey, who finished out front.
My Tweed Heart won $195,000 for the win, followed by the Xenia Atleys’ horse Queen Anne M, who earned $100,500 for second place in the final.
Sexton’s horse, Friskie Cruiser, finished seventh in the final for 3-year-old colt pacers to earn the Xenia owner $33,200.
The Ohio Sires Stakes is funded by the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, which receives taxes paid on harness race track wagers and taxes from casinos that are paid to the Ohio State Racing Commission. As part of the Ohio law that created casino gambling and racinos in the state, the scheduling of up to five races and a championship for each of the eight 2- and 3-year-old racing divisions is mandated. Purse money for each of the championship events is guaranteed at $250,000.
Greene County owners and trainers fared well at at least two of the $50,000 consolation events, which were held Sept. 5 at Scioto Downs in Columbus.
In the 3-year-old colt pacers consolation event, pitting the top-9 horses who did not qualify for the Northfield finals, Stephen Sexton’s Xenia horse World of Gaming, which was trained by Xenia’s Dan Noble, won over Kim Dailey’s Jim Dailey-trained horse Winna Winna.
World of Gaming won $47,000 while Winna Winna took home $29,300.
Another Dan Noble-trained horse — Marty’s Lucky Chip — finished in the runner-up spot for the 3-year-old Filly Trotter consolation event at Scioto Downs, earning $33,700. Dailey’s horse Wegottthechips was seventh in the same race, earning $14,800.
Ohio Standardbred Developmental Fund Administrator Kimberly Rinker contributed to this story.