XENIA — A local driver and one from far away Auckland, New Zealand were among the race winners during Thursday’s final night of harness racing at the Greene County Fair.
The fifth race of the evening initially had Jack Dailey listed to drive three of the seven horses in the field, which would’ve been quite a feat. But prior to the race, Dailey chose Tossies Flash to drive and that left Auckland, New Zealand driver Jason Beattie to chose which horse of the remaining Dailey entries that he’d like to drive.
In the night’s largest race purse of $7,812, Beattie chose Strong Feelin, and the horse was definitely strong. Beattie drove Strong Feelin to a start-to-finish win, with Dailey finishing second.
“He’s a nice colt. I read his lines and he seemed to be a promising ride, I just drove him to his full potential,” Beattie said.
The fairgrounds’ Chip Noble Memorial Track had been doused by rain for much of the afternoon and, while it didn’t rain during the races, the racing surface was still pretty muddy. Beattie said that wasn’t a problem.
“He seemed to handle it okay, for a young horse like that. And the track wasn’t that great with all the rain we had here. But the officials worked on it pretty well, and I think it’s going to get better as the night goes on,” he said.
Xenia driver and owner Keely Moore drove Cypress Hill Suds to the horse’s first win of the 2015 season, during the fair’s seventh race of the evening. Another Xenia-area driver, Mike Porkonowski, finished second with Cyalater.
“To win on your hometown track is always a great feeling,” Moore said after her race. “Also, I’d like to add that good horses make people look good.”
Moore and Cypress Hill Suds began the race languishing almost last at about the half-mile distance, but she made an outside pass down the backstretch on the final lap to grab the lead from Trevor Smith behind Brother Dan, who eventually finished third.
“I had no gameplan when I went out there. I just watched what the other drivers were doing and did what I could when I felt I had a shot of winning the race,” Moore said. “I cleared on the backstretch, then I opened up a little bit because I didn’t want somebody to make a final run on me. It’s nice to get the win.”
Mechanicsburg veteran Jack Dailey started off the day in impressive fashion. The 50-year-old driver claimed race wins in three of the evening’s first four races. Dailey drove Playa Del Sol to the opening win in the Sean Dehan Memorial, he then won with She’snobeachboy in the Patterson Family Memorial, sat out the third race (won by Russell Swartz with a Xenia-owned horse named Mid Pack, owned by Kenny E. Delaney), then Dailey won the Impson Memorial with OU Master Man for three race wins in three tries.
In other races, Logan Powell piloted If I Could Count to a win in Race 6; Dailey won for his fourth time of the night in Race 8 with ChipChompinChampin; a horse named Budman with trainer Thomas Pickett and an un-named driver claimed the ninth race; and Hunter Myers drove Harvard’s Z Tam to the 10th-race win.
Races 11 through 14 had yet to get under way before presstime. Late results from Wednesday’s and Thursday’s races will run as soon as they are available.
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.