XENIA — A new track record for trotters was set during the first night of harness racing, Wednesday Aug. 2 at the Greene County Fair, but it wasn’t the horse that took off to a huge lead that set the new mark on the Chip Noble Memorial Race Track.
Pendleton, Ind. rookie Joey Putnam, 19, found himself probably 8-9 lengths behind driver Bud High of Cardington and his his horse Count Full Mac after the first lap of the Signature Series’ Ray Henley Memorial harness race. But Putnam patiently guided Sum It Up back into contention, then caught High and Count Full Mac on the final turn to win in a record time of 1:58 flat.
Putnam said he let “Frank” (Sum It Up’s nickname) save up his reserves for a final stretch run.
“That horse was off to a pretty good start, and I saw that he was putting up some pretty good quarters. But I didn’t want to use Frank up, because I knew he was pretty strong at the end,” Putnam said. “Once we got to the halfway mark, that horse started coming back to me a bit. I told Frank — I gave him a little chirp — and told him it was time to go.
“Coming to the last turn, we kicked out and started running that horse down. And when we got to the head of the stretch, I knew he was going to get there.”
The previous track record for trotters was set in 2016 by Let’s Go Bucks, a horse driven by Scott Cisco and trained by Jim Dailey, at 1:58.2.
“I knew we were probably going to go in the sub-2 minutes, right around there, because the track was really good today. I just let Frank do his thing. When I heard that time, I was pretty shocked though,” Putnam said.
In other races, Shawn Barker was a substitute driver on Johnny Chip and drove the horse to the opening race win. Cedarville’s Carol Jean Noble is listed as the owner of the winner.
Race Two saw Hugh Beatty come up from third in the seven-horse field to claim the win on a horse named Tipp City.
Xenia’s own Dan Noble piloted Bold Creation to the third-race win. The horse is owned by another Xenia horseman, Stephen H. Sexton.
Look Kimbo, a horse driven and trained by Devan Miller, claimed the fourth race — the Ohio Ladies Pace — beating another Miller-trained horse, Cielle.
Ryan Holton drove Bad Tigress to the No. 6-race win, and another Noble driven/Sexton owned combo claimed the seventh race when Noble steered Non Smoker to victory.
Hot Sriracha Man, driven by Jeff Nisonger and trained by Jim Dailey, claimed the night’s eighth race, just ahead of a Noble driven, Sexton and Bret M. Schwartz co-owned horse, Feelin’ American.
In Race 9, Holton scored another win. This time, he drove Queen City Star to victory over the Noble-Sexton horse Mission On My Mind.
Ken Holliday drove Big Bad Filly to the win in the tenth race, just ahead of Wyatt Avenatti and the horse Rainbow Magic, which is co-owned by Frank Le Master and Philip Ireland of Jamestown.
Races 11 through 13 ended up running too late in the evening to be included in this story. We’ll post those results with Thursday’s results.
The final night of harness racing at the County Fair begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The highlight of the evening will be the fair’s biggest horse race, the Chip Noble Memorial.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.