XENIA — A quick look at Wednesday’s racing form showed local driver Dan Noble listed to race 11 horses, which was a trick since there were only 10 races.
Noble brought on some fellow drivers to share some of the racing duties, but Noble himself won the most races during the July 31 opening night of harness racing at the Greene County Fair. Racing on the track named after his father, the late harness racing legend Samuel “Chip” Noble, Dan said coming home to race — at least for one day — meant a lot to him.
“It makes it more special. I took tonight off from Scioto Downs. There’s nothing like racing right here at home. I’d like to be back here (Thursday), but I’m committed to some races at Scioto Downs then. I’m trying not to miss this night, at least. I’m glad I was able to be here for one night,” he said, during a brief moment in the early races where he actually wasn’t scheduled to race.
Of the night’s first six races, Noble won four of them.
“It makes for a busy day, just running from one barn to the next. It’s actually more work doing this much racing than it is working during the morning hours,” Noble said with a laugh.
The size difference between the Greene County Fair’s 1/2-mile lap and the 5/8th-mile distance at Scioto Downs, in Columbus, makes for some different challenges for Noble.
“…It’s a little bit of a different strategy. We’re still having a lot of fun though,” he said. Three races later, another Dan Noble horse claimed a win in the ninth race. Noble had a hand in half of the night’s winners.
Tyler Smith’s head-long win on PenPaperPaige over a Scott Cisco-driven horse called BigRisk Cruiser in the night’s opening race, kinda set the tone for the evening. Several races had near photo finishes or had a late-race pass determine the outcome.
The night’s seventh race saw Michelle Caldwell, driving Heavenly Hope, nip Hugh Beatty and Jamahl Chip by inches at the finish in a trot event for 2 year old colts.
In what was probably the night’s quickest event, Jazmin Arnold drove Mr. Coolie to a win in 1 minute, 58 seconds and 4/5ths. It was unofficially the night’s only sub-2 minute race time, and it came in the first of two Spring Haven Farm Ladies Driving Series races.
Chip Noble passed away in 2014. He is a member of the Ohio Horseman’s Hall of Fame, having won more than 5,000 races as a driver, and over 1,000 more as a trainer. He raced primarily in Ohio, but competed in several international harness racing events as well. The Greene County Fairgrounds race track is named the Chip Noble Memorial Race Track in his honor.
Thursday’s races are also set for a 6:30 p.m. start, with the Chip Noble Memorial race scheduled as the grand finale of the race night.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.