DAYTON, OH – In a thrilling, come-from-behind victory, the Buckeyes topped the Hoosiers in the fourth annual “Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Drivers Challenge” at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday night (Dec. 15) over a rain-soaked strip labeled good.
The Ohio squad needed a minimum of a first, second and fourth-place finish in the sixth and final leg to secure their third triumph in four years by a 359-335 margin. The winners erased a 26-point deficit and turned it into a 24 point score in their last ditch effort.
Hoosiers’ captain Trace Tetrick tried valiantly to single-handedly capture team laurels for his fellow Indianans, winning four of the first five races in the competition, but the dominant Buckeyes’ performance in the final race overcame his early heroics.
Winners, in order, were Townlinedaliscard (Trace Tetrick, 1:55.2, $56.40), trotter Kolbee’s Star (Chris Page, 1:58.1, $11.00), Smiling Terror (Tetrick, 1:55, $5.20), Dateline Hanover (Tetrick, 1:54.4, $45.20), Whiskey Friskie (Tetrick, 1:53.4, $8.80) and the ironically named Indiana Cam (Jeremy Smith, 1:54.1, $17.40).
With tongue in cheek, the Buckeyes’ captain reiterated in the winner’s circle that he guaranteed a victory and claimed the outcome “was never in doubt.” It is doubtful anyone else in attendance felt that way until the final score was announced.
Individual leaders were Tetrick with 145 points, Dan Noble with 96, Smith with 91, Brandon Bates 74 and Chris Page 65.
Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway provided $2,500 in prize money and the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association pitched in $500.
For the fourth consecutive year, the drivers from both squads donated the entire prize pool to Dayton Firefighters Local 126, who provides ambulance and EMT service for each of the Dayton programs throughout the meet. The local firefighters use the funds to purchase new toys and insure that every needy child in their district has a gift on Christmas mornings.
Hundreds of other new toys and more than $1,000 in cash was donated by owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and employees of Dayton Raceway over the past several weeks in addition to the $3,000 Drivers Challenge donation.
Horsemens’ Bookkeeper Terri Mt. Pleasant and OHHA rep Brett Merkle again spearheaded the Dayton horse community’s charitable Christmas efforts.