by Thom Pye, for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association
Coshocton, OH — Originally called Tuscarawas (Old Town) by the native Lenape people, this historic city of 11,000 is at the convergence of two rivers that form the Muskingum River and was named Koshaxkink, “the crossing of the black bear.” For the three days of the 168th Coshocton County Fair, for teamsters Ken Holliday and Don Irvine Jr., it could be called “a good place to race” as they both chalked up numerous wins.
Speed Superintendent Steve Croft and his crew had the 100-plus-year-old oval ready to roll from the opening race on Saturday (Sept. 29) when Parent Racing Stable LLC’s Adios Man with Don Irvine Jr. rocketed to a win in 1:57.2 before a good-sized crowd in the Home Talent Colt Stake 3-year-old colt pace over Long Train Running (Duke Sugg) by three-quarters of a length. Pacin To Paydaze (Ryan Holton) was up for third and that set the stage for the Irvine/Holliday driving exhibition.
Ken Holliday hopped aboard Carol Lamb’s Setitandforgetit (by Dontyouforgetit) in the second race, the HTCS for 2-year-old trotters, and posted a mile in 2:07 for the Darrell Whitaker-trained colt’s fifth win of the season.
Luke Ebersole got the seat again behind 80-year-old owner/trainer David Swaney’s Milly B Gone in the HTCS 3-year-old filly pace division and won by 6-1/4 lengths over Talkaboutaqueen (Jay Weller) and Precious Lil Devil (Ken Holliday) in 1:59 as the daughter of Big Bad John earned a new lifetime tab.
A scant nose separated Dilly Dilly Dunn (Daren Harvey) and MJ’s Mojo Mission (Don Irvine Jr.) in 2:05 in the HTCS 2-year-old colt trot as Blazinberries (Charlie Myrick) garnered the third spot. It was also the Racing With The Stars fan contest and 9-year-old Cyanna West of Coshocton beamed when she was presented her prize package and told that the $25 gift certificate was “hers to spend” albeit probably on school clothes.
Trainer/driver Ken Holliday left no doubt with Ohio Prince as the Black Magic Racing LLC’s 3-year-old pacer grabbed his HTCS division with a commanding tally in 1:59 by 12 over Hezashiningknight (Jimmy Smith) and Bro Bro with Don Irvine Jr. as the Big Bad John gelding paced a last quarter in :28 to earn his ninth win of the season.
Maybe it was a subtle hint when Patsy Cline’s hit from 1962 “Crazy” warbled throughout the grandstand but Black Magic Racing LLC’s Crazy K grabbed the HTCS for 3-year-old pacing fillies as Ken Holliday got his fourth driving victory on the day by the smallest of noses over Ilikethenightlife (Ammon Hershberger) in 2:01.3.
On Sunday (Sept. 30) another large turnout saw Don Irvine Jr. and trainer Doug Hinklin team up again to take the HTCS for 2-year-old pacers with Mr Judge as the Parent Racing Stable LLC’s Dragon Again colt held off Thundering Jim (Daren Harvey) with a last panel in :28.2 in the mile in 2:03.3. Majors Blue Sky (Kurt Sugg) was up for third.
Irvine would capture the second half of the daily double when First Up Racing Stable’s Here’s Jolene trotted to the Rosy Weaver-conditioned 3-year-old filly’s ninth victory of the year with a mile in 2:03.3, last panel in :28.4, and went over $31,000 in 2018 earnings.
Derek Watiker piloted Joyce McClelland’s This Year’s Best, a 3-year-old filly by My MVP, to her 11th win of 2018 as she won by 3-1/4 lengths over Momentsoffire (JD Wengerd) and Kelie’s MVP (Ray Paver), trotting the mile in 2:01.2.
For 4-year-old Racing With The Stars contestant Olivia Lundell and her dad it was the first trip to the winner’s circle and the smiles really came out when we gave him the OHHA prize package and a coveted Pony Bag to the camera-shy tyke.
Yankee Boots, the Steve Carter-conditioned gelding by Yankee Cruiser, was impressive as Ryan Holton clipped off a final two eighths in :29 with a mile in 1:58 and pushed the eight-time 2018 winner’s earnings over $73,000. Van Diesel (Don Irvine Jr.) and Aeroblast (Ammon Hershberger) were on the board as well.
Black Magic Racing LLC’s Hardware Princess got all the nuts and bolts when trainer/driver Ken Holliday packed a punch in :28.3 at the end of the 2-year-old Big Bad John filly’s mile in 2:02.1 as she led each step of the way over Heythere Lisamarie (Ryan Hoton) and McStunning (Kurt Sugg) for her seventh win of 2018.
Monday (Oct. 1) opened with the third day of perfect weather for fans and horses alike as catch-driver Ken Holliday continued his winning ways with Thomas Phillips’ gray gelding Gris Beau Hanover when the Tricia Shepard pupil took a conditioned pace in 2:02.
Don Irvine Jr. countered by taking the HTCS 2-year-old trotting filly first division as he climbed aboard Tandem Stables’ Eye Ona Mission (Manofmanymissions-Lima Simplicity) for the first time and drove the John Wengerd student to a new lifetime tab with a mile in 2:06 by four over Making Dreams (Jimmy Smith) and Deans Last Dance with Daren Harvey.
Tye Loy would take Robert Key’s Bank Guard to an easy 10-3/4 length triumph in 2:02.2 in the HTCS first division for 3-year-old trotters as Royal Tension (Ken Holliday) and Twilight Twist (Ryan Holton) rounded out the top three.
And Caliam Racing LLC’s LA Lady would give Don Irvine Jr. another win when the Wes Hershberger-trained 2-year-old by Dejarmbro clipped off a good time of 2:02.2 besting So Romantic (Ken Holliday) by a half-length while Shirley A Star with Jonas Hershberger took third.
Our Racing With The Stars winning contestant Gerald Moran made his first trip ever to the winner’s circle as his wife Pat chuckled happily. “He didn’t know that I entered him,” she grinned, “and kept asking `what’s going on?’ when his name was announced.”
After the fast-moving events settled down and the 74-year-old Warsaw resident was presented his win photo he proudly held it to show his friends.
“That,” noted the missus, “is definitely going to be framed and put in his ‘man-cave’ for everyone to see!”
A head kept Broadway Joe, the Dean Beachy owned, trained, and driven 4-year-old gelding by Credit Winner, on top of Lima Bandit (Bud High) in a conditioned trot with a mile in 2:05.3.
And it was a neck that separated trainer Rosy Weaver’s stablemates Nehemiah (Don Irvine Jr.) and Weaver herself aboard Why Not Dream in the Free For All Pace as they matched stride-for-stride coming home in :28 in their mile in 1:59.4. It was Irvine’s fourth trip in front of the camera for the day as well.
The final tally in the 22-race event was Don Irvine Jr. with seven wins and Ken Holliday with six wins.
Yes… “A good place to race.”