Marion, OH — The grand Veterans Memorial Building that overlooks the Marion (OH) fairgrounds was built in 1950 and has stood witness to some fast miles around the half-mile oval but on Monday (July 1) it was one for the record books in the George “Tom” Criswell FFA pace.
Duke Sugg got the seat behind Ervin Wickey’s Over Friskie, a Mervin Schmucker-trained 7-year-old gelding by Feelin Friskie, and sat patiently as Tommy Householder sent his Moonwards Hanover homeward as they clipped off a half in :58. Sugg then tipped out by the three-quarters in 1:26.3 and the lifetime winner of $102,435 did what he had to do and opened up by eight lengths to win in a track-record equaling time of 1:58.3. Moonwards Hanover held on for second while Dalecroft Big Guy (Charles Bolen) got up for the show spot.
That would b the first of a driving double for Sugg who also took the $2,629 OFRC 3-year-old trot with Norman and Susan Robbins’ Dontyouforgetit filly Lady’s Image.
Pierce Henry would secure a driving double as well, first with the Jeff Miller-trained Blooming Sunflower in 2:02.3 as the 3-year-old filly by Rockin Amadeus would best Im McCited (Sugg) and Olive Another (Art McIlmurray). Henry then came back with Double EE Meadows’ Bad Babysitter (by Manofmanymissions) in the 3-year-old OFRC filly trot.
Cam McCown grabbed three for the day including Terry Todd Milhoan and Heather Kay Wilder’s TK’s Lexi Lee as the 3-year-old filly by Dejarmbro won by 9-1/2 lengths over Forbid Me Not (Henry) and Dejarming Lady (McIlmurray) as she took a new lifetime mark of 2:06 for trainer Jessica McCown.
Winchester Bay Acres Inc.’s Cruisingatmidnight (by Big Bad John) and McCown took the $3,585 division for 2-year-old pacing fillies in 2:04.1 by 9-3/4 lengths over Emblynette (Beau Brown) and McBrooke (Henry) as the Edward Telle pupil earned a new lifetime tab.
And it was no small feat as 77-year-old Charles Little was victorious with Joyce Wagner and his Big Bad Jenn (by Big Bad John) in the OFRC 3-year-old filly pace. Little has been part-time in the stirrups since 1977.
Atlantic Star, the 3-year-old filly by Cheyenne Rei, found her winning ways again as she clipped off a gutsy mile in 2:00.4 for trainer Sandra Hennessey and driver Ed Hennessey by 6-3/4 lengths over Vintage Gal (McCown) and Toobigformybritches (John Moody).
On Tuesday (July 2) McIlmurray had a driving double, first with Gerald Mijal’s Tanner J as the 3-year-old Believeincruiser gelding toured the half-mile oval in 2:02 for trainer Steve Novak. McIlmurray would take the next race with Jiu Jitsu, the Mike Sweeney-trained Wishing Stone 2-year-old gelding in 2:10.2 over Luckey Stormin (Josh Slater) and Enforce The Law, teamed by owner/trainer/driver Joseph Kramp.
Beau Brown rattled of a hat trick with Jennifer K. Brown’s 2-year-old McArdle gelding Dig Danny Dig in 2:04.3; Terry Tackett’s Big Bad Monster, a 3-year-old colt by Big Bad John, in 2:04.2; and the Mike Conklin-trainee Cousin Louie (Big Bad John) in 2:05.3 as the 2-year-old colt is now two-for-two.
McCown continued his winning ways as he had a double on the day, starting with Setit And Forgetit (by Dontyouforgetit) in the 3-year-old OFRC colt trot then Ron Steck, Wall Bros Stable, John Miller, and Rocky Miller’s Trumps Wall in 2:03 as the 3-year-old McCArdle gelding topped Winchester Walley (Henry) and Medoland Cooper with Chris Presley.
Henry would take the “Big Jon” Townsend FFA Trot with Emma Wahlberg and Russell Earley III’s Mr Protab in 2:06.1 by five lengths.
And then in the 2019 Marion season finale, B. J. Roberts would take Gallivant, the Chris Beaver-trained gelding by Triumphant Caviar, to the wire in 2:06.2 by six lengths in the OFRC 3-year-old trot.