Columbus, MN — The Sunday evening (Aug. 11) program at Running Aces featured the $17,000 weekly top pacing event, headlined by Nine Ways, who was sent off as the 1-2 favorite from post nine in the ten-horse Open Handicap field.
Driver Dean Magee fired up his ultra talented 5-year-old pacer early and utilized his speed to settle a skirmish with Firedrake (Nick Roland) who also peeled off the gate quickly from post eight. The result was a sizzling opener of :26.2 with Nine Ways clearing to the lead just at the quarter.
Nine Ways kept the bulky field in chase mode throughout, posting solid fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.3 through the middle stages, with Fox Valley Nemitz (Brian Detgen) braving the first-up trip but never drawing on terms with the leader.
As the top pacers straightened for the wire, Firedrake was raging with pace in the pocket, and charged at the leader on the inside, but Nine Ways remained game to the wire, getting home three-quarters of a length ahead in 1:52 to post his eighth consecutive win, and remain unbeaten on Minnesota soil this summer. Fox Valley Nemitz held gamely for third.
Nine Ways ($3.00) is owned by Antonia Storer and trained by Tim Maier. He has now earned $134,360 this season and $286,406 lifetime, with 26 career wins.
Major Al-Mar posted his second career win in 11 starts and highlighted a huge night for trainer Alexia Kehl, who won three races on the program.
Rick Magee was patient in the early stages with Major Al-Mar and then got the son of Money Talks rolling around the far turn before sweeping by the field in the stretch to capture the $16,000 Minnesota-sired 3-year-old trot in 2:00.1 to equal his career best time. Lone Pine Shuzy (Jesse Yoder) was second and Gregory John (Tim Maier) picked up third.
Major Al Mar ($4.00) was unraced at age two, but is having a fantastic sophomore campaign, with earnings of $34,160 for owners Glen, Marlene and Jody Wilson.
Driver Brett Erickson picked up his first pari-mutuel win in the night’s opener, steering Princess Legacy ($7.80) to victory in a $5,500 conditioned trot event.
Drivers Jesse Yoder, Rick Magee, Dean Magee and Steve Wiseman all completed doubles on the Sunday program.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (Aug. 13) with first post at 7 p.m. (CDT).