Dayton, OH — The eight $40,000 divisions of the Ohio Fair Finals, held at Holly Gaming Dayton Raceway on Sunday (Oct. 13) showcased the talent from the 65 Ohio County Fairs, both horse and human, and many of the equine stars stepped up to new lifetime tabs.
It was breeder/owner Michael Soehnlen’s Fatimas Secret who took the 2-year-old trotting fillies showdown as the daughter of Southwind Spirit came out at the head of the lane from a two-hole trip to trot away by three lengths from Laurels Dream (Jeff Nisonger) and Lipstickin Lies (Cam McCown) in a new standard of 2:00.4. It was the Jeff Cox trainee’s sixth win of her freshman year as she pushed her 2019 earnings to $40,610.
A fine field of nine 2-year-old pacing fillies were the next group to go behind the Mike Woebkenberg starting gate. Brett Miller would get away second from the seven position with Johnny Kearns’ T Degengold, the Jeff Nisonger-conditioned distaff by Pet Rock, then took command past the three-quarters and drew away by 6-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 to best stablemate Shehitthehighnote (Dan Noble) and Jessica Smith’s Crosswind Layla with Brady Galliers in the bike. T Degengold is now 10-1-2 in her 13 seasonal starts and climbed to $58,702 in purse monies.
In the 2-year-old colt trot co-owner and trainer Steve Carter put Dan Noble in the driver’s seat on breeder/co-owner George Smith’s Sundancediamond and the gelding by Break The Bank K got the perfect two-hole trip before grasping victory by a nose over Handsome Pete (Alex Hawk) as Tyler Smith and Blazintothefront took third, only three-quarters of a length behind them. In his eighth winning tally of his juvenile year Sundancediamond took a new lifetime mark of 1:59.3 to compliment her year-to-date bank account of $49,954.
Dan Noble sent his own student Bargain Shopper to the front of the class in the 2-year-old colt pace and clipped off a near-track record mile of 1:53.3 with Chuck Grubbs’ altered son of Big Bad John as Elite Machine (Brady Brown) a half-length back and Big Bad Whamo (Kurt Sugg) gave a game chase in the final panel of :28.3. It was the seventh win for the $81,802 winning speedster as well as a new lifetime mark. He also sports four second place finishes in his 12 2019 starts.
The two top 3-year-old trotting fillies squared off as Paul Thiesing and trainer Kimberly Dailey’s Shake It Mary with Scott Cisco ruled the fractions and tossed a :28.3 backside panel when Joyce McClelland’s Aunt Marilynn challenged them to the three-quarters in 1:26. John Melsheimer’s star pupil and Aaron Merriman were on top up by 3-3/4 lengths when the homebred daughter of Uncle Peter stopped the timer in 1:57.3 for her new lifetime mark. Aunt Marilynn has a record of 9-7-3 in her 22 starts in 2019 and has earned $68,918 this year.
The 3-year-old filly pace featured North America’s winningest sophomore, 18-race winner Heythere Lisamarie, co-owned by Richard Paltani and trainer Steve Carter. She was saddled with the eight hole and gunned for the top. Officially My Way carried her a bit as Vintage Gal pressed on the outside before taking the seat in :26.3. New Number Who Dis tried to ring in as Ambitious Lillian followed cover. There was a cavalry charge coming to the wire before a photo print was ordered. When announcer Barry Vicroy called Michael Farquhar’s Ambitious Lillian in 1:55 it would give driver Dan Noble his third winning effort on the day and bring the daughter of Big Bad John’s lifetime earnings to $97,282 for conditioner Bruce Farquhar. Officially My Way was second, a nose back, as a game Heythere Lisamarie hung on for third, beaten only a half-length.
Tammy Carter, Jay Mossbarger, Cass Gallagher and Breana Carsey’s 3-year-old Broadway Hall trotting gelding Homer Hall trotted to an explosive 11-3/4 length win in 1:53.3 over Don’t Front Me (Dan Noble) and Setit And Forgetit (Jeff Nisonger) and give the Steve Carter-trained/Brett Miller-driven 1-5 favorite his 12th win of 2019. Homer Hall has earned $186,138 so far this season.
Driver Brett Miller would get a four-bagger on the day when he stayed back in the field in the 3-year-old colt pace with owner/trainer/breeder Daniel Hale’s Aeroblast and watched front-running Rock N Randy V (Chris Presley) and Friday Night Blues (Cam McCown) stage an epic head-to-head battle before Miller pushed a last quarter of :29 to win in 1:52.2 by 1-3/4 lengths over McCown and Friday Night Blues. It would give the Feelin Friskie 3-year-old gelding a new career high water mark, put his two-year total earnings at $76,318, and have the day’s highest payoff for the players with a tidy $55.20 to win.
For each division the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association awarded Fair shirts and Fair jackets as well as a Fair chair and a glass vase etched by Ann and Ray Lufkin filled with carrots for the equine star. Throughout the crowd were many familiar faces from each of the Fairs: directors, horsemen, track announcers, and photographers as they made the pilgrimage to Montgomery County to watch their horses compete.
Thanks to our host, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton and Director of Racing Jason Bluhm, for their accommodations as they provided fans — both young and old — with food vendors, bouncy tents, door prizes, and T-shirt giveaways.