All time track record at Miami Valley Saturday
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A pair of $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals for the finest 3-year-old pacers and trotters in Ohio were supposed to share the spotlight at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night (April 28). While neither race disappointed, with two of the Buckeye state’s best sophomores displaying awesome speed, an all time-all age track record 1:49 performance in the $23,000 Open I Pace shared the limelight. It wasn’t just the horses putting on a tremendous show, either, as leading driver Dan Noble visited the winner’s circle seven times on the special Saturday program.
Defending Ohio Sires Stakes freshman colt trotting champion Mission Accepted, who captured four of seven races including the final at two, broke the track record for the division in his first outing of 2018. His 1:54.3 clocking is also the fastest in North America for a 3-year-old trotting colt thus far this year. Trainer Jeff Conger used two qualifiers at his home base of Northfield Park to prep his outstanding son of Manofmanymissions for the Scarlet & Gray. Despite a few anxious moments early, when eventual runnerup Sultan Of Cash (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) didn’t relinquish the front end until past the :29.2 opening quarter, driver Ryan Stahl guided Mission Accepted through subsequent splits of :58 and 1:26.2 before sealing the deal with a :28.1 closing panel. The 3-1/4 length victory pushed the winner’s lifetime earnings to $215,800 in just eight trips to post. Sultan Of Cash held for second with longshot MVP Luke (Dan Noble) rallying for show.
Veteran trainer Jeff Conger, particularly adept at developing young trotters, shares ownership of Mission Accepted with Knox Services Inc. and David Wills.
Rockathon (Dan Noble) pulled a mild upset in the Scarlet & Gray colt pacing division, triumphing in 1:51.3 for a new personal best. Dragonology (Chris Page) was second and Hackett Memorial winner Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith) third after the three heavyweights slugged it out through the stretch. Rockathon moved to the front just past the :27.4 first quarter, then controlled the throttle through middle fractions of :55 and 1:24.1. The son of Pet Rock is owned by Carl and Melanie Atley in partnership with trainer Bill Dailey’s wife Kimberly. His bounty in his young career surpassed $155,000 with five wins in his first 13 starts.
A packed grandstand at Miami Valley was buzzing as the fractions in the Open I were being posted, getting louder at each impressive split as announcer Barry Vicroy spit them out: 25.4, :53.1 and 1:20.2. The buzz turned into a roar as the 1:49 track record flashed up on the toteboard. In addition to being the fastest mile ever at Miami Valley, the clocking is currently the quickest over a five-eighths mile oval thus far in 2018.
Nuclear Dragon, a 6-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding with red-hot Dan Noble in the sulky, was taking no prisoners on this occasion. With favored My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) leaving alertly from the rail, the pair sped past the first quarter station before Noble gained front-end clearance. From that point on the winner inched further and further ahead before sailing to the wire three lengths ahead. My Hero Ron raced gamely to hold second with Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) rallying from sixth at the three-quarters to earn a third place finish.
Nuclear Dragon is trained by Jeff Johnson Jr. for owner Richard Mishkin. With the win, he eclipsed the $200,000 earnings plateau.
Earlier in the evening, Bettor Than You (Josh Sutton) copped the $20,000 Open II Pace in 1:52.3, topping E Z Noah (Kayne Kauffman) and Lyons Jimmydean (Tyler Smith). Trainer Steve Carter owns the 8-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding with partners Peggy Carter, Sheila Hummel and J. Beard.