Buckeyes edge Hoosiers at Hollywood Dayton
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Despite a furious late rally by the Hoosier’s Sam Widger, who captured the final three heats of the six-race "Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Driving Challenge," the Buckeyes eked out a 351-333 victory on Saturday night at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.
The Ohioans now enjoy a 2-1 edge, and "bragging rights" for the next 12 months, after the third year of the annual contest. Kayne Kauffman scored wins in the initial two legs and Dan Noble was victorious in the third division for the Buckeyes.
Five of Hoosier Park’s top reinsmen and the top five dash winners in the current meet at Hollywood Dayton squared off in 10-horse fields. The scoring system used was 30 points for a win, then 24-18-14-11-8-5-3-1-0 for second through tenth place finishes. In addition to Widger, the Hoosiers were represented by Trace Tetrick, John DeLong, Ricky Macomber and Brandon Bates. Kauffman was joined on the Buckeye squad by Josh Sutton, Dan Noble, Tyler Smith and Kyle Ater.
Widger’s 122 point total was the best individual score, followed by Kauffman (115), Bates (69), Noble (63), Sutton and Smith (60 each), Tetrick 57, Macomber and Ater (53 each) and DeLong (32).
The competition produced a mix of favorites and longshots with the outcome hanging in the balance until the final strides of the final race. Winning horses were Eight Seconds (1:55, $23.80), Brookstone (1:53.3), Mike’s Hope (1:53.2, $8.80), E R Rudy (1:53), Ideal Kiss (1:53.3, $6.80) and Boys Round Here (1:51.4, $14.80).
Hollywood Gaming provided $2,500 in prize money for the Challenge with the Ohio Harness Horsemens Association chipping in $500. For the third consecutive year the drivers on both squads agreed to donate the entire $3,000 prize pool to worthwhile charities. The 2017 recipients of $1,500 each were Dayton Firefighters Local 136, who provides toys for needy children at Christmas; and Saint John The Baptist Church, who provides warm clothing to needy adults during the winter months. (Hollywood Dayton)