Elimination week for the James K. Hackett Memorial Series at Miami Valley Raceway is upon us. One of the longest running racing events in Ohio, the Hackett will add a new twist in 2018 as trotting events have been added for the first time.
First raced at Lebanon Raceway in 1971, a year after Jim Hackett was killed in a racing accident at Latonia Raceway in northern Kentucky, the prestigious Hackett Memorials have featured 3-year-old Ohio-sired pacers for five decades.
Hackett was born in London, Ohio, in 1917. A decorated World War II veteran, he went to work for the Doc McMillen Stable upon returning to Ohio. In 1952, he became the private trainer for the powerful Sam Huttenbauer Stable of Cincinnati. He broke, trained and drove numerous outstanding Grand Circuit horses, most notably Little Brown Jug winner Best Of All.
The 2018 edition of the Hackett Memorials kicks off Monday afternoon (April 9) at Miami Valley, when two $15,000 eliminations of Buckeye-bred sophomore trotting fillies will go postward.
Red Storm, with North America’s leading dash driver Aaron Merriman in the sulky, has been installed the lukewarm 5-2 morning line favorite in her elimination. A winner of three legs of the Ohio Sires Stakes series in 2017, the Chris Beaver-trainee banked $109,975 for owner Sandra Burnett last season. Impinktoo (3-1, Peter Wrenn) and California Love (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to provide stiff competition.
Non Smoker, trained and driven by Dan Noble, gets the slight morning line nod in the second split at 5-2. Owner Stephen Sexton’s gray filly earned $20,551 in her first year of racing, winning two fair races and placing in three OSS outings. Bugs MVP (7-2, Trace Tetrick) and Sesame (4-1, Aaron Merriman), both from the Chris Beaver Stable, will also get considerable support at the betting windows.
The top four finishers from each elimination, plus the fastest fifth place finisher, will advance to the $40,000 championship a week later.
Colts and geldings step to the plate on Miami Valley’s Tuesday matinee, also in two eliminations. Sultan Of Cash (5-2, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Slap Happy Sammy (7-2, Chris Page) and Banker Twentyfive (9-2, Trace Tetrick) are expected to attract the most attention in the first split. Favorites in the second elimination are Ride The Rails (2-1, Tetrick), Sand Cash (5-2, Page) and Countthebenjamins (9-2, Wrenn Jr.).
First race post time on Monday and Tuesday at Miami Valley is 2:05 p.m. (Miami Valley)