McRaven takes Hackett at Miami Valley
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McRaven, the hard luck colt that was sidelined after just two starts—both Ohio Sires Stakes victories—as a 2-year-old, is back bigger and better than ever. The son of McArdle captured the championship of the 46th annual edition of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Buckeye-bred sophomore pacers on Saturday (April 22) at Miami Valley Raceway, stopping the timer in 1:51.4 despite significant winds and chilly 48-degree temperatures.
Following a third-place finish in his initial 2017 outing, which was an elimination heat of the Hackett a week ago, trainer Brian Brown had McRaven primed for a big effort in his first major test of this season. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. settled the winner third at the pylons well before the quarter-mile marker was reached and saved ground inside all the way to the head of the stretch before swinging three-wide for the stretch drive.
Despite drifting a couple lanes in the lane, McRaven paced four lengths faster than any of his rivals in the final furlong to edge Barley Up (Peter Wrenn, Ronnie's uncle) by a half-length in 1:51.4. Heracer (Josh Sutton) also finished strong to claim the show money. Pacesetter Major Nemesis (Tony Hall), who had established a local track record of 1:51.2 in his elimination, made an untimely break in midstretch after cutting fractions of :26.2, :55.1 and 1:23.2.
The Findlay, Ohio partnership of Country Club Acres Inc. and L & H Management Services own McRaven. His next start is expected to be in the first leg of the 2017 Ohio Sires Stakes series on Tuesday (May 2). If all goes well, he has an invitation to the new $50,000 Scarlet and Gray Invitational for Ohio-sired 3-year-olds on Miami Valley’s closing day program Monday (May 8).
Kiss Of Terror (Kyle Ater) swept from far back early to triumph for the second straight week in the $20,000 Open Handicap on the same card. Due to his outside post, the 5-year-old Western Terror gelding was dispatched at 12-1 odds, but managed to beat Control Tower (Dan Noble) and Gerries Sport (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) for his ninth seasonal victory.
Kirk Nichols and Seth Downing own Kiss Of Terror, who is trained by Dan Ater. (Miami Valley)