A pair of "Buckeye" drivers, national reigning dash champion Aaron Merriman and upstart Brady Galliers, each captured two races on the first day of two preliminary rounds to snare the top spots in the standings after the first day of the North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway on Sunday (Jan. 7). Round Two will be Monday afternoon (2:05 p.m. post time) with only the top 10 of the thirty drivers in the contest advancing to Championship Day on Tuesday.
The Round One top 10 scorecard reads: Aaron Merriman 83, Brady Galliers 66, Peter Wrenn 61, Simon Allard 60, Billy Davis Jr. 56, Louis Phillipe Roy 54.5, James MacDonald 53, Chris Page 52, defending champion Doug McNair 50 and John Cummings Jr. 49.
With each driver getting four more drives on Monday, and a scoring system heavily weighted for on-the-board finishes, no driver is out of contention for a berth on the deciding day of the tournament.
First day winners were Tanzanite Love (Galliers, $8.60 to win), Burn Time Hanover (Merriman, $12.00), Upfrontoutthedoor (Trace Tetrick, $17.00), Idle Bones N (Allard, $17.40), Flashy Trick (John DeLong, $7.00), Onefinejimmerjohn (Roy, $11.00), Love To Roll (Cummings Jr., $8.60), Jessi’s Western (Merriman, $5.80), Delaware Heat (Galliers, $11.00), Another Breath (Chris Page, $6.00), Rockin Bikini (Davis Jr., $36.20) and Why Don’t U Stay (Tyler Smith, $48.40).
Feature race on the first Sunday matinee of the season was the $27,500 Open Trot, won by Another Breath (Chris Page) is 1:54.1—equaling the 5-year-old’s lifetime mark. Jeff Johnson Jr. trains the winner for owner Richard Mishkin.
As the co-favorite, Another Breath returned $6.00 and coupled with 46-1 longshot runnerup Marty De Vie (Peter Wrenn) the exacta returned a handsome $273.20.(Miami Valley)