With a whopping total of $188,200 in purses offered on a stellar 14-race program at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday, Hall Of Fame announcer Roger Huston, subbing for the regular voice of Miami Valley Barry Vicroy, had plenty to get excited about. In addition to a $20,000 Open Pace, a pair of lucrative Claim To Fame Series championships went postward for $12,500 claiming pacers of each sex. The ?boys' chased a $29,500 bounty, while the ?girls' competed for an $18,700 purse.
In a mild upset, Astreo's Love (LeWayne Miller) topped (1:51.3) ( Mykindachip (Kayne Kauffman), Fancy Creek lusiv :(Chris Page) and favored Thisjetsabookin (Josh Sutton), who was moving up to the top open class fter establishing a new track record of 1:50 in a conditioned event a week earlier. Miller left alertly with Astreo's Love to wrestle the lead away from Thisjetsabookin just before the :26.1 quarter mile marker.
Sutton quickly "quarter-moved? back to the front with the notorious front-stepping track record holder. It looked like the winning move when the half was reached in :54.4 and Thisjetsabookin still looked comfortable with an approximate two-length lead at the 1:22 third station. Astreo's Love was bravening up in the pocket throughout and a host of others were intent on closing strong as the thundering herd swung off the final bend, however.
Astreo's Love is owned and trained by Don Eash. The 6-year-old Make My Day gelding now has 30 career triumphs and just shy of $300,000 in lifetime earnings.
The powerful Virgil Morgan Jr. Stable flexed its muscles in the $29,500 championship race for male $12,500 claimers. Entrymates Ally-Con (Josh Sutton) and Wilcox (Dan Noble) finished one-two in a hotly-contested race. Morgan co-owns the winner with Carl Howard, while Howard owns all of the runner-up. They finished a nose apart in the 1:53.4 mile. Sand Summerfield (John DeLong) finished third.
Sutton enjoyed an advantageous second-over trip before managing the narrow victory when asked to dig down deep through the stretch. The top four finishers were all within a length and a half at the wire. Ally-Con won two of 24 starts in 2015, but has now copped three out of four in 2016, including two of three since joining the Morgan Jr. Stable through the claim box on opening night of the Miami Valley meet.
Ginger N Spice N (Randy Tharps) was victorious by a nose in the tandem female event, beating Love Of Liberty (Josh Sutton in a close photo finish in 1:54.2. Allthatjazz De Vie (Tyler Smith) garnered the show dough in the race which had the top six finishers all within two lengths. The winner is owned by Michael Annunziata, who shipped a trailer full of his horses to southwest Ohio for the popular Claim To Fame series events. He entrusted the training once they arrived to A. J. Carlo, who has made the most of the opportunity. For driver Randy Tharps, it was career victory 4991 as he approaches the coveted 5,000 lifetime wins plateau. He followed up by visiting the win circle in the very next race, a $10,000 conditioned event, with He's Got It. (Miami Valley)