Miami Valley Raceway presented the $24,000 annual Craig Colston Memorial Open Pace on Saturday (April 14) honoring the memory of one of old Lebanon Raceway’s staunchest supporters. When the winner, Night Pro, returned to the winner’s circle he was surrounded by about 40 of Colston’s family and friends.
Owner/trainer/driver Dale Decker reverted to "catch me if you can" tactics for this victory, following a failed effort to win from behind last week. Night Pro had to work hard to secure the front in a :26 flat opening panel, but was able to throttle back to a :54.3 half before being pressured. The intact 8-year-old son of Pro Bono Best—out of the fantastic former race mare Midnight Jewel—continued to show the way to the 1:23 three-quarters station, then tacked on a :28.4 final split to hold off all challengers in 1:51.4.
Longshot Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) took full advantage of the innermost post position and a pocket ride throughout to gain runnerup laurels, while My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) rallied from last in the full field down the backstretch to grab the show dough.
Co-featured on the Saturday card were a pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett eliminations for some of Ohio’s finest 3-year-old colt pacers. Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith), who set the 1:51 track record for the age and sex in his last start, overcame an outside post to score a 1:51.3 tally over Bounding Dragon (Josh Sutton) and Bus Ninethirtysix (Chris Page). Also advancing to the $40,000 championship were fourth place finishers Oberlin (Kyle Ater) and Gotarockinmypocket (Peter Wrenn) on the merits of the quickest fifth place finish in the two eliminations.
Harold Lee and Harold L. Bauder of Delaware, Ohio, bred and still own the winning son of Pet Rock out of their prize broodmare Aquatic Yankee. Steve Bauder is trainer.
Dragonology (Chris Page) from the Brian Brown Stable proved best in the second split, topping fellow championship qualifiers Stark Hanover (Josh Sutton), In Trouble Again (Jeff Nisonger) and Harambe Deo (Kayne Kauffman). The son of Dragon Again earned $75,000 as a freshman, including a third place finish in the $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship and a victory in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware. It was the first start of the promising colt’s sophomore season for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and AWS Stables.
The fields are now set for all four $50,000 Hackett Memorial finals next week. The 3-year-old trotting fillies will go postward on Monday (April 16) with the trotting colts vying for supremacy on Tuesday (April 17). It will be the sophomore pacing fillies contesting their final on Friday (April 20) and the pacing colts completing the annual Hackett series on Saturday (April 21). (Miami Valley)