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Old mare, young driver in Miami Valley spotlight

February 27, 2016

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Aqua Artist, the oldest mare in Friday night’s $20,000 Open at Miami Valley Raceway at age nine, showed a group of talented and wealthy younger ‘girls’ that she can still get the job done.  An aggressive drive by Trace Tetrick produced a 1:53 triumph for the daughter of Artsplace, her first tally in open company in almost two years.

Owned her entire life by breeders Harold Lee Bauder, Michael Dixon and Harold L. Bauder, Aqua Artist now has 29 career victories in just 106 starts, good for $336,346 in earnings.  Steve Bauder, who has managed the winner’s entire career, raced her just ten times in 2015 with a single conditioned class win in 1:54.2 and earnings of just $7150.  She has rebounded in 2016, however, with three wins in her first five starts good for $22,500 in seasonal bounty.

Aqua Artist left alertly in her latest conquest, yielded to eventual runnerup Cast No Shadow (Tyler Smith) just past the quarter, then sat the pocket until shaking loose early in the stretch.  Safe From Terror (Chris Page) raced first-over much of the way and held on for third in her first start after shipping north from Pompano Park and resting for a month.  In total, the ten-horse field of open mares combined for 248 lifetime wins and over $2.8 million in earnings.

While Aqua Artist was proving that age and experience can be important in harness racing, a driver two races sooner was displaying the value of youth on the other end of the spectrum.  Hunter Myers turned 18 years old on February 16 and just ten days after becoming eligible to race at a pari-mutuel track he scored his first triumph, winning a claiming handicap race for $12,500 and $15,000 claiming mares in 1:55.4.  In just his fifth commercial start, Myers guided Ride A Cowboy to a mild upset over A Little Starstruk (Tyler Smith) and E R Taylor (Jeremy Smith).  The eight-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare, owned by James Hess, now has 24 life tallies and surpassed the $200,000 earnings plateau with the win.

While Hunter Myers couldn’t race at Ohio’s four commercial tracks until he turned 18, the native of Williamsport, Ohio, did get a heavy dose of seasoning on the Buckeye state’s expansive county fairs circuit while ages 16 and 17.  The promising reinsman visited 74 winner’s circles at the fairs, from 382 starts, good for an impressive .355 UDRS.  With statistics like those, before he barely needed to shave, its very likely there will be many more success stories to tell about Hunter during his promising future in racing.
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