On Saturday evening at Eldorado Scioto Downs, Split The House (Aaron Merriman) demonstrated why he is the defending Breeders Crown champion with a 1:49.1 triumph over Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial.
Filibuster Hanover (Tony Hall) was third, with Western Fame (Tyler Smith) and favored McWicked (David Miller) dead-heating for fourth on the sloppy track.
Merriman and his charge stated their case when leaving with conviction from post position six. Nuclear Dragon, however, snatched the front to lead the field through a sharp :26.2 first quarter-mile.
Noble continued to sulky-sit as Nuclear Dragon paced his splits in :53.2 and 1:20.4. It appeared the 6-year-old gelding was on his way to his first Grand Circuit victory. That is until a resurgent Split The House rallied on the rail to win by a neck and collect his second victory of the season in nine starts and 14th in 39 career efforts.
Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Split The House is trained by Chris Oakes. He has now earned $306,846 in 2018 and $913,179 lifetime. He paid $12.20 to win. (USTA)