Sutton, Virgil Morgan Jr. take Dayton titles
December 31, 2016
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Hollywood Dayton Raceway wrapped up its third season of live racing on Friday night (Dec. 30) with an increase in daily overall handle, a record purse distribution of just under $7 million and a handful of new divisional track speed records.
Josh Sutton retained his badge as dash champion, winning the title for the third straight year with 175 triumphs over 71 racing programs. Virgil Morgan Jr. recaptured the trainer’s crown he won in Year 1 at Dayton, but lost to Jeff Brewer in 2015. The dominant Ohio conditioner sent 43 from his stable to the Hollywood winner’s circle, including two on closing night, to just edge Tyler George.
The final $15,000 Open I pace was won by Mykindachip (Chris Page), who bested Hickory Icon (Josh Sutton) and My Buddy Ninkster (Trevor Smith) in 1:52.2. Page opted for the "catch me if you can" strategy with the odds-on favorite, setting fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:24.4 before coasting to victory by just better than a length. It was the ninth 2016 tally for the 7-year-old son of Art’s Chip, who increased his seasonal bounty to $116,425 and his career bankroll to $634,292. He hails from the Ron Burke stable.
A $12,500 Open II went to Prince Bayard (Sutton) in 1:53, a neck better than Royale Rose (Eric Goodell) and Mystical Rock (Andy Shetler) in a blanket finish. Adam Short owns and trains the 4-year-old Cam’s Card Shark gelding, who was stepping into open company off an impressive 1:51 win in a $20,000 claimer.
Between the two opens, a new track speed standard was set by Meadowbrookthunder (Trace Tetrick), who became the fastest sophomore pacing filly at Hollywood Dayton with an impressive 1:51.1 score in a $9500 condition/claiming race for non-winners of 10 races that carried a $30,000 price tag. Trainer Steve Carter shares ownership on the Rockin Image lass with Peggy Carter. It was just the third start for the Carters since they acquired the filly in late October.
There were 11 more successful claims on the closing night card, bringing the meet total to 242 claims for a total of $2,534,150. Both figures are records by wide margins for the relatively new track, and an indication of the growing enthusiasm owners and trainers have for southwest Ohio racing since the VLT-infused racing renaissance began three years ago. (Hollywood Dayton)