January 16, 2019
Aaron Merriman Reaches 11,000 Career Wins
Aaron Merriman scored the 11,000th win of his driving career while driving Brooklynite in Northfield Park’s 10th race on Wednesday (Jan. 16). Brooklynite started from the second tier, brushed boldly at the half to take the lead and never looked back, winning by 5-¼-lengths in 1:52.
Merriman, 40, keeps a torrid schedule, regularly competing at Northfield Park and The Meadows. However, he also races at various other venues throughout the year.
Aaron is the reigning North American dash champion. In fact, last year he became the first driver in harness racing history to post multiple 1,000-win seasons.
In 2013, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame. He has won more races at Northfield than any other driver in the track’s history. Last year, he broke the record for the most Northfield wins in a single season, posting 711 scores over the Flying Turns in 2018.
Aaron’s talents have also been noticed on the national stage. He was just voted Harness Racing’s Driver of the Year for 2018 and will officially receive this award at the annual Dan Patch Awards Ceremony in Orlando, Florida in February.
Merriman’s richest win came in a $300,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final aboard Palazzo Princess. Aaron’s fastest win was race timed in 1:48.3 aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in September, 2014.
Merriman remembers his first win as being aboard a pacing mare named Albert’s Filly at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. Although there are 11,000 to choose from, Merriman says that he is definitely partial to his first, “It always feels great to win a race. I have had the same elated feeling every time I have been to the winner’s circle,” explained Merriman, “But that first one felt especially nice.”
Aaron has sat behind countless horses, but one sticks out to him above all others: “I will always feel indebted to Midnight Jewel. She made me look good every week and really helped my career blossom.”
Merriman started driving at the age of 21 and appreciates the successful 19-year career he has experienced so far; accomplishing the 11,000-win milestone and purse earnings in excess of $72,000,000.
“I’ve had a great run for a long time and so many owners and trainers that have helped me,” said Merriman. “There are a lot of people who work very hard every day to keep racing alive and well and I just feel fortunate to be part of it.”
December 4, 2018
Northfield Single Six Returns $77,797.92
One lucky Northfield Park bettor will have a very Merry Christmas this year! The 20¢ Northfield Single Six was solved with a single combination for a whopping $77,797.92 return on Tuesday (December 4).
The wager premiered on October 13 and Tuesday marks the first time in exactly one month that the pool has been solved by a single combination.
The (unique combination) Pick 6 offers a low 14 percent takeout rate and starts nightly in race nine. The 20-cent wager carries over 50 percent of its nightly pool until it is solved by a single combination.
The 20-cent wager is doing exactly what it was designed to do -- offer handicappers large jackpots!
November 18, 2018
Eight Wins for Aaron Merriman Sunday at Northfield Park
Aaron Merriman had a big night at Northfield Park on Sunday (November 18) winning eight times on the 15-race program.
Aaron’s triumphs were with Moolah Begonia ($5.60) in race three, Maximus Deo ($2.40) in race four, Shock The Nation ($4.20) in race five, Sanattle Slew (DH) ($2.60) in race seven, Bold And Brave ($2.10) in race eight, Wendy’s Girl ($3.60) in race 12, Shooby Said ($7.40) in race 14 and Copper Coast A ($7.00) in race 15.
Merriman won his first race in 1998, a $2,200 conditioned event at the former Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio, aboard Albert’s Filly.
Since breaking his maiden, Aaron has scored almost 10,800 more times with purse earnings approaching $71 million.
Last year Merriman became only the fourth driver in harness racing history to score 1,000 wins in a single year, posting a total of 1,095 victories.
No driver has ever achieved multiple 1,000-win seasons. However, Sunday’s victories increased Aaron’s 2018 win tally to 972.
With 48 days remaining this year, harness fans’ eyes are on Merriman while he etches his name his the record books becoming the first driver to have multiple 1,000-win seasons.
October 10, 2018
Northfield Single Six Added to Wagering Format
Northfield Park is introducing something new to its wagering menu, the 20¢ Northfield Single Six (a unique ticket Pick 6). The bet offers a low 14% takeout rate and will be begin nightly in Race 9 starting this Saturday, October 13.
The 20¢ wager is expected to offer handicappers large jackpots by carrying over 50% of its nightly pool until it is solved by a unique single ticket.
Saturday’s program will also introduce a second Pick 4. The Early Pick 4 will begin in Race 7 and the Late Pick 4 will start in Race 11.
Other multi-race wagers will be shifted so that the nightly Pick 5 will begin in Race 2 and the Pick 3s will start in races 5, 8 and 12.
In addition to a new wagering format, Saturday night, October 13, will feature a card with over $600,000 in purses, including the $125,000 Courageous Lady for three-year-old filly pacers and eight $60,000 Ohio Sires Stakes consolation events.
The evening will also see harness racing’s richest horse Foiled Again race on the program in his final race over the Flying Turns.
October 9, 2018
Northmedo Mission Breaks Track Record at Northfield Park
Northmedo Mission became the fasted sophomore gelding trotter in the history of Northfield Park when he won a $10,500 conditioned trot in 1:53.3 on Tuesday (October 9).
The previous mark was 1:54.3 and held by both Star Buster (Aaron Merriman) in 2017 and Get The Cash (Greg Grismore) in 2018.
Mike Medors trains the trotter for owner Northmedo Stable of Painesville, Ohio. Aaron Merriman was in the sulky for the winning drive.
Northmedo Mission (Manofmanymissions-Northmedo Blessing-Striking Sahbra) started from post two. He left from the gate and led every call through fractions of :27.3, :56, 1:24.1 and 1:53.3, destroying his competition by 11 ¼-lengths.
Northmedo Mission now has six wins in 18 starts this year. Tuesday’s victory represents his 10th career score and bolstered his bankroll to $115,778. He was heavily favored and returned $3.20 to win.
October 1, 2018
Northfield Park Adds Sunday Racing
Northfield Park is adding Sundays to the racing calendar for the remainder of 2018. The added day carries a regular 6PM post time and begins this Sunday (October 7).
Northfield Park now offers live racing every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
August 11, 2018
Thinkbig Dreambig Wins the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial
Jordan Stratton traveled to Northfield Park on Saturday (August 11) full of confidence to drive Thinkbig Dreambig in the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial. He had been prepped by Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, his mount’s conditioner, that the horse was ready for a big effort. Also, he had been to Northfield two other times this year, and those trips resulted in a $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie win and a score in the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic.
Thinkbig Deambig started from post-3 and inherited a pocket trip when race favorite Lather Up lost stride in the first turn. He followed race leader Jimmy Freight through fractions of :27.4, :55.3 and 1:22.3. Stratton pulled Thinkbig Dreambig in the final turn and bested his competition by ½ length in 1:50.
“We knew we had a good shot coming here,” explained Stratton. “Jimmy (Takter) likes this horse a lot. He has had some bad trips and was due for a big effort.”
Northfield Park Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting Dave Bianconi added, “This was not the horse I wanted to invite, but he (Jimmy Takter) said, ‘Trust me, this is the horse you want.’”
Thinkbig Dreambig (Bettor’s Delight-Extreme Dream-Jate Lobell) is owned by the partnership of Brixton Medical Inc., John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk.
Saturday’s victory was the fifth score for Thinkbig Dreambig and represents only his 10th career race. The win pushes Thinkbig Dreambig’s earnings to $325,537.
Following in succession after Thinkbig Dreambig were Jimmy Freight, Minnie Vinnie, Slick Tony, Dorsoduro Hanover, Always A Prince, Springsteen and Lather Up. Thinkbig Dreambig returned $17.00 to win.
The race was in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. It is the richest invitational event in harness racing for pacers.
In the race prior to the main event, Dancin Yankee captured his third $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace. The Ohio Sired event by invitation began in 2016 and Dancin Yankee is the only horse to have won the event.
Dancin Yankee left from the gate and led virtually every step of the way, repelling a stiff challenge from Major Nemesis in the third panel. His fractions were :26.3, :55.1, 1:22.2 and 1:49.2. The clocking equaled Northfield’s track record for Five-and-Up Pacing Horses set by All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) in 2017.
Ron Burke trains Dancin Yankee for the partnership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Melissa Patterson. Chris Page was in the bike.
Earlier in the evening, Barn Girl and Aaron Merriman broke the World Record for Five-and-Up Trotting Mares in the $19,000 Open Trot in 1:52.3. The previous 1:53 record was held in a tie by Barn Girl (Aaron Merriman) and Like Old Times (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.). The record also ties the all-age trotting record over the Flying Turns.
Barn Girl led the entire mile from post-7 through fractions of :27, :55.2, 1:23.4 and 1:52.3. Renee Bercury of Slippery Rock, PA owns Barn Girl for trainer William Bercury.
May 5, 2018
Feelin Red Hot Breaks World Record
Feelin Red Hot crossed the finish line faster than any other five year-old-and-up pacing mare on a half-mile track in the history of harness racing when she won the $16,500 F&M Open Handicap in 1:50.1 on Saturday (May 5). In fact, the clocking tied the all-age record for distaff pacers on a half-mile oval which was held by Call Me Queen Be (3, 2016, Dela, Scott Zeron). The former five and-up world record was held by Mach It Par (6, 2016, YR, Brian Sears) and the Northfield record was held in a tie by Beyonces Rockin (5, 1:51, Ryan Stahl) and Olivia V (6, 1:51, Aaron Merriman).
The partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own Feelin Red Hot. Ron Burke is her conditioner and Ryan Stahl was in the sulky for the winning drive.
Feelin Red Hot (Feelin Friskie-Red Rapid Girl-Red River Hanover) started from post five. She left from the gate and led the entire mile through times of :26.4, :55, 1:22.2 and 1:50.1, besting her competition by three lengths.
Feelin Red Hot now has five wins in 12 starts this year. Saturday’s victory represents her ninth career score and bolstered her bankroll to $119,739. She was heavily favored and returned $3.20 to win.
January 3, 2018
221 Race Dates Scheduled in 2018
Northfield Park, Ohio’s premier racetrack in pari-mutuel handle, both on-track and export, is offering live harness racing four nights a week to start the 2018 racing year. January through September racing is scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The exceptions to this schedule are the addition of two Sundays, May 27 and September 2. There is no live racing on Memorial Day or Labor Day Mondays.
Beginning in October Northfield adds Sunday evenings and will race five nights a week until the end of the ear. Thursday (December 27) will replace Christmas Eve Monday, while Friday (December 21) will replace racing on Christmas Tuesday.
Northfield Park’s marquee racing events are as follows: $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie Saturday, June 2; $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Saturday, June 30; $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial and $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace Saturday, August 11; and $125,000 Courageous Lady Saturday, October 13.
The $125,000 (est.) Summit County Fair Stakes, featuring many of Ohio’s best freshman and sophomore trotters and pacers, will be held on Saturday, July 28. On Saturday, October 6 the $60,000 four-and-up Ohio Sires Stake Finals will be raced and the Flying Turns will host eight $60,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes Consolations on Saturday, October 13 (Courageous Lady Night).
Each of the 221 live racing nights carries a first race post time of 6:00 p.m. Northfield Park is open daily from noon until after midnight for simulcasting action from tracks across the United States, Canada and Australia.
January 2, 2018
Triple Dead-Heat for Show at Northfield Park
The money was spread around at Northfield Park Tuesday night when a triple dead-heat for show (third place) in the second race made for three Trifecta and six Superfecta payoffs.
The racing oddity, believed to be a first in Northfield Park history, came about when the No. 2 horse, Ball Don’t Lie, tired in deep stretch and was caught on the wire by not only No. 4 Lexington Avenue, but also by No. 6 Admiral Time.
Northfield Park’s judges studied the photo-finish for more than five minutes before declaring the rare triple tie.
The winner and runner-up placings were clear as CJ’s Real Deal, was three-quarters of a length in front of I Like It Hot, who held a similar margin on the dead-heated trio.
The $2 Trifecta payoffs were $79.80, $138.40 and $287.80, while the six Superfecta payoffs ranged from $11.62 to $118.44, all for a 20 cent wager.
October 20, 2017
Chris Page Notches Career Win 4,000 at Northfield Park
Chris Page drove from his hometown of Delaware, Ohio, to Northfield Pa ark on Monday (October 30) needing just one win to reach his 4,000 career milestone.
The program started and Page went right to work, winning the very first race of the evening aboard Scarlet Cat. He started from post-2 and sat the pocket through fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.1. Page tipped Scarlet Cat approaching the stretch and the sophomore gelding paced by his competition, winning by 1 ½-lengths in a lifetime best 1:54.2.
Page is not from a “horse family.” Neither of his parents have ever been involved in harness racing. His love for horses began when he started helping his cousin, Tom Hall, work in his stable at the Knox County (Mount Vernon, Ohio) Fairgrounds.
His love for the sport was cemented when he attended his first Little Brown Jug.
“That was the year that Life Sign won,” recalled Page, “It was an epic Jug and is one of the best races ever.”
Chris drove his first race in 2000, finishing sixth in a $900 FFA pace at the Knox County Fair. He won his first race in 2001 at the Champaign County Fair aboard Titanic Fella.
Page graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2002 and then attended The Ohio State University.
Chris’ driving career started blossoming in 2006 and he has since driven several sub-1:50 miles and has purse earnings that are approaching $30 million. His richest win is a $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Final.
Crazy Wow is Chris’ favorite horse to drive. However, the best Page has ever steered is Foiled Again, the richest horse in the history of harness racing.
“What an honor it was to drive him,” explained page.
Page, 33, says his future plans all include staying in Ohio.
“I have traveled a lot and have driven at a lot of tracks,” said Page. “At this point of my life, I am happy making a living right here at home. After all, I’m a Buckeye, baby!”
October 12, 2017
“Pace for the Cure” Adds to Pinktober Campaign
Northfield Park is hosting a “Pace for the Cure” on Saturday, October 14, an event that is part of “Pinktober,” a month-long effort to raise funds to fight breast cancer, at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. The race features nine female drivers and is the 10th race on a 15-race card evening. Post time is 6 pm.
"We are committed to playing an active role in the Hard Rock Rocksino’s Pinktober event,” said Brent Reitz, Northfield Park Vice President and General Manager. “The ‘Pace for the Cure’ is a great way to highlight harness racing and create awareness and support for breast cancer research.”
The Pinktober “Pace for the Cure” will carry a $7,500 purse. Among the participants are local trainer/drivers Rachel Kaneoka and Rosy Weaver. The most accomplished among the guest drivers is Jayne Weller, who has scored nearly 200 victories. She is the daughter of June Weller, the first female to ever drive in harness racing’s crown jewel, the Little Brown Jug.
Hannah Miller, who has posted 21 victories so far this year, may have bloodlines that give her a leg up on the competition. Her brother, Marcus Miller, a prominent national driver has over 2,800 wins and purse earnings in excess of $30 million.
The race’s other participants include: Renee Bauslaugh, Mary Birkhold, Christina Evans, Ulrika Fox and Emily Hay.
In addition to normal wagering on the “Pace for the Cure” the purchase of raffle tickets are encouraged. These tickets are $1 each or five tickets for $3. Tickets are placed into bags that correspond with each female driver. All tickets from the winning bag will be entered into a drawing for a host of prizes.
Pinktober is celebrated all month at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park which hosts a variety of events to support local cancer-fighting efforts. A portion of the proceeds from the events benefit Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio’s vision of a world without breast cancer.
The monies raised as a result of Pinktober will help Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio to provide vital services like free mammograms and clinical breast exams through partnerships with local healthcare facilities, diagnostic services, including ultrasounds, biopsies, and advanced services, and survivor support, including financial, transportation and other services.
October 11, 2017
Ohio Sire Stakes Consolations Highlight Saturday’s Courageous Lady Undercard
On Saturday, October 14 Northfield Park will host eight $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Consolation Races as part of the 15-race program. These eight races will feature some of the Buckeye State’s best freshmen and sophomore pacers and trotters and will support the $120,000 Courageous Lady undercard.
Freshman filly trotters will start Saturday’s stake action in Race 1. Trainer Christopher Beaver sends a trio of starters as the 3-5 overwhelming favorite. (1) California Love (Stormin Normand-Frannie’s Ridge-Tom Ridge) starts from the rail with driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for the partnership of Beaver, Beachy, Zeehandelar and Synerco Ventures; (1A) Bugs MVP drew post-4 and will be driven by Aaron Merriman for owners Beaver, Carter, Sbrocco and Zehandelar; and (1B) Champagne Hall and driver Ryan Stahl has post-7 for Beaver, Sbrocco, Zeehandelar and Synerco Ventures. Also competing in the race will be Simplyamission, Next Woman Up, Ed’s Chargin Lady, Risky Deal and Bang.
Race 4 will be the $50,000 Consolation for freshman colt trotters. Trainer Alicia Hanners will start Dontforgetmaster (Dontyouforgetit-Pine Career-Pine Chip) as the 5-2 morning-line favorite despite drawing post-8. Dontforgetmaster enters this race off a maiden-breaking win, and has never missed the ticket in seven career efforts. He has earnings of $34,570 and sports a lifetime mark of 1:57.1 (Dtn 5/8). Josh Sutton is scheduled to drive for owners Mystical Marker Farms, VIP Internet Stable, Garland and Eisman. Mr Jubilant, Win Chaser, Haul N Dash, Cash Lane, Icingon De Cupcake, Dance Withsomebody and Sand Cash complete the line-up.
Pacers take to the stage in Race 5 for the $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Consolation for freshman fillies. Pearl Crush (Yankee Cruiser-Pearl Berley-No Nukes) is the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite for owner Clyde Perfect of Lawrenceburg, Ohio. Ron Potter trains the filly, who won the $43,333 Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware just two races back in a 1:55.3 career best. She has earnings of $51,189, winning two of nine races. Driver Ryan Stahl will start the pacer from post-5 in a field that consists of Cams Candy Girl, Missplacedrock, Filou Fly Fast, Big Bad Goldie, Tiffany Rocks As, Lily Grace and Princess Rougarou.
Trotters again compete in Race 6 for the $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Consolation for three year-old fillies. Amuse’s (Break The Bank K-Sweet Mademoiselle-Varenne) starts from post-three and is the 3-2 morning-line favorite. She is owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania. Trainer Rich Gillock has called upon Aaron Merriman to drive. This filly enters this race off a 1:57 career best win at The Meadows and has five wins in 22 lifetime starts with a bankroll of $145,958. Amuse’s has a host of rivals consisting of Vandy’s Magic, Emerald City Of Oz, Diva Dejarmbro, Full Of Pride, Monee Bank, I Like Purple and Beautiful.
Race 7 will host the $50,000 Consolation for freshman colt pacers. Rockin Away (Pet Rock-Higher Standards-Camluck) is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for owners Country Club Acres, Sbrocco, AWS Stables and Lombardo. Brian Brown trains the colt and uses Chris Page to drive. This two year-old has four wins in seven starts and enters off a third place finish in the $75,500 Bluegress at Lexington’s The Red Mile. He has earnings of $49,900 and mark of 1:53 (Lex 1). Rockin Away starts from post-2 in a field consisting of Spectacular Rock, Bounding Dragon, Dukes Cruiser, Sectionline Bigry, Lots To Live For, Gone Again and Harambe Deo.
Race 8 is the $50,000 Consolation for three year-old colt pacers. Camwood (Woodstock-Clydes First Cam-Cambest) is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for owners Polhanus and Parsons. Mike Polhamus is the gelding’s trainer and calls upon Kayne Kauffman to drive. Camwood has five wins in 19 starts this year and has earned $75,210. He drew the rail and will face Big Bad Arcster, Lifewithjohn, Trial By Fire, Mclucky, Mannys Too Special, Sunny’s Bro and Heracer.
Trotters return in the ninth race for the $50,000 OSS Consolation for three year-olds. Trainer Christopher Beaver sends out Dekeyser (Dejarmbro-Pink Ribbons-Mr Vic) as the 3-2 morning-line favorite. Dekeyser looks for his 15th win of the season and starts from post-2. He enters this race off two consecutive victories over the Flying Turns in the $40,000 Ohio Breeders Championship and the $25,000 Ohio Fairs Championship. He sports earnings of $122,789 and 1:56.2 mark at Northfield Park. Aaron Merriman is scheduled to drive for owners Beaver, Synerco Ventures and Zeehandelar. Sweet Honet, Feisty Jim, Dejarover, Cinnamon Dunn, Speed Lane and Winning Memories complete the ninth race line-up.
Race 12 hosts Buckeye-bred sophomore filly pacers and is the night’s final $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Consolation. Berazzled (Charley Barley-Razmataz Hanover-Cam’s Card Shark) is the 9-5 morning-line favorite from the powerful Christopher Beaver Stable. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. will drive for owner Marion Beachy of Sugarcreek, Ohio. This filly has six wins in 22 starts, pacing in 1:52.1 (ScD 5/8) and earning $255,281. Berazzles starts from post-6 in a field that consists of Woo’s Princess, Glorious Intent, Da Vinci Artist, Ellasen, Barley Nation, The Lady Vanishes and Big Bad Jane.
The evening’s featured race is the $120,000 Courageous Lady Pace, an open contest for North America’s top three-year-old-filly pacers. The evening’s also hosts Northfield’s annual Pinktober Pace for Cure race of all female drivers to race money and awareness for breast cancer research. Collectively, in excess of $575,000 in purses will be distributed throughout the night’s 15-race program.
From 7:00 – 8:00 PM fans can participate in the Northfield Park Beer Slide and a Leinenkugel Stein Hoist is set for 9:00 PM.
Lady Luck’s Clubhouse buffet will be open. Reservations are encouraged and can be made for the $15.95 buffet by calling 330-467-4101.
Admission and Parking are always FREE at Northfield Park. The evening carries a 6:00 PM first race post time.
August 12, 2017
Downbytheseaside Slays the Dragon in Saturday’s Carl Milstein Memorial
Fear The Dragon entered Saturday’s $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial as harness racing’s top-ranked horse. Everything looked to be going his way. He drew the rail, was the overwhelming favorite and posted soft fractions. However, Downbytheseaside paced home in :26.4 despite a tough first-over trip to best Fear The Dragon by a full length.
Downbytheseaside started from post-7 and sat fifth through the opening :27.1 quarter. Driver Brian Sears pulled Downbytheseaside and grinded first-up through fractions of :56 and 1:22.4. The 1:49.3 final time was a new track record for sophomore colt pacers.
“I knew he was going to have a lot left with those soft fractions,” stated Sears. “I didn’t want to have a speed duel.”
The duel came in the final quarter when Downbytheseaside drew alongside Fear The Dragon, eventually wearing him down in the stretch, returning $11.60 to win.
“He put in a great effort and every time I called on him he gave more,” said Sears.
Brian Brown trains both colts at the historic Delaware County Fairgrounds.
“I am thrilled this horse raced the way that he did and got there,” said Brown. “It wasn’t like Fear The Dragon raced bad.”
Finishing behind Downbytheseaside were Fear The Dragon, Classic Pro, Blood Line, Drunk On Your Love, Rock N Tony, R J P and Bags To Riches.
Saturday’s stablemate duel was intense and trainer Brian Brown indicated that the colts will meet again in September in the Little Brown Jug.
August 7, 2017
Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Reaches 4,000 Career Wins at Northfield Park
Ronnie Wrenn Jr. made his 4,000th trip to the winner’s circle after winning with Sultan Of Cash in Northfield Park’s 5th race on Monday (August 7th) in the 3rd leg, 3rd division $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Freshman Colt Trotters.
Wrenn led at every call with Sultan Of Cash, eventually besting his competition by 1-1/4 lengths. The 1:59.4 clocking was the 6th career score in as many starts for the undefeated 2-year-old trotter, who returned $2.80 to win.
The 30-year-old Wrenn began driving in 2008. His 4,000 wins have helped him garner almost $22 million in purse earnings. He won the 2013 and 2014 national dash driving titles; the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Northfield Park driving titles; and the 2013 driving title at Northville Downs.
Wrenn is a 2005 graduate of Hartland High School in Hartland, Michigan. He played center field for and graduated from Mott Community College in Flint.
Although Wrenn comes from a racing family, he did not take an interest and become involved with horses at an early age.
“I was 19 or 20 when I jogged my first horse. I was always really busy with sports and stuff,” said Wrenn. “I didn’t really have time for it.”
However, after weighing his options and slowly becoming more interested with the family business, Ronnie decided on a career in racing.
“I was just sitting at the table working on homework on my computer one night and looked up and told my dad I wanted to be a driver. He looked at me like I was crazy. But I was old enough that he really didn’t have a lot of say, and so far it has all worked out pretty well.”
Wrenn earned his first win behind Artful Power in a $1,400 Billings race at a Michigan fair.
“It was hard breaking in at first. I guess I got lucky to be put on some good horses and things just took off,” offered Wrenn. “My parents and grandparents really helped me a lot as well as countless other people.”
Wrenn’s richest win ever came in the last year’s $250,000 sophomore pacing Ohio Sires Stakes Championship at Northfield Park with Whataboy. His fastest victory was in 1:49.2 with Doo Wip Hanover in the 2015 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs. Wrenn rates some of the best horses he has ever driven as Arch Madness, Betterluvnexttime, Doo Wop Hanover, Luck Be Withyou, Night Pro and Victory Is Coming.
“There are many owners and trainers that have given me opportunities and I will be forever grateful to them,” offered Wrenn. “To win races, a driver has to drive fast horses for talented trainers with good owners.”
Wrenn was married in June of this year and resides in Stow, Ohio with his wife Briana.
May 27, 2017
Beyonces Rockn Breaks Track Record at Northfield Park
Beyonces Rockn crossed the finish line faster than any other mare in the history of Northfield Park when she won the $14,000 F&M Open Handicap in 1:51 on Saturday (May 27). The clocking formally broke the 1:52 record for five and up pacing mares, which was held by three different horses: Hidden Land (Don Irvine Jr.) from 2015, and Devil Child (David Miller) and Love Forbidden (Aaron Merriman) in 2016.
The partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable LLC and RTC Stables Inc. own Beyonces Rockn. Ron Burke is her conditioner and Ryan Stahl was in the sulky for the winning drive.
Beyonces Rockn (Rock N Roll Heaven-Im Betting On You-Bettor’s Delight) started from post seven. She left from the gate and sat fourth through the initial :27.1 quarter. Stahl moved her coming to the half. She brushed to the front and never looked back through times of :56.1, 1:23 and 1:51, besting her competition by 12 ¾-lengths.
Beyonces Rockn now has seven wins in 19 starts this year. Saturday’s victory represents her 16th career score and bolstered her bankroll to $178,492. She was heavily favored and returned $2.60 to win.
May 23, 2017
Iron Maiden Late Closers Return to Northfield Park
Northfield Park has announced the dates of four Iron Maiden Late Closing Series. These series offer increased racing opportunities for younger horses to start their seasons.
All of the late closers carry a condition of: Non-winners of One Pari-Mutuel Race (Ohio Breds N/W Two) or Non-Winners of $7,500 Lifetime (Through 5/14/2017).
The series are divided into filly and mare pacers, colt and gelding pacers, filly and mare trotters, and colt and gelding trotters. However, the trotters will be combined if at least 12 horses do not pay into each event.
A one-time $200 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible. Payments are due by May 26.
Conditions for the series can be found at www.northfieldpark.com. The link is located on Northfield’s homepage.
April 5, 2017
Wind Surfer Posts 50th Career Win at Northfield Park
Wind Surfer trotted home for his 50th career victory, winning the 10th race at Northfield Park on Wednesday (April 5). The 12 year-old veteran, with 277 career starts, also has 44 seconds and 40 third place finishes.
Wind Surfer (Muscles Yankee-Windsurfing VC-Balanced Image) has career earnings of $946,612 with a lifetime mark of 1:53.4 at The Meadows at age four. The trotter’s richest win was in a $52,000 Open Trot at Yonkers Raceway in 2011. Wind Surfer is a well-traveled campaigner -- his 50 wins have been spread across six different racing surfaces in four states.
Wind Surfer started from the post-5. He was content near the back while his competition posted fractions of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:27.3, before rallying in the stretch to best his nearest competitor by 1 ½-lenths in 1:58. He returned $7.00 to win.
Kent Sherman trains Wind Surfer for owner Betty Sherman of Elmore, Ohio. Ryan Stahl was aboard for the winning drive.
March 20, 2017
Ryan Stahl Scores 4,000th Win Monday at Northfield Park
Ryan Stahl scored the 4,000th win of his career aboard This Baby Rocks in Northfield Park’s sixth race on Monday (March 20) by firing off the gate and fending off all challengers. This Baby Rocks maintained a nose advantage over his closest rival at the wire, successfully pacing his mile in 1:54.2.
Stahl’s richest win came in a $100,000 Ohio Sire Stakes Final and he has won six Sire Stakes Finals. The native of Republic, Ohio rates the most exciting horse he has ever driven as being Hypnotic Blue Chip, in the 2011 Battle of Lake Erie.
“It was an honor to drive a world-class horse like him,” said Stahl.
The 39-year-old Stahl remembers his first win as being aboard a trotting filly named Lojos Sharp Baby, at the Oak Harbor (Ohio) Fairgrounds.
“That win came about a week after I got my license,” Stahl recalled.
With 4,000 to choose from, Stahl says that his most memorable win came aboard Podges Lady, in the 2012 edition of the Courageous Lady.
“It is a signature race here at Northfield and it really meant a lot,” offered Stahl.
Ryan started driving at the age of 14 and appreciates his success so far; accomplishing the 4,000-win milestone and having driven the winners of nearly $15.5 million.
Stahl has been married for almost two years to Nichole. The couple has two children, a son Owen, and daughter Sonny. The family resides on an 80-acre farm in Republic, Ohio and trains a stable of 12 horses.
“Nichole is simply the best and does so much to keep our family, horses and farm going,” explained Stahl. “I am only able to come to the track and drive on a nightly basis because of what she does to manage everything with our stable and family.”
January 17, 2017
Arrow Pays Big Tuesday at Northfield Park
Longshot bettors were ecstatic while the horses crossed the finish of Northfield Park’s 10th race on Tuesday (January 17) when #8 Arrow rocketed from the back to win at odds of 60-1.
Growth Opportunities, LLC of North Canton, Ohio owns the five year-old pacer. Dean Santantonio trains Arrow and called upon Sam Schillaci for the winning drive. Tuesday’s triumph was Arrow’s first win this year in three starts and represents his eighth lifetime score.
Arrow was followed across the wire by #6 Village Jackson (2-1), #2 Battle Call (2-1) and #4 Moreland Flash (50-1).
Arrow returned $123.00 to win; the 8-6 Exacta paid $502.00; the 8-6-2 Trifecta returned $1,831.60; and the 8-6-2-4 20¢ Superfecta paid $695.65. Arrow’s win came as the third leg of the evening’s $1 Pick 4 which returned a whopping $13,854.50.
Although his horse was scratched from race 10 and did not compete against the evening’s richest winner, driver Jason Merriman made six trips to the winner’s circle on Tuesday’s 15-race program.
Jason ’s triumphs were with Lion Image ($17.20) in race one, Talladega Hanover ($5.80) in race three, Urlacker ($18.80) in race five, Wheres The Clicker ($6.60) in race seven, High Blue ($10.60) in race nine and Albert A’ Scootin ($12.20) in race 13.
Merriman won his first race in 2003, a $4,900 condition event in 1:59.3, at Pompano Park aboard I C U Talkin.
Since breaking his maiden, Jason has scored 2,236 more times with purse earnings approaching $11 million.
January 4, 2017
Wrenn and Loney Repeat in 2016 for Northfield Park Dash Titles
Ronnie Wrenn Jr. again topped the local driving ranks in 2016, winning 612 races over the Flying Turns. His nearest competitor, Aaron Merriman, drove 533 winners. Kurt Sugg (305), Jason Merriman (291) and Ryan Stahl (275) completed the top five reinsmen.
Wrenn, 30, resides in Stow, Ohio and now has five driving titles under his belt. He won the dash titles at Northfield Park in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also won the Northville Downs title in 2013.
Ronnie’s 2016 total victory tally was 690, which ranked him second among all drivers in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (891) had more total wins in 2016 than Wrenn.
Wrenn began driving in 2008 and has since won 3,658 races and purses in excess of $19 million. Wrenn’s fasted win ever came in the 2015 edition of the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs aboard Doo Wop Hanover in 1:49.2. His richest was with Whataboy in last year’s $250,000 Ohio Sires Stake Final for sophomore colt pacers at Northfield Park in 1:51.3.
Northfield Park’s 2016 leading trainer Brian Loney won 30 more races than any other local conditioner. He garnered 136 victories throughout last year. Michael Dowdall finished second with 106 wins. Sam Schillaci (105), Jessica Millner (85) and Sue Stockwell (69) rounded out the top five Northfield Park trainers for 2016.
Brian, originally from Hager Hill, Kentucky, now lives in Northfield, Ohio. He and wife Harla Renae have three children: 16 year-old son Gannun, 12 year-old son Payton and seven year-old daughter Polly.
Loney, 38, scored his first training win with the gelding pacer Stealth Fighter at Fairmount Park in 1996. To date, he has 1,476 career victories and purse earnings over $4 million. The 2016 Northfield title is the fifth local dash victory for Brian. He has also won titles at Bluegrass Downs, Fairmount Park, The Red Mile and Thunder Ridge.
Wrenn and Loney will each be presented with a plaque and dining gift certificate to the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in a winner’s circle ceremony later in January.
January 1, 2017
Aaron Merriman Continues Winning Into 2017 at Northfield Park
Aaron Merriman is harness racing’s dash winning driver for both 2015 and 2016. Flipping the calendar to 2017 has not changed his winning ways. In fact, Merriman won eight races on Sunday (January 1) at Northfield Park.
Aaron’s triumphs were with King Muscles ($2.40) in race 1, Jude Hall ($2.60) in race three, Ewald Hanover ($3.60) in race five, Beauty Chip ($2.20) in race six, Stevie Diamonds ($3.20) in race eight, Doc Betts’ Buckeye ($2.40) in race 10, SR Radar ($3.00) in race 12 and Avanza ($2.60) in race 14.
Merriman won his first race in 1998, a $2,200 condition event in 1:58.3, at the former Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio aboard Albert’s Filly.
Since breaking his maiden, Aaron has scored 8,737 more times with purse earnings approaching $53 million.
December 29, 2016
222 Race Dates in 2017 for Northfield Park
Northfield Park, Ohio’s leading racetrack in pari-mutuel handle, both on-track and export, is offering live harness racing four nights a week to start the 2017 racing year. January through September racing is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The exceptions to this schedule are the addition of three Sundays, January 1, May 28 and September 3. There is no live racing on Memorial Day or Labor Day Mondays.
Beginning in October Northfield adds Sunday evenings and will race five nights a week until the end of the ear. Friday (December 22) will replace Christmas Eve Sunday, while Friday (December 29) will replace racing on Christmas Monday.
Northfield Park’s marquee racing events are as follows: $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie Saturday, June 3; $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Saturday, July 1; $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial and $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace Saturday, August 12; and $125,000 Courageous Lady Saturday, October 14.
The $125,000 (est.) Summit County Fair Stakes, featuring many of Ohio’s best freshman and sophomore trotters and pacers, will be held on Saturday, July 29.
Each of the 222 live racing nights carries a first race post time of 6:00 p.m. Northfield Park is open daily from noon until after midnight for simulcasting action from tracks across the United States, Canada and Australia.