August 12, 2017
Downbytheseaside Slays the Dragon in Saturday’s Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park
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.