Carol's Comet wins last Open Pace of Scioto's 2013 Racing Season

Hard-luck Carol’s Comet won the last $20,000 Open Pace at Scioto Downs Racino in 2013 by a nose, in 1:50.2.  The hard luck gelding finished second the last three starts at the track but this week driver Aaron Merriman had a different strategy to make the outcome different, and make his way to the winner’s circle.

“I thought I was in the position last week to get the trip and they told me he really didn’t like the passing lane,” said Merriman.  “I opted to go to the outside so I think I cost myself the race with the drive.  Today, up in the passing lane the horse really appreciated it, the shorter trip around the track.”

Sitting the pocket Merriman waited patiently during the first three quarters that went in 26.3, 55.2 and 1:22.

“He’s very nice, a Cadillac to race,” Merriman continued.  “He really wants to go so that really makes it nice.  He’s very good gated and good behind the gate.”

Audrey’s Dream (Tony Hall) got up for second while Special Forces (Chris Page) held on for third after cutting the mile.


(Carol's Comet wins by nose to win the last Open Pace of the 2013 Scioto Downs Racing Season)

Previous to the evening’s races, Carol’s Comet had made 16 starts and had three wins with eight seconds and one third making $77,275 just this year racing exclusively at Scioto for Delaware, Ohio based trainer Ron Potter.

The striking 4-year-old gelding son of Yankee Cruiser out of the Jenna’s Beach Boy mare Modern Medicine is owned by Martin Presser, Bill Moore, Matthew Moore and Whiskey Tango Stable (Dawn Hornsby, Dawn Potter and Kimberly Rowe).

The evening’s race card also held two divisions of the “Best of the Rest” which was open to horses paid into the Sire Stakes but were not eligible for the $150,000 last week.  Majesty Dream (Chip Chip Hooray-Donna L’s Hope) and Kayne Kauffman took the 2-year-old trotting filly division in 2:00.4.  Trained by Jim Arledge, Jr. for owners Up Front Racing LLC (Ed Mullinax) and Thomas York Jr.  She is now set to race in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware on Sept. 17.

The 3-year-old colt pace was the only other division to fill and was won by Dusto and Kauffman in 1:55.1.  The time was a new lifetime mark for the Stand Forever-Doctor Cindy colt who now has $82,540 in career earnings for owner/trainer William Hartman and co-owner Saundra Andre’.

Even though the live racing season is over at Scioto, the racetrack will still be open for simulcasting from noon-midnight.  Racing will resume in May 2014, dependent on approval from the Ohio State Racing Commission.


Pet Rock sets new five-eighths speed mark

Pet Rock and Dan Noble set the new world record for pacers on a five-eighths-mile track when went wire-to-wire in 1:47.2 in the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Saturday (Sept. 7) at Scioto Downs Racino.

Conrad Photo
Pet Rock became the fastest pacer ever on a five-eighths-mile track with this 1:47.2 win in the Jim Ewart Memorial.

Previously held at Pocono Downs, the record was in trouble from the word “go” with Noble parking A Rocknroll Dance and Kayne Kauffman to an opening quarter of 25. The pair hit the half in 52.4 and the three-quarters in 1:20.1. A Rocknroll Dance was second with Sweet Lou third.

“He was real strong in the lane and had plenty left,” said Noble.

Virgil Morgan, Jr. trains the 4-year-old stallion for owner Frank Bellino of Bronx, N.Y.

Morgan had a big night even before Pet Rock won as he became the first trainer in history, since the United States Trotting Association has kept records, to hit 5,000 lifetime wins. Earlier in the evening he was also presented as the leading trainer at his home track for the 2013 racing season.


Morgan comments on top-notch Super Night card

Virgil Morgan, Jr. has been a mainstay at Scioto Downs for nearly two decades, winning the training title at the central Ohio oval every year since 1994.


During that time, he is unlikely to have seen a night like Saturday’s Super Night. The 16-race Super Night card features eight $150,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships for 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters, plus the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational for older male pacers and four $30,000 opens.

Total purses for the night are nearly $1.5 million. It is the richest single racing program in Ohio history.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
Virgil Morgan, Jr. has four horses in the OSS finals and two in the Ewart Memorial.

Morgan has four horses competing in sire stakes finals and two — Pet Rock and Rockin Finish — in the Ewart. Pet Rock is among five millionaires in the nine-horse Ewart field, joined by A Rocknroll Dance, Fred And Ginger, Sweet Lou and Up The Credit.

“There’s definitely lots of good racing and good horses,” Morgan said. “It definitely should be a good night. The crowds here have been amazing on Fridays and Saturdays so this should even contribute to it more.”

Revenue from the introduction of video lottery terminals last year helped spur increases in purses.

“Last year our Super Night card went for just over $900,000 after the VLT facility was open for three months,” said Scioto’s General Manager of Racing Operations Stacy Cahill. “Now, another year later, we have been able to boost our purses and help our horsemen even more. We’ve had a great racing season so far and expect Saturday’s card to be another exciting event for our fans.”

Part of the excitement will be around the Ewart Memorial, which includes numerous stakes-winners such as Morgan’s Pet Rock, A Rocknroll Dance, Fred And Ginger, Up The Credit, Sweet Lou and Hurrikane Kingcole.

“You have to go back in time, but Scioto has had its share of great horses race here,” Morgan said. “But in recent years the purse structure was such that we haven’t had these kinds of horses. Stacy Cahill and (race secretary) Jason Roth have done a great job getting some of the premier aged horses in the business here.

“This is the first year after getting slots at Scioto Downs and hopefully it’s just something to build on.”

Pet Rock has won two of 11 races this year, but banked $558,508 — second most among all older pacers — thanks to earning a check in every start. He is the 7-2 second choice to A Rocknroll Dance (5-2) in the Ewart Memorial.

“He’s just ultra-consistent,” Morgan said. “In almost every start this year he’s paced in (1):48 or better. I can’t say enough about him; overcoming posts, being parked the mile and still having pace late, being first over — he’s just always right there.”

The 47-year-old Morgan is harness racing’s all-time leader for training wins and is five from 5,000 career victories. He led North America in wins twice, was second four times, and is No. 3 this year. He has made 999 starts, which are the most for his stable since 2008.

“You can race more here and it gives you more of an opportunity to race good horses here because of the purse structure,” Morgan said. “The sire stakes is a great program. The purse structure took a boost this year and it’s only going to get better when the three other tracks get their slots up and running.

“The future looks pretty bright here.”

There will be two different wagering opportunities on Super Night that are not available on any other race night at Scioto. A $7,500 guaranteed Pick-8 bet for the eight OSS finals is available for a minimum 20-cent bet; those finals are set as races 4-11.

There will also be a $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 for races 9-12. The four races that are included for that bet are the last three OSS finals for 3-year-old pacing fillies, trotting colts and pacing colts, as well as the Ewart Memorial.

Before the races, there will be beanie and trucker-style hat giveaways. After winner’s circle pictures are taken and interviews conducted with the winning connections, t-shirts will be thrown to the crowd. There will also be drawings for Jug tickets, Ohio State cornhole boards, wagering and food vouchers.

Morgan posts 5,000th training victory

Virgil Morgan Jr. became the first trainer to reach 5,000 career wins this past Saturday night (Sep. 7).

The USTA has only been keeping trainer’s statistics since 1991.

Conrad photo
Stacy Cahill made a special presentation in the Scioto Downs winner’s circle to Virgil Morgan, Jr. after he hit career training win 5,000 at Hoosier Park just two hours earlier.

Morgan had his first training win when Count Jazz won a $3,000 claimer on Sept. 22, 1992, at The Meadows Racetrack.

Training win no. 5,000 came Saturday at Hoosier Park when Tyler Smith piloted Rose Run Oriana to a win in the fourth leg of the Indiana Sire Stakes silver series trot.

Morgan started on his way to his next milestone less than two hours later when Pet Rock and Dan Noble set a new world record on a five-eighths-mile track of 1:47.2 at Scioto Downs Racino.

Morgan started winning 100-plus races in a single year starting in 1995 when he trained winners of 114 races in only 417 starts, earning a UTR of .393. Since then he has had as many as 409 wins in a year and his horses have earned more than $41.8 million.

“I didn’t know (I was near 5,000) until someone brought it to my attention,” Morgan said.  “Hopefully, I’ll be fortunate enough to win a few more races.

“I prefer to let the horses do the talking,” he continued, adding with a laugh, “It’s one of those things that make you feel a little bit older than you thought you were. You look back and that’s a lot of racing. A lot of people helped me achieve that. Many thanks to all the drivers and owners and all of my help.

Feelin Lika Winner lives up to his name in Ohio Sire Stakes Championship

Eight $150,000 Ohio Sire Stakes championships were held at Scioto Downs Racino Saturday evening. Feelin Lika Winner lived up to his name when he won the coveted 3-year-old colt pacing championship in 1:52.2.

The Scott Mogan trainee sat in the pocket most of the way behind race favorite, That Friske Feelin and Tony Hall, after parking the latter to an opening quarter of 26.3.

“We wanted to follow Burke’s horse (That Friske Feelin), as close as we could get to him,” said driver Kayne Kauffman. “We got out of the gate good and I kind of pushed him through the first turn and tried to sting him a little bit.”

That opening quarter didn’t take much out of the eventual winner as he powered home in 28.3 to win by four and three-quarter lengths.

“That was a very tough call (to pull going around the last turn instead of waiting for the passing lane) but my horse felt strong,” continued Kauffman. “Tony’s plugs were out down the backside so we went ahead and made the move and it worked out.”

Feelin Lika Winner is owned by Mogan, Diamond Chip Stables (Judy Weber), AWS Stables (Allen & Carol Marie Schmidthorst) and Charlie Guiler. The gelding by Feelin Friskie out of the Live Love Laugh mare Naughty Sunflower now has $212,235 in lifetime earnings and took a mark earlier this year of 1:51.4 here at Scioto.

feelin lika winner-2

(Feelin Lika Winner & Kayne Kauffman win the 3-year-old colt pace in 1:52.2)

Other OSS winners on the evening included:

2yo Filly Trot – In the Grippers (Steven One – Over Baked) in 1:58 for driver Chris Page, trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr and owner Herres Stables LLC (Natilie Herres).

2yo Colt Trot – Rompaway Galaxy (Rompaway Wally – Rompaway Wynona) in 1:57.4 for driver Mike Micallef, trainer Krista Williams and owner Rompaway Farms LLC (Thomas Smith)

2yo Filly Pace – Shakin Friskie (Feelin Friskie – Shakeurcancancress) in 1:56.1 for driver Dan Noble, trainer Mark Winters, Sr and owners Bret Schwartz, William Bean and Stephen Montemarano.

2yo Colt Pace – Chance I MIght (Stand Forever – Nature’s Course) in 1:55.3 for driver Brad Hanners, trainer Jim Dailey and owner Rebecca Dwyer.

3yo Filly Trot – Contessa Leigh (Full Count – Howl) in 1:57.1 for driver Sam “Chip” Noble, trainer Marty Wollam and owners G And B Racing (Bradley & George Berlin) and Marty Wollam.

3yo Colt Trot – Final Breath (Victory Sam – First Breath) in 1:56.1 for trainer/driver Hugh “Sandy” Beatty and owner Duane Lowe.

3yo Filly Pace – Igottafeelinfran (Feelin Friskie – Fran Anna) in 1:53.3 for driver Dan Noble, trainer Jim Dailey and owners Jerry Zosel, Kathy Ratcliff and Kimberly Dailey.

Racing will continue for one more week, Wednesday thru Saturday, with a post of 6:30 p.m. each day. Saturday (September 14) is closing night at Scioto for the 2013 racing season.


Big Bossman is peaking at the right time to win Ohio Sire Stakes Final

Big Bossman wasn’t the boss of the Ohio bred 2-year-old pacing colts earlier this year but he’s finding the right time to hit his stride.

“I went to warm him up that (first) night and as I turned him to go a mile, he made a right hand turn and almost hit two horses head on,” explained trainer Doug Hinklin. “When Grismore (driver Greg Grismore) took him behind the gate, he just lost his mind because of two recalls and when they let them go at the start, he paced down to the first turn and made a right hand turn and almost went through the fence.”

That first mile out resulted in a DNF but Hinklin went ahead and entered the second leg of the Ohio Sire Stakes, which would be his second lifetime start. Unfortunately the result was basically the same.

“He was just a head case,” said Hinklin. “I’ve been in this game 40 years and I’ve seen that before, so I just tried something that worked for me years ago and put telescope blinds on him with a fly screen over the top of the blinds and plugged his ears and it worked. He’s been fine ever since, except the night he drew the nine hole at Scioto and he kinda reverted back to his old ways there. He’s a super fast colt but he’s a head case.”

Big Bossman won the Ohio State Fair on August 3, pacing in 1:54.4 with a last quarter of 27.1. He went on to win the last two legs of the Sire Stakes in 1:57.2 (at Raceway Park) and 1:54.4 (at Scioto) last week.

“When he’s concentrating on the game, he’s very very fast. I knew that when I got down training him in April. I got him down to about 2:15 and I started brushing him and I knew he was a super fast colt.

“If he behaves, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. If he behaves himself, they won’t beat him.”

Big Bossman is by Feelin Friskie, out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Lovely America. His dam already has a couple $100,000 winners and Big Bossman is well on his way with $49,835 in earnings so far. Hinklin bought the gelding as a yearling for Parent Racing Stable LLC in November 2012 at the Blooded Horse Sale.

No matter the outcome of the OSS Final Saturday at Scioto, this horse will be well on his way to becoming a great colt. Big Bossman could possibly start Hinklin on the road to his second back-to-back Sire Stakes victory seasons. Who knows what could happen when the head case of a colt starts behind the Mike Woebkenberg starting gate Saturday, but with the two hole, he shouldn’t be scared of that first turn

big bossman
(Big Bossman & Greg Grismore win the last leg of Ohio Sire Stakes at Scioto
Downs in 1:54.4) 

Super Night Preview

In just three days, Saturday, September 7, Scioto Downs Racino will host one of the most exciting race nights in recent history at the Columbus oval.  The best 2 and 3-year-old horses in the state will duke it out for top honors in the Ohio Sire Stakes Finals and some of the best horses from across the country will make up the 134 horses vying for nearly $1.5-million in purses.  The 16 race card has a first post time of 6:30 p.m.

“Last year our Super Night card went for just over $900,000 after the VLT facility was open for three months,” said Scioto’s General Manager of Racing Operations Stacy Cahill.  “Now, another year later, we have been able to boost our purses, and help our horsemen, even more.  We've had a great racing season so far and expect Saturday's card to be be another exciting event for our fans.”

contessaleigh (2)

(Contessa Leigh will be one of 63 horses racing for their share of $1.2-million in Ohio
Sire Stakes money on Saturday)

There will be a couple different wagering opportunities that are not available on any other race night at Scioto.  A $7,500 guaranteed Pick-8 bet for the eight OSS finals is available for a minimum 20-cent bet; those finals are set as races 4-11.  There will also be a $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 for races 9-12.  The four races that are included for that bet are the last 3 OSS finals for 3-year-old pacing fillies, trotting colts and pacing colts, as well as the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace.

Before the races, there will be beanie and trucker-style hat give-a-ways.  After winner’s circle pictures are taken and interviews conducted with the winning connections, t-shirts will be thrown to the crowd.  There will also be drawings for Jug tickets, Ohio State cornhole boards, wagering and food vouchers.

As Ohio Super Night at Scioto Downs draws closer, stay tuned for more in depth previews for some of the night's feature races.  For more information about live harness racing at Scioto Downs Racino, visit  Racing will be held Wed-Sat this week and next, with closing day for the 2013 season on Saturday, September 14.


Last Ohio Sire Stakes Leg held at Scioto

The last leg of Ohio Sire Stakes action was held Saturday at Scioto Downs Racino.  Two-year-old trotting and pacing colts took to the Columbus 5/8 mile oval to ensure they are eligible for the lucrative $150,000 finals next week Saturday (Sept. 7).

Big Bossman and Feel the Heat were sitting fifth and sixth, respectively, in the OSS standings before their races on Saturday and boosted their point totals with wins.  Big Bossman and Greg Grismore took one of the $30,000 splits when they won in 1:54.4.

“This colt has got wicked speed, he’s just a little goofy in the head at times,” said Grismore.  “I thought if I could get to the front, he’d be tough to beat.  You just gotta keep his mind on his game all the time.  He loses concentration a lot and he wants to dip and dive.  But he’s fast, a very fast colt.”

Big Bossman, a Feelin Friskie gelding, is owned by Parent Racing Stable LLC (Brent and Tiffany Parent) and trained by Doug Hinklin.  He now has $49,835 lifetime earnings with four wins in seven starts.

big bossman

In the other division, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. took Feel the Heat for trainer Steve Perkins straight to the top and won in a new lifetime best 1:56.  Chance I Might (Tony Hall) got up for second, even after making a break at the start, while Hawks Cry Hoboken (Dan Noble) held on for third.  Perkins Racing Stable LLC (Donald and Steven Perkins) own the Feelin Friskie colt.

Two-year-old trotting colts also raced for the last time before the big dance next weekend.  The consistent and reliable Rompaway Galaxy (Mike Micallef) won his sixth in race in seven starts, crossing the wire in 1:58 for trainer Krista Williams and owner Rompaway Farms LLC of Michigan.

Soul Train and Chris Page took the other division for trotters when they won by one length in 1:57.2 for trainer Scott Cox.  Parent Racing also owns this gelding by Trainforthefuture, along with Robert Crynick and John Novak.  The mile tied the track record for 2-year-old trotting geldings, first set in 2001 by Hez Striking and Dave Hawk).

Racing will continue at Scioto Monday (Labor Day) with a special 1:00 p.m. post time.


$1.5-million Super Night Card at Scioto September 7

The condition sheet for Ohio’s Super Night (Saturday, Sept 7) at Scioto Downs Racino is now available.  All told, the purses on the card will total around $1.5-million and attract the best horses in the state as well as some phenomenal horses from across the country.

Anchoring the card will be the eight divisional Ohio Sire Stakes Finals with purses of $150,000 each.  Tied into these races will be a special $7,500 guaranteed Pick-8 bet where bettors can wager on who they think will win all eight of the OSS Finals for a minimum 20-cent bet.

Highlighting the undercard is the $125,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace.  Being the largest overnight race purse in Scioto’s racing history, the race office is hoping to attract some of the country’s best older pacers.  It will be tied into the late Pick-4 bet which will also include the last three OSS races.

The race office has also carded the Heart of Ohio Trot and Capitol City Pace finals, with estimated purses of $50,000 each.  The events for 4-year-old and up winners over $60,000 have separate divisions for trotters and pacers.

The condition sheet is available on this page ( of the Scioto Downs website as well as under the “Horsemen” tab of the USTA website.  If anyone is interested in more information on entering the Jim Ewart Memorial Pace, contact the race office at (614) 295-4668.

Before the races start on Super Night there will be a meet-n-greet with some of Scioto’s leading drivers as well as driver interviews and t-shirt tosses after each race.  In cooperation with the Ohio Lottery, there will be a hat given away with the purchase of a live racing program.


Open Pace goes to I Found My Beach

Dan Noble and Virgil Morgan, Jr. teamed up to win the Open Pace Saturday night at Scioto Downs Racino – and the win put Morgan just 19 wins short of the coveted 5,000 win mark for trainers.

With the assigned seven post position, the pair headed straight for the front and never looked back.  Keeping at least a length between him and pocket sitter Carol’s Comet (Aaron Merriman) during every point of call, I Found My Beach won by a length in 1:51.3.

Herres Stables LLC owns the 4-year-old gelding by Mach Three out of the Stand Forever mare Ohio Annie.  I Found My Beach is the first foal from the mare and has a 2-year-old full brother, Whistle Jimmy K, who sold for $97,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Sale in Harrisburg.

Morgan, a long-time Scioto based trainer, has nearly $41.5-million in lifetime purses won.  He is now just 19 wins away from 5,000 lifetime wins (since the USTA started keeping track in 1992).  He has never had less than a .311 UTRS while maintaining at least 752 starts (he had up to 1,743 starts in 2000) per year since 1997.

Through racing on Saturday, Morgan sits third in the standings of top trainers by wins with 236 and seventh in earnings with $2.47-million.  His current year UTRS of .375 has him sitting second, for trainers with 500+ starts, to Daniel Gill who has a .412.

Racing will continue Wednesday (Aug 28) with a first post of 6:30 p.m. and continues Thursday and Saturday.  The track will be dark on Friday due to the on-track Gretchen Wilson concert.

Just one week later, Scioto will play host to Ohio’s Super Night, with eight Sire Stakes Finals, going for $150,000 each and the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational Pace which carries an est. $125,000 purse to attract the best older pacers in North America.