News

Read the latest track news and records from Northfield Park!

KJ’s Foxy Lady Looks For 7th Straight Win Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

January 22, 2020

KJ’s Foxy Lady puts her six-race win streak on the line when she goes to the gate in the 16th race on Saturday (January 25) at MGM Northfield Park. She has drawn post-3 and is the early even-money favorite despite a move up in class.

The most recent loss that KJ’s Foxy Lady suffered was on November 22, when she finished sixth at Northville Downs in Michigan. Since that loss, she has moved to MGM Northfield Park under the care of trainer William Rhoades with the driving services of Aaron Merriman and has flourished under her new connections.

The six consecutive victories of KJ’s Foxy Lady include a November 30 condition win, December 14 and 21 victories against $8,000 claimers, and December 28, January 4 and January 11 scores against $12,500 claimers. She moves up the ladder again on Saturday to face the $17,500 claiming ranks.

KJ’s Foxy Lady (Kenneth J – Fox Valley Backoff – Sportsmaster) is owned by Barbie Jo Conner of Deerfield, Michigan. The 10-year-old mare has a lifetime win-total of 40 and earnings of $289,406.

Southwind Amazon Becomes a Millionaire at MGM Northfield Park

January 20, 2020

Storied pacer Southwind Amazon became a millionaire winning the $15,000 Open Pace on Monday (January 20) in MGM Northfield Park’s ninth race.

Southwind Amazon went to the gate with 88 career wins and $998,216 in earnings. Monday’s victory yielded $7,500, bringing his career tally to $1,005,716.

The 10 year-old was assigned the outside post six in the evening’s featured pace. He was fifth through the :26.4 opening quarter. Southwind Amazon started his first-over bid in the second split and remained there through fractions of :55.1 and 1:23. Amazon took the lead at the top of the stretch and bested his competition by ¾-length in 1:52.

Greg Grismore was given the evening’s driving assignment by Southwind Amazon’s trainer Paul Holzman. The son of Camluck is owned by Ameer Najor of West Bloomfield, Michigan. Southwind Amazon was the race favorite and returned $3.80 to win.

Merriman Completes Third Straight 1,000-Win Season

December 31, 2019

Aaron Merriman added to his history-making career on Monday (Dec. 30), becoming the first driver to achieve three straight 1,000-win seasons.

Over the past couple of weeks, harness racing fans have been anxiously waiting to see if Merriman would complete the historical milestone. Merriman came through with seven victories on the day, including three wins at The Meadows earlier in the afternoon.

The well-traveled reinsmen scored the victory in the 14th race aboard Some More Prince trained by William Rhodes.

Merriman wasted no time sending Some More Prince to the lead once the gait sprung. He led Taurus Du Parc (Chris Lems) and Yankees Image (David Lake) through fractions of :28.1 and :57.4, before taking off past three-quarters of 1:26.3 leading Gale Force Hanover (Jason Thompson) and Sass (Hunter Myers) through the stretch. Merriman would not be denied his historic victory as he cruised to a 9-3/4 length victory in 1:56.

“I had some horses with some shots, not my typical night where I drive a bunch of favorites,” explained Merriman. “No one appreciates this more than I do, it’s a lot of hard work, a lot of family love, and everyone helps me.”

In 2018, Merriman became the only driver to score 1,000 wins in back-to-back seasons following a year where he posted 1,095 victories. Merriman, now 41, continues a torrid schedule, having driven in over 4,000 races the last six seasons.

Aaron Merriman has won more races over Northfield’s “Flying Turns” than any other driver in the track’s history.

Bettor's Wish Wins the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial

August 10, 2019

Dexter Dunn hails from Down Under in New Zealand and traveled to the United States less than a year ago. He had never been to MGM Northfield Park, but arrived on Saturday (August 10) full of confidence to drive race favorite Bettor’s Wish in the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial. He went to the gate on the heels of losing two straight photos in the $682,650 Meadowlands Pace and $285,362 Cane Pace. 

Bettor’s Wish started from post three and went to the lead around the initial turn. He set pedestrian fractions of :28.2 and :57.

“I was happy when I saw the fractions,” admitted Dunn. “If we would have got beaten from there, it would have been a rough night. The fractions were pretty slow, but it all pays the same.”

Dunn urged Bettor’s Wish in the third quarter and he responded, posting times of 1:24.1 and 1:50.3. The colt pulled away by 3 ½-lengths from his closest competitor, Captain Victorious (Yannick Gingras). 

Bettor’s Wish (Bettor’s Delight-Lifetime Star-Western Ideal) is owned by the partnership of Christopher Ryder, Bella Racing LTD, Fair Island Farm and Bettor’s Wish Partners. 

Saturday’s victory is the 11th score for Bettor’s Wish. The win makes the Chris Ryder trainee harness racing’s newest millionaire, pushing his earnings to $1,096,600.

Following in succession after Bettor’s Wish were Captain Victorious, Century Farroh, Yankee Boots, Southwind Ozzi, Rockie Got Framed and Workin Ona Mystery. American Mercury was scratched sick. 

Bettor’s Wish returned 3.80 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.

Two races prior to the main event, Dancin Yankee captured his fourth straight $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace. The Ohio-sired event by invitation began in 2016.

Dancin Yankee left from the gate, initially taking the lead before letting the heavy favorite, Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith), reclaim the top just past the :26.2 opening quarter. He received the garden trip through times of :54.4 and 1:21.3 before making his move in the stretch and winning by ½-length in 1:49.2. The clocking equaled Northfield’s track record for Five Year-Old and Up Pacing Horses, set by All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) in 2017.

Ron Burke trains Dancin Yankee for the Burke Racing Stable. Chris Page was in the bike.

Aaron Merriman Reaches 11,000 Career Wins

January 16, 2019

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.”

Northfield Single Six Returns $77,797.92

December 14, 2018

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!

Eight Wins for Aaron Merriman Sunday at Northfield Park

November 18, 2018

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.

Northfield Single Six Added to Wagering Format

October 10, 2018

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.

Northmedo Mission Breaks Track Record at Northfield Park

October 9, 2018

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.

Northfield Park Adds Sunday Racing

October 1, 2018

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.  

Thinkbig Dreambig Wins the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial

August 11, 2018

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.

Feelin Red Hot Breaks World Record

May 5, 2018

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. 

221 Race Dates Scheduled in 2018

January 3, 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.

Triple Dead-Heat for Show at Northfield Park

January 2, 2018

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.

Track Records

TROTTERS

TRACK RECORD -- 1:52.0

Guardian Angel As, Jason Bartlett- 2019 ( 5 & Up) (World Record)

2 YO Colt --Wittyville, Chris Page, 2018, 1:56.2

2 YO Filly --Only Take Cash, Aaron Merriman, 2018, 1:56.4

2 YO Gelding -- Timestorm, John Moody, 2019, 1:56.4

3 YO Colt -- Lane of Stone, Jeff Nisonger, 2019, 1:54.0

3 YO Filly -- Looking For Zelda, Tony Hall - 2018, 1:54.0

3 YO Gelding -- Yes, Ryan Stahl- 2019, 1:53.1

4 YO Horse -- Muscle Up The Goal, Aaron Merriman - 2016, 1:52.3

4 YO Mare -- Joyfulntriumphant, Chris Lems - 2018- 1:54.2

4 YO Gelding -- Long Live The King, Chris Page- 2019, 1:53.1

5 & Up Horse -- Guardian Angel As, Jason Bartlett, 2019 - 1:52.0* 

5 & Up Mare -- Barn Girl, Aaron Merriman, 2018- 1:52.3.0

5 & Up Gelding -- Outburst, Chris Page-- 2019, 1:53.0

PACERS

TRACK RECORD -- 1:49.0 (Tie)

Scott Rocks, Aaron Merriman, 2016 (5 & Up Gelding)

None Bettor A, Joe Bongiorno, 2019

2 YO COLT -- Lather Up, M. Teague- 2017, 1:52.2

2 YO Filly -- Looksgoodinaromper, Chris Page- 2019, 1:52.3*

2 YO Gelding -- Yankee Boots, A. Merriman- 2018, 1:51.3*

3 YO Colt -- Downbytheseaside, Brian Sears, 2017, 1:49.3

3 YO Filly -- Giggles In Dreams, Shawn Barker II- 2019, 1:51.2

3 YO Gelding -- Wiggle It Jiggleit, M. Teague, 8/14/2015, 1:49.3

4 YO Horse -- A Rocknroll Dance, Kayne Kaufman, 2013, 1:49.1

4 YO Mare -- Lakeisha Hall, Matt Kakaley- 2017 1:50.3
(tie) -- Bye Bye Felicia, Aaron Merriman - 2018 1:50.3 (World Record)
-- Baron Remy, Kurt Sugg - 2019 1:50.3

4 YO Gelding -- Cams Valentino,  Aaron Merriman- 2018 1:49.0 (World Record)

5 & Up Horse -- All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley - 2017 1:49.2
(tie)  --  Dancin Yankee, Chris Page 2019 1:49.2

5 & Up Mare --- Godiva Seelster, Greg Grismore- 2018 1:50.0 (World Record)                   

5 & Up Gelding -- Scott Rocks, Aaron Merriman, 2016 1:49.0
(Tie) None Bettor A, Joe Bongiorno2019 1:49.0

Odd Distance Records

PACERS

1/2 MILE-- Big Cityslicker, Brent Holland - 6/8/1996, :54.3 (World Record)

9/16 MILE -- (tie) Calumet Time, Ch. Campbell Jr. - 4/22/1970
Hi Ghost, John Hague - 7/11/1972, 1:06.2

3/4 MILE -- Fame's Jim Bob, Walter Case, Jr. - 8/12/2000 1:23.4

13/16 MILE -- Tuxedo Will, Art Bier - 4/9/1977, 1:38.1

1 1/16 MILES -- Kelly Combat, Doug Hamilton - 5/7/1977, 2:10.1

1 1/4 MILES -- Adcock Hanover, Ken Holliday - 2/17/1999, 2:29

1 1/2 MILES --Slyebye N, Jim Pantaleano, 6/7/2003- 2:56.3 (World Record)

2 MILES -- Confrere, Joe Adamsky - 6/5/1993, 4:05.2 (World Record)

TROTTERS

1 1/16 MILES -- Deac's Express, Don O'Dwyer - 3/30/1990, 2:08.3

1 1/4 MILES -- Bye Tsem, Thomas Williams - 10/27/2001, 2:31

1 1/2 MILES -- Spectator's Milly, Don McKirgan - 3/3/1978, 3:21.3