News

Read the latest track news and records from Northfield Park!

MGM Northfield Park Announces Retirement of Track Photographer Jeff Zamaiko

October 12, 2021

For the past 12 years, Jeff Zamaiko has been a mainstay at the Northfield Park Winner Circle as the track photographer where he has celebrated over 40,000 winners. Zamaiko retired on September 15 and will be honored with a family dinner at Kosar’s Wood-Fired Grill, a winner’s circle ceremony with his MGM work family, and some unique gifts from his time at Northfield Park. Jeff’ will be joined by his wife Natalie and their son Jeff throughout the festivities at the Flying Turns.

Before starting at Northfield Park, Zamaiko was the track photographer at Thistledown for eighteen years and then pulled double duty at the two tracks for more than a decade. Zamaiko has had a trio of photographers helping him for the last ten years, and he says he could never have made it without their help. His wife Natalie has been known to pick up a camera and help her husband out along with Bob Kemelhar and Dale Dengerd.

“I have known Jeff for 30+ years,” commented MGM Northfield Park VP of Regional Racing Operations, Brent Reitz. “He is an outstanding photographer and an even better human being. Congratulations to Jeff, Natalie and the entire Zamaiko family. Enjoy your retirement because you deserve it.”

Zamaiko will continue photographing the Thoroughbreds for one more year before giving it all up to head to his retirement home in sunny Florida. To keep himself busy in his retirement Jeff plans on continuing to breed and raise Labradoodles as well as spending many mornings on the Florida lakes fishing.

Angela Casalinova who has been a constant sidekick to Zamaiko for the last five years has taken over for Zamaiko at Northfield Park. She will also assume the Thistledown role at the end of 2022.

MGM Northfield Park Announces Fall Late Closers

September 28, 2021

MGM Northfield Park has announced the dates of four Fall Late Closing Series. All of the newly added Late Closers carry a condition of: Non-Winners of Two Pari-Mutuel Races (Ohio Sired N/W Three) or Non-Winners of $20,000 Lifetime (Through 9/30/2021).

Sundays (October 17, October 24, October 31 and November 7) offer The Gridiron Series for horse and gelding pacers. Each of the four legs will carry a purse of $11,000. The $25,000 final (all purses guaranteed) will go to post on Sunday, November 14.

Monday (October 18) and Tuesdays (October 26, November 2 and November 9) will host The Election Night Series for horse and gelding trotters. Each of these legs will carry purses of $11,000. The $25,000 final will be Tuesday, November 16.

Wednesdays (October 20, October 27, November 3 and November 10) feature the Autumn Leaves Series for filly and mare trotters. All legs will be contested for a purse of $11,000. The final chases a $25,000 purse and goes to post on Wednesday (November 17).

Saturdays (October 23, October 30, November 6 and November 13) will offer The Halloween Series for filly and mare pacers. Each leg will be raced for an $11,500 purse. The final will be Saturday (November 20) for a purse of $25,000.

Pre-nominations are not necessary. A one-time $300 payment will be required of each entrant prior to their first start in the series (payments are not waived for scratches; entrants do not need to race in all legs of the series).

Conditions for the series can be found at www.northfieldpark.com.

Horsemen should call 330-467-4101 ext. 52300 and speak to Northfield Park’s race office for any additional questions.

Charlie May Wins $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

August 14, 2021

Ohio-sired Charlie May crossed the wire an impressive winner in Saturday’s $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial, a Grand Circuit event against some of the best sophomore pacers in North America, at MGM Northfield Park. He and driver Brett Miller went to the gate off the heels of being disqualified after winning the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace just four weeks prior.

Charlie May started from post seven and sat fifth through the opening :26 quarter.

“We got a little bit lucky in the first turn to find a seat,” explained Miller.

Charlie May was in the flow, third over, but still in fifth position at the :53.2 half-mile mark. Miller called upon Charlie May in the third quarter, tipping three-wide and accelerating at an amazing speed, arriving in the lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:20.4. He continued to pull away from the others, winning by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:48.4. The clocking was a track and world record for sophomore gelded pacers.

“Once he (Charlie May) made the front he kind of let up,” explained Miller. “He would have gone faster if he had someone to pass.”

Charlie May (McArdle-Stipple Hanover-Western Hanover) is owned by Don Tiger of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Steve Carter trains him at his farm track in Londonderry, Ohio.

“It is very sweet to win this race here in Ohio,” stated Carter. “This horse shows up every week and always does his work.”

Saturday’s victory is the 12th score for Charlie May. The win pushes his earnings to $728,477.

Following in succession after Charlie May were Mysweetboymax, Water Sports Teen, Rockin On Venus, Bettor Sun, Chase H Hanover, Heart Of Chewbacca, Bayfield Beach and Alilthundadownunda.

Charlie May returned $4.60 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.

The impressive clocking was the third world record scored on the night. The two races prior to the main event, Weslynn Quest and Ocean Rock captured the $100,000 Tom Aldrich President’s Trot and $100,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace. The races are for veteran Ohio-sired horses, by invitation only.

Weslynn Quest won the Aldrich by leading gate-to-wire from the rail, winning by ¾-length in 1:50.4. The speedy clocking is the fastest mile in history trotted on a half-mile track. Joe Bongiorno drove the five-year-old mare for trainer Per Englom.

Ocean Rock, winner of the Charna, set his second world record on the Flying Turns. Saturday’s 1:48.1 clocking is the fastest mile ever paced by a four-year old gelding on a half-mile track. In 2019 he set a world record for freshman gelded pacers at Northfield in 1:51.1. Dan Noble drove the pacer for his wife Christi Noble, the horse’s trainer.

OHIO SIRED CHARLIE MAY HEADLINES $300,000 CARL MILSTEIN MEMORIAL AT MGM NORTHFIELD PARK

August 10, 2021

Charlie May has been named the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s (August 14) $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at MGM Northfield Park. The Buckeye-bred monster headlines an accomplished group of nine 3-year-old pacers in Northfield Park’s premier event.

The Milstein, an invitational event, is slated as race 10 on a 16-race program, with purses more than $918,000. First-race post time is 6PM.

Charlie May enters the Milstein as the top money earner in the field, despite being disqualified for interference after crossing the wire a winner in the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace last month. Since that disqualification, he has scored two straight wins against Ohio-breds, one being at Northfield. The Steve Carter trainee has banked $578,477 in purses throughout his young career but drew post seven in Saturday’s main event for owner Don Tiger of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Charlie May’s regular pilot Brett Miller will drive.

Water Sports Teen drew post two and is the 3-1 second choice. He has won four of his last five races, getting passed in the stretch in the $375,000 Adios at The Meadows in his most recent race. This top sophomore has finished in the top three in 13 of 17 races this year, with eight victories. His 1:48.2 mark is the fastest in the race and has earned $133,696 this year for owner Joshua Graber of Quincy, Michigan. Joe Bongiorno will drive for his sister, trainer Jennifer Bongiorno.

Heart of Chewbacca, 2019 Ohio Sires Stakes runner-up to Charlie May, drew post nine and is the 9-2 third choice. Heart of Chewbacca has won 10 of 17 career efforts and has earned $329,023. Harness racing’s all-time leading trainer Ron Burke conditions this colt for Ohio owners Dennis Owens and Norman Rae Racing LLC. Dan Noble will drive.

Canadian standout Bettor Sun (Douglas McNair, 8-1). Indiana heavy-hitter Rockin On Venus (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., 10-1), Minnesota phenom Alilthundadownunda (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., 20-1), and stakes veterans Bayfield Beach (Yannick Gingras, 6-1), Mysweetboymax (Aaron Merriman, 12-1) and Chase H Hanover (Brian Sears, 15-1) are also slated starters in the impressive field.

The complete field is as follows:

  1. Bettor Sun (Douglas McNair, Gregg McNair) 8-1
  2. Water Sports Teen (Joe Bongiorno, Jennifer Bongiorno) 3-1
  3. Rockin On Venus (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Kelly O’Donnell) 10-1
  4. Alilthundadownunda (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Jessica Johnson) 20-1
  5. Bayfield Beach (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke) 6-1
  6. Mysweetboymax (Aaron Merriman, Sam De Pinto) 12-1
  7. Charlie May (Brett Miller, Steve Carter) 5-2
  8. Chase H Hanover (Brian Sears, Scott Cox) 15-1 9. Heart Of Chewbacca (Dan Noble, Ron Burke) 9-2

The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. Brock Milstein and the Milstein family operated Northfield Park until July 2018, when MGM Growth Properties purchased the racetrack from Milstein Entertainment, LLC.

Exciting Undercard

The 16-race program includes the $100,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace, a race for older Ohio-sired pacers (by invitation only), the $100,000 Tom Aldrich President’s Trot, a race for older Ohio-sired pacers (by invitation only), three $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, two $50,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colt and geldings, two $50,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, as well as three $20,000 Open events.

Pick 5 Returns $118,000 at MGM Northfield Park

August 9, 2021

Sunday bettors were enticed with a $21,611 carryover and $75,000 total pool guarantee for the evening’s $1 Pick 5, which also features a low 14% takeout rate. There was an impressive $112,531 wagered into the pool.

Even more impressive, was the ticket sold to one lucky patron on track which returned a life-changing $118,379.70!

The Pick 5 can be wagered each night at MGM Northfield Park beginning in the sixth race.

$75,000 Pick 5 Guaranteed Pool Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

August 4, 2021

Beginning in race six, the $75,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $21,611.

This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.

Saturday’s eighth race begins the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 with a $2,124 carryover.

Northfield’s Pick-5, Pick-4s, Pick-3s, 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14%.

Saturday’s post time is 6 PM.

$16,157 Carryover Sparks $50,000 Total Pool Guarantee in Friday Pick 5 at MGM Northfield Park

July 29, 2021

MGM Northfield Park has announced the addition of a $50,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee for Friday (July 30). The evening features Buckeye State youngsters throughout the Summit County Fair 17-race program.

Beginning in race six, the $50,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $16,157.

This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.

Friday’s eighth race begins the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 with a $661 carryover.

 

Northfield’s Pick-5, Pick-4s, Pick-3s, 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14%.

Friday’s post time is 6 PM.

$3,696 Carryover Sparks $12,500 Total Pool Guarantee in Saturday Pick 5 at MGM Northfield Park

July 16, 2021

MGM Northfield Park has announced the addition of a $12,500 Pick-5 total pool guarantee for Saturday (July 17).

Beginning in race six, the $12,500 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $3,696.

This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.

Saturday evening’s eight race begins the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $1,017 carryover.

Northfield’s Pick-5, Pick-4s, Pick-3s, 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 and 20¢ Super High Five offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14%.

Saturday’s post time is 6 PM.

$10,000 Pick 5 Guaranteed Pool Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

July 7, 2021

MGM Northfield Park announces the addition of a $10,000 Pick-5 total pool guarantee on Saturday (July 10).

Beginning in race six, the $10,000 Pick-5 guaranteed total pool includes a carryover of $2,400.

This wager is being offered as part of the Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association.

The evening’s eight race starts the 50¢ (non-jackpot) Pick 6 offering a $737 carryover.

Northfield’s Pick-5, Pick-4s, Pick-3s, 20¢ Super High Five and 50¢ Pick 6 offer a reduced takeout rate of just 14%.

Saturday’s post time is 6 PM.

Beachin Posts Big Returns Wednesday at MGM Northfield Park

July 7, 2021

Longshot players were celebrating after the horses crossed the finish of MGM Northfield Park’s ninth race on Wednesday (July 7) when #8 Beachin won at odds of nearly 105-1.

Charles Mooney of Avon Lake, Ohio owns the three year-old pacer. Jayne Weller trains Beachin and Ryan Stahl aboard for the winning drive. Wednesday’s triumph was a maiden breaking score in Beachin’s 19th lifetime start.

Beachin was followed across the wire by #4 Walk This Way (3-1), #5 Bittrsweetsymphony (56-1) and #9 Art Kisser (32-1).

Beachin returned $211.40 to win; the 8-4 Exacta paid $1,181.20; the 8-4-ALL Trifecta returned $938.20; and the 8-4-5-ALL 20¢ Superfecta paid $1,107.26.

Although Beachin’s score sparked massive returns, it is not even close to being the highest win payoff in Northfield Park’s history. That record remains with Jet’s Appearance and driver Sheri Hersman. They paid $579 to win on August 22, 1988.

The Mighty Hill Breaks Track Record at MGM Northfield Park

July 5, 2021

The Mighty Hill became the fastest freshman gelding trotter in the history of Northfield Park when he won a $17,500 division of the Buckeye Stallion Series in 1:56.3 on Monday (July 5).

The previous mark was 1:56.4 held by Timestorm (John Moody) in 2019.

Christopher Beaver trains and owns the trotter with Donald Robinson and VIP Internet Stable. Aaron Merriman was in the sulky for the winning drive.

The Mighty Hill (What The Hill – Maxine The Mighty - Tagliabue) started from the rail. He sat third through the :28.4 opening quarter. Merriman pulled The Mighty Hill to the outside and he brushed to the front just passed the :59.2 half. He continued to lead through times of 1:28.2 and 1:56.3, besting his closest competition by 2 ½-lengths.

Saturday was The Mighty Hill’s career debut. He was returned $6.20 to win.

MGM Northfield Park Increases Purses to $100,000 on Two Events for Top Ohio-Sired Horses

June 30, 2021

Northfield, OH – MGM Northfield Park has announced that both the Myron Charna President’s Pace and the new Tom Aldrich President’s Trot will carry purses of $100,000 when they are contested on Saturday night, August 14. Both were originally slated as $75,000 races this year.

Named for a pair of Northfield’s past Presidents, the Charna is a by-invitation-only event four-year-old-and-up Ohio-sired pacers, while the Aldrich will debut in 2021 as an invitational for four-year-old-and-up Ohio-sired trotters. They will be part of a power-packed undercard for Northfield’s premier race, the $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for three-year-old pacers, on August 14.

“We at MGM Northfield Park are excited to offer these lucrative events for top veteran Ohio-sired horses,” said Dave Bianconi, Northfield’s Director of Racing Operations. “They will be a great complement to our main event, the Carl Milstein Memorial, that night”.

Connections of top horses that are interested in competing in the Milstein, Charna or Aldrich (all Invitationals) can contact Dave Bianconi at dbianconi@mgmnorthfieldpark.com or at 330-467-4101 ext. 52207.

Big Night for Aaron Merriman Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

June 12, 2021

Aaron Merriman had a big night at MGM Northfield Park on Saturday (June 12) winning six times on the 15-race program.

Aaron’s triumphs were with Rockn’ With T ($3.40) in race four, Diva Dali ($2.40) in race six, Sapphire Love Chip ($11.40) in race eight, Rockin Requiem ($6.80) in race nine, Barley’s Angel ($2.60) in race 10 and Carrie Rae ($7.40) in race 11.

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 over 13,000 more times with purse earnings approaching $89 million.

This Is The Plan Makes History in $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie

June 5, 2021

This Is The Plan etched himself into harness racing history books as the fastest horse to ever win on a half-mile track when he won the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie in 1:47.3 Saturday at MGM Northfield Park.

Yannick Gingras drove This Is The Plan for harness racing’s all-time leading trainer, Ron Burke, who conditions the pacer for co-owners and Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr.

This Is The Plan started from post three. He yielded early to #4 Stars Align A (Joe Bongiorno), before making his move approaching the quarter, taking the lead in :26.2.

“I didn’t want to take any prisoners,” explained Gingras. “He (This Is The Plan) has been super sharp.”

This Is the Plan never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile, leading his competition through fractions of :53.3, 1:20.3 and 1:47.3, besting his closest rival by 5-1/4 lengths.

“The Faster you go, he just doesn’t get tired,” said Gingras.

The 1:47.3 clocking represents the fastest race ever on a half-mile track and lowered the Northfield Park track record by over a full second.

This Is The Plan increased his career bankroll to $2,206,200 by taking home the lion’s share of the healthy $200,000 purse.

Completing the 2021 Battle field were Western Joe, Catch The Fire, Stars Align A, Hesa Kingslayer N, Little Rocket Man, Gold Digger King, Century Farroh and Southwind Amazon.

“Records are meant to be broken and we just broke one,” admitted Gingras. “I gave the people a little show tonight.”

Stellar Field Drawn for Saturday’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie

June 1, 2021

MGM Northfield Park’s longest-running stakes event has again attracted a star-studded cast to compete in Saturday’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.

This year’s Battle entrants have a combined 287 victories. Saturday’s 10th features a competitive field of the sport’s best open pacers and will reveal who earns the 288th win.

This Is The Plan drew post three and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite by MGM Northfield Park’s Director of Racing Operations, Dave Bianconi. He attracts national driving star Yannick Gingras and is conditioned by harness racing’s leading trainer Ron Burke. This Is The Plan won the $514,000 Borgata Series Final at Yonkers on April 19 and is the top-earning horse in harness racing in 2021 with over $349,000 in purses. The six-year-old has amassed a career bankroll of over $2.1-million and headlines the stacked field of nine – seven of whom enter The Battle off a win in their last start. This Is The Plan was second in his last outing in Sunday’s $100,000 Commodore Barry at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Western Joe, the other entrant entering this event off a loss, finishing third in the $100,000 Commodore Barry, is second choice with the 7-2 morning line. The East Coast stalwart drew the rail for trainer Christopher Choate, who listed North America’s and Northfield all-time leading driver Aaron Merriman. Western Joe has earned over $800,000 and is tied for the fastest mark in the race of 1:47.3.

Stars Align A drew post four and is the 4-1 third choice. Stars Align A is an Australian import who has two straight successes entering Saturday’s feature, including a 1:48.0 romp at The Meadowlands. Driver Joe Bongiorno is named to drive for by his sister Jennifer, who conditions the eight-year-old. The sibling combo teamed up to win the 2019 edition of the Battle with another Australian import None Bettor A. That 2019 race is the most recent edition of this event due a cancellation last year during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Other top-contenders in The Battle are Indiana-sired standout Little Rocket Man, a winner of 23 of 37 lifetime starts; Open stalwart Hesa Kingslayer N, winner of over $112,000 this year and enters off a 1:49.4 lifetime best; Ohio-sired campaigner Gold Digger King, who has been victorious in five of his past six starts in the Buckeye State; Century Farroh, champion of the $500,000 Breeders Crown for veteran pacers in 2020 and earner of over $1.2-million; Local warhorse Southwind Amazon with 108 lifetime wins and nearly $1.2-million the hard way in his blue-collar career; and Catch The Fire, one of the sport’s top three-year-olds in 2020 and champion of the $375,000 Adios at The Meadows.

Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the sport’s best veteran pacers. Past Battle champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Gallo Blue Chip, Maltese Artist, Foiled Again and Wiggle It Jiggleit.

The 2021 $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie field:

Horse-Driver-Trainer-M/L
1-Western Joe-Aaron Merriman-Christopher Choate-7-2
2-Little Rocket Man-John De Long-Melissa Essig-8-1
3-This Is The Plan-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-2-1
4-Stars Align A-Joe Bongiorno-Jennifer Bongiorno-4-1
5-Hesa Kingslayer N-Peter Wrenn-Michael Deters-15-1
6-Gold Digger King-Tyler Smith-Scott Mogan-12-1
7-Century Farroh-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Dr. Ian Moore-6-1
8-Southwind Amazon-Tony Hall-Paul Holzman-20-1
9-Catch The Fire-Brett Miller-Todd Luther-10-1

*Final driver selections are due by 9 PM on Tuesday.

A power-packed undercard will feature four $50,000 divisions of rich Ohio Sires Stakes action for three-year-old filly pacers and three-year-old colt & gelding trotters. A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 will commence in Race 6 on the 15-race program, with the Battle of Lake Erie anchoring the sequence in Race 10 at approximately 10 PM (Eastern). First race post time is 6 PM.

Bourbans Best Scores 50th Career Win at MGM Northfield Park

May 12, 2021

Bourbans Best paced home for his 50th career victory, winning the 2nd race at MGM Northfield Park on Tuesday (May 11). The 14-year-old veteran, with 444 career starts, also has 55 seconds and 57 third-place finishes.

Bourbans Best (Pro Bono Best – Mattachevitz – Matt’s Scooter) has career earnings of $295,028 with a lifetime mark of 1:52, taken at Northfield 12. The gelding’s richest win was for a purse of $14,000 in a Late Closing Series Final at Northfield in 2019. Bourbans Best is a well-traveled campaigner -- his 444 starts have been spread across 12 different racing surfaces. 

Bourbans Best started from post three in the evening’s $5,000 conditioned event. He let his competition carve-out fractions of :27 and :56.1, before pulling first-over and taking the lead nearing the 1:25.1 three-quarters and eventually besting his competition by two lengths in 1:54.3. He was favored in the race and paid $4.00 to win.

Uriah Miller of Streetsboro, Ohio owns Bourbans Best. Trainer Sam Schillaci called upon Hunter Myers for the winning drive. 

Courageous Lady Attracts Competitive Field Saturday at MGM Northfield Park

October 13, 2020

The $120,000 Courageous Lady goes postward this Saturday (October 13) at MGM Northfield Park. The Grand Circuit race is an open event for North America’s top 3-year-old filly pacers and has attracted a very competitive slate of foes vying to become this year’s champion. The race highlights an impressive card offering over $780,000 in purses.

Perfect Storm will start from post three and has been installed as the 3-1 luke-warm favorite. The Robert McIntosh trainee has been a solid player in this year’s sophomore pacing filly stakes scene and that has earnings of six figures this season. David Miller has been given the driving assignment.

The morning line second choice, Dance Club, has drawn the rail for trainer Ron Burke. She enters off two consecutive victories, including the $30,000 Liberty Bell at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Chris Page has been named to pilot.

Ron Burke and Brian Brown each have entered two fillies in Saturday’s featured event. Burke will also start Drama Act, the 9-2 third-choice contender from post-8 with Matt Kakaley. Brown will harness Pettycoat Business, the lone supplement to this year’s Courageous Lady, a 6-1 shot from post-6 with Dexter Dunn driving and Blazin Grace, a 15-1 longshot from the seven-hole.

Below is the complete 2020 $120,000 Courageous Lady field:

PP     Horse 
Trainer
Driver
Morning Line
1 Dance Club
Ron Burke
Chris Page
7-2
2 Keystone Eureka 
Ryan Miller
Aaron Merriman
6-1
3 Perfect Storm
Robert McIntosh
David Miller
3-1
4 Ellagator
Chris Mc Guire
Ronnie Wrenn Jr.    
20-1
5 JK Finendandy
Jennifer Bongiorno    
Joe Bongiorno
10-1
6 Pettycoat Business    
Brian Brown
Dexter Dunn   
6-1
7 Blazin Grace
Brian Brown
TBA
15-1
8 Drama Act
Ron Burke
Matt Kakaley
9-2


*Final drivers are due 9 PM on Tuesday.

This year’s Courageous Lady has been slated as race 12 on a 16-race program.  A $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool has been added to the night.  The guaranteed Pick-4 will begin in race 11.

The undercard will feature eight $75,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Consolations and Northfield’s annual Lady Drivers Challenge featuring all female drivers.

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 --ACTION UNCLE, Brett Miller, 2019, 1:55.1

2 YO Filly --MERRY ANN, Chris Page, 2020, 1:56.4

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

3 YO Colt -- ACTION UNCLE, Brett Miller, 2020, 1:53.2

3 YO Filly -- GUINEVERE, Peter Wrenn - 2020, 1:53.0

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 -- SPIRIT BELL, Aaron Merriman - 2020- 1:54.1

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 -- JOGGINGTOTHEBANK, Kurt Sugg-- 2020, 1:52.4

PACERS

TRACK RECORD -- 1:49.0 (Tie)

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

None Bettor A, Joe Bongiorno, 2019

2 YO COLT -- HEART OF CHEWBACCA, Dan Noble- 2020, 1:51.2

2 YO Filly -- SUMMER TOUCH, Chris Page- 2020, 1:51.4*

2 YO Gelding -- OCEAN ROCK, Dan Noble- 2019, 1:51.1*

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

3 YO Filly -- BLUE IVY, Aaron Merriman- 2019, 1:51.1

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 -- DRAGON STRIKER, Aaron Merriman - 2020 1:48.4

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