March 20, 2017
Ryan Stahl Scores 4,000th Win Monday at Northfield Park
Ryan Stahl scored the 4,000th win of his career aboard This Baby Rocks in Northfield Park’s sixth race on Monday (March 20) by firing off the gate and fending off all challengers. This Baby Rocks maintained a nose advantage over his closest rival at the wire, successfully pacing his mile in 1:54.2.
Stahl’s richest win came in a $100,000 Ohio Sire Stakes Final and he has won six Sire Stakes Finals. The native of Republic, Ohio rates the most exciting horse he has ever driven as being Hypnotic Blue Chip, in the 2011 Battle of Lake Erie.
“It was an honor to drive a world-class horse like him,” said Stahl.
The 39-year-old Stahl remembers his first win as being aboard a trotting filly named Lojos Sharp Baby, at the Oak Harbor (Ohio) Fairgrounds.
“That win came about a week after I got my license,” Stahl recalled.
With 4,000 to choose from, Stahl says that his most memorable win came aboard Podges Lady, in the 2012 edition of the Courageous Lady.
“It is a signature race here at Northfield and it really meant a lot,” offered Stahl.
Ryan started driving at the age of 14 and appreciates his success so far; accomplishing the 4,000-win milestone and having driven the winners of nearly $15.5 million.
Stahl has been married for almost two years to Nichole. The couple has two children, a son Owen, and daughter Sonny. The family resides on an 80-acre farm in Republic, Ohio and trains a stable of 12 horses.
“Nichole is simply the best and does so much to keep our family, horses and farm going,” explained Stahl. “I am only able to come to the track and drive on a nightly basis because of what she does to manage everything with our stable and family.”
January 17, 2017
Arrow Pays Big Tuesday at Northfield Park
Longshot bettors were ecstatic while the horses crossed the finish of Northfield Park’s 10th race on Tuesday (January 17) when #8 Arrow rocketed from the back to win at odds of 60-1.
Growth Opportunities, LLC of North Canton, Ohio owns the five year-old pacer. Dean Santantonio trains Arrow and called upon Sam Schillaci for the winning drive. Tuesday’s triumph was Arrow’s first win this year in three starts and represents his eighth lifetime score.
Arrow was followed across the wire by #6 Village Jackson (2-1), #2 Battle Call (2-1) and #4 Moreland Flash (50-1).
Arrow returned $123.00 to win; the 8-6 Exacta paid $502.00; the 8-6-2 Trifecta returned $1,831.60; and the 8-6-2-4 20¢ Superfecta paid $695.65. Arrow’s win came as the third leg of the evening’s $1 Pick 4 which returned a whopping $13,854.50.
Although his horse was scratched from race 10 and did not compete against the evening’s richest winner, driver Jason Merriman made six trips to the winner’s circle on Tuesday’s 15-race program.
Jason ’s triumphs were with Lion Image ($17.20) in race one, Talladega Hanover ($5.80) in race three, Urlacker ($18.80) in race five, Wheres The Clicker ($6.60) in race seven, High Blue ($10.60) in race nine and Albert A’ Scootin ($12.20) in race 13.
Merriman won his first race in 2003, a $4,900 condition event in 1:59.3, at Pompano Park aboard I C U Talkin.
Since breaking his maiden, Jason has scored 2,236 more times with purse earnings approaching $11 million.
January 4, 2017
Wrenn and Loney Repeat in 2016 for Northfield Park Dash Titles
Ronnie Wrenn Jr. again topped the local driving ranks in 2016, winning 612 races over the Flying Turns. His nearest competitor, Aaron Merriman, drove 533 winners. Kurt Sugg (305), Jason Merriman (291) and Ryan Stahl (275) completed the top five reinsmen.
Wrenn, 30, resides in Stow, Ohio and now has five driving titles under his belt. He won the dash titles at Northfield Park in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also won the Northville Downs title in 2013.
Ronnie’s 2016 total victory tally was 690, which ranked him second among all drivers in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (891) had more total wins in 2016 than Wrenn.
Wrenn began driving in 2008 and has since won 3,658 races and purses in excess of $19 million. Wrenn’s fasted win ever came in the 2015 edition of the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs aboard Doo Wop Hanover in 1:49.2. His richest was with Whataboy in last year’s $250,000 Ohio Sires Stake Final for sophomore colt pacers at Northfield Park in 1:51.3.
Northfield Park’s 2016 leading trainer Brian Loney won 30 more races than any other local conditioner. He garnered 136 victories throughout last year. Michael Dowdall finished second with 106 wins. Sam Schillaci (105), Jessica Millner (85) and Sue Stockwell (69) rounded out the top five Northfield Park trainers for 2016.
Brian, originally from Hager Hill, Kentucky, now lives in Northfield, Ohio. He and wife Harla Renae have three children: 16 year-old son Gannun, 12 year-old son Payton and seven year-old daughter Polly.
Loney, 38, scored his first training win with the gelding pacer Stealth Fighter at Fairmount Park in 1996. To date, he has 1,476 career victories and purse earnings over $4 million. The 2016 Northfield title is the fifth local dash victory for Brian. He has also won titles at Bluegrass Downs, Fairmount Park, The Red Mile and Thunder Ridge.
Wrenn and Loney will each be presented with a plaque and dining gift certificate to the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in a winner’s circle ceremony later in January.
January 1, 2017
Aaron Merriman Continues Winning Into 2017 at Northfield Park
Aaron Merriman is harness racing’s dash winning driver for both 2015 and 2016. Flipping the calendar to 2017 has not changed his winning ways. In fact, Merriman won eight races on Sunday (January 1) at Northfield Park.
Aaron’s triumphs were with King Muscles ($2.40) in race 1, Jude Hall ($2.60) in race three, Ewald Hanover ($3.60) in race five, Beauty Chip ($2.20) in race six, Stevie Diamonds ($3.20) in race eight, Doc Betts’ Buckeye ($2.40) in race 10, SR Radar ($3.00) in race 12 and Avanza ($2.60) in race 14.
Merriman won his first race in 1998, a $2,200 condition event in 1:58.3, at the former Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio aboard Albert’s Filly.
Since breaking his maiden, Aaron has scored 8,737 more times with purse earnings approaching $53 million.
December 29, 2016
222 Race Dates in 2017 for Northfield Park
Northfield Park, Ohio’s leading racetrack in pari-mutuel handle, both on-track and export, is offering live harness racing four nights a week to start the 2017 racing year. January through September racing is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The exceptions to this schedule are the addition of three Sundays, January 1, May 28 and September 3. There is no live racing on Memorial Day or Labor Day Mondays.
Beginning in October Northfield adds Sunday evenings and will race five nights a week until the end of the ear. Friday (December 22) will replace Christmas Eve Sunday, while Friday (December 29) will replace racing on Christmas Monday.
Northfield Park’s marquee racing events are as follows: $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie Saturday, June 3; $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Saturday, July 1; $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial and $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace Saturday, August 12; and $125,000 Courageous Lady Saturday, October 14.
The $125,000 (est.) Summit County Fair Stakes, featuring many of Ohio’s best freshman and sophomore trotters and pacers, will be held on Saturday, July 29.
Each of the 222 live racing nights carries a first race post time of 6:00 p.m. Northfield Park is open daily from noon until after midnight for simulcasting action from tracks across the United States, Canada and Australia.