XENIA — The first night of harness racing at the Greene County Fairgrounds was marked with tears and plenty of smiles, especially among Xenia’s Noble family.
Racing in honor of his father, the late Samuel O. “Chip” Noble III, Dan Noble drove to five race wins in the night’s nine events, including the biggest race of the night: the inaugural “Chip Noble Memorial.”
Moments after winning his third consecutive race of the night, Fairgrounds officials held a ceremony at the finish line where the Greene County half-mile track was official named the Chip Noble Memorial Racetrack.
“It means a whole lot to me. I’m glad that they recognized that, and that they named the track after him, as well as the race,” Dan Noble said. “He spent many years of his life here, and he built a big family business off of it, was very successful, and it’s given me my own career as well.”
A tribute to Chip Noble is in the fair’s racing program, listing his three North American UDR crowns and representing the U.S. in the World Driving Championship twice. Noble had more than 5,000 career wins as a driver and another 1,000 as a trainer, and he is a member of the Ohio Horseman’s Hall of Fame.
“Chip was a friend to the sport, to the Ohio fairs, and to everyone on the backstretch. We remember him today with great respect and admiration,” the article read.
Dan Noble won the opening race on Cyalater. No sooner had he hoped off Cyalater, than he was aboard RC Friskie and rode that two-year-old colt to a win in the second race.
In the third race, Noble hinted beforehand that he was riding his favorite horse that was at the track.
“Here today, I’d have to say Mr. Fix It Elwood. He’s a home-bred horse. It’s my mother’s, and he was passed along from my father’s passing. My very favorite horse, his name’s Noble Finesse. He’ll be racing at Scioto Downs. He’s another family horse that has been very promising so far,” Noble said.
And so Noble hopped into the sulky of Mr. Fix It Elwood, owned by Deborah Noble, of Xenia, and rode off to yet another win on the night.
Deborah Noble fought back tears after the track was dedicated to Chip Noble.
“It’s bittersweet. He was taken from us way too soon. We wanted this crop of horses, these three colts, and we decided that we were going to go on with this and make him proud. So far, so good! We’ve done very well with them,” she said. “Like I said, it is a very bittersweet moment, and we’re very proud that Xenia has done this for him. He always wanted to stay home. He loved this sports and he loved this industry.”
Dan Noble said he’s used to getting a lot of seat time at the races, especially on his home track.
“That’s normal for me here at home at our home fair. It’s normal for me at just about every track I go to. You gotta show up and let people know you’re going to be there for them. And you build relationships with other owners along the way, by doing that. You end up getting more work that way,” he said.
As the night wore on, Noble had piloted two more race event winners. In the Ray Henley Memorial, Signature Series event in Race 7 of the night, Noble took Instant Glide to the win.
In the inaugural Chip Noble Memorial, Noble piloted Crosswinds Cupcake to a first-ever win for the horse. Noble led from start to finish, with Betty Flynn second and Fancy Jess finishing third.
Noble thanked the fairgrounds for honoring his dad.
“I’d like to thank them very much. They really didn’t have to do this, but it’s a very respectful thing that they’ve done. We really appreciate them acknowledging as this being his home,” he said.