By John Bombatch
XENIA — The harness racing had so much action-packed excitement that it zapped the Xenia area of power, Wednesday night at the Greene County Fair.
Just past the halfway point of the 12-race schedule, the track announcer could no longer be heard. A fairgrounds spokesperson was probably (pun intended) … hoarse … by the time he yelled to each section of the grandstand and explained that the electricity from the announcer’s stand to the grandstand had gone out.
That didn’t stop the racing, however.
And it didn’t stop Jason Brewer from driving Big Bad Jane to the win at the third annual Chip Noble Memorial race. Brewer said he hadn’t driven Big Bad Jane before, but got a call from trainer Dan Noble late in the week.
“She raced really well. I wanted to get her out to the front early, because that’s the way I like to race, and we got ‘er done,” Brewer said.
A horse with ties to the Noble family has won this event in each of the past three years now. And Brewer is creating a bit of a winning streak in the race, too. He won the Chip Noble Memorial last year with a horse called Rock’n Roll Rosie, which was trained by Brewer’s dad, Jeff.
“It means a lot to win this race,” Brewer explained. “Whether it’s all over Ohio, or anywhere in the United States, you know the name Chip Noble. It’s an honor to win here at the track named after him.”
In the Ohio Ladies Pace event, Tabatha Canarr drove Royal Meeting to the race win. The Anderson, Ind. driver said it meant a lot to win a race on the Chip Noble Memorial Racetrack.
“I race in the Ladies Pace series, and so we attend most of the Ohio county fair races as part of our circuit. This is the first time that I’ve been able to come here, and it’s been an honor,” Canarr said. “I didn’t know Chip personally, but I knew that he was one helluva horseman and that everybody loved and adored him. Just to be here is special, and to drive with Meredith Noble, his daughter, makes it even better. She gets to carry on the legacy. I’m proud of her and her family with the way they carry themselves.
“I’ll come back here every year to race,” she said. “It’s a great track.”
With the power being out, at least a few banks of grandstand and fairgrounds lights were out as well.
So when the twelfth and final race of the night went off in near total darkness, the horses could hardly be seen on the backstretch. And without a PA announcer calling the action, fans just had to bide their time until the horses could once again be seen as they came down the front stretch.
In the closest race of the evening, a two-year-old filly named Knockemstiff Nicki and driven by Ryan Holton edged the Jeff Nisonger-driven horse of Dancing Lisa by a nose at the finish of the night’s 10th race.
More harness racing action will take place tonight. Thirteen races are scheduled on the Chip Noble track, located on the Greene County Fairgrounds. Thursday’s first race is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
Lights and sound are optional.