By John Bombatch
XENIA — All of the records on the Chip Noble Memorial Racetrack fell, during Thursday night’s harness racing action at the Greene County Fair.
First, driver Ryan Holton, of Millersport, powered Canadia’s Bakin to a track-record finish in the Ohio Colt Racing Association (OCRA) Stakes third race for 1st-Division 3-year-old colts. Canadia’s Bakin won with a new-track-record time of 1:55.0. He eclipsed a record for Pacers that had been set by Dan Noble (1:55.4) aboard Dr. Elbon back in 2001.
“I don’t know how to feel about getting the track record, because Danny Noble had held that record for so long and this is where he’s from,” Holton said. “It was nice. The horse was really nice today, and the track was super good. I think that had a lot to do with it. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.”
The 10-year record for Trotters fell in the very next race.
Driver Scott Cisco piloted the aptly named Lets Go Bucks to a track-record time of 1:58 2/5 in the OCRA Stakes race no. 4 for 3-year-old Colts, and Holton finished second to him in that race.
Cisco and Lets Go Bucks broke the 2006 record of 2:00.0 set by Dein Spriggs aboard De Niro.
In the night’s Steve Phillips Memorial, 1st Division Signature Series event, Jeff Lieberman drove Bourbon St Hanover to a race win. The Pittsburgh-area driver tied Dan Noble’s previous track mark for pacers at 1:55.4.
“Everything worked out incredibly well. I just got a good trip, the field went fast up front and I just had to make one run at them,” Lieberman said. “Considering that it could’ve been bad if he’d have gotten spooked by the trailer, it went incredibly well. He’s a special horse.”
Horses that garner enough points in Ohio Signature Series harness racing events will qualify to compete in the series’ finale during the prestigious Little Brown Jug race weekend.
Thursday’s race was the first in the series this season for Bourbon St Hanover, the winner of the Signature Series final in 2014. Lieberman said trainer Jamie Coffy plans on racing the horse next at Zanesville, and then at Canfield in hopes of garnering enough points to book a return trip to Delaware, Ohio for the series’ 2016 Little Brown Jug weekend final.
On a hot, muggy evening, Holton was the hottest driver of them all, winning three races and finishing second in another. He said it was special to win at Chip Noble’s track.
“You know how everybody feels about Chip. He was one of a kind. A great horseman and he is truly missed, so it is a pleasure and an honor to race here,” Holton said. “I come here every year, the track is always nice. And that’s what we want. It’s always nice coming to Chip’s Place.”