A pair of first leg divisions of the George ‘Red’ Owens Memorial Series highlighted this afternoon's matinee at Miami Valley Raceway. Melodies That Rock (Trace Tetrick) and Lyons Moonlight (Dan Noble) emerged victorious in the event restricted to fillies and mares that are non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime.
Owens is one of nine deceased former greats remembered annually at Miami Valley with a “Lebanon Legends” series named in his honour.
Melodies That Rock controlled her own destiny from start to finish in the first split as Tetrick took the lead early and cruised through fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:25.1 before finishing just over a length better than Rockin Peggy (Tyler Smith).
Hot Cakes (Mike Oosting) earned the show dough in the $8,000 race. Jim Ellison conditions the winner for Anna Ellison. The four-year-old daughter of Rockin Image paid $5.40 as the lukewarm favourite.
Lyons Moonlight got away fourth in the second heat until Noble pulled her after the first quarter was reached in :27.4. Racing first-over through middle fractions of :57.1 and 1:26.2, the four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere lass finally took control nearing the head of the stretch and proceeded to a two-length victory in 1:55.3.
The Jim Arledge Jr. trainee, who paid $7.80 to win, races for owner Pond-A-Acres.
The Ohio Harness Horsemens Association presented its first Outstanding Groom Award on Sunday to Dawn Cunmulaj, wife of Sherif Cunmulaj. The couple relocated to Ohio over three years ago and have single-handedly raced a stable of six to ten horses year around ever since.
The OHHA is presenting deserving caretakers with $200 gift cards twice during each meet at each Ohio commercial track. Trainers are encouraged to nominate their full time helpers with the winner being chosen randomly by draw from among the nominations.
A total of 24 grooms were nominated for this award, with a second one to be awarded near the current meet’s end.
The $200 award isn’t enough to head to Disneyland, “but it sure will be nice to have on my next trip to the outlet mall across the street,” laughed Dawn.