Columbus, MN – Harness racing driver Nick Roland was on fire at Running Aces on Tuesday (July 14) adding 6 winners to his already impressive win total (now 34) from 116 drives across the first twelve programs of the 2020 meet.
The numbers that Roland currently shows are nothing short of incredible. He is winning races at just shy of a thirty percent pace (29.31%), hitting the trifecta at over sixty-eight percent, carrying a UDRS of .475 and is on pace to re-write the track record for most wins in a single season by a single driver – (his own record) of 112 from 2016. He is also on pace to eclipse his career best mark of 140 wins in a single year (2012).
Horses from his own stable, trained by longtime girlfriend Jessica Johnson, are also posting incredible numbers – Johnson is the current leading trainer with a leading margin of 5 wins (16), winning at nearly thirty-one percent (30.77%), and Johnson currently carries a UTRS of .520 and a top-three percentage of over sixty-nine (69.32%).
Roland won the first two races of the day, each of them $11,500 events for two year old Minnesota-sired horses, kicking off his stellar day with a 2:06.2 score in the first aboard trotter Rush To The Bank ($5.20) for trainer Dan Roland. In the second he piloted Rockin Louie ($3.60) to a sharp win in 2:00.3 for trainer Duane Roland.
After going 4th, 2nd, 3rd and second in the next four events, Roland reeled off four winners in a row starting with Hottieonthehorizon ($3.80) in 1:56 for trainer Jessica Johnson, then Pull The Shade ($8.20) in 1:53.4 in the Mares Open Pace for trainer Tim Maier. Next up was another sharp win – and 4 in a row for Twilight Tinker ($5.20) in 1:58.4 also trained by Jessica Johnson. Roland then steered Brian's Magic Girl ($4.20) from last-to-first in 1:57.1 for trainer John Rogers.
Roland was third the final two races of the day, to complete a summary of 12 starts, 6 wins, 2 seconds and 3 thirds, while only missing the top three once – a fourth place finish aboard two year old trotter Rockin The Rails (18-1) who made a break due to broken equipment in his race.
As the track's all time leading driver, Roland recently drove his 800th Running Aces winner on June 30 and has a 150 win lead over Rick Magee on the track's all time list. Those two are also the current leaders for 2020.
Bordogna (Rick Magee) remained undefeated in six outings in 2020 after capturing the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot with a gutsy effort to hold off a strong late rally by Mandeville (Nick Roland) – just a neck separated those two at the wire in 1:56.1. Bordogna ($5.60) is trained by Justin Anfinson for owners Cathy Dessert and Ken Stauffer. The 4 year old Trixton stallion has now won seven races in a row going back to last fall, and has bankrolled $73,075 with nineteen wins from 35 starts.
Pull The Shade (Nick Roland, $8.20) captured the $9,000 Mares Open Pace by converting the perfect pocket trip into a 1-3/4 length tally in 1:53.4 for her first win of the season. The winning owner is Ferrell York and the winning trainer is Tim Maier.
Rick Magee also had a big day on Tuesday, piloting 3 winners on the card for a driving Hat-Trick. Trainers Justin Anfinson and Jessica Johnson led with two winners each.
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, July 18 with first post at 1:00 pm (CDT) and features a pair of Carryovers – $9,796.21 in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $1,032.05 in the 50 cent Hi-5 wager.
By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces