Columbus, MN -Driver/Trainer Nick Roland led the Harness Racing program at Running Aces on Sunday (August 18) with three winners on the program, including two dramatic wins in two of the evening's featured events.
Roland steered his superstar 3 year old gelding trotter to victory in the $16,000 Minnesota-Sired sophomore Trot from post seven, getting away quickly for the early lead before yielding to Major Al-Mar (Dean Magee) for the pocket. Ice Storm (Mooney Svendsen) came from second over and battled late with Major Al-Mar, with MD Magic looking to be blocked nearing the wire, but Roland was able to thread the needle and surge in between his two rivals to get up right on the money in a three-way photo as they stopped the timer in 2:00.3.
For MD Magic ($4.00), it was four wins in a row and his sixth victory in eleven outings in 2019, for seasonal earnings of $50,550. The winning owners are Set The Pace Racing, LLC.
Roland sent out Firedrake in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses and geldings, and again had to face his chief rival Nine Ways (Dean Magee) who was in search of his ninth consecutive win and was heavily favored at 2-5. Both Firedrake and Nine Ways flashed their customary gate speed, with Firedrake getting to the front first from post six, then yielding to the big favorite near the 1/8 mile mark as they ripped off an opening stanza of :26.4.
Nine Ways led through the middle stages in :56.1 and 1:24.2 but faced strong first-over pressure from Fox Valley Nemitz (Brian Detgen). Nine Ways had the lead as they straightened for home, with Fox Valley Nemitz still pressing on, and Bettor's Promise tipping wide with pace. Firedrake was looking for room and found just enough to squeeze through the inside lane and make it a four way go at the line. After a lengthy photo finish examination, Roland and Firedrake had gotten home just in front of Nine Ways in an absolute thriller in 1:53.
Set The Pace Racing, LLC. are the proud owners of Firedrake, the now 6 year old gelded son of Dragon Again, out of the Artsplace mare Everything's Easy. Firedrake ($14.40) now has 3 wins and $50,780 on the season.
Running Aces honored and remembered horseman Tim Brown on Sunday, with the $15,000 Open Trot being named the Tim Brown Memorial Race. The field of eight was deep with talent, and the public honed in on Winning Lyric as the 3-5 favorite.
Silverlode (Steve Wiseman) got the early lead with a strong brush from the gate, with Banker Volo (Nick Roland) leaving from post seven and finding the pocket, while public choice Winning Lyric (Dean Magee) got away last before getting into the outer flow near the half.
Silverlode led them into the far turn but began to shorten strides as Winning Lyric had quickly advanced all the way up to the leaders wheel, and took over near the 3/4-mile marker. French Eclipse (Rick Magee) had saved ground throughout and was a clear second, with It's A Horse (Tim Maier) closing late for third money.
Winning Lyric ($3.20) is a 5 year old son of Credit Winner and out of the Yankee Glide mare Naked Lyric, he now has four wins in twelve starts in 2019 with earnings of $49,995. He is owned by Terrence Smith and trained by Edward Hernandez.
Nineteen year old driver Braxten Boyd picked up his first career pari-mutuel driving victory on Sunday at Running Aces, when he steered his family-owned pacer Bestinthebusiness ($13.60) to his 47th lifetime win in 1:53. The winning trainer is Gene Miller.
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday night (August 20) with local post time at 6 pm.
Photo: Running Aces all time leading trainer and driver had a big night on Sunday, including dramatic wins with MD Magic and Firedrake.