LEBANON, OH. – A balanced field of nine, all of whom finished either first or second in the two preliminary legs, went postward Wednesday (Jan. 26) in the $22,500 championship tilt of the Claim To Fame series for $8000 male claiming pacers.
After a contentious opening half mile, it was Billabong Beach (Sam Widger) who closed from well back in the field to capture the final in 1:53.3.
Brigadierbronski A (Jeremy Smith) charged furiously out of the gate, as is his custom, and stopped the initial timer in :26.1. Overlord (Dan Noble), a winner of a division in each prelim but saddled with an outside draw, also left alertly but could neither reach the front or find a hole along the pylons, thus forcing the action to the :54.4 halfway point. Despite the overland journey for Overlord, he was able to clear to the front and take a four length lead during a :28.4 third panel, but ran out of gas as the field rounded the final turn and headed for home.
Mild 2-1 favorite Trial By Fire (Trace Tetrick) was the first to collar Overlord but soon was joined by Billabong Beach as the finish line was in sight. Widger had watched from eighth in the nine horse field as the frontrunners slugged it out early, moved up to sixth on the outside just past the halfway point, then swung three wide with the most forward momentum going into the last turn. Ultimately winning by about a half length, Billabong Beach—who only managed a second place finish in the first two legs—earned half the championship purse for owner Tessa Perrin and trainer Tony Rose.
The 11-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere surpassed the $200,000 earnings plateau with his 28th triumph in 237 lifetime starts. The winner, who seems to be as good at his advanced age as he ever has been, paid $14.60 and coupled with Trial By Fire kicked back $58.80 in the exacta.
The Thursday (Jan. 27) card at Miami Valley features a $28,000 Open I and a $24,000 Open II and total purses of $228,500 on the 14-race program. Post time is 4:05 p.m.

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