LEBANON, OH. – Heavily favored Gold Digger King, an 11 time winner of feature races in 2021, got his initial 2022 triumph in convincing fashion in the $30,000 Open I Handicap Pace at Miami Valley on Thursday (April 21). Driver Tyler Smith was eager to get the 6-year-old son of Pet Rock back to the winner’s circle after the star of the Scott Mogan Stable enjoyed a 5 month winter vacation.
Rushing to the lead in :26.3, Gold Digger King tripped every timing beam stopping the clock in :55.2 at the half, 1:22.3 at the three quarters and 1:50.4 at the finish. The most exciting race was actually for place as a half dozen combatants were lapped on to each other a couple lengths back of the winner. Havefaithinme N (Kayne Kauffman) prevailed in the place photo over Grantmeawish (Josh Sutton), GD Western Joe (Chris Page), Family Recipe (Austin Hanners) and YS Mathis (Dan Noble), who earned the final 3% purse check for his sixth place finish in a 10-horse field.
Linda Van Camp has owned Gold Digger King throughout his illustrious career, which has produced 24 victories and is nearing $500,000 in earnings.
A single $20,000 elimination in the James K. Hackett Memorial for state-bred sophomore pacing colts was necessary to reduce the field from ten to nine for the $50,000 final next Thursday (April 28). The “Burke Brigade” behind trainer Ron Burke owned half the field and four of his trainees—all by the sensational sire Downbytheseaside—swept the top four finishing spots.
Berry’s Berries (Tony Hall), the entrant with the least lifetime earnings in the bulky field, lead his ‘brothers’ through the finish, followed by favored Seaside Way (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Terminator (Chris Page) and Rose Run Xplosion (Josh Sutton). The winner added $10,000 to his previously earned bounty of $18,995 with the victory.
Miami Valley is dark on Friday and Saturday, then resumes live racing on Sunday with a 4:05 p.m. post time.

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