LEBANON, OH. – Little Rocket Man, despite drawing the outermost post position, won a cavalry charge to the wire and was victorious in the $100,000 Pace Baby Pace Invitational honoring the memory of the late Pacey “The Wizard” Mindlin on closing day at Miami Valley (May 6). A neck separated the first four horses, all of whom were timed in 1:49.3. This Is The Plan was second and favored Ruthless Hanover, who cut the mile, was third. Hemsworth N was fourth and Bernie claimed the final paycheck by finishing fifth.
Ruthless Hanover (George Napolitano Jr.) rushed to the quarter mile timer in :26.1, then slowed the pace to the half in :55.1, was forced to speed it up with a :26.2 third panel, then was collared by Little Rocket Man (John DeLong) and This Is The Plan (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in the final stride. All eight of the starters (Let It Ride N was scratched) paced in 1:50 or faster as the entire field finished within 2-1/2 lengths at the finish.
Little Rocket Man never saw a pylon during the mile. The seven-year-old son of Rockin Image, was parked in eighth in the early going, advanced to seventh in the outer flow at the half and sixth at the three quarters, then fifth at the head of the stretch before winning the mad dash to the wire.
Russell Beeman and Jack Freeman own Little Rocket Man, who is trained by Ken Rucker. It was the winner’s 43rd career triumph in 79 tries, good for lifetime earnings of $796,249.
Leading driver Trace Tetrick, who entered the final card with 150 wins, was declared the dash champion. He received a $250 gift card to Cin City Steakhouse. Leading trainer Jason Brewer, who notched 58 wins during the winter session, was honored with the same award.
A total of seven drivers earned in excess of $1 million during the four month meet, led by Tetrick who won his second dash title at Miami Valley. Others were Brett Miller, Dan Noble, Chris Page, Tyler Smith, Sam Widger and Kayne Kauffman.
On the training side, Brewer lead 26 conditioners who won ten or more races. Other top ten trainers were Tyler George, Ron Burke, Virgil Morgan Jr., Brewer Adams, Peter Redder, Steve Carter, Michael Hitchcock, Pat Melloy Jr. and Todd Luther.
Rollinlikethunder (Tetrick) beat Big Booty Rudy (Wrenn Jr.) and Later Dudes (Page) in the $36,000 Gregg Keidel Retirement Pace on the undercard. The winner also stopped the timer in 1:49.3 for owners Carl Hambleton, Donald Fennell and trainer Tyler George.

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