LEBANON, OH. – Miami Valley Raceway brought the curtain down on its fifth and most successful season on Monday (May 7). The highlights of the final card of 2018 were a pair of Grand Circuit events that both established national season’s marks over a five-eighths mile track.

Barn Girl (Aaron Merriman) copped the extremely competitive $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares, wearing down Churita (Trace Tetrick) in 1:52.4 despite a grueling first-over trip. The 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall, who has now won exactly half of her lifetime starts (48 wins in 96 tries), allowed Churita to lead the talented field past the :26.3 quarter but was out and rolling before the :55.1 halfway point. Up to the leader’s wheel at the 1:24 three-quarters and around the final turn, Barn Girl dug deep in the stretch to establish the new national season’s standard.

“She is a very gritty mare,” exclaimed Merriman in the winner’s circle. An elated trainer Bill Bercury and his wife-owner Renee were ecstatic. “She never disappoints,” explained Bill. “I get butterflies before every race,” beam Renee, “but she always comes through!”

The 1:52.4 clocking was also a new lifetime mark for Barn Girl, whose best previous win was in 1:53.

The super sharp Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) captured the $102,200 Sam “Chip” Noble Memorial Pace in a blistering 1:49.3, a stakes record, a track record and a national season’s mark for the division (older mares). The 5-year-old New Zealand-bred lass has captured 9 of 11 races in 2018, including three legs and the final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers.

Despite starting from the two-hole, Tetrick allowed the dust to settle in front of him before making the popular “quarter move” from fifth to first just after the initial timing station. The Jim King Jr. trained winner glided effortlessly along after reaching the front, widening the margin on the field from one length at the half to three lengths at the three-quarters. With just mild urging Tetrick guided Shartin N through the wire with longshot Medusa (Tony Hall) rallying for second and Blue Moon Stride (Corey Callahan) garnering the show dough.

A total of seven $15,000 divisions of Buckeye Stallion Series first leg action was also featured on Miami Valley’s closing card. Winning 3-year-old filly trotters were Infrontandforgetit (Kayne Kauffman, 1:57.3), Bugs MVP (Aaron Merriman, 1:58.3) and Momentsoffire (Tyler Smith, 1:57.4). Sophomore filly pacers who reached the winners enclosure were Osborne’s Ellie (Tyler Smith, 1:54), Crosswind Butercup (Kyle Ater, 1:55.4), Velocity Gretchen (Mark Evers, 1:53.4) and Our Miss Reese (Sandy Beatty, 1:54.2).

Leading driver and trainer awards for the 2018 meet were won by Dan Noble and Dan Ater, respectively.

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