LEBANON, OH. – Just a week short of his 25th birthday, driver Mitchell Cushing reached a memorable milestone at Miami Valley Raceway on Tuesday (Jan. 3). His 1:54.1 triumph behind Ashley Locaz N was the 1000th of his young career, with the last 238 coming since his relocation to Ohio just over two years ago.
Cushing was born and raised on a family farm in Michigan, where he learned the harness racing ropes from the time he was able to pick up a pitfchfork. At age 15, before he was able to drive, he moved to Maine to rejoin his father Ron, who had set up a stable at Scarborough. Getting his first four wins, in 15 starts, in 2014 fot Mitch on his way. It was in 2016 that the youngster’s catch driving career began to blossom with 42 wins and a .258 UDRS. Two years later, at age 20, Mitch won 258 races with horses that earned over $1.5 million. He won the driving title at Plainridge Park near Boston that year, in addition to finishing second to Drew Campbell at Scarborough.
Seeing an opportunity to race better horses for more money, Cushing moved his tack to Ohio in late 2020 and his mounts in the Buckeye State have earned just shy of $1.8 million in each of his first two full seasons.
“The experience has been great!”, the likeable Cushing explained minutes after his milestone victory. “The money is great in Ohio, the quantity of quality horses is unbelievable, and the drivers colony I compete against nightly is as good as it gets. I have learned a lot here in Ohio. I like it here so I’ll just keep showing up night after night and keep trying to get better. I’ve gotten to drive many nice horses at Miami Valley, Scioto and Dayton, and I look forward to the day when I’m put down on a full card of them.
Among the trainers who have given Mitch an opportunity to drive great horses is Virgil Morgan Jr. “Virgil has been very good to me,” Cushing related. “He was one of the very first here in Ohio to take a chance on me with a few good horses, and he has stuck with me through the ups and downs of my first two years here.”
Cushing is nearing $9 million in purses won, including 1035 place finishes and 959 show efforts.
Ashley Locaz N, a $20,000 claimer, paid $7.60 after Mitch’s milestone win. The 9-year-old New Zealand bred warrior is owned and trained by Tommie Jones.
Racing resumes Wednesday (Jan. 4) at 4 p.m. The regular Miami Valley schedule is Sunday through Thursday weekly through May 6.

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