LEBANON, OH. – The field for the $35,000 championship leg of the Tom Tharps Memorial Series is set, following a pair of final Round 2 preliminary legs on Sunday (March 27) at Miami Valley Raceway. JW’s Chrome won the first division, after a second place finish in Round 1, to secure the top seeding with $14,375 in two-week earnings. No horse was a repeat winner in Legs 1 and 2, thus there were four different preliminary winners. The others were No Free Lunch, the other second leg winner, and first leg winners Cody Hanover and Sweet Oliver. That quartet will be joined in the lucrative final by King Klueber, JK Going West, Topville Rustler, Laughagain Hanover and Smile Today. All the nominees were non-winners of six races or $60,000 upon entering the series.
JW’s Chrome (Randy Tharps) triumphed in 1:52.4 as a two length winner over JK Going West (Trace Tetrick) and Smile Today (Sam Widger). It was a gratifying victory for Randy , who is the son of Tom Tharps, one of nine late greats at old Lebanon Raceway who are memorialized annually with a series in their names at Miami Valley.
Although he started from the rail post position, Tharps allowed King’s Cruiser (Tyler Smith) and JK Going West to clear in front of him during the :28 first quarter before rushing to the lead well before the :55.2 halfway point. JW’s Chrome maintained a comfortable advantage past the 1:24 three quarter mile marker and coasted home in :28.4 to secure the victory. As the second choice, he returned $7.40 to his faithful.
Jerry Haynes and Wendy Brandt of Michigan own the 4-year-old gelded son of Racing Hill and entrust trainer Mike Arnold with his handling. It was the first win in 11 tries this season for JWs Chrome and pushed his seasonal earnings to $28,635 in the first three months of the year.
No Free Lunch (Tyler Smith), who shipped in from Woodbine-Mohawk in Toronto for this series, was rewarded with an impressive 1:53.2 win after a fourth place finish in his initial Ohio outing. Rallying from third at the head of the home stretch, the winner gained a neck advantage over favored Cody Hanover (Dan Noble) at the wire with King Klueber (Tetrick) beaten just half a length.
Jason McGinnis trains No Free Lunch, while in Ohio, for Thestable No Free Lunch fractional ownership group assembled by Anthony Macdonald. It was the sixth career victory for the 4-year-old son of Sunshine Beach and increased his career bounty to $80,644.
In addition to the second round Tharps Memorial action, three initial leg divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial Series were contested. The Hiteman features male pacers who were non-winners of 2 pari-mutuel wins or $20,000 at time of nomination.
Winners were EL’s Rocker (Mike Peterson, 1:54.3) over Red Camo (Tony Hall) and Bettor By Seaside (Cam McCown); The Mad King (Tyler Smith, 1:55.3) over Hoosier Hypnotic (Brett Miller and Some High Dreamer (Sam Widger); and Rockin Sandsave (Tetrick, 1:54.1) over DL’s Hard Cider (Hall) and Seaside Way (Chris Page).
Post time is 4:05 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday afternoon at Miami Valley.

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