LEBANON, OH. – A trio of final preliminary races in the George Williams Memorial Series at Miami Valley went postward on Sunday (March 6) and the winners of all three $17,500 divisions set new lifetime marks. The only repeat winner was Cody Hanover (Dan Noble) who copped the third split in 1:52.1. The other winners were Smile Today (Sam Widger, 1:52.1) and Native Chief (Noble, 1:52.3).
Cody Hanover beat Rose Run Warner (Tony Hall) and Advance Man (Cam McCown) as the3-5 favorite, returning $3.20. The 5-year-old son of Dragon Again is two-for-two on the year after a 2021 season that included three wins and $76,330 in earnings. Andre Nared is training the likely favorite for next week’s $30,000 championship for owner Lionel Watiker.
Smile Today followed up on his show finish in the first leg of the Williams Memorial with his impressive triumph, which was over two seconds faster than his previous best. Randy Smith trains the 4-year-old The Panderosa gelding for his daughter Amelia. He paid $8.20 after besting EL’s Rocker (Mike Peterson) and Big Chief Arrow (Josh Sutton).
Noble found room up the inside in deep stretch to pull off an upset win with Native Chief. Amour Cruiser (Chris Page) was a hard charging second with favored Tuggin On My Heart (James Yoder) tiring in the stretch to finish third. Trent Tharps Jr. trains the altered 4-year-old son of Allamerican Native for David Moberly. Overlooked by the public due to recently graduating out of condition/claiming events, Native Chief paid $29.80 to his smaller group of believers.
The top nine money winners in the two preliminary legs of the Williams, who advance to the lucrative final, are: Cody Hanover, Amour Cruiser, Smile Today, Native Chief, Rose Run Warner, Dial Him Up, Freddie Faves, CC Official and EL’s Rocker.
The George Williams Memorial is one of eight events that collectively comprise the annual “Lebanon Legends” Series. The nominees were all non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $40,000 lifetime as of the nomination deadline in February.
Miami Valley will be back in action Monday through Thursday of the coming week with a 4:05 post time each afternoon.

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