LEBANON, OH – Winning Ticket and driver Aaron Merriman never had an anxious moment in the $40,000 championship leg of the James K. Hackett Memorial, crushing the competition in 1:54. What little competition there was came from the same barn as trainer Chris Beaver harnessed the top three finishers among the Ohio-sired sophomore colt trotters. That means 87% of the $40,000 championship purse will be sent to Beaver and his stable partners.
Merriman sent the heavily-favored winning son of Triumphant Caviar immediately to the lead and never got a serious challenge before pulling away by better than three lengths over stablemates Panzano (Dan Noble) and Tango With Me (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.). Winning Ticket lowered her lifetime record by well over a second with the convincing win and now has six wins in ten career starts. In her only four losses, the fractious filly made breaks in stride.
Winning Ticket is another in a long list of Triumphant Caviar-sired trotters that have graced the Beaver Stable over the last decade, earning Chris Beaver the nickname “Ohio Trotting Guru.”
“It is true that Triumphant Caviar has been very good to me and my owners,” Beaver acknowledged in a post-race interview. “BUT,” he exclaimed, “I think the landscape is changing. I’ve been a staunch supporter of Triumphant Caviar for years, but I think the What The Hill’s (whose oldest foals are now two-year-olds) may be even better. I’ve got quite a few in training and I think they are going to shake things up in Ohio.”
A pair of other trot races shared the spotlight at Miami Valley on Tuesday afternoon.
Mission Accepted (Chris Page) downed Lane Of Stone (Jeff Nisonger) and It’s A Herbie (LeWayne Miller) in the $20,000 Open Handicap Trot, tripping every timer in :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24 before stopping the clock in 1:52. The six-year-old Ohio-sired son of Manofmanymissions has 22 careers victories and $914,497 in earnings.
In the top $18,000 conditioned trot on the same program, Yanks Dugout (Brett Miller) sped to a 1:53.4 score over Mr Charmbro (Tyler Smith) and Sweet Mr Pinetucky (Page). The triumph was the tenth in 20 lifetime starts for the four-year-old altered son of Triumphant Caviar and established a new track record for the age and gait. Duke Sugg trains Yanks Dugout and co-owns him with his father Ivan.
Racing resumes Friday (April 16) and Saturday (April 17) with 4:05 p.m. post times. Top Ohio fillies will contest the $40,000 Hackett Memorial championship on Friday; while the colts will round out the 2021 Hackett Memorials when the glamour division squares off on Saturday.

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