Northfield, OH --- The $126,000 Cleveland Classic, one of Northfield Park’s premier races, is set for Saturday (Dec. 14).
The final open stakes event on this year’s national harness racing calendar, the Classic always draws an impressive slate of equine athletes as well as North America’s top drivers. This year is no exception.
1. Only The Lonely: This son of Western Ideal has lifetime earnings of $123,233 and a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 (M). The Nick Surick trainee was introduced to lasix in his most recent start where he posted a 1:54.3 gate-to-wire victory at Yonkers Raceway. That is one of six career victories for the sophomore colt. He is owned by the partnership of JL Benson Stables, KDM Stables and Nick Surick. Aaron Merriman has been named to drive and carries a 10-1 morning line.
2. Twilight Bonfire: Has been named the 5-2 morning line favorite in this year’s event. This colt has seven career wins to his credit and has won two of his last three races, including a 1:51.4 victory in the $48,878 W.N. Reynolds Memorial at the Meadowlands. Rich Gillock traines the son of The Panderosa for owner Robert Key. This horse enters with earnings of $891,090 and a lifetime best of 1:50.1 (Mea). His biggest payday came in a place finish in the $980,000 North America Cup at Woodbine in June. Tony Hall will be in town to drive.
3. Dedi's Dragon: One of two horses in this race trained by Ron Burke. This one enters for the owning partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Phillip Collura and Tracy Hendler. Dedi’s Dragon has career earnings of $599,959 and a lifetime mark of 1:50.4 (HoP). He has eight career wins including a win over Captaintreacherous last month in the $252,000 Monument Circle Stake at Hoosier Park. North American harness racing’s all-time winningest driver, Dave Palone, has been named to drive and Ded's Dragon carries a 3-1 morning line.
4. Word Power: Scott Zeron will make his Northfield Park driving debut aboard this 4-1 starter. Word Power is conditioned by Larry Remmen for owner Bradley Grant. He has seven career wins, a career best of 1:49.4 (M) and earnings of $372,284. He has received a short rest after his win in the $176,000 Windy City Pace at Maywood Park and enters off a 1:53.4 qualifying effort at the Meadowlands, where he paced home in :26.4.
5. Apprentice Hanover: One of two horses that have been entered for owner Bradley Grant. This one is trained by Ben Wallace. This son of Somebeachsomewhere enters the race off of two consecutive victories at Woodbine Racetrack. He has earned $432,205 with nine lifetime wins and a lifetime mark of 1:49.4 (Mea). Canadian star Jody Jamieson is named to pilot this 6-1 morning line starter.
6. Good Day Mate: Completes the field for this year’s Cleveland Classic. This Christian Cullen colt is one of two entered by Ron Burke. This one is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stables, Stable 45 and Chuck Pompey. Good Day Mate has career earnings of $306,363 and sports the fastest mark in the race, 1:49.3 (PcD). This seven-time career winner receives the driving services of Buckeye native Brett Miller and holds a 12-1 morning line.
The $126,000 Cleveland Classic has been slated as Saturday’s 11th race and has an approximate post time of 10:45 p.m. The stakes event will be the fourth leg of the Pick-4 with a guaranteed pool of $10,000 and a reduced takeout rate of just 14 percent.