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Nick Roland gets 1,000th driving victory
Monday, June 30, 2014 - from Running Aces

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Columbus, MN --- Driver Nick Roland reached the coveted 1,000 win plateau on Sunday night (June 29) at Running Aces when he guided 11-year-old Mac T's Diamond to a 1:55 score in the third race.

 
Dee Leftwich photo
Nick Roland is greeted in the Running Aces winner’s circle by friends and family to commemorate his 1,000th win on Sunday.

The 31-year-old reinsman is a third generation horseman who honed his talents on the Iowa county fair circuit before moving to Running Aces when it opened just over six years ago. A perennial leading driver, he finally broke through in 2013 and is the reigning dash champion at the Minnesota five-eighths-mile oval.

The milestone win was Roland's 24th of 2014 and first of three on the Sunday program. He also triumphed with Chewy Dunkerton in a $13,000 event for Minnesota-sired 3-year-old trotters and Headsup Yankee in a $6,500 conditioned pace.

Smarter Yet, making his Running Aces debut, captured the $9,500 Open Pace for owner Kevin St. Charles, trainer Ron Merritt and driver Kim Pluta. The 7-year-old Western Maverick gelding now has 35 lifetime wins and career earnings of $223,225.

Pluta had the winner positioned next-to-last in the early going, but began a second-over journey in the outer flow approaching the halfway point. Moving up steadily through fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.2, Smarter Yet closed with a final panel of :27.4 to win in 1:52.4. Overlooked at odds of 25-1, Smarter Yet paid $53.40 for a $2 win ticket. Second and third place finishers R Gauwitz Hanover (Rick Magee) and Restless Yankee (Nick Roland) completed exacta and trifecta tickets worth $539.20 and $2,839.80, respectively.

The Open Pace has been highly competitive at Running Aces through the first five weeks of the 14-week schedule with five different horses winning the weekly feature thus far.

Handle on the ten-race card was $189,848.


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