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Merritt Dokey drives a winner at Paulding Fair
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - by Thom Pye, for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association

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Paulding, OH --- When Paulding track announcer Bill Peters called out the 2-year-old colt pacers for Tuesday's (June 12) $3,490 Ohio Fair Racing Conference first race, quite a few fans double-checked their programs when they heard "driven by Merritt Dokey."

Thom Pye photo
The familiar colors of fan favorite Merritt Dokey were back on the track for three OFRC races at Paulding.

The 79-year-old Dokey, one of the Midwest's perennial leading drivers since he first started driving in 1966, had journeyed down from Plymouth, Mich., to pilot owner/breeder Gerry Mijal's Tanner J. This was only the second drive in the past seven years for Dokey, who had competed daily on the tough Chicago circuit for more than five decades.

As soon as starter Mike Woebkenberg said "go" Dokey shot for the lead and successfully steered the Steve Novak-trained youngster to a commanding 10 length win in 2:06.4. It was the first trip to the winner's circle for the altered son of Believeinbruiser-How Is Carrie in his first start but it notched career victory No. 3,878 for Dokey and reaffirmed to everyone that "talent does not age."

In the second half of the daily double it was only career start number 19 for 44-year-old Cardington, Ohio, native and co-owner Cory High in the $5,078 OFRC 2-year-old filly trot division but he drove dad Bud High's Count On Karma (Full Count) to victory. While the track surface was dulled by a downpour an hour before the 5 p.m. post time, it did not damper anyone's spirits for the nine-race card.

There were some pretty impressive stretch drives during the day and driver Pierce Henry posted three wins including tallies in the $5,003 OFRC 2-year-old filly trot division with Jim Burris' Forbid Me Not (Forbidden-Simone Begonia), paying a hefty $32.20, and Doug Hartung's pacer Doug's Jaxx, a 2-year-old son of Pet Rock-Intrinsic Value.

Paulding County wraps up its 2018 Fair racing Wednesday evening with a nine-race program starting at 5 p.m. Among the highlights will be the OFRC 3-year-old filly pacers and trotters, the Free For All Paulding County Pace, and the first round in the summer-long battles of the Ohio Ladies Pace Series.

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