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Long Train Runnin sets all-time track record at Marion (Ohio) Fair
Wednesday, July 04, 2018 - by Thom Pye, for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association

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Marion, OH --- As soon as starter Mike Woebkenberg released the second race Ohio Fair Racing Conference $3,490 division for 3-year-old pacing colts on Tuesday (July 3) a few folks in the grandstand at the Marion County Fair had to be singing The Doobie Brothers' hit from 1973: Long Train Running, at least down around the corner, half a mile from here.

Photo courtesy of the author
Long Train Runnin and Hunter Myers head home in a new all-time track record of 1:58.3 at Marion.

Long Train Runnin, the Mike Conklin-trained altered son of Big Bad John driven by 20-year-old Hunter Myers, led at every station and clipped off a half in 1:00.4 before highballing it home to win by four in an all-time track standard of 1:58.3. It was the Winchester Bay Acres Inc. speedster's seventh win in 17 lifetime starts which includes several miles at Scioto in 1:53.2 and 1:53.3. Ohio Prince (Ken Holliday) was second while Matty Will with Cameron McCown took third.

The other two equally impressive OFRC divisions were taken by the Ron Steck-conditioned Drinka Beer (We Will See) with Ryan Holton in the sulky as he circled the 150-plus year old oval in 2:00.4 with a last quarter in :28.4 and Madison's Max (Duke Suke) who steamed a last panel of :29.1 en route to his victory in 2:00.2 in the 14th.

"Longshot Luke" Ebersole -- a tag put on him by quick-witted announcer Ayers Ratliff -- took the first of his driving triple in the $3,465 2-year-old colt pace with the David Wornstaff owned and trained Woodstock colt Thundering Jim as they went a mile in 2:05.4 and posted a payoff of $22.00 on the board.

The other OFRC divisions brought miles of 2:03.3 by David Pimstill's Winchester Wally (Pet Rock) with Jeff Nisonger in the seat and a :28.3 stretch driving crowd-thriller that separated Linda Ebersole's Cross Country (Luke Ebersole) and Josh Miller's Woodman B with Hunter Myers by a mere nose in 2:05. There was another audible murmur of approval from the crowd when the win price of $75.40 lit up the toteboard.

The eighth race $3,465 OFRC 3-year-old colt trot brought even more drama to the day as the seven contestants for the Racing With The Stars lined along the rail to cheer their horses on. When the gate opened Blasco, Bud High's owned, trained and driven favorite by Manofmanymissions, went up in the air. Young Ranger Steck, who had drawn the coveted number four, ran back to the tent and growled "he made a break" as he threw his number on the table. Blasco spotted the field 15 lengths at the quarter but Bud High took aim at the leader.

Young Steck was pacing back and forth along the fence like a caged panther and when he heard "here comes Blasco up on the outside" he scooted over to the table to put his number back on. At the half Blasco only trailed by five. When they hit the three-quarters he was a mere two lengths off the lead.

"He's making his move," he yelled at the older gent who sported the number six who was cutting the mile. The man just grimaced and tried to smile but got a cramp in his jaw. When Blasco threw a quarter of :28.2 at the field, he drew off to win in 2:04.4 by three.

And it was one happy kid who went into the winner's circle.

Plaudits to the officials, the trackmen, and the volunteers at the Marion County Fair for doing a fine job.

For these are the days we remember.

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