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le O’Brien Award-winning mare Lady Shadow made her much awaited 2017 debut Monday afternoon at Miami Valley Raceway in the $100,000 Sam ‘Chip’ Noble Memorial, and all she did was equal the track record for older pacing mares thanks to a dazzling performance in 1:50.3.


Yannick Gingras wasted no time in hustling Lady Shadow to the lead from Post 4, and she cleared to the top in an effortless manner. She tore through fractions of :27, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before using a :28.2 closing quarter to seal the deal by 1-1/4 lengths over the pocket-sitting Divas Image. Blue Moon Stride took home third prize.


Ron Adams trains the six-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella for David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and BFJ Stable. Sent off as the 3-5 favourite, Lady Shadow won for the 30th time in her career and pushed her lifetime earnings to $1,883,662.


Four $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitationals, for Ohio’s best three-year-olds, shared the spotlight with the Sam ‘Chip’ Noble Memorial Grand Circuit stake for the continent’s best older pacer mares on the closing day card.


The successful 87-day 2017 meet, the fourth since the southwest Ohio oval began racing operations in 2014, ended with record purses paid, record overall handle and a multitude of new track records.


The inaugural Scarlet & Gray Invitational, for sophomore Buckeye-bred trotting fillies, produced one of those track records when Rose Run Sydney (Jason Brewer) exploded three wide at the three-quarter mile station and topped Chim Swift (Aaron Merriman) and Lets Get Started (Josh Sutton) in 1:56.2.


Trainer Steve Carter co-owns the daughter of Triumphant Caviar with Adam Friedland and RBR Racing LLC. It was Rose Run Sydney’s ninth career victory and boosted her bankroll to $130,817.


Ohio’s best pacing fillies were next and another Rose Run Farm-bred named Rose Run Skyler (Aaron Merriman) wired the field in 1:53 to establish another Miami Valley speed standard for her age and sex. The daughter of The Panderosa, owned by Lionel Watiker and trained by Derek Watiker, bested Pistol Packin Mama (Trace Tetrick) and Official Kisser (Jason Brewer) for her third win in five career starts.


Trotting colts competed for the next $50,000 Scarlet & Gray purse and David Miller, Hall of Famer and Driver Of The Year, guided Star Buster to a 1:54 upset over Lord Of The Reigns (Kayne Kauffman) and Goldfinger (Ryan Stahl), kicking back $28.40 for a $2 win ticket.


Trainer Jeff Cox, who accompanied Miller and gave him his first mounts when the pair relocated to The Meadowlands years ago, conditions Star Buster for owner Michael Soehnlen. Although it was the son of Deep Chip’s ninth lifetime win—mostly at Ohio county fairs as a two-year-old—this triumph more than doubled his career bounty to $47,546.


David Miller produced another upset, although slightly milder ($16.20 to win) in the final $50,000 Scarlet & Gray split for pacing colts. ‘Purple Jesus,’ as Miller is affectionately known in Ohio, guided Brian Brown’s White Jet to a come-from-behind score in 1:52.1, topping stablemate Mcthriller (Chris Page) by a length and a quarter. Heracer (Aaron Merriman) and Sunnys Bro (Greg Grismore) dead-heated for show.


It was the second win in ten starts for White Jet, a son of The Panderosa, for the Emerald Highlands Farm.


(With files from Miami Valley Raceway)