Saturday, though, is about more than just big purses, it’s about top performers and none are bigger than Bulldog Hanover, the No. 1 ranked, fastest harness horse in history.
He has been the top rated horse in North American for 12 straight weeks in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Cup poll.
“He’s just phenomenal,” Keidel said. “He’s won 10 races in a row and set the world record (a 1:45.4 mile at the William Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands) a month ago.”
The four-year-old son of Shadow Play who is trained by Jack Darling and driven by Dexter Dunn, a three-time Driver of the Year in North America has won over $1 million this year and is the leading candidate for Horse of the Year.
He’ll run in the Dayton Pacing Derby. The four Dayton derbies – the Pacing Derby, the Dayton Distaff Derby, the Dayton Trotting Derby and the Dayton Oaks – are Grand Circuit stakes events for the best older horses in America.
Saturday night’s Oho Sire Stakes championships were preceded by preliminary competitions run at Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, MGM Northfield and Eldorado Scioto Downs.
That Dayton Raceway was awarded the Ohio Super Night is testament to the track’s growing status. Connected to the Hollywood Gaming casino at Needmore and Wagner Ford roads, it had its biggest season ever last year and showed a $3.5 million increase in its handle.
The 2022 season, the ninth since the track opened in 2014, begins today with 4 p.m. post for the 14-race program. The meet ends December 23. The 70-race program runs every Tuesday through Saturday. On October 22, the track will a host the Buckeye Stallion Series.
Keidel said this year Dayton Raceway is offering a Pick 8 wager that guarantees a purse of $25,000 every night.
On Dec. 23 last season – in the final week of the racing program – Dayton had its biggest, single day handle ever with $850,522 in wagers.
“That was big,” Keidel said, “but Saturday night will be bigger.”