by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
Northfield, OH — It’s only going to the post for a third time, but Saturday’s (Aug. 13) $300,000 Carl Milstein Invitational at Northfield Park, featuring the red-hot pacer Betting Line in a field of eight 3-year-olds, is already recognized as one of the key races on the North American stakes calendar.
The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock Milstein, immediately took over as Chairman of Northfield Park and is now also the Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, LLC, majority owner of the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.
In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, who purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980s. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year.
The starting line up and the morning line odds for Northfield’s richest race were finalized Tuesday morning. The horses, with their drivers and trainers and early-bird odds are:
1. Mr Wiggle Pants-Kayne Kauffman-Jim Mulinix-10/1
2. Betting Line-David Miller-Casie Coleman-3/5
3. Duel Of Truth-Chris Page-Brian Brown-20/1
4. Sintra-Jody Jamieson-David Menary-6/1
5. Don’tcallmefrancis-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-8/1
6. Pure Country-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-9/2
7. Magnum J-Doug McNair-Gregg McNair-25/1
8. Boston Red Rocks-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Steve Elliott-12/1
The Milstein Memorial, being raced as an invitational for the first time, will be the 11th event of a 15-race card. First race post time is 6 p.m.
Horsemen and harness insiders know that if they want to win the Little Brown Jug, the most revered event in harness racing, the path to glory first passes through the stable gates at Northfield.
The last two Jug champions, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Limelight Beach, both raced in the Milstein.
Milstein favorite Betting Line is on a fast track for the Jug and his trainer, Casie Coleman, knows plenty about winning the big race at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Coleman, just the second woman to train a Jug winner, has captured it twice, first with Michael’s Power in 2012 and then with Vegas Vacation the following year.
Betting Line, a winner of 13 of 20 starts lifetime and $983,505, carries a seven-race win streak into the Milstein. His latest score came in Sunday night’s $79,800 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series race at Georgian Downs where he defeated Sintra, a Milstein rival, by a length in 1:51.4.
“(He) was awesome, as he usually is,” Coleman told reporters after the Gold Series triumph. “He was steering and pacing perfect. I’m really happy with him. Now it’s off to Northfield.”
Sintra is an interesting Milstein entry. He has won seven of 10 starts this year by a combined margin of 24-3/4 lengths. All three of his defeats have been to Betting Line.
Magnum J, like Betting Line and Sintra, is shipping down from Canada for the Milstein. None of the three have ever started outside of Ontario. Magnum J also raced Sunday night at Georgian Downs, dropping a photo finish by a neck in a division of the Gold Series.
The Milstein field includes its first female entry in Pure Country. Voted the top juvenile filly last year when she won all 10 of her starts, Pure Country has won six of 10 more starts this year and last Saturday finished fourth, beaten just 2-1/2 lengths in the $320,000 Cane Pace at The Meadowlands.
Among the other Milstein entrants is the Buckeye-sired Mr Wiggle Pants, winner of the Ohio State Fair pace at Scioto Downs on July 30.
Carl Milstein Memorial night at Northfield will also include a Legends Driver Challenge and the $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace for Ohio-bred pacers four years old and up.