Since Tony Hall picked up the drive six starts ago behind Pick Me Upper, the five-year-old Trixton gelding has scored four Open class victories and earned $58,400.
A late bloomer who earned less than $8,000 as a juvenile, he earned $130,384 as a four-year-old and has already banked $29,400 in 2022.
Pick Me Upper copped two of the final three Open Trots at Hollywood Dayton in December and has matched that feat with two out of three thus far in January at Miami Valley.
Hall left alertly but yielded to second choice Refined (Mitch Cushing) prior to reaching the :27.4 first quarter barrier. Shortly thereafter the winner was sent back to the point before reaching the :56.2 halfway juncture. Pass The Vape came calling at the three-quarters marker in 1:25, but couldn’t advance past Pick Me Upper’s midsection before tiring. With a :28 final panel Pick Me Upper had enough in reserve to hold off Refined in the stretch. I Know My Chip (Tyler Smith) got up for third with Thunder (Brett Miller) and Delilah Seelster (Trace Tetrick) picking up the minor spoils in the $24,000 event.
A quartet of Claim To Fame divisions for $12,500 claimers (carrying 30 percent enhanced tags of $16,200 in the second leg) also went postward to determine the finalists who will compete for a $25,000 purse next Monday.
Winners were Always A Fiji (Miller, 1:54.1, $9.80), Pointsman (Jeremy Smith, 1:54.3, $16.40), Levi (Tetrick, 1:53.2, $4.40) and Our Zak Whitby A (Trevor Smith, 1:53.3, $21). Joining these four second leg winners in the final will be first leg winners Bettors Dream, N Expense, Criminal Record and Shanghai Bobby as well as Garretts Guide. In the event that any of the top nine money winners in the series fail to enter, Antagonist would be next to move in.
Miami Valley hosts live harness racing Sunday through Thursday with a regular post time of 4:05 p.m.