Top Ohio Sires Stakes trotters crowned in Scarlet Championships

by DRF Harness for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association  (Conrad photo)

Sugar Instead, Rose Run Yolanda, Grand Revival and Tennessee Tom were crowned as the best in the trotting divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes in 2023 after winning their respective $300,000 Scarlet Championships on Saturday night at Eldorado Scioto Downs.

Sugar Instead (Ronnie Gillespie) capped off an undefeated run through the sires stakes with a track record 1:55 victory in the final for 2-year-old fillies. Sugar Instead was in the pocket at the 26.3 opening quarter but squeezed out between leader Possibility (Dan Noble) and a three-wide My Rory (Tony Hall) to take over the top spot past that marker. After she had control, Sugar Instead backed down the middle-half to 55.4 and 1:25.2 en route to winning by 4 3/4 lengths from Roxanna (Aaron Merriman) and Iam Independent (Chris Page).

“To be honest, I kind of went over the race, and the only horse that I knew had a shot was Chris Page’s horse. I didn’t know who was on the outside of me, and I thought it was Chris Page, so I came right back out,” Gillespie said about his strategy early in the mile. “I wanted to be on his back or him on my back. It means a lot. This is something that I had a vision of for many years, and it’s just coming to pass.”

A daughter of Volstead bred by Elmer Miller, Sugar Instead is trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. for owners Joyce McClelland and Larry Wills. She has pocketed $331,125 to go with her six triumphs and two runner-up finishes in eight outings and paid $3.20 to win as the 3-5 favorite.