BERLIN- The 60th annual summer-long live racing meet at historic Ocean Downs concluded last Sunday on an up note with champions named in several categories including top driver, top trainer, top trotter and co-top pacers.
The 2008 live meet at Ocean Downs, which began back in late June and concluded last Sunday, was highly successful again this year, attracting thousands of visitors and locals alike to the historic track near Ocean Pines not far from Ocean City. The total attendance for the meet was over 72,000, or an average of over 1,800 each night of live racing.
The Driver of the Meet this year was a relative newcomer to Ocean Downs in Eric Ledford, who finished the summer season at the Berlin track with 59 total wins. The wins came in bunches for Ledford, who raced on 30 of the track’s 40 live racing dates. He recorded five wins back on July 16, had three four-win nights and three driving doubles along the way.
Trainer of the Meet honors went to Michael Hall for the second straight year. Hall’s horses won 17 times, or just over 53 percent of their races. Last year, horses trained by Hall won 19 races at Ocean Downs. Not coincidentally, driver of the year Eric Ledford drove 13 of Hall’s 17 winners this summer at Ocean Downs.
Trotter of the Year honors went to three-year-old colt Concertino for his four-four sweep of the Alan Myer Memorial late closer trotting series at Ocean Downs that began back on July 31. Including the wins in the Alan Myer Memorial, Concertino won 7 of his 13 starts at Ocean Downs this summer.
Sharing Pacer of the Year honors at Ocean Downs this summer were Mr. Love Joy and Hard Head. Each pacer finished with six wins in the 2008 summer live meet at Ocean Downs. Mr. Love Joy was trained by trainer of the year Michael Hall, while Hard Head was trained and driven by Mark Gray.