MOUNT VERNON — On a Tuesday evening full of familiar faces at the Knox County Fairgrounds, it was a newcomer that walked off with a brand new track record. Actually he paced off. Canadian Robert Dinning drove Michigan-owned colt, Mr. I Am, to victory in the eighth race in a blistering 1:57 to smash the old track record of 1:59.4 set in 1996 by Circleville’s Direct Pay with Darrin Mouser in the sulky.
“(Mr. I Am) had a good fair season, last year,” said Dinning. “He’s really coming on the scene. He’s really a good contender. He’s nice and sound and he’s going to be fast.”
The eighth, also known as the Home Talent Colt Stakes, was full of good, second-division 3-year-old pacers and Dinning was in some fast company. Among others, he had to beat this year’s current top driver at Scioto Downs, Mount Vernon’s Chris Page, who was driving Noble Trick. In the meantime, Friskies Cheapsuit with J.D. Weingard at the reins, was third.
“They battled up front, those two — Chris Page and J.D. Weingard — for a lot of the race,” said Dinning. “It’s awesome, racing against these guys in Ohio. It’s a lot of fun, racing out here.”
For Dinning, who resides in Windsor, Ontario, his first trip to the Knox County Fair was delightful.
“It was a long, three-hour drive,” said Dinning. “I came down the hill and I looked and said, ‘Wow, what a beautiful place.’ Actually, I texted my wife, after I pulled into the place and said, ‘Wow, I wish you came with me because of how beautiful it is here.’ The people are great and the fair is awesome. It’s the first time in Ohio for me and I’ll tell you, Ohio is the place to be. The people are great. Everybody takes pride in the Buckeyes and horse racing. You can’t beat that — college football and horse racing.”
Page, who had won six races at Scioto Downs last Saturday, was winless in racing action at the Knox County Fairgrounds last Sunday. He started out Tuesday with a fourth-place finish aboard Ashville colt Ladies Pleeze in the third race. In the fifth, Page finally broke the ice, getting a win aboard 2-year-old Sectionline Road.
“He’s real green,” said Page of Sectionline Road. “We brought him to the fairgrounds to get a little experience. That’s the main thing is that he is getting some experience and learning how to race.”
Page enjoys being back at his home track almost as much as winning.