10/13/2016 3:15PM

Dayton: Victory Is Coming brings tears of joy to owner


Betty Shaw says she still cries every time her mare Victory Is Coming wins a race.  It’s likely Betty will need some tissues this Saturday night (Oct. 15), when the 9-year-old Victory Sam mare goes postward in the $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championship for aged mares at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway.

Betty, along with her husband John “Red” Shaw of Mount Vernon, OH, have been in the harness racing game for longer than they can both remember, and both say they’ve never had a horse like Victory Is Coming.  

“You don’t get one of these very often,” Red noted. “She’s a tough campaigner who never stops trying.”

The Shaws have a 40-acre farm where they have broodmares and babies, and where Victory Is Coming goes for a break from the racetrack on occasion.

“She might be a little tough if she doesn’t know you, but otherwise she’s good in the barn,” Betty added. “The racetrack is her life and she enjoys it.  When we bring her home to the farm, she’s happy for a day or two, but then she wants to go back to the track.  That’s what she knows and where she’s the happiest.”

Betty purchased Victory Is Coming at the 2008 Ohio Selected Jug Sale for $13,500.

“I just liked everything about her and I kept bidding and bidding on her and when the gavel fell, Red asked me who got her, and I said happily ‘I did!’” Betty related.

Victory Is Coming is the second of eight foals out of the Overcomer mare Norse Comer 3, 2:00h ($69,675) and has rewarded the Shaws by earning $673,659 to date.  Over the years she’s scored 66 wins, 27 seconds and 14 thirds from 154 starts—that a lot of Kleenex by anyone’s standards.

One of the keys to the mare’s longevity at the races has been her trainer, Ammon Hershberger, Betty said.

“He’s a big reason she’s been so good, so consistent, for so long,” Betty said. “Ammon is a quiet, honest guy who never gets into a hurry with a horse.

As a freshman, Victory Is Coming had ten starts, with five wins and a trio of thirds, earning $72,931.  She took a 2-year-old mark of 2:01 3/5 at Raceway Park in an OSS test with Hershberger at the controls.  The following year, at 3, she scored 16 wins, four seconds and a third in 23 starts, upping her bankroll by another $134,417 in earnings, and lowering her record to 1:56 with a score in an OSS at Scioto Downs on Sept. 6, 2010.  Besides victories that season in multiple OSS contests, Victory Is Coming also won Ohio Breeders and Ohio Fair Stakes, as well as a Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows.

Lightly raced in 2011 at age 4, Victory Is Coming scored one win, three seconds and a third in ten tries, earning $35,575 and lowering her mark to 1:55 1/5 via an Oct. 31 triumph at The Meadows in a $14,000 overnighter.

“She can trot those miles week in and week out,” Betty confirmed. “She has a serious attitude about racing and isn’t the most overly friendly horse.  She’s a professional and all business once she gets on the racetrack.”

At age 5 Victory Is Coming packed on another $113,260 to her growing bankroll, winning six times in 21 starts and rarely missed hitting the tote board.  On Oct. 5, 2012, she took a mark of 1:53 2/5 en route to winning the $22,500 Preferred Trot at The Meadows after winning multiple open trotters earlier in the season at Scioto Downs.

In 2013, as a 6-year-old, Victory Is coming added another 13 wins to her resume from 22 starts and another $78,052 in earnings for her connections.  She won nine races alone at Northfield Park and four at The Meadows, including a seasonal best of 1:53 4/5 on Nov. 13 in a $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap.  That season she was named Ohio Aged Trotter of the Year.

“It’s tough for me to pick one of her races that I like best,” Betty admitted. “But her mile at Scioto Downs was really a supreme effort.”

On Aug. 22, 2014, Victory Is Coming trotted to a 1:51 clocking with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., at the lines in a $30,000 Scioto Downs Open Trot.  She wrapped up that season with another $130,540 from nine wins, five seconds and four thirds in 29 trips behind the starting gate.

Last year, as an 8-year-old, Victory Is Coming racked up another ten triumphs and four thirds from 26 starts, consistently plying her wares in the opens at Northfield and Scioto Downs.  Her bets effort came on July 3, in a $20,000 Northfield Open Trot when she was timed in 1:53 2/5.

This year, she’s only missed two checks in the 13 starts but otherwise has been as steady as ever, visiting the winner’s circle on six occasions and recording a 9-year-old mark of 1:55 4/5 at Northfield on April 25.  She’s currently riding a five-race win streak after competing over a quintet of Ohio county fair ovals heading into Saturday’s OSS contest, where she’ll square off against seven rivals. 

“She’s one of a kind, that’s for sure,” Betty acknowledged. “We wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world.”

-edited release (Ohio State Racing Commission)