03/02/2016 9:56AM

Northfield: Aaron Merriman wins 8,000th race

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Aaron Merriman scored the 8,000th win of his driving career while driving Watcha Got Abby in Northfield Park’s 6th race on Tuesday (March 1).  Watcha Got Abby boldly left from the gate and led her competition from start to finish, winning by a 1/4-length in 1:58 2/5.    

Merriman, 37, keeps a torrid schedule, regularly competing at Northfield Park and The Meadows.  However, he also races at various other venues throughout the year.   

Aaron is the reigning North American dash champion and his talents have been noticed on the national stage.  Merriman has competed in some of the biggest races in harness racing.  In August 2013, Merriman became the youngest inductee into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame.

Merriman’s richest win came in a $300,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final aboard Palazzo Princess.  Aaron’s fastest win was race timed in 1:48 3/5 aboard Kanaris at Scioto Downs in September, 2014.  

Merriman remembers his first win as being aboard a pacing mare named Albert’s Filly at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio.  Although there are 8,000 to choose from, Merriman says that he has no favorite win, “It always feels great to win a race,” explained Merriman, “I really don’t have a favorite.  I have had the same elated feeling every time I have been to the winner’s circle.”   

Aaron has driven many talented horses, “It would be hard to say the best horse I have driven,” thought Merriman.  “I have been truly blessed to drive a lot of nice horses in our sport’s signature races.” He has sat behind countless horses, but one sticks out to him above all others.  “I love to drive Tamarind.  He is small and has a lot of problems, but he gives his all each and every race.”

Merriman started driving at the age of 21 and appreciates the successful 16-year career he has experienced so far; accomplishing the 8,000-win milestone and purse earnings in excess of $46,000,000.

“I’ve had a great run for a long time,” said Merriman.  “There are so many owners and trainers that have given me opportunities and I will be forever grateful to them.  The chances I have been given are unbelievable and I wish I could thank them each individually.  The horses deserve credit too -- they are the ones who carry us around the track and deserve the real credit for my 8,000 wins.”