10/26/2017 12:16PM

Steel Valley Sprint tops nine-stakes schedule as meet opens

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Petrov wins an allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 18.

After the multiple graded stakes-placed Petrov won a salty allowance-optional event at Keeneland on Oct. 18, trainer Ron Moquett was quick to name his colt’s next target, saying he would jump back into stakes company in the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley.

“That gives me 200,000 reasons to go to Mahoning Valley,” Moquett said.

The stakes highlights a nine-stakes slate that gives owners and trainers 800,000 reasons to keep an eye on the Mahoning Valley meet, which opens Saturday and extends into late April. The Austintown, Ohio, track will card live racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, with the exception of Christmas Day, a Monday. First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern on weekdays and 12:15 p.m. Saturdays.

Mahoning Valley will be looking to build on momentum from last year. The track reported gains in all-sources handle during its 2016 fall-winter meet, which ran from October to December, bolstered by an average of 9.1 starters per race. That meet included the annual Best of Ohio card, which moves among the state’s tracks and this year was held in early October at Belterra Park.

The Steel Valley Sprint, for 3-year-olds, serves as the meet highlight on Nov. 20, supported by the $75,000 Mahoning Distaff for fillies and mares sprinting.

This will be the third renewal of the Steel Valley Sprint. The inaugural edition was won by Lewys Vaporizer. Last year, eventual Ohio horse of the year Mo Dont No was placed first following the disqualification of Awesome Banner.

Mahoning Valley kicks off its stakes schedule on Nov. 4 with the $75,000 Cardinal Handicap for Ohio-registered sprinters ages 3 and up, and the $75,000 Ohio Debutante for state-accredited fillies and mares. The track will also be simulcasting the Breeders’ Cup Saturday program on that day.

The meet’s other stakes are the $75,000 First Lady Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies Nov. 11; the $75,000 Glacial Princess Stakes for Ohio-accredited 2-year-old fillies and the $75,000 Ruff/Kirchberg Memorial for Ohio-accredited older horses Nov. 18; and the $75,000 Joshua Radosevich Memorial Stakes for Ohio-accredited juveniles and the $75,000 Bobbie Bricker Memorial Handicap for Ohio-accredited fillies and mares Dec. 2.