Another rising star from Ohio could win the day in the state's biggest horse race, set for Thursday.
A colt called A Rocknroll Dance, trained by Jim Mulinix of Toledo, is the favorite to win the Little Brown Jug in its 67th year.
The harness-racing event, the second leg of the Pacer Triple Crown, is part of a full day of horse racing that starts at 11 a.m. Sept. 20 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The exact start time for the Jug isn't set in stone. According to organizers, the first elimination round for the Little Brown Jug will start around 1-1:30 p.m.
The event punctuates a full week of festivities at the Delaware County Fair, which ends Sept. 22.
It is by far the most anticipated event in the fair's five days of horse racing, according to Tom White, publicity director for the race.
All contenders are 3-year-old pacers and will be competing in two heats and a final to win an estimated $600,000 purse.
White expects A Rocknroll Dance to recapture some of the same enthusiasm as last year's Jug winner, Big Bad John, a local horse from Delaware.
"This year it's another Ohio horse that's the favorite," White said. "I think he's not quite going to be the next Big Bad John, but he'll be the crowd favorite."
But White said the race itself is wide open.
A Rocknroll Dance remains at the top of the rankings after winning the $500,000 Battle of Brandywine in Chester, Pa., last month.
Earlier this month, he took fourth place in the Cane Pace in New York, but followed up with a second-place finish in the $257,500 Simcoe Stakes Sept. 8.
The Toledo horse isn't without challengers. The second-ranked Bolt The Duer from New Jersey has good odds after winning the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Championship in Lexington this month.
Michaels Power, a colt from New York, and Thinking Out Loud from Ontario, rounded out the race's top four contenders this week.
Fairgoers can see Big Bad John, last year's champion, when he's paraded at the track during a special dedication.
"He's a real crowd pleaser so we're going to bring him out," White said.
The Little Brown Jug has worldwide draw. It features competitors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and elsewhere.
"It's a fun day altogether. One of the reasons it's so popular is that people in the sport get to see people they don't see very often except when they come to Delaware," White said.
Admission into the fairgrounds Sept. 20 is $10 for children and $20 for adults. Seating tickets for the race vary, depending on the location of the seat. Ground chairs are $35 and platform chairs are $45.
For tickets and other information visit the website at littlebrownjug.com.