Horse #039;picks#039; Wolverines to beat OSU

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

TOLEDO - Psst, want a tip on who'll win the Ohio State-Michigan game?

Take Michigan. At least that's what the horses say.

Sure it sounds silly, but for the last five years the winner of the Buckeye-Wolverine Pace at Raceway Park has correctly matched the winner of the big game.

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The harness track in 1998 started matching up four pacers from Ohio against four from Michigan as part of its ''Buckeye-Wolverine Night'' promotion.

This year's winner was Blue Oxfords - a horse owned by Gale Moen from Lapeer, Mich.

Blue Oxfords won convincingly by nine lengths on Sunday, good news for the No. 5 Wolverines who play the No. 4 Buckeyes on Saturday.

Toledo is sort of the dividing line in the rivalry so the race drew a better than usual crowd at Raceway Park. Michigan Stadium is just 45 minutes away. And the fans are evenly split between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

At the track, both schools' fight songs were played throughout the night, and the drivers wore their team's jerseys.

''I'm usually impartial with races, but I was happy to see a Michigan horse come out on top,'' said Raceway Park general manager Michael White, a Wolverines fan.

A year ago, Ohio-owned Monturo won by a nose victory, and Ohio State defeated Michigan ''by a nose'' by stopping the Wolverines on the last play of the game.

In 2001, C'mon Sloopy Hangon, which was named for Ohio's official rock song and a fan favorite at Ohio Stadium, won the race, and the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 26-20.