#8. – A Lionhearted Effort Wins For Ohio Connections – Countdown to the Little Brown Jug

by Dean Hoffman

Early in the afternoon of the 2005 Little Brown Jug, driving ace Dave Palone sat in the paddock at the Delaware County Fairgrounds and mused.

“I’d sure like to win the Jug for these people from Ohio,” said Palone.

That day Palone would be driving P Forty Seven, trained by popular Ohio native Kelly O’Donnell and owned by O’Donnell in partnership with Mark Maynard and C.E. Mullinax. All were residents of the Buckeye State where the Jug is truly the Holy Grail for pacers.

There were three elimination heats slated for the 2005 Jug and a victory for P Forty Seven seemed like an Impossible Dream. He would be facing a powerful troika of Rocknroll Hanover, Village Jolt, and Cam’s Fool from the stable successful but controversial trainer Brett Pelling. To make matters worse and Palone’s dream even more impossible, P Forty Seven had drawn into the same elimination heat as Rocknroll Hanover, the strongest of the Pelling entry.

Village Jolt drew first blood with victory in the opening elimination heat. Then Palone drove Up Front Tornado to an upset win in the second heat. Then the unthinkable happened: P Forty Seven upset Rocknroll Hanover in their elimination heat.

When the field for the final was drawn, P Forty Seven got the coveted inside starting position with favored Village Jolt to his immediate right. Rocknroll Hanover would start from post five.

Driver Brian Sears put Rocknroll Hanover in high gear leaving the gate and he secured the lead in the opening quarter. Village Jolt made his move nearing the half-mile marker and cleared Rocknroll Hanover and was leading with as the field went into the final turn. Palone got P Forty Seven free, but Village Jolt had a big jump on him and seemed on his way to victory.

But P Forty Seven and Palone never gave up. They came on furiously, relentlessly. Village Jolt never weakened but P Forty Seven was on a mission. His mission was to win the Jug and he did that by three-quarters of a length.

Many people immediately likened the race to the heroic effort by Life Sign in the ’93 Jug when another trainer from Ohio, Gene Riegle, defeated a powerful three-horse entry.

P Forty Seven never won another race after the Little Brown Jug, but what he did that day in Delaware will never be forgotten.


This year’s 69th Annual Little Brown Jug is brought to you by Fazoli’s

47 More posts in Little Brown Jug category
Recommended for you
Man in the Street (at the Delaware County Fair)

By Mike Mullaney   DELAWARE, OH – A bucket-list item was taken care of Wednesday...