Meredith Noble loves horses. She grew up around them.
“It’s in my blood,” she said. “It’s my heritage.”
Meredith is the daughter of harness racing legend Sam “Chip” Noble III, who passed away Jan. 13, 2014. Her brother Dan Noble also is a harness racing owner, driver and trainer.
But Sunday at the Clinton County Fair, Meredith Noble will for the first time in an official race be in the sulky. She is scheduled to drive in the 20th and final race on the Speed Program that is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Noble’s race is scheduled for a 7:45 p.m. post.
“(Harness racing) was something we could all share together,” she said Thursday afternoon in a telephone interview with the News Journal. “I had been riding and showing horses. But harness racing, the last three years is when I really started getting into this.”
As part of the statewide Ohio Ladies Pace, Noble will take part in a race Sunday that will include only women drivers. In all there are nine horses covering two races at the fairground.
There are currently 14 fairs around the state participating in the series.
“They are trying to show this is not a business for men only,” said Noble, who turns 28 next week.
The top finishers in each of the 14 races will receive points based on finish. The top drivers will then vie for the championship in the 15th race in the series at the Delaware County Fair.
Originally, the first race in the Ohio Ladies Pace was set for last month at the Pickaway County Fair but weather caused the race to be cancelled.
“I don’t plan on making this my livelihood,” said Noble, who is a dental assistant Mondays through Thursdays. “I’ll always have my hand in the business, but we’ll see where it takes me.”
The year before her father passed away, Meredith “spent the entire summer with him.”
“Pretty much I was his second trainer on my days off (from being a dental assistant),” she said.
So Fridays through Sundays, Meredith headed to the Greene County Fairgrounds to work with the family’s stable of standardbreds.
“I got to see another side of my dad, working side by side with him,” said the Xenia High School graduate.
When Chip was diagnosed with cancer, Meredith desperately wanted to drive in the same race with her father and brother.
“I told him I want to race once with you and Dan,” Meredith recalls telling her father. “He looked at me and said ‘You’re serious?’”
But before that happened, Chip passed away. Meredith wasn’t sure if she would be able to get back in the sulky.
“I just didn’t know if could do it,” she admitted. “My brother (Dan) and I sat down and had a nice talk. He said we have to finish this, you need to do this.
“It took me a while, but I got back in the barn and did it. It’s a passion. I love the horses. I love the business.”
Mark Huber may be reached at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.