The best of the New York Sire Stakes County Fair 2& 3-year-old pacers and trotters convened at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon, September 8 to crown the tops of their divisions while racing for $8,000 purses in the NYSS County Fair Finals.
Of the four events only one, the 3-year-old Trot Final, was on the card because the others all had owners entries and a limited amount of betting interests.
However, the youngsters that competed during the summer season, over the mostly small half-mile tracks throughout the state, not only put on a good show but opened the eyes of even the toughest critics who might consider county fair stock inferior.
The fastest clocking of the four events-two for pacers and two for trotters-- was turned in by Wild Side when Billy Parker, Jr. guided the sophomore pacing filly Wild Side to a gate to wire victory in a 1:56:1 clocking over Betterdays R Cumin and driver Ron Abbott in one of the three non-betting events.
Impressed by the daughter of-Swinging Victoria, Parker--who had driven the filly to a 1:56:1 victory earlier this season a NYSS late closer-- said with a grin , "she's a pretty nice filly...you can do anything you want with her."
Trained by Lonny Hale for Linda Austin, Wild Side notched her ninth seasonal victory while equaling her lifetime best clocking..
Even the 3 year old trotters were impressive.
Second choice in the betting, Paradise Magoo, handled by Jimmy Devaux, got caught in an early speed duel with 32-1 shot Rambling Melody (John Cross) and the former needed his all to clear and gain command at the quarter which flashed :28:2.
Paradise Magoo then raced by the half in :58:2 and the three quarters in 1:29:2 but the sting of the first quarter took its toll and the trotter faded in the lane at which point the betting favorite Rivers Edge Jim , driven by Dough Ackley, trotted to the front but they couldn't stop the late rush from JBs Hit and driver Scott Mongeon who rallied in the deep stretch to score a 2:00:4 triumph.
Trained by Paul Zabielski for owner Harold Smith, JB's Hit, a-JB's Desire gelding, scored his seventh win in nine seasonal starts.
And the 2-year olds were just as impressive.
In another non-wagering split, Parker hustled Clearly The Best to the lead from the eight-hole and they raced on the engine all the way until Doug Ackley and Silent Hill, who had a perfect two-hole journey, tipped coming off final turn and then Clearly The Best wasn't anymore but she did hold-on for second money. The final time was a very creditable 1:58:3 and it marked a new lifetime record for the-Spring Squall gelding.
Silent Hill is owned by James Ackley, trained by his driver and now sports seasonal stats of nine wins and one second in 10 starts.
The County Fair 2 year old Trot Final saw Brian Cross use the front-end route with Rosie Mogul to score a 2:05:3 victor over Steuben Paul and driver David Fisher. A recent purchase by Paul & Patricia O'Neill along with driver Cross, Rosie Mogul lowered his lifetime record by two-fifths of a second and now sports six wins and three seconds in 10 lifetime starts.
The New York Sire Stakes program has been a boon to many fairs within the state and because of the funds they provide racing continues at the fairs where without those stakes monies they probably wouldn't.
There was a time, and not too long ago, when county fair racing was not only a staple in the industry but races over the mostly small ovals--- many times with double dashes-- helped straighten out many a problem horse.
However, in recent years county fairs are homes to small stakes events and the New York County Fair circuit is no exception.