Day At The Track

Monroe County fastest of all at Juniata County Fair

03:56 AM 06 Sep 2013 NZST
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Harness racing

PORT ROYAL PA - Pennsylvania-sired three-year-olds were spotlighted Wednesday on a beautiful day at the Juniata County Fairgrounds in Port Royal PA.

Monroe County, who has set two all-age track records and two other divisional track records this summer at the local fairs, bounced back to form from the trailing post seven to post a 2:03.4 win in her division of the filly trot, by over two seconds the fastest Sire Stakes mile of the day on the diamond gait. In doing so, the Glidemaster filly ended the 6-6 fair run of Homepage, who finished second, for driver Aaron Johnston and trainer John McMullen Jr ., the latter co-owner with Michelle McMullen (all doublers on the day).

The redoubtable Roger Hammer took three races with horses he owns, trains, and drove, including two cuts of the 3PC races. The faster was the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Camturo Beach, now 8-6-2-0 at the PA twicearounds after the speediest mile of the day, 2:02.2; the other was the homebred Nuclear Breeze gelding Falcon's Breeze, who despite being last year's leading pointleader was winning only for the first time at the fairs this year when, undoubtedly relishing the scratch of the thunderous McAlvin, he tallied in 2:05.1, with a 29.1 kicker. (Hammer's ol' wrestling buddy from their Bedford-area high school days, Sam Beegle, won the other glamor division event with newcomer Nittany Nation in 2:03.2.)

Have More Wine drew the inside of the field of four and Keystone Wanda, second-fastest fair Sires performer of the year (1:57.2, behind McAlvin's twin 1:57s), drew the outside - and that may have made the difference in the quickest 3PF division, with the Western Terror filly Have More Wine victorious for the seventh time at the fairs, here in 2:03-29.2 for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel (three wins in the sulky and two as a coniditioner) and owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel, James Reuther, and James Nelson.

The Port Royal racing began on Tuesday night with contests for two-year-olds.

Unfortunately, the times for the freshman heats had to be voided (NTR). The Port Royal oval is known as Port Royal Speedway, home to good local car racing, 363 days of the year, and is less than a half-mile in circumference; after harness rainouts in 2011 and 2012, the old marks for precise placements of the start/finish and other "quarter poles" were no longer in place, and a small miscalculation when setting up for Tuesday resulted in time quicker than expected; when the track was remeasured and set to rights for Wednesday's card, it was decided in total overall fairness to disallow the Tuesday times.

While there may be no chronological basis for measure, the mind against the memory still produces strong impressions of special victories, and among Tuesday's from this corner's perspective were:

--The Boots Dunn bred/owned/trained pair of 2TFs, Bella Palazzo and especially Glide By Shooting. Both were driven by Brian Zendt; before the races Brian, brother Phil, father Bill, and grandfather/patriarch Wilbur, who hails from Juniata County, were honored in impressive trackside ceremonies.

--2PC El Chivato, now 5 for 5 at the fairs, and his filly counterpart Southern Sweetie, who controlled the throttle and won in hand to run her lifetime record to 5-3-2-0.

FINISHING LINES - They'll draw Sunday for Monday (2YOs) and Tuesday (3YOs) racing at the York Fair, third-to-last stop on this year's circuit, with action both days starting at 10:30 am.

by Jerry Connors

 

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