Day At The Track

Sophomores compete in Clearfield (PA) Fair

07:15 AM 01 Aug 2019 NZST
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Harness racing April Ava, harness racing
Eric Neal receives the Buster DiSalvo Trophy for most driving wins during the Clearfield meet. He is surrounded by family, including his father Randal (behind him and to his left), also a DiSalvo trophy winner.
Seth Dowling photo
April Ava wins in 1:59 at Clearfield for driver Eric Neal.
Seth Dowling photo

CLEARFIELD, PA - The Tuesday and Wednesday cards at the Clearfield (PA) County Fair were devoted to Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes racing for three-year-olds. The pacers, on Wednesday, produced three sub-2:00 miles - with the fastest coming in an unlikely circumstance.

The Delmarvalous filly April Ava, winless in 2019 and entered in the "B" division of the Sire Stakes, won off by nine lengths fordriver Eric Neal, stopping the timing watch in 1:59, almost five seconds better than her previous career best. Owned and trained by Wayne Glessner, April Ava had been consistently pacing in the 1:56 range at The Meadows without success, but she obviously enjoyed the move to the twicearound oval, and in the process lowered the circuit's divisional season's record.

Fastest of the "A" filly pacers was the Sweet Lou miss Sweet Tea Baby, who came first-over in a 2:00.3 triumph for owner/trainer/driver Stephen White.

Colts generated the other 2:00 recordings, with the fastest time for the "boys," 1:59.3, turned in by Motive Hanover, who became the first horse to post two 2:00 victories at the fairs this year. The Well Said colt opened his fair campaign with three wins at the "B" level (including a 1:59.4 triumph at York), was second to stablemate Way To Close in his first "A" start, and here won by 2¾ lengths for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, also co-owner with his son Cody.

Yet another Todd Schadel pupil, the Western Terror gelding Find One More, dropped down to the "B" level and promptly won by five lengths in 1:59.4. Christine Schadel owns this three-year-old with her trainer/driver/husband.

On the diagonal gait, it was Todd's brother Tony who produced the fastest mile of the Tuesday card, a 2:02.4 victory with Andovers Asset, his third win in four fair starts and a time which equaled the trotting colts' fastest win at the fairs. Tony's wife Linda is the trainer of the Andover Hall gelding, and they share ownership in him.

Among the trotting fillies, there were two miles in 2:03.2, and one of the winners was no surprise - since the Muscle Massive miss Touch Of Dough already held the mark for fastest fair trotting mile of the year with a 2:01 at Silver Springs Ranch. Touch of Dough now sports a 3-2-1-0 seasonal scorecard at the fairs for driver Eric Neal, trainer/father Randal Neal, and Neal Racing Stable LLC.

The other 2:03.2 sophomore filly trot was produced by a first-time winner in 2019, Miss Right Now, another daughter of Muscle Massive - also in a "B" event, for trainer/driver Roger Hammer, co-owner with Vicki Fair.

Eric Neal had four driving victories during both the two-year-old and three-year-old sessions, with his eight total sulky successes earning him the Buster DiSalvo trophy, annually given at Clearfield to the winningest driver. Eric's father Randal is a former DiSalvo trophy winner, and a search was started to see if a father and son had ever both been DiSalvo champions.

August is the busiest month on the Pennsylvania fair circuit, starting Tuesday and Wednesday (the 6th and 7th), when there will be racing at both the Wayne County Fair in Honesdale PA and at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg PA - 348 miles to the southwest.

From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen Association, PHHA, and Meadows Standardbred Owners Association partnership

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