Day At The Track

Pennsylvania fair circuit underway

06:27 AM 17 Jun 2019 NZST
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Mitchell York, harness racing
Mitchell York scores the first driving victory of his purse career, in only his second start, guiding Dream Dancing to victory in 2:07.4 during the opening day of the 2019 fair harness season at the Erie County Fair in Wattsburg PA.
Seth Dowling Photo

WATTSBURG PA – The 2019 Pennsylvania fair circuit got underway this weekend in this northwest Pennsylvania town just outside Erie, with harness racing two-year-olds taking to the track in Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes action Saturday. Unfortunately, the rain that started at the end of Saturday’s card kept coming, and the Sunday action for three-year-olds was cancelled.

Star of the show among the debutantes was no one horse, but a driver – 47-year-old Mitchell York, partners with trainer/driver “Smilin’” Dave Brickell on recent outstanding Keystone fillies Camera Lady and Crew Sock Hanover. York decided to go for his driving license for this season, and on his first day of purse competition he not only posted the fastest mile of the day, but emerged with an overall scorecard of 5-1-2-1-.489, fine numbers for a driver who had had but a handful of qualifying starts beforehand.

York drove yet another Brickell-York two-year-old pacing filly, Dream Dancing, and emerged with the fastest time on the cool and overcast day, 2:07.4, with the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, who had qualified at The Meadows with a 2:00.2 win. At Wattsburg, York kept Dream Dancing off of giant early fractions for the day -- :29.4 and 1:01 – moved to second-over before the 1:34.1 three-quarters, then won a stretch battle with Chatty Devon and Its Bin Said for his first driving win in only his second purse start.

Roger Hammer, the “King of the Pennsylvania Fairs,” had four winners on the day as owner/trainer/driver, three of them with homebreds. Life’s Marvalous, a Delmarvalous gelding who had been second in a 1:58.2 Meadows qualifier, stepped home in 2:08.1 to be the fastest of the quartet.

Quickest freshman trotter was the Possess The Will filly Peachy Georgia, who won by a head over Lindy Pretty Lady in 2:12.4. The winner, owned by Dr. William Solomon, was one of two on the day for the team of trainer Gary Johnston and driver Shawn Johnston.

The Sunday card that was washed out had three 2018 Fair Sire Stake Championship winners programmed – trotting filly RT Gloria De Dios, pacing filly Sure R Lookin Good, and trotting colt Watch Me Hanover. The fourth 2018 champion did get to race this weekend – and Aflame Hanover won $80,000 by finishing fourth in the $1,000,000 North America Cup final at Woodbine Mohawk on Saturday.

Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association

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