CLEARFIELD PA - The four-day harness racing meet at the Clearfield (PA) County Fair concluded on Wednesday, with $107,784 in total purses distributed in the quartet of days among the best of the Keystone State's fair competitors. Clearfield, (relatively) centrally- located in the state, always draws one of the biggest pool of entrants, and local fans enjoyed 34 heats of racing during the meet. The tightest finish of the meet, by definition, occurred on Tuesday in a division of the two-year-old filly pace, when Tropical Terror, a daugher of Western Terror, is the only fair campaigner to win at all eight of the season's initial stops, maintained that distinction while finishing in a 2:03.3 dead-heat with Keystone I Will, fastest of this group at the fairs off a 2:00 mile at Bedford. The Art Official filly Keystone I Wish is trained and was driven by Todd Schadel, while Tropical Terror tallied for trainer Jason Shaw and driver Chris Shaw. There were five divisions of the two-year-old colt pace that day, with Team Schadel accounting for two and Team Shaw (whose brace included the fastest winner Marshmallow Pulse in 2:03) taking two more. The fifth was won by R N Nate for trainer/driver Roger Hammer, who will take his present six-race win streak behind the gate tomorrow (Friday) at Harrah's Philadelphia. On the trotting side, the highlight would be the remarkable performance of trainer Bill Daugherty Jr.'s three-year-old colts, both of whom are now six for seven at the twicearounds after Clearfield victories. Fly Past Hanover, an altered son of Cantab Hall, has lost only in a photo when Faust set the all-age Bedford track record of 2:00.4, while the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm posted the Clearfield meet's fastest trotting time of 2:03.4. ("Charm"'s Clearfield counterpart on the pacing side would be Ruffle Up, a sophomore Real Artist gelding who won in 2:01 for trainer/driver Roger Hammer.) Handling the two Daugherty powerhouses throughout the summer has been the fair circuit's leading driver, Steve Schoeffel, who with four wins on the week now has 48 wins in eight stops; Schoeffel's main rival, Chris Shaw, visited Victory Lane via sulky six times at Clearfield to raise his win total to 45. The Shaw/Schoeffel duel on the driving side is paralleled on the training side as well, as Chris's brother Jason harnessed five winners during the session to currently enjoy a 33-31 edge over horses out of the Schoeffel barn. Perennial "fair king" Roger Hammer is third in both categories, with 19 driving wins and 20 training triumphs. The fair circuit now moves to the far northeast of the state, at the Wayne County Fair at Honesdale, which will stage its "fair meet" on Sunday and Monday and its "2-day meet" on Wednesday and Thursday. Next Thursday also sees the start of two days of racing at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg, 358 miles away from Honesdale. (Miss the turn for Honesdale and you'll be in New York; miss the turn for Waynesburg and you'll be in West Virginia ... yes, Pennsylvania is a big state.) by Jerry Connors for the PA Sire Stakes Fairs
BEDFORD PA - The two-year-old pacer Gordo astonished the racing fans at the Bedford (PA) Fair on Monday afternoon when he scorched to a 1:57 victory in a Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes event, missing both the all-time Bedford track record and the national season's record for age, sex, and gait by only 2/5 of a second. Driver Steve Schoeffel sent Gordo right to the front and blitzed amazing fractions of 28.2, 58.2, and 1:26.2 en route to the sensational victory. A son of McArdle out of the Blissful Hall mare Blissard Of Oz (who had had only one winner in four living foals pre-Gordo), the fast freshman was bred by Perretti Farms. (As to whether this horse is named after Gordon Waterstone, the Hervey Award-winning journalist for the Horseman and Fair World magazine, there are only two possible clues: 1) being a Perretti-bred, he was likely named by Communicators Hall of Fame candidate Bob Marks, who often incorporated people's names into horses' names: an earlier foal of Blissard Of Oz was named Duke Of Pellington; 2) the pacer is a gelding.) For driver Steve Schoeffel, the circuit's leading driver and trainer, it was his fifth visit to Victory Lane on the day (but first with a pacer; more on that later), all five of whom come from his own barn. His wife Kathy had her fourth winner of the day with Gordo, and co-owner Lander Stables LLC got their third. The other two winners in the sections of the FSS two-year-old colt pace had a distinctly "hometown" flavor. In the first, R N Nate paced in 2:00.2, which would be a divisional track standard for about 30 minutes, for breeder-owner-trainer-driver Roger Hammer, perhaps the best-known citizen of Bedford in harness racing. And in the second, Sam Beegle, PHHA president and a state wrestling championship finalist when attending his native Bedford High School, paraded back Modern Yankee after a 2:01.3 triumph. Two impressive freshman fillies paced home first in their Fair Sire Stakes cuts. Keystone I Wish was first up, and she went the first 2:00 mile of the local fair season when she won in even time for trainer/driver Todd Schadel. Her clocking shaved two seconds off the previous divisional track mark co-held by Keystone Trixie and Keystone Haden - a tribute to the Hempt Farms' "Keystones," which are still producing winners; Schadel is co-breeder of "Wish" with the Estate of George Hempt Trust. (And that is not to forget Keystone Famous, whose 1:56.3 here in 1986 is still the pacing record, though threatened by Gordo today.) The other baby filly winner, Tropical Terror, kept her distinction intact: she has now won at all seven stops to date on the circuit, here in 2:02.1 for (driver Chris) Shaw / (trainer Jason) Shaw / and (owner and 2YO himself Mason) Shaw. The Schoeffel barn sent out four of the five winners in Fair Sire Stakes freshman trotting competition, including the new track recordholder for 2TFs, Mooksie, who lowered the old mark 5 2/5 seconds with a 2:02.1 tally, over three seconds faster than any of her colt counterparts trotted today. Also a winner was Missive, in 2:05, for the same ownership as Gordo. The Schoeffelites winning the colt events were Police Navidad, fastest of the victorious trio in 2:05.3, and the unusually-bred Shark Gesture trotter out of an Artsplace mare, Chiney Babco, who has now won six "on the trot," here in 2:07.2. Trainer-owner Boots Dunn and driver Chris Shaw sent out 2:06.3 winner King Karma to break up a total Schoeffel sweep. Oh ... and the track was rated "slow" throughout the card. FINISHING LINES-The first race of the day was a Quaker State trot, and the only two entrants were from the Syl King Stable, so it was not really shocking to see a final time of 2:27.4 - which by the way, grouped with Gordo's 1:57 mile to produce a 30 4/5 second variance from fastest to slowest mile on a card, was NOT a record for Western Pennsylvania - just about 29 years ago, Marauder won his heat of the 1985 Adios in 1:52.1, and then, when Nihilator did not return for the final, took the trophy by walking over in 2:27.4, for a 35 3/5 second variance!... The three-year-olds take to the track at Bedford Tuesday at 11 a.m., and given the speed show put on by the babies, who knows how fast the sophomores will go? From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association
HUGHESVILLE PA - The national newspaper USA TODAY runs a feature in its upper left-hand corner of the Sports section called "Names You Need To Know." After Thursday's conclusion of the two-day harness meet at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville PA, our modification of this "header" is "A Name and a Number You Need to Know." The number is "2:00.3." The name is "Shaw." "2:00.3" is the fastest time recorded at the six stops to date on the 2014 Pennsy fair tour. It was first achieved last Sunday by Mister Chaos, a three-year-old Art Official gelding trained by Bob Rougeaux III for owners D&P Racing LLC. Mister Chaos then came back three days later, during Wednesday's sophomore action at Hughesville, and equaled his season standard for Rougeaux and D&P. Then a third 2:00.3 appeared, unexpectedly - on Thursday, during two-year-old action. Marshmallow Pulse, a Quik Pulse Mindale colt (out of the mare Marshamarshamarsha - Brady Bunch fans, go explain that name to the others), overcame the outside post, brushing from last after the 30 quarter to the lead in 1:00.1 en route to clockings of 1:30 and the prized 2:00.3. Marshmallow Pulse now has four wins and two seconds in six starts. The name "Shaw"? Well, we can start with Marshmallow Pulse's driver, Chris Shaw. Chris also happens to have been the driver of Mister Chaos in his two miles of 2:00.3. But there are many more Shaws. Marshmallow Pulse is trained by Chris's brother Jason, and the precocious baby is owned by Jason's son Mason - who is now the same age as Marshmallow Pulse! In all, Shaw/Shaw/Shaw had five wins over the two days at Hughesville. Another of the five winners was another impressive freshman, Tropical Terror, who became the only horse to win at each of the six Pennsylvania fairs to date when she triumphed Thursday in 2:03.1-1:00. A daughter of Western Terror, Tropical Terror is tied as the winningest freshman in all of North America - and her 2:01 at Gratz had been the local marker for two-year-olds of either sex until "Pulse" eclipsed her in the 26th and final race of the two-day session. In all, Chris Shaw had seven wins in the two days, bringing him within range of last year's fair champion (and a North American UDR leader in 2013) Steve Schoeffel, who "only" had four wins, with Schoeffel now having a 38-36 advantage (remember, after only 12 cards of racing). Schoeffel's four sulky triumphs were all from his own barn, so Jason Shaw's five wins now makes the trainers' score Team Shaw 26, Team Schoeffel 24. From a breeding standpoint, Schoeffel's most interesting horse would be the freshman trotting colt Chiney Babco, who racked up his fifth straight win on Thursday. Chiney Babco is interesting because he is a Shark Gesture colt out of an Artsplace mare - Schoeffel reported that he couldn't get the horse to pace all winter, but he showed an inclination to trot, and with a quintet of victories and over $13,000 on his card already, Schoeffel showed his good judgment and horsemanship with that "conversion." FINISHING LINES - The fair circuit in PA now moves southwest to Bedford PA, for Monday and Tuesday racing beginning at 11 a.m. Last year Bedford rejoined the circuit for the first time in 23 years, and this year's it is hoped they get both cards in, instead of having one washed out, as happened in 2013 ... And in referencing "Marshmarshamarsha" again, those of you watching too much TV Land can tell your friends why a colt out of a mare named Pilgrims Pebbles has a perfect name in Bambam Lauxmont ... From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association
GRATZ PA - The first two-day meet at Gratz PA, the fifth stop on the Pennsylvania Fair harness racing circuit for 2014, featured some $95,000 of Sire Stakes action, with five of the eight "PA Fair Season's Leaders" emerging from the session, including the quickest miles on both the trot and the pace. Actually, the local season's record in the 3TC category was lowered three times in Sunday's three divisions - within 30 minutes total, and Steve Schoeffel, top North American UDR driver (300-499 starts) in 2013 and again atop the local circuit's driving colony, handled all three. First came Millertown Road, winning in 2:03-29.2 and sending announcer/trainer Jim McGettigan down from his booth to the winners circle, and then two trained by Bill Daugherty Jr. for owner Susan Dougherty: first Fly Past Hanover, reclaiming the distinction with which he entered the day with a 2:02.3-1:00.1-30 triumph to run his fair scorecard to five-for-five, and then Broadway Charm, running his fair tab to four-for-five after a 2:01.3 tally, also the new quickest trot mile locally in '14. Fastest pacer of the meet, and of the fair circuit so far, is Mister Chaos, last year's 2PC Fair Championship winner, who overcame the outside post six in 2:00.3 for trainer Bob Rougeaux III and driver Chris Shaw, who like Schoeffel had three wins on the Sunday card. Fly Past Hanover is the only sophomore who raised his record to 5-for-5 over the weekend; on the freshman side, he was joined by the filly Tropical Terror (driver Chris Shaw for trainer/brother Jason), winning sharply in 2:01.1 to be the fastest two-year-old of the local season. Fastest freshman trotter is also a filly, Peoplesayimnogood, who won in 2:04.3 for driver Todd Schadel and trainer/Vivid Photo partner Roger Hammer, and at an opportune time: with no fewer than 12 divisions of 2TF state pari-mutuel stakes action this past week, this fair Sire Stake drew only one division, making the cut worth a seasonal-high $11,710. (Good time to break your maiden, eh?) All nine freshman winners took new marks over the quick Gratz oval Saturday, with four sophomores rewriting their speed badges on Sunday. Steve Schoeffel and Chris Shaw each drove five winners on the weekend to earn top status; Jason Shaw was leading conditioner with four winning charges (all owned by his two-year-old son Mason, Chris's nephew). From the Publicity Department, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Assn.
WASHINGTON, PA, July 2, 3014 -- Eric Goodell, who owns Magic Will Work, took matters into his own hands Wednesday at The Meadows when he drove his 5-year-old mare to victory in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot. Magic Will Work stalked the leader, Mistress Valentine, from the pocket, then drew off in the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:54.4, a lifetime mark. Mistress Valentine saved place, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Homepage third. Paul Kennedy trains the daughter of Kadabra-Raquel Victory, who soared over $100,000 in career earnings. Elsewhere on the program, freshman pacer Given Up Terror scored in 1:55.4, fastest this year by a 2-year-old gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Chris Shaw piloted the son of Western Terror-Ain't Given Up for trainer Lisa Beinhauer and owner Chad Parker. Dave Palone drove three winners on the 15-race card. On Thursday, July 3, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $5,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Wednesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a $1,215.59 carryover. Minimum wager for the Pick 5 (Races 11-15) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. by Even Pattak, for the Meadows
WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 6, 2013 — Have More Wine charged through the Lightning Lane to capture Saturday’s Pennsylvania Fairs Championship for sophomore filly pacers in a stake-record 1:53.1 . . . a feat that became even more impressive when post-race scoping revealed that she bled during the race. On a night when The Meadows hosted all eight divisions of the $200,100 PA Fairs finals and the Meadows Standardbred owners Association staged a variety of family-oriented activities, “doubles” was the word of the day in the championships. Drivers Aaron Merriman, Chris Shaw and Brian Zendt; trainers Walter “Boots” Dunn and Steve Schoeffel, and owners Dunn Stable, Kathy Schoeffel and Virginia Schoeffel each notched a pair of championships. Sitting third in the stretch, Have More Wine poured through the Lightning Lane for Merriman and Schoeffel to defeat In A Better Place by a neck. Early leader She’salilfireball was third. “They put the brakes on at the quarter, and she really didn’t want to sit in,” Merriman said. “I drove her last year, but she never got home like that for me before. She really raced super.” With three wins on the 13-race card, Merriman pushed his career victory total to 5,997. Virginia Schoeffel, James Reuther and James Nelson own Have More Wine, a daughter of Western Terror-Your So Silly. In the other $25,000 championships: $25,100 Championship, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Mister Chaos took the evening’s most circuitous route to victory, as he was pinned in around the far turn but found room outside, scoring for Shaw in a career-best 1:56.4. He also survived an inquiry and an objection regarding his conduct as he sought that late racing room. Spy The Lie was second, 1/2 length back, while Bosh Hanover earned show. “I didn’t know if I had enough racetrack, but that horse just keeps digging, so I gave him a shot at it,” Shaw said. Robert Rougeaux III trains the Art Official-Because I Said So gelding for D&P Racing. $25,000 Championship, 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers Schoeffel, the leading trainer and driver on the 2013 fair circuit, got a win in each category when he piloted Jungle Of Terror to a first-over victory in 1:54.3, a lifetime mark. Dinger Two rallied for second, 3/4 lengths in arrears, while Dinger One completed the ticket. “He raced really well the week before, but I ran him off his feet in the stretch,” Schoeffel said of the Western Terror-Jungle Print gelding. “I made sure I didn’t do it tonight. Stephen Lander, Kathy Schoeffel and Virginia Schoeffel own Jungle Of Terror, who was acquired for $5,000 via an on-line yearling sale. $25,000 Championship, 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Ruddy Rusty made it look easy on the front end, but don’t tell that to Zendt, who had to work hard to control the strong-willed chestnut. “He was being a hothead going to the gate,” Zendt said. “I wasn’t sure how good he’d be because he raced Tuesday, and he was pretty sick. They got him fixed up.” The SJ’s Caviar-Chaka Khan gelding triumphed in 1:57.1 for Dunn and Dunn Stable. The pocket-sitting Markup Hanover was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Southwind Glider third. $25,000 Championship, 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters Zendt, Dunn and Dunn Stable teamed again to score with Glide By Shooting, who converted a pocket trip to victory in a stake-mark 1:59.1. Bella Palazzo, the divisional points leader, was a neck back in second, while She Nuit got show. “She’s kind of a hothead Glidemaster,” Zendt said. “She gets away from you when she’s on the lead. I didn’t expect to land in the two hole off the rail, but that worked out well. She’ll be a real nice 3-year-old.” $25,000 Championship, 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters Homepage outkicked Monroe County and defeated her by a neck in a stake-mark 1:56.4 for Merriman and trainer/lessee Syl King, Jr. SJ’s Hottie Won finished third. “I drover hear as a 2-year-old,” Merriman said. “I remember she got off the gate for me real well but didn’t want to go in the passing lane. Tonight, she was as sharp as a horse could be for racing a long year at the fairs.” $25,000 Championship, 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers La Fiesta got her third straight victory by shooting the Lightning Lane for Shaw and downing Bellas Quik by 3 lengths in 1:56. TSM Maija Star grabbed show. “We skipped a couple fairs with her and just raced her where we had a chance,” Shaw said. “We kept her fresh. She’s not real big, but she’s strong.” The win was a family affair as Chris’ brother, Jason Shaw, trains the winner, and Jason’s son, Mason Shaw, owns the daughter of Western Terror-Jocelyn Joy. $25,000 Championship, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Fly Past Hanover and Dick Stillings worked out comfortable fractions on the front and rolled on to a 4-1/4-length victory in 2:01.2. Andover The Gold and divisional points leader Mr Weaver rounded out the ticket. William Daugherty, Jr. who conditions the Cantab Hall-Flexible Spending gelding for Susan Daugherty, gave $17,000 for him as a yearling — an unusually high price for a Daugherty purchase. “I had a good year last year, and I always wanted a Cantab Hall,” he explained. “All winter I thought I gave too much. I brought him along kind of slowly, but he got better and better. I didn’t realize quite what I had until mid-season. He’s paid for himself.” Evan Pattak
GRATZ PA - The Somebeachsomewhere sophomore pacing filly Keystone Wanda recorded the fastest time on the Pennsylvania fair circuit in over four years when she took a division of her Sire Stakes event at the Gratz Fair Monday in 1:55.4. Trainer Todd Schadel, also co-owner with Christine Schadel and co-breeder with the late George Hempt, sent Wanda right down the road on her "home track" (Todd trains at Gratz) through fractions of 28, 57.4, and 1:27.1, snapping home in 28.3 to knock off 2/5 of a second from Talk All Day's 2008 divisional mark. Keystone Wanda's mile was also the quickest on the local circuit since Lahaye's all-age track record mark at Gratz, 1:55.1, on July 12, 2009. Todd and Christine Schadel were the breeders of Classic Martine, who tied with Frau Blucher in the fastest-ever trotting dead-heat, 1:53.2, at The Meadows in a p/m Sire Stakes Championshp Friday night, and Todd must have though this deadheating business was fun, because 30 minutes later he guided the Real Artist gelding Plenty Of Spunk to finish on equal terms with the Western Terror gelding Jungle Of Terror in 1:58 in a cut of the Sires event for sophomore pacing colts. Plenty Of Spunk moved early and controlled the pace, while Jungle Of Terror moved past the half to stalk the leader, and the latter gained through the stretch against his stubborn foe to the point that the camera could not split them at the finish. Steve Schoeffel trains and drove Jungle Of Terror, the pointleader of all divisions with only Bloomsburg left, for Stephen Lander and Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel; Schadel trains and drove "Spunk," who reunites the partnership on 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, Schadel and Roger Hammer (that was eight years ago? wow!). "The Hammer" himself paraded back twice Monday with Boots Dunn owned-trained-bred horses: the Classic Photo gelding Classicality, who trotted his last ¾ in 1:28.1 to take the faster heat of the sophomore colt trot in 2:00.4; and also the fastest filly division with the Cantab Hall miss Lindyofalifetime in 2:02.4-30. Steve Schoeffel has been well in command of the tables in both driving and training wins seasonlong, both in the Sire Stakes and overall (including Quaker States and overnights), but the veteran Dunn has now tied him by harnessing 40 Fair Sire Stakes winners - again, with just one more meet to go. We should mention that Lindyofalifetime's division mate Monroe County yet again gave one of her distanced-after-an-early-break-to-crossing-the-wire first efforts, but this time she interfered with a rival while offstride and was placed out of the money. And what would a Keystone fair report be without McAlvin? The deadheat in the 3PC's other division may have stolen McAlvin's spotlight a bit, but the McArdle gelding evidently was in a hurry to end the day by storming home in 27.1 in the card's final race to complete a 1:58.3 win for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. However, like Keystone Wanda (she and McAlvin are the only multiple magic milers of the 2013 fairs here), McAlvin is still outside the Championship pointstandings - both will likely need wins at Bloomsburg and a defection or two of better-placed rivals to be at The Meadows on October 5 for the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night. FINISHING LINES - This year the schedule for Bloomsburg will be different than the traditional one. All eight of the time-honored Bloomsburg Stakes will be raced during a special 2 p.m. card this Friday (declare in by 10 a.m. Wednesday), and the last Sire Stakes prelim events will face the gate on Monday (2YOs) and Tuesday (3YOs) at 10:30 a.m. - declare in for these races by Friday at 10 a.m. by Jerry Connors for PASS Fairs
YORK PA - In a battle of unbeatens, usually something has to give. Not much gave in a division of the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes for pacing colts during a day devoted to freshmen at the York County Fair, as A OK Hanover, now undefeated in five starts on the circuit, edged out El Chivato, who had been 5-for-5 on the local circuit, by a nose in 2:02.1. A Yankee Cruiser colt, A OK Hanover and owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer hung up very fast fractions while El Chivato raced midpack, being six lengths to the good at the 3/4s - but here came El Chivato, eating up ground rapidly for driver Chris Shaw. The margin shrank with every step of the stretch drive, but on the money "A OK" held off his hard-charging foe by the slimmest of margins. Both stamped themselves as major factors for their Championship Final at The Meadows on October 5 - If they qualify for the final, as both have spent a good bit of time at the raceways, including Stallion Series action. El Chivato is currently 8 points adrift of the eighth and last qualifying pointtotal, "A OK" 12 - both are likely to need "5-point" (winning) performances at Gratz and Bloomsburg, the last two stops on the fair circuit, and the defection of a couple of rivals, to make the Championship. It would be surprising if Fly Past Hanover or Broadway Charm missed their Championship, as they added to their point accumulation by taking two of the three divisions of the Ralph Jones Memorial Trot for males, a race named after the late legend and benefactor of local fair racing. Fly Past Hanover, a gelded son of Cantab Hall, missed the divisional track record a fifth by posting a 2:04 score, while the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm won in 2:05, the team taking the Daily Double by a near combined 25 lengths for driver Steve Schoeffel, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., and owner Susan Daugherty. Schoeffel in all had five wins on the day to solidify his spot atop the fair colony driver standings. The Team Shaw pacing filly La Fiesta became the first fair horse to clinch her divisional pointtotal championship when she finished second after a hard first-over trip to Bellas Quik, having amassed 61 points to 49 for nearest rivals Ardelle and Hopeful Trust with, as mentioned, just two stops and 10 points to go at the 2013 PA fairs. FINISHING LINES - The three-year-olds are featured at York today, with first post at 10:30 a.m. ... As alluded to above, here's the rest of the PA fair schedule for this year: this coming Sunday and Monday at 11:30 a.m., and then three days of racing at Bloomsburg: a rescheduling of all eight Bloomsburg Stakes to the Friday before the main racing week, September 20, at 2 p.m., and then the final Sire Stakes preliminary opportunity of the year on Monday and Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. by Jerry Connors for PAFSS
STONEBORO PA – Roger Hammer, in a traffic accident Wednesday and released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, added on six winners during the three-year-old action at the Great Stoneboro Fair Saturday to the triple he posted Friday, leaving him and his neck/body brace to drive back home to Bedford with nine wins during the two-day meet. But Hammer would be the first to agree that the biggest story Saturday was McAlvin, a McArdle pacing gelding who posted the fastest time ever at the Stoneboro half-miler when he won a division of the Sire Stakes in 1:57, knocking 2/5 off a second off the 11-year-old mark of J T Arturo (and no points for guessing who drove J T Arturo on his record day). McAlvin also equaled the fastest mile of the Keystone fair year (his own, at Gratz), and now has 4 magic miles (including the 1:58.2 all-age record at Meadville) in his undefeated five-race campaign at the fairs in 2013. McArdle and his connections – driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky – now must focus on making the Fair Championship: with four stops on the circuit left, McAlvin is presently nine points short of the last qualifying spot, and 14 horses are ahead of him in the standings. The other two divisions of the sophomore colt pace were won by Roger Hammer-owned, -trained, and –driven horses: Camturo Beach (2:01) and Enjoy The Ride (2:02.2). Among the pacing fillies, early-season sensation She’salilfireball turned the tables from Wednesday’s 1-2 finish at Wattsburg when she defeated In A Better Place, the leading pointwinner among all fair campaigners, in 2:01. Both horses started along the inside, but In A Better Place did not live up to her name when she drew post five on the 4-wide track, and that might have factored in the victory for the “Fireball,” a daughter of Allamerican Native, driver Aaron Johnston, and owner-trainer Bob Grover. On the trotting side, Hammer and owner-trainer-breeder Boots Dunn won two of three divisions in the Sires events for both sexes. The SJ’s Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty, now undefeated in eight fair starts, was the fastest of the quartet in 2:02.4; he was joined on the male side by Classicality (2:04.2). The filly winners for the “golden oldies” were Lindyofalifetime (2:03.3) and Boo’s Party Girl (2:04). FINISHING LINES – Stoneboro’s racing ended fair action in the western part of the state for the year (excepting the $200,000 Fair Championship Night at The Meadows on Saturday evening, October 5); they draw tomorrow for Tuesday twilight and Wednesday afternoon action at Port Royal, and will then visit York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg to conclude the twicearound year … At Port Royal on Tuesday, there will be a ceremony honoring the Zendt Family, including localite and patriarch Wilbur Zendt, before the 4:30 scheduled start … And for those keeping score, Hammer’s sulky tally for Stoneboro was 19-9-4-1-.608. by Jerry Connors
WATTSBURG PA - Pennsylvania fair action for three-year-olds was scheduled for both Indiana and Wattsburg yesterday, but with hard rain rendering the Indiana oval unusable, the spotlight shifted to Wattsburg ... where a 25-year-old ghost had quite a few anxious moments. In 1988, the three-year-old gelding Smokey Crown, driven by David Brocklehurst, traversed the Wattsburg track in 2:04 - an all-age track trotting mark that has withstood the test of time, even though yesterday the SJ's Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty gave it a good scare before finally fixing the timer at 2:04.2, almost assuredly the second-fastest trot ever at Wattsburg. Fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3, and 1:31.2 were put up over a track a bit short of peak speed, and Ruddy Rusty finished gallantly for driver Chris Shaw but came up just short of the Smokey Crown mark (the two trotters are not dissimilarly bred - go back a few generations and there's plenty of Star's Pride and Volomite in their pedigrees). With the win for Shaw and doubling owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn, Ruddy Rusty is now perfect in 7 fair starts (and he is "on the bubble" for the Stallion Series Championship next week at Pocono). Ruddy Rusty just missed the track trotting mark; the sophomore pacing filly who did set an all-age standard for her gait of 2:00.3 here in June, defending Fair Champ She'salilfireball, returned to the scene of her earlier triumph on Wednesday. But she ran into the fair circuit's most in-form horse and had to settle for second behind the Christian Cullen miss In A Better Place, who leads all categories on the twicearound circuit with nine wins (13-9-3-1 overall) and 60 points. In A Better Place was one of three wins on the day for young Chris Shaw, and the fast filly is trained by his brother Jason for owner Amanda Beinhauer. While the defending pacing filly champ couldn't win on Wednesday, the defending colt champ did, as Mein Schatz, a Real Desire gelding, took his Sire Stakes cut in 2:07.1 for driver Aaron Johnston (2x), trainer Aaron Johnston, and owner James Biego. But the sophomore colt most had their eyes on was McAlvin in the day's last race - the McArdle gelding had broken 2:00 in all three of his previous fair starts, giving him 30% of the circuit's magic miles. On this day, McAlvin faced three foes who were a collective 0-for-30-for-2013, so he needed only 2:04.1 to be in control for driver Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Neither the In A Better Place-She'salilfireball duel nor the appearance of McAlvin yielded the fastest mile of the day, however - that honor fell to Naked At The Beach, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere who is herself 8-5-3-0 at the fairs this year. She won in 2:03.2 for Ohio visitor Crist Hershberger, who doubled, trainer Dan Walski, and owner Howard Millhime. FINISHING LINES - Dave Brickell had four wins on the day, Chris Shaw three; their totals were reversed on Tuesday, so they tied for Wattsburg's winningest driver at seven, as Todd Cummings, who won six on Tuesday, did not compete Wednesday ... The draw will shortly be posted for the Friday-Saturday action at the Great Stoneboro Fair, with post time both days at 10 am. by Jerry Connors
MEADVILLE PA - When the Crawford County (PA) Fair advertises "First race 12:30 p.m.," you'll want to be in your seat by then - otherwise, on the last two days of racing at the Meadville oval, you would have missed the all-age track records for both trotters and pacers. On Wednesday, Classicality trotted the fastest mile ever at Meadville, 2:01, in the day's first race, and yesterday (Thursday), a day featuring sophomore pacers, McAlvin closed out the four-day stand by opening the card with a triumph in 1:58.1 - the fastest mile ever at the northwest Pennsylvania fair oval, lowering by 3/5 Lahaye's former mark. McAlvin's victory was not a surprise - he's started at the fairs three times, and he's won all three in three of the four fastest PA fairs clockings of the year. The McArdle gelding certainly added to his burgeoning reputation Thursday, defeating divisional pointsleader Skyline's Finale for driver Chris Shaw (more on him in a bit), trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Another divisional track mark was broken - or should we say rebroken? - when the Allamerican Native filly She'salilfireball, defending Fair Champion in this class, burned around Meadville in 2:01.1 for driver Aaron Johnston and trainer/owner Bob Grover. The previous mark of 2:01.3 was set on June 23 of this year - by none other than She'salilfireball! In another division of the 3PF event, In A Better Place became the first horse to record eight victories on the PA twicearound trail this year, with a 29.1 last quarter at the end of a 2:03.1 mile. Chris Shaw, completing his sulky brace, handled the daughter of Christian Cullen for brother/trainer Jason and owner Amanda Beinhauer. In A Better Place also now has 55 points in the season-long standings, one more than her colt counterpart Skylite's Finale. The Meadville track crew should be commended for their fine work over the four days, as no fewer than seven divisional standards were broken or tied, including the clocking of the fastest miles ever on the trot and pace; add these to the two records set during the earlier 2-day meet, including Monroe County's then-tying of the trot mark, and you had nine rewritings in the Meadville record book! And to close, the opening remark about "being there for the start of the racing" is even truer than you may think - Classicality, McAlvin, and She'salilfireball all set their records in the first division of their contests, and five of the nine Meadville marks were accomplished in the opening division of a stake. This of course is no surprise in general Pennsylvania terms, where an astounding 13 of 22 (59%) divisional marks inscribed this season have come in the first division of events that have averaged 3.01 divisions per overall stake (an expected 33%)! FINISHING LINES - Sires Allamerican Native and Somebeachsomwehere had doubles, as did owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer ... We'll mention the name of Hammer's second winner, who took her career bow, as some solace to Bob Heyden and the fans of Da Bronx Bombahs - she's called The Yankees Win ... The PA fair schedule goes on double duty this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, with action at both Indiana and Wattsburg - which will be honored as the USTA's Blue Ribbon Fair during their meet. by Jerry Connors
MEADVILLE PA - Tuesday, August 20, 2002 was a good day to set a track record at the Crawford County (PA) Fair. So too was Tuesday, August 20, 2013. With two-year-old pacers featured during the second of four days of harness racing at the Meadville oval, the track recordbook for both colts and fillies - both first reinscribed on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - were both altered yesterday, exactly 11 years to the day later. Owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer lowered the previous colt record of 2:01.4 (Love Of Art, 8-20-02) to 2:00.1 with A OK Hanover, an entire by Yankee Cruiser (two siring credits on the day) who has already earned himself a spot in the state Stallion Series Championship. "A OK" is undefeated in two outings at the fairs, and with some late-season starts he also may be present in the Fair Championship for his group at The Meadows on October 5. Two opponents who may be waiting for him near Pittsburgh are Mister Chaos, an Art Official colt now 4 for 4 since trainer Bob Rougeaux III teamed up with driver Chris Shaw; and McArtic Ocean (Mc Ardle gelding, driver-owner Aaron Johnston), who has yet to taste defeat after five trips behind the fair circuit starting gate. The other mark, the 2:03.1 for fillies, was first recorded by My Gal Phyl on the 8-20-02 magic date, later equaled by Ellen Hanover on 8-24-04, and then tied again yesterday by Southern Sweetie, part of a siring triple for Real Desire, who ran her career record to 3-2-1-0 for driver Wayne Long and trainer/owner Rich Gillock. A third track record was rung up in the day's last race, but it had the audacity to have been set on a July 21 - specifically, one day short of one year ago, as the SJ's Caviar 5YO gelding S J Better Days lowered his own division mark 2/5 of a second to 2:03.1 in the FFA trot for driver Roger Hammer. Boots Dunn, in front of the hometown fans, enjoyed the win as owner, trainer - and breeder; his mare Chaka Khan, has produced five fair track records through her offspring "S J" and Redder Than Red, and her 2YO Ruddy Rusty is on the bubble for the Stallion Series Championship. And her fifth dam is Delicious - the mother of Delmonica Hanover! Pretty strong background in the land of Delvin, indeed. FINISHING LINES - The three track records Tuesday gives Meadville four through its first two fair days, and six if you include the 2-day meet earlier this year ... with more in the crosshairs as three-year-olds race the next two days in the Sire Stakes, trotters today and pacers tomorrow ... Aside from the siring credits and Hammer's implied double above, multiple winners were drivers Todd Cummings (three on the day, including both Quaker State 2Ps), Wayne Long and Chris Shaw (two each). by Jerry Connors
HARRISBURG PA -- It's really hard to believe that the Pennsylvania Fair racing circuit is deep on the third turn and heading into the backstretch the final time, but with 13 of 21 fair sessions completed, we are that far into the season, and this may be a good time to look at the leaders at this point of the circuit's racing. HORSEMEN - Youthful veteran Steve Schoeffel, buoyed by a red-hot start to the season, has been in front at every position so far. For all fair races, Schoeffel has driven 61 winners and conditioned 43 horses parading back to Victory Lane; even in the subdivision of "Sire Stakes races only," Schoeffel has 48 wins as a driver and 37 as a trainer. The competition behind the frontrunner, though, is thick and heated. Here are the Top Ten horsemen by victories in all PA fair races, in both the training and driving columns: DRIVER TRAINER Steve Schoeffel 61 Steve Schoeffel 43 Dave Brickell 32 Mike Gillock 20 Aaron Johnston (tie) 27 Dave Brickell (tie) 19 Chris Shaw (tie) 27 Syl King Jr (tie) 19 Roger Hammer 23 Jason Shaw 17 Marc Mosher 19 Boots Dunn 15 Wayne Long 13 Bob Krenitsky Jr (tie) 13 James Dodson 12 John McMullen Jr (tie) 13 Brady Brown (tie) 11 Roger Hammer 12 Cody Kreiser (tie) 11 Eileen Lineweaver (tie) 11 Wilbur Yoder (tie) 11 Wayne Long (tie) 11 HORSES - We will look at two hallmarks of equine performance here: speed and consistency. In the speed department, the "ladies" have done more than their share of the heavy lifting to date, as the three all-time track records broken or equaled were by sophomore distaffs: trotter Monroe County (2:02.3 at Meadville and 2:00.1 at Washington) and pacer She'salilfireball (2:00.3 at Wattsburg). These two also have six of the 15 divisional track records established so far, and in general the score on divisional records at this point in 2013 is Girls 12, Boys 3. There have been nine miles in 2:00 or better to date, all by sophomore pacers, with gelding McAlvin (the season's fastest of 1:57 at Gratz) and filly Keystone Wanda being the only two with two "magic miles" on their cards. The horses earn their way into their respective Fair Championships by accumulating points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale based on finish (a rainout counts for 3 points). Here's the top five by division, with horses tallying five or more winners also noted (as is the fair "season's leader") : 2TC - Mr Weaver 44, Whitey Lauxmont 36 (and undefeated in six fair starts), Broadway Charm, Fly Past Hanover, and Flynn Rider all tied with 33. Ruiz, Gratz and Clearfield, 2:04.2. 2TF - Fashion Entre 37 (though still a maiden!), Bessie 34 (five wins, including a current four-race skein), Bella Palazzo 33, Cantabs Lightning 27, and Candyandcaviar and She Nuit tied at 25. Bella Palazzo, Washington, 2:04.4. 2PC - Heat Of A Dragon 38, Spot Lauxmont 35, Mister Chaos and Waitingforthisone 33, Bosh Hanover and (don't say this fast) TSM Wulf Poof Toof 31. (McArtic Ocean is unbeaten in four fair outings.) Spy The Lie, Meadville, and Waitingforthisone, Hughesville, 2:02.1. 2PF - La Fiesta 44, Hopeful Trust 42 (5 wins), those two giving the Shaw stable a 1-2 punch, followed by Ardelle 33 and La Soraya and Striling Caprice locked at 31. La Fiesta and 2TC Mr Weaver have the highest freshman pointtotals at 44 each. TSM Maija Star, Washington, 2:02.1. 3TC - Roe Is Me 45 (winning his first 5 fair starts), BSMaximumMonndream 44, Luke Icewalker 40 (and 5 wins), Montour County 39, Southwind Glider 34. Prince Lauxmont won his first five fair starts, but finally lost at Dayton on Thursday. (It should be noted that the 2YOs have been rained out twice, the 3YOs but once.) Roe Is Me, Gratz, 2:01.3. 3TF -- Monroe County 45 (her 6 wins including 4 track records), Olivet De Vie 33, Boo's Party Girl 32, Homepage 30 (and undefeated in six fair starts), Wild Ninny 29. Monroe County, Washington, 2:00.1. 3PC - Two Schoeffelites are joint top on 50, a figure that is also joint top for most points overall with 3PF In A Better Place: Jungle Of Terror (6 wins) and Skylite's Finale (5 wins, and 10/10 on the board); next come "the Dingers," Two 41 and One 37, split by Captain Kubota at 38. McAlvin, Gratz, 1:57. 3PF - In A Better Place 50 (tied for overall point lead; she also leads with seven fair wins, and just missed an eighth Thursday), Have More Wine 47 (six wins, including turning back In A Better Place Thursday), Sweet Talia 43, then DVC Jaded Attitude and Shakira Babe jointly at 33. Keystone Wanda, Gratz, 1:57.2. by Jerry Connors
DAYTON PA - During sophomore stakes action at the Dayton (PA) Fair on Thursday, the two fastest performers on the Keystone twicearounds this year - pacing gelding McAlvin (1:57 at Gratz) and pacing filly Keystone Wanda (1:57.2 at Gratz) became the only two horses to notch two fair "magic miles" (the phrase is still apt in, and over, certain "circles"). We'll lead with the filly, because Keystone Wanda's 2:00 clocking for driver Todd Schadel in a Sire Stakes contest also equaled the Dayton divisional mark set by Caramel Chinno and pilot Roger Hammer two years minus two days previously. (This would not be the only time that the partners on 2005 Hambo champ Vivid Photo would be in proximity this day at Dayton - see below). Keystone Wanda, who set the pace for Schadel, was given all she wanted by the vaunted She'salilfireball, as the two battled fiercely through a 29.3 kicker until Keystone Wanda sustained a half-length lead the finish for Schadel, also trainer of the Somebeachsomewhere filly and co-owner with wife Christine. In another sidewheeling filly division, In A Better Place, already the circuit leader with seven fair triumphs, rallied but came up ¾ of a length short to the Western Terror pacesetter Have More Wine, whose 2:01 triumph was her sixth of the fair season for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel and the ownership of Schoeffel, Schoeffel, Reuther, and Nelson. McAlvin has been at the 2013 fairs only twice, and his colt and gelding opponents are glad of this fact, as he has posted two of the year's three fastest times in his appearances. This day the altered son of McArdle engined a 1:58.2 triumph, just 3/5 off the all-time Dayton record of JT Arthur set 11 years ago, 13 ¾ lengths clear for the camera for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Two of McAlvin's contemporaries paced in 2:00.4: Dinger One (James Dodson) and Mein Schatz (Aaron Johnston), the latter of whom parlayed a late-season hot form skein into the Fair Sire Stakes Championship in 2012. By far the fastest trotter of the day was the SJ's Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty, who grinded down the pacesetter from the Schadel stable, Markup Hanover, to win in 2:02.2 for owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn. Hammer (who had three victories on the day, all with trotting colts) and Dunn combined on another 3TC winner, Classicality, who won in anything but classic fashion: the altered son of Classic Photo made a miscue after the half and found himself 15 lengths behind at the ¾ and still 10 down at headstretch, but he trotted his individual last quarter in 29.2 to be drawing clear at the finish. In another 3TC cut, Prince Lauxmont's 5 for 5 fair win streak was stopped when he finished third to Southwind Glider, a Glidemaster gelding who has now fashioned three straight wins since Hammer was given the lines. FINISHING LINES: In addition to the aforementioned Hammer driving triple and Dunn training/owning/breeding double, others with multiple win credits included driver (4x)/trainer (2x) Schoeffel, still far ahead in both fair categories; the Neal stable of trainer/father Randy and driver/son Eric, winning Sire Stakes with two maidens; and two-timers driver James Dodson/trainer-owner Ron Lineweaver, trainer/driver Aaron Johnston, driver Chris Shaw, and sires Classic Photo, Broadway Hall, and Western Terror....The circuit moves to "Boots's Place," the Crawford County Fair in Meadville, for four days of racing from Monday to Thursday. by Jerry Connors
WASHINGTON PA - Monroe County notched her second all-age track record of the fair season and her fourth record in the three-year-old trotting filly ranks, and she trotted the fastest mile of the 2013 Keystone twicearound season Monday afternoon at the Washington (PA) Fair, "Arden Downs" to many oldtimers, in a shocking 2:00.1. The daughter of Glidemaster, handled by Wilbur Yoder for trainer John McMullen Jr., also co-owner with Michelle McMullen, never looked back in the record mile, being nursed early to a 31 opening quarter, then turning on the afterburners to freeze the watch at 1:00.3, 1:30.3, and then the 2:00.1 final number. The swift clocking reduced the 15-year-old all-age record of fellow sophomore K T Junior by 4/5 of a second; the former 3TF mark of 2:02.3, set in 1997 by Red Oak's Silk and equaled in 2010 by Caviar And Kisses, obviously went by the board as well. Monroe County previously equaled the all-age standard of 2:02.3 at Meadville, and had also set divisional marks at Dayton and Hughesville. Monday's clocking was as noted also by far the fastest diamondgaited mile at the PA fairs in 2013: Roe Is Me had held that standard at 2:01.3 at Gratz. Next in line under the equine spotlight would be In A Better Place, who became the first horse to parade back to Victory Lane seven times at the fairs when she won the fastest division of the 3PF contest in 2:01.1. The daughter of Christian Cullen was driven by Chris Shaw for trainer/brother Jason and owner Amanda Beinhauer. (Speaking of all-age track recordsetters: the other such horse of the fair season, She'salilfireball, was upset in another cut of this stake, dubbed the "Who's Hottest?" Pace after Burn Time Hanover and rare fair visitor Randy Tharps took the measure of the "Fireball.") Tops among the humans was the hottest horseman of the year, Steve Schoeffel, who was under the wire first no fewer than six times on the day, including two of the four winners of the three-year-old colt pace. Skylite's Finale and Jungle Of Terror, both also Schoeffel trainees, maintained their one-two status at the top of their division's standings, the former ahead by one point. The other two sections of the "glamour division" were taken by Roger Hammer, with Enjoy The Ride and Camturo Beach, the latter turning in the day's fastest clocking, 1:59. Prince Lauxmont remained undefeated in five fair starts as he won in the 3TC division for the Wayne Long stable, but a late developer to watch is Southwind Glider, two for two since teamed with Hammer in the sulky, winning here in a personal best 2:02.2. The two-year-olds are scheduled for action tomorrow (Tuesday) over the former Grand Circuit track, with Tuesday post time at Washington 10 a.m. by Jerry Connors
The sophomore class of 2012 highlighted the second day of harness racing at The Great Stoneboro Fair on Saturday (September 1) in Stoneboro, PA.