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Glamorganvale trainer, John McMullen, admits his four children have now achieved something he hasn’t. “All four of my kids have now driven Weedons Express to win. I did drive him to win a trial late last year, but I guess that doesn't count does it?” the Lockyer horseman joked. “I’m very proud of them and what the horse has achieved,” he added. Twenty two-year-old Danielle drove Weedons Express inch perfect at Albion Park on Saturday to win the eighth event – the $8,390 Changeover At Burwood Stud  C4+ Pace, by a neck. The 8-year-old brown gelding was a $25.90 outsider. Peter (27) tasted success first behind Weedons Express when steering the brown gelding to victory at Albion Park on April 7, 2017, and then Taleah (17) got him home at Redcliffe on July 19 that same year. Narissa (24) then chimed in with a nice triumph at Redcliffe on October 17 last year. For the record Peter and Taleah have won three times each behind Weedons Express. Trainer, McMullen had a good night at 'The Park’ winning two races. The other came via Narissa, who won the fourth event with six-year-old Quick Approval  gelding, With Authority. He was the $3.60 second favourite. Narissa also landed two winners on Saturday. She also drove the Ron Wells trained outsider, Smiling Armada to score in race six. Sister-in-law, Chantal Turpin, who is marred to Peter, trained and drove Watch Pulp Fiction to win race seven. Weedons Express has now won 14 of his 149 starts and placed in 14 others and netted just over $90,000 In purses. He is owned by Mike and Karen Sparkes, who also co-owned the 2018 VRC Derby winner, Extra Brut. Weedons Express was named after a small rural town just South of Christchurch. The son of Elsu and My Barbie Doll ( By In The Pocket) was bred by Kiwi horseman, Lou Driver. He was exported from New Zealand on October 2, 2015, after winning three of his 41 starts. “I couldn’t believe he paid more than $25 to win. He’s been going really well and the race was a B grade one for his class," McMullen, who works a team of 25 said. “He’s been going 54 in most of his races and I thought that might be enough to win this race. Sure enough he went 55 this time and still won. Unbelievable money. “I’m also rapt for the owners who backed him." Also very proud of her family's achievements last night was wife and Mum, Jennette. “I’m delighted for them all. I’m also very proud of Des Dewar, who owns With Authority. He’s 81 and only got into ownership a couple of years ago," she said. “He idolises our girls and he loves going to Redcliffe because it’s not so far for him to travel. He is a wonderful person. Des was bestowed a Volunteer-of-the-Year award on Australia Day for 40-plus years of voluntary service. “We all get such a thrill winning for our owners, especially a truly brilliant man like Des." Meanwhile, the feature pace last night was won by the Donny Smith trained and Nathan Dawson driven Slice Of Heaven. His 15th career win ($90,861), has now virtually sealed Slice Of Heaven a trip to Tabcorp Park Menangle for a supporting race on Miracle Mile night in early March. “I’ll give him a trial first, but I’d better wait to see if we make the field. He should but I’m taking nothing for granted,” the Redcliffe horseman said. The night also featured four winning drivers from Team Teal participants, with Narissa McMullen (2), Danni-elle McMullen (1) and Chantal Turpin (1) collectively raising $800 for the important cause.  Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Racing Queensland was saddened to hear the passing of astute horseman John ‘Hollywood’ McMullen early Thursday morning aged 81. McMullen was a skilled trainer/driver before concentrating on breeding his own stock with good success. His silks of red jacket with white sash are fondly remembered during the halcyon days. Based behind Albion Park at Nariel Street since 1978, McMullen was constantly spotted by motorists using Sandgate Road swimming his racing team in the Breakfast Creek. Using a row boat, McMullen felt the training technique of swimming helped his charges in many ways including respiratory while taking pressure off their legs. Occasionally, he would drop the odd crab pot in the creek while undertaking his training regime. His on-track battles at the famed Brisbane raceway with the likes of Kevin Thomas and Darrell Alexander were legendary. McMullen was a pioneer in opening the market to North America. He was nicknamed ‘Hollywood’ owing to his frequent American visits during the 1980’s. McMullen prepared a string of top performers including Viking Reign, Alba Wings, Rameses, Parading, Toliver Bye Bye, Pleasant Fury, Maker Reign, Monty Reign, Sona Fury and Spirit Of Reign among others. Alba Wings won the 1984 Queensland Derby defeating Area Code while Viking Reign finished third behind Another Bart and Rowleyalla in the 1988 Australian Derby. His two sons John Jnr and Chris also followed in their father’s footsteps and have built strong reputations while his grandchildren Peter, Narissa, Dannielle and Taleah all currently drive. Only last season, Peter landed the Albion Park Metropolitan Drivers Premiership. McMullen built very strong friendships with many visiting horseman including the legendary Graeme Lang and Brian Hancock (Mr Inter Dominion). The funeral will take place next Wednesday (September 26) at the Holy Cross Catholic Church on 28 Chalk Street, Lutwyche commencing at 1pm. A celebration of life will follow at Albion Park.   Harness Racing Australia

This time, he was on the other side of the lens. Dan Costello, Queensland racing’s ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ and resident photographer for all three racing codes in the south-east of the state was on hand to take a winning snap at Albion Park yesterday (Tuesday) but this time it was with a twist. The winning performance of former New Zealand trotter Danny Cool is co-owned by Costello along with Kerry McLean. It was the gelding’s maiden Australian victory. “It was a great thrill to finally see the horse perform at his best, he’s got ability but his manners have let him down since his arrival. It’s always a great thrill taking winning photographs of happy connections and this time I got to share that experience and it’s so infectious. I’m sure the horse was named after me.” Costello said with a wry smile. The winning effort from Danny Cool keeps the record of Costello in perfect shape following his first venture into ownership with Karloo Mac and young trainer/driver Trent Moffat. Another thrill emanating from the victory was the fact John McMullen took the winning himself, therefore, breaking a long run of outs. “It was great to see John turn back the clock, he’s driven hundreds of winners throughout his career but takes a backseat nowadays allowing his kids (Pete, Narissa & Dannielle) to handle the bulk of the stable driving. I think it’s been five years between victories for John so it was great to part of that yesterday. “I met Kerry after taking many photographs of him with winning horses with John at Albion Park and he asked if I was interested in racing a horse with him and I jumped at the opportunity plus the name of the horse was a big winner with me. “Hopefully that victory will give him the confidence he needs and it will be the first of many now, I think he’s capable of winning a few more. The ownership side of the business is very exciting; I’m two for two with horses that have raced for me to date while I’ve got a two-year-old in work with Trent (Moffat) that we purchased from the sales who is shaping nicely at this stage.” Costello has proven to be the driving force in conjunction with the Albion Park Harness Racing Club in forming a syndicate to race a pacer recently purchased from New Zealand. The pacer will be trained by leading horseman Peter Greig. “I want to see more people buying and racing more horses in Brisbane and I thought this was a great to introduce new people into the game, I get excited winning races and I want others to share that feeling because it is infectious. “The process with the club has been great, selecting the trainer and then sourcing the horse from New Zealand. The horse is Royal Taz and early reports are pleasing so here’s an opportunity to get involved, let me take your winning photograph.” For further information about the syndicate – visit the website at by Chris Barsby

John Gibson, one of the best known figures in harness racing in Australasia, died on Saturday after a short illness. Mr Gibson, who was 82, was a pioneer in the importation of stallions from North America. In his own right or in partnership with Brisbane trainer/driver John McMullen, Mr Gibson was responsible for importing nearly 50 stallions to Australia and New Zealand. Independent of that, the former trainer/driver who cut his teeth on the eastern show circuit, conducted the successful standardbred nursery, Success Stud, initially on the Queensland Darling Downs and in more recent years at Young, in New South Wales. Mr Gibson, his wife Mary and daughter Jackie through Success Stud have given much back to the harness racing community through sponsorship and have also bred and raced many top line performers including recent standouts Two Eye See and Makes Every Scents. There was a massive outpouring of love for Mr Gibson and his family on social media over the weekend and the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and the New South Wales Harness Racing Club arranged for black armbands to be worn in his honour at meetings over the weekend. Mr Gibson died peacefully in hospital at Young. His funeral details have not been finalised but will be advised once they have been confirmed. Greg Hayes

$200,000 will be on the line on Saturday night at The Meadows, as the 2014 Pennsylvania Fair Finals will be featured as part of a special 13-race evening card. Post time is 6:55PM.   Horses have been traveling the circuit since mid-June earning points in Pennsylvania Sire Stake fair events at 21 venues. The top eight point-earners in each of eight divisions will meet for the annual championship events.   The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA)  will also host a Family Fun Night, helping to bring the county fair atmosphere to the track with plenty of activities for kids.   Parade marshal Wendy Ross will have a special tribute to America between races 3 and 4 on the card, and after the 6th race a special Gold Medal Celebrity Match Race will take place, featuring former Pittsburgh Penguin Bob Errey and former basketball star and current University of Pittsburgh basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio. Errey earned a gold medal in 1997 as part of Team Canada in the World Hockey Championships, and McConnell-Serio was a member of the 1988 USA Olympic championship winning women's basketball team.   On the track, eight $25,000 PA Fair Finals will be the top attraction, featuring some of the top winning horses in the nation. Freshman pacing filly Tropical Terror, trained by Jason Shaw for owner Mason Shaw, and driven by Chris Shaw will look for win #17 on the season. In 18 starts, the Western Terror filly has 16 wins and 2 second place finishes, and has the rail in race #2.   Sophomore filly trotter Cantabs Lightning, owned, trained and driven by Wayne Long, has won 10 of 16 this season. The Cantab Hall filly has drawn post 4 in the sixth race on the card.   In the 3YO pacing filly ranks, Allstar Morning, owned by Kristen and Ethan Spahn, has won 10 of 26 this year and has post 3 in the 7th race. Dave Palone drives the Four Starzzz Shark filly for trainer Gerald Lee.   Police Navidad, who has the rail in the 8th race 2YO colt trot, has won 11 of 17 this season for owners Lander Stables, Kathy & Virginia Schoeffel and Jim Reuther. The Muscle Massive gelding is trained and driven by Steve Schoeffel.   Another Shaw Stable entrant, Marshmallow Pulse, has the rail in the freshman colt pace. In 16 starts, the Quik Pulse Mindale gelding has 12 wins and has never been worse than third. Tony Hall will drive. The main challenger will be his stablemate, Nippy, with Chris Shaw driving. Nippy, a Nuclear Breeze gelding, has won 14 of 17 with three second place finishes.   Two more double-digit winners will square off in the 3YO colt trot, as Mr Weaver (12 for 23) will face Fly Past Hanover (11 for 22). Mr Weaver has post 1 for owners John and Owen McMullen. John McMullen trains and Wilbur Yoder drives. Fly Past Hanover is owned by Susan Daugherty, trained by Bill Daugherty, and will be driven by Aaron Merriman.   The MSOA is proud to host the event once again this year, and looks forward to a fan-friendly night.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

PORT ROYAL PA - The rainy season that has plagued the Pennsylvania fair circuit in the last month struck again during the two days of racing at the Juniata County Fair in Port Royal - but for the first time this summer, it was the card featuring the two-year-olds that suffered the water damage, with 12 of the 15 races on Tuesday having to be canceled; all 1¼-dozen events for sophomores on Wednesday were conducted. Fastest race of the week was saved for next-to-last, as the Real Artist gelding Ruffle Up started a sweep of the 3PC events for trainer Roger Hammer (and breeders Arlene and Jules Siegel) with a win in 2:00.1, a new mark. Hammer also owns and drove Ruffle Up, who emerged victorious after a very strange sequence of fractions: 31.3, 1:01, 1:30.2, and 2:00.1 - how often do you see the first quarter being the slowest in a race, the last quarter the second-slowest, and the middle two the equal-fastest? Hammer turned over the lines to Chris Shaw to finish the sweep of the glamour division from his barn, and Shaw got a new mark of 2:02 for the Village Jolt gelding Waitingforthisone and owner Vicki Fair. The triumph in the getaway race also earned meet titles for driver Shaw (5, one more than Steve Schoeffel) and trainer Hammer (3, one more than Syl King Jr. and Bob Krenitsky Jr.) Schoeffel provided several driving highlights on Wednesday. For one, he had the fastest winner of the 3PF stake, the Western Terror filly Sew Psyched, who stopped the watch in 2:00.2; the Schoeffel-trained filly is owned by Virginia Schoeffel, Kathy Schoeffel, and Jerry Dedoszak. Steve also guided two of the three 3TC winners, Fly Past Hanover (2:04) and Millertown Road (2:03.1), but missed a "sweep" when Broadway Charm had to settle for second behind Mr Weaver, who earned his sixth straight victory for driver Bryce Truitt and trainer John McMullen, the latter co-owner with grandson Owen. The 2:01.3 victory missed the all-age Port Royal track record, shared by (in order of longevity) Lindmeyourpajamas, Mablesimamazed, and RT Sun Poco, by 3/5 of a second; speaking of longevity of records: Mr Weaver's dam, KT Troublein Dixie, still holds the local standard for older trotting mares of 2:02.4 - after 13 years! Fastest sophomore trotting miss was also Schoeffel-driven, the SJ's Caviar miss She Nuit, who went around the .46-mile oval (they start a ways up the stretch at Port Royal, which is primarily used for car racing) in 2:02, fastest time for the division on the local fair circuit this season, for owner/trainer Joe Urban. Five different trainers and drivers were victorious in the divisions of this entry-laden event. Before the downpour Tuesday, Port Royal graciously honored the well-deserving legendary Pennsylvania horseman Boots Dunn for his many years of success in racing, and especially for his help, in countless ways, along the local fair circuit. The third-to-last regular season stop on the Pennsy fair circuit will come this Monday and Tuesday at York, with racing starting both days at 10:30 a.m., and horses (and their connections) anxious to add more points in trying to ensure themselves spots during the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night on Saturday, October 4 at The Meadows. From the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

Talented 19-year-old harness driver Narissa McMullen has been selected to represent Queensland in the 2014 Australasian Young Driver’s Championship held in Sydney as part of the Inter Dominion Grand Final Week. Narissa won the 2013 Chairman’s Award, BOTRA Rising Star and September’s Centenary Classic Young Achievers monthly award at the Queensland Harness Industry Awards on October 13, 2013. Queensland Harness Racing Board (QHRB) Chairman Brad Steele said she was the perfect selection to represent Queensland in the prestigious race series. “Narissa is highly competent and professional reins person who has achieved sustained great success over the past few seasons,” Mr Steele said. “We have been very impressed with the manner by which Narissa conducts herself both on and off the race track and feel she is most deserving of the privilege to represent our state and sport. We wish her every success.” The daughter of industry stalwart John McMullen and granddaughter of John McMullen Snr., Narissa has had a successful season accumulating 69 wins and 86 placings from 395 starts. She also is an aspiring trainer with eight wins and 12 placings to her name from 60 starters, forging her own name out of the shadows of older brother Pete McMullen. For more information on Inter Dominion Grand Final Week, please visit   Racing Queensland

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association announces that John McMullen and Brad Buxton have been newly elected to its Board of Directors. McMullen, of Armagh, PA, will serve as an owner-director while Buxton, of Meadow Lands, PA, was elected as a trainer/driver-director. The third open seat went to Jon Erdner of Washington, PA, also an owner-director, who was re-elected to his position. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association congratulates and welcomes its newest board members. by Jeff Zidek for MSOA  

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  

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 - Two-year-olds were in the spotlight during the opening day of the two-day racing stand at the Dayton (PA) Fair on Wednesday, and the trotters, especially the fillies, drew the most attention. In the first division of the filly event, the last quarter produced a spirited battle among Bessie, Cantabs Lightning, and fair newcomer Pixel Queen, and at the wire they crossed in that order, with Bessie a neck better than Cantabs Lightning in 2:07.4. Bessie, a daughter of Equinox Bi, was one of three driving wins on the day for Dave Brickell, who also trains and owns her; she now has four straight Fair Sire Stakes wins, and the win put her atop the divisional pointstandings.... ...for about 30 minutes... ...when another fair first-timer, the Lear Jetta miss Ideal Emma, reeled in breakaway pacesetter Fashion Entre in 2:06.3, fastest trot of the day. Coming off a third-place finish in a Stallion Series event, Ideal Emma was driven by Eric Neal for trainer/father Randy and Neal Racing Stable LLC.... ...but it was Fashion Entre who went top of the point list - while still a maiden! Poor Fashion Entre (who's not really so poor, having earned $8521 in her first nine career starts) has now finished second four straight outings, but her consistency of racing well in recording five seconds and three thirds currently gives her a slight edge on Bessie, who hasn't tried to dance every dance. With Dayton and Washington racing in calendar proximity, fair horsemen had to pick between the two as to where to start their freshmen, in compliance with the PA fairs' "3rd day" racing rule, and only five entered the colt trot, with a late scratch reducing the field to four. This was the first time only one division of an event has been raced this year, so the purse was a season-high $11,651. And with that kind of money on the line, the winner still won by 25 lengths! Mr Weaver is a Madison River gelding who yesterday was a confluence of "Three And A Half Men": the late breeder Ken Weaver, after whom the horse is named; driver Dave Brickell; and trainer John McMullen Jr., who shares ownership with the "half-man," his 6YO grandson Owen. They and Mr Weaver saw two horses break before the ¼, with thus only one other trotter in real contention, and that baby jumped before the 3/4s, leaving Mr Weaver 12 ahead at that pole, 15 clear at the stretch call, and, to be precise, 25 ½ lengths ahead at the finish - with all the while Owen probably thinking, "Man, this is an easy game!" The fastest mile of the day came in the filly pace, as the Somebeachsomewhere filly Sunsetonthebeach established early command and won handily in 2:05.2, moving herself into the divisional pointstandings top 10 for owner/trainer/driver/breeder Roger Hammer. The sophomore class is scheduled to face starter Clarence Martin Jr. at Dayton today, with the first race set to go at high noon. At Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs last night, the two-year-old pacing fillies contested their fourth and final preliminary leg of Stallion Series competition, sorting themselves out for their $40,000 Championship on Friday, September 6 at the same oval. McVita Bella went four for four in the prelims (albeit winning via DQ last night) to obviously top the standings; the other seven qualifying are in order Lucy's Pearl, Shesaidhesaisisaid, Mayabelle and Weeper (tied), Dragon Town, Shutthefrontdoor, and South Beach Babe. 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  

HONESDALE PA - On Monday at the Honesdale (PA) Fair, it was good to be the "King." Or "Smilin'" Dave. Veteran conditioner Syl King Jr., who did not start his serious fair campaigning until the fifth stop at Gratz, vaulted into second place in the PA Fair Circuit standings with three wins Monday, giving him 16. One of the winners was driven by Dave Brickell, who paraded home to Victory Lane four times in all, solidifying his grip on second in the drivers column at 25 triumphs (in both cases behind Steve Schoeffel). And both horsemen guided their day's charges to payoffs in the neighborhood of $10,000 in total, on a card when the northeastern PA track was not in its fastest shape. King/Brickell combined to win the Quaker State trot on the card for two-year-olds with Muscle Pump Queen, then split the 2TF divisions. Brickell had the fastest clocking among all of the 2T Honesdale set, 2:11.1 with three-time fair winner Bessie, an Equinox Bi miss he also owns and trains; owner-trainer King's Isabella Hanover, guided by doubling driver Marc Mosher, was only 2 ticks slower, and the Yankee Glide filly flashed home in 30. Among the colts, Whitey Lauxmont became the first freshman to win five times at the fairs, the Oh So White gelding toppling the previously-undefeated Ruiz for owner/trainer/driver Brickell. Brickell also guided divisional pointsleader Mr Weaver to victory for trainer John McMullen Jr., co-owner with 6YO Owen McMullen; not to be outdone, Poppa's Pick (King and driver Mosher) took the third division. The three fastest pacing miles were produced by McArdle offspring, with both the quickest filly and colt clocking in at 2:05.3. The filly was TSM Soul Sister for driver Aaron Johnston (three wins), trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner-breeder Ted Tomson; Johnston also handled the fastest colt, McArtic Ocean, who is trained by brother Shawn (two wins), owned by Aaron himself, and is perfect in three fair starts. The Erv Miller stable, a day after Wicked Elphaba set a 2:01.2 track record for 3PF, again made its presence felt with a sidewheeling miss who was the third McArdle credit, Maevey Bean, home first for driver Marcus Miller and owner Patrick Quaid in 2:06.2. And our favorite 16-month-old owner, Mason Shaw, saw his filly La Fiesta go atop the 2PF pointstandings with a victory, just ahead of Hopeful Trust - whom he also owns. Mason's uncle Chris guided La Fiesta and 2PC winner Mister Chaos. FINISHING LINES - Today is draw day at two Pennsylvania fairs: again at Honesdale, which will race its "2-day event" on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and on Thursday at noon, and at Waynesburg, which will race on Thursday and Friday at  10 a.m....   by Jerry Connors  

CLEARFIELD PA - In an age where youth is served - and seems to serve itself very nicely - the first of four days of harness racing at the Clearfield (PA) Fair featured two-year-old trotters exclusively, and the fact that these horses require the most delicacy, repetition, and experience in bringing them to peak form was underscored by the fact that in this category, human longevity is still the king (or is that King? - see further down). Ten heats, thirty on-the-board (1-2-3) finishers. Five winners driven by, and six winners trained by, horsemen over 64 years of age. Fourteen horses driven by, and seventeen horses trained by, the 64+ group. The youngest horses, at the more fractious gait, certainly aren't hurt by the veteran hands bringing them along. The fastest mile of the day, 2:04.2, was trotted by the SJ's Caviar gelding Ruiz, now three for three lifetime after a jiggyjog frontend tally. After starting his career freelegged, and making three straight runs in qualifiers, Ruiz was introduced to trotting hopples, and since - a 2:02.1 Q win at The Meadows; the fastest mile of the day, trot or pace, in his debut during 2YO day at Gratz; a huge recovery from a break to tally at Hughesville; and now this easy win for driver Winston Lineweaver (71) and trainer Eileen Lineweaver, co-owner with Neal Racing Stable LLC. Lest one think the surface at Clearfield was yielding many fast miles, we note here that the only other sub-2:10 mile of the entire day was turned in in the last race by another promising sort, the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm, who is now 2 for 2 after trainer Bill Daugherty Jr. (65) turned the lines over to the fair circuit's top sulkysitter, Steve Schoeffel. The trio teamed Monday to win by 18 lengths in 2:06.3 for owner Susan Daugherty, leaving fans anticipating an upcoming matching of Ruiz, Broadway Charm, 4/4 fair warhorse Whitey Lauxmont, and others in this gifted, deep division. The other two sections of the colt trot saw driver Marty Wollam (64) put maiden marks on the Lear Jetta colt Rudi's Jet and the SJ's Caviar entire Mickie The Mouch. Al Manke III trains both of these horses; Wollam co-owns Rudi's Jet with Hans Bachmann, while Anthony Minute holds the papers on Mickie The Mouch. On the Sire Stakes filly side, Cantabs Lightning remained undefeated in four lifetime starts after surviving a hard-knocking duel with Bella Palazzo. The Cantab Hall miss is owned, trained, and driven by Wayne Long. Fastest of the fillies was another daughter of Cantab Hall, Tickettotheparty, who tasted victory for the first time after rallying from the pocket to win in 2:10 for owner Clifton Green, driver Marc Mosher, and trainer Syl King Jr. - whose favorite song is not any of the three famous versions of "Summertime Blues." The youthful 68YO, vice-president of the PHHA, has a .349 UTR at Clearfield this decade and has gotten checks in 47 of 50 starts, most with these precocious diamondgaiters; also, of King's 104 overall training wins in 2010-2013, 48 were achieved in July and August, and 39 at the fairs. King and Mosher also swept the Quaker State races with first-time winners, the Muscles Yankee filly Muscles Pump Queen and the Crown Prince Gar gelding Whichwayrightrleft. FINISHING LINES - Other young-at-heart veterans getting in on the Monday fun at Clearfield were Dave Brickell (65), Roger Hammer (67), Pete Petersheim (68), Joe Urban (73), John McMullen Jr. (77), Sam Miller (79), and fair circuit guru Boots Dunn at 83....2YO pacers will be featured in 11 heats at Clearfield today, starting at noon.   by Jerry Connors  

HUGHESVILLE PA After her Silky Sullivan-like finish following early interference brought three-year-old trotting filly Monroe County victory at Gratz Fair this past Sunday, during Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for sophomores Wednesday afternoon at the Lycoming County Fair Monroe took the shortest way home on the lead en route to a 2:02.3 rewriting of the Hughesville ovals divisional track record. Driver Aaron Johnston, who had two victories on the day, had the Glidemaster filly on top in a few steps, rated her half to 1:02.2, then sprinted her home in 1:00.1-29.3 to reduce the local a/s/g standard of 2:03.2, set by Victory Starburst ten years to the day previously. Monroe County is now five for five at the fairs for trainer John McMullen, co-owner with Michelle McMullen. Another track record was equaled in the days first race, a division of the three-year-old colt trot but you never would have given a new speed standard a thought after the first quarter was clicked in 33. Pacesetter Bsmaximummoonbeam trotted his middle half in 1:00.4, but then had to face powerful pocksitter Prince Lauxmont, and at the end of the 29 last quarter it was the Prince who was crowned the winner, his 2:02.4 time equaling the standard first posted by Bob And Bobby 364 days earlier. Wayne Long started his training/driving double with Prince Lauxmont, and he co-owns the altered son of Supernatural, now the winner of three straight, with Joyce Lineweaver. Keystone twicearound fans are now anticipating a clash between Prince Lauxmont and Roe Is Me in the 3TC ranks after Roe, a gelded son of SJs Caviar (two siring credits), won his sixth straight and joined Monroe County with an unblemished streak of five fair outings. Driver Winston Lauxmont and his horse could have gone faster than his 2:05 final clocking, but that means more left in the tank for trainer Eileen Lineweaver, co-owner with Bill Kreutzer. A 2:00 mile was rung up in the faster cut of the 3PC races, with Skylites Finale expertly piloted by trainer Steve Schoeffel to a seasonal best of 1:59.2. The Allamerican Native gelding gained from the pocket in a 58.1 back four furlongs to win for driver Schoeffel (three on the day), trainer Schoeffel (two on the day), and owners Virginia Schoeffel (also doubling), co-breeder Mike Callipare, Lori Callipare, and Ryan Zidek. And lastly, a cheer for the Empire Earth gelding Hay The Bushwhacker, who broke his maiden in a division of a Quaker State trot and gave 79-years-young owner-trainer-driver-groom Sam Miller his first sulky visit to Victory Lane in nearly four years. Asked afterwards if winning made the ride home go any faster, the goateed Miller thought a second, then said, I dont know if the ride goes any faster, but you sure do have a smile on your face all the way home. FINISHING LINES: Sire Western Terror had the other "double" on the day Freshmen take the track for 17 races on the Thursday card at Hughesville, which starts at noon.  For the young uns confused by the earlier Silky Sullivan reference: Silky Sullivan was a stakes-caliber thoroughbred of the late 50s who routinely fell far behind early, then made seemingly-impossible late moves that usually got him there or thereabouts at the wire. He is also noted for probably being the pioneer of using a split-screen in sports television: racing broadcasts would keep its main picture on the pack, but had a small insert in a corner of Silky Sullivan, showing the seemingly-insurmountable task (way) ahead of him. (Vince McMahon is the father of the overhead camera now so widely-used in the NFL, but thats another story for another day .)

Even though harness racing was cancelled at the Big Butler Fair Thursday morning, there was an awards presentation to the McMullen Stable by the Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association for being the "State Small Stable of the Year" for 2012.

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