MEADVILLE PA - The pride of this northwestern Pennsylvania town, Walter "Boots" Dunn, saw his filly Glide By Shooting rewrite the Crawford County Fair standard for two-year-old trotting misses when she won a division of the state Fair Sire Stakes during the first of four days of action on Monday. A daughter of Glidemaster, Glide By Shooting glided around the Meadville oval for driver Roger Hammer in 2:05.3 to reduce the 2:07.1 mark held by Desired Romance, set two years ago. Glide By Shooting really is a Dunn production - she is owned and trained by Dunn, and bred by Boots, too, out of She'sfastandfurious, who won the 2006 Fair Championship - something her daughter has a chance to do in emulation of her mother this October 5 at The Meadows. And if Glide By Shooting hadn't broken this track record for Hammer/Dunn, 15 minutes later Bella Palazzo would have. Coming off rewriting the division standard at Washington last Monday, the Tom Ridge filly overcame the trailing post seven in notching a 2:07 score. Bella Palazzo's mom, Bellissimo, was no slouch herself, winning three pari-mutuel Sire Stakes at two. The track record and Dunn victories may have overshadowed the winner of today's other filly division, but Bessie now has on her card six straight fair wins, including five in the Fair Sire Stakes, and six overall fair wins in the Sire Stakes after trotting home in 30 to complete a 2:07.2 package (note: just 1/5 off the old Meadville mark). David Brickell owns, trains, and drives the Equinox Bi filly. Flynn Rider moved up to second in the 2TC pointstandings with a 2:08.1 victory in the meet opener (the divisional leader, Mr Weaver, was third in this race). Flynn Rider was not hindered by the outside slot in the field of five as the gelding won for driver Winston Lineweaver and trainer Eileen Lineweaver, the latter co-owner with Neal Racing Stable LLC. A quarter-hour later sire Lear Jetta completed a "sweep of the Daily Double" when the other colt division was taken by Rudi's Jet in 2:09.4. The "Jet" has now soared to a 5-3-2-0 fair tally for trainer Al Manke and driver Marty Wollam, the latter co-owner with Hans Bachmann. Speaking of sweeps, the blue and yellow of Team Schoeffel took both halves to the FFA pace, with Chrome Over and with Keystone Royce in the day's fastest mile, 2:02.4 (28.1 last quarter). Steve trains both winners and mom Virginia owns a piece of both with various partners; Steve drove Keystone Royce, while Brady Brown guided Chrome Over. 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
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
The Meadowlands hosted 15 Baby Races for two-year-old trotters and pacers on Saturday morning.
After several recent arrivals, winter harness racing training is starting into full swing at Spring Garden Ranch. The restaurant is open every day from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a Sunday brunch. Qualifiers will be held weekly in March and a matinee day is scheduled the last Saturday in March, if weather and entries permit.