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MEADVILLE PA - After getting rained out on Thursday at Hughesville, the Pennsylvania fair circuit had a dry weekend at the "home track" of the late great Boots Dunn, the Crawford County Fair in this northwest Pennsylvania city, for a 2-day Sire Stakes harness racing event.   After being photoed out of third (timed in 1:53.1 - 27.2) in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes pari-mutuel division on Thursday behind Wild Bill, the full brother to Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville, Venier Hanover shipped the 366 miles from Chester to Meadville and appeared none the worse for wear, coming back with only two days in between races to take Sunday's "A" section of the freshman colt pace Fair Sire Stakes in 2:02.2 for trainer/driver Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York.   The Well Said gelding is now 3 for 4 at the fairs and 5 for 7 overall, with that quintet of victories tying him for the North American lead among two-year-olds - a position Brickell knows all too well from his perch behind Camera Lady last year.   Cruiserwillwin, also with just two days in between starts, posted the fastest time for the second straight meet when he won Saturday's sophomore colt pace "A" cut with a 2:01.4 triumph for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, co-owner with Christine Schadel. The altered son of Yankee Cruiser had a good "tightener" two starts back at Gratz, where he went 1:25.3 to the ¾, only to tire a little late as Ginger Tree Marty missed the track record by a tick with a 1:55.2 win; the trips have been kinder to Cruiserwillwin since, and he's made the most of the opportunities.   In terms of prime speed with respect to gait, possibly the most impressive winner at Meadville was the Tom Ridge sophomore colt Bet On Tom, who trotted in 2:03.1 to defeat two tough horses in Gee Wizz George and Lima Moonshine. Cory Kreiser steered the winner for trainer for trainer Gary Johnston and owner Dr. William Solomon.   Other horses who added to lustrous fair records by winning at Meadville in "A" Sire Stakes action included 3TF All Set Lets Go, undefeated in four starts; 3PF Gemalous, a win in all but one of her six fair starts; and Grapple Hanover, now 3 for 4 in the 2TC ranks. Gemalous combined with Keystone Nikki for a Shaw brothers sweep of the 3PF "A" section; Grapple Hanover was the second half of Sunday's "Daily Double" behind the filly Crazed Creek, giving trainer/driver Wayne Long a sweep of the baby freshman trots.   Chris Shaw guided seven winners to Victory Lane on the weekend, including five on Saturday, to lead at Meadville and expand his seasonal advantage to 28-17 over "fair king" Roger Hammer. Jason Shaw and Wayne Long each harnessed four successful starters at Meadville to tie for meet honors; Shaw's four-bagger brings him within one, 18-17, of circuit leader Roger Hammer.   Hammer and Sam Beegle will be honored by their hometown and the Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association just before the races start at the circuit's next stop, the Bedford Fair. Beegle and Hammer will jointly receive the Mary Lib Miller Award, the highest honor of the Keystone communicators, for longtime outstanding service to harness racing on Monday, July 24 at 5:15 p.m., 15 minutes before the first race of the opening card of that 2-day stand.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

HUGHESVILLE PA - After a successful day of harness racing three-year-olds on a Wednesday twilight card, the Pennsylvania fair circuit finally ran afoul of Mother Nature at its sixth stop and twelfth attempted card, as rain washed out the Thursday twilight session for two-year-olds to mark the first cancellation of a session on the Keystone twicearound circuit this summer.   The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, were the big winners on the racetrack during the Wednesday program for sophomores, with four and three winners respectively, a triple also being reached by the circuit's leading sulkysitter, Chris Shaw; on the training side, it was Todd and Tony's wife Linda who starred, racking up three successful charges harnessed.   Unsurprisingly, the fastest mile of the "meet" came in the one "A" division of the three-year-old colt pace, with this week's winner, Cruiserwillwin, posting a 2:01.1 clocking over a "good +3 surface." Last week Cruiserwillwin cut all the pace in the 1:55.2 near-record mile Ginger Tree Marty posted at Gratz; this week the pace was not as punishing, and Schadel was able to visit Victory Lane with the Yankee Cruiser gelding he also trains and co-owns with his wife Linda.   All Set Lets Go earns a mention as the fastest trotter of the abbreviated meet, with the Donato Hanover filly winning in 2:03.4, faster than any colt and more than four seconds faster than the other "A" and the "B" filly trots went. Chris Shaw handled the driving for trainer John McMullen Jr. and the Mcmullen Stable LLC.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

PROSPECT PA - The freshman Well Said gelding Venier Hanover was again the star of the show during harness racing action at The Big Butler Fair in this northwest Pennsylvania city. The baby sensation won on Thursday in 2:00.4, obliterating the former divisional track record, set by Skylite's Falcon in 2012, by 2 3/5 seconds, and coming within 2/5 of a second of the all-age track record, which was first set by the legendary Audie K 25 years and two days before, and then tied by Star Of Terror one year and two days ago.   Venier Hanover is now 4-3-1-0 in his career; the second came to the talented Marvalous Falcon at Hughesville last week, when Venier got away poorly from the second tier and had to make a big move just to get into the race. Venier again had a trailer spot at Butler, but he had a little bit more as he and Marvalous Falcon dueled in a 29.1 last quarter before Marvalous Artist took a misstep and had to settle for second. "Smilin'" Dave Brickell was as usual in the sulky behind Venier Hanover - and you'd be smiling too if you, along with Mitchell York, were the co-owner of this apparent double season's recordholder (1:54f at The Meadows and 1:58h at Dayton, the latter time within a tick of their all-age mark).   The biggest winner during the two days of action (freshmen Thursday, sophomores Friday) was driver Chris Shaw, who paraded back a winner no fewer than nine times during the two cards, five of them for brother/trainer Jason (Jason's son Mason was owner or co-owner of all five). The Shaws showed an early mastery over the recently-introduced "A"/"B" double division Sire Stakes format in the three-year-old filly pace, winning the "A" event with the Delmarvalous miss Gemalous, the 2016 Fair Championship winner, in 2:05.1, and then bringing back Keystone Nikki, who set a 1:59.3 divisional track record at Dayton but, because she was fourth at Hughesville, was eligible to drop to the "B" class this week, and took a division of that event - in 2:04.1.   Shawn Johnston, the 2017 Boots Dunn awardwinner for most promising youngster on the PA fair circuit, had five driving wins during the two-day session, two each for trainers Gary Johnston and LaDarrius Whitaker (the latter 3 for 3 at Butler), and the fifth with the Rich Gillock trainee The Book Of Life, with whom he won the three-year-old colt pace "A" section in 2:01.1 (over a "slow +3"-rated track). The Book Of Life has now taken two straight after starting his career 1 for 22.   The nine-bagger by Chris Shaw vaulted him to the top of the fair drivers standings by a 15-13 margin over Roger Hammer (who had but a single triumph at Butler); Jason Shaw got closer in the trainers standings, now only 13-10 behind Hammer.   The next stop on the Pennsylvania fair circuit is a two-day event at Gratz, one of the fastest ovals on the tour, with freshmen going at noon Saturday (July 8) and then sophomores at the same time Sunday (July 9).   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

HUGHESVILLE, PA - The second stop on the 2017 Pennsylvania fair circuit was made at the Lycoming County Fair in this city in the central part of the state, a 2-day Sire Stakes event on Saturday and Sunday. The track was modified in the last few months, and though this weekend's times were not spectacular, the "workout given to the track" will get it "tighter" for when the county fair meet comes to town.   The best race on both days was the first race, possibly not coincidentally featuring "A"-level pacing colts on both cards. On Sunday Venier Hanover, the freshman who was the talk of the circuit after his 1:58 mile at Dayton last week, tasted defeated at the hooves of Marvalous Falcon, but both babies gave superior performances.   The King of the Pennsylvania Fairs, Roger Hammer, got away quickly from post three with his homebred Delmarvalous gelding Marvalous Falcon, with Venier Hanover burdened with a second tier starting slot and driver Dave Brickell having him outside and underway from sixth place.   By the 29.3 quarter. Hammer rated the half to 1:02.2, with Venier Hanover by then alongside and even slightly ahead at times, but Marvalous Falcon then threw a 28.1 third quarter (the odd-numbered quarters were the faster almost all weekend at Hughesville) to assert himself, with his game challenger staying within four lengths of the 2:01.4 winner.   Marvalous Falcon, himself already a Q1:55.3f performer and with a maternal pedigree sporting countless PA county fair stars, is a Hammer breeder / owner/ trainer/ driver production.   The fastest mile of the meet came from these babies' three-year-old counterparts to open the racing weekend, with the Bettor's Delight gelding The Book Of Life garnering only his second lifetime victory after stopping the timer in 2:01.2 ahead of circuit familiars like Cruiserwillwin (2016 Fair Championship winner) and Artist's Ruffles. However, The Book Of Life's other win was in 1:55.2 at Philly, showing that the youngster had speed, and he was able to maximize his talents on this day for driver Shawn Johnston, trainer Rich Gillock, and owner Harry Locke.   Though Venier Hanover may have suffered his first defeat, his stablemate in the Dave Brickell barn, Camera Lady, continued her love affair with Keystone State fairgrounds winners circles by taking a 2:04.3 decision. The Dragon Again filly, trained and driven by Brickell and owned by him in partnership with Mitchell York, was 2016's winningest two-year-old in North America with 15 triumphs, 14 of them on the local fair circuit, and this year's she's two-for-two over the twicearounds.   Another double fair winner in 2017 is the Great George Two gelding Gee Wizz George, who went the meet's fastest trotting time, 2:05. "George" was 13 lengths off the pace at the quarter, but he steadily rallied into a very fast pace to win nicely for driver Brady Brown, trainer Jean Rastetter, and owner Maryann Rastetter.   Roger Hammer sent six charges to Victory Lane for the second straight week to already establish a big lead in the fair trainer and driver standings. One of those wins was a dead-heat victory with trotter Toolbox Tuesday, finishing even with Irish Valentine, whose driver Chris Shaw (6 wins) and trainer/brother Jason (5 victories) are second to Hammer in the early stats.   The PA fair circuit now heads back out west for two days of competition at The Big Butler Fair on Thursday and Friday. The starting gate will be in motion at 10 a.m. on both days, with two-year-olds Thursday and three-year-olds Friday.    From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association    

BEDFORD PA – The annual Pennsylvania Fair Harness Racing awards banquet was held on Saturday (January 14) in this southwest PA town, with the top performers receiving awards and generous sponsors continuing to make this PA Fair banquet one of the best values in harness racing (ticket price = $40; value of doorprizes divided by number of attendees = $65) through the hard work of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Shawn Johnston, a 24-year-old driver who had posted 30 victories in limited chances during his first six years of driving, showed rapid development this summer with 37 sulky triumphs to rank fourth on the fair circuit, earning the second Walter “Boots” Dunn Memorial Rising Star Award. Boots had presented the first Rising Star Award to Brady Brown in one of his last public appearances before his passing early in 2016; this year, Brown and Boots’s daughter Lisa Dunn conferred the honor to Johnston. “Boots was someone around here always admired,” Johnston noted. “And he drove horses for my grandparents. When we would talk, he might say something about learning driving – ‘Be more patient with a trotter’ – but we also talked about the horses he remembered driving for my grandparents.” The Pa Fair Circuit’s “Blues Brothers,” driver Chris and trainer Jason Shaw (so named because of their colors), earned the Top Gun Awards during the 2016 fair season, as Chris posted 65 sulky victories and Jason harnessed 57 winners circle visitors to lead their fellow horsemen in the winning column. Also honored were the divisional pointwinners during the 20-stop fair circuit, and those horses who visited Victory Lane after winning in October 8’s PA Fair Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadows: POINT WINNERS 2TC – Toolbox Tuesday, owned by Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2TF – No Not Yet, owned by Dr. William Solomon 2PC – Marvalous Artist, Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2PF – Camera Lady, owned by Dave Brickell and Mitchell York (the top pointwinner in all classes)   3TC – Major Matter, owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer 3TF – A Little Laid Back, owned by Roger Hammer (won her point championship at 2 and 3) 3PC – Star Of Terror, owned by Fortunate One LLC 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, owned by Mason Shaw during the fair season (top pointwinner of 2 and 3)   CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS 2TC – Photo Bomber, owned by Tony and Linda Schadel 2TF – All Set Lets Go, owned by the McMullen Stable LLC 2PC – Cruiserwillwin, owned by Todd and Christine Schadel 2PF – Gemalous, owned by Mason Shaw   3TC – Shady McCoy, owned by Dave and Delores Wade 3TF – Waterview Hanover, owned by Susan Daugherty (only the third fair filly to win both of her Championships in the 20-year history of the Fair Finals, following trotter Rosebud Sioux in 2004-2005 and pacer Big City Hanover in 2006-2007) 3PC – Captain Dinger, owned by James Dodson and Ron Lineweaver 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, sold to Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi LLC before the Championship (the only 2016 point champion to also win the divisional Championship.) Jerry Connors

BLOOMSBURG PA – If it turns out that Roger Hammer is one victory short of a milestone win whenever he decides to end his illustrious harness racing sulky career, he’ll remember the name “Billy’s Falcon.” On Thursday, the last day of a 3-day harness meet at the fairgrounds in this northeast Pennsylvania town, and the last fair on the 2016 Pennsylvania twicearound tour, all eight divisions of the Bloomsburg Stakes, worth $38,255, were carded. In the opening race, the three-year-old colt pace, Hammer looked forward to a walkover with Billy’s Falcon, as his horse was the only one to declare. But then it rained Wednesday night into Thursday, the track was rendered unraceable, and the Bloomsburg Stakes were canceled – a squishy end to a great year on the Keystone fair trail. Hammer still got the money – all $3,344 of it – and the other seven events had their purses divided equally among all those who declared in. But money can’t buy experience and conditioning – which is why the PA-sired two-year-olds suffered a double blow at Bloomsburg, with their Tuesday Sire Stakes being washed out, then joined in rainout by their Bloomsburg Stake events Thursday. That leaves 20 days between their last Sire Stakes contests, a week ago Sunday at Gratz, and their $25,000 divisional Fair Championships at The Meadows a week from this coming Saturday. You can be sure that some horsemen will be scrambling to find qualifiers and still-undrawn overnight races for early next week, so that their stock can be in top fettle for the Championships. But even the rain couldn’t spoil what was an excellent season on the Pennsylvania fair circuit, which saw no fewer than 36 track record miles, including the rewriting or equaling of all-age standards at three ovals, and 24 miles in 2:00 or less. The following is a short statistical summary of the Pennsylvania fair season, leading with a listing of the top pointwinners based on finish position at the various fairs at which they competed (or were rained out); all of the leading pointwinners will receive a blanket color-coded to their stable colors at the annual Pennsylvania Fair Banquet on January 14. 2017 in Bedford PA: 2TC – TOOLBOX TUESDAY, an altered son of Broadway Hall trained by Roger Hammer, who is also co-owner with Vicki Fair; six fair wins, most in his division, and three track records. 2TF – NO NOT YET, a daughter of Tom Ridge trained by Gary Johnston for owner Dr. William Solomon; tied for her divisional lead with five fair victories. 2PC -- MARVALOUS ARTIST, a Delmarvalous gelding trained by Roger Hammer, who is co-owner with Vicki Fair; eight fair victories, second in the division only to stablemate Artists Ruffles’ 10, and one track record. 2PF – CAMERA LADY, a daughter of Dragon Again trained by Dave Brickell, also co-owner with Mitchell York; started her fair campaign with 14 straight victories, including a track record, then lost by a nose in her 15th (and what turned out to be last) fair start at Gratz. 3TC – MAJOR MATTER, an Explosive Matter gelding trained by Rick Beinhauer, who is also co-owner with Regina Beinhauer; six fair wins, opening his fair campaign by tying the all-age track trot mark at Wattsburg with a 2:04 mile -- also defending divisional Champion. 3TF – A LITTLE LAID BACK, repeating as divisional pointsleader, a Great George Two filly trained and owned by Roger Hammer; six fair triumphs to lead her group, and three track records. 3PC – STAR OF TERROR, an altered son of Western Terror trained by Jason Shaw for owners Fortunate One LLC; eleven wins at the fairs, five of them in 2:00 or less to lead all fair campaigners, and equaled the all-age track pace record at Butler, 2:00.2, among three track records. 3PF – UNBEAMLIEVEABLE, repeating as divisional pointsleader, a daughter of Moon Beam trained by Jason Shaw for owner/son Mason; set two track records among her nine 2016 victories at the fairs, and ends her fair career with a remarkable two-year tally of 27-22-4-0. Most points, overall, for 2YOs, for pacers, and for females: Camera Lady. Most points for 3YOs and for males: Star Of Terror. Most points for trotters: A Little Laid Back. Multiple 2:00 performers: 3PG Star Of Terror, 5; 3PC Dragon Strikes, 4; 3PF Vorst, 3. Fastest time, pace: tie between 2PG Artists Ruffles and 3PG Star Of Terror, 1:57. (Artists Ruffles’ mile       equaled the all-time PA 2PC fair record, the only such listing altered in 2016.) Fastest time, trot: 3TF Real Caviar, 2:00.1. Multiple track records set: 4 – 2TF Lovebeinglucky. 3 – 3TF A Little Laid Back; 3PG Star Of Terror; 2TG Toolbox Tuesday. 2 – 2PG Artists Ruffles; 3PF Singalongwithbing; 3PF Unbeamlieveable; 3PF Vorst. TOP DRIVERS by wins: Chris Shaw, 65; Roger Hammer, 46; Todd Schadel, 41; Shawn Johnston, 37; (tie) Brady Brown and Steve Schoeffel, 32. TOP TRAINERS by wins: Jason Shaw, 57; Roger Hammer, 44; Todd Schadel, 36; Gary Johnston, 23; Mike Gillock, 22. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association

GRATZ PA - After freshman filly sensation Camera Lady lost her 14-race undefeated streak on the first day of the two-day harness racing meet at the fair in this central Pennsylvania town, things went back pretty much to "the normal order" when sophomores were featured during the second card on Tuesday.   In the "glamour division," the colt pace, Star Of Terror equaled the fastest mile on the circuit this year (first notched by the two-year-old Artists Ruffles) when he won in 1:57 by close to ten lengths for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Jason Shaw, and the ownership of Fortunate One LLC. The Western Terror gelding has a 13-10-2-0 record at the fairs, including winning eight of his last nine, and his five 2:00 miles are two more than his two nearest rivals. One of those "nearest rivals" won the other Fair Sire Stakes division here, the Art Official colt Dragon Strikes, who biscircumnavigated the Gratz half-miler in 1:58.4, his eighth win in nine fair outings for driver Brady Brown, trainer Mike Gillock, and owner Bob Key.   The only other three-time 2:00 winner at the fairs this year, the pacing filly Vorst, needed just 2:01.4 to win on Tuesday, motoring home in 28.2 for driver Eric Neal, trainer Dirk Simpson, and owner Bob Key, running her fair scorecard to 5-4-1-0 but still leaving her on the outside looking in as far as October 8's Fair Championship event because of pointrankings. The distaffs did contribute to the 2:00 cause, running that number to 23 in PA this summer, as Gingertreescarlett motored home in 28.4 to gain a nose victory over Healthy Gain, previously unbeaten in three fair starts, for trainer Sam Beegle and owners Ginger Tree Stable LLC, Donald Currie, and Richard Thurlow. Gingertreescarlett was piloted by Nicholas Cook, who himself is eligible for the "nw 5 races" class, and who guided his first-ever 2:00 winner.   The defending Fair Championship trotting winners both won on the Gratz card. Waterview Hanover won a division of the filly event in 2:01.4 for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr. and owner Susan Daugherty despite the daughter of Explosive Matter being parked past the half for the top; in the other section, the SJ's Caviar miss Real Caviar, who went the fastest trotting mile on this year's circuit when she won here in 2:00.1 in July, missed that clocking by only a tick as she joined Waterview Hanover as a four-time fair winner for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, also co-owner with Dr. John Egloff.   Defending colt Fair Champion Major Matter won the faster of his division's two races in 2:00.4, with the Explosive Matter gelding tallying for trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, co-owner with Regina Beinhauer; the other cut went to Shady McCoy, an altered son of SJ's Caviar whose 2:01.1 score pushed his fair record to five wins in his last six starts for trainer/driver Dave Wade, co-owner with Delores Wade. Both sophomores have six wins on the fair circuit this year.   The Gratz titles for drivers and trainers both wound up in ties. Chris Shaw and Wayne Long both drove four winners to be at the top of the category; Long, Mike Gillock, Roger Hammer, Bob Rougeaux III, and Jason Shaw both harnessed a pair of winners to finish joint-top in the trainers derby.   The Pennsylvania fair season (which just began, didn't it?) comes to a close with three days of racing at the Bloomsburg Fair next week: Sire Stakes racing on Tuesday (2YOs) and Wednesday (3YOs), the final chance for these horses to earn points and earn a higher spot in the standings before those October 8 $25,000 Fair Sire Stakes Championships at The Meadows. The time-honored Bloomsburg Stakes will race all eight of their divisions on the Thursday card.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

Camera Lady's 14-race winning streak on the Pennsylvania fair circuit came to an end on Sunday during the first day of a two-day meet at the Gratz (PA) fair, but the gallant pacing filly again showed her ability, missing just a nose to a very good 4-time fair winner named U Bettor Git in a stretch duel that had the harness racing fans in the Gratz grandstand up and cheering like few other races in many a year in this central Pennsylvania town.   Camera Lady left from the outside post six and tucked third in a fast first quarter of 29.2, then stayed inside when the outer tier - Marvalous B T first-over with U Bettor Git behind - moved up to challenge to the 1:02 half and beyond, with Camera Lady still charted fourth inside at the 1:33.2 ¾ pole. At this point U Bettor Git and driver Shawn Johnston "got the jump" by moving three-wide and getting to within a half-length of leading Keystone Nikki at the stretch call, with Camera Lady still two lengths out. U Bettor Git got a stretch advantage, but Camera Lady had angled out and was flying, but proved just a bit less photogenic today than the deserving winner, a daughter of Bettor's Delight trained by Bob Rougeaux III for owners Sarah and Maria DeCarlo.   As for Camera Lady, this is not her first losing race - she tried the "big girls" in a pari-mutuel Sire Stakes in July and was race-timed in 1:56.2 but got no money - and she took her mark of 1:58.1 in an overnight p/m win at The Meadows, with her 15-win figure still leaving her as the co-winningest pacer in North America, tied with older mares Velocity Vespa and Mademoiselle Paris.   The Gratz meet was less than three minutes old when a track record went into the books, as the Donato Hanover two-year-old trotting filly All Set Lets Go reported home 7½ length clear in 2:01.4, equaling the local standard for age, sex, and gait first notched by Glide By Shooting in 2013. Chris Shaw handled sulky duty behind All Set Letsgo for trainer John McMullen and the Mcmullen Stable LLC. The clocking was also a "season's record" for the Pennsylvania fair circuit.   Roger Hammer, trainer/driver and co-owner with Vicki Fair, swept the two-year-old colt pace with two horses very familiar with the twicearound circuit's Victory Lane - the Real Artist gelding Artists Ruffles, who ran his fair record to 11-10-1-0, the last eight wins in a row, with a 2:00.1 triumph; and eight-time fair winner Marvalous Artist, now on a three-race win skein after the Delmarvalous gelding stepped home in 29 to complete a 2:01.4 win.   Wayne Long had three driving victories on the day, including two in the freshman colt trot; this section's race he won for trainer Bob Rougeaux was with the Lucky Chucky gelding Vegas Chuck in 2:03.2, continuing that baby being perfect in five fair starts - but, even supposing he would win at Bloomsburg next week, leaving him "on the bubble" to make his $25,000 divisional Championship on October 8 at The Meadows, with eight rivals already ringing up more than the 210 point maximum he could reach.   The three-year-olds will take to the track at Gratz at high noon on Monday.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

STONEBORO PA - Though Tuesday's second day of the harness racing meet at the Stoneboro (PA) Fair had its races for three-year-olds start at 8:30 a.m., that was still plenty of early excitement crackling through the 60o air in the northwest Pennsylvania town, as fans and horsemen alike looked forward to the long-awaited matchup in race two between pacing colts Star Of Terror and Dragon Strikes, both undefeated in their last six starts, and likely to put up a fast time in their battle Tuesday.   Everybody got their early fast mile, alright - except it came in race three instead of race two. More on race three in a moment - here's what happened in the "big matchup."   The two streaking horses - Dragon Strikes (driver Steve Schoeffel) from the rail, Star Of Terror (Chris Shaw) from the outside post four - went at it cutthroat style in the first quarter, with Star Of Terror finally making the top after a 28.1 quarter (60 degrees, "good" track, "+3" variant). And Star Of Terror just kept on a-rollin', reaching the half in 56.3, with Dragon Strikes in behind drafting. (The second-fastest half of the day was 58.2, the third 1:00; the other division of the colt pacers Sire Stakes went in 1:02). The battle was definitely on.   But then on the third turn, all expectations went out the window - everything changed. The tempo of the "background music," in terms of groups from the writer's era, went from the Ramones to Vanilla Fudge.   Approaching the 5/8, Dragon Strikes had been exhausted by his early efforts and began backing up; Lucky Cruiser (Brady Brown), who had been sitting behind the two rampaging warriors early, went around him and retucked in the pocket behind Star Of Terror, who also started to show wear and tear, hitting the ¾ in 1:29 - still outstanding for a fair, but a 32.2 third quarter.   Brown kept Lucky Cruiser in behind the pacesetter around the turn and moved out headstretch, and Lucky Cruiser proved to have the most late, winning by just less than two lengths of Star Of Terror, with the final time after the exhausting early tempo 2:03.1. (You could have made a lot of money taking the "over" for "time of the last half in race two" if the figure had been posted at "1:06.2.")   But no matter the circumstances, it was Lucky Cruiser's day, with Brown handling the Yankee Cruiser gelding for owner/trainer Don Lark Jr. in his second fair win in five starts. Star Of Terror and Dragon Strikes (who finished fourth) will return another day.   Now - that fast mile we talked about, just one race after the colt pace showdown, did keep a streak alive - the Four Starzzz Shark filly Vorst set her second track record in as many starts, winning at Stoneboro for driver Eric Neal in 1:58.2, a pretty amazing clocking when you consider the next-fastest mile of the day was 2:03. Trainer Dirk Simpson, who handles the filly for owner James Springer, is of course a veteran of the Illinois fair circuit, and his foray into the Pennsylvania twicearounds is yielding nice dividends, as Vorst's Stoneboro mark goes alongside the track record she rang up at Indiana last week.   However, Vorst faces a different problem in terms of winning her $25,000 Fair Championship - she might not have enough points to get in! Besides her two track records, Vorst has started only one other time at the fairs, finishing second to the steady Unbeamlieveable, and even if she would "win out" at the circuit's final three stops at York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg, her points total would still put her behind the figure achieved by five other fillies already, and then after those five there are still seven other fillies with more current points than Vorst!   Speaking of Unbeamlievable, at least she was able to keep a win streak going for Team Shaw, the brothers Jason, the trainer, and Chris, the driver, after they lost one streak with Star Of Terror and another, a seven-race skein in the Quaker States, with Silver Sting. Unbeamlieveable was victorious on Tuesday - in fact, she was the second-fastest horse of the day with that 2:03 final time. The daughter of Moon Beam, winningest two-year-old pacing filly in North America last year, now has taken three straight races, and her fair record is 11-8-3-0 for owner Mason Shaw, Jason Shaw's four-year-old son. All three Shaws are also the sponsoring team behind the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Prince Penrod, who won the other division of the colt pace in 2:03.2.   On the trotting side, daily honors would go to trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, who guided two horses he owns with his wife Regina to their fifth wins on the fair circuit: the Explosive Matter gelding Major Matter, fastest trot winner of the day in 2:03.3, and the SJ's Caviar filly Atoastandcaviar.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

STONEBORO PA - The 2016 Pennsylvania fair harness racing circuit started the last leg of its "western campaign" for the summer on Thursday in this town in the northwest portion of the state, and the theme of the day, devoted to two-year-old racing, was "sweeping," less in the sense of "cleaning" than of "cleaning up" the purses for a few stables, and one filly in particular.   The Dragon Again filly Camera Lady showed he's not superstitious as she paced to victory in 2:04, last quarter 30, to keep her undefeated in 13 starts across the state at its fairgrounds. The victory was her 14th overall in 15 career starts, as she took her mark of 1:58.1 (in her second start) in an overnight at The Meadows, the track at which she had her only loss, trying the "big big girls" in the state Sire Stakes, and race-timed in 1:56.3, in her fourth career trip to the gate.   After that, she's posted 11 consecutive victories along the fair circuit, setting a track record at Hughesville and establishing herself as the PA fairs' "season leader" with a 2:00.3 at Bedford. This 14th victory puts her only one win off the lead out of the entirety of North American harness horses, with two veterans at 15: pacing mare Velocity Vespa and the trotting gelding Mama Made Me Blue. And for being a "fair horse" with less than three months of racing under her girth, she's already bankrolled $32,143 for her owners, Mitchell York and trainer/driver "Smilin'" Dave Brickell.   Brickell and co-owner York had even more reason to smile when Camera Lady's compatriot Cajun Moonlite took the other division of the freshman filly pace for a stable "sweep." This victory was only the second for the daughter of Moon Beam (also sire of PA fair 3PF sensation Unbeamlieveable), but she's hit the board 11 times in 16 starts, with 15 checkgetting efforts totaling $14,685, and it was her second win in three starts, suggesting her stock is on the rise.   The "King Of The Pennsylvania Fairs," trainer/driver Roger Hammer, had a sweep - of sorts - of the two Sire Stake events for pacing colts. His Real Artist gelding Artists Ruffles, still the fastest horse of the Keystone fair season with his 1:57 win at Bedford, took his ninth win of his initial campaign with a 2:04.4 triumph in one division for owners Hammer and Vicki Fair; they are also the owners of the Delmarvalous gelding Marvalous Artist, who dead-heated for win in 2:06 in the other division with the Yankee Cruiser colt Air Quotes Hanover, owned/ trained, and driven by Aaron Johnston.   Hammer also won with his Broadway Hall gelding Toolbox Tuesday, he of the three track record performances on the fair circuit, to post a training/driving triple, tops for the day in the former category and tying in the latter stats with circuit leader Chris Shaw, who drove one winner for his brother Jason and two more for the McMullen stable.   The second day of the two-card stand at Stoneboro will take place Monday, with an informally agreed-upon edict of "no yawning" despite that card's 8:30 a.m. start. Helping that restriction will be the eagerly-awaited showdown in the three-year-old pacing colt ranks, with Star Of Terror and Dragon Strikes both putting six-race winning streaks on the line in the second event of the morning after being rained out at Wattsburg on Wednesday. After that card, the circuit swings east for its final three stops at York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg, leading up to the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night at The Meadows on Saturday, October 8.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

WATTSBURG PA - Let's try to summarize the Wednesday, August 31 harness racing experience at the Erie County Fair in Wattsburg PA in one word.   The most obvious one is what's printed in bold on each overnight sheet - "CANCELED."   A second would be the cause for the first word - "rain."   Another would be "disappointing," as Pennsylvania fair circuit regulars were eagerly awaiting the long-brewing showdown between sophomore pacing males Star Of Terror and Dragon Strikes, each of whom is coming off of a six-race win streak. (They will meet, by the way, this coming Monday at Stoneboro - more on that at the end.)   A final word would be "Farewell" - which seems a bit out of place with the others, but is nonetheless appropriate, as this was the final card to be under the direction of Cheryl Bender, a local woman who almost a decade ago stepped in, was brought to understand the disparate areas of harness racing that needed to be drawn together to present a successful race program, and turned to the best source possible, the late Walter "Boots" Dunn, who gave her incalculable good advice. From then it was Cheryl's show, and she brought intelligence, patience, good humor, attention to detail, and a ton of "sweat equity" to the project and made Wattsburg one of the most popular stops on the Pennsylvania fair circuit. She will be missed at the head of a talented crew of workers that Wattsburg is lucky to have.   The racing card on Tuesday, for two-year-olds, did get raced, and the program was exactly 2:05.4 underway when Lovebeinglucky established a new track record for freshman trotting fillies, eclipsing the old mark of 2:07.2 set last year by A Little Laid Back (who won three hours later that same day at the Indiana PA fair). This was the fourth divisional mark that Lovebeinglucky has set this summer, adding Wattsburg to her ribbons at Butler, Dayton, and Washington, and putting her to #1 in that category on the Keystone circuit. The daughter of Lucky Chucky is owned by trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer in partnership with his wife Regina. (The 2:05.4 would also prove to be the fastest clocking of the day.)   The Beinhauers were back in the winners circle 30 minutes later after they swept the two-year-old Sire Stakes trots when their Sierra Kosmos gelding Intense Standoff was home first in 2:08.1. But then again, 2016 success at Wattsburg was nothing new for Team Beinhauer, as during the seasonopening "special two-day Sire Stakes meet" here, their Major Matter had tied the all-time track trot mark of 2:04.   If your name wasn't "Beinhauer" or "Schoeffel," you didn't guide a winner back to the photographer on the six-race card, as driver Steve Schoeffel won the other four contests, with his own trainees Dejarmbro's Image and Ounce Hanover, and with catch-drives behind Lees Cruisetta and So Slick.   FINISHING LINES - The fair circuit makes its final "western stop" at Stoneboro, with one card possibly finished before you read this, as they will race today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. And if you want to see that big showdown between sophomores Star Of Terror and Dragon Strikes, set your alarm for early, as that contest will be race two on the Labor Day Monday, September 5, card - with first post at 8:30 a.m.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association    

MEADVILLE PA - The second day of the 2016 fair meeting at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in this northwest Pennsylvania city, featuring harness racing three-year-olds in stakes competition, was held Tuesday - and appropriately started off with a ceremony, featuring the traditional driverless horse and gathering of the meet's horsemen, to honor Walter "Boots" Dunn, the legendary local horseman and friend to all who had passed away since 2015's Crawford County racing.   On the racetrack, it was Team Shaw, led by trainer Jason, who earned the spotlight by sweeping the Sire Stakes for sophomore pacers, on both the colt and filly side, and seeing its Unbeamlieveable, last season's winningest 2PF in North America, set a new Meadville track record with her victory in 2:00.4. However, in altering the record book, one only had to change the time from 2:01, the horse from Allstar Morning, and the date from 6-22-14 to 8-23-13, as the driver of the divisional recordbearer, driver Chris Shaw, remained the same. Unbeamlieveable, a daughter of Moon Beam owned by Jason's four-year-old son Mason, has seven fair victories in 2016 (she had 13 last season), and this track record goes alongside the local mark she set at Honesdale.   We focused on Jason in mentioning the Shaw sweep, which is unusual in that where you find Jason you usually find Chris, but the other 3PF winner was not driven by Chris, but by the veteran Roger Hammer: Gymnast Hanover, a daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Mason and Amanda Shaw. Gymnast Hanover, although certainly no slouch with four fair wins this year, had often been in the shadow of stablemates Unbeamlieveable and Singalongwithbing - who finished second, with Chris driving, in this race, with another 5-time fair winner, Marvalous Jet, third in the 2:04.2 mile.   On the colt side, Star Of Terror continued his rampage, with his sixth victory in a row and eighth overall on the circuit, though the Hammer-guided Billy's Falcon, first-over to the victorious pacesetter, made him and driver Chris work for the one length victory in the day's fastest time of 2:00.2. The Western Terror gelding is owned by Fortunate One LLC. Rounding out the Shaw sophomore sweep in the pacing ranks was the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Prince Penrod, who led at every call for a 2:05.1 triumph for Jason, Chris and owner Mason.   On the trotting side, the fastest winner among the males were the Cantab Hall gelding OMG Hanover, a 2:03.3 winner for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, co-owner with wife Christine. OMG Hanover now has five fair wins, including his all-age track record mile Bedford; finishing 2-3 to him were the powerful Major Matter, who earlier equaled the all-age mark at Wattsburg, and Rail Kat, who saw his fair record of going undefeated in five starts at the Keystone twicearounds go by the boards.   Regal Woman won the faster of the two diamondgaited filly divisions in 2:05.1. The daughter of SJ's Caviar has visited Victory Lane on the circuit four times now for owner Dr. William Solomon, with Gary Johnston training and Aaron Johnston performing the sulky duty today.   There will be racing at three Pennsylvania ovals this coming week, with an overlapping date on Tuesday: the trotters and pacers will race at Indiana on Monday and Tuesday at noon, and at Wattsburg on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11 a.m. Then they will go straight to Stoneboro for the last "western-based" fair racing, on Thursday at 10 a.m. and on Labor Day Monday at 8:30 a.m., before "heading east" for the circuit's final three stops, at York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

MEADVILLE PA - The Crawford County Fair in this northwest Pennsylvania town opened a two-day meet today - its first in a long, long time without the firm guiding hand of Walter "Boots" Dunn, the harness racing legendary local horseman who passed away earlier this year.   After funding for overnight races at the fairs became a part of consolidation measures in state support of harness racing, Boots always made sure that Meadville had overnight events, a practice in which he has been commendably joined by Jeff Firmstone at Honesdale. Fittingly, the free-for-all events this year both proudly bear the names "The Dunn Memorial" - and on Monday another Pennsylvania fair legend, Roger Hammer, paid a tribute to his longtime circuitmate by giving the Meadville oval one of the few 2:00 miles it has seen - a 1:59.2 victory with Ruffle Up in the free-for-all pace.   A five-year-old Real Artist gelding owned, trained, and driven by Hammer, Ruffle Up toured the local half-miler in 30.3, 59, and 1:28.4 before stopping the timer in 1:59.2, breaking the Meadville record for older male pacers set by Vesuvio Grade on August 24, 2009. The all-time local record for the pace is the 1:58.1 turned in by the three-year-old McAlvin, exactly three years previous (August 22, 2013) to Monday's mile by Ruffle Up.   The FFA pace was the last race on the Monday card; Hammer also won the opener, and in fact both halves of the "Daily Double" were won by member of the Bedford (PA) Sports Hall Of Fame: Hammer, inducted for harness racing and Sam Beegle, a champion local wrestler (and a pretty fair horseman in his own right as well). After Hammer and the Real Artist gelding Artists Ruffles won in 2:03, his fourth straight win in a campaign where his 1:57 victory at Bedford still stands as the 2016 all-age circuit standard, trainer/driver Beegle edged out Hammer and Marvalous Artist by a neck with the Delmarvalous colt Friendly's Scooter in 2:03.4 for the Bay Pond Racing Stable.   Next up were the baby pacing fillies, and that meant it was Camera Lady time. And the Dragon Again filly again delivered, posting her 11th fair victory in an undefeated campaign on the circuit, and her 12th overall win, in 2:05.1 for trainer/driver Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York.   With the twelve victories, Camera Lady holds these margins over her fellow North American freshmen: three wins more than pacing colt Bigtime So N So, four up on pacing filly Prettyfaceuglyways, and five clear of the top 2YO trotters, filly Cinderella's Dress and gelding Neednorestrictions. She's tied at 12 wins with the top three-year-old, the trotting filly My Little Suzie, and only three wins short of the winningest horse in North American 2016, the trotting gelding Mama Made Me Blue. And Camera Ready didn't start until June 11! (Reminds one of the quote: "Fred Astaire? Ginger Rogers did everything he did, and did it backwards and in high heels!")   Brickell and York got a nice bonus in the other division of the Sires baby filly pace, as their Cajun Moonlite made her breakthrough with a 2:07 win, coming from five lengths down at the stretch call to win by 6¾ lengths. At the fairs, Cajun Moonlite had had four seconds, four thirds, and two fourths before also getting to be a "Camera Lady" today.   On the trot, Brauti Hanover, went to the top of her class with five wins at the fairs, the last three in a row, winning in 2:09.3 for Steve Schoeffel, while the gelding Lima Moonshine, now 3-2-1-0 at the fairs, firmed up his position as a major contender in his group by defeating three-time track recordsetting Toolbox Tuesday in 2:07.2.   The three-year-old Fair Sire Stakes horses will be out in full force at the Meadville oval, joined by Quaker State events and the Dunn Memorial Free-For-All Trot, with the first of 13 races set for an 11:00 a.m. start.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

DAYTON PA - Another day on the Pennsylvania fair circuit, another track record - on Thursday it was the harness racing freshman Delmarvalous pacing gelding Marvalous Artist lowering the divisional mark at the Dayton Fair in Armstrong County PA to 2:00.2.   And it was another trip behind the starting gate for the Dragon Again filly Camera Lady, another victory - she's now undefeated after 10 fair stops, and she has a clear lead among all North American freshmen with 11 visits to Victory Lane.   Marvalous Artist and his story is as good as any distillation of the effect that Roger Hammer has had on the Pennsylvania county fair circuit. His 2:00.2 mile here Thursday knocked 2/5 of a second off the old Dayton mark of Western Cafe, who also was trained and driven by Hammer, and who set the old record in the fifth race on August 16, 2002.   You know who won the sixth race that day in 2002? R N Artist - the dam of Marvalous Artist, and Western Cafe's stablemate in the Hammer shedrow! R N Artist would go on to win her three-year-old Fair Championship the next season, and with five fair triumphs already this year Marvalous Artist has to be one of the favorites for his Championship on October 8, as only one other 2PC has five fair wins this year - that would be Artists Ruffles, who is trained and driven ... heck, if you don't know the answer to that question, you haven't been paying attention.   But even Hammer so far hasn't found a way to derail Camera Lady, who after a win in 2:04.4 with a last quarter of 28.1, is now 10 for 10 at the fairs and having posing for the winners circle camera 11 times in her still-brief career, two more times the North America's next-winningest baby, the pacing colt Bigtime So N So, three times more than the next pacing filly, Prettyfaceuglyways, and four up on the top trotter, the filly Cinderellas Dress. It hasn't been hard for "Smilin'" Dave Brickell, the filly's trainer/driver and co-owner with Mitchell York, to live up to his nickname this summer.   On the freshman trotting side, of note was the Crazed gelding Crazy Clyde, who has now strung together five straight victories at the fairs after his 2:06.3 win here for driver Brady Brown and trainer Jason Bresnhan, the latter co-owner with Marilyn Bresnahan and Clyde Bresnahan, whom he hope is not the source of inspiration for the horse's name. It should also be noted that both divisions of fillies went faster: Prayers Do Matter (2:06.1) and Brauti Hanover (2:06).   The latter filly was driven by Steve Schoeffel, second at the meet with five driving victories, two behind Chris Shaw. Chris's brother Jason was top conditioner with six harnessed charges coming back with a win.   The circuit, already 2/3 over (13 out of 20 stops completed - that seems impossible), now pulls into Meadville PA and the Crawford County Fair for racing on Monday and Tuesday - its first session After Boots, the legendary and irreplaceable Walter "Boots" Dunn, who passed away earlier this year after making Meadville and the Pennsylvania fair circuit in general a much better place to be since anybody - even Roger Hammer - can remember.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horseman's Association  

DAYTON PA - For the second time in seven days, the Yankee Cruiser three-year-old pacing filly Singalongwithbing made a contribution to 2016's all-out assault on the harness racing track record books at Pennsylvania's county fairs, on Wednesday winning at the Dayton (PA) Fair in 1:59.4.   That clocking was a fifth faster than the previous Dayton standard first set by Caramel Chinno five years ago to the day, and then tied by Keystone Wanda in 2013, and it came a week after Singalongwithbing (maybe they though the sire's name was Yankee Crooner) had equaled the divisional standard of 2:00.4 at Honesdale. At Dayton Singalongwithbing notched her fifth PA fair circuit victory by defeating stablemate Gymnast Hanover for driver Chris Shaw and trainer/owner Jason Shaw.   The Shaws would then go on to sweep the Sire Stake for this age/sex/gait with the Moon Beam filly Unbeamlieveable, who crossed the wire in 2:01 for her sixth win at the fairs, with driver Shaw and trainer Shaw joined by Jason's son and the filly's owner Mason as Team Unbeamlieveable. This is the filly who was the winningest freshman filly in North America during 2015, and the track record that Singaongwithbing tied at Honesdale had been first set by --- Unbeamlieveable, during a short meet at Honesdale earlier that week!   In fact, the fair records achieved by these three hard-hitting sophomores is amazing: Unbeamlieveable is 9-6-3-0, Singalongwithbing is 9-5-3-1, and Keystone Gymnast is 9-3-4-2, meaning that the threesome has not been off the board in 27 trips to the gate this summer!   In this day dedicated to sophomores, it is surprising that the Shaws' star pacing gelding Star Of Terror did not have the fastest time of the day, but not only did he not have that distinction, but he wasn't even the fastest winner in two divisions of pacing males! However, the son of Western Terror was victorious in a mile in 2:00.1, his fifth straight win and his seventh at the fairs (second only to 2PF Camera Lady, who will try to add her 10th Keystone fair win here tomorrow) for Fortunate One LLC.   The day's other magic mile went to the Art's Card Trick gelding Captain Dinger, who stopped the clock in 2:00 for his co-owners, driver James Dodson and trainer Ron Lineweaver.   In all, Chris Shaw drove five winners on the ten-race card, and Jason Shaw harnessed four triumphant horses, to add to their season-long leads; driver Steve Schoeffel, with three wins, and trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., with two victories, were next in line, the two combining for a trotting winner from both sexes: Rail Kat (2:03.4), a gelding who is now five-for-five at the fairs, and the filly Waterview Hanover (2:03), who set her division's track record of 2:01 in a stop earlier this year at Dayton.   The Wite-Out, Sharpies, and pencils with big erasers (there have now been 28 track records set at the PA fairs so far this season) will get a rest until high noon on Thursday, when they will be called to stand ready for the taking of the Dayton track by the two-year-olds.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

WASHINGTON PA - The two-year-olds produced most of the notable achievements during the two-day Washington County Fair harness racing program at the Arden Downs racetrack in southwestern Pennsylvania, with one baby trotting filly setting a divisional track mark, only to see it eclipsed within a quarter hour, and a pacing two-year-old producing the fastest mile of the meet.   Since no recorded history will ever carry the name No Excuses except for this story, we'll give her her moment in the spotlight first, as she took her first PA fair start in 2:04.3, a clocking a fifth lower than the previous mark posted by Bella Palazzo in 2013. The daughter of Muscle Massive carries the red-hot backing of trainer/driver Todd Schadel, who also co-owns the filly with his wife Christine.   Then in the very next dash on the card, a filly with familiarity in setting track records did it again, as the Lucky Chucky filly Lovebeinglucky wiped out that newly-minted mark by covering the mile distance in 2:04.1 for trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, having himself a fine summer as well, and also the co-owner of the fast miss with his wife Regina. Lovebeinglucky has made four starts at the fairs, with three wins and a second, and with each victory she has a new track mark - at Butler, Dayton, and now Washington. The three record miles ties her at the top of the circuit's 2016 performances in this category with 2TC Toolbox Tuesday and 3PC Star Of Terror, as among them they have 9 of the 27 track records that have already been altered during the speedy campaign.   Also familiar with the track record tables is the Real Artist pacing gelding Artists Ruffles, who came to Washington having rewritten his divisional standard at Honesdale, and earlier posted a 1:57 mile at Bedford, a clocking that still stands as both the fastest mile of 2016 at the Keystone twicearounds, and also the co-fastest mile ever by a two-year-old at a PA fair. On Tuesday Artist's Ruffles won in "only" 2:00.3, with a last quarter of 27.4, for trainer/driver Roger Hammer, co-owner with Vicki Fair.   The date of Tuesday, August 16 is one that will be long remembered by 19-year-old horseman Jeremy Indof, as he performed the equivalent of "hitting a home run in his first at bat" - he won in the first purse race he ever drove in, guiding his own I'm Sooo Slick to victory in a division of the Sire Stakes two-year-old filly pace.   Another driver scored a first on the Tuesday card - the well-known Mike Wilder posted his first PA fair victory in just over seven years with a win behind Vegas Chuck, a gelded son of Lucky Chucky who won in 2:05.2 for trainer Bob Rougeaux III. (And as inspiration towards future accomplishment for young Mr. Indof, we note that he now needs only 7042 more victories to catch Wilder.)   The backstory behind Vegas Chuck's ownership is interesting. Brian Gillespie is the grandson of the late Edward Ryan, a 1993 Hall of Fame inductee and former owner of The Meadows, and he sought to purchase an interest in a two-year-old trotter who would be racing in the Grand Circuit stake the night before the Adios, which is name to honor his grandfather. Gillespie and Rougeaux, who controls the interests of the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. of the late and popular Harold "Lefty" Brocious, made a deal for a share of another trotter Bob trains, Box Of Luck - who proceeded to go out and take his division of the Ed Ryan Memorial. Gillespie then went back and bought a piece of Vegas Chuck from Rougeaux and Box Of Luck's connections - and today that horse won his first start for the new partnership.   On Monday, a day devoted to three-year-olds, the fastest mile of the day, 2:02, was turned in by a trotter - Shady McCoy, who put it all together for trainer David Wade of Starlark Hanover and SJ's Photo fame, defeating the two horses who have posted all-age records at the fairs this year: Major Matter (at Wattsburg) and OMG Hanover (at Bedford). The 2-3 finishers, by the way, were guided by Rick Beinhauer and Todd Schadel - a foreshadowing of the next day's track record miles?   On the sophomore pacing side, the Art Official colt Dragon Strikes only had to go in 2:05.3 - 29.1 to win, but the effort keeps him an undefeated in six fair starts, and has fans looking forward to a matchup between him and Star Of Terror.   Driver Brady Brown and trainer Mike Gillock are the team behind Dragon Strikes, and this victory was one of four times they hooked up to win at Washington, giving Gillock the meet conditioner's title and Brown, who added one other victory, the top sulkysitter honors.   PA fair action now swings about 80 miles northeast to Dayton PA in Armstrong County, where three-year-olds will face the starter on Wednesday and two-year-olds on Thursday, both cards set to begin at high noon.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

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