Fair Harness Racing Off To Exciting Start
CLEARFIELD - Thrilling finishes won by Dixie General in the first division of the Quaker State Trot and Erin Kristen in the third division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Filly Trot and a dominating performance by Ibanez in the third division of the PASS Colt Trot highlighted Monday’s opening card for 2012 Clearfield County Fair harness racing at the Driving Park.
A total of 38 three-year-olds lined up behind the starter’s gate in eight races with purses totaling $26,014 and made it an exciting afternoon for the fans in the grandstand.
Dixie General went wire-to-wire for driver-trainer Brian Weaver for a new lifetime mark of 2:11.3 in the first race, but the brown gelding owned by Heidi Weaver of Rural Valley had to hold off The Final Frontier’s strong stretch bid to win by a nose.
The photo finish victory in the Earl Hallstrom Memorial race was the second in four starts for Dixie General after not racing as a two-year-old.
Then, Future Past, driven by Eric Neal for the trainer Randy Neal and Andray Farm of Punxsutawney, brought the fans to their feet in the Moyer’s Auto Body Division of the Quaker State Trot by overtaking RT Jacks Torpedo and Quantum Roulette in deep stretch to score in 2:10.2.
The bay filly was taken three wide around the final turn by Neal after Roger Hammer sent Quantum Roulette past RT Jacks Torpedo, driven by Bobby Rougeaux, at the three-quarter pole.
Future Past, also unraced as a two-year-old, more than doubled her earnings by claiming half of the $1,271 purse, going under the wire 1-3/4 lengths in front of Quantum Roulette for her second win in four starts. She also was unraced last year.
The PASS Filly Trot’s three heats provided more good action for the fans Northmedo Treasure earning her maiden win in the Betty & Richard Fink Division, Bloomfieldcantifly rallying in the stretch to take the A.E. Gus Mellott Jr. Division and Erin Kristen hanging on at the finish to win the Foster Kerr Memorial Division.
Northmedo Treasure wound up with the early lead when Magnolia Grace, first out of the gate for driver David Brickell, went off gait going around the first turn, and Ed McNeight Jr. guided the brown filly owned by Northmedo Stable of Painesville, Ohio, to a 2-1/4-length victory in 2:09.4.
The $1,964 payoff nearly matched Northmedo Treasure’s earnings in her first five races that included one second and one third.
Chris Shaw, driving Bloomfieldcantifly for lessee-trainer Syl King Jr. of New Holland, waited until four tightly-bunched contenders trotted out of the final turn to find an opening for his brown filly, and she drew clear for a four-length win over Bobby Rougeaux’s RT USS Chilton in 2:07.1.
The Raincatcher, which Steve Schoeffel had on the front end throughout the race, finished fourth as Roger Hammer’s Desired Outcome placed third.
The win was the fourth in a row and seventh in 22 starts for Bloomfieldcantifly, now sporting more than $23,000 in lifetime earnings.
Diary Hanover, driven by Shaw for owner Mahlon Martin of East Earl, made Erin Kristen work for her seventh win of the year after sitting in the Garden Spot most of the way.
The John McMullen Jr.-trained bay filly, which now has returned $21,674 to owner William Kirwan of Johnstown in 18 races, hung on in the final strides for a half-length win with a time of 2:06.4.
Winners in the PASS Colt Trot were Mulligan Bi in the Butch Flanagan Memorial Division, Sweet Talkin Tim in the W.G. Satterlee Division and Ibanez in the Ceci Billotte Memorial Division.
Michigan owner-trainer-driver James McIlmurray’s Mulligan Bi continued his strong showing on the fair circuit with a seven-length win, clipping off fractions of 31.2, 1:04.4 and 1:36.3 en route to the 2:06.1 score.
The brown colt has been first or second in all but three of his 18 lifetime starts for more than $24,000 in earnings.
Fourth after the first trip around the Driving Park’s half-mile oval, Sweet Talking Tim showed why he won in 1:59 at The Meadows on May 29 by reeling in Neal’s Mr. Patterson around the final turn, then Fred Uber Jr.’s Alright Boy at the top of the stretch and, finally, Cory Kreiser’s Stone Valley as they hit the straightaway.
Rougeaux was in the sulky behind the brown gelding and had him 3-1/4 lengths ahead of Stone Valley when the clock stopped at 2:10.3.
Longtime Clearfield County Fair regulars Sandy Peterson and Donna Weyant of New Paris own Sweet Talking Tim, a two-time winner with more than $15,000 in the coffers after 24 races.
What might have been a spectacular duel in the final race didn’t materialize when Bob And Bobby was scratched, which meant an easy trip into the winner’s circle for Ibanez.
Eric Neal became the first driver with more than one win by guiding the bay gelding owned by Ellen Warren and Eileen Lineweaver of Marydel, Del., to a 15-length victory in 2:05.2.
Ibanez, trained by Randy Neal, has gone over the $45,500 mark with 12 wins, eight seconds and six thirds in 40 races, including five wins and four seconds in 15 starts this year.
Bob And Bobby’s impressive credentials included 13 wins and $78,542 in earnings for 30 starts. The bay gelding owned by Susan Daugherty of Mercer has piled up $54,158 in 13 starts this year, one a 1:55.1 trip at The Meadows.
Nine races with $27,850 in payouts for two-year-old pacers are on Tuesday’s card, with post time at noon.
This year’s race program is dedicated in the memory of photographer Jim Butler of Clearfield and Clarence Martin, Sr., of Honesdale. Butler’s action and trophy presentation photos appeared in The Progress for many years.
Monday’s results, with place, horse’s name, post position in parentheses, and driver’s name:
Quaker State 3-Year-Old Trot
Earl Hallstrom Memorial Division (Purse $1,296)- 1. Dixie General (4), B. Weaver; 2. The Final Frontier (1), C. Shaw; 3. Gomer (6), N. Morford; 4. Sams Zoomin Brady (3), F. Uber, Jr.; 5. Livintheoblivion (2), S. Gastelu; 6. NF Flight Risk (5), W. Daugherty, Jr. TIME: 2:11.3.
Moyer’s Auto Body Division (Purse $1,271) – 1. Future Past (1), E. Neal; 2. Quantum Roulette (2), R. Hammer; 3. RT Jacks Torpedo (4), R. Rougeaux III; 4. Triple T Casey (3), D. Brickell; 5. Side Ways (5), B. Brown. TIME: 2:10.2.
Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Filly 3-Year-Old Trot
Betty & Richard Fink Division (Purse $3,928) - 1. Northmedo Treasure (3), E. McNeight, Jr.; 2. Mal’s Gal (1), J. Dodson; 3. Riann Lady (5), R. Hammer; 4. RR’s Socks of Gold (4), C. Flickinger; 5. Magnolia Grace (2), D. Brickell. TIME: 2:09.4.
A.E. Gus Mellott, Jr., Division (Purse $3,928) -1. Bloomfieldcantifly (5), C. Shaw; 2. RT USS Chilton (3), R. Rougeaux III; 3. Desired Outcome (1), R. Hammer; 4. The Raincatcher (4), S. Schoeffel; 5. Classy Victoria (1), D. Brickell. TIME: 2:07.1.
Foster Kerr Memorial Division (Purse $3,878) – 1. Erin Kristen (4), D. Brickell; 2. Diary Hanover (3), C. Shaw; 3. Puttinonthechips (2), F. Uber, Jr.; 4. Hall Number Three (1), J. Dodson. TIME: 2:06.4.
Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Colt 3-Year-Old Trot
Butch Flanagan Memorial Division (Purse $3,921) – 1. Mulligan Bi (3), J. McIlmurray; 2. Order by Music (4), C. Shaw; 3. Try My Way (1), A. Johnston; 4. Ona Wyoming Trip (5), B. Weaver; 5. Megabar Lenny (2), N. Morford. TIME: 2:06.1.
W.G. Satterlee Division (Purse $3,921) – 1. Sweet Talkin Tim (4), R. Rougeaux III; 2. Stone Valley (5), C. Kreiser; 3. Mr Patterson (1), E. Neal; 4. Radical Ridge (2), C. Shaw; 5. Alright Boy (3), F. Uber, Jr. TIME: 2:10.3.
Ceci Lizotte Memorial Division (Purse $3,871) - 1. Ibanez (1), E. Neal; 2. Sweet Gypsy Lindy (2), J. Green; 3. Mm’s Yankee (4), D. Brickell. TIME: 2:05.2. Scratched – Bob And Bobby (3).