Fair Harness Racing Meet Opens with Pine Hill Bling Trotting to Driving Park Record

CLEARFIELD – Michele Albaugh-Young has had some good days driving in Clearfield County Fair harness races since the early 1990s.
 
Opening day for the 2008 meet will go down as a great one for the school teacher from Kennerdell, near Oil City.
 
A Driving Park record trip of 2:03 by Pine Hill Bling in the first division of the A.E. \”Gus\” Mellott, Jr. Memorial Trot for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes two-year-old colts highlighted Monday afternoon\’s seven-race program and gave Albaugh-Young a two-for-two day.
 
Earlier, she scored with Pine Hill Vinnie, in a lifetime best 2:11.3, in the second division of the Gerald A. \”Jerry\” Krisher Memorial Trot for Quaker State two-year-olds.
 
Pine Hill Bling erased the oldest record on the Driving Park books with his wire-to-wire victory, cutting fractions of :30.2, 1:01.4 and 1:31.2 for Albaugh-Young to wipe out the 2YO trotting standard of 2:04.4 set by K T Tigger for female driver Kim Scaife Good in 1998.
 
The record pace was a surprise to Albaugh-Young, who co-owns Pine Hill Bling with her husband, Tom.
 
\”I didn\’t have a clue,\” she said. \”I sat there for the first half. Someone was on my back for a while. My horse was trotting nicely. When I pulled off the third turn, I just turned him loose a bit and let him go.\”
 
\”I thought the track was pretty good today. It was a little tighter than usual. I stayed out a bit, where it was really tight.\”
 
Naughty Pajamas, driven by Timmy Offutt, provided some early pressure, trailing by a length and a half at the halfway mark, but Pine Hill Bling steadily widened the margin the second time around the half-mile oval.
 

The chestnut colt, coming off a 1:59.4 trip at The Meadows Thursday night, went under the wire 15 lengths in front of Naughty Pajamas for his fifth win in eight starts, boosting his earnings to $15,434 and keeping him near the top of the PASS Fair Division 2YO colt trotter point standings.
 

Pine Hill Bling\’s lifetime mark is 2:01.3, set July 12 at the Gratz Fair.

 

\”We bred this horse,\” Albaugh-Young said. \”We had the stallion (Yankee McCoy) and the mare (Hidden Victory). So, he was conceived on the farm and born on the farm.

 

\”The mare didn\’t have a record, but she trotted nicely. This was the one and only foal we got from her. After that, she didn\’t catch and foal, so we sold her. Maybe we ought to find her now.\”

 

Pine Hill Vinnie\’s first win in four starts didn\’t come nearly as easy, though the bay colt\’s time was good enough to earn the Krisher Memorial Trot cooler blanket.

 

Albaugh-Young also took Pine Hill Vinnie to the front early and kept him there, holding off driver-owner John Green\’s Golden Slippers in the stretch to score by a length and a quarter.

 

\”We bought the mother, and she was in foal, and this was the horse,\” Albaugh-Young said. \”He\’s turning out to be a nice little horse.\”

 

In spite of her good start, Albaugh-Young won\’t be a contender for the Charles \”Buster\” DiSalvo Trophy that goes to the driver with the most wins in the four-day meet because she doesn\’t get in the sulky behind pacers.

 

\”Trotters are my thing,\” she explained. \”I think trotters are harder to get there, because we don’t use hobbles. (It\’s more work), intellectually, to figure them out, how to balance them just right to get ‘em to go, but not to get them too heavy, just teach them to trot. Because, although they have hobbles, which I do not use, you don\’t just tie their legs together and you can\’t just flip the lines at ‘em and turn them loose. You have to drive them. You have to shoe them. You have to train them and get their confidence.\”

 

Her training methods have turned at least two of the young trotters on the Pine Hill Farm into winners.

 

Bryce Truitt established himself as the front-runner for the DiSalvo Trophy with three wins, including a pair of exciting finishes in the Richard and Betty Fink Memorial Trot for PASS 2YO fillies.

 

Annies Wonder survived a stretch drive by BS Genny, with Randy Neal in the sulky, to win the first division by a neck. Annies Wonder, owned by Bryce and trainer Cindy Truitt, lowered her liftetime mark to 2:10.4, bettering her 2:13 trip at the Bloomsburg Fair Saturday.

 

The second split was even closer, Truitt guiding Bank Star to a 2:12.2 score that spoiled the debut of Gaylewinds NY, driven by Kris Rickert. The win was the fifth in nine starts for Bank Star, owned by John D. McMullen, Jr. and daughter-in-law Michelle McMullen of Armagh. The bay filly has accumulated nearly $15,000 in earnings by placing in all but one of her races.

 

Truitt probably hasn\’t had too many easier wins than with Columbia County in the second division of the Mellott Memorial Trot. The 2YO colt owned by the McMullens left the field 22-1/2 lengths behind in stopping the clock at 2:07.3. The victory was the third in a row for Columbia County, which trotted a 2:04 mile at Bloomsburg Saturday.

 

Rickert and Timmy Offutt were the only other drivers to pull into the winner\’s circle.

 

In the only race in which the winner did not get every call by announcer Jim McGettigan, Rickert\’s Novice Pilot inherited the lead when Get Lost Linda broke shortly after the halfway mark and went on to take the first division of the Krisher Memorial Trot by four lengths in a lifetime best 2:13.3.

 

Offutt guided Yankee TV to a three-length, 2:08.1 win in the Earl Hallstrom Memorial Trot for non-winners of $6,000. The three-year-old bay gelding\’s only other victory in 16 lifetime starts came at the Hughesville Fair on July 16. Yankee TV is owned by Joe and Chris Offutt of Woodsboro, Md.

 

Monday\’s purses totaled $24,712, by far the biggest opening day payout in Clearfield County Fair history. Increases in funding for PASS races from slot gaming in the state\’s \”racinos\” accounted for the record.

 

Two-year-old Quaker State and PASS pacers will be featured in seven of the nine races Tuesday. Three-year-old trotters will go to the post Wednesday, and three-year-old pacers will go behind the starting gate Thursday.

 
Also on the 1 p.m. cards will be a pace for non-winners of $6,000 lifetime on Tuesday, a trot for winners of more than $6,000 lifetime on Wednesday and a pace for winners of more than $6,000 on Thursday.
 
Monday\’s results in order of finish, with the horse\’s name, post position in parenthesis and driver\’s name:
 
Early Hallstrom Memorial Trot for Non-winners of $6,000 Lifetime (Purse $1,025)
 
1. Yankee TV (2), T. Offutt; 2. Dingy\’s Costly One (1), B. Truitt; 3. Mocha Freeze (3), E. Neal; 4. Andits Fun Tyme (5), C. Flickinger; 5. Miracle Moose (4), R. Neal.  Time: 2:08.1.
 
* * * * *
 
Gerald A. \”Jerry\” Krisher Memorial Quaker State 2-Year-Old Trot
 
First Division (Purse $1,305) – 1. Novice Pilot (3), K. Rickert; 2. RT Haul N\’ Oats (2), R. Rougeaux (finished third, placed second); 3. Get Lost Linda (1), C. Flickinger (finished second, placed third); 4. Dream On Ages (4), J. Green.  Time: 2:13.3.
 
Second Division (Purse $ 1,280) – 1. Pine Hill Vinnie (2), M. Albaugh-Young; 2. Golden Slippers (3), J. Green; 3. TV Ghost (1), T. Offutt.  Time: 2:11.3.
 
* * * * *
 
Richard and Betty Fink Memorial Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-Year-Old Filly Trot
 
First Division (Purse $5,214) – 1. Annies Wonder (2), B. Truitt; 2. BS Genny (1), R. Neal; 3. RT\’s SJ (3), R. Rougeaux; 4. Lancaster County (4), T. Offutt.  Time: 2:10.4.
 
Second Division (Purse $5, 214) – 1. Bank Star (1), B. Truitt; 2. Gaylewinds NY (4), K. Rickert; 3. RT Quicker (3), R. Rougeaux; 4. Sharkie\’s Flame (2), W. Lineweaver.  Time: 2:12.2.
 
* * * * *
 
A.E. \” Gus\” Mellott, Jr. Memorial Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-Year-Old Colt Trot
 
First Division (Purse $5,337) – 1. Pine Hill Bling (4), M. Albaugh-Young; 2. Naughty Pajamas (6), T. Offutt; 3. Banjo Picker (2), W. Lineweaver; 4. Ligonier (3), C. Shaw; 5. Amour\’s Brother (5), J. Offutt; 6. Screen Saver (1), C. Flickinger.  Time: 2:03 (Track record for 2-year-old colt trotters).
 
Second Division (Purse $5, 337) – 1. Columbia County (3), B. Truitt; 2. Tiebreaker (6), R. Neal; 3. Caviar Crown (1), K. Rickert; 4. Masterful James (5), C. Shaw; 5. TV Kisses (4), T. Offutt; 6. Perry County (2), R. Rougeaux.  Time: 2:07.3.
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