CLEARFIELD — Half-length wins by Silly But Serious and Champ Charbel and Dave Brickell waving to the Clearfield County Fair harness racing fans in the grandstand as he drove Dream Dancing across the finish line were the Monday afternoon highlights during the eight-race program for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes two-year-old pacers at the Driving Park.
In the chase for the Buster DiSalvo Trophy that goes to the four-day meet’s winning driver, Shawn Johnston made it to the Golden Circle three times to tie absentee Todd Schadel for second place behind Eric Neal, who registered two wins for the second day in a row.
Silly But Serious was one of Johnston’s two winners in the filly A group, going past Neal and Tsm Western Soul in the stretch to score in 2:05.1 by a half-length for her fourth consecutive victory on the Pennsylvania fair circuit. Owned by trainer Gary Johnston of Evans City and Joyce Benkart of Cranberry Township, Silly But Serious has $11,902 in earnings for seven starts and the Richie Salvatore Memorial cooler blanket.
In the previous race, the Auto Mart of Clearfield Division, Write All About It went gate-to-wire for the Johnstons to stop the clock at 2:07.4. Her fourth win, combined with three seconds in her other starts, boosted her purses into five figures, $10,079, for owner Dr. William Solomon of New Freedom.
Johnston also was in the sulky for the other close finish in the lone colt and gelding A group dash, which had the week’s largest purse, $7,800. Champ Charbel survived a race-long duel to take the lead from Roger Hammer’s Life’s Marvalous in the stretch and edge Brickell’s Halliwell Hanover a half-length in 2:02.1 for a new lifetime mark. Joseph Karrat of Quakertown owns and trains the bay colt that was draped with the Beardsley Funeral Home and Crematorium cooler blanket for padding her bankroll to $8,612. She has three wins and a second in four trips behind the gate.
Brickell saluted the fans with a raised arm as Dream Dancing, who won a May qualifier at The Meadows in 2:00.1, closed out the fastest mile of the first two days in the Moyers Auto Body Division of the filly A group. She won by 20½ lengths, cutting the final half in 58.4 seconds for a 2:01.4 clocking that was just two ticks off the divisional track record set by Chrome Over in 2011. Trained by Brickell and co-owned by Brickell and Mitchell York of Cranberry, Dream Dancing has four wins in seven starts and earnings of $11,387.
The fourth dash in the filly A section, the Crawford Williams Memorial Division, saw Its Bin Said getting her maiden win for Neal, trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr. and owner Julie Krenitsky of Butler. She withstood several challenges from Gypsy Ginger and Tsm She Wulf before pulling away late to triumph by 2¼ lengths in 2:06.3 after finishing third twice in six races. Her purses total $3,842.
Neal had matched Shadel’s three wins with Ucomin in the lone colt and gelding B group race that was marred by a mishap at the quarter pole when Mr Yannick suddenly veered into the path of Caffeine Buzz and jumped into the air as the wheels of their bikes bumped, causing driver Roger Hammer to fall to the ground. Hammer was uninjured and came back to notch a win in the final race.
Ucomin went on to claim his maiden win, and the Dunlap-Swales Memorial trophy blanket, leading from start to finish in the first twicearound of the day. The black colt trained by Randal Neal and owned by Neal Racing Stables LLC of Punxsutawney and Kevin Neal of Fairmount City stopped the clock at 2:08.1 for a 1¾-length victory, upping his earnings for three starts to $2,140.
Hammer took Sanction Hanover wire-to-wire in the second of two filly B group dashes for his second win of the week. The 2:06 trip was the third win in seven starts for the freshman Hammer trains for Leblanc Racing Inc. of Felton, Del.; Glenn Dyke of Townsend, Del., and Douglas Johnson of Williamston, N.C. Sanction Hanover, whose earnings total $1,325, was rewarded with the Arlene Swales Memorial Queen’s Trophy.
Branden Smith, Hammer’s grandson, recorded his first Clearfield County Fair win with Dracula in the first filly B group race, the E. Jay Master Memorial Division. Dracula’s first three fractions, 30.1, 1:00.3 and 1:30.4, were the fastest for day, but Smith had him so far in front she was able to coast through the final quarter to still win by a whopping 41¾ lengths in 2:05.1 for a new lifetime mark. Hammer trains and owns the freshman, who had debuted with a win at Wattsburg, near Erie, in mid-June. She’s earned $2,700.
Three-year-old trotters will be in the spotlight Tuesday with 41 entries in nine races which have total purses of $33,875.
Race secretary Ron Neeper is calling on fans, especially Penn State rooters, to make it a “White Out Wednesday” for the meet’s final card as a good-natured sendoff for judge of the races Doug Thomas, who is a staunch Ohio State supporter.
Monday’s results, with horse’s name, number in parenthesis, and driver’s name:
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT & GELDING B GROUP PACE
Dunlap-Swales Memorial Division ($2,750) – 1. Ucomin (2), E. Neal; 2. Itsthehilbillyrock (1), W. Long; 3. Caffeine Buzz (5), B. Smith; 4. All Aboard (4), B. Brown. DNF – Mr Yannick (3), R. Hammer. TIME: 2:08.1.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY A GROUP PACE
Auto Mart of Clearfield Division ($4,125) – 1. Write All About It (1), S. Johnston; 2. Rose Of Roses (2), E. Neal; 3. Precious Jess (3), B. Brown; 4. Gotta Go Ellie (5), W. Long; 5. Well Versed (4), K. Bolon. TIME: 2:07.4.
Richie Salvatore Memorial Division ($4,125) – 1. Silly But Serious (2), S. Johnston; 2. Tsm Western Soul (1), E. Neal; 3. Seabreeeze De Vie (3), B. Brown; 4. Millimister (4), W. Long; 5. Rt Dont Speak (5), K. Bolon. TIME: 2:05.1.
Moyer’s Auto Body Division ($4,050) – 1. Dream Dancing (2), D. Brickell; 2. Blue Speech (3), K. Bolon; 3. Tsm Opal Dancer (1), E. Neal; 4. Irish Rockett (4), S. Johnston. TIME: 2:01.4.
Crawford Williams Memorial Division ($4,050) – 1. Its Bin Said (2), E. Neal; Tsm She Wulf (4), D. Brickell; 3. Gypsy Ginger (3), B. Brown; 4. Premier Lauxmont (1), S. Johnston. TIME: 2:06.3.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT AND GELDING A GROUP PACE
Beardsley Funeral Home & Crematorium Division ($7,800) – 1. Champ Charbel (1), S. Johnston; 2. Halliwell Hanover (2), D. Brickell; 3. Life’s Marvalous (3), R. Hammer; 4. Tsm Batman (4), B. Brown. TIME: 2:02.1.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY B GROUP PACE
E. Jay Master Memorial Division ($2,650) – 1. Dracula (2), B. Smith; 2. Risen (3), S. Johnston; 3. Tsm Dancer T (1), E. Neal. TIME: 2:05.1.
Arlene Swales Memorial Division ($2,650) – 1. Sanction Hanover (3), R. Hammer; 2. Ideal Gisele (2), E. Neal; 3. Hickory Maybelle (1), B. Brown. TIME: 2:06.