CLEARFIELD — One of the closest finishes in Clearfield County Fair harness racing history punctuated the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program for three-year-old trotters at the Driving Park Wednesday afternoon..
Magic In My Eyes, which had relinquished the lead to Bubble Beth at the three-quarters pole of the Ernest L. Peterson Memorial filly A group dash, was able to respond to the challenge and put driver Shawn Johnston in the Buster DiSalvo Trophy chase by surging in the stretch to win by a nose in 2:09.
A photo was needed to determine that Bubble Beth, with Wayne Long in the sulky, fell just short of her maiden win.
Magic In My Eyes, unraced as a two-year-old, did break into the win column after showing only a second at Butler for her first 10 trips behind the gate for owner Gary Saul of Pittsburgh. William Zendt trains the bay filly, whose winnings stand at $3,720.
Johnston also was a catch driver in the opening race, the Chester C. Chidboy Memorial Division for A group geldings, and posted a similar come-from-behind victory with Soldier Hanover. Third at the top of the stretch, Johnston and Soldier Hanover overtook both Keystone Thunder and Corsair, driven by brothers Tony and Todd Schadel, respectively, and hit the wire 2¼ lengths in front. Soldier Hanover, trained by Zendt, stopped the clock at 2:07.1 in his third win. pushed his earnings above $20,000 for 15 starts this year and to $24,087 for 23 lifetime starts for Saul and co-owner Frank Van Atta of Gibsonia.
Sharing the driving lead with Johnston at five wins is Eric Neal, who guided Touch of Dough wire-to-wire in the Foster Kerr Memorial Division of the filly A group. The sophomore, trained by Randal Neal and owned by Neal Racing Stable LLC of Punxsutawney, won by three lengths in 2:03.2. Three wins this year give her 10 in 24 lifetime starts for winnings of $44,040.
Touch of Dough was one of three winners who had stepped into the Driving Park Golden Circle last year.
The first was Keystone Bentley, who kept Todd Schadel in position to repeat as the DiSalvo Trophy winner by winning the Margaret Haney Division of the colt and gelding B group. Schadel kept the bay gelding in the pocket behind Hudson Valley, driven by Kyle Bolon, most of the trip before going outside around the final turn and pulling away to score by 4¼ lengths in 2:06.2. Keystone Bentley has three wins fair wins this summer and eight in 28 lifetime races for earnings of $26,155. Schadel, who also is trainer and co-owner with his wife, Christine, goes into the final day with four wins.
Perennial contender Roger Hammer is lurking right behind with three wins after Miss Right Now found the Driving Park oval to her liking for the second year in a row and came home in 2:03.2 for a 1¾-length victory in the filly B group Bob Schucker Memorial Division. Hammer, also the filly’s trainer, kept her in front all the way for her first win of the year and her fourth in 27 lifetime starts. She had earned $14,590 for Hammer and co-owner Vicki Lynn Fair of Bedford.
Aaron Johnston was a doublewinner with Charmageddon in the Ward Fink Memorial Division of the colt and gelding B group and Tough Tootsie in the Violet Lansberry Memorial Division of the filly A group.
Charmageddon set a lifetime mark, 2:05.4, with his second win in nine starts after not going to the post as a two-year-old. Johnston took her gate-to-wire for trainer/owner Lisa Dunn of Cochranton, upping her bankroll to $4,295.
That same driver/trainer/owner combination clicked with Tough Tootsie, who also was on the front end both trips around the oval en route to a one-length victory in 2:04 flat. Her third win in 17 lifetime starts increased her winnings to $23,274.
Andovers Asset kept the drama out of the Dave & Lynn Franson Memorial Division of the colt and gelding A group by staying ahead of four rivals for driver Tony Schadel. The bay gelding went under the wire in 2:02.4, winning by three lengths. Linda Schadel is the trainer and co-owner of Andovers Asset, who owns four wins in 34 lifetime starts and has amassed $63,610 in earnings.
Rt Gloria De Dios continued her successful career for Bolon, trainer Robert Rougeaux III and the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. in Marion Center with a five-length win in the Dawson & Chandler Ross Memorial Division of the filly A group. The 2:03.2 trip to victory lane was her ninth in 24 lifetime starts and padded her bankroll to $53,319.
With race secretary Ron Neeper calling on the fans to exhibit their Penn State pride for judge Doug Thomas, an Ohio State Buckeye devotee, “White Out Wednesday” will bring down the curtain on the 2019 meet with 36 sophomores pacing for nine purses totaling $33,600. Post time will be noon.
Tuesday’s results, with horse’s name, number in parenthesis, and driver’s name:
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT & GELDING A GROUP TROT
Chester Chidboy Memorial Division ($5,375) – 1. Soldier Hanover (2), S. Johnston; 2. Keystone Thunder (3), Tony Schadel; 3. Beaver County (5), B. Brown; 4. Corsair (1), Todd Schadel; 5. Standing Ovation (4), K. Bolon. TIME: 2:07.1.
Dave & Lynn Franson Memorial Division ($5,375) – 1. Andovers Asset (1), Tony Schadel; 2. Oceanato Hanover (5), Todd Schadel; 3. Big Bad Caviar (3), S. Johnston; 4. Grover Hanover (4), W. Long; 5. Watch Me Hanover (2), B. Brown. TIME: 2:02.4.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT & GELDING B GROUP TROT
Ward Fink Memorial Division ($2,750) – 1. Charmageddon (2), A. Johnston; 2. Fail Safe (5), B. Brown; 3. Bites The Dust (3), S. Johnston; 4. Limitless Hanover (4), E. Neal; 5. Casimar Hanover (1), B. Smith. TIME: 2:05.4.
Margaret Haney Memorial Division ($2,750) – 1. Keystone Bentley (5), Todd Schadel; 2. Hudson Valley (1), K. Bolon; 3. Trot Away Marvin (4), B. Brown; 4. Kilkenny (3), Tony Schadel; 5. Diogenes (2), S. Johnston. TIME: 2:06.2.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY A GROUP TROT
Foster Kerr Memorial Division ($4,125) – 1. Touch Of Dough (1), E. Neal; 2. Misty Lane (4), D. Brickell; 3. Donna’s Hall (5), R. Hammer; 4. Key Lime Pie (3), W. Long; 5. Kow Girl (2), B. Brown. TIME: 2:03.2.
Violet Lansberry Memorial Division ($4,050) – 1. Tough Tootsie (3), A. Johnston; 2. Bumper Hanover (2), Todd Schadel; 3. Keystone Bella (4), H. Brocklehurst; 4. Natalie G (1), D. Wade. TIME: 2:04.0.
Dawson & Chandler Ross Memorial Division ($4,050) – 1. Rt Gloria De Dios (3), K. Bolon; 2. Worb Hanover (2), A. Johnston; 3. Geegollymissmolly (1), S. Johnston; 4. Winning Gene (4), B. Brown. TIME: 2:03.2.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY B GROUP TROT
Bob Schucker Memorial Division ($2,700) – 1. Miss Right Now (2), R. Hammer; 2. Dough Time (1), A. Johnston; 3. Lucy Mae Hanover (3), R. Titter; 4. Topanga (4), H. Brocklehurst. TIME: 2:03.2.
Ernest L. Peterson Jr. Memorial Division ($2,700) – 1. Magic In My Eyes (4); 2. Bubble Beth (3), W. Long; 3. Still I Glide (1), M. Caprio; 4. Hannah’s Promise (2), B. Brown. TIME: 2:09.0.