from the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission
Meadville, PA — The 2008 Pennsylvania Fair harness racing season kicked off at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Meadville, Pa., with 11 sire stake events for 2-year-old trotters and pacers, featuring purses that were more than twice what they were in recent years, thanks to an influx of money from the Commonwealth’s racinos.
The season started in similar fashion to other years, with Todd Schadel and Roger Hammer leading the way. On the afternoon, the pair combined for nine victories, five by Schadel and four by Hammer.
Technicalybroadway, with trainer/driver Schadel at the lines, won the season’s first event, a $3,658 split of the freshman colt trot. The son of Broadway Hall scored in 2:13.4 for owners Todd and Christine Schadel. In the second split, Eddie McNeight guided KT Dixie Player (Sierra Kosmos) to victory in 2:10.2 for owner/trainer Ken Weaver. The third grouping brought Schadel back to the winner’s circle behind Lil Brat, an SJ’s Caviar gelding. Co-owned by Schadel and Arnold Shaw, Lil Brat scored in 2:14.4.
The day’s richest event, the $5,364 2-year-old filly trot first division, was won by the Cantab Hall filly Keystone Twilight, owned by George Hempt and Alice Kopas. Schadel trains and drove the winner to the 2:12.1 score.In the second split, which carried a purse of $5,314, Hammer recorded his first win of the day, guiding John McMullen trainee Bank Star to a 2:12.1 score. The filly is sired by Banker Hall and owned by John and Michelle McMullen.
Hammer returned to the winner’s circle in each of the next two events, both 2-year-old pacing colt events. Lahaye, owned by Hammer along with Nevin Gilbert, captured the first division in 2:03.4. Lahaye is a son of Real Artist. The second split went to Happy Shark, a colt by Four Starzzz Shark, in 2:08.2. Happy Shark is owned solely by Hammer. The third division was won by Gallant Yankee, a gelded son of Western Hanover, co-owned by Hammer and Todd Schadel. Schadel trains and drove the winner to a score in 2:08.
The first division of the 2-year-old filly pace was won by DVC Fivoclock, owned, trained and reined by Dave Brickell. The Quentin Hanover filly crossed the line in 2:05.2. Hammer won the second division behind Bell On Wheels, a Western Hanover filly that he owns and trains. The winning time was 2:10. The third split, which was also the final race of the day, broke the tie between Hammer and Schadel for most wins on the day, as Schadel guided the Real Artist filly Harper Lee to a score in 2:06.3. All was not lost for Hammer, however, as he is a co-owner with Schadel on the filly. Schadel was the winning trainer.
Action continues at Meadville on Sunday, with 3-year-old state breds in action.
For more information on the PA Fair Circuit, see the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission’s Web site, www.agriculture.state.pa.us, the PA Breeders’ site, www.standardbredbreederspa.org or the PA Fair Harness Horsemens’ Web site, www.pafairharness.com.