Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania fair circuit split up into opposite corners of the state this week, with 2-year-old action on Tuesday (Aug. 6) and 3-year-old racing on Wednesday (Aug. 7) at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg, PA and – 347 miles to the northeast – the Wayne County Fair in Honesdale, PA.
The fastest mile of the week came from the star attraction of the week, as trainer/driver Nick Surick brought the Invitational ranks standout The Wall, winner of the Camluck Classic in 1:52 in Ontario earlier this year, to Honesdale to race in a division of the FFA pace. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding responded with a 1:59.3 mile for Surick and J L Benson Stables Inc. with the photo finish revealing a winning margin of 20-1/2 lengths. Surick recorded a sweep of the FFA pace divisions when he won with the mare Wynnfrith in 2:02.2.
Although his father Todd and his uncle Tony each won five races during the two-day session (shortened by three races on Tuesday due to rain) to share top driver honors, the sulky star was 17-year-old Cody Schadel, who joined the exclusive club of drivers who won with their first steer when he piloted Shady Grey to victory in 2:06.2. Later on the Wednesday card, his father recorded the fastest mile of the fair week with Way To Close in 2:01.1, the Western Terror gelding that he trains and also co-owns with wife Christine. Way To Close paced the York oval in 1:57.4 for the fastest mile at the PA fairs so far this year.
On the trot, there were a pair of 2:04.4 winners: the filly Bumper Hanover, driven by Roger Hammer for his co-owner on Vivid Photo and trainer, Todd Schadel, and the gelding Andovers Asset, who now sports a record of 5-4-1-0 at the fairs for driver Tony and trainer Linda Schadel.
The freshman “A” Sire Stakes colts races were among those washed out on Tuesday, so speed honors went to the ladies: the Well Said filly Search Light in 2:06.4, and the Father Patrick miss Cocktails N Dreams, undefeated in two fair outings after a 2:08.2 mile.
At Waynesburg, a trio of horses tied for fastest winners at 2:02.2 – the two sophomores were the A Rocknroll Dance colt Under Paid, whom Chris Shaw handled in a rare fair start for the Burke Brigade, and the Delmarvalous filly April Ava, who stunned with a 1:59 mile in her fair debut in “B” SS company, and here won in “A” for driver Eric Neal, owner Wayne Glessner, and trainer Scott Betts.
If miles equally timed were decided for honors by the youth of the performer, then the meet’s outstanding mile was the Ponder – Odds On Affair colt Champ Charbel’s 2:02.2 win Tuesday for driver Shawn Johnston and owner/trainer Joe Karrat. The baby won twice in “B”s, and since coming to “A” he has gone second, first and first in impressive fashion.
Quickest trot of the two days was the 2:06.2 time turned in by RT Gloria De Dios for driver Kyle Bolon and trainer Bob Rougeaux III. Her fellow 2018 Fair Championship-winning filly, Sure R Lookin Good, also visited the winner’s circle during the meet. Fastest clocking for freshmen trotters went to two fillies who won in 2:07.3, Furious Fast and Siouxpergirl.
Just as Schadels tied for most driving victories at Honesdale, so did Johnstons, Shawn and Aaron, deadheat for those meet honors at Waynesburg, also at five each. There was certainly no domination of the winner’s circle by any trainer at Waynesburg on Wednesday – there were 14 heats, and 14 different winning conditioners.
Next week the fair circuit will make two stops, but back-to-back instead of side-by-side. Arden Downs, a former home of the Grand Circuit operating as the Washington County Fair, races on Monday (Aug. 12) and Tuesday (Aug. 13) at 10 a.m., while on Wednesday (Aug. 14) and Thursday (Aug. 14) there will be racing at the Dayton Fair starting at noon; at both meets, the freshmen will precede the sophomores.