‘Quest for the Governor’s Cup’ moves to Connersville (Ind.)

Indianapolis, IN — The Fayette County Free Fair, in Connersville, Ind., hosts round 11 in the Indiana fair circuit’s “Quest for the Governor’s Cup.” Racing will take place Monday (Aug. 1) and Tuesday (Aug. 2) with post time set for 11 a.m. each day.

Connersville is the penultimate stop on the circuit leading into the Governor’s Cup Championships at the Indiana State Fair. Horsemen will have one last opportunity — Aug. 6, in Portland — to garner starts and points to qualify for the championship events.

Nine races are carded for Monday, featuring freshman pacers and sophomore trotters. The hottest horse in the 2-year-old colt pace division is Starlit Rockstar. Trained and driven by Mike Peterson, the son of Rockin Image has claimed victory in three of his last four starts, including two straight entering this week. Starlit Rockstar will line up in the second tier in the fifth race, one of three $3,500 divisions for colts. Currently fourth in points, Starlit Rockstar needs to race at Connersville and Portland in order to secure the necessary seven fair starts to qualify for the Aug. 11 championships.

The same is also true for 3-year-old trotting filly Double A Samantha. Ranked fourth in the division for trainer John Merkel, the sophomore has made five starts this season and will compete in Monday’s seventh race. The three-time winner will be driven by Brad Ferguson from the second tier. The Scott Linville-trained Tabsladyone, starting from post four, will make her seventh start of the season and become championship eligible. She currently sits sixth in points. Dover Dance will also become eligible for the championship with a start Monday for owner, trainer and driver Greg Runyon. The Dover Dan filly is eighth in points with a 19-point cushion heading into the last two rounds. She lines up on the outside post in race eight.

Freshman trotters and sophomore pacers highlight Tuesday’s eight-race card. Swan In A Million filly Ellianna R enters the day’s first event riding a three-race winning streak for trainer Enos Lengacher. Those three victories have pushed the freshman into eighth in divisional points. A start Tuesday from the second tier will give her the required seven attempts to make her championship eligible. Six of the top eight fillies in the division are already championship eligible.

Brookview Dewey will log his seventh start in Tuesday’s fifth race. The son of Crescent Fashion starts in post two for trainer and driver Matt Rheinheimer. He currently ranks fifth in points. In the seventh race, pacing colt Always-A-Laser is another hot horse that needs two starts to gain championship eligibility. After missing the first four rounds of fair action, the Always A Virgin 3-year-old has finished first or second in five starts, collecting three wins. Owned, trained and driven by Peterson, Always-A-Laser ranks fourth in divisional points, more than 60 markers ahead of his nearest competition.

Doug Rideout continues to lead all drivers on the fair circuit. With eight wins in Goshen, he now sports 50 victories this season. Jordan Ross ranks second with 37 trips to the winner’s circle, while Jay Cross is third in the standings with 16 winners. Rideout’s 55 victories over the 10 rounds leads all trainers. Mervin Schmucker is the best of the rest with 22 winners. Two victories in Goshen propelled Larry King to third in the standings with 13 victories, one more than Leander Schwartz and Alvin Miller.

The top eight point earners in each division that have also made the prerequisite seven fair starts will compete in the $25,000 Governor’s Cup Championships, to be held August 11 at the Indiana State Fair.

Racing fans are encouraged to follow along and participate this season using #Quest4GovCup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Indiana fair races will be available via livestream this season through a partnership between the Indiana Standardbred Association and Indiana Standardbred Breed Development. Fans can watch fair racing by visiting the ISA website on race days. Races will be archived on the website.

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