WATTSBURG PA – The 2019 Pennsylvania fair circuit got underway this weekend in this northwest Pennsylvania town just outside Erie, with two-year-olds taking to the track in Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes action Saturday. Unfortunately, the rain that started at the end of Saturday’s card kept coming, and the Sunday action for three-year-olds was cancelled.
Star of the show among the debutantes was no one horse, but a driver – 47-year-old Mitchell York, partners with trainer/driver “Smilin’” Dave Brickell on recent outstanding Keystone fillies Camera Lady and Crew Sock Hanover. York decided to go for his driving license for this season, and on his first day of purse competition he not only posted the fastest mile of the day, but emerged with an overall scorecard of 5-1-2-1-.489, fine numbers for a driver who had had but a handful of qualifying starts beforehand.
Roger Hammer, the “King of the Pennsylvania Fairs,” had four winners on the day as owner/trainer/driver, three of them with homebreds. Life’s Marvalous, a Delmarvalous gelding who had been second in a 1:58.2 Meadows qualifier, stepped home in 2:08.1 to be the fastest of the quartet.
Quickest freshman trotter was the Possess The Will filly Peachy Georgia, who won by a head over Lindy Pretty Lady in 2:12.4. The winner, owned by Dr. William Solomon, was one of two on the day for the team of trainer Gary Johnston and driver Shawn Johnston.
The Sunday card that was washed out had three 2018 Fair Sire Stake Championship winners programmed – trotting filly RT Gloria De Dios, pacing filly Sure R Lookin Good, and trotting colt Watch Me Hanover. The fourth 2018 champion did get to race this weekend – and Aflame Hanover won $80,000 by finishing fourth in the $1,000,000 North America Cup final at Woodbine Mohawk on Saturday.