GRATZ PA – The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Fair Circuit checked in for the first of two weeks of racing over the fast half-mile oval in the eastcentral Pennsylvania town. This “2-day Sire Stakes meet” featured freshmen on Saturday and sophomores on Sunday, the same routine that will be used during the “fair meet” this coming Saturday and Sunday.
The Betting Line – Lazan Hanover two-year-old pacing filly Lazy Day Hanover, who had won her first eleven starts at the fairs before tasting defeat last week, rebounded to winning form with a 2:02 mile, with her 12th victory of the year putting her again in a tie for most wins in 2020 by a North American harness horse of any age or either sex and gait. Four others have twelve wins, but nobody else in this quintet is a two-year-old, and Lazy Day Hanover has the fewest starts in the group at fifteen.
Somehow Brickell and York also found time to post the fastest two-year-old mile of the meet with the Artspeak – Subtle Charm gelding Seth Hanover, winning by open lengths in 1:57.4.
Honors for baby trotters went to the Sebastian K S – Ruffleshaveridges filly R Speed Of Light, who hung up a 2:01.2 fair season’s record for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, co-owner with his wife Christine and with Rick and Regina Beinhauer.
Sunday’s card was led off by the fastest mile of the two-day stand, a 1:55.4 victory by the Artspeak gelding Bipbopnallie over stubborn challenger Nome Hanover for trainer/driver Roger Hammer and owners Leblanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable, and William Lutz Jr. Bipbopnallie also raised his 2020 victory total to eleven, just one from the North America top (as is Dream Dancing). Among the conquered was Full Send, the fastest horse at the PA fairs with a 1:55.3 mile, who finally did not get the first check in his sixth circuit appearance. Full Send and Bipbopnallie now both have four 2:00 victories on the circuit.
Tying them at four magic miles is the Sweet Lou filly Ginger Tree Carey, who won in 1:59.1 and who has posted her fast clockings in her last four starts. Sam Beegle is the trainer and driver of the swift miss, whom he co-owns with Ginger Tree Ventures, Henlopen Stable, and Neil Chesen. (Dream Dancing, as noted above, won the other division of this “A” event.)
Among sophomore trotters, the Muscle Massive gelding Focus Pocus earned the fastest clocking with a 2:00.3 victory for his co-owners, driver Tony and trainer Linda Schadel.
The meet’s winningest driver was Dave Brickell with five successes; his partner Mitchell York matched Todd Schadel’s four training triumphs as they tied for that Gratz prize.