WASHINGTON PA – The great Albatross got his early lessons and trained down for the races with trainer Harry Harvey at the Washington County Fairgrounds just down the road from The Meadows, so it seems appropriate that the highlight of two days of Pennsylvania Fair Circuit racing on Sunday and Monday at “Arden Downs,” as it was known when it was a Grand Circuit track, would be provided by a freshman.
The Stay Hungry – Sara Diamond pacing filly Stay Happy toured the half-mile oval at Washington in 2:01.3 for driver Mike Wilder, trainer Dan Altmeyer, and owner Ruth Altmeyer. The baby, who has already won at The Meadows in 1:56.2, thus broke a three-way tie for the divisional track record of 2:02.1 that began 26 years ago: Star On Broadway (1996), Bell On Wheels (2008), and TSM Maija Star (2013) were the former recordholders.
Bell On Wheels was owned, trained and driven by Roger Hammer, and the 76-years-young Hammer swept the two-year-old male trotting events on the same card, both with sons of Fordham Road he trains and owns: the colt Battin Athousand (dam The Yankees Win), whom he drove, and the gelding Drive To Deliver (dam Diamond Creek), who was guided by Shawn Johnston.
After the races for freshmen Sunday, the sophomores had their turn Monday, with the quickest clocking of the meeting turned in by the Betting Line gelding Aladdin Hanover, who won in 2:01.2 to run his fair record to four wins and a second in five starts for driver Jack Killeen, trainer Jason Shaw, and owner Mason Shaw.
Fastest trotter of the meet was the Winning Mister gelding Ice Breakers K, home in 2:03.4 for his second straight for driver Hugh O’Neil and trainer/owner Rich Gillock. The other division of the colt trot was taken by 2021 Fair Final champion Father Son, a Father Patrick gelding who had had four seconds in previous PaFSS races but made the winning breakthrough here for driver Brian Zendt, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., and owners Susan and Dylan Daugherty.
The dash for the crowns for top driver and top trainer at the meet were very competitive affairs, and the winners combined quality and quantity – as all four have already been mentioned in this story. Shawn Johnston and Brian Zendt tied for the top among the sulkysitters with four wins apiece, while Rich Gillock and Jason Shaw each sent out three winners to have equal honors on their side.
The most hectic week of the year on the Pennsylvania Fair Circuit continues on Wednesday and Thursday at Dayton, with post time at noon both days; at the Somerset County Fair, where the action starts on Thursday at 2 p.m. on Thursday and noon on Friday; and the Crawford County fair at Meadville on Saturday and Sunday at noon. We’ll post full reports at the conclusion of each meet.