GRATZ PA – Top Me Off, a three-year-old colt by Bar Hopping – Chiptomylou, trotted the fastest mile in the history of the Pennsylvania Fair program on Monday when he covered the half-mile track at the Gratz fairgrounds in 1:57.2. Fractions in the record mile were :29.2, :59, and 1:28, and Top Me Off won by 9½ lengths under the guidance of trainer/driver Todd Schadel.
The previous fastest trotting mile at all Pennsylvania fairs was the 1:58.1 posted last year by Manhattanup No Ice at Bloomsburg. The clocking also retired the proud 1:58.2 Gratz record by Shark Kosmos and Roger Hammer in 2003 – almost exactly a year after Hammer had to have the LifeLion helicopter get him off the track for medical service after a horrible spill involving the Shark.
Two more 2:00 miles were recorded, both in the “A” sophomore filly pace. These winners also were not unexpected, as both paced to their fourth magic mile of the summer on the twicearounds: Tiamogonedancen, a filly by A Rocknroll Dance who won in 1:57.3 for the owning partnership of trainer Mitchell York and driver Dave Brickell, and the Somebeachsomewhere miss Tonianne, winning in 1:58.2 for trainer/driver Todd Schadel and the ownership of Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Louis Willinger.
Though all these competitors answered the bell successfully, when it came time for the seventh race, one expected to appear on the track did not – the starting gate, which refused to behave, and caused the cancellation of a division of the “A" filly trot, the “A” colt pace, and several “B” sections.
On Sunday, two-year-old day, two pacers clinched their divisional championships, even though one lost. With only three stops left on the circuit, and 35 points awarded for a win, this pair had more than a 105-point lead over the nearest competition.
The gelding Pure Country Dance, a son of A Rocknroll Dance – Cheyenne Molly, assured himself of the traditional pointwinners blanket with a victory in 2:00.2, with trainer/owner Mitchell York tapping Wayne Long for sulky duty as regular partner Dave Brickell was handling another stablemate he co-owned. Long had the best single day of all the York participants on Sunday, with five sulky successes, including three from his own barn.
Although the Betting Line – Current Hanover filly Ginger Tree Leslie won in 2:03 for trainer/driver Sam Beegle, co-owner with Ginger Tree Ventures LLC, and Incognito Racingstable, finishing three-quarters of a length behind her in second was enough to give the Betting Line – Strait N Great baby Bettor Strait N Up an insurmountable lead in that section. Bettor Strait N Up has eight fair wins, most of any two-year-old, and two seconds in ten fair starts for the ownership of trainer Linda and driver/husband Tony Schadel.
The Pennsylvania fair competitors have three more chances to earn enough points to make their $25,000 Fair Championship races at The Meadows on Monday, October 12. There is a draw tomorrow for racing at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville on Thursday and Friday; the last two stops are in the east, during the fairs at Gratz and Bloomsburg.