Dayton, PA --- Two-year-olds were in the spotlight during the opening day of the two-day racing stand at the Dayton (PA) Fair on Wednesday (Aug. 14) and the trotters, especially the fillies, drew the most attention.
In the first division of the filly event, the last quarter produced a spirited battle among Bessie, Cantabs Lightning, and fair newcomer Pixel Queen, and at the wire they crossed in that order, with Bessie a neck better than Cantabs Lightning in 2:07.4. Bessie, a daughter of Equinox Bi, was one of three driving wins on the day for Dave Brickell, who also trains and owns her; she now has four straight Fair Sire Stakes wins, and the win put her atop the divisional pointstandings -- for about 30 minutes.
Another fair first-timer, the Lear Jetta miss Ideal Emma, reeled in breakaway pacesetter Fashion Entre in 2:06.3, fastest trot of the day. Coming off a third-place finish in a Stallion Series event, Ideal Emma was driven by Eric Neal for trainer/father Randy and Neal Racing Stable LLC.
But it was Fashion Entre who went to the top of the point list -- while still a maiden! Poor Fashion Entre (who’s not really so poor, having earned $8,521 in her first nine career starts) has now finished second four straight outings, but her consistency of racing well in recording five seconds and three thirds currently gives her a slight edge on Bessie, who hasn’t tried to dance every dance.
With Dayton and Washington racing in calendar proximity, fair horsemen had to pick between the two as to where to start their freshmen, in compliance with the PA fairs’ “3rd day” racing rule, and only five entered the colt trot, with a late scratch reducing the field to four. This was the first time only one division of an event has been raced this year, so the purse was a season-high $11,651.
And with that kind of money on the line, the winner still won by 25 lengths!
Mr Weaver is a Madison River gelding who was a confluence of “Three And A Half Men”: the late breeder Ken Weaver, after whom the horse is named; driver Dave Brickell; and trainer John McMullen, Jr., who shares ownership with the “half-man,” his 6-year-old grandson Owen. They and Mr Weaver saw two horses break before the quarter, with thus only one other trotter in real contention, and that horse jumped before the three-quarters, leaving Mr Weaver 12 ahead at that pole, 15 clear at the stretch call, and, to be precise, 25-1/2 lengths ahead at the finish -- all the while with Owen probably thinking, “Man, this is an easy game!”
The fastest mile of the day came in the filly pace, as the Somebeachsomewhere filly Sunsetonthebeach established early command and won handily in 2:05.2, moving herself into the divisional pointstandings top 10 for owner/trainer/driver/breeder Roger Hammer.
The sophomore class is scheduled to face starter Clarence Martin, Jr. at Dayton Thursday, with the first race set to go at high noon.
At The Meadows Wednesday night, the 2-year-old pacing fillies contested their fourth and final preliminary leg of Stallion Series competition, sorting themselves out for their $40,000 Championship on Friday (Sept. 6) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
McVita Bella went four for four in the prelims (albeit winning via a DQ Wednesday night) to obviously top the standings; the other seven qualifying are in order Lucy’s Pearl, Shesaidhesaisisaid, Mayabelle and Weeper (tied), Dragon Town, Shutthefrontdoor, and South Beach Babe.