Wattsburg, PA --- Pennsylvania fair action for 3-year-olds was scheduled for both Indiana and Wattsburg on Wednesday (Aug. 28), but with hard rain rendering the Indiana oval unusable, the spotlight shifted to Wattsburg where a 25-year-old ghost had quite a few anxious moments.
In 1988, the 3-year-old gelding Smokey Crown, driven by David Brocklehurst, traversed the Wattsburg track in 2:04 -- an all-age track trotting mark that has withstood the test of time, even though on Wednesday the SJ’s Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty gave it a good scare before finally fixing the timer at 2:04.2, almost assuredly the second-fastest trot ever at Wattsburg.
Fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3, and 1:31.2 were put up over a track a bit short of peak speed, and Ruddy Rusty finished gallantly for driver Chris Shaw but came up just short of the Smokey Crown mark (the two trotters are not dissimilarly bred -- go back a few generations and there’s plenty of Star’s Pride and Volomite in their pedigrees). With the win for Shaw and doubling owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn, Ruddy Rusty is now perfect in seven fair starts (and he is “on the bubble” for the Stallion Series Championship next week at Pocono).
While Ruddy Rusty just missed the track trotting mark, the sophomore pacing filly who did set an all-age standard for her gait of 2:00.3 here in June, defending Fair champ She’salilfireball, returned to the scene of her earlier triumph on Wednesday. But she ran into the fair circuit’s most in-form horse and had to settle for second behind the Christian Cullen miss In A Better Place, who leads all categories on the twicearound circuit with nine wins (13-9-3-1 overall) and 60 points. In A Better Place was one of three wins on the day for young Chris Shaw, and the fast filly is trained by his brother Jason for owner Amanda Beinhauer.
While the defending pacing filly champ couldn’t win on Wednesday, the defending colt champ did, as Mein Schatz, a Real Desire gelding, took his Sire Stakes cut in 2:07.1 for driver/trainer Aaron Johnston and owner James Biego.
But the sophomore colt most had their eyes on was McAlvin in the day’s last race -- the McArdle gelding had broken 2:00 in all three of his previous fair starts, giving him 30 percent of the circuit’s magic miles. On this day, McAlvin faced three foes who were a collective 0-for-30 in 2013, so he needed only 2:04.1 to be in control for driver Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky, Jr. and owner Julie Krenitsky.
Neither the In A Better Place-She’salilfireball duel nor the appearance of McAlvin yielded the fastest mile of the day, however -- that honor fell to Naked At The Beach, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere who is herself 8-5-3-0 at the fairs this year. She won in 2:03.2 for Ohio visitor Crist Hershberger, who doubled, trainer Dan Walski, and owner Howard Millhime.
Finishing Lines: Dave Brickell had four wins on the day, Chris Shaw three; their totals were reversed on Tuesday, so they tied for Wattsburg’s winningest driver at seven, as Todd Cummings, who won six on Tuesday, did not compete Wednesday…The draw will shortly be posted for the Friday-Saturday action at the Great Stoneboro Fair, with post time both days at 10 a.m.