Gratz, PA --- The Somebeachsomewhere sophomore pacing filly Keystone Wanda recorded the fastest time on the Pennsylvania fair circuit in more than four years when she took a division of her Sire Stakes event at the Gratz Fair on Monday (Sept. 16) in 1:55.4.
Trainer Todd Schadel, also co-owner with Christine Schadel and co-breeder with the late George Hempt, sent Keystone Wanda right down the road on her “home track” (Todd trains at Gratz) through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.1, snapping home in :28.3 to knock off two-fifths of a second from Talk All Day’s 2008 divisional mark. Keystone Wanda’s mile was also the quickest on the local circuit since Lahaye’s all-age track record mark at Gratz, 1:55.1, on July 12, 2009.
Todd and Christine Schadel were the breeders of Classic Martine, who tied with Frau Blucher in the fastest-ever trotting dead heat, 1:53.2, at The Meadows in a PA Sire Stakes championshp Friday night, and Todd must have thought this dead heating business was fun, because 30 minutes later he guided the Real Artist gelding Plenty Of Spunk to finish on equal terms with the Western Terror gelding Jungle Of Terror in 1:58 in a cut of the Sires event for sophomore pacing colts.
Plenty Of Spunk moved early and controlled the pace, while Jungle Of Terror moved past the half to stalk the leader, and the latter gained through the stretch against his stubborn foe to the point that the camera could not split them at the finish. Steve Schoeffel trains and drove Jungle Of Terror, the point leader of all divisions with only Bloomsburg left, for Stephen Lander and Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel; Schadel trains and drove Plenty Of Spunk, who reunites the partnership on 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, Schadel and Roger Hammer.
“The Hammer” himself paraded back twice Monday with Boots Dunn owned-trained-bred horses: the Classic Photo gelding Classicality, who trotted his last three-quarters in 1:28.1 to take the faster heat of the sophomore colt trot in 2:00.4; and also the fastest filly division with the Cantab Hall miss Lindyofalifetime in 2:02.4-:30.
Steve Schoeffel has been well in command of the tables in both driving and training wins all season long, both in the Sire Stakes and overall (including Quaker Stakes and overnights), but the veteran Dunn has now tied him by harnessing 40 Fair Sire Stakes winners -- again, with just one more meet to go.
And what would a Keystone fair report be without McAlvin? The dead heat in the 3-year-old pacing colt’s other division may have stolen McAlvin’s spotlight a bit, but the McArdle gelding evidently was in a hurry to end the day by storming home in :27.1 in the card’s final race to complete a 1:58.3 win for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky, Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. However, like Keystone Wanda (she and McAlvin are the only multiple magic milers of the 2013 fairs here), McAlvin is still outside the championship point standings. Both will likely need wins at Bloomsburg and a defection or two of better-placed rivals to be at The Meadows on Oct. 5 for the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night.
Finishing Lines: This year the schedule for Bloomsburg will be different than the traditional one. All eight of the time-honored Bloomsburg Stakes will be raced during a special 2 p.m. card this Friday (declare in by 10 a.m. Wednesday), and the last Sire Stakes prelim events will face the gate on Monday (2-year-olds) and Tuesday (3-year-olds) at 10:30 a.m.; declare in for these races by Friday at 10 a.m.