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Henry County (OH) Fair recap
Friday, August 17, 2018 - by Thom Pye, for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association

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Napoleon, OH --- It was the 153rd Henry County (OH) Fair this week and the folks in this friendly city of 8,300 located 44 miles southwest of Toledo went all in to make sure everyone had a good time.

Speed Committee Director and Superintendent Jeanne Gerdeman, along with Fred Feppel, Tim Black, Jay Angler, and Dudley Shrider went above and beyond to make sure the racing fans were witness to good miles and kept entertained throughout the two-evening program on Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 14-15) of Ohio Fair Racing Conference stakes.

In the month leading up to the Fair the local paper did weekly articles on numerous area harness horsemen which showed the public how much involved the horsepeople and the Fairgrounds were in the community. Even the weather co-operated for two fine cards of competitive miles and tight finishes over the newly-improved racing surface.

The results on Tuesday were immediate: a large inquisitive audience filled the grandstand and lined along the fence to see the racing action which produced several track records for the 134-year-old oval.

Simplyamission, a 3-year-old filly by Manofmanymissions-Lima Simplicity, trotted to an all-age track standard (last set in 2005) as well as for 3-year-old fillies (dating from 1987) when the Charles "Clem" Lee Jr.-trainee zipped by the wire with Cameron McCown in 2:00.3 to take her share of the OFRC $4,710 purse for owners David Yoder and Merrill Murray. La Vie Est Belle (Josh Slater) was second as Capitainna with Ed Greeno Jr. took third in the evening's first race.

After wins by Olive Another (Art McIllmurray) and Pacificfliteonova (Duke Sugg), the $3,595 third division of the OFRC 2-year-old filly pace was taken by Mike Hale and Don Locricchio's rising Atlantic Star (Cheyenne Rei-Atlantic Filly) who kept her freshman season unblemished at five with an easy tally in 2:04.1 over Santa Rose Hanover (Cameron McCown) and New Number Who Dis (Mike Derintz) by 5-1/2 lengths. Ed Hennessey drove the Ohio State, ATI-bred lass for trainer Sandy Hennesey.

Fittingly, the Henry County Horseman Memorial Trot established another track record when Jim Mulinix's Need A Winner clipped off a mile in 2:01 with driver Duke Sugg (one of three wins on the night). This was the third track record for the 5-year-old gelding by Neely Dunn in his last four starts (the others being at Oak Harbor and Attica) as Mad Cow Lisa (David Lake) and Rompaway Beau (Art McIllmurray) rounded off the top three.

On Wednesday night despite some ominous-looking clouds the fans returned and were rewarded with a seat-hanger in the $3,560 OFRC 2-year-old filly trot as Urban Buzz (Art McIllmurray) and Breakthemagic (BJ Roberts) were noses apart in 2:08.4. After a judges' print Urban Buzz, the Mike Sweeney-trained daughter of Full Count, took the trophy blanket. Luvcruchess (Cameron McCown) was third.

Gerald Majil's 3-year-old filly Believe In Waco (Greg Bateson) garnered her seventh win in 13 2018 starts as the Steve Novack pupil paced the mile in 2:01 with a :59 last half. Connies Desire (Mark Headworth) was second as Grant Me This (Beau Brown) took third.

Officially Nub, with trainer/driver Cameron McCown, winged a mile in 2:00.3 in the $4,635 OFRC 3-year-old colt pace over Conquer The Chance (Pierce Henry) and Olives Matter (Daniel Corfman) while the Art Official gelding threw a last quarter of :29.2 to open up ten on the field.

Dejarming Lady (Dejarmbro-SOS Alegrea) trotted off by six for Mike Wolfe, the first of three winning drives on the card, as the Craig Cornachione-trained 2-year-old beat Katie's Encore (Tim Moore Jr.) and Ed Greeno Jr. aboard Donati.

This was also the OHHA's Racing With The Stars fan race and as Lori Davis, a player several times and now a winning contestant, walked to the winner's circle wearing the number 4 she happily exclaimed "this is fun!" And for Lori the good things to happen this evening were just beginning.

The Henry County Horseman Memorial Free For All Pace had another tight finish when Duke Sugg maneuvered O'Grady's First Man to a hard fought victory by a head in 1:59.1 over Arizona Dawn and Cameron McCown. Announcer Bill Peters had the grandstand really involved when he polled them for their opinion as to who won and the shouts rang out.

He had been on the toteboard for his last five starts but the coveted "W" eluded Up Front And Gone in the tough OFRC 3-year-old colt division. Wednesday night the Chad Williamson-trainee was inside of his main adversaries and regular driver Pierce Henry made a winning move down the backstretch as they went neck and neck through the final turn before opening up by six to stop the teletimer in a new track record for pacing colts and geldings and a new lifetime mark of 1:59.2 over Tinker Toy and Good Good Guy. Owner Lori Davis and her faithful support team made the trip to the winner's circle a cause for celebration.

Many in the stands stayed after the conclusion of the races to watch a swarm of kids compete in the Stick Pony races as they kept lining up to go another heat. And when Annie from Cincinnati State read off the ticket numbers to give away the remaining prizes nobody left either.

A great, fun two nights of timely, quality racing and entertainment for everyone involved.

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