Pennsylvania Fair Action Set To Go

The 2018 Pennsylvania fair harness racing circuit begins Wednesday in this southwestern Pennsylvania town, the first of twenty stops at fairground sites around the state, ending around Little Brown Jug week.

This was will be the first fair season in many years that will not benefit from the watchfulness and helpfulness of Sue Brickell, who passed away last month after a long and courageous fight with cancer. A memorial service will be taking place in Punxsutawney PA, near her home of Rochester Mills PA, on Tuesday afternoon, which would have been her 68thbirthday.

It might be appropriate that her brother-in-law Dave Brickell will have the likely star of the opening day of the season, the three-year-old pacing colt Venier Hanover, as sophomore Sire Stakes action rolls out the year. At two, the altered son of Well Said, co-owned by trainer/driver Brickell and Mitchell York, set eight divisional track records along the fair trail, including an equalling of the all-age track record at Wattsburg, 2:00.1. The local Bedford marks are 1:57.2 for his division and 1:56.3 for the all-age track record (set 32 years ago by Keystone Famous); Venier may be able to at least flirt with those times if on his best game.

In the two-year-old action on Thursday, Team Brickell/York have the fastest winner so far, also a Well Said offspring, a filly named Crew Sock Hanover, who shocked a pari-mutuel field at 20-1 in her first betting start, winning in 1:56.1. Also sure to draw attention is Cory Kreiser’s Delmarvalous colt Next Shot, who made his pari-mutuel debut a successful one in 1:58.1, with a :27.3 last quarter. (And he’s in the “B” division of the Sire Stakes!)

"Hometown heroes" Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, both in the local Sports Hall of Fame and both honoured during the fair last year by the Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, are scheduled for action during the season-opening event.

For the first time, this year all of the fair draws will be handled out of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association’s office at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with executive director Mike Harant overseeing. But the same local people will be doing their invaluable jobs during the actual racing at the fairs.

From here, the Pennsylvania fair circuit goes to Hughesville, racing this Saturday and Sunday, and then on to Butler. After that comes a major change, as the racing at the York Fair, traditionally held in September, this year has dates of July 7 and 8.

(Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association)

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