David Brickell and Shawn Johnston each collected a pair of championships — including a victory in which they dead-heated — in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Fairs Finals at The Meadows.
The track hosted all eight championships, each with a purse of $25,000.
Also on Saturday, The Meadows and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted the fourth annual Pink Out to benefit the American Cancer Society. Through fund-raisers such as t-shirt sales, a 50-50 raffle and a mini-pony race, the track and the MSOA raised $10,920 for the society. The Night Driver captured the mini-pony race, with Lori Manke and Lila Manke handling the reins.
Johnston piloted the freshman filly pacer Silly But Serious to a sizable lead, but Brickell was able to rally Dream Dancing from post 9. The youngsters hit the wire together in 1:56.4, believed to be the first championship dead-heat in the 23-year history of the event. RT Dont Speak earned show.
“Three wide from before the half? She was just super,” Brickell said of the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance-Clearly Foxy. “She’s just a good horse. Makes me look good.”
Gary Johnston conditions Silly But Serious, a daughter of Captaintreacherous-I Need Hotstuff, and owns with Joyce Benkart.
Brickell’s other victory provided the day’s tote board pyrotechnics, as he rallied the three-year-old filly trotter Misty Lane to a 49-1 shocker in 1:57.4. Ridinonarainbow was second, 4-1/4 lengths back, with Giant Possession third. Brickell trains both his champions and owns with Mitchell York.
Johnston got his second title with the freshman filly trotter Better Song, who gobbled up the field with an uncovered burst and drew off to down Cocktails N Dreams by 6-1/2 lengths in 1:57.2. Exuberant Gal completed the ticket.
“She’s been sharp for me at the fairs,” Johnston said. “She always trots home for me. She was hot out of the gate — her legs were swimming — but she had enough track to relax before she hit the turn.”
Rick Beinhauer trains the homebred daughter of Better Caviar-Jessies Song and owns with Regina Beinhauer.
In the other championships:
Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot
Andovers Asset converted a perfect pocket trip to victory when he blew past the favourite, Star Caviar, in the lane and defeated him by two lengths for Aaron Merriman in 1:56, matching Boytown’s all-time trotting record in a PA Fairs championship. Soldier Hanover finished third.
“He usually was on the lead at the fairs because he leaves so well, but we’ve always known he can race from behind,” said winning trainer Linda Schadel, who owns the Andover Hall-Lively gelding with Tony Schadel. She indicated Andovers Asset will come right back Thursday in a Yonkers overnight.
Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace
Under Paid looked much the best on paper, and he looked just as dominant on limestone, scoring by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:52 for Dave Palone, who refused to release any early challengers.
“When they give you a horse that’s so much the best, the last thing you want to do is fall into a trap,” Palone said. “So I felt like taking my chances. When I kicked the plugs out, he was on his way.”
Motive Hanover and App Hanover completed the ticket. Ron Burke trains Under Paid, a son of A Rocknroll Dance-Upfront Cruzin, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Carr and Phillip Collura.
Three-Year-Old Filly Pace
April Ava protected rail position and made it look easy thereafter, jogging to victory in a career-best 1:54. Sure R Lookin Good was second, beaten 6-1/4 lengths, with Crew Sock Hanover third. Scott Betts, who conditions the daughter of Delmarvalous-Jenava for Nicholas Catalano and Timothy Betts, indicated he plans to continue racing April Ava in overnights at The Meadows and would keep her over next year.
Two-Year-old Colt & Gelding Trot
Despite a parked-out opening panel, Stickler Hanover was strong through the lane and scored in 1:57.2 over Benezia, with Manhattanup No Ice third.
“I wasn’t concerned one bit (about the first quarter),” said winning driver Brady Brown. “I just took my time getting there. I let him get settled, then I came with him.”
Steve Schoeffel trains the son of Explosive Matter-Secret Credit for Virginia Schoeffel, Kathy Schoeffel, Daniel Goehle and Michael Munn.
Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace
Champ Charbel pulled the pocket into the final turn and had all the pop he needed to brush by Needham Hanover and down him by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:55.1 for Eric Neal and owner/trainer Joseph Karrat.
“He’s been sharp all summer,” Neal said. “He keeps on coming.”
It was a life mark for the son of Ponder-Odds On Affair.
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 1:05 p.m.
(Meadows Standardbred Owners Association)