Legendary Ron entered trainer Ron Burke's barn in Saturday’s PA Fairs Championship off three-straight victories. That combination proved unbeatable, as Legendary Ron drew off late to capture the $25,000 final for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers.
The Meadows hosted all eight Fairs championships Saturday and collaborated with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association to stage the annual “Pink Out” to benefit breast cancer awareness and treatment. A brief but heavy mid-program storm couldn't dampen the festivities, but it did wreak havoc with the track surface, which went from fast to sloppy to good over the course of the day.
The sophomore colt and gelding pace was widely anticipated as a rematch between Venier Hanover and Cirrus De Vie, who upset Venier Hanover last year at 21-1. But when Legendary Ron and the pacesetter Marvalous Falcon turned the championship into a virtual match race, the two presumptive stars were far back early and could not shake loose until late.
Legendary Ron stalked Marvalous Falcon from the pocket and roared through the lane to defeat him by four-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:53.2. Venier Hanover rallied late for show.
“I’ve made a living off first-time Burke horses,” Palone said, “so I wanted to put him in the hunt. I liked the spot I was in going into the first turn. Once he figures out that he’s supposed to go the whole mile rather than parts of the mile, he’ll be fine.”
Matthew Dugan and Michelle Rosato campaign the gelded son of A Rocknroll Dance-Safe From Harm, a half-sister to Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred ever. In an odd coincidence, Foiled Again had the opportunity to watch his relative win from a special stall on the apron, where he was greeting fans as part of the Pink Out.
In the other championships:
3-Year-Old Filly Pace — Keystone Diamond
Keystone Diamond zipped to the front from post 5 and never had an anxious moment, scoring in 1:55 while the track was still fast. Alexis May Hanover shot through the passing lane for second one-and-a-half lengths back with the pocket-sitting Pretty Proud third.
Winning trainer-driver Todd Schadel, who owns the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Keystone Dawn with Dr. John Egloff, doesn’t usually keep his horses after their sophomore campaigns, will make an exception.
“I’m going to keep her, one of the very few,” Schadel said. “I’ve always liked her, and I think she’ll be a better mare next year.”
3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters — Willie B Worthy
Willie B Worthy’s two accomplished half-brothers, Classicality and Trustworthy Kid, have earned more than $1 million between them, but their younger sib had been okay without showing signs of future greatness. In the championship he followed cover beautifully for Brian Zendt and held off Possess The Stone by a neck in 1:58 with the first-over What A Hunk third.
“He has big shoes to fill,” said winning owner-trainer Lisa Dunn. “Earlier in the year he was a little sore, and I think he was just growing. But he likes to pass them coming up the lane. He takes after Trustworthy Kid, who’s the same way.”
She indicated Willie B Worthy, with no stakes remaining, would compete in overnights at The Meadows.
3-Year-Old Filly Trotters — Worldly Hanover
Worldly Hanover appeared to be in dire straits. Stuck with post nine, she was labouring through the slop and pushed five wide in the final turn while trying to rally.
“I was concerned — there were some nice fillies in there,” said her trainer Harold Brocklehurst. “I felt good about her in the last turn until she got pushed so wide, but that’s horse racing. I was very happy with her.”
The daughter of Donato Hanover showed championship mettle when she persevered and defeated Critical Hanover by a length in 1:59.1 for Bryce Brocklehurst. Won The War completed the ticket.
Trainer Brocklehurst said Worldly Hanover likely would compete next year for owners Double R Farms, David Obley and Richard Williams before beginning a career as a broodmare.
“That was the intention of the owners when they bought her,” he said.
2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace — Aflame Hanover
Aflame Hanover rolled to a seven-and-one-quarter length victory for Tony Schadel who, along with trainer Linda Schadel, owns the Russell Hanover-Applique Hanover gelding.
“The fairs keep them happy — they can beat up on something sometimes,” Tony Schadel said of the $6,500 yearling acquisition. “He’s done now; he’s had enough starts. He has plenty of stakes next year. He’ll be eligible for the fairs. Whether he races in them depends on how good he actually is.”
2-Year-Old Filly Pace — Sure R Looking Good
Driver Jim Pantaleano had to wrangle Sure R Looking Good back to last when they couldn’t find an early seat and was forced three wide down the backside. But the daughter of Well Said-Treat Me Good advanced relentlessly and scored in 1:57 for trainer Bob Krenitsky, Jr. and owner Julie Krenitsky. April Ava was second, beaten one-and-a-quarter lengths, while Crew Sock Hanover, the divisional points leader, earned show.
“She’s game on account of her breeding,” Pantaleano said, “and she acted like she was very happy chasing horse. So it actually kind of worked out.”
2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot — Watch Me Hanover
The Muscle Massive gelding Watch Me Hanover picked up driver Dave Palone for the first time and recouped a 10-and-a-half length deficit with a wide rally to defeat long shot Grover Hanover by two-and-a-quarter lengths in 2:00.1. Keystone Bently, part of a four-horse Todd Schadel entry, was third.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do with him now,” said Bill Daugherty, Jr. who trains the $25,000 yearling purchase for Susan Daugherty. “He’s fresh, only seven starts, so you gotta race him a time or two.”
2-Year-Old Filly Trot —RT Gloria De Dios
Last time she left from the rail, RT Gloria De Dios broke stride. On Saturday, she rushed to the lead from the rail for Kyle Bolon, seated Bumper Hanover and held her off late to score by three-quarter lengths in 1:59.2. Touch Of Dough finished third.
“Every start she’s won she’s been on the front, so I thought if I put the leader behind me, that was my best chance,” Bolon said. “I was getting after her late, but sometimes she waits on horses. Once she heard another horse, she dug in pretty good.”
Robert Rougeaux III conditions the daughter of Muscle Massive-RT Sun Poco for Brocious Racing Stable.
(With files from The Meadows)