The four-day harness racing meet at the Clearfield (PA) County Fair concluded on Wednesday, with $107,784 in total purses distributed in the quartet of days among the best of the Keystone State's fair competitors. Clearfield, (relatively) centrally- located in the state, always draws one of the biggest pools of entrants, and local fans enjoyed 34 heats of racing during the meet.
The tightest finish of the meet occurred on Tuesday in a division of the two-year-old filly pace when Tropical Terror, the only fair campaigner to win at all eight of the season's initial stops, maintained that distinction while finishing in a 2:03.3 dead-heat with Keystone I Will, fastest of this group at the fairs off a 2:00 mile at Bedford. The Art Official filly Keystone I Wish is trained and was driven by Todd Schadel, while Tropical Terror tallied for trainer Jason Shaw and driver Chris Shaw.
There were five divisions of the two-year-old colt pace that day, with Team Schadel accounting for two and Team Shaw (whose brace included the fastest winner Marshmallow Pulse in 2:03) taking two more. The fifth was won by R N Nate for trainer/driver Roger Hammer, who will take his present six-race win streak behind the gate tomorrow (Friday) at Harrah's Philadelphia.
On the trotting side, the highlight would be the remarkable performance of trainer Bill Daugherty Jr.'s three-year-old colts, both of whom are now six for seven at the twicearounds after Clearfield victories. Fly Past Hanover, an altered son of Cantab Hall, has lost only in a photo when Faust set the all-age Bedford track record of 2:00.4, while the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm posted the Clearfield meet's fastest trotting time of 2:03.4. ("Charm”'s Clearfield counterpart on the pacing side would be Ruffle Up, a sophomore Real Artist gelding who won in 2:01 for trainer/driver Roger Hammer.)
Handling the two Daugherty powerhouses throughout the summer has been the fair circuit's leading driver, Steve Schoeffel, who with four wins on the week now has 48 wins in eight stops; Schoeffel's main rival, Chris Shaw, visited Victory Lane via sulky six times at Clearfield to raise his win total to 45. The Shaw/Schoeffel duel on the driving side is paralleled on the training side as well, as Chris's brother Jason harnessed five winners during the session to currently enjoy a 33-31 edge over horses out of the Schoeffel barn. Perennial "fair king” Roger Hammer is third in both categories, with 19 driving wins and 20 training triumphs.
The fair circuit now moves to the far northeast of the state, at the Wayne County Fair at Honesdale, which will stage its "fair meet” on Sunday and Monday and its "2-day meet” on Wednesday and Thursday. Next Thursday also sees the start of two days of racing at the Greene County Fair in Waynesburg, 358 miles away from Honesdale.--By Jerry Conors