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PA Fair championships held at Meadows

October 08, 2016
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Struggling to make up ground on an off track, Waterview Hanover lunged at the wire and got up by a nose to collect her second Pennsylvania Fairs championship Saturday at The Meadows.
 
On a chilly, overcast day when overnight and morning rain made for a "good" surface, The Meadows hosted all eight $24,200 finals for 2- and 3-year-olds. The air may have been cool, but the races were hot, particularly the dramatic finish of Waterview Hanover in the 3-year-old filly trot.
 
Susan Daugherty's daughter of Explosive Matter-Wherley faced several obstacles in the stretch — a determined Real Caviar in front of her, a rallying Regal Woman behind her, a track that played heavy in the early part of the card. But the champ prevailed for Jim Pantaleano in 1:59.4 while Regal Woman edged Real Caviar for show.
 
The win enabled trainer Bill Daugherty to add another PA Fairs double to his impressive resume, a list that also includes Fly Past Hanover and Cadence Hall.

"She had a quarter crack earlier in the year," the trainer said. "We missed a start or two, and it took a little bit to get the infection out of the foot. The last three starts she's been super. She does have a tendency to wait for them when she gets on the front. I mentioned to Jim before the race that it might not hurt to have a little cover for a while."

He indicated he might race Waterview Hanover in a few overnight events this year.

Here's a look at Saturday's other winners:

2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace

If you're a harness racing couple, there's no better way to celebrate your wedding anniversary than enjoying a victory. That's just what Christine and Todd Schadel did when Cruiserwillwin scored a front-end victory. Keystone Steam was 3/4 lengths back in second with Marvalous Artist, the 1-5 favorite as part of entry, third.

Cruiserwillwin hadn't been on the front at any point in his most recent six races, but when trainer/driver Schadel noticed the early break of Artists Ruffles, the other part of the Roger Hammer entry, he made a split-second decision to send Cruiserwillwin.

"When I saw that break, I wanted him on the lead," he said. "He really doesn't want to pass, so I thought my best shot was on the lead."

Even so, it wasn't an in-hand victory.

"I think I worked harder than my horse did," he said.

3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot

Something of an unwilling participant earlier in his career, Shady McCoy put it all together at the fairs this year. The championship leg was no different. He made the front before the quarter for trainer/driver David Wade, who with his wife, Ann, owns the SJ's Caviar-Betsel Lane gelding, and scored convincingly in 1:59.4, 1-1/4 lengths than Rail Kat. OMG Hanover earned show.

"A year ago, he didn't even qualify for the 2-year-old finals," said Wade, who indicated Shady McCoy Is ticketed for the Harrisburg sale. "He's a great big colt. He rests a lot, eats a lot. He's just growing up, maturing."

In recent years, Wade has campaigned a number of horses that, as Shady McCoy, were named for National Football League stars, including Bettis, Jeremiah Trotter and Willheparkher. That streak is about to end.

"Ann named all those horses," he said. "This year, I named the three fillies we have, and I named them all for Christian singers that I love. Ann didn't have any say in it."

2-Year-Old Filly Pace

Jason Shaw and his brother Chris were the leading trainer and driver, respectively, on the fair circuit this year, so it's no surprise they collected a championship with Gemalous, a daughter of Delmarvalous-Yahoos. Gemalous saved ground for much of the mile before following the cover of the favorite, Camera Lady. She blew by in the stretch and downed the favorite by 4-1/2 lengths, with Keystone Nikki third.

"She's been a good filly all summer," Jason Shaw said of his $6,000 yearling acquisition. "She doesn't like a front-end trip — she likes to sprint past them — and it worked out perfect today."

The win gave owner Mason Shaw, 4, his first PA Fairs title.

3-Year-Old Filly Pace

Ron Burke, the sport's perennial leading training, doesn't compete on the fair circuit very often, but he has on occasion purchased a promising fairs campaigner on the eve of the championships. Such is the case with Unbeamlieveable, a daughter of Moon Beam-DVC Iblievenangles that Burke acquired from Jason Shaw. Pounded down to 3-5, Unbeamlieveable triumphed for Dave Palone in a career best 1:54.4, thwarting several stern challenges while on the lead.

"I wanted to keep her out of trouble," Palone said, "but it seemed like every time I got her where I wanted her, someone took a shot at me — which they should do. When I pulled the plugs in the last turn, I knew it was over. She just kicked away."

One of the challengers, Gymnast Hanover, finished second, 5-3/4 lengths back, while Vorst earned show. Palone and Burke teamed for four wins on the 18-race program.

3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace

Tiny but game, Captain Dinger brushed once to get the lead and yet again first over en route to victory in 1:56.1 for James Calvin Dodson and trainer Ron Lineweaver, who co-own the Art's Card Trick-Artiscape gelding. Dragon Strikes was second, beaten 2-1/4 lengths, while Prince Penrod shot the Lightning Lane for show.

"He isn't very big, but he came through," said Dodson, who enjoyed his first PA Fairs championship. "He left hard and came home good. Both of the horses I was following are good horses. I knew they would carry me if I got locked in, but I didn't let that happen today."

2-Year-Old Filly Trot

All Set Lets Go notched the most lopsided victory of the finals, as she got the lead early for Wilbur Yoder and drew off to defeat Prayers Do Matter by a whopping 17 lengths. Dark Money was third. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Kalibrated performed like a filly with a chip on her shoulder rather than in her ankle, yet she has the latter.

"It's in her left hind ankle," said John McMullen, Jr., who trains the filly for McMullen Stable. "We've made arrangements to have it taken out Thursday, so she's done for the year. At times, Wilbur has said she's not quite 100 percent, but she was today."

The $8,000 yearling acquisition now has hit the board in all 16 of her career starts, with nine wins.

2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot

Photo Bomber outkicked Intense Standoff and widened his lead late, downing Intense Standoff by 4-1/4 lengths. All Champy completed the ticket.

"This horse raced on Tuesday night and raced all right," said winning driver Tony Schadel, who owns the Explosive Matter-Phanny's Photo gelding with the youngster's trainer, Linda Schadel. "I figured he'd be a little tighter than some of the others. Racing's a lot better for them than just training a trip. He had good motion going forward, so I thought I would just go forward with him."

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