by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows
Washington, PA — Legendary Ron entered Saturday’s (Oct. 6) Pa. Fair final off three straight victories. Moreover, he was teamed for the first time with another legendary Ron — trainer Ron Burke. That combination proved unbeatable, as Legendary Ron drew off late to capture the $25,000 final for 3-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.
Dave Palone collected a pair of championships with Legendary Ron and Watch Me Hanover, but the proudest observer may have been Wherley, whose offspring Watch Me Hanover and Worldly Hanover presented her with her third and fourth PA Fairs titles as a broodmare. She won in previous years with Wimborne Hanover and Waterview Hanover.
The sophomore colt and gelding pace, usually considered the glamor division, 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 front-ending 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 4-1/4 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 the Lightning Lane for second, 1-1/2 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, but he expects to make an exception of Keystone Diamond.
“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, though, 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,” acknowledged winning trainer/owner 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 9 to begin with, she was laboring 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.
The trainer 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
With a win in a Simpson split and a third in a Liberty Bell division, Aflame Hanover looked much the best on paper. He was even more persuasive on the track, rolling to a 7-1/4-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
Things sure were looking bad for Sure R Looking Good. Jim Pantaleano had to wrangle her back to last when they couldn’t find an early seat, and she 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 1-1/4 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
Winless in six career starts and off stride in his last, Watch Me Hanover seemed a tossout. But the Muscle Massive gelding was getting the services of Palone for the first time, and he had that Wherley connection. Still, it would have been hard to predict that he would erase a 10-1/2-length deficit with a wide rally and defeat long shot Grover Hanover by 2-1/4 lengths in 2:00.1. Keystone Bentley, 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 and also conditioned Wherley offspring Wimborne Hanover and Waterview Hanover. “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 byt three-quarters of a length 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.