MORRISONVILLE — New York Sire Stakes events topped a 15-event Standardbred harness racing card at the Clinton County Fair Wednesday with purse monies totaling over $25,000 on the line.
The results included the first dead heat veteran observers could recall at the fair in many a year. Garrett McQueen of Westport brought I’m Over The Top, whom he owns and trains, to the wire on the outside of Harold Smith and Allowance Hanover, the pacesetter. Both horses covered the mile in the Free For All Trot in 2:16.2.
The majority of the races were for 2- and 3-year-old pacers or trotters, many of whom had a pair of races or less under their belt. By contrast, many of the reinsmen are lifelong veterans, including Smith, 78, of Malone, provisional driver Ken Martin,70, of Fair Haven, Vt. and Henry Westbrook II, 64, of Saratoga.
Typical of many entries was Imperial’s Ace, a 2-year-old colt guided by Samuel Trombley of Champlain. “He’s got to get used to other horses out there trying to get by him.” Trombley said, “But he stepped off right from the starting gate and did a good job.”
Smith brought home three other winners in Sire Stakes races. Two-year-old pacers Matt Major in 2:13 and Ramashamadingdong, who quickly recovered from a misstep to swoop the group in 2:14.1, and 3-year-old pacer Memory Game.
Brent Crawford of Stillwater urged his own 3-year-old pacing filly Delightful Caitlin home in the quickest clocking of the day — 2:07.2 — good for a $1,600 payday.
The second-fastest time of the meet was turned in by Cashabunch, a 3-year-old trotter owned, trained and driven by Shawn Martin of Malone. Cashabunch went the second half of the mile in 1:03.2. His winning time was 2:08.4, very respectable by Fairground standards anywhere in the Northeast.
“He’s been a lot of fun,” Martin said. “We’ve just got him back to normal. There was a last-second recall in a race he had, and he wrenched his back. He’s fine now. He loves the turns, which helps on a track like this. He didn’t even work that hard today. Usually my voice is enough to get him to hit the gas.”
Don Hoover, the Saratoga Harness Racing Secretary, drove DW’s Jeanne to victory in 2:13.2 in the 3-year-old 1st Division Trot for owner Donald La Page of North Bangor.
Other winners included Famous Oscar with Nelson Haley aboard, DW’s Thelma handled by owner/trainer Kevin Gale of Moira and Diabolical, a 2-year-old filly driven by Scott La Page. “I had an awful crew coming after me, didn’t I?” LaPage said. “But she won easy.”
In a double-tier start for eight pacers, Irv Mauran drove Hey Big Fred to victory in the John Connell Memorial, named for the long-time horseman from Keeseville.