Rain can’t wash out racing
Two drivers each claimed two victories, Ryan Stahl finished in the money in eight of the 14 races and three horses with lifetime winnings well over $200,000 all got some take home pay – two by winning.
But the true winner of Monday’s lone night of harness racing at this year’s Seneca County Fair was the track itself.
Inundated with rain over the weekend and topped off with a little more earlier in the day, Monday’s races still went off without hitch, thanks to some prep work Sunday and in-between-races-dragging by Seneca County Harness Horsemen Association members.
“It was in extremely good shape for all the rain we got,” said Curt Shoup, who was one of the four men who put in extra prep hours Sunday to get the track ready.
“If it would have kept on raining, yeah, it would have been a problem. But it stopped for a while and dried out quick and sealed up. The best thing to do is wait until the very last before we started to screen it again,” he said. “We didn’t want to open it up [for practices] and rain again, then we wouldn’t have been able to use it.”
But they did, to the tune of 14 races with a total of 64 horses, sulkies and drivers.
And in between each race, John Burks dragged the track with a screen, smoothing out the bumps.
The bottom edge resembled a swamp, with standing water ringing the infield, but the track was more than passable.
“You try to keep that work down so you don’t have those big footprints in there. And we didn’t have to put any water on tonight, and all we could pull was the screen; a lot of times we pull a drag with teeth on it,” Burks said. “All we were trying to do was float it off and level it up in between races so it isn’t so rough out there.”
It was far from that as the racing surface played host to 12 different winners in 14 races.
John Konecky III and Russell Swartz each found the winner’s circle twice.
Konesky drove Sammy Sammy Sammy to victory in the Ewald Furniture North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters (2:09 4/5) in the night’s third race. In the next-to-last event, he drove This Sands Hot, a 10-year-old who entered with a lifetime win total of $242,359, to the win in the Sacksteder-Worland Insurance Co. Trot Open (2:06 1/5).
Swartz’s wins came when he drove Duchess Bella in the Engle-Shook Funeral Home North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters (2:12 3/5), and pacer DJ Is The Man in the Katies Bel-Mar Non-Winners 1 Pari-Mutuel Race (2:07).
Konesky and Countonme took second behind Swartz and Duchess Bella, but no one finished in the money more than Stahl.
The Sycamore native and MJs Victory Jody claimed the Sunrise Cooperative North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters (2:11 3/5), while he drove four other horses to runner-up finishes and three more to thirds.
His seconds came with Zippy Sam in the Sutton Bank North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters, Stonebridge Art in the Hufford Family Funeral Home Pace Open, I Like Ita Latte in the CF Professional Inc. Pace Open, and State Of The Union in the Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supply Pace Open.
State Of The Union, a 10-year-old, added to its lifetime winning total of $284,820.
Thirds came with Our Precious Sis in the Sunrise Cooperative North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, Vengeful Feeling in the Findlay Monument Co. North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old pacers, and Beckys Giftedangel in the Katies Bel-Mar Non-Winners 1 Pari-Mutuel Race for pacers.
Nine 9-year-old pacer Kollateral Damage, driven by Don Collins, rounded out the big-money horses who added to their lifetime totals by beating Stahl and Stonebridge Art in the Hufford Family Funeral Home Pace Open (2:05 1/5).
The night’s other wins came from Jayne Weller and Matti Falcon in the Surf-N-Turf North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers (2:19 4/5), Jayson Haynes and Stanley Begonia in the Sutton Bank North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters (2:14 1/5), Gregory Straub and Easter Bay in the Body Fix North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old cot pacers (2:10 1/5), Tom Marts Jr. and Our Little Emmy in the Republic Lumber North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers (2:07 2/5), Bud High and Count Full Mac in the Interim Health Care North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters, Charles Little and Wanderer in the Findlay Monument Co. North Central Ohio Colt Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers (2:04 4/5), Jim Larrabee and Major At Heart in the CF Professional Inc. Pace Open (2:03), and Pierce Henry and Can’t Slay Me in the Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supply Pace Open (2:04 3/5).