‘It never gets old coming back here’

Republic’s Stahl returns to Seneca County Fair with 7 wins

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Drivers compete in the 3-year-old colt trot race at Seneca County Fair on Tuesday. It was the last day of harness racing for this year's fair.

Something was missing the past couple of Seneca County Fairs on the harness racing track.

Republic native, Ryan Stahl, said he skipped the last few because of his racing in Cleveland and at Scioto Downs and the fair conflicted with Northfield’s racing.

However, he came back this week where it all started to win seven races in the two-day event.

“I was talking to Mike Watson last night that I won my first race here when I turned 16, so that was 25 years ago and almost 5,000 wins later … I’m back,” Stahl said. “It never gets old coming back here.

“My father trained here when I was born, so I’d come to this fairground every day I didn’t go to school and even took some days of school off to come here. I love coming here. About five years ago, I built my own barn and track in Republic, so I was here every day of my life until I moved home. It never gets old coming back here.”

Monday, Stahl took home five wins and Tuesday won two to claim a solid seven of 19 races.

“Overall, it went pretty good. All of the races we have or that I’m a part of all raced good,” he said. “We actually had three or four other ones I thought could win, but we had some breaking issues, but that’s racing. I win a lot of races I don’t think I can win too, so it all evens out.”

All in all, besides the unfortunate accident involving driver John “Duke” Sugg Monday night, harness racing was another success at the Seneca County Fair. Sugg and his horse went down in the third race of the night, which resulted in him being life-flighted to Toledo Hospital and the horse being able to trot off the track.

“We had two days of racing here at the fair,” Regional Coordinator of the Ohio Fair Racing Conference Bill Peters said. “We had an excellent nine-horse field in the free-for-all pace and we had the all-ladies race last night. There were six ladies racing there and it was really competitive with a photo finish at the end.

“We also had several fast times for the fair and overall, it was good racing.”