Locals thrive on limestone during Fair
Ideal weather for a pair of July afternoons at the Harrison County Fair prompted fast racing action on the limestone track for trotters and pacers.
Thursday and Friday saw a total of 15 harness races take off from the moving starting gate. Local standardbred owner William Johnson was part of four winners, while Michael Neafus, based at the Harrison County Fair barns in Corydon, won two events in the bike.
Johnson, of New Salisbury, in a partnership with Tom Luther and Thomas Voress, scored a pair of victories both days.
On Thursday, Luther, the trainer and driver for the group, brought home Dojea Adventure in the second race. Coming from third place in the five-horse field, Luther brought Dojea Adventure to the winner’s circle in a time of 2:03.4 from the 3-year-old colt trotter.
Luther went on to capture the sixth race behind 2-year-old colt pacer Sing Bird Sing. After scratches, Sing Bird Sing beat a field of three with a time of 2:08-1/5 for her first career win.
Returning on Friday, the Luther-Johnson-Voress connection won with Always Ya Baby in the third race. The 3-year-old filly pacer nearly broke the two-minute mark, racing in 2:00-2/5, chasing down Missiana on the final lap.
Wrapping up the two-day meet, Luther steered Big Wheel to victory in the eighth race, a 2-year-old filly trot. Making a late move, Big Wheel won with a time of 2:09-2/5.
Neafus scored his wins in the sulky on back-to-back occasions. Driving for trainer Timothy Gilliland and owners Nat Hill IV and Patty Hill, Neafus won the third and fourth races on Thursday, both for 3-year-old filly trotters.
ABC Buckaroo rallied from a slow start to lower her best lifetime mark by 10 seconds, winning in 2:05-2/5.
Keeping with the speed, Neafus nearly set the track record for a trotter in the next race behind Born Trotten. Living up to her name, she posted a time of 2:03-1/5, coming within 1/5 of equaling the trot record at the Harrison County Fairgrounds. The time would easily hold up as the fastest trot of the Fair meet.
Also racing on Thursday, the meet opened with Hyway Marcus going wire-to-wire to win a 3-year-old colt trot. Hyway Marcus, going in a new lifetime mark of 2:03-3/5, is owned-trained-driven by Lester Raber.
Don Eash was the victor in the remaining two races, taking the fifth with Undertaker (2:04, 2-year-old colt pace) and the seventh with ER Dolly (2:06-1/5, 2-year-old filly pace). Part of the Eash Racing Stable, Eash trained and drove home his winners.
A 20-minute delay slowed racing for a bit on Friday. Traffic on Interstate 65 caused Eash to arrive late, but racing officials agreed to wait for his stable to arrive.
Before racing began and during the National Anthem, a taxi cab passed in front of the grandstand. Long-time race caller Mel Smith said in his 46 years, it’s the first time he’d ever seen such a moment.
The racing, however, continued.
Benefiting from the hold-up, Eash won the first race behind ER Myron, a 3-year-old colt pacer in 2:02.
Friday saw plenty of different winners in the bike; of eight races, six saw the winner’s circle.
The Joseph Essig ” trained and ” driven 3-year-old colt trotter Meersburg took the second race. After sitting in the pocket, Meersburg went for the lead and won in the meet’s fastest mile: 1:59.2.
Upping the entertainment and speed of Meersburg, Westwindwilly was dominant in the fourth race. Trained and driven by John Spotten-Morici, Westwindwilly led from the beginning in a 2-year-old colt trot and throughly dominated the field, winning by 19 lengths. Westwindwilly trotted the mile in 2:08.2.
Corydon native Charlie Conrad was the trainer for the winner in the fifth race. Owned by Roselea and Sarah Conrad, Morris The Moose won a trotting division for 2-year-old colts. Led by Christopher Loney in the sulky, Morris The Mouse won in 2:17, the slowest mile of the meet.
The sixth and seventh races went to the Eash Racing Stable. Sand Swan won a 2-year-old colt trot with a time of 2:10-3/5, while Big N Quick won a 2-year-old filly trot in 2:08-2/5.