Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 22, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY FAIR WEB EXTRA: Rain can't dampen spirits of harness racers, fans

By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN —

Neither overnight rains nor a later starting time could dampen the enthusiasm for Monday’s harness racing program at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Post time was pushed back to 1 p.m. from the usual 11 a.m. start in order to get the track ready.

“The track dried out and by the end of the day conditions were good,” driver Mike Peterson said. “We drove up from Anderson this morning and it rained the whole way. So I’m glad we got the races in.”

“The track was a little soft to start out, but it got better as the day went on,” driver Doug Ride out said. “The conditions were super for all the rain we had.”

There was a good crowd on hand for the races. Some of the fans were waiting for Monday night’s grandstand show featuring the Florida Georgia Line.

“I’m sure you are all here for the races and not for the concert,” 4-H Fair President and Harness Racing Director Tim Graber said when he addressed the crowd.

Graber’s assistant for the harness racing, Brooke Harvell, reported fans were in the grandstands at 8 a.m. Monday waiting for the evening show.

Recent Fairfield High School graduate Marissa Lorenz of the 4-H Lamb Club sang the national anthem.

There were two double winners on Monday. Former Goshen resident Don Eash, who now lives in Greenfield, picked up victories in the fifth race (E R Michael) and eighth race (Skyway Tia). It was the second consecutive win for E R Michael and the second win of the season for Skyway Tia. Skyway Tia pulled away early and led by two lengths at the halfway point before winning by three.

Doug Rideout drove Cherokeewowowillie to a win in the third race and guided Cherokee Ranger to victory in the fourth. It was the fifth win in seven career starts for Cherokeewowowille and the first career win for Cherokee Ranger. Cherokee Ranger rallied to win over the last half mile.

“I have driven both horses before,” Rideout said. “Cherokeewowowillie is on a streak right now. Cherokee Ranger had got lots of speed, but has been having trouble with his mouth. He has been touchy, but seemed to be all right today.”

Jay Cross of rural Middlebury captured the seventh race with Wild In The Win. It was the second career win for the horse in a career-best time of 2:04.

“She ran well today,” Cross said. “She has been having problems making breaks and we were not sure why. We had her teeth worked on and that seemed to help.

“We have a dentist come in once or twice a year. There are certain teeth you have to pull and others you rasp down to keep them from getting sharp.”

The veteran driver has had his season slowed by an early injury.

“The second day of the fair season at Converse I had an accident and broke my leg,” Cross said. “It was the fibula so it wasn’t the big bone, but I didn’t drive for a week and lost some rides because of it.”

Cross doesn’t drive much at Hoosier Park in Anderson any more.

“I’m staying mostly on the fair circuit,” he said. “I’m old school. I like to teach horses how to race and that is done on the fair circuit. At Hoosier Park all they care about is going fast. They’re not concerned about teaching horses how to race.”

The best time of the day came in the final race as Mike Peterson guided JS Tango to a win in the Free For All Pace for Indiana Owned, Sired or Bred horses in a time of 2:00 3/5. The horse got out to a fast start covering the first quarter mile in 28 3/5, the half in 58 1/5 and 1:29 1/5 at the three-quarter mark.

“I’ve driven JS Tango before. In fact he won the Classic here at the fair last year,” Peterson said. “He’s a nice horse. I can’t take much credit for the win.”

The horse is owned by Jack and Sue Ann Myers of Bristol.

Peterson is a native of Ligonier and a graduate of West Noble High School.

“It’s special coming back here. This is like my home fair,” he said. “My dad trained here.”

Steve Cross was back as the track announcer on Monday. He called 11 of the 13 races on Saturday before having to leave to make it to Hoosier Park for the evening card.

“Steve is probably the premier harness racing announcer around,” Graber said.

Walter Haynes Jr. drove Earl’s Dreamofglory to a win in the first race. It was the fifth win of the season and 12th career win for the trotter.

The closest race of the day was the 6th. Rhi’s Western Star driven by Brandon Bates held off a late charge by Meadow Brook Deana driven by Adam Short. It was the first career win for Rhi’s Western Star in a time of 2:03.

 

Harness Racing Summary

Race One (Free For All Trot, Indiana Owned, Sired or Bred) — 1,  Earl’s Dreamofglory (Walter Haynes Jr.); 2, Moveman (Brandon Bates); 3, Who’s Your Pumpkin (Harley Yoder); 4, Velten San Siro (Lonnie Graber); 5, Romp-On-Over (Jay Cross). Winning time: 2:06 4/5. Purse: $1,500.

Race Two (2-year-old Colt Pace, 1st Division) — 1, That’s A Pretty Boy (Jeff Nisonger); 2, Endeavors Blastoff (Walter Haynes Jr.); 3, DR Snow (Brandon Bates); 4, Rockyroad Legacy (Greg Bateson); 5, Gear Upn Go Moe (Mike Peterson). Winning time: 2:04 4/5. Purse: $3,000.

Race Three (2-year-old Colt Pace, 2nd Division) — 1, Cherokeewowowillie (Doug Rideout); 2, Straight To Mexico (Jeff Nisonger); 3, Dabunka (Brandon Bates); 4, E R Oliver (Don Eash); 5, Eden Third Bill (Freeman Miller Jr.); 6, Ificanfly (Jay Cross). Winning time: 2:03. Purse: $3,000.

Race Four (2-year-old Colt Pace, 3rd Division) — 1, Cherokee Ranger (Doug Rideout); 2, Northern Virgin (Alvin Miller); 3, The Flight Rose (Jeff Nisonger); 4, Geared To Win (Don Eash); 5, Harley J (Jay Cross); 6, Nancyren (Brandon Bates). Winning time: 2:03. Purse: $3,000.

Race Five (2-year-old Colt Pace, 4th division) — 1, E R Michael (Don Eash); 2, Ollie Mccellen (Greg Bateson); 3, Dojea Ballcap (Matt Rheinheimer); 4, Cherokee Big Heart (Doug Rideout); 5, Smart Move (Jay Cross); 6, White Fish Flash (Brandon Bates). Winning time: 2:05 1/5. Purse: $3,000.

Race Six (2-year-old Filly Pace, 1st Division) — 1, Rhi’s Western Star (Brandon Bates); 2, Meadow Brook Deana (Adam Short); 3, Sand Stellar (Don Eash); 4, Hoosier Jamie (Alvin Miller); 5, Ificouldlfy (Jay Cross); 6, I Love The Flight (Mike Peterson). Winning time: 2:03. Purse: $3,000.

Race Seven (2-year-old Fill Pace) — 1, Wild In The Win (Jay Cross); 2, Million Grears (Steven Pletcher); 3, Virg Of Gold (Don Eash); 4, Fast Flight (Mike Peterson). Winning time: 2:04. Purse: $3,000.

Race Eight (2-year-old Filly Pace, 3rd Division) — 1, Skyway Tia (Don Eash); 2, Hoosiers Fantasy (Mike Peterson); 3, T C Scandal (Ronald Chapman); 4, Hawk’s EJ Delite (Jeff Nisonger); 5, Occupy The Track (Walter Haynes Jr.); 6, Youroldlov-eletter (Lonnie Graber). Winning time: 2:05 1/5. Purse: $3,000.

Race Nine (Free For All Pace, Indiana Owned, Sired or Bred) — 1, JS Tango (Mike Peterson); 2, She’s Only Coastin (Alex Udell); 3, Free To Scoot (Freeman Miller); 4, Sweetlittleheart (Jeff Nisonger); 5, Beer And Pretzel (Lonnie Graber); 6, My My Clint (Brandon Bates); 7, Rhi’s Scootn Rondo (Doug Rideout). Winning time: 2:00 3/5. Purse: $1,500.