GOSHEN — Two lines from Elton John’s legendary song “Candle in the Wind” define a young lady that was honored during the 11-card harness racing program Saturday at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.
The lines are “Your candle burned out long before. Your legend ever did.”
Those powerful words describe the legend and the legacy left behind by former Northridge High School teacher Crystal Brewster, who died Aug. 18, 2018, following a six-year battle with cancer.
She was the granddaughter of Elkhart County Fair harness racing fixture Harley Yoder. Brewster was honored Saturday as the blanket sponsor for the eighth race was the Crystal Brewster Memorial.
Harley Yoder, a member of the Indiana Harness Racing Hall of Fame, was recognized earlier in the day when the Harley J. Yoder Racing Stable was the blanket sponsor for the sixth race.
“This has been an emotional day. It means a lot to have the fair president and a number of fair board members come out here to honor both Crystal and my dad,” said Dewayne Yoder, Crystal’s father and Harley’s son. “Steve Cross (harness racing announcer) read a nice tribute to Crystal. You think you are ready for this, but you are never fully ready.”
Crystal was Harley’s oldest granddaughter and one of his biggest fans. Crystal attended harness racing at last year’s fair, not long before she passed away.
“Crystal loved the races. She was her last year even though she was super sick. She never let on how bad she was and I don’t think any of us realized,” her sister Cory Fry said. “She was grandpa’s biggest fan. She went to her first harness race when she was six weeks old and I don’t think she ever missed one of grandpa’s races.”
JESSE POPPER, driven by Alex Udell, won the Crystal Brewster Memorial Saturday. JESSE POPPER is owned and trained by Jack Myers of Bristol. Myers and Harley Yoder competed against each other for years at the fair.
Myers after the win presented the blanket to Crystal’s oldest daughter Anastasia.
“Anastasia may not realize it yet, but one day that blanket will mean a lot to her,” Fry added. “I have blankets that grandpa won and they mean a lot to me. When she gets older she will realize its value.”
Brewster was a longtime teacher at Northridge High School in Middlebury.
“I still have her former students come up to me and tell me about the impact she made in their lives,” Fry said. “She touched a lot of lives.”
Crystal’s husband Ken Brewster also teaches at Northridge.
“The school and the Middlebury community have been such huge supporters. I could not get through this without their support,” he said. “I try not to think about it other than trying to prepare for the milestones as they come along.”
Kelsey Wagner, one of Brewster’s former students, was at the track Saturday filling in at the harness races this year for Brooke (Harvell) Gabriele, who gave birth to her and her husband Marco’s second child a week ago. Wagner kept the race program going and was in charge of presenting the blankets to the winning owners.
Udell was the leading driver Saturday, taking first place in the second, fourth, fifth and eighth races. The only other driver with multiple wins Saturday was Joey Putnam in the third and 10th events.
Myers had an excellent day with four winners coming from the Jack Myers Racing Stable. In addition to JESSE POPPER in the eighth, J-S MISS CARLY captured the top spot in the second, J-Z JASPER in the fourth and J-S IVAN THE GREAT in the fifth.
Saturday’s card was delayed by one hour to give the crew time to work on the track conditions after overnight rains. That left some drivers pressed for time to make the trip to Hoosier Park in Anderson for a 7 p.m. first race.
Probably the driver who made the longest trip to race at the fair was Derek Hooley of Atlanta, Georgia. Hooley guided SUMMIT CITY SWAN to victory in the sixth race. The horse is owned by Summit Racing Acres of Fort Wayne and trained by Byron Hooley.
Jay Cross of Middlebury drove CELEBRATE WINNING to victory in the seventh race and former Goshen resident Don Each, now of Greenfield, guided ER SAM to a win in the 11th. ER SAM is owned by Eash Racing Stables, The 11th race was the Classic XXIX for three-year-old pacers with a purse of $12,500.
ER SAM finished in the day’s best time of 1:55 1/5 for the mile, which according to Cross is the fastest time turned in at the fair in a number of years. It was ER SAM’s fourth win of the season and 10th of his career. The colt’s career best time is 1:50 1/5.
The 10th race was the Classic XXIX for three-year-old pacers with a purse of $11,400. That race was won by TELLAWOMAN drive by Putnam.
Greg Keim can be reached at email@example.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 326. Follow Greg on Twitter @gkeim_TGN
Harness Racing Summary
Race One (2-year-old Filly Trot, 1st Division) — 1, MISS SMEAD (Don Eash); 2, J-S MISS RUBY (Alex Udell); 3, SLEEPING JUDY (Doug Rideout); 4, MEGABUCKS (Gerald Miller); 5, H-AND-N JEZEBEL (Joey Putnam); 6, GIRLS LIKE YOU (Matt Rheinheimer). Winning time: 2:05 2/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Lamar Stutzman family.
Race Two (2-year-old Filly Trot, 2md Division) — 1, J-S MISS CARLY (Alex Udell); 2, WHOM SHALL I LOVE (Don Eash); 3, NAMPARA (Doug Rideout); 4, Vel Princess (Jay Cross); 5, GOLDEN IMPULSE (Gerald Miller); 6, FINALTAB SWAN (Mike Peterson). Winning time: 2:04. 4/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Dr. Weldy’s Associates.
Race Three (2-year-old Colt Pace, 1st Division) — 1, POP SECRET (Joey Putnam); 2, EXCONVICT (Doug Rideout); 3, ONEMORESWAN (Don Eash); 4, SECRET FORMULA (John Kieninger Jr.); 5, JLCOMEON KETCHUP (Alex Udell). Winning time: 2:07 3/5. Purse: 3,000. Blanket sponsor: Advance Affiliates.
Race Four (2-year-old Colt Trot, 2nd Division) — 1, J-S JASPER (Alex Udell); 2, SWANCOOL TREAT (Doug Rideout); 3, TROTSTAR (Don Eash); 4, AMOS H JESSE (Mike Peterson); 5, JL CHOOCHOOTRAIN (Mike Rheinheimer); 6, JUSTDOITFORUS (Robert Wyman). Winning time: 2;11 1/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Paul and Kathy Webb.
Race Five (2-year-old Colt Trot, 3rd Division) — 1, J-S IVAN THE GREAT (Alex Udell); 2, QUAKER’S CREDIT (Doug Rideout); 3, BLUTO RIDGE (Don Eash); 4, INDIANCREEK BEE (Jay Cross); 5, ABC CHUCKIE (Robert Wyman). Winning time: 2:05 3/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Elkhart County 4-H Fair.
Race Six (3-year-old Filly Trot, at Division) — 1, SUMMIT CITY SWAN (Derek Hooley); 2, HOOSIER MACIE (Jay Cross); 3, floaturhope (Matt Rheinheimer); 4, J-S LOONEY TOON (Alex Udell); 5, MISS LEXIE (Joey Putnam); 6, ER SOPHIA (Alex Udell). Winning time: 2:02 1/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Harley J. Yoder Racing Stables.
Race Seven (3-year-old Fill Trot, 2nd Division) — 1, CELEBRATE WINNING (Jay Cross); 2, CHUCK N DIRT (Tim Roach); 3, DC LIZZY (Mike Peterson); 4, ER BETTY (Don Eash); 5, CHESTNUT ROSE (Driver Not Available); 6, GRACEFUL DANCER (Matt Rheinheimer). Wining time: 2:05. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Elkhart County 4-H Fair.
Race Eight (3-year-old Filly Trot, 1st Division — 1, JESSE POPPER (Alex Udell); 2, J-S SWANMAN (Mike Peterson); 3, GOLDEN WHEEL (Joey Putnam); 4, GO STRIKER (Don Eash); 5, TOWNLINE BLUE BOY (Gerald Miller); 6, PIGGIE POOH PINE (John Kieninger Jr.). Winning time: 2:01 3/5. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Crystal Brewer Memorial.
Race Nine (3-year-old Colt Trot, 2nd Division) — 1, SILVER STAR TITAN (Mike Peterson); 2, J-S POWER CHIP (Alex Udell); 3, KASHA’S BOY (Don Eash); 4, DANCE HALL BRAWLER (Joey Putnam); 5, JACKPOT Tim Roach); 6, PANTE VECCHIO). Winning time: 2:05. Purse: $3,000. Blanket sponsor: Loren A. Weaver, D.V.M.
Race Ten (3-year-old Filly Pace, Classic Pace XXIX) — 1, TELLAWOMAN (Joey Putnam); 2, ROCKINATTHERYYMAN (Don Eash); 3, SARAH’S LILLY (Mike Peterson); 4, TIMELESS VIRGIN (Freeman Miller Jr.); 5, J-S PERFECT CACHE (Alex Udell). Winning time: 1:57 2/5. Purse: $11,400. Blanket sponsor: Elkhart County Classic XXIX Filly Division.
Race Eleven (3-year-old Colt Pace, Classic Pace XXIX) — 1, ER SAM (Don Eash); 2, E MODE’S DESIRE (Mike Peterson); 3, ALWAYS A LAW (Freeman Miller Jr.); 4, SHOOT TO WIN (Jay Cross); 5, GERTIE’S GORDY (Matt Rheinheimer); 6, J-S ALLNITELONG (Alex Udell). Winning time: 1:55 1/5. Purse: $12,500. Blanket sponsor: Elkhart County Classic XXIX Colt Division.