ATTRIBUTION — Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association, Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association partnership



PROSPECT PA – The 2024 Pennsylvania fair racing season started with a bang at the Big Butler Fair in this borough in the westcentral part of the state, as the all-age records for both the trot and the pace were broken in consecutive races, and then the newly-minted trot mark was tied just over an hour later.


All of the recordsetting action took place on Wednesday, the day reserved for Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes for three-year-olds, with the two-year-olds having seen their initial fair action the day before.


The first horse to make an alteration in the Butler annals was Internationalcraze, an International Moni gelding who toured the fairgrounds half-miler in 2:00, beating the all-age 2:01.1 former mark set in 2021 by a pair of sophomores, the male Killer Instinct and the female Who Made Who. Already a 1:54.2 winner at Pocono this year, Internationalcraze is trained and driven by Todd Schadel, who is co-owner with his wife Christine and Rick and Regina Beinhauer.


Officially 64 minutes after Internationalcraze’s win, the 2021 pattern of a male and a female both trotting Butler’s fastest time was duplicated by Loveyoubunches with a 2:00 time. A daughter of Fordham Road, who had toured Pocono 1:55.2 earlier this year,. Loveyoubunches has exactly the same Schadels-Beinhauers sponsorship as does Internationalcraze – quite an afternoon for that group.


In the race immediately after Internationalcraze’s win, the If I Can Dream pacing gelding Dry Ridge Erie, having hit the board in eight of his last nine starts without winning, made a breakthrough in the biggest way, recording a victory in 1:59, a time which reduced the all-age pacing mark, set by the filly Four Wide N’ Flyin last year, by a tick, while shaving two-fifths off the record for males also set last year, by Louie Hanover. Shawn Johnston guided Butler’s fastest-ever horse for trainer Gary Johnston and owner Randy Ringer.


A fourth 2:00 mile – giving one in each category of sophomores – was turned in by the Betting Line Showboat Hanover, winning in exactly 2:00 for trainer/driver Schadel, co-owner with Christine Schadel and Caitlin Solt.


And after yielding good weather for all those records, the skies opened up, raining out the last two Wednesday races.


During Tuesday’s action for two-year-olds, the very first race of the 2024 season yielded Butler’s fastest freshman clocking, from the Papi Rob Hanover – Well What’s New gelding Wheelhouse Hanover, who won in 2:03 for Todd Schadel, driver/trainer and co-owner with his son Cody.


Freshman trotting honors were landed by the Father Patrick – Munster gelding Munster Mash Trick, driven to a 2:05 win by Brady Brown for trainer Steve Schoeffel and the partnership of Kathy Schoeffel, Stephen Lander, Fred Dowling, and Maximus Melik.


From the above, it would not be hard to guess that Todd Schadel had taken the early lead among fair drivers and trainers, at Butler landing seven in each category; also off to good fair starts with three wins each were driver Aaron Johnston and trainer Steve Schoeffel.


And mention must be made of driver Chris Shaw, who was involved in a horrible racing accident in 2021 and did not drive in 2022 or 2023 while recuperating. He has been making a gradual comeback at The Meadows this year, and at Butler he brought home two winners – the first at Pennsylvania fairs for the former 100-wins-in-a-fair season driver since August 21, 2020 at Meyersdale.


The fair action now shifts to Stoneboro for a two-day meet on Saturday and Sunday, with a first post of 3 p.m. each day.


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