The hoof prints of some of the greatest pacing stars are imprinted in the historic track at the Delaware County Fair Grounds, and this year will be no exception. The gates are open for this year’s Little Brown Jug week, and the excitement is rampant around the world and by the thousands of fans on hand for the ‘The Great American Harness Race’.
Photo Credit to Chris Tully

Now in its 77th year, the third leg of harness racing’s Triple Crown has spotlighted Pennsylvania stars, both human and equine. The sensational Bret Hanover made his mark in Jug history by pacing a scorching 1:57 after 24 hours of steady rain forced track maintenance to scrape the entire racing surface. Foaled at Hanover Shoe Farms out of Brenna Hanover by Tar Heel and sired by the dynamic Adios, the winner of harness racing’s Triple Crown was voted United States Horse of the Year three times. Winner of 62 of 68 starts, he is buried at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. A statue that had been at Castleton Farm now adorns his gravesite.

In the 2021 ‘Jug’, the thrilling stretch duel between Perfect Sting and Pennsylvania bred Lou’s Pearlman had fans cheering, hearts pounding, and holding their breath as the ‘Photo Finish’ sign was displayed. Then, it was official. Lou’s Pearlman, the son of Sweet Lou out of the broodmare Lucy’s Pearl, owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Elizabeth Novak, and Howard Taylor, and driven by Yannick Gingras, had won the 76th edition by a nose!

The connections crowded into the Winner’s Circle, and were overjoyed with the win. One year later, owner Mark Weaver looks back and is still enjoying the moment. “Winning the ‘Jug’ with Lou’s Pearlman was as good as it gets,” he said. “We own and raced his sire, own and raced his dam, and have all his younger siblings in the pipeline. It was a huge win for us!”

Photo Credit to Chris Tully

Capturing that moment in harness racing history and many others was photographer Chris Tully. He has been going to the ‘Jug’ since 1990 as a fan, and even experienced the thrill on the track, winning the Amateur Driving Trot in 1993 on Jugette Day. Now he is lucky to be capturing the excitement from behind his many cameras. “I’ve been photographing the ‘Jug’ for about 10 years, the last 4 for the Ohio Harness Horse Breeders. It is an exciting day of sport as one would find anywhere in the world!”

This year, too, the buzz is strong all over Pennsylvania again, as horses in the prestigious 77th Little Brown Jug, include Pennsylvania bred Fourever Boy (Sweet Lou – Macharoundtheclock – Mach Three) owned by Micki Rae Stables LLC and Timothy Twaddle. The bay colt is the pride of Tim Twaddle’s barn, and has had an exciting season. His journey this year has taken him from a win in the PA Sire Stakes at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in May; to the North America Cup; from the Meadowlands Pace to the Adios at his home track of the Meadows; from the Meadowlands for the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day; and back to Pocono for the Max Hempt Memorial Pace on Sun Stakes Saturday, this time with driver Dexter Dunn.

In the last leg of the PA Sire Stakes at the Meadows on Saturday, August 27th, Fourever Boy finished a strong 2nd in a first-over trip, digging in and closing on the winner and favorite Night Hawk, finishing just a head back. According to trainer Tim Twaddle, driver Dexter Dunn thought so much of the colt after driving him in the Max Hempt Memorial (August 20th), he compromised his travel to be able to drive in the PA Sire Stakes race. Following that race, Fourever Boy added a stellar win in the $253,000 PA Sire Stakes Championship at the Meadows on September 3rd, and a win in the Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park on September 10th.

Supplementing to the ‘Jug’ is the Adios winner Bythemissal (Downbytheseaside – Dismissal – Western Terror) owned by Burke Racing Stable; E. Good; Rich Lombardo; and Weaver Bruscemi. After a furious stretch duel with Beach Glass in the Max Hempt Memorial at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on August 20th, the gelding finished second by just a half-length to the colt by Somebeachsomewhere, and is primed and ready for his foes in the ‘Jug’.

With two eliminations and a super field in each, this year’s Little Brown Jug will definitely be a thrilling race. For the field, race information, live streaming, and changes, follow the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association on Facebook.

When the dust settles, and the tote board reads ‘Official’, another Little Brown Jug champion will be crowned and adorned with the roses, and the owner will hoist the trademark trophy high above their heads in celebration of the victory.

Cover photo credit to Chris Tully
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