David Brickell was all smiles in the barn Tuesday afternoon...and he had every reason to be.
At 64-years-old, Brickell has dedicated his life to harness racing and that passion paid off in a big way during Day One of action at the 150th Wayne County Fair.
He opened the festivities with a victory in the Judge Hames Rutherford Memorial Trot, just the first of what would be an eye-popping four wins on the 10-heat card.
“I had a good day, but winning that many times is mostly luck,” the affable Brickell told TWI Sports. “We definitely have a couple of good horses, but winning four times in eight or nine tries is just plain lucky.”
Dame Fortune continued to smile on Brickell during this particular day as he turned in one stellar driving performance after another.
In the day’s first race, Brickell piloted “Erin Kirsten” to the winners circle. This three-year-old bay filly covered the mile in a time of 2:06.4, outdistancing “Bloomfield Cantifly” (Wayne Long) and “Quantum Natasha” (Drew Chellis).
Brickell’s second victory of the afternoon came in the George Martin Memorial, a race reserved for three-year-old trotters. In this one, he drove “Radical Ridge” to the win in 2:04.
There wasn’t much turnaround time between the fourth and fifth races and Brickell was quickly back in the bike behind “Caribe” for the Al Perkins Memorial Pace. The man from Smicksburg bested a field that included “McRiddler” (Steven Gastelu) and “Laundress Hanover (Wayne Long), stopping the clock at 2:06.2.
Brickell’s final win of Day One came in the eighth race. He drove “Kaitlin Kir” to a snappy time of 2:04 in Heat One of the Bill Rossbach Memorial, an event open only to three-year-old filly pacers.
David Brickell started racing competitively when he was 18 under the tutelage of his Dad, Thurmond and his younger brother, Dean.
Dean Brickell was a schoolteacher who lived for the “big three” (June, July, August) and all the county fair racing that goes with those golden months.
While he worked for more than a quarter century at 84 Lumber, Brickell’s heart has always been in harness racing. By the time he was 30, David decided it was time to take the plunge and buy his own horse.
That first pacer/trotter was named “Lee’s Spitfire” and the Brickells purchased him for $800 at a sale in Brandywine. From there, the stable simply began to grow. David quips that Dean “does all the hard work” while he gets the fun of driving.
The brothers have been competing at the venerable Dyberry Oval since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Despite the long drive (Smicksburg is more than 250 miles or five hours away), David and Dean eagerly anticipate their annual pilgrimage.
“We love coming to the Wayne County Fair,” David said. “The people here are wonderful. They treat us great every time we’re here. This is just about the farthest we travel, but we always look forward to it.”
Brickell’s wife, Ronna, was also a big fan of the Wayne County Fair. Sadly, she succombed to a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) five years ago.
“We came here together and kind of fell in love with the place,” David said. “We just kept coming back as long as we could. They treated her great, too.”
David and Dean promised that they’d celebrate their big day for a little bit, but then tomorrow morning it’s right back to work. Wayne County is just one stop on the 2012 Fair Circuit, which runs deep into September.
The Brickells have two young horses that are already generating a buzz in the barns.
“DVC Jaded Attitude” is a precocious pacer and “BS Maximum Moondream” is a terrific trotter. The brothers affectionately refer to the latter as “Max,” a bay gelding that’s generated six wins in nine starts.
From Dyberry, the next stops on the PA Fair Circuit will be Washington and then Dayton.
“Dayton Fairgrounds are home for us,” David said. “We love traveling around and racing, but it will be nice to get back home, too.”