BLOOMSBURG PA – The Bloomsburg Fair, home to fast racing and traditionally the last stop on the Pennsylvania fair circuit, changed its format this year and raced the eight divisions of its time-honored Bloomsburg Stakes, worth some $45,000 in 2013, on the Friday of the fair’s opening, with hard work by the track crew restoring some jet to a surfaced dulled by elements the previous couple days.
Of the eight races, , still wearing his “neck”-lace 23 days after his auto accident coming home from the Indiana Fair, did not have a horse in the last race.
In another contest, he had two; bound by the rules to drive the one he owned, he saw his other trainee win.
A third event saw Hammer behind the leader until the far turn, where his horse skipped briefly but recovered for second. (The caretaker for that winner, by the way, a young Amish fellow, ironically also wore a neck brace – and then said “And I had mine before Hammer!”)
Roger drove the day’s other five winners ($15,352 in driver earnings on the afternoon), in all harnessed four ($11,554), and owned three ($8957, including a race where he owned or co-owned three of the four starters). Of the 35 “calls” (1/4, ½, ¾, stretch, and finish) of the septet of races he had an interest in, a Hammer horse led at 30 of those calls.
Pretty dominating day.
The fastest of the wins came in the card opener, behind a daughter of (who sired both 3P winners), Cebu Hanover, who seems to be learning to effectively use the speed she had always shown as she tallied for Team Hammer in 1:59. Owner Hammer’s other victories came with 3PC Camturo Beach in 2:00.1 and 2PC A OK Hanover in 2:00.2; he also got home a pair of (naturally owned-trained-homebred trotting) horses for , the 3C Classicality and the 2F Glide By Shooting, both in 2:04.
In between the blows from the Hammer, also gracing Victory Lane were 3TF Chrissy O, with the injured Amish groom (driver Marc Mosher, trainer Syl King Jr., 2:04.3); the Hammer trainee he didn’t drive, 2PF Witch N Famous (driver , 2:04); and 2TC Millertown Road (2:05.2), with trainer/announcer Jim McGettigan interviewing driver while posing for the photographer.
The Keystone fair season ends this coming Monday and Tuesday with the last chance for horses to earn enough points to ensure spots in the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship, to be held Saturday evening, October 5, at The Meadows. Sophomores face the starting gate at 10:30 a.m. Monday; freshmen will be on their way at the same time Tuesday.
(Piece of trivia: rapper M.C. Hammer, Stanley Burrell Jr., was given what would become his muscial moniker by baseball legend Reggie Jackson; young Hammer, a batboy for the Oakland A's, looked like "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron, and Reggie hung the appellation on him.)