Gordo in astonishing 1:57 at Bedford, PA Fair

11:32 AM 22 Jul 2014 NZST
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McArdle, harness racing
Son's of McArdle continue to win impressively

BEDFORD PA - The two-year-old pacer Gordo astonished the racing fans at the Bedford (PA) Fair on Monday afternoon when he scorched to a 1:57 victory in a Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes event, missing both the all-time Bedford track record and the national season's record for age, sex, and gait by only 2/5 of a second. Driver Steve Schoeffel sent Gordo right to the front and blitzed amazing fractions of 28.2, 58.2, and 1:26.2 en route to the sensational victory.

A son of McArdle out of the Blissful Hall mare Blissard Of Oz (who had had only one winner in four living foals pre-Gordo), the fast freshman was bred by Perretti Farms.

(As to whether this horse is named after Gordon Waterstone, the Hervey Award-winning journalist for the Horseman and Fair World magazine, there are only two possible clues: 1) being a Perretti-bred, he was likely named by Communicators Hall of Fame candidate Bob Marks, who often incorporated people's names into horses' names: an earlier foal of Blissard Of Oz was named Duke Of Pellington; 2) the pacer is a gelding.)

For driver Steve Schoeffel, the circuit's leading driver and trainer, it was his fifth visit to Victory Lane on the day (but first with a pacer; more on that later), all five of whom come from his own barn. His wife Kathy had her fourth winner of the day with Gordo, and co-owner Lander Stables LLC got their third.

The other two winners in the sections of the FSS two-year-old colt pace had a distinctly "hometown" flavor. In the first, R N Nate paced in 2:00.2, which would be a divisional track standard for about 30 minutes, for breeder-owner-trainer-driver Roger Hammer, perhaps the best-known citizen of Bedford in harness racing. And in the second, Sam Beegle, PHHA president and a state wrestling championship finalist when attending his native Bedford High School, paraded back Modern Yankee after a 2:01.3 triumph.

Two impressive freshman fillies paced home first in their Fair Sire Stakes cuts. Keystone I Wish was first up, and she went the first 2:00 mile of the local fair season when she won in even time for trainer/driver Todd Schadel. Her clocking shaved two seconds off the previous divisional track mark co-held by Keystone Trixie and Keystone Haden - a tribute to the Hempt Farms' "Keystones," which are still producing winners; Schadel is co-breeder of "Wish" with the Estate of George Hempt Trust. (And that is not to forget Keystone Famous, whose 1:56.3 here in 1986 is still the pacing record, though threatened by Gordo today.)

The other baby filly winner, Tropical Terror, kept her distinction intact: she has now won at all seven stops to date on the circuit, here in 2:02.1 for (driver Chris) Shaw / (trainer Jason) Shaw / and (owner and 2YO himself Mason) Shaw.

The Schoeffel barn sent out four of the five winners in Fair Sire Stakes freshman trotting competition, including the new track recordholder for 2TFs, Mooksie, who lowered the old mark 5 2/5 seconds with a 2:02.1 tally, over three seconds faster than any of her colt counterparts trotted today. Also a winner was Missive, in 2:05, for the same ownership as Gordo.

The Schoeffelites winning the colt events were Police Navidad, fastest of the victorious trio in 2:05.3, and the unusually-bred Shark Gesture trotter out of an Artsplace mare, Chiney Babco, who has now won six "on the trot," here in 2:07.2. Trainer-owner Boots Dunn and driver Chris Shaw sent out 2:06.3 winner King Karma to break up a total Schoeffel sweep.

Oh ... and the track was rated "slow" throughout the card.

FINISHING LINES-The first race of the day was a Quaker State trot, and the only two entrants were from the Syl King Stable, so it was not really shocking to see a final time of 2:27.4 - which by the way, grouped with Gordo's 1:57 mile to produce a 30 4/5 second variance from fastest to slowest mile on a card, was NOT a record for Western Pennsylvania - just about 29 years ago, Marauder won his heat of the 1985 Adios in 1:52.1, and then, when Nihilator did not return for the final, took the trophy by walking over in 2:27.4, for a 35 3/5 second variance!...

The three-year-olds take to the track at Bedford Tuesday at 11 a.m., and given the speed show put on by the babies, who knows how fast the sophomores will go?

From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

 

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