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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, Roger Hammer, 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 Somebeachsomewhere (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 Boots Dunn, 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 Brady Brown, 2:04); and 2TC Millertown Road (2:05.2), with trainer/announcer Jim McGettigan interviewing driver Bryce Truitt while posing for the photographer. FINISHING LINES 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.) Gerry Connors  

GRATZ PA - The Somebeachsomewhere sophomore pacing filly Keystone Wanda recorded the fastest time on the Pennsylvania fair circuit in over four years when she took a division of her Sire Stakes event at the Gratz Fair Monday in 1:55.4. Trainer Todd Schadel, also co-owner with Christine Schadel and co-breeder with the late George Hempt, sent Wanda right down the road on her "home track" (Todd trains at Gratz) through fractions of 28, 57.4, and 1:27.1, snapping home in 28.3 to knock off 2/5 of a second from Talk All Day's 2008 divisional mark. Keystone Wanda's mile was also the quickest on the local circuit since Lahaye's all-age track record mark at Gratz, 1:55.1, on July 12, 2009. Todd and Christine Schadel were the breeders of Classic Martine, who tied with Frau Blucher in the fastest-ever trotting dead-heat, 1:53.2, at The Meadows in a p/m Sire Stakes Championshp Friday night, and Todd must have though this deadheating business was fun, because 30 minutes later he guided the Real Artist gelding Plenty Of Spunk to finish on equal terms with the Western Terror gelding Jungle Of Terror in 1:58 in a cut of the Sires event for sophomore pacing colts. Plenty Of Spunk moved early and controlled the pace, while Jungle Of Terror moved past the half to stalk the leader, and the latter gained through the stretch against his stubborn foe to the point that the camera could not split them at the finish. Steve Schoeffel trains and drove Jungle Of Terror, the pointleader of all divisions with only Bloomsburg left, for Stephen Lander and Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel; Schadel trains and drove "Spunk," who reunites the partnership on 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, Schadel and Roger Hammer (that was eight years ago? wow!). "The Hammer" himself paraded back twice Monday with Boots Dunn owned-trained-bred horses: the Classic Photo gelding Classicality, who trotted his last ¾ in 1:28.1 to take the faster heat of the sophomore colt trot in 2:00.4; and also the fastest filly division with the Cantab Hall miss Lindyofalifetime in 2:02.4-30. Steve Schoeffel has been well in command of the tables in both driving and training wins seasonlong, both in the Sire Stakes and overall (including Quaker States and overnights), but the veteran Dunn has now tied him by harnessing 40 Fair Sire Stakes winners - again, with just one more meet to go. We should mention that Lindyofalifetime's division mate Monroe County yet again gave one of her distanced-after-an-early-break-to-crossing-the-wire first efforts, but this time she interfered with a rival while offstride and was placed out of the money. And what would a Keystone fair report be without McAlvin? The deadheat in the 3PC's other division may have stolen McAlvin's spotlight a bit, but the McArdle gelding evidently was in a hurry to end the day by storming home in 27.1 in the card's final race to complete a 1:58.3 win for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. However, like Keystone Wanda (she and McAlvin are the only multiple magic milers of the 2013 fairs here), McAlvin is still outside the Championship pointstandings - both will likely need wins at Bloomsburg and a defection or two of better-placed rivals to be at The Meadows on October 5 for the $200,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship Night. FINISHING LINES - This year the schedule for Bloomsburg will be different than the traditional one. All eight of the time-honored Bloomsburg Stakes will be raced during a special 2 p.m. card this Friday (declare in by 10 a.m. Wednesday), and the last Sire Stakes prelim events will face the gate on Monday (2YOs) and Tuesday (3YOs) at 10:30 a.m. - declare in for these races by Friday at 10 a.m. by Jerry Connors for PASS Fairs  

GRATZ PA - The freshman Glidemaster filly Glide By Shooting posted a 2:01.4 victory in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at the Gratz Fair Sunday, thereby reducing that local trotting divisional mark by 1 1/5 seconds, eclipsing the standard set by Classical Original ten years minus two days before. Roger Hammer, a visitor to Victory Lane three times Sunday, handled the fast miss for owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn, who also campaigned Glide By Shooting's mom, 2006 Fair Champion She'sfastandfurious. 15 minutes earlier Hammer and Dunn had combined to take another division of the event with the Tom Ridge filly Bella Palazzo in 2:04.3. Bella Palazzo, a nine-time fair winner with the last eight in succession, assured herself a tie as division points champion... ...with the Equinox Bi miss Bessie, herself home first eight times over the twicearounds, winning this time in 2:03.2 for owner/trainer/driver Dave Brickell to keep Bella Palazzo's lead at 63-58 with one stop and its 5 points for win at least mathematically in the frame. This trio seems the class of their group right now - they won by a combined 27 ¼ lengths. For the second time in six days driver Steve Schoeffel combined with trainer Bill Daugherty Jr. and owner Susan Daugherty to take two cuts of the three-year-old colt trot, and with the same horses: the Cantab Hall gelding Fly Past Hanover and the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm. Also appearing to be in the thick of this section is the Oh So White gelding Whitey Lauxmont (owner/trainer/driver Brickell), who started at the fairs with eight straight wins, made breaks in the next two races, but then rebounded yesterday to win the fastest cut in 2:05. The Yankee Cruiser pacing colt A OK Hanover, Hammer-owned-trained-driven, remained undefeated in six starts at the fairs by winning the fastest section of his freshman event in 2:00.3. Last week A OK set the pace, then held off a furious late rush from previously-fair-unbeaten El Chivato; this week El Chivato attacked early from his outside draw, but Hammer kept him out on the limb throughout, and as the place slackened late this week it TSM Wulfi T narrowing in but not quite getting there against the double track recordholder. (Ironically, though, even if A OK would win at Bloomsburg a week from today, he still would have only 35 points - wth nine horses ahead of him for the eight-horse final, and another two within two points of that fugure.) La Fiesta, the first freshman to clinch her title, paced the fastest mile of the day, 2:00.2, the Western Terror miss going right down the road for Team Shaw (driver Chris, trainer Jason, and owner Mason. FINISHING LINES Three-year-olds take to the Gratz track today, starting at 11:30 a.m....Glide By Shooting and La Fiesta posted season's records for the PA fair circuit with their Sunday triumphs ... And it should be noted that the consistent trotting colt Mr Weaver, though not a winner Sunday, also clinched his divisional pointtotal with his crossing under the wire third. Jerry Connors | Director of Sire Stakes and Harness Breeders Fund  

YORK PA - In a battle of unbeatens, usually something has to give. Not much gave in a division of the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes for pacing colts during a day devoted to freshmen at the York County Fair, as A OK Hanover, now undefeated in five starts on the circuit, edged out El Chivato, who had been 5-for-5 on the local circuit, by a nose in 2:02.1. A Yankee Cruiser colt, A OK Hanover and owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer hung up very fast fractions while El Chivato raced midpack, being six lengths to the good at the 3/4s - but here came El Chivato, eating up ground rapidly for driver Chris Shaw. The margin shrank with every step of the stretch drive, but on the money "A OK" held off his hard-charging foe by the slimmest of margins. Both stamped themselves as major factors for their Championship Final at The Meadows on October 5 - If they qualify for the final, as both have spent a good bit of time at the raceways, including Stallion Series action. El Chivato is currently 8 points adrift of the eighth and last qualifying pointtotal, "A OK" 12 - both are likely to need "5-point" (winning) performances at Gratz and Bloomsburg, the last two stops on the fair circuit, and the defection of a couple of rivals, to make the Championship. It would be surprising if Fly Past Hanover or Broadway Charm missed their Championship, as they added to their point accumulation by taking two of the three divisions of the Ralph Jones Memorial Trot for males, a race named after the late legend and benefactor of local fair racing. Fly Past Hanover, a gelded son of Cantab Hall, missed the divisional track record a fifth by posting a 2:04 score, while the Broadway Hall gelding Broadway Charm won in 2:05, the team taking the Daily Double by a near combined 25 lengths for driver Steve Schoeffel, trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., and owner Susan Daugherty. Schoeffel in all had five wins on the day to solidify his spot atop the fair colony driver standings. The Team Shaw pacing filly La Fiesta became the first fair horse to clinch her divisional pointtotal championship when she finished second after a hard first-over trip to Bellas Quik, having amassed 61 points to 49 for nearest rivals Ardelle and Hopeful Trust with, as mentioned, just two stops and 10 points to go at the 2013 PA fairs. FINISHING LINES - The three-year-olds are featured at York today, with first post at 10:30 a.m. ... As alluded to above, here's the rest of the PA fair schedule for this year: this coming Sunday and Monday at 11:30 a.m., and then three days of racing at Bloomsburg: a rescheduling of all eight Bloomsburg Stakes to the Friday before the main racing week, September 20, at 2 p.m., and then the final Sire Stakes preliminary opportunity of the year on Monday and Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. by Jerry Connors for PAFSS

PORT ROYAL PA - Pennsylvania-sired three-year-olds were spotlighted Wednesday on a beautiful day at the Juniata County Fairgrounds in Port Royal PA. Monroe County, who has set two all-age track records and two other divisional track records this summer at the local fairs, bounced back to form from the trailing post seven to post a 2:03.4 win in her division of the filly trot, by over two seconds the fastest Sire Stakes mile of the day on the diamond gait. In doing so, the Glidemaster filly ended the 6-6 fair run of Homepage, who finished second, for driver Aaron Johnston and trainer John McMullen Jr ., the latter co-owner with Michelle McMullen (all doublers on the day). The redoubtable Roger Hammer took three races with horses he owns, trains, and drove, including two cuts of the 3PC races. The faster was the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Camturo Beach, now 8-6-2-0 at the PA twicearounds after the speediest mile of the day, 2:02.2; the other was the homebred Nuclear Breeze gelding Falcon's Breeze, who despite being last year's leading pointleader was winning only for the first time at the fairs this year when, undoubtedly relishing the scratch of the thunderous McAlvin, he tallied in 2:05.1, with a 29.1 kicker. (Hammer's ol' wrestling buddy from their Bedford-area high school days, Sam Beegle, won the other glamor division event with newcomer Nittany Nation in 2:03.2.) Have More Wine drew the inside of the field of four and Keystone Wanda, second-fastest fair Sires performer of the year (1:57.2, behind McAlvin's twin 1:57s), drew the outside - and that may have made the difference in the quickest 3PF division, with the Western Terror filly Have More Wine victorious for the seventh time at the fairs, here in 2:03-29.2 for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel (three wins in the sulky and two as a coniditioner) and owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel, James Reuther, and James Nelson. The Port Royal racing began on Tuesday night with contests for two-year-olds. Unfortunately, the times for the freshman heats had to be voided (NTR). The Port Royal oval is known as Port Royal Speedway, home to good local car racing, 363 days of the year, and is less than a half-mile in circumference; after harness rainouts in 2011 and 2012, the old marks for precise placements of the start/finish and other "quarter poles" were no longer in place, and a small miscalculation when setting up for Tuesday resulted in time quicker than expected; when the track was remeasured and set to rights for Wednesday's card, it was decided in total overall fairness to disallow the Tuesday times. While there may be no chronological basis for measure, the mind against the memory still produces strong impressions of special victories, and among Tuesday's from this corner's perspective were: --The Boots Dunn bred/owned/trained pair of 2TFs, Bella Palazzo and especially Glide By Shooting. Both were driven by Brian Zendt; before the races Brian, brother Phil, father Bill, and grandfather/patriarch Wilbur, who hails from Juniata County, were honored in impressive trackside ceremonies. --2PC El Chivato, now 5 for 5 at the fairs, and his filly counterpart Southern Sweetie, who controlled the throttle and won in hand to run her lifetime record to 5-3-2-0. FINISHING LINES - They'll draw Sunday for Monday (2YOs) and Tuesday (3YOs) racing at the York Fair, third-to-last stop on this year's circuit, with action both days starting at 10:30 am. by Jerry Connors  

STONEBORO PA – Roger Hammer, in a traffic accident Wednesday and released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, added on six winners during the three-year-old action at the Great Stoneboro Fair Saturday to the triple he posted Friday, leaving him and his neck/body brace to drive back home to Bedford with nine wins during the two-day meet. But Hammer would be the first to agree that the biggest story Saturday was McAlvin, a McArdle pacing gelding who posted the fastest time ever at the Stoneboro half-miler when he won a division of the Sire Stakes in 1:57, knocking 2/5 off a second off the 11-year-old mark of J T Arturo (and no points for guessing who drove J T Arturo on his record day). McAlvin also equaled the fastest mile of the Keystone fair year (his own, at Gratz), and now has 4 magic miles (including the 1:58.2 all-age record at Meadville) in his undefeated five-race campaign at the fairs in 2013. McArdle and his connections – driver Chris Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky – now must focus on making the Fair Championship: with four stops on the circuit left, McAlvin is presently nine points short of the last qualifying spot, and 14 horses are ahead of him in the standings. The other two divisions of the sophomore colt pace were won by Roger Hammer-owned, -trained, and –driven horses: Camturo Beach (2:01) and Enjoy The Ride (2:02.2). Among the pacing fillies, early-season sensation She’salilfireball turned the tables from Wednesday’s 1-2 finish at Wattsburg when she defeated In A Better Place, the leading pointwinner among all fair campaigners, in 2:01. Both horses started along the inside, but In A Better Place did not live up to her name when she drew post five on the 4-wide track, and that might have factored in the victory for the “Fireball,” a daughter of Allamerican Native, driver Aaron Johnston, and owner-trainer Bob Grover. On the trotting side, Hammer and owner-trainer-breeder Boots Dunn won two of three divisions in the Sires events for both sexes. The SJ’s Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty, now undefeated in eight fair starts, was the fastest of the quartet in 2:02.4; he was joined on the male side by Classicality (2:04.2). The filly winners for the “golden oldies” were Lindyofalifetime (2:03.3) and Boo’s Party Girl (2:04). FINISHING LINES – Stoneboro’s racing ended fair action in the western part of the state for the year (excepting the $200,000 Fair Championship Night at The Meadows on Saturday evening, October 5); they draw tomorrow for Tuesday twilight and Wednesday afternoon action at Port Royal, and will then visit York, Gratz, and Bloomsburg to conclude the twicearound year … At Port Royal on Tuesday, there will be a ceremony honoring the Zendt Family, including localite and patriarch Wilbur Zendt, before the 4:30 scheduled start … And for those keeping score, Hammer’s sulky tally for Stoneboro was 19-9-4-1-.608. by Jerry Connors  

STONEBORO PA – Research has now shown that Roger Hammer is made of the same materials as are used to build airplane data recorders. Less than 24 hours after a brief hospital stay which resulted from a Wednesday morning traffic accident, The Hammer was parading back to the Great Stoneboro Fair winners circle with the fastest two-year-old in the history of the northwest Pennsylvania oval. The colt’s name? A OK Hanover. (I’m not clever enough to make that kind of name up.) A OK Hanover’s victory was not unexpected – the Yankee Cruiser colt was undefeated in three previous fair starts, and his next race is in the $40,000 Stallion Series Championship next Friday at Pocono after amassing the series prelims’ third-highest pointtotal – but the 2:00.4 time, bettering by a tick the old mark set five years minus one day earlier by Stately Art, was just an exclamation point punctuating the chaotic-but-ultimately-triumphant last few days of Hammer, an 8-time North American UDR champion. In all, Hammer won three times on the card, and posted a .514 UDR for the day – not bad for somebody who drove into the fairgrounds wearing a neck and upper back brace. Both records for two-year-old pacers fell during this day of freshman action at Stoneboro, as 30 minutes later the Dragon Again filly TSM Maija Star teamed with hot-driving Todd Cummings to win a Sire Stakes cut in 2:01.4, again knocking a fifth off the existing mark, this one set by Argument Hanover two years ago. Bob Krenitsky Jr., also on a tear as of late, conditions the new standardholder for owner/breeder Ted Tomson. On the trotting side, Whitey Lauxmont ran his fair record to 8 for 8 by winning the fastest division of the 2TC in 2:05.4.The Oh So White gelding is owned, trained, and driven by Dave Brickell. There are many other storylines that could be written about from this sprawling 18-race card at Stoneboro, but it probably was the improbable comeback of Roger Hammer that had the most people shaking their heads. Even if Hammer couldn’t. FINISHING LINES – Some more great PA Fairs action is set for Saturday at 10am, with most of the circuit’s top three-year-olds slated to go behind the gate on a 16-race card. by Jerry Connors

According to sources, Roger Hammer began experiencing pain last evening. After initially refusing treatment at the scene, he later went to his local hospital that evening. It was then discovered that he had sustained neck injures. As of 12:00 noon Thursday, he remained hospitalized but was expecting to be released later today. Passenger Vickie Mock was treated and released yesterday with broken ribs. Only one horse out of six in his Eby Trailer suffered a minor cut. All others were uninjured.   Submitted by PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

WATTSBURG PA - Pennsylvania fair action for three-year-olds was scheduled for both Indiana and Wattsburg yesterday, but with hard rain rendering the Indiana oval unusable, the spotlight shifted to Wattsburg ... where a 25-year-old ghost had quite a few anxious moments. In 1988, the three-year-old gelding Smokey Crown, driven by David Brocklehurst, traversed the Wattsburg track in 2:04 - an all-age track trotting mark that has withstood the test of time, even though yesterday the SJ's Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty gave it a good scare before finally fixing the timer at 2:04.2, almost assuredly the second-fastest trot ever at Wattsburg. Fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3, and 1:31.2 were put up over a track a bit short of peak speed, and Ruddy Rusty finished gallantly for driver Chris Shaw but came up just short of the Smokey Crown mark (the two trotters are not dissimilarly bred - go back a few generations and there's plenty of Star's Pride and Volomite in their pedigrees). With the win for Shaw and doubling owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn, Ruddy Rusty is now perfect in 7 fair starts (and he is "on the bubble" for the Stallion Series Championship next week at Pocono). Ruddy Rusty just missed the track trotting mark; the sophomore pacing filly who did set an all-age standard for her gait of 2:00.3 here in June, defending Fair Champ She'salilfireball, returned to the scene of her earlier triumph on Wednesday. But she ran into the fair circuit's most in-form horse and had to settle for second behind the Christian Cullen miss In A Better Place, who leads all categories on the twicearound circuit with nine wins (13-9-3-1 overall) and 60 points. In A Better Place was one of three wins on the day for young Chris Shaw, and the fast filly is trained by his brother Jason for owner Amanda Beinhauer. While the defending pacing filly champ couldn't win on Wednesday, the defending colt champ did, as Mein Schatz, a Real Desire gelding, took his Sire Stakes cut in 2:07.1 for driver Aaron Johnston (2x), trainer Aaron Johnston, and owner James Biego. But the sophomore colt most had their eyes on was McAlvin in the day's last race - the McArdle gelding had broken 2:00 in all three of his previous fair starts, giving him 30% of the circuit's magic miles. On this day, McAlvin faced three foes who were a collective 0-for-30-for-2013, so he needed only 2:04.1 to be in control for driver Shaw, trainer Bob Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Neither the In A Better Place-She'salilfireball duel nor the appearance of McAlvin yielded the fastest mile of the day, however - that honor fell to Naked At The Beach, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere who is herself 8-5-3-0 at the fairs this year. She won in 2:03.2 for Ohio visitor Crist Hershberger, who doubled, trainer Dan Walski, and owner Howard Millhime. FINISHING LINES - Dave Brickell had four wins on the day, Chris Shaw three; their totals were reversed on Tuesday, so they tied for Wattsburg's winningest driver at seven, as Todd Cummings, who won six on Tuesday, did not compete Wednesday ... The draw will shortly be posted for the Friday-Saturday action at the Great Stoneboro Fair, with post time both days at 10 am. by Jerry Connors  

Roger Hammer, the longtime "King of the Fairs" in Pennsylvania and a Hambletonian Champion with Vivid Photo, avoided serious injury after being involved in a traffic accident on his way to the Indiana (PA) Fair. Hammer was near Ebensburg, PA when he received a phone call that the day's races at Indiana were canceled. Shortly after turning around and heading to his home training center in Bedford, PA, Hammer's truck and trailer were struck by a tanker truck. A report from the scene said that the truck was totaled, and the trailer, containing six horses, may have tipped. One horse had a minor cut, the rest were uninjured. Horseman Todd Schadel, Hammer's partner on Vivid Photo, arrived later on the scene and transported the horses back to Bedford, along with Vicki Fair. Fair, who owns horses with Hammer, was also in the truck but was uninjured. Vickie Mock, a caretaker for the Hammer Stable, was the third passenger. She was taken to a local hospital with possible broken ribs. Hammer refused treatment at the scene. by the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

MEADVILLE PA - When the Crawford County (PA) Fair advertises "First race 12:30 p.m.," you'll want to be in your seat by then - otherwise, on the last two days of racing at the Meadville oval, you would have missed the all-age track records for both trotters and pacers. On Wednesday, Classicality trotted the fastest mile ever at Meadville, 2:01, in the day's first race, and yesterday (Thursday), a day featuring sophomore pacers, McAlvin closed out the four-day stand by opening the card with a triumph in 1:58.1 - the fastest mile ever at the northwest Pennsylvania fair oval, lowering by 3/5 Lahaye's former mark. McAlvin's victory was not a surprise - he's started at the fairs three times, and he's won all three in three of the four fastest PA fairs clockings of the year. The McArdle gelding certainly added to his burgeoning reputation Thursday, defeating divisional pointsleader Skyline's Finale for driver Chris Shaw (more on him in a bit), trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Another divisional track mark was broken - or should we say rebroken? - when the Allamerican Native filly She'salilfireball, defending Fair Champion in this class, burned around Meadville in 2:01.1 for driver Aaron Johnston and trainer/owner Bob Grover. The previous mark of 2:01.3 was set on June 23 of this year - by none other than She'salilfireball! In another division of the 3PF event, In A Better Place became the first horse to record eight victories on the PA twicearound trail this year, with a 29.1 last quarter at the end of a 2:03.1 mile. Chris Shaw, completing his sulky brace, handled the daughter of Christian Cullen for brother/trainer Jason and owner Amanda Beinhauer. In A Better Place also now has 55 points in the season-long standings, one more than her colt counterpart Skylite's Finale. The Meadville track crew should be commended for their fine work over the four days, as no fewer than seven divisional standards were broken or tied, including the clocking of the fastest miles ever on the trot and pace; add these to the two records set during the earlier 2-day meet, including Monroe County's then-tying of the trot mark, and you had nine rewritings in the Meadville record book! And to close, the opening remark about "being there for the start of the racing" is even truer than you may think - Classicality, McAlvin, and She'salilfireball all set their records in the first division of their contests, and five of the nine Meadville marks were accomplished in the opening division of a stake. This of course is no surprise in general Pennsylvania terms, where an astounding 13 of 22 (59%) divisional marks inscribed this season have come in the first division of events that have averaged 3.01 divisions per overall stake (an expected 33%)! FINISHING LINES - Sires Allamerican Native and Somebeachsomwehere had doubles, as did owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer ... We'll mention the name of Hammer's second winner, who took her career bow, as some solace to Bob Heyden and the fans of Da Bronx Bombahs - she's called The Yankees Win ... The PA fair schedule goes on double duty this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, with action at both Indiana and Wattsburg - which will be honored as the USTA's Blue Ribbon Fair during their meet. by Jerry Connors  

MEADVILLE PA - What would your description of "a dream day" be for you? For a horseman, it might be something like "winning half the races on the card with trotters I train, I own, and I bred - and one of them set the all-age track record, right here, at my home track." That was the dream day of Walter "Boots" Dunn, Wednesday at the Crawford County Fair, when Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes sophomore diamondgaiters were featured. Dunn, 83 years young of mind (though his body occasionally tries to betray him), got the ball rolling in the very first event, when Classicality scorched the northwest Pennsylvania twicearound in 2:01, knocking a full 8 ticks from the all-age mark set by three horses - males Williewon'the twenty years ago and Redder Than Red last year, and filly Monroe County in June. Driver by Roger Hammer, the gelded son of Classic Photo, a Stallion Series winner this year, is out of Penn Worthy Lane, and thus a full brother to $100,000+ winner Linus B Worthy. Dunn/Hammer then swept the early Double with Ruddy Rusty, an altered son of SJ's Caviar and Chaka Khan, and thus a full brother to S J Better Days, who had rewritten his own OTH Meadvile standard to 2:03.1 just the day before, and Redder Than Red, who had been co-fastest trotter ever at Meadville until 15 minutes previously. "Rusty," also a 2013 Stallion Series winner, is now undefeated in six fair miles after a 2:04 score. Before leaving the colts, mention should be made of the Supernatural gelding Prince Lauxmont, who had been unbeaten in five fair starts before a third last week, but who bounced back for trainer/driver Wayne Long, also co-owner with Joyce Lineweaver, in 2:02.3 (which, alert readers may note, would have given him a share of the all-time Meadville trot standard but for Classicality's first race heroics). The other half of Dunn's four-bagger consisted of Bellagio Bay (Tom Ridge-Bellissimo, and thus a full sister to Monday 2TF winner Bella Palazzo) in 2:04.2, fastest of the distaff Sire Stakes miles, with Brady Brown had the winning steer here as Hammer was finishing second with his own Solicitation, and Boo's Party Girl (driver Hammer), whom Dunn dropped into the Quaker State stake because he had a filly in each of the three Sire Stakes cuts - even though Boo's Party Girl is third in the Sire Stakes standings. 9-0-4-3 in the Fair Sires, Boo's Party Girl, by Yankee Glide, broke her maiden in 2:04.3. Hammer also completed a sulky four-bagger when he guided Witch N Famous, a filly he trains, to her maiden win in a conditioned pace. FINISHING LINES - Doubles on the card went to trainer/driver Wayne Long and sires Classic Photo and SJ's Caviar ... The glamor division, three-year-old pacing colts, are set for their day in the sun today as the meet features the last of its four cards starting at 12:30 p.m. by Jerry Connors  

MEADVILLE PA - Tuesday, August 20, 2002 was a good day to set a track record at the Crawford County (PA) Fair. So too was Tuesday, August 20, 2013. With two-year-old pacers featured during the second of four days of harness racing at the Meadville oval, the track recordbook for both colts and fillies - both first reinscribed on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - were both altered yesterday, exactly 11 years to the day later. Owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer lowered the previous colt record of 2:01.4 (Love Of Art, 8-20-02) to 2:00.1 with A OK Hanover, an entire by Yankee Cruiser (two siring credits on the day) who has already earned himself a spot in the state Stallion Series Championship. "A OK" is undefeated in two outings at the fairs, and with some late-season starts he also may be present in the Fair Championship for his group at The Meadows on October 5. Two opponents who may be waiting for him near Pittsburgh are Mister Chaos, an Art Official colt now 4 for 4 since trainer Bob Rougeaux III teamed up with driver Chris Shaw; and McArtic Ocean (Mc Ardle gelding, driver-owner Aaron Johnston), who has yet to taste defeat after five trips behind the fair circuit starting gate. The other mark, the 2:03.1 for fillies, was first recorded by My Gal Phyl on the 8-20-02 magic date, later equaled by Ellen Hanover on 8-24-04, and then tied again yesterday by Southern Sweetie, part of a siring triple for Real Desire, who ran her career record to 3-2-1-0 for driver Wayne Long and trainer/owner Rich Gillock. A third track record was rung up in the day's last race, but it had the audacity to have been set on a July 21 - specifically, one day short of one year ago, as the SJ's Caviar 5YO gelding S J Better Days lowered his own division mark 2/5 of a second to 2:03.1 in the FFA trot for driver Roger Hammer. Boots Dunn, in front of the hometown fans, enjoyed the win as owner, trainer - and breeder; his mare Chaka Khan, has produced five fair track records through her offspring "S J" and Redder Than Red, and her 2YO Ruddy Rusty is on the bubble for the Stallion Series Championship. And her fifth dam is Delicious - the mother of Delmonica Hanover! Pretty strong background in the land of Delvin, indeed. FINISHING LINES - The three track records Tuesday gives Meadville four through its first two fair days, and six if you include the 2-day meet earlier this year ... with more in the crosshairs as three-year-olds race the next two days in the Sire Stakes, trotters today and pacers tomorrow ... Aside from the siring credits and Hammer's implied double above, multiple winners were drivers Todd Cummings (three on the day, including both Quaker State 2Ps), Wayne Long and Chris Shaw (two each). by Jerry Connors  

MEADVILLE PA - The pride of this northwestern Pennsylvania town, Walter "Boots" Dunn, saw his filly Glide By Shooting rewrite the Crawford County Fair standard for two-year-old trotting misses when she won a division of the state Fair Sire Stakes during the first of four days of action on Monday. A daughter of Glidemaster, Glide By Shooting glided around the Meadville oval for driver Roger Hammer in 2:05.3 to reduce the 2:07.1 mark held by Desired Romance, set two years ago. Glide By Shooting really is a Dunn production - she is owned and trained by Dunn, and bred by Boots, too, out of She'sfastandfurious, who won the 2006 Fair Championship - something her daughter has a chance to do in emulation of her mother this October 5 at The Meadows. And if Glide By Shooting hadn't broken this track record for Hammer/Dunn, 15 minutes later Bella Palazzo would have. Coming off rewriting the division standard at Washington last Monday, the Tom Ridge filly overcame the trailing post seven in notching a 2:07 score. Bella Palazzo's mom, Bellissimo, was no slouch herself, winning three pari-mutuel Sire Stakes at two. The track record and Dunn victories may have overshadowed the winner of today's other filly division, but Bessie now has on her card six straight fair wins, including five in the Fair Sire Stakes, and six overall fair wins in the Sire Stakes after trotting home in 30 to complete a 2:07.2 package (note: just 1/5 off the old Meadville mark). David Brickell owns, trains, and drives the Equinox Bi filly. Flynn Rider moved up to second in the 2TC pointstandings with a 2:08.1 victory in the meet opener (the divisional leader, Mr Weaver, was third in this race). Flynn Rider was not hindered by the outside slot in the field of five as the gelding won for driver Winston Lineweaver and trainer Eileen Lineweaver, the latter co-owner with Neal Racing Stable LLC. A quarter-hour later sire Lear Jetta completed a "sweep of the Daily Double" when the other colt division was taken by Rudi's Jet in 2:09.4. The "Jet" has now soared to a 5-3-2-0 fair tally for trainer Al Manke and driver Marty Wollam, the latter co-owner with Hans Bachmann. Speaking of sweeps, the blue and yellow of Team Schoeffel took both halves to the FFA pace, with Chrome Over and with Keystone Royce in the day's fastest mile, 2:02.4 (28.1 last quarter). Steve trains both winners and mom Virginia owns a piece of both with various partners; Steve drove Keystone Royce, while Brady Brown guided Chrome Over. by Jerry Connors  

HARRISBURG PA -- It's really hard to believe that the Pennsylvania Fair racing circuit is deep on the third turn and heading into the backstretch the final time, but with 13 of 21 fair sessions completed, we are that far into the season, and this may be a good time to look at the leaders at this point of the circuit's racing. HORSEMEN - Youthful veteran Steve Schoeffel, buoyed by a red-hot start to the season, has been in front at every position so far. For all fair races, Schoeffel has driven 61 winners and conditioned 43 horses parading back to Victory Lane; even in the subdivision of "Sire Stakes races only," Schoeffel has 48 wins as a driver and 37 as a trainer. The competition behind the frontrunner, though, is thick and heated. Here are the Top Ten horsemen by victories in all PA fair races, in both the training and driving columns: DRIVER TRAINER Steve Schoeffel 61 Steve Schoeffel 43 Dave Brickell 32 Mike Gillock 20 Aaron Johnston (tie) 27 Dave Brickell (tie) 19 Chris Shaw (tie) 27 Syl King Jr (tie) 19 Roger Hammer 23 Jason Shaw 17 Marc Mosher 19 Boots Dunn 15 Wayne Long 13 Bob Krenitsky Jr (tie) 13 James Dodson 12 John McMullen Jr (tie) 13 Brady Brown (tie) 11 Roger Hammer 12 Cody Kreiser (tie) 11 Eileen Lineweaver (tie) 11 Wilbur Yoder (tie) 11 Wayne Long (tie) 11 HORSES - We will look at two hallmarks of equine performance here: speed and consistency. In the speed department, the "ladies" have done more than their share of the heavy lifting to date, as the three all-time track records broken or equaled were by sophomore distaffs: trotter Monroe County (2:02.3 at Meadville and 2:00.1 at Washington) and pacer She'salilfireball (2:00.3 at Wattsburg). These two also have six of the 15 divisional track records established so far, and in general the score on divisional records at this point in 2013 is Girls 12, Boys 3. There have been nine miles in 2:00 or better to date, all by sophomore pacers, with gelding McAlvin (the season's fastest of 1:57 at Gratz) and filly Keystone Wanda being the only two with two "magic miles" on their cards. The horses earn their way into their respective Fair Championships by accumulating points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale based on finish (a rainout counts for 3 points). Here's the top five by division, with horses tallying five or more winners also noted (as is the fair "season's leader") : 2TC - Mr Weaver 44, Whitey Lauxmont 36 (and undefeated in six fair starts), Broadway Charm, Fly Past Hanover, and Flynn Rider all tied with 33. Ruiz, Gratz and Clearfield, 2:04.2. 2TF - Fashion Entre 37 (though still a maiden!), Bessie 34 (five wins, including a current four-race skein), Bella Palazzo 33, Cantabs Lightning 27, and Candyandcaviar and She Nuit tied at 25. Bella Palazzo, Washington, 2:04.4. 2PC - Heat Of A Dragon 38, Spot Lauxmont 35, Mister Chaos and Waitingforthisone 33, Bosh Hanover and (don't say this fast) TSM Wulf Poof Toof 31. (McArtic Ocean is unbeaten in four fair outings.) Spy The Lie, Meadville, and Waitingforthisone, Hughesville, 2:02.1. 2PF - La Fiesta 44, Hopeful Trust 42 (5 wins), those two giving the Shaw stable a 1-2 punch, followed by Ardelle 33 and La Soraya and Striling Caprice locked at 31. La Fiesta and 2TC Mr Weaver have the highest freshman pointtotals at 44 each. TSM Maija Star, Washington, 2:02.1. 3TC - Roe Is Me 45 (winning his first 5 fair starts), BSMaximumMonndream 44, Luke Icewalker 40 (and 5 wins), Montour County 39, Southwind Glider 34. Prince Lauxmont won his first five fair starts, but finally lost at Dayton on Thursday. (It should be noted that the 2YOs have been rained out twice, the 3YOs but once.) Roe Is Me, Gratz, 2:01.3. 3TF -- Monroe County 45 (her 6 wins including 4 track records), Olivet De Vie 33, Boo's Party Girl 32, Homepage 30 (and undefeated in six fair starts), Wild Ninny 29. Monroe County, Washington, 2:00.1. 3PC - Two Schoeffelites are joint top on 50, a figure that is also joint top for most points overall with 3PF In A Better Place: Jungle Of Terror (6 wins) and Skylite's Finale (5 wins, and 10/10 on the board); next come "the Dingers," Two 41 and One 37, split by Captain Kubota at 38. McAlvin, Gratz, 1:57. 3PF - In A Better Place 50 (tied for overall point lead; she also leads with seven fair wins, and just missed an eighth Thursday), Have More Wine 47 (six wins, including turning back In A Better Place Thursday), Sweet Talia 43, then DVC Jaded Attitude and Shakira Babe jointly at 33. Keystone Wanda, Gratz, 1:57.2. by Jerry Connors  

DAYTON PA - During sophomore stakes action at the Dayton (PA) Fair on Thursday, the two fastest performers on the Keystone twicearounds this year - pacing gelding McAlvin (1:57 at Gratz) and pacing filly Keystone Wanda (1:57.2 at Gratz) became the only two horses to notch two fair "magic miles" (the phrase is still apt in, and over, certain "circles"). We'll lead with the filly, because Keystone Wanda's 2:00 clocking for driver Todd Schadel in a Sire Stakes contest also equaled the Dayton divisional mark set by Caramel Chinno and pilot Roger Hammer two years minus two days previously. (This would not be the only time that the partners on 2005 Hambo champ Vivid Photo would be in proximity this day at Dayton - see below). Keystone Wanda, who set the pace for Schadel, was given all she wanted by the vaunted She'salilfireball, as the two battled fiercely through a 29.3 kicker until Keystone Wanda sustained a half-length lead the finish for Schadel, also trainer of the Somebeachsomewhere filly and co-owner with wife Christine. In another sidewheeling filly division, In A Better Place, already the circuit leader with seven fair triumphs, rallied but came up ¾ of a length short to the Western Terror pacesetter Have More Wine, whose 2:01 triumph was her sixth of the fair season for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel and the ownership of Schoeffel, Schoeffel, Reuther, and Nelson. McAlvin has been at the 2013 fairs only twice, and his colt and gelding opponents are glad of this fact, as he has posted two of the year's three fastest times in his appearances. This day the altered son of McArdle engined a 1:58.2 triumph, just 3/5 off the all-time Dayton record of JT Arthur set 11 years ago, 13 ¾ lengths clear for the camera for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr., and owner Julie Krenitsky. Two of McAlvin's contemporaries paced in 2:00.4: Dinger One (James Dodson) and Mein Schatz (Aaron Johnston), the latter of whom parlayed a late-season hot form skein into the Fair Sire Stakes Championship in 2012. By far the fastest trotter of the day was the SJ's Caviar gelding Ruddy Rusty, who grinded down the pacesetter from the Schadel stable, Markup Hanover, to win in 2:02.2 for owner/trainer/breeder Boots Dunn. Hammer (who had three victories on the day, all with trotting colts) and Dunn combined on another 3TC winner, Classicality, who won in anything but classic fashion: the altered son of Classic Photo made a miscue after the half and found himself 15 lengths behind at the ¾ and still 10 down at headstretch, but he trotted his individual last quarter in 29.2 to be drawing clear at the finish. In another 3TC cut, Prince Lauxmont's 5 for 5 fair win streak was stopped when he finished third to Southwind Glider, a Glidemaster gelding who has now fashioned three straight wins since Hammer was given the lines. FINISHING LINES: In addition to the aforementioned Hammer driving triple and Dunn training/owning/breeding double, others with multiple win credits included driver (4x)/trainer (2x) Schoeffel, still far ahead in both fair categories; the Neal stable of trainer/father Randy and driver/son Eric, winning Sire Stakes with two maidens; and two-timers driver James Dodson/trainer-owner Ron Lineweaver, trainer/driver Aaron Johnston, driver Chris Shaw, and sires Classic Photo, Broadway Hall, and Western Terror....The circuit moves to "Boots's Place," the Crawford County Fair in Meadville, for four days of racing from Monday to Thursday. by Jerry Connors  

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