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(WOODSTOCK, VA --- 10/1/2016) ---- Silver Sierra came on in the stretch and surged past Day To Day just before the wire to capture the featured $8,000 Open Handicap Trot Saturday afternoon at Shenandoah Downs. Roger Hammer, who trains the 4 year old Sierra Kosmos gelding, was in the sulky today for his charge. Day To Day, trained and driven by Tyler Stillings, led from the start and even carried a five length lead past the three-quarter pole. Silver Sierra came outside in the final turn and methodically pecked away at the lead. The winner, out of Heather Spur by SJ's Caviar, crossed in 1:57 2/5 and captured his 11th lifetime race. Hammer had another training win earlier in the card with Arycca Hanover. The sophomore filly pacer connected for the first career triumph. Herman Hagerman's Hot Rod Mindale and Gerry Longo's Magnifique both entered Saturday action looking for their third straight win. The pair came away with respective hat trick performances . The former became the first horse to win at the Shenandoah meet from post position eight while the latter wired the field. Driver Joey Mapes guided Hot Rod Mindale to a dominant, 6 1/2 length win. The 12 year old Real Artist gelding had no problem overcoming the outside starting spot. He was in third with a first over trip at the opening panel, took control in the second turn and never looked back. Out of Nani Oakly by Jate Lobell, Hot Rod Mindale crossed in 1:57.0 and his lifetime bankroll increased to $353,936. Longo's pacer, which he drove, held off four others in a $7,000 Open Handicap. The 5 year old Tell All mare led by less than a length through most of the mile. She crossed 1 1/4 lengths over Indian Hero in 1:58 1/5 for her 8th win of the year. Magnifique is out of Jardin Des Arts by Jeremys Gambit. Potential Horse of the Meet candidate Last Chance Harvey came outside at the half of his $3500 conditioned pace, slid into the pocket and eased by front stepping Three Large in the stretch to score his second straight. The 7 year old Henry Lewis trainee has reached the winner's circle six straight times at Woodstock going back to the Shenandoah County Fair, but was disqualified and placed second in his September 17th start. Racing returns to Shenandoah Downs on Sunday at 1 PM and guest caller Roger Huston returns to the microphone for a second straight day. The "Wine & Trotter" festival continues Sunday and starts at 11 AM.   by Darrell Wood, for Shenandoah Downs

BLOOMSBURG PA – If it turns out that Roger Hammer is one victory short of a milestone win whenever he decides to end his illustrious harness racing sulky career, he’ll remember the name “Billy’s Falcon.” On Thursday, the last day of a 3-day harness meet at the fairgrounds in this northeast Pennsylvania town, and the last fair on the 2016 Pennsylvania twicearound tour, all eight divisions of the Bloomsburg Stakes, worth $38,255, were carded. In the opening race, the three-year-old colt pace, Hammer looked forward to a walkover with Billy’s Falcon, as his horse was the only one to declare. But then it rained Wednesday night into Thursday, the track was rendered unraceable, and the Bloomsburg Stakes were canceled – a squishy end to a great year on the Keystone fair trail. Hammer still got the money – all $3,344 of it – and the other seven events had their purses divided equally among all those who declared in. But money can’t buy experience and conditioning – which is why the PA-sired two-year-olds suffered a double blow at Bloomsburg, with their Tuesday Sire Stakes being washed out, then joined in rainout by their Bloomsburg Stake events Thursday. That leaves 20 days between their last Sire Stakes contests, a week ago Sunday at Gratz, and their $25,000 divisional Fair Championships at The Meadows a week from this coming Saturday. You can be sure that some horsemen will be scrambling to find qualifiers and still-undrawn overnight races for early next week, so that their stock can be in top fettle for the Championships. But even the rain couldn’t spoil what was an excellent season on the Pennsylvania fair circuit, which saw no fewer than 36 track record miles, including the rewriting or equaling of all-age standards at three ovals, and 24 miles in 2:00 or less. The following is a short statistical summary of the Pennsylvania fair season, leading with a listing of the top pointwinners based on finish position at the various fairs at which they competed (or were rained out); all of the leading pointwinners will receive a blanket color-coded to their stable colors at the annual Pennsylvania Fair Banquet on January 14. 2017 in Bedford PA: 2TC – TOOLBOX TUESDAY, an altered son of Broadway Hall trained by Roger Hammer, who is also co-owner with Vicki Fair; six fair wins, most in his division, and three track records. 2TF – NO NOT YET, a daughter of Tom Ridge trained by Gary Johnston for owner Dr. William Solomon; tied for her divisional lead with five fair victories. 2PC -- MARVALOUS ARTIST, a Delmarvalous gelding trained by Roger Hammer, who is co-owner with Vicki Fair; eight fair victories, second in the division only to stablemate Artists Ruffles’ 10, and one track record. 2PF – CAMERA LADY, a daughter of Dragon Again trained by Dave Brickell, also co-owner with Mitchell York; started her fair campaign with 14 straight victories, including a track record, then lost by a nose in her 15th (and what turned out to be last) fair start at Gratz. 3TC – MAJOR MATTER, an Explosive Matter gelding trained by Rick Beinhauer, who is also co-owner with Regina Beinhauer; six fair wins, opening his fair campaign by tying the all-age track trot mark at Wattsburg with a 2:04 mile -- also defending divisional Champion. 3TF – A LITTLE LAID BACK, repeating as divisional pointsleader, a Great George Two filly trained and owned by Roger Hammer; six fair triumphs to lead her group, and three track records. 3PC – STAR OF TERROR, an altered son of Western Terror trained by Jason Shaw for owners Fortunate One LLC; eleven wins at the fairs, five of them in 2:00 or less to lead all fair campaigners, and equaled the all-age track pace record at Butler, 2:00.2, among three track records. 3PF – UNBEAMLIEVEABLE, repeating as divisional pointsleader, a daughter of Moon Beam trained by Jason Shaw for owner/son Mason; set two track records among her nine 2016 victories at the fairs, and ends her fair career with a remarkable two-year tally of 27-22-4-0. Most points, overall, for 2YOs, for pacers, and for females: Camera Lady. Most points for 3YOs and for males: Star Of Terror. Most points for trotters: A Little Laid Back. Multiple 2:00 performers: 3PG Star Of Terror, 5; 3PC Dragon Strikes, 4; 3PF Vorst, 3. Fastest time, pace: tie between 2PG Artists Ruffles and 3PG Star Of Terror, 1:57. (Artists Ruffles’ mile       equaled the all-time PA 2PC fair record, the only such listing altered in 2016.) Fastest time, trot: 3TF Real Caviar, 2:00.1. Multiple track records set: 4 – 2TF Lovebeinglucky. 3 – 3TF A Little Laid Back; 3PG Star Of Terror; 2TG Toolbox Tuesday. 2 – 2PG Artists Ruffles; 3PF Singalongwithbing; 3PF Unbeamlieveable; 3PF Vorst. TOP DRIVERS by wins: Chris Shaw, 65; Roger Hammer, 46; Todd Schadel, 41; Shawn Johnston, 37; (tie) Brady Brown and Steve Schoeffel, 32. TOP TRAINERS by wins: Jason Shaw, 57; Roger Hammer, 44; Todd Schadel, 36; Gary Johnston, 23; Mike Gillock, 22. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association

HONESDALE PA - The "King of the Pennsylvania Fairs," Roger Hammer, rewrote both track records for harness racing two-year-old colts on Thursday at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in this northeast PA town, bringing the number of local standards set during the two-day fair meet to four, and six overall including the "two-day Sire Stakes meet" held here on Sunday and Monday.   Both the recordsetters were not unfamiliar with 2016 altering of lines in the annals. In fact, this was the third visit to the archives for the Broadway Hall trotting gelding Toolbox Tuesday, after lowering Butler's divisional standard and then equaling Bedford's; here he changed the mark at Honesdale to 2:04.2, reducing the former mark of KT Dixie Player, set in 2008, by 4/5 of a second.   The Real Artist pacing gelding Artists Ruffles equaled two records when he won in 1:57 at Bedford: equaling the fastest mile ever on the PA fair circuit by a two-year-old, and tying the standard at that oval; in addition, it's the fastest time at the Keystone fairs this year, faster than Star Of Terror or any of the three-year-olds has gone. At Honesdale he put in a mile of 2:01.3, with a 28.1 last quarter, to reduce the mark set by DVC Givemattitude in 2009 by a tick. Both recordsetters are owned by trainer/driver Hammer in partnership with Vicki Fair, and both now have four victories at the fairs in 2016.   The Dragon Again filly Camera Lady has twice that many victories at PA fairs already, with her 2:04.2 victory Thursday keeping her undefeated on the local twicearound circuit. What's more, when throwing in a pari-mutuel win, Camera Lady has nine triumphs, making her the winningest two-year-old filly in North America on either gait for trainer/driver Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York.   Camera Lady has set no track records - the opposition's found it hard to stay near enough to her to push her - but the two records on Thursday ran the total alterations in the Honesdale record book to four for the fair meet, and six for the total four days of racing. In fact, the mark for three-year-old pacing fillies took a knock twice: Unbeamlieveable lowered it to 2:00.4 last Sunday, and then on Wednesday Singalongwithbing equaled that clocking to co-share that spot with her stablemate.   During the fair meet, top driving honors went to Todd Schadel with six sulky successes; on the trainer's side, Schadel and Jason Shaw shared the crown at four. Totaling the four days of Honesdale racing, the story remained the same: Schadel led the drivers with nine wins, while on the training side both he and Shaw each sent out seven winners.   The next fair harness racing in Pennsylvania will take place at Hughesville on Saturday and Sunday. Those cards mark the start of six straight days of Keystone fair sulky sport, as the trotters and pacers will be at Washington (Arden Downs) Monday and Tuesday, and then at Dayton Wednesday and Thursday.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

CLEARFIELD PA - There must be something about driving a trotter during the first week of August that brings out the best in Roger Hammer - and his horse. Hammer's most famous win during this timeframe, of course, came on August 6, 2005, when he took a graduate of the Pennsylvania fairs named Vivid Photo and made history in winning harness racing's most prestigious race, the Hambletonian.   On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, Hammer and another sophomore trotter made history - on a somewhat smaller scale admittedly - when the Great George Two filly A Little Laid Back toured the half-mile oval at the Clearfield (PA) County Fair in 2:02.3, breaking the old 2010 track mark of 2:03.2 by PJ's Photo for the division, and not far off the all-time Clearfield trot mark of 2:02 shared by Cottonwood Sam and Simeon.   Hammer used "a little laid back" driving style with Vivid Photo, rallying him from well of the pace, but here he went back to his usual frontstepping tactics, putting up splits of 30.2, 1:01, and 1:31.3 en route to the record clocking; the only thing that was affected by her two other rivals breaking stride was the winning margin, which was only 48¾ lengths. A Little Laid Back has now set five track records in her year-plus of PA fair racing for owner/trainer/driver Hammer - three last year, and two this year. She's tied with stablemate 2TC Toolbox Tuesday and the 2TF Lovebeinglucky as the only horses to have set divisional track records on two occasions this season.   If memories of Vivid Photo are to be evoked, it is only fair to note that Hammer's ownership partner on "Vivid," Todd Schadel, drove three horses from his barn to victory on the Tuesday card, while no other horseman made more than one visit to Victory Lane.   The sport's glamour division, the three-year-old pacers, will be featured on the final card of the four-day Clearfield stand, with post time Wednesday at high noon.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association          

CLEARFIELD PA - The longest harness racing meet of the year on the Pennsylvania Fair circuit, a four-day stay at the Clearfield County Fair in the central Pennsylvania town, conducted its first two days of racing by featuring two-year-olds, Sunday for the trotters and Monday for the pacers.   It's been nine years this week since PA fairs "graduate" Vivid Photo won the Hambletonian (and in fact driver Roger Hammer's whip-whirling finish was shown in the lead-in to the Hambo press conference), so it is appropriate that Hammer and his co-owner in "Vivid," Todd Schadel, would produce the best mile among the freshmen.   Hammer sent Artists Ruffles, fresh off a 1:57 score at Bedford that stands as the fastest mile of the Keystone twice around season regardless of age, to the lead in his Fair Sire Stakes heat and put up fractions of 30, 1:01, and 1:29.3 over track with a variant of "+3," looking to put himself in a position to threaten the local 2PC record of 2:01 shared by four horses, But Artists Ruffles tired a bit late, and it was Schadel and the Yankee Cruiser colt Cruiserwillwin who came on in the stretch from midpack, catching the pacesetter by 1¼ lengths while going in 2:01.2, just missing the local standard. Cruiserwillwin, second to Artists Ruffles in the Bedford mile, is also trained by Schadel, and Todd is co-owner with his wife Christine. Both Hammer and Schadel had two winners on the Monday card, tying them for top honors for the day and the meet (3).   They sure named Camera Lady correctly, as the Dragon Again miss had her picture taken in Victory Lane for the seventh times in eight starts - she is the winningest two-year-old pacing filly in all of North America as of this writing. "Smilin" Dave Brickell, her trainer/driver and co-owner with Mitchell York, and his filly went their back half in 1:00.4 to complete a 2:04.4 mile.   Among Sunday's baby trotting contests, probably the most impressive winner was Gee Wizz George, a Great George Two gelding who posted his fourth victory (one off the North American lead in his category) by winning in 2:08, equaling the fastest mile of the day. However, not too many 2:08 miles, especially on fair tracks, feature middle halves in 1:00.2 - which was what Gee Wizz George trotted while going from over 11 lengths back at the quarter after a break at the start to a five-length lead at the ¾. The pace of course took its toll, but Gee Wizz George was able to fight off late-charging Intense Standoff by a nose for driver Ron Harvey, trainer Jean Rastetter, and owners Maryann and Richard Rastetter.   The focus at Clearfield now shifts to the three-year-olds for cards on Tuesday and Wednesday starting at high noon, with the trotters on Tuesday and the pacers on Wednesday.   Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - Like the sighting of the first robin in spring, the first series of baby races at a track heralds the oncoming of the prime of the season, and yesterday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, five sets of freshmen faced the starter under race conditions for the first time in non-purse events.   No Pennsylvanian will be surprised that the fastest of the youngsters was a pacing filly bred, owned, trained, and driven (and possibly shod and trucked) by Roger Hammer, the Delmarvalous miss Marvalous B T, who moved after a 29.3 quarter to set middle fractions of 59.4 and 1:29.2 en route to a 2:00 victory. The touch of Hammer (and of his late patron and Hall of Famer Max C. Hempt) is all over the pedigree of this filly - her granddam won 20 races at three and almost $200,000 in two years at the races, then produced six $100G winners and two Pennsylvania fair champions, while her third dam, Keystone Romance, produced the $600G+ winners Keystone Luther and Keystone Arturo.   Jim McGettigan, main announcer at the Pennsylvania fairs, is in constant contact with the photo finish person for tight race results, and no doubt he took the 2:02.2 victory of the Winning Mister-Photogenic trotting gelding Mister Photogenic as a positive omen for the upcoming year. Tom Jackson rallied the winner out of the pocket to win for McGettigan, the baby's trainer, and owner/breeder/brother Edward McGettigan Jr.   Marcus Miller brought home two two-year-old winners, the first being the Western Terror-Cherry Tree Coco pacing colt Cerisier, who came his own back fractions in 58 - 28.3 in rallying for the 2:01.2 tally for father/breeder/owner/trainer Erv Miller. Marcus then put the Explosive Matter-Nicole trotting filly Nicole Matters on the lead, rated the half, then sprinted away in 58.3 - 28.4 for a 2:04 tally. Clifton Green conditions the Lindwood Farm-bred distaff for owner Mahlon Martin, and she certainly has a pedigree allowing improvement, as dam Nicole's half-sister was the $500G+ winner Kadealia.   Trainer John Mc Dermott took an infrequent turn in the sulky and rallied the Cantab Hall-Habit Of Creature trotting colt You Cant Habit to a nose tally in 2:04 in the day's other event. The baby's second dam, Habit, produced six $100G winners including the $1M+ Civil Action, which gives Mc Dermott and owner/breeder Tim Klemenic something to look forward to - and isn't that what baby races are really all about?   PHHA / Pocono

BEDFORD PA - The Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with their good friends at the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, honored their best and brightest harness racing stars of 2015, both human and equine, at the annual awards banquet traditionally held after the USTA District 7 (Pennsylvania) meeting.   The event was held at the historic Bedford Springs Omni Hotel and Resort, in the hometown of USTA District 7 Chairman and PHHA President Sam Beegle, who presided over the distribution of awards with Darryl Breniser of MH Eby, Inc., always among the most generous of suppliers of door prizes, with this year's prizes climbing by one unofficial count to approximating $15,000. 20-30 inches of snow fell over different parts of Pennsylvania during the 36 hours before, during, and after the banquet, but of the 180 ticket purchasers approximately 100 attended (and those that didn't but called in and canceled were included in the door prize drawings).   The highlights of the evening were the inauguration of two awards which will become annual Fair Banquet events. The first award was the Walter "Boots" Dunn Rising Star Award, named after the former Chairman of District 7, fair legend, and possessor of the spirit of a colt even if the body has bouts with lameness. Boots himself was present to give the award to Brady Brown, the up-and-coming western Pennsylvania horseman who was fourth in the fair driving standings last year. At age 22, Brown already boasts three drives behind Fair Championship winners, and when you consider that there are only twelve drivers who have more in their career - and their names are Hammer, Schadel, Merriman, Hall, Offutt, Zendt, McNeight, Bolon, Schoeffel, Palone, Stillings, and Wilder, a collection which has to his credit two Hall of Fame members, two national dashwinning champions, and four national UDR champions - and you can see the sky is the limit for young Brown.   The second new award was the Top Gun Award, which was given in its inaugural year to the legendary Roger Hammer, not merely because of his resemblance to Tom Cruise, but for the fact that for the umpteenth year Hammer led all Pennsylvania fair horsemen in driving wins (86) and training wins (81).   A third award was presented in absentia to Ron Battoni, longtime executive vice-president of the PHHA who semi-retired (Beegle kept emphasizing the "semi-") at the end of 2015, and who was one of the major driving forces behind the fair horsemen getting their share of the prosperity generated in the Keystone State with the introduction of slots. Battoni was going to drive from his brother's birthday party in North New Jersey Friday night to Bedford (Meadowlands to Bedford is 269 miles), but the snow put paid to that idea; quick-thinking PHHA marketer Ed Kobesky did a panorama cell phone shot of the crowd applauding Battoni, which he will no doubt enjoy.   Two sets of eight horses and their connections earned awards last night - and there were 16 different winners because none of the leading pointwinners during the 20-stop fair season could come back to win their Fair Championship race at The Meadows October 10, showing what a tightly-matched group from top to bottom this year featured.   Pointwinning leaders:   2TC - Keystone Shotgun, owned by Roger Hammer and Todd Schadel, and trained by Hammer; 2TF - A Little Laid Back, owned and trained by Hammer; 2PC - Billy's Falcon, owned and trained by Hammer; 2PF - Unbeamlievable, owned by Mason Shaw and trained by his father Jason;   3TC - Wimborne Hanover, owned by Susan Daugherty and trained by Bill Daugherty Jr; 3TF - Peoplesaimnogood, owned and trained by Hammer; 3PC - R N Nate, owned and trained by Hammer; 3PF - Betterthanrevenge, owned by the Thomson Sisters Racing Stable and trained by Harold Brocklehurst (who, surprisingly, was the only native of Albuquerque, New Mexico at the banquet).   Fair Championship racewinners:   2TC - Major Matter, owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer and trained by Rick Beinhauer; 2TF - Waterview Hanover, owned by Susan Daugherty and trained by Bill Daugherty Jr.; 2PC - Wagon Master, owned by Bob Key and trained by Mike Gillock; 2PF - Worthy Jackie, owned by the Bay Pond Racing Stable and trained by Sam Beegle;   3TC - Simeon, owned by Dave and Delores Wade, Jerry Brittingham, and William Peel III, and trained by Dave Wade; 3TF - Piano Rose, owned by Ralph Del Priore Jr. and trained by Steve Schoeffel; 3PC - Royaltyhasarrived, owned by Virginia & Kathy Schoeffel and Michael Munn and trained by Steve Schoeffel; 3PF - Crumcake, owned by Mike and Yvonne Medors and trained by Pat Medors.   A final note - you may have done the division of those $15,000 of door prizes by even all 180 tickets sold and gotten about $85 for an average "swag takeaway" for a $35 ticket. We invite you to come to the Pennsylvania Fair Banquet next year!   (And who won the most "swag," including a $6000 Spyder racing bike? Well, if your guess has initials other than "RH," you need to spend more time at the Pennsylvania fairs next year!)   Jerry Connors  

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 8, 2015 -- It reaches from Bloomsburg in the east to Wattsburg and Meadville in the northwest to Waynesburg and Washington in the southwest. It's the Pennsylvania Fairs circuit, a pillar of harness racing in the Commonwealth that helps promote and perpetuate the sport even as it provides employment and entertainment for thousands. The 2015 season of the PA Fairs culminates Saturday, Oct. 10 at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, when the top point-earners on the 20-stop circuit compete for $200,000 in purses over eight championship races. The Meadows and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will create a county fair-like atmosphere for the event by offering a variety of family-oriented activities, including a bounce house for kids, sulky rides for all and the chance to get up close and personal with a Standardbred. "County fair racing is important to our state and our horsemen," said Kevin Decker, director of racing for The Meadows. "We are delighted to host the fair championships each year to show our appreciation for the contribution fairs racing makes to our sport." First post on fair championships night is 6:55 PM. Mingling of Generations One reason for the ongoing popularity of Pennsylvania fairs harness racing is the earnings opportunity it provides. Typically, PA Fairs Sires Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds offer purses of about $5,000. While that's only a fraction of the sires stake purses at the state's three pari-mutuel tracks, there are so many fair stakes that it's not uncommon for horses to turn profits for their owners with their fairs winnings alone. Says trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel: "The fairs are a nice place to race my horses. I can make money with them and teach them how to be racehorses." Schoeffel, of Evans City, has campaigned his horses at The Meadows and PA fairs for about 30 years and uses the Butler County Fairgrounds as his base of operations. This year at the fairs, Schoeffel won 30 races as a trainer, 14 as a driver. Just as important as the cash is the mingling of generations on the fairs circuit, a vehicle for the exchange of information and experience across age groups. That sort of pollination, if you will, is a key factor in the perpetuation of Pennsylvania harness racing. Stars in many sports retire in their late 30s, but that's hardly true in harness racing. This year's leading trainer (81 wins) and driver (87 wins), as he's been so many times, is 69-year-old Roger Hammer, known as the "King of the Fairs," who collected his 4,000th career victory last May at The Meadows. Those accomplishments notwithstanding, in any fairs stake, Hammer may find himself battling such younger rivals as Schoeffel, 45, and the Johnston brothers, Aaron and Shawn, whose combined age is 47. Schoeffel has turned over many of his driving responsibilities to a protege, 22-year-old Brady Brown, who responded by logging 45 wins -- including 10 straight with Schoeffel's top horse, Royaltyhasarrived -- to rank fourth in the standings. "It's Brady's time; he's been waiting a long time to get started," Schoeffel says. "We turned him loose on all the good ones this year." Families Working & Prospering Together Finally, PA Fairs give families the chance to work and prosper together. Consider the Shaws, where Jason trains 'em (47 wins), his brother Chris drives 'em (61 wins), and Jason's 3-year-old son Mason owns many of them. Mason's ownership might mean little to him now, but as he grows and stays close to harness racing, he'll have ready-made entre to the business. Much the same is true of the Johnstons who, as Schoeffel, reside in Evans City and train at the Butler County Fairgrounds. The brothers got involved in harness racing through their father, trainer Gary Johnston, and their grandfather, Charles Moses, who bought Shawn his first horse. That mare, Tremor Hanover, is approaching $600,000 in career earnings, but Shawn Johnston wouldn't think of giving up fairs racing to concentrate on more lucrative raceway purses. "I won in my first race at the fairs when I was 17 or 18, and I've loved fair racing since then," he said. "You're always with the same group of people, although we do try to get newcomers involved. Everyone's family at the fairs." * * * * * Following the fairs championships, The Meadows will take a nearly three-week break from live racing to prepare for its fall-winter meeting. Live racing returns Friday, Oct. 30, when the card begins at 12:55 PM, with a special program set for Saturday, Oct. 31, first post 11:25 AM. Those programs will complement the track's simulcast presentation of the two-day Thoroughbred Breeders Cup, always a fan favorite. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

YORK PA -- The "King of the Pennsylvania Fairs," Roger Hammer, has generated a lot of headlines during the summer season with his two-year-old trotting filly A Little Laid Back, who has set three divisional track records, and now it looks like he may sweep the Fair Championship filly trots, as Peoplesayimnogood has nobody saying that after the sophomore equaled the all-age track trotting record of 2:01.2 here Tuesday, closing day of a two-day meet.   The Lear Jetta filly Peoplsayimnogood had been the division's leading pointwinner in an evenly-matched group summerlong, but she claimed a spot alongside sophomore trotting colt Southwind Nitro in the boldface York record books as she trotted in 29.4, 1:00.1, and 1:31.1 en route to the record-equaling clocking for owner/trainer/driver Hammer.   A divisional track record had been demolished on Monday as the homebred Explosive Matter - Tahiti Springs freshman trotting gelding Major Matter cruised the slick York oval in 2:02.1, wiping out the previous mark of 2:03.4 set by Markup Hanover, with trainer Rick Beinhauer, also the trainer, in the sulky; Beinhauer also co-owns the fast gelding with wife Regina. Major Matter is undefeated in four fair starts, but he may have to win at Gratz and Bloomsburg, the circuit's last two stops, to get enough points to guarantee himself a spot in his $25,000 Fair Championship October 10 at The Meadows.   Hammer's powerhouse pair of pacing colts kept rolling along; in one case, his chief rival kept pace, while the other was upset in his York start. The Nuclear Breeze-B T Falcon gelding Billy's Falcon (12-10-2-0 at the fairs) won a division of the two-year-old event in 2:01.4 for his owner/trainer/driver, while archrival Well Lets See (12-10-0-2) ran his win streak to five in 2:04.1, with Brandon Givens driving the Well Said - Lionness Hanover colt for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick.   On the sophomore side, R N Nate made it seven straight and 11-10-1-0 for the year, the Nuclear Breeze gelding buzzing home in 27.3 to complete a 2:00 mile for his breeder/owner/trainer/driver. But in the other section, Royaltyhasarrived lost his ten-race winning streak when Hammer's friendly wrestling rival from high-school days, Sam Beegle, guided Modern Yankee, a 1:51.2 winner at Philly on August 30, around the York oval in 1:58.3, with "Royalty"'s furious rally into the mile's 29 kicker coming up just a neck shy. The victorious Yankee Crusier colt is also trained by Beegle, USTA District Directorvfor Pennsylvania and president of the PHHA, for his Ginger Tree Stable LLC, James Brown, and Donald Currie.   In fact, Beegle wound up with the two fastest miles of the meet, as three races later, the sophomore Quik Pulse Mindale filly Angel Fling toured the twicearound in 1:59.4-28.1. This was the initial fair appearance for both of Beegle's three-year-olds and thus they are unlikely to make the Championships, so defending divisional champ Kesytone I Wish, who won the other 3PF section in 2:00.2 for Todd Schadel, might well repeat. (Schadel was unlucky the day before: his 2TC St Michel Hanover won in 2:03.3, which eclipsed the local divisional standard at the start of the day, but Major Matter's record mile was carded just ahead of his.)   One double-digit fair winning streak still alive is that of the Moon Beam - DVC Ibleievnangles baby pacing filly Unbeamlievable, who won for the tenth straight time in 2:02, a divisional season's record for the fairs. The filly, now 11 for 12 at the fairs, is campaigned by Team Shaw -- driver Chris, trainer Jason, and "sophomore" owner Mason -- who also have the filly Tropical Terror, last year's winningest two-year-old in all of North America.   From the Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association    

MEADVILLE PA - The Pennsylvania Fair Circuit set up shop for a four-day stay at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in this northwest Pennsylvania city, with the first two days of harness racing action devoted to two-year-olds. Here are some of the highlights from that action:   --The Great George Two-Annabelle Lane trotting filly A Little Laid Back, possibly named for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer, sped around the fairgrounds oval Monday in 2:04.1 for a new divisional track mark, her second of the summer following a 2:03.4 at Hughesville. To put the clocking it perspective: it lowered the old mark of Glide By Shooting by 1 2/5 seconds; it is more than two seconds faster than any colt counterpart has won a race in here; it was 3 1/5 seconds faster than the faster colt division Monday; and it went 3/5 faster than the quickest pacing filly section went the next day. A Little Laid Back is tied for second among North American 2TF with eight wins (believe it or not, there is an Illinois/Iowa filly named Surviver Di with 16 wins already, in just 84 days of racing!). Hammer had four wins on Monday and added another Tuesday.   --Continuing a fine tradition on to its fourth generation, 20YO horseman Nicholas Cook visited Victory Lane for the first time Tuesday, guiding the Well Said-Dragon So pacing colt Ginger Tree Currie to a 2:04.3 over Mclassic - the colt and his driver "breaking their maidens" at the same time. Nicholas's father is horseman Steve Cook, the main trainer for the stable of his grandfather Sam Beegle (like Beegle, Nick was an excellent high school wrestler), and his grand-grandfather was George Heit Jr., a noted southwest Pennsylvania horseman.   In the other two 2PC colts, the Western Terror-Free At Last colt Wagon Master made it three for three in his fair career, downing Hammer's highly-regarded Billy's Falcon, the only 2:00 freshman on the circuit to date, in 2:02.4, and Well Lets See joined Billy's Falcon at 7 for 9 at the fairs with a 2:04.3 triumph. --Possibly no victory was better received than the 2:05.3 victory of Bellagio Bay in the FFA trot Tuesday, as the trainer was none other than hometown hero Boots Dunn.   The racing continues at Meadville continues Wednesday (trotters) and Thursday (pacers) for the three-year-old set.   Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

WASHINGTON PA - Harness Racing came to this town's fairgrounds oval, known as Arden Downs during its Grand Circuit days, just down the road from The Meadows for two days of action on Monday and Tuesday, and the standout performance was generally agreed to be the 1:59.1 victory of the first day turned in by the sophomore Nuclear Breeze gelding R N Nate, who ran his fair record for 2015 to 7-6-1-0, with two three-race winning streaks bookending a second at Hughesville. The indomitable Roger Hammer is "Nate"'s breeder, owner, trainer, and driver; the "magic mile" is the sixth of the Pennsylvania fair season, which has not been blessed with the best of weather.   Also among the three-year-olds, the Andover Hall gelding Simeon kept his fair record perfect after four starts with a 2:05 win for trainer/driver Dave Wade, who also co-owns with Jerry Brittingham, William Peel III, and Delores Wade. Earlier this month, Simeon had tied the all-age trot mark at Clearfield by winning in 2:02.   When the two-year-olds got their turn on Tuesday, two of them continued remarkable runs of form and consistency for babies by advancing their local records on twicearounds to 8-7-1-0. The pacing filly Unbeamlievable (Moon Beam-DVC Iblievenangles) won in 2:06.1 to bolster her credentials for Team Shaw (owner/3YO Mason, trainer/father Jason, and driver/uncle Chris), perhaps bringing to mind that team's success with Tropical Terror in this division last year; while "Beam"'s gelding counterpart Billy's Falcon (Nuclear Breeze - B T Falcon) also got to that seasonal recordline with a 2:05.1 win for Team Hammer (Roger the breeder, Roger the owner, Roger the trainer, and Roger the driver). The win by Billy's Falcon was hardly an upset, seeing as he had the circuit's first 2:00 mile of the year, a 1:59.4 at Gratz on July 11 (remember, he's a two-year-old).   Hammer was in a tie for the lead for the meet championship in both training and driving: both he and Brady Brown sulkysat four returnees to Victory Lane, while he and Mike Gillock each harnessed three winners.   One other item perhaps worth the reporting might be a 2:05.3 win by the SJ's Caviar sophomore filly HS Pearl in the first race of the meet, not so much as she came out of nowhere (the win was her fourth in her last five fair starts), but her connections were new to the recent Keystone fair scene: driver named Palone, trainer named Burke, owners named Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Rumors are these "new fellows" might do pretty well in the sport if they keep at it, based on their "debuts" (Palone hadn't had a PA Fair Sire Stakes win in the 23 years of computerized records kept by the USTA; must be busy somewhere else).   FINISHING LINES - The PA fair circuit swings right back into action Wednesday and Thursday at Dayton PA, with some of the top Fair Sire Stakes horses not racing at Washington slated for action at Dayton, where the bell will be rung for the first race at high noon each day.   Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

After the cancellation of the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes program for three-year-olds yesterday, harness fans got to see some talented two-year-olds on the track today (Thursday) at the Wayne County Fair.   Roger Hammer had two geldings run their fair records to 7-6-1-0 in the racing for the freshmen. He posted the fastest time on the pace with the Nuclear Breeze - B T Falcon gelding Billy's Falcon, whom he owns, trains, drives, and bred.    (We should note, though, that despite that lofty record, Billy's Falcon is fractionally behind in the seasonal pointstandings to the McArdle-Timeless Classic gelding Mclassic, who has an 8-4-3-1 tally after winning at Waynesburg Monday.)   Also 7-6-1-0 on his tour of Pennsylvania is the Donato Hanover-Gaytanes gelding High Octane, this time home in 2:08.2 for owner/trainer/driver Hammer.   Hammer's A Little Laid Back, the leader among baby trotting fillies, lost a four-race winning streak when she ran into the Cantab Hall-Eclat Hanover buzzsaw miss Connie Jean, now four-for-four at the country twicearounds after a 2:10 win for trainer/driver Todd Schadel and owners Charles Keller III (the Hall of Fame nominee), Charles Keller IV, and Dan and Brett Bittle.   Trainer/driver Schadel also posted the fastest trot time in the FFA event with the SJ's Caviar mare Caviar Call Girl, a 2:07.3-29.3 winner for himself and wife Christine, also the breeders.   It seems only appropriate, five days after the tenth anniversary of their Vivid Photo winning the Hambletonian, that Hammer and Schadel both sat atop the training and driving lists with three winners during the abbreviated session.   Brandon Givens drove a pair of winners as he continues his comeback, with his seasonal totals 59-20-9-7-.463, and he sits fourth in the sulky statistics behind Hammer (44), Chris Shaw (37), and Brady Brown (24).   Next week the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes circuit makes two stops.   First will come the action at the Washington County Fairgrounds, the site known as Arden Downs during its Grand Circuit days, where sophomores will go Monday and freshmen Tuesday, both days at 10.   The circuit then moves on to the (relatively) nearby Dayton Fair, for action starting at high noon on Wednesday (three-year-olds) and Thursday (two-year-olds).   Jerry Connors

The four-day  harness racing meet at the Clearfield County Fair came to an end today (Wednesday), with the last card featured sophomore pacers: two geldings upped their fair records for the year to 6-5-1-0, and one filly - already very familiar with winning - also notched her fifth fair win of 2015.   In three divisions for the males, the Western Terror gelding Royaltyhasarrived recorded the fastest clocking, 2:01.1, to post his fifth straight fair victory, this time by 6¼ lengths.   The all-time track recordholder at Hughesville by virtue of a 1:58.1 victory there in July, Royaltyhasarrived won again Wednesday for driver Brady Brown, trainer Steve Schoeffel, and owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel and Michael Munn.   Driver Brown also won another division of this event with EJ And Orr in 2:03.1 for conditioner Dan Walski and the Walski Stables LLC, to give him three scores on the day.   R N Nate also impressed as he kept pace with Royaltyhasarrived, having to race on the rim throughout, yet still tallying in 2:01.3 by 12¾ lengths.   Owner/trainer/driver/breeder Roger Hammer is the guiding force behind the altered son of Nuclear Breeze - whose dam, R N Artist, was the 2003 PA Fair Champion in her sophomore division.   The Western Terror filly Tropical Terror, who led all North American two-year-olds last year with 16 visits to the winners circle (including 15 at the fairs), ran her 2015 tally to five victories on the twicearounds (four in current succession) with a 2:04.1 win for driver/uncle Chris Shaw, trainer/father Jason Shaw, and owner Mason Shaw, like the filly a three-year-old and the CEO/COO/CFO of the powerful Team Shaw.   The fastest filly division fell to the McArdle filly Clear Winner, who pulled a 2:04 major upset of Keystone I Wish, co-fastest PA fair horse of the year with Royaltyhasarrived (her 1:58.1 was at Gratz).   Keystone I Wish made an early burst after the ¼ to the lead, but Clear Winner, 6¼ lengths behind at the 3/4s, unleashed a powerful move through the turn and the stretch to edge her rival by a head for most of the team behind Royaltyhasarrived: driver Brady Brown, trainer Steve Schoeffel, and owner Virginia Schoeffel, with Fred and Seth Dowling also co-owning Clear Winner.   For the four days of racing, Roger Hammer had eight driving victories and seven training triumphs to lead all horsemen; the sulky success allowed Hammer to win the Buster DiSalvo Trophy for most driving wins at Clearfield for the twelfth time.   Hammer solidified his perch atop the season-long standings, now having 40 sulky victories and 39 conditioning wins.   The highlight of the meet had to be the 2:02 trotting victory by Simeon and Dave Wade on Tuesday, equaling Cottonwood Sam's all-age track trotting record set in 2003.   The 2015 Pennsylvania fair circuit reaches its midpoint next week with racing at two fairs, stops number 10 and 11 on the 20-stop circuit, and about as far apart as you can get in Pennsylvania - there are 358 miles between Waynesburg PA (hometown of Dave Palone), in the southwest corner of the state, and Honesdale PA in the far northeast.   Waynesburg will race 2YO events this coming Tuesday and 3YO events this coming Wednesday, with first post each day 10 a.m.   The racing starts Wednesday at Honesdale at 4 p.m., with 3YO contests plus a $2000 FFA pace, while Thursday's 1 p.m. start will showcase 2YOs and a $2000 FFA trot.   Jerry Connors

The first two days of the 2015 four-day meet at the Clearfield County Fairgrounds in this northcentral Pennsylvania city are in the books, with two-year-olds in the spotlight: trotters on Sunday and pacers on Monday.   This week is the 10-year anniversary of the victory in the prestigious Hambletonian achieved by Vivid Photo, who made and won his first career start in PA Fair Sire Stakes action at the local circuit's Bloomsburg Fair, so perhaps it was appropriate that Vivid's co-owners, Roger Hammer and Todd Schadel, swept all five of the Fair Sire Stakes trotting events offered Sunday.   Roger trained and drove three winners, including two horses who have lost but once at the fairs: the Great George Two-Annabelle Lane filly A Little Laid Back (2:06; 7-6-0-0) and the Donato Hanover-Gaytanes gelding High Octane (2:07.2; 6-5-1-0). The other Hammerite was Keystone Shotgun, a Yankee Glide gelding out of Keystone Sirena who won in 2:06.4 for the partnership of Hammer --- and Todd Schadel.   Schadel's two winners included the Yankee Glide-Keystone Brittany gelding Keystone Blade, fastest winner of the day at 2:05.2 for his second straight victory (his first handed High Octane his only defeat), whom Schadel trains, drives, and co-owns with wife Christine; and the Cantab Hall-Eclat Hanover filly Connie Jean, now perfect in three fair outings after a 2:07.2 jaunt for the partnership of Charles Keller III (a candidate for the Harness Hall of Fame), Charles Keller IV, Dan Bittle, and Brett Bittle.   Come Monday and the pacers, the spotlight shifted to the red-hot triumvirate who have come to the Pennsylvania fair circuit this year with great success: driver Brandon Givens, trainer Kevin Lare, and owner Frank Chick. The trio had three winners on the day, including the card's fastest, 2:03.4, posted by the Well Said-Lioness Hanover colt Well Lets See, who ran his fair record to 7-6-0-1 and in the process handed Billy's Falcon (Hammer), who had won in 1:59.4 at Gratz earlier, his first fair setback after five straight triumphs.   In the baby pacing filly ranks, Worthy Jackie (Shark Gesture-Jakes Lil Sis) was quickest in 2:05.4 for trainer/driver Sam Beegle and Bay Pond Racing Stable. Two other fillies ran their fair marks to 6-5-1-0: Unbeamlievable (Moon Beam-DVC Ibelieveinangles, 2:06.2) for driver Chris Shaw, trainer/brother Jason, and owner/nephew Mason; and Devious Behavior (Dragon Again-Ideal Sign, 2:06.4) for Team Givens/Lare/Chick. Both fillies, ironically, had their only defeat at Bedford - they have yet to meet.   The two days saw Roger Hammer train and drive four winners to lead those respective columns; Givens and Lare of course had three each; and also with three training wins is Gary Johnston, having a fine season, with Shawn Johnston winning with two and Aaron Johnston piloting the other.   The three-year-olds will be in the spotlight at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the trotters leading off the sophomore action at Clearfield.   Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

BEDFORD PA - Roger Hammer, "King of the Pennsylvania Fairs" and coming to race in his home town of Bedford, where he is in the Sports Hall of Fame, posted three victories on both Monday and Tuesday at the local fairgrounds to be the leading driver for the meet and retake command of the local seasonal win category.   Hammer posted the fastest mile of the meet, 2:01.3, and got the biggest purse of the session when he won the one-division PA Fair Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacers, with an $11,345 purse, with his homebred Nuclear Breeze gelding R N Nate, who earlier in the year had rewritten the Butler standard for his class to 2:01 - for thirty minutes, until Royaltyhasarrived, who was not entered at Bedford, beat the new mark by a tick.   With his sextet of visits to Victory Lane, Roger raised his 2015 total on the fair circuit to 32, four ahead of Chris Shaw, who had come out of the gate hot this year but was inexplicably 0-for-15 over the Bedford half-miler. Hammer also trains all six of his winners, now giving him a 32-22 lead in the conditioning colony over Chris's brother Jason, who entered only two horses in the two days.   Since we are fast approaching the 10th anniversary of the magical (hey, it is to us!) Hambletonian win of Vivid Photo, owned by Hammer in partnership with Todd Schadel, it seems appropriate that Todd was right behind Roger with five victories over the two days, including winning with the fastest trotter, the sophomore filly Scarlett's Legacy, in 2:03.1. Todd trains all five of his successful quintet, and co-owns three with his wife Christine; Max J. Hempt, grandson of Hall of Famer Max C. Hempt, owns one of the others, and the second is backed by a quartet that includes Hall of Fame nominee Charles Keller III.   A shout-out should also go to another member of the Bedford Sports Hall of Fame, Sam Beegle - who got in the local Hall for his wrestling skill, having gone to the high school State Finals, and who of course has had a fine career as a trainer/driver, President of the PA Harness Horsemen's Association, and now Chairman of USTA District 7, of which he has been a longtime director. Beegle guided the Shark Gesture-Jakes Lil Sis baby pacing filly Worthy Jackie home first in 2:04.2.   The Pennsylvania fair action now heads to the Clearfield County Fair in the northcentral part of the state. Racing is being held on a Sunday through Wednesday schedule this year, with post time the day after the Adios 1 p.m. and noon for the following three sessions.   PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

After taking a battering on Wednesday with the resetting of the Lycoming County Fair records on both the pace (Royaltyhasarrived, 1:58.1) and trot (Aloysius, 2:01), the local harness racing record book had to absorb another alteration during Thursday's Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes action for two-year-olds, as trotting filly A Little Laid Back was nothing like her name by winning in 2:03.4. (We originally typed "trotting fully" instead of "trotting filly," but both are applicable.)   A Little Laid Back, a daughter of Great George Two - Annabelle Lane owned, trained, and driven by (the always "laid back") Roger Hammer, shaved 2/5 of a second off the former track mark for this section, set by Desired Outcome four years and two days ago - but all they had to white-out is the time, date, and the horse's name, as Hammer had sulky duty on Desired Outcome's recordsetting day as well.   Fastest baby trotting male, and the Pennsy fair season's leader for freshman diamondgaiters, is Major Matter, an altered son of Explosive Matter - Tahiti Springs, who won nicely in 2:02.1 for trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, who shares ownership and breeding bragging rights with Regina Beinhauer.   The day's other big story were the PA fair circuit newcomers who combined for a triple: driver Brandon Givens, trainer Kevin Lare, and owner Frank Chick. (Givens had a fourth winner through a catch drive, and his total of 10 fair wins puts him fourth in the standings.) The triumvirate took down half of the four 2PC divisions, including the fastest with the Well Said - Lionness Hanover freshman Well Lets See, who took his third win in four starts with a 2:02 clocking.   The local fair circuit moves on to Bedford for racing on Monday and Tuesday.   The oval at Bedford, in its second year back after a 23-year hiatus of harness racing, was in lightning shape last year, and perhaps the weather will be cooperative in giving the young stars chances at fast clockings.     Jerry Connors

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