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BEDFORD PA - The 2018 Pennsylvania fair harness racing circuit begins Wednesday in this southwestern Pennsylvania town, the first of twenty stops at fairground sites around the state, ending around Little Brown Jug week. This was will be the first fair season in many years that will not benefit from the watchfulness and helpfulness of Sue Brickell, who passed away last month after a long and courageous fight with cancer. A memorial service will be taking place in Punxsutawney PA, near her home of Rochester Mills PA, on Tuesday afternoon, which would have been her 68th birthday. It might be appropriate that her brother-in-law Dave Brickell will have the likely star of the opening day of the season, the three-year-old pacing colt Venier Hanover, as sophomore Sire Stakes action rolls out the year. At two, the altered son of Well Said, co-owned by trainer/driver Brickell and Mitchell York, set eight divisional track records along the fair trail, including an equaling of the all-age track record at Wattsburg, 2:00.1. The local Bedford marks are 1:57.2 for his division and 1:56.3 for the all-age track record (set 32 years ago by Keystone Famous); Venier may be able to at least flirt with those times if on his best game. In the two-year-old action on Thursday, Team Brickell/York have the fastest winner so far, also a Well Said offspring, a filly named Crew Sock Hanover, who shocked a pari-mutuel field at 20-1 in her first betting start, winning in 1:56.1. Also sure to draw attention is Cory Kreiser's Delmarvalous colt Next Shot, who made his pari-mutuel debut a successful one in 1:58.1, with a 27.3 last quarter. (And he's in the "B" division of the Sire Stakes!) "Hometown heroes" Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, both in the local Sports Hall of Fame and both honored during the fair last year by the Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, are scheduled for action during the season-opening event. For the first time, this year all of the fair draws will be handled out of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association's office at Harrah's Philadelphia, with executive director Mike Harant overseeing. But the same local people will be doing their invaluable jobs during the actual racing at the fairs. From here, the Pennsylvania fair circuit goes to Hughesville, racing this Saturday and Sunday, and then on to Butler. After that comes a major change, as the racing at the York Fair, traditionally held in September, this year has dates of July 7 and 8. From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

BEDFORD PA - Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, both of whom began their athletic careers on the wrestling mats in this southwest Pennsylvania community and both of whom are still competing on the racetracks of Pennsylvania, were jointly honored as both hometown and statewide harness heroes during ceremonies before the start of the racing program at the Bedford Fair on Monday, the first day of a two-card session here. The Keystone Chapter of the U. S. Harness Writers Association voted their highest award, the Mary Lib Miller Award for "outstanding service to state harness racing," to the two veterans, both of whom are in the Bedford Sports Hall of Fame. Bedford Fair Director of Racing Jake Hoover, upon hearing the announcement, asked Keystone USHWA if the awards could be presented at the Bedford Fair, to which the communicators were happy to comply. In addition to the writers and the local racing community, on hand to honor Hammer and Beegle on Monday were Fred Strathmeyer, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Agriculture and a good friend of racing, and Jesse Topper, state Congressman representing counties in and around the Bedford area. Topper read commendations from other area politicians, and also read to the public was a congratulatory letter from state Senator Scott Wagner, a possible Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate. Hammer and Beegle, for their part, chose to let their performance on the racetrack do their speaking for them. Beegle was in the sulky for the fastest mile of the week, a 1:58.4 victory by the Yankee Cruiser sophomore gelding Ginger Tree Marty, who shaded 28.1 for his personal last quarter after being three-wide from just past midbackstretch. Ginger Tree Marty, who just missed the all-age track record at Gratz by a tick when he won there in 1:55.2, is the leading magic mile producer along the fair circuit with three. Beegle also trains the fast sophomore, and his Ginger Tree Farms also co-owns him with Bob Reber. Hammer, whose stable had ten horses on the eight-race Monday card, won three races as a driver and two as a trainer, including a horse he trains and drives, along with co-owning with Vicki Fair, Toolbox Tuesday, producing a 2:02.2 mile in the Sire Stakes "B" three-year-old colt trot, equaling the clocking in the "A" division by Rockefeller Lindy, who along with Everclear Hanover gave trainer Bill Daugherty Jr. a 1-2 sweep in the top-level event. The Donato Hanover filly All Set Lets Go was catch-driven by Hammer to her fifth straight win (after starting her campaign 0 for 10) in the "A" event for sophomore trotting fillies, winning in 2:03.4 for trainer John McMullen and the McMullen Stable LLC. On Tuesday the freshmen took the spotlight, and fair wunderkind Venier Hanover became the only other Keystone twicearound performer to have multiple magic miles for the season when he won in 2:00, last quarter 29.1. The victory by the altered son of Well Said for trainer/driver Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York, was Venier's sixth, keeping him in a tie for winningest freshman in North America - as Brickell goes for a "consecutive double" after guiding the filly Camera Lady to that distinction last year. Finally, two Tuesday continuations of a theme - one in wrestling, where Nicholas Cook, Sam Beegle's grandson who like Grandpa and Hammer was a top high school grappler, won with the two-year-old Ginger Tree Mcdade; and the other in the toughness in all PA Fair Sire Stakes racing, as the "B" division of the freshman colt trot was won by Tell Me Something and trainer/driver Jim Daugherty in 2:06.1, 2/5 of a second faster than the "A" section. The fair circuit now moves midstate to the Clearfield County Fair, where a four-day program of harness racing begins this Sunday, July 30. Publicity Office, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

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, May 1, 2015 -- Angel Plus, a standout at Pennsylvania Fairs last year, showed that she's elevated her game Friday at The Meadows by capturing the fastest division of a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for harness racing 3-year-old filly pacers. The event was contested over three divisions, with Mezzanine Fashion and Dobre Povedane also taking $20,000 splits. Aaron Merriman enjoyed a stakes double behind Angel Plus and Mezzanine Fashion. Angel Plus was fourth down the backside when Merriman sent her uncovered after the leader, Somewhere Fameous. She cleared comfortably and downed Somewhere Fameous by 2-3/4 lengths in a career-best 1:54.2, with Hashtag Quick third. "She's really matured; she's a lot better filly." said Sam Beegle, who trains the daughter of Quik Pulse Mindale-Crew Angel for Bay Pond Racing Stable. "If she keeps this up, she might graduate to the next level." He said Angel Plus would be pointed to the PA All-Stars at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Mezzanine Fashion also moved first over for Merriman and persevered through the lane, prevailing in 1:54.4, a lifetime mark. Apricot Sour was second, 1/2 length back, while Mistup Magic earned show. "I didn't have to move that early," Merriman said, "but she's kind of a big filly, and I didn't want to move her in the turn. I wanted to get her set up. When I moved her, she really wanted to go. I drove her confidently, and she responded." Jim King, Jr. conditions Mezzanine Fashion, a daughter of Well Said-Catch The Show, for Thomas Kemp. Dobre Povedane and Eloquently Stated are both by Well Said out of daughters of Dragon's Lair, and for awhile during the back half of their split, they were inseparable. Dobre Povedane found just enough for Mike Wilder to hold off Eloquently Stated by a head in 1:55.3, with Doll Fins completing the ticket. Tim Twaddle, who trained Dobre Povedane during her sojourn at The Meadows, said he tweaked her rigging after she broke in the first leg of a recent series. "Before she came here, she had a problem running in, and she was rigged to prevent that," he said. "For whatever reason, on this track, she was going the opposite way. So I just made her more comfortable. Nothing major, really." David Prushnok and John Prushnok campaign Dobre Povedane, who will return to the John Butenschoen stable for the next pair of stallion series legs. In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Phone Terror wore down the leader, Certified Ideal, with a determined uncovered bid for Dan Rawlings and defeated her by a nose in 1:53.2. Do Me Honor finished third. Robert Bernard trains Phone Terror, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Miss Lex who extended her career bankroll to $346,001, for Lucy Raymond. Saturday's Kentucky Derby Day Card at The Meadows features the $62,100 The Meadows Maturity for 4-and-up stallion and gelding trotters as well as the Adios Betty, a $183,216 PA Sires Stake for sophomore filly pacers. First post is 11:25 AM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

BEDFORD PA - The United States Trotting Association's annual meeting for District 7, which covers Pennsylvania, was held here Saturday afternoon (January 17) at the Bedford Springs Omni Hotel Resort, in the hometown of District 7 Chairman Sam Beegle, followed as traditional by the Pennsylvania Fairs Awards Banquet. Beegle presided over the District meeting, which included presentations by USTA's executive VP Mike Tanner, reviewing 2014 activities and highlighting 2015's major projections for the organization, and Ron Battoni of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who discussed several major economic factors that Pennsylvania racing would need to address in this year of a new state governor, Tom Wolf. The annual review of the proposed USTA bylaw changes was handled by USTA Director, lawyer, and Bergstein Proximity award winner Russell Williams. Among important decisions made by the membership for their Directors to take to the USTA annual meeting were rejection of a rule changing pylon size and placement, along with rejection of a change detailing a progressively-severe punishment schedule for drivers found guilty of kicking; among items accepted were the "uncoupled owner/driver" rule, amended to include only pari-mutuel races, and the end of forcing a horse to requalify with the removal or addition of hopples. Tabled were the proposals dealing with Racing Under Saddle (RUS) as pari-mutuel events, as Pennsylvania law does not allowing wagering on saddled harness racing contests. The annual Fair Banquet must rank among the "best values" in all of harness racing, as for the $35 price banquet attendees enjoy outstanding food as well as drawings for over $10,000 in harness equipment, generously donated, including a Spyder race bike. Equine fair prizes fall in two categories: a set for those who earn the most points during the regular fair season, and an award for the horses who capture their Fair Championship in the fall at The Meadows. Winners in the point category were: 2TC - Police Navidad; 2TF - Peoplesayimnogood; 2PC - Nippy (the season's leading pointwinner over all divisions); 2PF - Tropical Terror; 3TC - Fly Past Hanover; 3TF - Cantabs Lightning; 3PC - Mister Chaos; 3PF - La Fiesta. The championship winners were headed by 3TC Fly Past Hanover, who not only was the only horse to win both his points title and Championship, but who also was the only sophomore who repeated a freshman Championship victory. Others in this category were 2TC - Wimborne Hanover; 2TF -- Isabella Carina; 2PC - Marshmallow Fluff; 2PF - Keystone I Wish; 3TF - Sheema Star; 3PC - Wellsaidandone; and 3PF - Wiggle It Hanover. Singled out for special praise were trainer Bill Daugherty Jr., for his campaigning of both Fly Past Hanover and Wimborne Hanover - the fourth 2TC Champion for the Daugherty barn in the last six years; and Team Shaw - owner Mason (now all of three years old), trainer/father Jason, and driver/uncle Chris, primarily for their prowess with freshmen Tropical Terror, Marshmallow Pulse, and Nippy - who among them won 43 races in 56 starts, and amassed $136,325 in fair campaigning. And to round out the Pennsylvania Night of Youth, six-year-old Owen McMullen won the Spyder race bike. Local racing hopes these two, from royal racing pedigrees in PA, stay around the business for a long time to come. by Jerry Connors

To help spread positive awareness of our sport, the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA) has donated a copy of the book Standardbred Old Friends to 132 schools in 52 counties across Pennsylvania. The book portrays, in the photos of renowned equine photographer Barbara Livingston and the words of Ellen Harvey, the lives of 43 senior Standardbreds of distinction. The subjects are primarily Hall of Fame racehorses and broodmares, now in the twilight of their lives and aging with dignity from Sweden to southern California and Maine to Florida. "There is a lot of very good news in harness racing, and we want to do whatever we can to bring attention to that news. This book highlights the lifelong responsible care and attention given by so many owners throughout our sport, whether the horse is a financial windfall or not," said Sam Beegle, president of the PHHA. "Young people in high schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania are our future fans and in some cases, our horsemen and women." The PHHA is a trade group whose member tracks include Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The books were donated to high school libraries and colleges with an equine program in areas where there is a fair meet, a pari-mutuel track or breeding farm. For information about Standardbred Old Friends, view this video, order it from www.harnessmuseum.com , 845-294-6330 or email oldfriendsbook@hotmail.com by Ed Kobesky, for the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association  

DAYTON PA - It was a good week to be a two-year-old on the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes trail; it was not a good week to be a three-year-old. Sophomores got in only 2 of their 12 scheduled races at Washington Monday before the rain came and then had all 10 heats at Dayton washed out Wednesday, whereas the freshmen had full cards at Washington Tuesday and (the focus of this report) Thursday at Dayton. Probably the most impressive mile of Thursday's racing was turned in by the SJ's Caviar trotting filly HS Pearl, who won the lone divisional PA Fair Sire Stakes event in 2:05.1. The clocking might not seem like much to "jaded" pari-mutuel ears, but HS Pearl went faster than one of the 2PC divisions, the Quaker State 2P, and the one 2PF division, in addition to missing the local divisional record by a single tick. Wayne Long trains and drove the promising miss, and he co-owns her with Joyce Lineweaver. Otherwise, Team Shaw continued on their winning ways, headed by the first two-year-old in North America to get to 10 victories, the Western Terror pacing filly Tropical Terror, who won in 2:07.2 for driver Chris Shaw, trainer Jason Shaw, and owner Mason Shaw, Jason's 2-year-old son. Tropical Terror won her first eight starts, was a hard-charging second to archrival Keystone I Win at Honesdale (a tick off their divisional track record), and has rebounded from her first taste of defeat to take two more victories. The Shaws also teamed to take two out of three divisions of the 2PC Fair Sire Stakes with babies who each now have eight wins, which is tied for the top among North American 2YO males. Marshmallow Pulse, a Quik Pulse Mindale gelding, won in 2:04.3 to run his fair record to 10-8-2-0, with his only loses to Gordo (who won at Bedford in 1:57) and ... his stablemate Nippy, who tallied Thursday in 2:03.2. Nippy, a Nuclear Breeze gelding, is now 11-8-3-0 at the twicearounds, and has finished behind only Gordo and two PA Stallion Series winners: R N Nate and Royaltyhasarrived. R N Nate's trainer/owner/breeder Roger Hammer has been using Chris Shaw as his driver behind the Rustler Hanover gelding Rustlercafe, and that baby pacer is now 7 for 8 in Quaker State stakes competition, winning in 2:06.2 Thursday and extracting a measure of revenge from the only horse to beat him in the Quakers, Redfish Falls. FINISHING LINES - Boots Dunn, who reportedly has good connections with The Big Weatherman in the Sky (no, not Sam Beegle), has logged some long-distance phone time recently, trying to ensure that his four-day meet at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Meadville, which starts Monday, can avoid all or as much precipitation as possible. Post time for each of the quartet of race cards will be at high noon. ,,, Other than the 2PC, who split into three divisions, each of the three other Fair Sire Stakes classes Thursday had only one cut - and all of them went for over $11,500. Not too early to plan for Harrisburg ... From the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

BEDFORD PA - The two-year-old pacer Gordo astonished the racing fans at the Bedford (PA) Fair on Monday afternoon when he scorched to a 1:57 victory in a Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes event, missing both the all-time Bedford track record and the national season's record for age, sex, and gait by only 2/5 of a second. Driver Steve Schoeffel sent Gordo right to the front and blitzed amazing fractions of 28.2, 58.2, and 1:26.2 en route to the sensational victory. A son of McArdle out of the Blissful Hall mare Blissard Of Oz (who had had only one winner in four living foals pre-Gordo), the fast freshman was bred by Perretti Farms. (As to whether this horse is named after Gordon Waterstone, the Hervey Award-winning journalist for the Horseman and Fair World magazine, there are only two possible clues: 1) being a Perretti-bred, he was likely named by Communicators Hall of Fame candidate Bob Marks, who often incorporated people's names into horses' names: an earlier foal of Blissard Of Oz was named Duke Of Pellington; 2) the pacer is a gelding.) For driver Steve Schoeffel, the circuit's leading driver and trainer, it was his fifth visit to Victory Lane on the day (but first with a pacer; more on that later), all five of whom come from his own barn. His wife Kathy had her fourth winner of the day with Gordo, and co-owner Lander Stables LLC got their third. The other two winners in the sections of the FSS two-year-old colt pace had a distinctly "hometown" flavor. In the first, R N Nate paced in 2:00.2, which would be a divisional track standard for about 30 minutes, for breeder-owner-trainer-driver Roger Hammer, perhaps the best-known citizen of Bedford in harness racing. And in the second, Sam Beegle, PHHA president and a state wrestling championship finalist when attending his native Bedford High School, paraded back Modern Yankee after a 2:01.3 triumph. Two impressive freshman fillies paced home first in their Fair Sire Stakes cuts. Keystone I Wish was first up, and she went the first 2:00 mile of the local fair season when she won in even time for trainer/driver Todd Schadel. Her clocking shaved two seconds off the previous divisional track mark co-held by Keystone Trixie and Keystone Haden - a tribute to the Hempt Farms' "Keystones," which are still producing winners; Schadel is co-breeder of "Wish" with the Estate of George Hempt Trust. (And that is not to forget Keystone Famous, whose 1:56.3 here in 1986 is still the pacing record, though threatened by Gordo today.) The other baby filly winner, Tropical Terror, kept her distinction intact: she has now won at all seven stops to date on the circuit, here in 2:02.1 for (driver Chris) Shaw / (trainer Jason) Shaw / and (owner and 2YO himself Mason) Shaw. The Schoeffel barn sent out four of the five winners in Fair Sire Stakes freshman trotting competition, including the new track recordholder for 2TFs, Mooksie, who lowered the old mark 5 2/5 seconds with a 2:02.1 tally, over three seconds faster than any of her colt counterparts trotted today. Also a winner was Missive, in 2:05, for the same ownership as Gordo. The Schoeffelites winning the colt events were Police Navidad, fastest of the victorious trio in 2:05.3, and the unusually-bred Shark Gesture trotter out of an Artsplace mare, Chiney Babco, who has now won six "on the trot," here in 2:07.2. Trainer-owner Boots Dunn and driver Chris Shaw sent out 2:06.3 winner King Karma to break up a total Schoeffel sweep. Oh ... and the track was rated "slow" throughout the card. FINISHING LINES-The first race of the day was a Quaker State trot, and the only two entrants were from the Syl King Stable, so it was not really shocking to see a final time of 2:27.4 - which by the way, grouped with Gordo's 1:57 mile to produce a 30 4/5 second variance from fastest to slowest mile on a card, was NOT a record for Western Pennsylvania - just about 29 years ago, Marauder won his heat of the 1985 Adios in 1:52.1, and then, when Nihilator did not return for the final, took the trophy by walking over in 2:27.4, for a 35 3/5 second variance!... The three-year-olds take to the track at Bedford Tuesday at 11 a.m., and given the speed show put on by the babies, who knows how fast the sophomores will go? From the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen's Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, Saturday, June 7, 2014 -- A loser in all seven of his previous starts, Verbal Assault broke his maiden in style Friday at The Meadows, pulling off a 16-1 upset in a $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallions Series stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The event was contested over five divisions, with Brioni, Avalanche Hanover, Invictus Hanover and Status Quo taking the other splits. Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke teamed for two victories in the stake (Invictus Hanover, Status Quo) while Aaron Merriman also enjoyed a stake double (Verbal Assault, Avalanche Hanover). Verbal Assault wasn't sold as a yearling due to a chip in his coffin joint and was instead entrusted to the care of trainer Sam Beegle. Beegle and his partner, Daniel Courtemanche, liked the son of Well Said-Well Read so much they purchased him privately, only to see his career get off to a rocky beginning. "He's had all bad luck -- nothing good's happened," Beegle said. "Two weeks ago, a brand new hopple hanger broke, dropped, and he stepped out of the hopple. Nothing has gone right until today. He has a lot of upside." On Friday, he followed cover to the lead and held off the late brush of Barbarian by a head in 1:52.4. Bristol Bay was third. Avalanche Hanover moved first over down the backside, clearing before the three-quarters and scoring in 1:52, 2-1/4 lengths better than Dragon's Successor. Stone Cold Shark earned show. "He looked real good on paper, so I just let him do his thing," Merriman said. "He definitely has speed, though he was a little bit green when he got away from them. He needs another second-and-a-half, and you never know what he can race with." Ron Potter trains the Somebeachsomewhere-Anadarko Hanover gelding for Clyde Perfect. Invictus Hanover, who had endured a series of lousy post positions, hustled to the pocket from post 5 and brushed late to down 39-1 bomb Ivan Bob by a length in 1:53.2, with Jackson Brady third. "He's always been a beautiful horse to drive," Palone said of the Yankee Cruiser-I Sparkle gelding. "From the word go, he's always been a pleasure. He's probably a step below the top ones, but he's a fun horse that you look forward to driving. Having been over the track a few times gives him a big advantage." Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Keith Pippi and Michelle Yanek campaign Invictus Hanover, a Hanover Adios Yearling Sale acquisition whose winnings left him $62 short of $100,000 for his career. In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Sam Hill extended his winning streak to four in most improbable fashion, parked the entire mile yet prevailing in 1:50.3. Twilight Bonfire was second, a length in arrears, with Lollipop Kid third. Greg Wright, Jr. piloted the 8-year-old Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $283,389, for trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. Saturday's Belmont Day card at The Meadows features the Bye Bye Bird, a $199,000 PA Sires Stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. First post is 11:25 AM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WILKES-BARRE PA - One of the greatest cards on the yearly schedule of world harness racing was made even better today, as the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), in conjunction with Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs racetrack, announces increased purses in the consolation races of three $500,000 stakes events, a new consolation for the $300,000 James Lynch Pace for sophomore fillies, and a brand-new event, the $100,000 "Mohegan Sun" Invitational Trot for world-class older horses. "The Pennsylvania 'racing revolution' has helped our state become of the brightest spots on the national and international harness racing scene," noted PHHA President Sam Beegle, "and 'Sun Stakes Saturday,' to be held in 2014 on June 28, is one of the greatest days of the season for all harness racing fans - as 'bright' as the 'Sun.' We are now pleased to announce that we have made a great day of racing even greater with these added events and purses." The three $500,000 events are the Ben Franklin Pace for free-for-allers, the Earl Beal Trot for three-year-old males, and the Max Hempt Pace for three-year-old males. These three events saw $50,000 consolations staged last year, and the consolations yielded the co-fastest mile of all-time on a 5/8-mile track (Bolt The Duer's 1:47.4) and an equaling of the world record for sophomore geldings (Beach Memories, 1:48.2) - and remember, these were consolations, for horses who the previous week had not qualified for the Finals! This year, all three events have had their consolation purses boosted to $75,000. The Franklin consolation for 2014 had been announced previously; the sophomore colt events now join it. The Lynch Pace for fillies will have a $50,000 consolation race, if, as in all the other races, enough horses who do not make the Finals show enough interest to race right back. "We have also added an event for what many people consider to be the best crop of free-for-all trotters of recent years, the $100,000 Mohegan Sun Trot," added Beegle. "This will be conducted as an Invitational event, so trainers of top older trotters interested in competing at Pocono on June 28 should contact Rick Kane in the Pocono race office immediately at 570 831 2126." With the four finals, the Invitational, and the consolations added together, Sun Stakes Saturday's card will be worth $2,175,000 - just for these races alone! (And don't sell the Sun undercard short - last year Abelard Hanover equaled the world record for older geldings of 1:48 in the Preferred pace, in a driving rainstorm!) Supplemented starters are allowed to compete in the four sets of elimination races for the headliners, held one week before (June 21), if paying the proper fees as noted in the USTA Stakes Guide - contact Mr. Kane for further details. It's a card no one will want to miss -live patrons and simulcast fans, trotters and pacers, owners and trainers alike. Sun Stakes Saturday has gotten even better - and it all will unfold at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday, June 28. Submitted by the PHHA for Pocono Downs

BEDFORD PA, Sat. Jan. 18 – The U.S. Trotting Association’s meeting for District 7 (Pennsylvania) membership, annually held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Fair Horsemen’s Awards Banquet, took place tonight at the local Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Longtime horseman and USTA Director Sam Beegle has deep roots in this town, for whose high school he wrestled in the State Championship and whose local paper, the Gazette, has Joseph Beegle as its publisher, and when Sam succeeded longtime District Chairman Walter “Boots Dunn,” he decided to treat his fellow Keystoners with some “home cookin’,” and the site, meetings, and dinner were acclaimed by all. At the USTA meeting, Beegle and Dunn, along with fellow Director Barry Brown, went over the proposed USTA rule changes and conducted other necessary business of the association. During the cocktail hour preceding dinner, a demonstration of the soon-to-be-implemented USTA “enter horses by computer” system was shown to an interested gathering. At the awards banquet, honored were both the champion pointwinners during the 21 stops along the fair circuit, along with those horses who won their divisional Championship race at The Meadows on October 5. In 2013, a record four horses, all pacers, recorded triumphs in both events – to show how hard this achievement is, only three horses had been able to win the “double” in the previous four years. The four double champions were: 2YO pacing colt – Mister Chaos, trained by Bob Rougeaux III for first-time owners D&P Racing LLC; 2YO pacing filly – La Fiesta, owned by Mason Shaw (who is not yet two years of age) and trained by his father Jason; 3YO pacing colt – Jungle Of Terror, the leading pointwinner among all competitors at the fairs this year, trained by Steve Schoeffel and owned by Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel in partnership with Steven Lander; 3YO pacing filly – Have More Wine, also a Schoeffel trainee and also owned by the Schoeffel ladies in partnership with James Reuther and James Nelson – her 1:53 1/5 Championship win was the fastest Fair Final ever. Only the trotting side, winners were: 2YO trotting colts – (points) Mr. Weaver, (Champ.) Fly Past Hanover; 2YO trotting fillies – (points) Bella Palazzo, (Champ.) Glide By Shooting (both from the Dunn Stable); 3YO trotting colts – (points) BSMaximumMoonbeam, (Champ.) Rusty Ruddy; 3YO trotting fillies – (points) Monroe County, (Champ.) Homepage. The large gathering was entertained both by a replay of all eight Fair Championships and the large amount of door prizes garnered by Beegle and his co-workers, with the grand prize, a Spyder race sulky, won by Jason Shaw. “My brother Chris (Mason’s uncle) has been doing the driving for our stable, but now maybe I’m start driving some,” Jason – a big fellow -- quipped after winning the big prize.  by Jerry Connors

In order to develop comprehensive proposals on the use of therapeutic medications and recommended penalties for violations in harness racing, President Phil Langley has appointed a diverse panel of experts to a new United States Trotting Association (USTA) medication advisory committee. "Recognizing that some of the fault was that the USTA lacked sufficient scientific representation on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC)," said USTA President Phil Langley, "I have appointed a widely representative advisory committee to guide us in future medication proposals." The members of the USTA medication advisory committee are: eminent researchers Dr. George Maylin and Dr. Thomas Tobin; practicing veterinarians Dr. Jay Baldwin, Dr. Janet Durso and Dr. William Moffett; trainers Mark Ford, Sam Beegle, Ray Schnittker and David McCaffrey; racing commissioners Bob Schmitz and Alan Leavitt; attorneys Joe Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck; racing investigator Brice Cote; Hambletonian Society President and CEO Tom Charters; and Phil Langley, Mike Tanner, and T.C. Lane from the USTA. As has been widely reported during the past few weeks, the USTA has struggled with acceptance of some of the RMTC and Association of Racing Commissoners International (RCI) proposed uniform medication rules - especially those regarding clenbuterol and corticosteroids. "Under these proposed rules, both medications would become virtually useless in harness racing," said USTA President Phil Langley. "We are hopeful that after much discussion with RMTC and with testimony before racing commissions, some adjustments will be forthcoming." The USTA has already been working with the Pennsylvania horsemen groups to commission Dr. Larry Soma and Dr. Mary Robinson to conduct research on items like EPO, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and some of the unknown drugs that most threaten the integrity of harness racing. Their research also is pursuing alternatives to clenbuterol and the adjustment of threshold levels that can be utilized with Standardbreds. By Dan Leary, USTA director of marketing and communications  

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  

HUGHESVILLE PA – Talented youngsters in sport frequently benefit from the guiding hand of a veteran to their particular discipline. This certainly was a major theme during Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes racing for two-year-olds on Thursday at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds, as seven of the victorious babies paraded back to the Hughesville winners circle were guided by experts 65 years old or older. The most regular visitor to Hughesville victory lane Thursday (4) and for the meet (5) was Dave Brickell (65), who won with four baby trotters, the first three of them within 50 minutes of the start of the card (the other winner in that period was 66YO Bill Daugherty Jr.). Brickell then only had one drive in the next 12 races but still, after three hours in a roasting 95-degree sunshine, he piloted home the card’s getaway winner in the 17th. Brickell is the owner/trainer/driver of the Oh So White gelding Whitey Lauxmont, who is unbeaten in four fair starts and won the fastest division of the 2CT in 2:07-30. His main competitor in that deep division may be Ruiz, now undefeated in two career starts, who repaired an early miscue that cost him 12-15 lengths, went up uncovered, and gained into a 29.3 last quarter to tally for driver Winston Lineweaver (70) and trainer Eileen Lineweaver, co-owner of the altered son of SJ’s Caviar with Bill Kreutzer. Fastest mile of the card came from the Village Jolt gelding Waitingforthisone, who reduced his mark by almost six seconds to 2:02.1 for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer (67). The mile most threatening to a Thursday track record was the engine triumph in 2:02.2, 2/5 shy of Nuclear Photo’s local 2PF standard, by a daughter of Four Starzzz Shark (three siring credits), Above And Beyond, owned by Ronald Michelon, and trained by Erv Miller – who at 46 is still in very successful middle age, with 4221 training victories and over $60M in conditioning earnings since recordkeeping for trainers started in 1991. The driver, you ask? Erv Miller!—who last sat behind a winning racehorse at Balmoral in November of 2011. But Erv showing sulky prowess shouldn’t surprise you – in the four seasons he had 100 or more drives, 1996-1999, he won two North American UDR titles and was second in another year! (And yes, it’s no accident that this paragraph mentioning UDR championships was placed just below the previous one.) Not to say that the “young guns” of the circuit didn’t have a fine day – in fact, there were the 7 driver wins for the 65+ers mentioned above, and then 7 sulkysitting triumphs for those who had not yet reached 30. The “oldest” of the latter group is 29YO Wayne Long, who guided the fastest trotter of the day, Cantabs Lightning, to the third win of her unblemished career, in 2:06.3. The daughter of Cantab Hall is also trained and driven by Long. And the leading trainer of the meet was 29YO Jason Hall, who harnessed four winners (three Thursday), all driven by his 27YO brother Chris. Their main owner is an interesting case. Of his 14-horse stable (including 11 two-year-olds), nine started at Hughesville, and he had three winners, three seconds, a third, and two fourths, for earnings of $5419. Jason is the father of his principal owner, Mason. Chris is his uncle. And his entire stable – is older than he is. FINISHING LINES – For the first time in 23 years, harness racing returns to the Bedford County Fair, with Monday and Tuesday sessions beginning at 11 a.m. Two members of the Bedford Sports Hall of Fame – Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer – are sure to be there.  

Freshmen took to the track for a morning harness racing card at the York, Pennsylvania Fairgrounds, in 15 stake heats. Fly Away and City Image, both trained and reined by Sam Beegle, captured the day's richest events, two $6,100 divisions of the PA Sire Stake 2YO Colt Pace.

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