Meyersdale, PA — Racing returned to the Somerset County Fairgrounds in this southwest Pennsylvania town for the first time since 1953 (a hurricane destroyed the barns after the ’53 season) on Thursday (Aug. 20) and Friday (Aug. 21), with many quick and outstanding performances from both the established and the rising stars of the Pennsylvania Fair circuit, appreciated by many fans who had never seen a harness race.
The track surface, rated by many horsemen as potentially one of the fastest at the state’s fairs with some work during the offseason, showed its ability to generate record miles on Friday afternoon, when the Better Caviar sophomore trotting filly Plumb tied the 17-year-old all-time standard for trotting at the state’s fairs with an “A” level PA Fair Sire Stakes victory in 1:58.2. David Wade drove and trains the powerful filly, who equaled the fair trot mark set by Shark Kosmos at Gratz in 2003, and he co-owns her with Gerald Brittingham and William Peel III.
On a card that yielded five 2:00 miles in all, the Captaintreacherous gelding Needham Hanover paced the fastest mile of the season on the local circuit, 1:56.2, in turning back Ginger Tree Larue. Shawn Johnston was in the sulky for owner/trainer Rich Gillock.
Bipbopnallie remained undefeated in five fair starts with a 2:01.2 mile in heading a 1-2-4 finish in the “A” three-year-old colt pace for trainer Roger Hammer. Chris Shaw drove the Artspeak gelding for Leblanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable, and William Lutz Jr.
Thursday’s opening card was for freshmen. Rowdy Ryder (A Rocknroll Dance – Miss Chinno), set the Somerset standard very high on Thursday when he paced the twice around in 1:58.2 – becoming the first freshman to break 2:00 at the fairs this year. Roger Hammer is the owner/trainer/driver of the quick baby who won in the sole “A” division.
On the pacing filly side, it was again time for an “A” sweep by the team of driver David Brickell and trainer Mitchell York, who co-own the two winners. Lazy Day Hanover (The Betting Line – Lazan Hanover) became the winningest freshman filly in North America when she pushed her fair record to 8-for-8 in a 2:06 mile, while another daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, Tiamogonedancen (dam Tiamo), pushed her fair scorecard to 5-for-5 in 2:01.2.
The two-year-old filly trotter section saw an “A” sweep by trainer Rick Beinhauer, co-owner of both with Regina Beinhauer, and sire Explosive Matter: Explosive Flower (dam Seeuinthespring), who tallied for driver Brady Brown in 2:08.2, and From Now On (dam Focus On Me), home in 2:09.2 for driver Shawn Johnston.
The trotting gelding Killer Instinct (Southwind Frank – Wheely Quick) posted his fifth straight win, including a Stallion Series triumph, in a race where no time was recorded. Brian Zendt drove the consistent youngster for trainer Bob Rougeaux III and the ownership of Brocious Racing Stable Inc. and Lone Wolf Stable.
Shawn Johnston was the leading driver for the meet with a total of six victories; Roger Hammer sent out five victorious pupils to lead his category.
The fields are already drawn for PA Fair Sire Stakes racing at Dayton on Sunday and Monday at 1 p.m.