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"The King" reigns in the Pennsylvania Fair Championships
Sunday, October 14, 2012 - by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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Washington, PA --- Roger Hammer, who hit the big time when Vivid Photo won the 2005 Hambletonian, proved that he’s still “King of the Fairs” in Pennsylvania when the 3-year-old filly pacers he trains swept the first four positions in a Pennsylvania Fairs championship on Saturday at The Meadows.

Shootoutthelights (nearest the camera) came from off the pace to ensure domination for Roger Hammer in the 3-year-old filly pace
On a splendid fall night, The Meadows hosted all eight fair finals -- each with a purse of $20,000 -- a celebration that included many family oriented activities coordinated by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. The evening featured many highlights but none more impressive than Hammer’s sweep.

Todd Schadel, who owns the recently retired Vivid Photo with Hammer, brought Shootoutthelights from well back to score by 5-1/2 lengths, in 1:55.3. The daughter of Dragon Again--Armbro Pomme was followed to the wire by Serenity Breeze, Hot Latte and Paints Hall, the latter with Hammer aboard. A fifth Hammer entrant, Nuclearccino, finished last.

“I had four in a final last year and finished second, third and fourth,” Hammer said. “I thought two would be good tonight. I still like the fairs. I don’t race at the fairs because I have to. I do it because I want to. You’re educating your colts, and it’s the same bunch of guys driving with you. It’s nice. It’s a different atmosphere.”

Here is a rundown of the other championships:

Three-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot: Boytown

Chris Gooden
Boytown, despite having made only one start at a fair, won his division
Oddly, Boytown made the final despite competing at only one fair, but there was nothing odd about the Lightning Lane charge that brought him victory for Dick Stillings and trainer Rich Gillock, who owns the American Winner--P Town Girl gelding with Barbara and James Richardson. Early leader Mulligan Bi was second, one-half length back, with Redder Than Red third. The time of 1:56 was a Fair Championships record.

“He has his issues,” Stillings said. “He has bad feet, and he’ll get off his game once in awhile. But giving him the two hole tonight was the key.”

Boytown now has banked $169,488.

Two-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace: Mein Schatz

Mein Schatz captured his fourth straight, all from off the pace, with a sustained, uncovered bid for trainer-driver Aaron Johnston that carried him to victory in a career-best 1:57.3, a head better than Camturo Beach. Captain Kubota was third.

“He’s a late developer and hasn’t wanted to leave,” Johnston said about the $5,000 yearling acquisition. “He’s done for the year. That’s all he needed.”

James Biego owns Mein Schatz, a Real Desire--Rainbow Sky gelding.

Three-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace: Hershey Please

Greg Grismore wasn’t satisfied with his two earlier drives on the card for trainer Steve Schoeffel, but he made up for it by winning in the Lightning Lane with Schoeffel’s Hershey Please, who triumphed in 1:54.4 over early leader Dalton Hanover. Anotherbugga earned show.

“I told Steve I needed to make up for the other two,” Grismore said. “He felt good, and luckily, we got there.”

Stephen Lander and Kathy Schoeffel own the I Am A Fool--Hershey Hall gelding, who lowered his lifetime mark by eight seconds.

Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot: Keystone Bolt

Schadel got a training win as well when Keystone Bolt, a son of Cantab Hall--Keystone Brittany he owns with Christine Schadel, notched an easy, front-end victory in 1:59.1. Prince Lauxmont and Polamalu completed the ticket. Keystone Bolt raced for purse money only, so Prince Lauxmont was considered the winner for pari-mutuel purposes.

“Todd told me to watch him going out of there and not to get in any hurry,” winning driver Dave Palone said. “He was just perfect. He jogged.”

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot: Bloomfieldcantifly

Bloomfieldcantifly shot through the Lightning Lane for Aaron Merriman and trainer-lessee Syl King, Jr. and triumphed in a career-best 2:00.3. Erin Kristen was second, 1-1/2 lengths in arrears, with RT USS Chilton a rallying third.

“I had to start and stop her a lot during the mile,” Merriman said. “Thank goodness she was handy and took hold. She was really nice to drive. When she saw air, she wanted to go. That made my job a little easier.”

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace: She’salilfireball

She’salilfireball opened a substantial lead before tiring late -- her last quarter was :30.4 -- but had enough to score in 1:56.2 for driver Tony Hall. Caviart Ginger was two lengths back in second, with In A Better Place third.

“She’s been pretty handy at the fairs,” Charlie Myers said. He trains the daughter of Allamerican Native--Candy Stripes for Robert Grover. “This is it for her this year. We’ll keep her paid up to the fairs and the sire stakes. We’ll turn her out and give her a chance.”

Two-Year-Old Filly Trot: Lady Broadway

Lady Broadway wrapped up a stellar freshman campaign with her 13th victory in 18 starts, scoring at 1-5, in 1:59.3, for Wil Yoder. Troublebeginsnow was six lengths back, in second, with Tommys Cover Girl third.

“She’s the best 2-year-old we’ve ever had,” John McMullen, Jr. said. He trains the daughter of Broadway Hall--Lady SJ and owns her with Michelle McMullen. “She’s been a pleasure to take care of. We’ll turn her out tomorrow. We’ll look at the Pennsylvania Stallions Series and those kinds of things for next year.”

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