Meadville, PA --- Tuesday, August 20, 2002 was a good day to set a track record at the Crawford County (PA) Fair.
So too was Tuesday, August 20, 2013.
With 2-year-old pacers featured during the second of four days of harness racing at the Meadville oval, the track record book for both colts and fillies -- both first reinscribed on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 -- were both altered exactly 11 years to the day later.
Owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer lowered the previous colt record of 2:01.4 (Love Of Art, 8-20-02) to 2:00.1 with A OK Hanover, a son of Yankee Cruiser (two siring credits on the day) who has already earned himself a spot in the state Stallion Series Championship. A OK Hanover is undefeated in two outings at the fairs, and with some late-season starts he also may be present in the Fair Championship for his group at The Meadows on Oct. 5.
Two opponents who may be waiting for him near Pittsburgh are Mister Chaos, an Art Official colt now four for four since trainer Bob Rougeaux III teamed up with driver Chris Shaw; and McArtic Ocean (McArdle gelding, driver-owner Aaron Johnston), who has yet to taste defeat after five trips behind the fair circuit starting gate.
The other mark, the 2:03.1 for fillies, was first recorded by My Gal Phyl on the 8-20-02 magic date, later equaled by Ellen Hanover on 8-24-04, and then tied again on 8-20-13 by Southern Sweetie, part of a siring triple for Real Desire, who ran her career record to 3-2-1-0 for driver Wayne Long and trainer/owner Rich Gillock.
A third track record was rung up in the day’s last race, but it had the audacity to have been set on an August 21 -- specifically, one day short of one year ago, as the SJ’s Caviar 5-year-old gelding S J Better Days lowered his own division mark by two-fifths of a second to 2:03.1 in the FFA trot for driver Roger Hammer. Boots Dunn, in front of the hometown fans, enjoyed the win as owner, trainer and breeder; his mare Chaka Khan has produced five fair track records through her offspring S J Better Days and Redder Than Red, and her 2-year-old Ruddy Rusty is on the bubble for the Stallion Series Championship. And her fifth dam is Delicious -- the mother of Delmonica Hanover. Pretty strong background in the land of Delvin, indeed.
Finishing Lines: The three track records Tuesday gives Meadville four through its first two fair days, and six if you include the two-day meet earlier this year, with more in the crosshairs as 3-year-olds race the next two days in the Sire Stakes, trotters Wednesday and pacers Thursday…Aside from the siring credits and Hammer’s implied double above, multiple winners were drivers Todd Cummings (three on the day, including both Quaker State 2-year-old paces), Wayne Long and Chris Shaw (two each).