Stoneboro, PA --- Research has now shown that Roger Hammer is made of the same materials as are used to build airplane data recorders.
Less than 24 hours after a brief hospital stay which resulted from a Wednesday morning traffic accident, Hammer was parading back to the Great Stoneboro Fair winner's circle with the fastest 2-year-old in the history of the northwest Pennsylvania oval.
The colt’s name? A OK Hanover.
A OK Hanover’s victory was not unexpected as the Yankee Cruiser colt was undefeated in three previous fair starts, and his next race is in the $40,000 Stallion Series championship next Friday at Pocono after amassing the series prelims’ third-highest point total.
But the 2:00.4 time, bettering by a tick the old mark set five years minus one day earlier by Stately Art, was just an exclamation point punctuating the chaotic but ultimately triumphant last few days of Hammer, an eight-time North American UDR champion. In all, Hammer won three times on the card and posted a .514 UDR for the day -- not bad for somebody who drove into the fairgrounds wearing a neck and upper back brace.
Both records for 2-year-old pacers fell during this day of freshman action at Stoneboro, as 30 minutes later the Dragon Again filly TSM Maija Star teamed with hot-driving Todd Cummings to win a Sire Stakes cut in 2:01.4, again knocking a fifth off the existing mark, this one set by Argument Hanover two years ago. Bob Krenitsky, Jr., also on a tear as of late, conditions the new standard holder for owner/breeder Ted Tomson.
On the trotting side, Whitey Lauxmont ran his fair record to eight for eight by winning the fastest division of the 2-year-old colt trot in 2:05.4.The Oh So White gelding is owned, trained and driven by Dave Brickell.
There are many other storylines that could be written about from this sprawling 18-race card at Stoneboro, but it probably was the improbable comeback of Roger Hammer that had the most people shaking their heads.
Even if Hammer couldn’t.
Finishing Lines: Some more great PA Fairs action is set for Saturday at 10 a.m., with most of the circuit’s top 3-year-olds slated to go behind the gate on a 16-race card.