Bedford, PA --- There is a white wall against the outside backstretch fence at the half-mile oval in Bedford, Pa., and it says “Bedford Speedway” which is appropriate, because much of the year the facility is used for auto racing.
But the term “Speedway” certainly was also appropriate this past Monday and Tuesday, when horsepower of a different type -- Pennsylvania trotters and pacers racing over the Bedford oval -- was featured.
The all-time track trotting mark of 2:00.4 was set by the 3-year-old Faust, and a 2-year-old pacing gelding named Gordo was shocking in authoring a 1:57 win, only two-fifths off both the national season’s record and the all-time Bedford pace standard.
Nine divisional track records were written -- three of which not lasting two hours before being eclipsed -- and seven of the eight PA Fair season’s leaders resulted from the two-day session, as did the first six 2:00 miles of the year on the twicearound circuit.
Tuesday’s highlight was the record setting 2:00.4 effort of the Glidemaster gelding Faust in the final division of the 3-year-old colt trot Fair Sires event for trainer Jim Raymer and the Harbor Racing Stable LLC of the noted harness racing hotbed of Texas.
In that race, Fly Past Hanover and the fair season’s leading driver Steve Schoeffel had carved splits of :29.2, 1:01.2 and 1:30.3, but in the stretch Faust "used the passing lane," squeezing through inside of the frontstepper to render a nose decision.
Ironically, Fly Past Hanover’s stablemate in the Bill Daugherty Jr. barn, Broadway Charm, had lowered the local all-time trot standard to 2:01.2 some 30 minutes earlier, beating by a tick the old mark of Super Fellow in another Fair Sire Stakes division.
The track standard for 3-year-old trotting fillies was also rewritten twice on Tuesday, and for both fillies it was their second rewriting of a divisional standard this summer.
First up was The Yankees Win, who took a Quaker State event in 2:03 for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer, knocking a full second off the record set last year by Homepage and Chrissie O. But later Bessie, in rein to owner/trainer Dave Brickell, would do even better, winning in the Sire Stakes in 2:02.3.
Fastest of the 3-year-old pacers was gelding Spot Lauxmont, who even trainer Ted Williams thought would not have been among the favorites were there pari-mutuel wagering. But Spot Lauxmont, teamed with 21-year-old driver Shawn Johnston, himself eligible for the “non-winners of 12 races lifetime” class, to get a 1:57.3 victory in a Sire Stakes heat.
Finishing Lines: Following up on Gordo, the 2-year-old who paced Bedford in 1:57 on Monday: he is a gelding and his time made him the co-equal fastest 2-year-old ever at a Pennsylvania fair, with Dixie Pride and Shu Hanover (both on the same 2003 day at Bloomsburg) and Evening Shadows (2010 at Port Royal).
There are now two ways for fans to see Gordo -- he’ll be in the race right after the Adios this Saturday, in an Arden Downs stake and you can see his 1:57 mile on YouTube, as the crack Zidek videography crew was at the Bedford fairgrounds for this week’s action. The link to Monday’s action is here. Tuesday’s racing can be seen here.
The fair circuit now sets up shop at the Clearfield Fair for four days of action starting at 12 noon each day. Clearfield is trying a Sunday through Wednesday schedule for its harness program this year and if you’re going to the Adios, Clearfield is only 138 miles away.