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Beegle, Hammer honored at Bedford (Pa.) Fair
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - from Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association publicity

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Bedford, PA---Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, both of whom began their athletic careers on the wrestling mats in this southwest Pennsylvania community and both of whom are still competing on the racetracks of Pennsylvania, were jointly honored as both hometown and statewide harness heroes during ceremonies before the start of the racing program at the Bedford Fair on Monday (July 25), the first day of a two-card session here.
 
Ryan Zidek photo
From left: Fred Strathmeyer, Deputy Secretary, PA Dept. of Agriculture; Sam Beegle; Roger Hammer; Jesse Topper, PA State Representative, 78th District

 
The Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association voted their highest award, the Mary Lib Miller Award for “outstanding service to state harness racing,” to the two veterans, both of whom are in the Bedford Sports Hall of Fame. Bedford Fair Director of Racing Jake Hoover, upon hearing the announcement, asked Keystone USHWA if the awards could be presented at the Bedford Fair, to which the communicators were happy to comply.
 
In addition to the writers and the local racing community, on hand to honor Hammer and Beegle on Monday were Fred Strathmeyer, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Agriculture and a good friend of racing, and Jesse Topper, state Congressman representing counties in and around the Bedford area. Topper read commendations from other area politicians, and also read to the public was a congratulatory letter from state Senator Scott Wagner, a possible Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate.
 
Hammer and Beegle, for their part, chose to let their performance on the racetrack do their speaking for them. Beegle was in the sulky for the fastest mile of the week, a 1:58.4 victory by the Yankee Cruiser sophomore gelding Ginger Tree Marty, who shaded 28.1 for his personal last quarter after being three-wide from just past midbackstretch. Ginger Tree Marty, who just missed the all-age track record at Gratz by a tick when he won there in 1:55.2, is the leading magic mile producer along the fair circuit with three. Beegle also trains the fast sophomore, and his Ginger Tree Farms also co-owns him with Bob Reber.
 
Hammer, whose stable had 10 horses on the eight-race Monday card, won three races as a driver and two as a trainer, including a horse he trains and drives, along with co-owning with Vicki Fair, Toolbox Tuesday, producing a 2:02.2 mile in the Sire Stakes “B” 3-year-old colt trot, equaling the clocking in the “A” division by Rockefeller Lindy, who along with Everclear Hanover gave trainer Bill Daugherty Jr. a 1-2 sweep in the top-level event.
 
The Donato Hanover filly All Set Lets Go was catch-driven by Hammer to her fifth straight win (after starting her campaign 0 for 10) in the “A” event for sophomore trotting fillies, winning in 2:03.4 for trainer John McMullen and the McMullen Stable LLC.
 
On Tuesday (July 25), the freshmen took the spotlight, and fair wunderkind Venier Hanover became the only other Keystone twicearound performer to have multiple magic miles for the season when he won in 2:00, last quarter 29.1. The victory by the altered son of Well Said - Valmctorian for trainer-driver Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York, was Venier’s sixth, keeping him in a tie for winningest freshman in North America – as Brickell goes for a “consecutive double” after guiding the filly Camera Lady to that distinction last year.
 
Finally, two Tuesday continuations of a theme – one in wrestling, where Nicholas Cook, Sam Beegle’s grandson who like Grandpa and Hammer was a top high school grappler, won with the 2-year-old Ginger Tree Mcdade; and the other in the toughness in all PA Fair Sire Stakes racing, as the “B” division of the freshman colt trot was won by Tell Me Something and trainer-driver Jim Daugherty in 2:06.1, two-fifths of a second faster than the “A” section.
 
The fair circuit now moves midstate to the Clearfield County Fair, where a four-day program of harness racing begins this Sunday (July 30).

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