The Fair harness circuit will move to the Bedford County Fair on Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 23.
This year the 2-year-old freshman colt and fillies will be racing on Monday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. Many of these young horses are just starting their racing careers, and it’s almost certain that none of these entries have ever raced on a clay surface track like Bedford.
Then, on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., the 3-year-old sophomores will take center stage on the half-mile oval and will display their experience and talents.
After four dates in this early season, many familiar names show up on the ledger as front runners — in both the driver and trainer columns.
Last year’s winningest horseman on the circuit was Todd Schadel, and he once again has a formidable stable of horses to work with.
Currently, he has 13 wins as a trainer and driver. However, more impressively the fact in 32 races in this early season, he has 30 top three finishes.
Veteran local racer Roger Hammer checks in with eight wins on the circuit in both categories this year. However, he recently relinquished his sulky seat at times to rookie driver Branden Smith.
One other item of note, longtime fan favorite David Brickell has allowed partner and son-in-law Mitchell York to drive the majority of their stable of quality horses, including one of last year’s top 2-year-old pacing fillies, Crew Sock Hanover.
Both harness racing programs will offer something new and different this year in addition to the races.
Monday will be Military and Veterans Appreciation Day at the fair, with a special ceremony to be held at 4:30 p.m. on the grandstand saluting military veterans.
All veterans and active military personnel will be admitted to the grounds free with proper identification.
The harness committee is delighted to host such an event. This program will be sponsored in part by the Bedford Fair Junior Fair Board, Mickle’s Barber Shop, Fort Bedford VFW #7527, and the Pleasantville VFW #9219.
Then on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Committee will offer a 4-H Youth Harness Racing Educational Day, providing 4-H members between the ages of 8-18 an opportunity to experience the harness horse industry.
The event is free to 4-H pre-registrants, but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The kids will have the opportunity to ride in a jog cart on the track with an experienced driver, meet a harness owner and their horse, take part in a harness equipment demonstration, and join in a picture taking and blanket presentation ceremony in the winner’s circle on the track.
Spectators, young and old, will have a chance to ride in the starting gate pace car during the start of each race in the “What A Ride” program. The passenger will encounter the thrill of leading the horses to the starting line as the wings on the gate car close and release the field to begin their twice around one-mile journey. This will be a unique experience. Veteran fair performers, Dan and Galla, will provide musical entertainment during both racing cards.
Bedford will be the seventh stop on the fair circuits 20-race schedule. We continue to be the only clay track racing standardbred horses in Pennsylvania, and the only fairgrounds racing horses and cars in the same week.
Last year, Bedford had four race days scheduled with a possible 41 heats on the agenda. Rain washed out three days completely and we were able to squeeze in just four heats the second day of the fair before more precipitation returned.
So with a dry eye to the heavens above the Bedford Fair Harness Race Committee plans on hosting two competitive racing dates this year.