By Konstantine Fekos
WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP —
Thundering hooves kicked up dust clouds around the grandstand racetrack Tuesday afternoon, marking this year’s second day of harness races at the 68th annual Crawford County Fair.
More than 400 people turned out under sunny skies to see about 69 colts and fillies pull their drivers around the track.
“This was the biggest card of the week,” said Roger Huston, who’s been the announcer for harness races at the fair for more than three decades. “Normally there’s about 40 to 45 horses a day.”
More impressive than the number of horses were the two new records set by drivers in separate divisions, Huston said.
Wayne Long set a record of 2:03 in race four, driving 2-year-old filly Southern Sweetie. He also won the first place on Bellas Quick in the first division.
“There were 11 races,” Huston said. “The track was fast. These were good, competitive fields.”
Roger Hammer, driving A OK Hanover, set the record in the Colt Pace second division with a time of 2:00 in the sixth race.
In races five and seven, driver Christopher Shaw finished first with horses El Chivato and Mister Chaos, respectively.
“(Mister Chaos) won easy,” he said. “He was a nice horse to drive and I hope to drive him again.”
Shaw has a total 28 wins in harness races around Pennsylvania and competes in a different fair just about every week, Huston said.
All three drivers won more than $3,000 for each of their victories.
Purses depend on the number of entries and fees submitted prior to the races, according to Huston.
“Today’s purses, rough figure, are almost $30,000 between all the races,” he said. “That’s about what they’ll be racing for the next days.”
Races continue today and Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. at the grandstand racetrack and are free to attend once entered into the fairgrounds.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.