Day At The Track
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WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 10, 2018 -- Aided by a second-quarter breather, Dayson drew away from the pocket-sitting Wind Of The North in the lane and captured Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Dayson was looped from the gate and had to work hard for the lead on a subfreezing day. But the 5-year-old Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus gelding was refreshed by the 30.3 second panel Dave Palone gave him and downed Wind Of The North by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:56.3. TSM Photo Bugger rallied for show. Ron Burke trains Dayson, who lifted his career bankroll to $987,712, for Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Rossie Smith. Dan Rawlings collected three wins on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows  

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 8, 2018 -- Anythingforlove A opened up a 4-length lead at the three-quarters and cruised home to capture Saturday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. After four consecutive pocket trips had produced seconds and thirds, Anythingforlove A took matters into his own hands by blasting to the front for Aaron Merriman and settling matters early. He scored in 1:53.1, 3/4 lengths better than the first-over Hawk's Red Chief, with Dapper Dude third. Bill Bercury trains the winner, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven-The Perfect Mona gelding who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for Renee Bercury. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners and Mike Wilder three on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the program features a $1,875.60 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows        

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 6, 2018 -- Growing up in Dublin, Jack Killeen watched American harness racing on YouTube, passionately followed the careers of such greats as Somebeachsomewhere and Foiled Again and dreamed of coming to the U.S. to make his living as a Standardbred driver. The 18-year-old has taken an important step to realizing that dream through a stint as a driver at The Meadows. Killeen will wrap up his first American sojourn Saturday at The Meadows when he pilots Stirling Escort from post 6 in race 13. First post is 1:05 PM. Killeen was introduced to harness racing by his father, a builder who campaigns horses at Dublin's Portmarnock Raceway as a hobby. The younger Killeen was inspired enough to complete farrier school and begin work as a blacksmith, picking up drives where he could. The problem: For most of the year, Portmarnock races only on Sundays, hardly enough to support a full-time driver -- or a full-time blacksmith. "I shoe Standardbreds, ponies, Clydesdales -- everything," he says. Killeen, however, saw an opportunity when he met Heather and Mike Wilder, who were in Dublin this past summer for the annual Vincent Delaney Memorial festival of races. Impressed by the sincerity of the young Irishman, the Wilders agreed to introduce him to The Meadows horsemen if he came to America. Killeen landed in the States in mid-September, found an apartment and began helping horsemen in the mornings. They remembered it, and Killeen soon earned assignments from trainers such as Paul Corey, Kevin Johnson and Sarah Andrews. He's made the most of those limited drives, compiling a highly respectable .268 UDR in 22 starts. He notched his first domestic win in only his sixth start. Even more impressive than his statistics is Killeen's poise. An 18-year-old intimidated by the situation could respond by driving too aggressively or too passively. But Killeen operates more like a veteran, leaving when he should, ducking when that seems best, keeping his horses alive for checks. "You can't be nervous out there. At least, I'm trying not to be nervous," he says. "Things are different here. In Ireland, we have half-mile tracks. Here, you have tracks of different sizes, which leads to different driving styles. The slanted starting gate is very different." Though Killeen will return to Dublin on Monday, it isn't lack of drives or homesickness that's prompting the move. Rather, his application for an appropriate visa hasn't been approved yet, so he can't stay longer this time. "I'm going to miss him terribly; he's become a part of our family," Heather Wilder says. "I'm hoping he'll back by the end of the year, but the visa process is tricky, and it could take longer than that for approval." If his visa doesn't come through, Killeen says he might pursue one for work in Canada, where the red tape may be less thick. But he's targeting Dec. 31 for his return to The Meadows so he can be here for the career finale of one of his YouTube heroes. "I'd like to see that," Killeen says. "I watched Foiled Again for so long, and I finally got to meet him here." On Friday, The Meadows will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the opening of its Harmar facility with daylong food and beverage specials, giveaways and contests with cash and merchandise prizes. Roger Huston and horsemen Jeremy Indof, Dan Rawlings and Mike Wilder will mingle with fans from 12 noon to 3 PM. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 21, 2018 -- Trailing by 6 lengths at the three-quarters, My Cherry Pie turned on the jets in the lane and pulled off a 7-1 upset in Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Making her Meadows debut for trainer Dane Snyder and owners Linwood Higgins, Jason Ash, Vicki Gordon and Liz Flohr, was content to sit in and let Ready Any time front a comfortable 58.1 half. When Mike Wilder asked her for trot, the 4-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover-CR Ms American Pie found another gear and edged Ready Any Time by a head in 1:56.1. Expose Yourself finished third. My Cherry Pie extended her career bankroll to $143,666. Dave Palone, trainer Spencer Kahrig and Wilder each fashioned a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, first post 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 20, 2018 -- Last by 8 lengths at the half, Cracklin Rosie followed a line of cover to the final turn, then roared wide through the lane to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Cracklin Rosie was third in a cover flow that seemed excessive. But when Jim Pantaleano tipped her wide for the drive, she showed she's no "store-bought woman" -- as Neil Diamond's 1970 chart-topper Cracklin Rosie had it -- and erased the last 3-1/2 lengths of her deficit, scoring in 1:55.4 over a sloppy surface. Jewels Forreal shot the Lightning Lane for second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while the first-over McDazzle finished third. Scott Betts trains the 5-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover-Honey's Bud Lite, who extended her career bankroll to $225,846, for Tim Betts, Stephen Moss, Nicholas Catalano and Pedro Baez III. It was one of three wins on the 13-race card for Pantaleano. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 19, 2018 -- Wind Of The North survived a 27.3 opening quarter in the slop and collected his 14th win this year in Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. After Aaron Merriman gave Wind Of The North a 30.3 second-panel breather, the 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding had enough in the tank to hold off the rallying Classic Banker by a head in 1:56.1. The pocket-sitting PL Jerico finished third. Bill Bercury trains and owns Wind Of The North, who now boasts 49 victories and $1,026,058 in earnings for his career. Elsewhere on the card, It's A Dew Thing lit up the tote board when he scored at 96-1 for Chris Shaw, trainer Norm Parker and owner Tom Klosky, Jr. The 5-year-old Western Ideal-Artbitration gelding returned $228 for a $2 win-place-show ticket and set up a double-carryover of $5,888.89 for Tuesday's Pick 5 and a $1,629.04 for Tuesday's first superfecta, currently scheduled for race 2. Mike Micallef, Jim Pantaleano and Merriman each piloted a pair of winners on the 13-race program. Big-score wagering opportunities will abound Tuesday at The Meadows, as the card features four carryovers. They include: Pick 5 (races 9-13), two-day carryover of $5,888.89. Pick 4 (races 4-7), $3,905.52. The Meadows, in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative, will guarantee this pool at $5,000 as it does for each Monday and Tuesday Pick 4. Superfecta (race 2), $1,639.04. Should a scratch or scratches leave the second race with fewer than eight wagering interests, the carryover will be applied to the first superfecta with at least eight wagering interests. Super Hi-5 (race 13), $670.20. First post Tuesday is 1:05 PM by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 18, 2018 -- The holidays will be merrier at The Meadows this year, as the track will offer six series for $10,000 and $20,000 claimers, each with two preliminary legs and a final. Purses for preliminary legs range from $8,000 to $16,000 while championships will be worth $15,000 ($10,000 claimers) and $25,000 ($20,000 claimers). All championship legs are set for Monday, Dec. 31, when the track will host a special New Year's Eve twilight card that gets underway at 5: 30 PM. That program also is expected to feature the final race of Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred ever with more than $7.5 million in earnings, who faces mandatory Jan. 1 retirement when he turns 15. A ceremony and festivities to honor Foiled Again are in the works. Nominations and fees -- $100 for $10,000 claiming series, $150 for $20,000 claiming series -- are due by Dec. 1. Nomination forms are available at www.meadowsgaming.com and through the office of the race secretary, 724.225.9897. The six series, along with opening-leg dates, are: $10,000 Claiming Pace, fillies and mares, Dec.11 $10,000 Claiming Pace, colts, horses and geldings, Dec. 15 $10,000 Claiming Trot, open, Dec. 12 $20,000 Claiming Pace, fillies and mares, Dec. 11 $20,000 Claiming Pace, colts, horses and geldings, Dec. 15 $20,000 Claiming Trot, open, Dec. 12 by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 17, 2018 -- Windsong Leo sprinted to the early lead, then withstood two challenges late to collect his 17th harness racing victory this year -- and help Dave Palone to a six-bagger -- in Saturday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Always A Prince and Southwind Amazon are the "winningest" horses in 2018 at the Meadows with 19 victories apiece. Windsong Leo endured a 27 opening quarter, but when Palone gave him a 29.2 second-panel breather, he had enough to hold off the bids of Anythingforlove A in the Lightning Lane and Phoenix Warrior N outside. The 6-year-old Jereme's Jet-Windsong Goldie gelding prevailed in 1:51.2, 1/2 length better than Anythingforlove A, with Phoenix Warrior N third. Ron Burke trains Windsong Leo, who now boasts $378,650 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Aaron Merriman and Burke each enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features a $1,668.32 Pick 5 carryover and a Super Hi-5 jackpot of $260.50. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 14, 2018 -- The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has announced the following draw schedule for the Thanksgiving period: RACE DATE                  DRAW Saturday, Nov. 24           Monday, Nov. 19 Monday, Nov 26             Tuesday, Nov. 20 Tuesday, Nov. 27           Wednesday, Nov. 21 Wednesday, Nov. 28      Friday, Nov. 23 In addition, qualifying races will not be conducted Thanksgiving week. Please contact the race office, 724.225.9897, for more information or questions. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 15, 2018 -- In horse racing, Dr. Howard Weir, Jr. is a rare bird. He's a Thoroughbred veterinarian who owns, trains, breeds and campaigns Standardbreds. Innocent Victim, the only horse currently racing for Weir, goes Saturday at The Meadows in race 12, post 8, for Dave Palone. First post is 1:05 PM. A native of Butler, PA, Weir was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1975. After locating in Canfield, OH, where he still resides, Weir focused his practice on horses. He makes farm calls, and he's an assistant state veterinarian at Mountaineer Park, a Thoroughbred venue in West Virginia about 45 miles south of Weir's home. "My main duty at Mountaineer," he says, "is to examine all horses scheduled to race that evening to make sure they're sound. I scratch any of them I don't think should race." Despite the satisfaction he gets helping Thoroughbreds, when it comes to ownership, Weir prefers the more hands-on experience the Standardbred game allows. "When you own Standardbreds, you can do many things yourself," he says. "I can jog them four miles myself, train them three tips myself, plus the Canfield Fairgrounds are right here. I'm not at the mercy of exercise riders or jockeys and their schedules. I may go three or four months without a racehorse, then I'll claim one." In addition to Innocent Victim, Weir owns two broodmares and a pair of weanlings that he'll train down at the fairgrounds. It's a wonder Weir is involved with horses of any breed after a horrific 2003 incident that occurred when he was gelding a horse at Mountaineer Park for the late Dale Baird, the all-time "winningest" Thoroughbred trainer with 9,445 victories. The patient took exception to the procedure and kicked Weir in the leg. "I don't think the horse saw what I was doing, and I don't think the knife hurt him," Weir recalls. "I believe he was reacting to the noise of the emasculator." Intentional or not, the blow sheared off part of Weir's left knee -- tibial crest fracture was the official diagnosis -- and left him with a limp that persists to this day. The horse's situation wasn't much better, as the surgery was only half complete. Immobilized by his injury, Weir persuaded the reluctant Baird to complete the surgery lest the horse bleed out. "I told Dale that the horse didn't mean to kick me. He said, 'Naw, that horse was looking right at you. He wanted to kick you.' Eventually, Dale finished the procedure." But the story wasn't done. The horse went on to become a successful performer in allowance company at Mountaineer Park until he broke down on the track several years later. "They paged me, figuring I would want to put him down because he had hurt me. I didn't feel that way. He was a good horse who didn't mean to kick me." Once he determined that the animal was suffering and his condition hopeless, Weir euthanized him, ending a tale of strange, dark intimacy between horse and veterinarian. It's a story Weir remembers with each labored step. "That leg is crooked and shorter than the other, and there's a lot of hardware -- screws and plates -- in there. The University of Pittsburgh says it will build me a new knee if the pain becomes too much, but I'm still trying to limp along." by Evan Paddok, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 14, 2018 -- You're Majestic stalked the leader from the pocket, then poured through the Lightning Lane to capture Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. You're Majestic left alertly for trainer/driver Doug Snyder, enabling her to claim the pocket behind Rose Run Sydney. As they turned for home, You're Majestic knifed inside and held off the rallying Delcrest Magicstar by a head in 1:55.3 while Rose Run Sydney saved show. Frank Poerio, Jr. owns You're Majestic, a 6-year-old daughter of Majestic Son-You're Adorable who now boasts $497,462 in career earnings. Brady Brown piloted three winners on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 13, 2018 -- Jewels Forreal stalked her stablemate, McDazzle, from the pocket, then roared past in the Lightning Lane to spring an 8-1 upset in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. McDazzle, who was bidding to extend her winning streak to four, turned back a stern third-quarter challenge from Easy Three. But that effort may have weakened her, as the 3-year-old Jewels Forreal had little trouble downing her 4-year-old stablemate by 1/2 length for Mike Wilder in 1:54.2 over a "good" surface. Keystone Riptide completed the ticket. Ron Burke trains Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal-Dandy's Jewel who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $169,313, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer Karen Fread enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 12, 2018 -- Wind Of The North won a four-ply battle for the early lead, then held off the challengers late to prevail in Monday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows, one of five victories for Aaron Merriman on the 13-race card. Merriman gave Wind Of The North a 29.1 breather after that spirited opening panel, enabling him to withstand the determined first-over bid of Classic Banker and down him by 1/2 length in 1:55. PL Jerico rallied for show. Bill Bercury owns and trains Wind Of The North, an 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $1,016,258. Merriman, who added a pair of seconds and a fifth in his eight drives, also scored for trainers Sarah Andrews, Robert Barnard, Spencer Kahrig and Gerald Lee, Jr. Jim Pantaleano also enjoyed a big Monday with three wins. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features a pair of carryovers -- $1,952,89 for the Pick 5 and $871.60 for the Super Hi-5. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadowlands

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 10, 2018 -- Atta Boy Dan moved relentlessly first over to capture his second straight harness racing victory in Saturday's feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Pace. Atta Boy Dan was fourth down the backside when Dave Palone sent him after the leader, Nitro Seelster. The two dueled for nearly one-quarter mile before Atta Boy Dan edged away and downed his rival by 3/4 lengths in 1:52, with Gallant Seelster third. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, a 9-year-old Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot gelding who won for the 49th time and extended his career bankroll to $720,202, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Palone and Burke each enjoyed a three-bagger on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 8, 2018 -- At 13, Mainland Key N probably has reached an age where he'd rather kick back, nosh carrots and binge-watch Season 3 of Mr. Ed. But trainers keep claiming him -- he's performed for eight of them this season alone -- so the old boy keeps working . . . and keeps producing. In fact, when he goes forward in Saturday's third race at The Meadows, he'll be looking to edge closer to $900,000 in career earnings, an impressive bank account for a hard knocker. He'll leave from post 8 for Dan Rawlings and owner/trainer John Sullivan. First post is 1:05 PM. Mainland Key N had 26 starts and a little more than $20,000 on his card when he was imported from New Zealand. He sparkled stateside, competing against some of the best. The son of Shiney Key-Eastwood Bluejeans enjoyed his finest season in 2011 when he banked more than $200,000 and sprang a 32-1 upset in a leg of the prestigious George Morton Levy Series. He's taken season's marks at five different venues -- Dover Downs, Harrington, Harrah's Philadelphia, The Meadows, Yonkers -- indicating that he never had to take his racetrack with him to succeed. While he's stayed largely sound, diminishing speed has forced trainers to race him where he can win -- in claimers. That's how he ended up in eight stables this year -- 10, if you count the two stints each for trainers Kevin Johnson and Marcus Marashian. Sullivan grabbed him Oct. 6 for $10,000. "I wasn't concerned that he's 13," Sullivan says. "He still has a whole year to race, and he's pretty sound. I had a couple other horses in for $10,000, and this guy was always beating me. He'd already earned about $50,000 this year, so I figured he had to be worth $10,000. He still starts 30 to 40 times a year, and he's definitely a classy old horse. He has to be, to have made that kind of money." Mainland Key N has seven wins this year and has hit the board in 21 of 33 outings, but he's had little recent luck with post positions. Counting Saturday's race, he's drawn post 6 or deeper for nine of his last 10 races, prompting Sullivan to make a change. "He loses interest when he gets away towards the back, so I dropped him to the $7,000-$8,000 Claiming Handicap. Sure enough, he drew post 8 again." Sullivan, by the way, has become something of the go-to guy for geriatrics. He also trains 9-year-old Thiswayorthehighwy, who's banked $212,651, and Sam Hill, a fan favorite who at age 12 has earned $634,827 and continues to compete in fast classes. "I try to get them back together and do what I can for them," Sullivan says. "I think I've helped a couple of them. They have bumps and bruises, so you have to pick your spots when you train them. But they're warhorses. They know what to do." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino today announced changes involving guarantees for its daily Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 10, The Meadows no longer will offer pool guarantees for each Pick 4 and Pick 5 wager. Instead, the track, in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative, will offer a $5,000 total-pool Pick 4 guarantee on Mondays and Tuesdays only. While there will be no scheduled Pick 5 guarantees, The Meadows indicated it may add "instant" Pick 4 and Pick 5 guarantees when pools are carried over. Each live card at The Meadows features a Pick 4 (races 4-7), a Pick 5 (final five races) and a Super Hi-5 (final race). by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 7, 2018 -- Dramatically changing tactics, Expose Yourself rallied from far back to capture her third straight victory in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Expose Yourself got away first or second in each of her last five starts. On Wednesday, however, she ducked for Mike Wilder and was 6 lengths back when she launched her second-over move. The 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Muscle Shirt roared wide through the lane to score in 1:55.3, a length better than Glidinthruparadise. The first-over Rose Run Sydney finished third. Ron Burke trains Expose Yourself, who extended her career bankroll to $154,561, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano collected three wins on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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