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Columbus, OH --- When Bill Bercury took his future wife, Renee, out on their first date, he selected The Meadows as his venue of choice. For two people that were not involved in harness racing in any way, shape or form, it’s pretty darn ironic their lifetime commitment has not only included a magnificent relationship, but two of The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association’s 2017 award winners in Barn Girl and Dapper Dude. “Neither one of us knew anything about horses,” Bercury said. “But we did know we liked them. I just thought it was a good place to take someone on a first date because everything was there for us. Who would have thought this would ever happen? And it is because I do have such a wonderful wife; she has never been anything but supportive of the horses.” When the Bercurys had the opportunity to acquire world champion Barn Girl in Nov. 2016, they did not hesitate. After all, the daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie was a veritable winning machine and had already amassed $315,146 while competing in the New York Excelsior Series, New York Sire Stakes and Open events at The Meadows. “She came up for sale because Ron Burke had so many good female trotters, like Hannelore Hanover, he was thinking he couldn’t get them all raced,” Bercury said. “I am so grateful and fortunate we could get her. She is tied for the world record on a half-mile track at Northfield (1:53) and she just loves to race; she loves to pass horses.” With a record of 90-43-17-16 and $583,368 in the bank, Barn Girl, a 6-year-old, has demonstrated her ability on many occasions and will continue to do so in 2018 as The MSOA's defending champion older trotting mare. “She is nervous and is like that all the time,” Bercury said. “She can be tough to deal with and when she bites, she bites hard and when she kicks it is with purpose, but she is easy to drive. Aaron Merriman has done a great job with her and really loves her.” The Bercurys also own Dapper Dude, The MSOA's older pacing horse/gelding of the year. The 9-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest defeated world champion Sweet Lou to claim the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship in 2012. Dapper Dude also finished ahead of that rival, but behind Thinking Out Loud and Time To Roll in that year’s $1,470,000 North America Cup final. State Treasurer, A Rock N Roll Dance, Pet Rock and Warrawee Needy were also in his wake. “When I first heard he was up for sale (in 2015) I was outbid on him,” Bercury said. “So when I heard he was up for sale again (in 2016) I jumped on it and didn’t ask any questions. He is such a great horse to be around. You can do anything with him and he has excellent manners; he’s just a joy to be around.” To date, Dapper Dude has amassed $1.18 million and sports a resume of 158-42-28-30. He, like Barn Girl, will remain primarily in the Keystone State for this year’s campaign. “We are not going to do the Miss Versatility Series with Barn Girl this year,” Bercury said. “It just didn’t work out for her last year and we think she is a second tier mare, but a very good second tier. We might go to Miami Valley with her, but otherwise she will stay close to home. With Dapper Dude, we will also keep him here; he’s right there every time.” The Bercurys, however, may have a fortuitous issue as two of their six horses will likely have to compete against one another as their newly acquired world champion, Wind Of The North, will most likely have to take on Barn Girl yet again. “I think he is just going to have a great season,” Bercury said. “Not that I don’t think Barn Girl or Dapper Dude won’t and I also have two 4-year-olds I think will do well, but I think this horse is going to do really well. He fits in perfectly with our stable and has his own paddock he goes out in every day, like everyone else, and he seems really happy. He is another horse that is great to be around and you can do anything with. He’s the only one I own, as Renee owns all the rest of our horses. And he has already beaten Barn Girl.” No matter what the future holds for the Bercury stable, Bill credits Renee for a majority of their success. “She is never afraid to take a chance,” he said. “I have to give her a lot of credit for seeing opportunities and believing in them with the horses. And we have our motto and stick to it: harness racing is fun. That is just what we believe in and how we approach it.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Hightstown, NJ --- Photography allows Chris Gooden to enjoy two of his passions. “I love being able to make art,” Gooden said. “And I’m a really tech-nerdy geek guy, so I love equipment. “Both sides go together and make me love my job.” Gooden is in his 16th year as the fulltime track photographer at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, he won the George Smallsreed Award for outstanding harness racing action photography with “Shadow Racing,” which appeared in the December issue of Hoof Beats magazine. The photograph was taken from a drone and captured horses -- as well as their shadow counterparts -- battling three wide just after the three-quarter-mile point of a race at The Meadows. Gooden’s inspiration for the shot came from a story he read online. “It was about a family photographer that had shot the same family for years and years,” Gooden said. “They wanted to come up with something different, so they decided to use a drone for their photo. It was at the time of day when the shadows would be perfectly stretched out. They were all holding hands together, so you see this line of people and the shadows holding hands. I thought it would be really interesting if I could come up with a way to do that during a race. “I looked at the track and could tell where I needed to fly the drone so the shadows would be falling away from the horses. With drones, when you take photos it’s not like a regular camera where I can take 10 photos a second. I get one shot at it. I took a sample shot and it was OK, but there wasn’t anything special about it. I adjusted the drone a little and as the horses were coming around I fired off one shot and that’s the shot I ended up getting. “I liked the fact they were three wide because it gives so much more depth than just horses in a line. I was really surprised that I got the shot that I did. It worked out perfectly.” Gooden grew up in western Pennsylvania, not far from The Meadows. He developed his interest in photography after taking a trip to Utah. “I wanted to buy a camera to take with me because I knew it was going to be pretty,” Gooden said. “I’d used my dad’s growing up, but not a huge amount. So I bought a camera, I was in my 20s, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if there was one thing about that trip, but I think I just fell in love with being behind the camera.” When he returned from his trip, Gooden began shooting sports at California University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, he started assisting track photographer Doug Bishop at The Meadows before taking over on a fulltime basis five years later. “I really enjoy the horse racing,” Gooden said. “I love horses. I’m a big animal right’s person, so it’s good to see the way everyone takes care of their animals. I know a lot of people look down on that, but I see a lot more than the average everyday person on what goes on and how important horses are to people.” In addition to taking photos, Gooden is active on social media, notably with live feeds on Facebook. “Social media has been the perfect outlet to get out as much content as possible,” Gooden said. “It’s worked out well. With the advent of live feeds, all that stuff, it really helps me get a lot of different things out; be able to do some video work, some photography work.” No matter the outlet, no matter the technology, Gooden is having a good time. “I can’t draw. I can’t paint. The only other artistic thing I did was play drums until I graduated high school,” Gooden said. “My eye for photography makes me view the world differently than most people do. I’ve always noticed that I pay attention more, like if I’m driving down the road or somewhere. I always look at the photography aspect of things rather than just looking at them. “There are many, many times where I’ve pulled over to take photos because something looked good. It happens quite often, actually. I guess I’m just a photographer at heart.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 27, 2018 -- Dont Rush got the jump on his stablemate, Lars Perry, and had little trouble holding him off late to capture Saturday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Conditioned Trot. Lars Perry got the early lead, but once Dont Rush quarter-poled to the front for Aaron Merriman, he cruised home in 1:56.2 over a "good" surface to down Lars Perry by a length. Mac Deeno finished third. It was an exacta sweep for trainer Richard Perfido and owner Thomas Mattingly. A 6-year-old son of Infinitif-Color Me Pretty, Dont Rush lifted his lifetime bankroll to $650,140. Dave Palone and trainer Cory Kreiser teamed for a pair of victories on the eight-race card while Jim Pantaleano also enjoyed a double. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Less than three weeks after an announcement about a new integrity initiative being launched by the Woodbine Entertainment Group and track owner Jeff Gural, leading trainer Ron Burke had a horse test high for blood-gas levels at The Meadows on Monday, Jan. 22, in a pre-race test. Per Pennsylvania’s rules, a horse which tests high is scratched and suspended from racing for 30 days. The trainer is also suspended for 30 days and is fined $1,000. A positive TCO2 test in Pennsylvania is appealable. Burke declined to comment. Besides the fact that a 30-day suspension would require his stable to be managed by another trainer if the positive is upheld, Burke’s TCO2 positive could also be a problem for his horses competing in stakes at Woodbine tracks and the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs, which are owned by Gural. With the rules initially suggested for the new Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative, if a horse received a Class 1, II, TCO2 or steroid positive in 2018, the owner or owners of that horse would be banned from competing in stakes with any horse in which they own at least a 25 percent share. By Kathy Parker www.harnessracing.com To read the full article in harnessracing.com click on this link.  

Harrisburg, PA - A Standardbred horse at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County tested positive yesterday for equine herpes virus, or EHV-1, making it the second confirmed case in the state this month. Last week, veterinarians with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine confirmed a case at the school's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Chester County. The Washington County horse tested positive after it was moved to the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine for diagnostic tests. Veterinarians report that the horse is responding well to treatment. As a precaution, two barns at the Meadows racetrack have been quarantined to control any potential spread of the virus. Trainers are monitoring two of approximately 60 potentially exposed horses in the quarantined barns that presented with elevated temperatures. No additional horses at the racetrack have shown signs of clinical illness, but the movement of horses into or out of the track has been restricted until all horses receive a clean bill of health. The Meadows Racetrack was closed yesterday due to a power outage and poor track conditions, but reopened today. Clinically healthy horses are being allowed to jog around the track to stay in shape. Pending improvement in track conditions, all non-quarantined horses should be eligible to race again on Saturday. In the New Bolton Center case last week, a 30-year-old horse developed symptoms compatible with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy, or EHM, then tested positive for EHV-1 on January 16. A second horse, housed in an adjacent barn, also developed a fever and later tested positive for EHV-1. The second horse was moved to a state-of-the-art, on-site isolation facility with dedicated staff who are entirely separate from personnel handling other horses. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture contacted owners and quarantined other potentially exposed horses that left the New Bolton Center prior to confirming the EHM diagnosis. To control the spread of the virus, Orders of Special Quarantine were posted at other Pennsylvania premises that had recently received potentially exposed horses. In addition to increased biosecurity, these locations are required to conduct twice daily temperature checks, monitor, and report any horses showing signs of EHV-1 infection. No new cases have been identified since the original diagnosis. EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that commonly circulates in horse populations. Depending on the specific strain of the virus, the equine herpes virus can cause a variety of clinical signs in infected horses, including respiratory disease or abortion in pregnant mares. The EHM form of the disease can cause horses to suffer varying degrees of paralysis and ataxia; in severe cases, the infected horse may be euthanized. While EHV-1 can cause illness in horses, other equine animals and camelids (llamas and alpacas), it does not pose a health threat to people or other animals. Unless a new case is detected, all horses can be cleared after 28 days without symptoms, or after 21 days with confirmation of negative test results for both blood samples and nasal swab tests. Experts note that many horses carry a latent form of the herpes virus, and symptoms may not appear unless the animal is stressed. Although horses are vaccinated for other strains of the equine herpes virus, there is no existing vaccine for the EHV-1 strain of the virus. For more information about equine herpes, please refer to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Bonnie McCann - 717.783.0133

More than 60 harness racing horses are being quarantined at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino because of a contagious virus. The Equine Disease Communication Center reported Wednesday a Disease Oubreak Alert regarding Equine Herpes Virus at The Meadows. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture was notified that a Standardbred horse at The Meadows had showed clinical signs consistent with Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy. The horse tested positive for EHV-1 and is under medical treatment. Two barns at The Meadows are under quarantine because of a horse moved earlier from the original exposed barn. The horse, which caused the second barn’s movement restriction, is not showing clinical signs of the virus. A daily monitoring period for clinical signs in the remaining exposed, asymptomatic horses is ongoing. EVH-1 can cause four manifestations of disease in horses, including a neurological form, respiratory disease, abortion and neonatal death. EHM is most often caused by mutant or neuropathogenic strains of EHV-1, so called because of a particular mutation in the genome. The Meadows canceled its harness racing card Tuesday citing a power failure. The track’s Wednesday card was called off with the track citing poor track conditions as the cause. The track does not have another racing card scheduled until Saturday afternoon. Jim McNutt Reprinted with permission of the Observer-Reporter  

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 22, 2018 -- Mike The Trader survived a fumbly-gaited start -- and the ensuing judges' inquiry -- to capture Monday's harness racing co-feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Trot. His tardy beginning left Mike The Trader away sixth, but he followed the live cover of Jumpinthejailhouse for Brady Brown and rallied wide in the lane to score in 1:56. Early leader Bowdie De Vie finished second, beaten a neck, while Jumpinthejailhouse persevered for show. Gerald Lee, Jr. trains Mike The Trader, an 11-year-old SJ's Photo-Penn Peachi Lane gelding who extended his career bankroll to $433,729, for Gerald Lee. In Monday's co-feature, a $13,000 Conditioned Pace, Nimble And Quick endured a 26.4 opening panel over a "good" surface to triumph in 1:52.2 for Brian Zendt, trainer Brad Irvine and owner Kevin Wallis. The 5-year-old Western Ideal-Cam Swifty gelding now boasts lifetime earnings of $213,335. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 19, 2018 -- It was a new race but the same script for Classicality and Wind Of The North, as Classicality defeated his rival for the third straight time in Friday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. In their first two match-ups, Classicality got the early lead and forced Wind Of The North to chase him home. That was the case again Friday when Classicality quarter-poled to the front for Brian Zendt and downed Wind Of The North by 3/4 lengths in 1:53.3 over a "good" surface. Lady's Dude finished third. Lisa Dunn owns and trains Classicality, an 8-year-old Classic Photo-Penn Worthy Lane gelding who now boasts $547,492 in career earnings. Dave Palone piloted five winners, including a pair for trainer Wayne Hite, on the 12-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 18, 2018 -- Camera Lady got her picture taken again Thursday at The Meadows when she swooped the harness racing field in the final quarter to capture the $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. Following her November acquisition by trainer Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Camera Lady won five of six starts but didn't face the track's elite distaff pacers. She checked off that box when she rallied from last for Mike Wilder, erasing a 4-1/2-length deficit, and triumphed in 1:54.1 over a "good" surface. Early leader Graceful Vision was second, 2-1/4 lengths back, with Fox Valley Charm third. The 4-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Ann Van Go lifted her career bankroll to $128,603. It was one of four wins for Wilder, including a pair for Burke, on the 12-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues with a special Friday card, first post 5:30 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 17, 2018 -- Shark Gal was first over forever, but she still had enough in the tank to draw off in the lane en route to victory in Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $12,700 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. Trainer/driver Wilbur Yoder had Shark Gal moving from sixth before the half. The 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture-Daybreak Gal steadily gobbled up horses and cleared into the final turn. She scored in 1:56.4 over a "good" surface, 4-1/2 lengths better than the rallying Gurl Band K, with Upfrontwhosurlady third. Lester Wright campaigns Shark Gal, who extended her career bankroll to $142,362. Mike Wilder collected three wins on the 13-race program. Live racing at The Meadows continues with a special Thursday card, first post 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 16, 2018 -- After unsuccessfully challenging Phoenix Warrior N down the backside, Arthur Pendragon tried him again late, inching by in the lane to capture Tuesday's $18,000 harness racing winners over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Arthur Pendragon and Mike Wilder pulled the pocket past the half, only to find Phoenix Warrior N unwilling to yield. Wilder was able to guide Arthur Pendragon back to the two hole, where he launched the winning move. The 5-year-old Dragon Again-Western Realist gelding downed Phoenix Warrior N by 3/4 lengths in 1:54.1 over a "good" surface, with Dapper Dude third. Ron Burke trains Arthur Pendragon, who lifted his career bankroll to $175,210, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phillip Collura and Jack Piatt II. Wilder piloted five winners and Jim Pantaleano four on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 10, 2018 -- Whambamthankumaam skyrocketed to the front with a quick backside burst that caught the field flat footed, and she rolled to a convincing 11-1 victory in Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Whambamthankumaam was third when trainer/driver Greg Wright, Jr. sent her after the leader, Dreamsteeler. The 5-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Mojo N The Morning opened a daylight lead and prevailed in 1:56.3 over a "good" surface. Homepage, who was left without cover when the winner drew away, soldiered on and finished second, 3-1/2 lengths back, while RV Janet was a ground-saving third. Thomas Mucci campaigns Whambamthankumaam, who extended her career bankroll to $124,504. Live racing at The Meadows resumes with a special Thursday card, first post 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 9, 2018 -- Graceful Vision overpowered the leader, Fox Valley Charm, with an impressive first-over move that carried her to a comfortable harness racing victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Graceful Vision was fifth down the backside when Jim Pantaleano unleashed her. The 5-year-old daughter of Yankee Cruiser-Vision Of Grace cleared and crossed over before the three-quarters, rolling home in 1:55 over a "good" surface. Cruzin Coco rallied for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Fox Valley Charm saved show. Doug Snyder trains Graceful Vision, who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for Frank Poerio, Jr. Pantaleano collected four wins and Dave Palone three on the 12-race card.  THE MEADOWS ADDS $15,000 GUARANTEE FOR WEDNESDAY PICK 5 On Wednesday, Jan. 10, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $6,946.39. In addition, Wednesday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 8-12) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Wednesday’s program is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 8, 2018 -- Phoenix Warrior N notched his second straight harness racing victory when he retook at the quarter and sailed home from there in Monday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Phoenix Warrior N released Arthur Pendragon to the lead but quickly reassumed control for Dan Rawlings. He kept Arthur Pendragon at bay with a 27.3 final panel and downed him by a length in 1:52.3 over a "good" surface. Hawk's Red Chief finished third. Scott Betts trains Phoenix Warrior N, an 8-year-old Jereme's Jet-Never Walk Alone gelding who extended his career bankroll to $220,693, for Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Stephen Moss. Dave Palone and trainer Marcus Marashian teamed for three victories on the 13-race card while Mike Wilder and trainer Norm Parker also enjoyed triples. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 4, 2018 -- A "win machine" in 2017 with 15 victories, Barn Girl launched the new year in her customary fashion with a harness racing front-end score in Thursday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl zipped to the front from post 7 for Aaron Merriman and easily turned back the first-over bid of Dreamsteeler. The 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie held off the late challenge of the third-over Classical Annie to defeat her by a neck in 1:56.4 over a "good" surface. Lady Ping finished third. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $579,868, for Renee Bercury. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Merriman each collected a triple on the 12-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday when the program features a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 2, 2018 -- Phoenix Warrior N stalked Lincolnjames from the pocket, then blew by him in the Lightning Lane to capture Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing winners over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. In the season-opening featured race, with the weather frigid but sunny, Lincolnjames quarter-poled to the front and turned back the first-over challenge of Nimble And Quick. But he was no match for Phoenix Warrior N, who knifed inside for Dan Rawlings and scored in 1:54.2 over a "good" surface, 1-1/4 lengths better than Lincolnjames, with Atta Boy Dan third. Scott Betts trains Phoenix Warrior N, an 8-year-old Jereme's Jet-Never Walk Alone gelding who extended his career bankroll to $211,693, for Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Stephen Moss. Aaron Merriman and Mike Wilder each collected four wins on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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