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WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 1, 2019 -- Touchamatic held off challengers inside and out to capture Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. It was the 15th victory this season for Touchamatic, who was driven by Aaron Merriman for trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury. The 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Perfect Touch took the field through a swift 1:21.4 three-quarters but still had enough in the tank to turn back the outside brush of Camera Lady and the Lightning Lane charge of Suddenly Royal. She prevailed in 1:50.2, 1/2 length better than Camera Lady, while McDazzle rallied for show ahead of Suddenly Royal. Touchamatic now boasts career earnings of $388,572. Dave Palone and trainer Scott Betts each enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $3,698.94 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 2, 2019 -- The ancient Greeks considered Nemesis the goddess of retribution, and for trainer Bill Bercury, his horse Major Nemesis often seemed just that, racing himself into repeated trouble when it appeared his speed lay over the field. In recent weeks, however, the 5-year-old Big Bad John-Nassau Loop gelding ripped off an impressive winning streak at Northfield Park and is back at The Meadows to show off his new, mannerly look. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday following a week's post-Adios break, and Major Nemesis and Aaron Merriman have drawn post 4 in the $18,000 Open Handicap Pace, which goes as race 7. First post is 1:05 PM. Bercury purchased Major Nemesis for owner Renee Bercury toward the end of his sophomore campaign on the advice of one of the horse's drivers. Recalls Bill Bercury: "He said to me, 'This is the fastest horse I ever sat behind. If you get him, you'll figure him out.' I didn't think it would take me a year to figure him out, although he's more than paid for himself. He's a wonderful horse to work with. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body." Early on for the Bercurys, Major Nemesis proved fast but furious. Bercury implemented a makeover by treating the horse's feet and throwing away his equipment card. "We took off his shadow roll, his head pole, his Murphy blinds," Bercury reports. "We rigged him with expandable hopples that stretch three inches and give him much more support. Give Aaron credit for that -- it was his idea." The results have been palpable. His four straight victories at Northfield included a pair of sub-1:50 miles in which he was parked most of the way. In his return to The Meadows on Adios Day, he finished fourth off a similar demanding trip. A win Saturday would vault Major Nemesis over $200,000 in career earnings. One of the major impediments will be his stablemate, Carolina Beach, who'll leave from post 5 in the same race. Bercury is pointing Major Nemesis to a pair of stakes for Ohio eligibles later this year, and he's confident that the horse no longer is bent on retribution. ""I qualified him myself and found him to be not that difficult anymore," Bercury says. "I think he's growing up." On the wagering front, Saturday's card features a $6,563.80 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

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        

Wind Of The North trotted home for his 50th career victory, winning the third race at Northfield Park on Monday (December 3). The eight year-old harness racing veteran, with 164 career starts, also has 36 seconds and 21 third-place finishes. Wind Of The North (Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind-Pine Chip) has career earnings of $1,035,258 with a lifetime mark of 1:51 at Pocono Downs at age four. The trotter's richest win was for a purse of $100,000 in the Chip Noble Trot at Scioto Downs in 2015. Wind Of The North is a well-traveled campaigner -- his 50 wins have been spread across 13 different racing surfaces. Wind Of The North was assigned post-8 in the evening's $19,000 Open Handicap Trot. He fired off the gate despite starting from the far outside and led at every call through fractions of :27.2, :57.4, 1:26.2 and 1:55 over a sloppy surface, besting his competition by a 2¼-lengths. He was the race favorite and returned $3.40 to win. William Bercury of Slippery Rock, PA owns and trains Wind Of The North. Aaron Merriman was aboard for the winning drive. Merriman had a big night on Monday winning a total of eight times on the 15-race program. Ayres Ratliff

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. 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, Oct. 16, 2018 -- Wind Of The North, a speedy, rugged and durable trotter throughout his career, vaulted over $1 million in lifetime earnings with an in-hand victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. The 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding has won 47 of his 160 lifetime starts and banked $1,005,098. Wind Of The North retook the lead with a quarter-pole move for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury and had little trouble turning aside the first-over bid of Call For Justice. He scored in 1:55.4, 2-1/2 lengths better than early leader PL Jerico, with Cantab Lindy third. Wind Of The North took his 1:51 mark at Pocono at 4 and enjoyed his most productive years in 2015-2016, when he collected $489,352. In 2015, he won the Chip Noble at Scioto Downs and was second in the Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. Tony Hall piloted three winners on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 2, 2018 -- Wind Of The North turned back the determined uncovered bid of Call For Justice and collected his third straight victory in Tuesday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Wind Of The North had to step lively to reach the leaf from post 7 in 27.3, but when Aaron Merriman gave the 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding a 30.2 second-quarter breather, he was refreshed and ready for Call For Justice's challenge. Wind Of The North downed him by a length in 1:54.3, with the pocket-sitting Classicality third in the Lightning Lane. Bill Bercury trains and owns Wind Of The North, who now boasts $991,598 in career earnings. Dave Palone piloted four winners on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 12, 2018 -- Rebounding from an uncharacteristic break, Barn Girl rolled to an easy front-end victory -- her 28th over the last two seasons -- in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. When Barn Girl jumped it off at Scioto Downs as the 1-2 favorite and finished seventh, it marked the first time in 18 starts that she wasn't first or second. Aaron Merriman remained aggressive with the 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie, gunning her to the point in 27.2. She shrugged off the first-up challenge of Dreamsteeler and defeated her by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.2, with Glidinthruparadise third. Barn Girl is now 55-106 in her career for a gaudy win percentage of 52.4. She's earned $734,668 for trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury. Brady Brown and Merriman each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 28, 2018 -- Delcrest Magicstar, who had been competitive but winless in recent starts against The Meadows distaff elite, took advantage of a drop into a $12,700 condition trot Tuesday with a 5-length romp. Delcrest Magicstar got away second for Brian Zendt but quarter-poled to the point. The 4-year-old daughter of Majestic Son-Star's Balance thwarted the first-over bid of Fireball's Prayers and downed Rose Run Reanna in 1:55.3 while the pocket-sitting Saint Beth finished third. Bill Bercury trains Delcrest Magicstar, who lifted her career bankroll to $172,459, for Renee Bercury. Mike Wilder collected four wins, including a pair for trainer Spencer Kahrig, while Dave Palone enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2018 -- It was another harness racing day at the office for Barn Girl, as she rolled to her 11th victory in 15 starts this season in Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl has finished first or second in each of those 15 outings. Assigned the outside post position as usual, Barn Girl had little trouble grabbing the point for Aaron Merriman, thwarting the first-over bid of her stablemate, Delcrest Magicstar, and downing the pocket-sitting Cincinnati Miss by 1-3/4 lengths in 1: 54.1. Whambamthankumaam rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who extended her career bankroll to $716,158 and her lifetime winning percentage to 51.5, for Renee Bercury. Merriman collected three wins on the 13-race card while Tyler Stillings fashioned an unusual "double-triple" -- three driving victories, three training victories. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, with a special Hambletonian Day post time of 12 noon. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 18, 2018 -- Parked past the quarter in 27.2, Barn Girl still was so dominant that she drew off late and notched her fourth win in the last five starts in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Ready Any Time, who vanquished Barn Girl last week, zipped to the front from post 5, intent on stretching Barn Girl out. But when Aaron Merriman asked the 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie for more, she found it and defeated the rallying Delcrest Magicstar by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54, giving trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury the exacta sweep. Chapter Too finished third. With the victory, Barn Girl vaulted over $700,000 in career earnings. Dave Palone collected five wins on the 14-race card, including a pair for trainer Ron Burke, while Tony Burke enjoyed a triple. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features eliminations for the $450,000 (est) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids as well as a pair of stakes for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, June 25, 2018 -- Wind Of The North stalked Trustworthy Kid from the pocket, then blew by in the Lightning Lane to capture Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Customarily a closer, Trustworthy Kid was on a speed mission, throwing down three-quarters in 1:24.2 and giving the favorites, Lady's Dude and Classicality, little chance to overtake him outside. However, he could not shake Wind Of The North, who surged at the wire for Aaron Merriman and edged Trustworthy Kid by a neck in 1:53.1. Lady's Dude finished third. Bill Bercury owns and trains Wind Of The North, an 8-year-old Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind gelding who now boasts $924,848 in career earnings. Dan Rawlings collected three victories on the 13-race card while Rick Beinhauer notched a training double and a winning drive. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, June 13, 2018 -- Barn Girl thwarted the late challenge of Ready Any Time and went on to capture Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Trot at The Meadows, her eighth win in 11 starts this year and the 50th victory of her career. Barn Girl endured a demanding opening quarter -- three wide in 27.1 -- before reaching the front, a trip that could have made her vulnerable. But in characteristic fashion, she dug in for Aaron Merriman when Ready Any Time loomed boldly and defeated her by 3/4 lengths in 1:54. The pocket-sitting Expose Yourself finished third. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $683,668, for Renee Bercury. It was one four wins on the 13-race program for Merriman. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features a pair of rich total-pool guarantees -- $12,500 for the Pick 4, $5,000 for the Pick 5 -- as well as a $2,404.55 carryover in the day's first Superfecta and a $2,517/70 jackpot in the final-race Super High 5. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, June 2, 2018 -- In a rare battle of millionaires, Dapper Dude got the jump on Dancin Yankee and held him at bay late to capture Saturday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Dapper Dude was drafting in the pocket behind his stablemate, Anythingforlove A, when Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. sent him after the lead past the three-quarters. The 9-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest blew by in a heartbeat, with Dancin Yankee in tow. Dapper Dude downed Dancin Yankee by a head in 1:50 while 56-1 long shot Rock The Nite rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Dapper Dude, who now boasts a career bankroll of $1,242,500, for Renee Bercury. With his place check, Dancin Yankee soared over $1.7 million in lifetime earnings. The Bercurys were at it again in Saturday's co-feature, the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot. There, Barn Girl -- trained by Bill, owned by Renee -- won a heated three-way scrum for the early lead and prevailed in 1:53, a tick off her career best. The 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie now has won $673,668, and she improved her career winning percentage to a nifty 50 -- 49 victories in 98 starts. Dave Palone piloted three winners, including a pair for trainer Mike Palone, on the 12-race card GEORGE BONOMO WINS BILLINGS LEG  WASHINGTON, PA, June 2, 2018 -- 'Chicago' George Bonomo squeezed off the cones with Time Outa Jail down the backside, gobbled up the tiring leader and captured Saturday's $10,000 leg of the C.K.G. Billings amateur trot at The Meadows in a 10-1/4-length romp. Once Bonomo and Time Outa Jail found racing room, they surged past Mike "The Mortgage Man" Mitchell and Ki Ki Canolli and scored in 1:58. Bob "The Lumberman" Troyer was second with JLS Too Hot Taj while Michelle "The Belle" Ruvola and Better Call Saul rallied from a backside break to earn show. When Ruvola finished third, she assured that family bragging rights would remain with Bonomo, her father -- at least until the next Billings event. Christ Hershberger trains Time Outa Jail, a 7-year-old Jailhouse Jesse-Two Timer gelding who extended his career bankroll to $252,533, for 'Chicago' George and Rose Bonomo. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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 

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