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WASHINGTON, PA, July 4, 2020 -- Heavily favored It's Academic cruised to a 5-3/4-length victory in Saturday's $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadows. When Sister Sledge and Crucial waltzed to similarly easy wins in the $64,594 filly division -- each in stake-record time -- they gave harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke a Currier & Ives sweep. Burke's big day didn't end there. He started horses in 11 of the card's 15 races and won a remarkable nine of them. It's Academic entered the Currier & Ives off two strong place finishes in Ohio Sires Stakes legs and looked to lay over the field. In this case, looks weren't deceiving, as the son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis floated to the lead and widened at will, even after Gingras had shut him down. Harley K and Coventry Hall completed the ticket. "He's just a real gentleman -- perfect to drive," Gingras said. "Down by the wire, I left him alone. He's a little bit lazy, but he's a nice horse. To be a top colt, he'll have to go a lot faster, but for Ohio and here, he's the perfect horse." Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables campaign It's Academic, who vaulted over $200,000 in lifetime earnings. Following last week's facile victory in her season's debut, Sister Sledge continued to roll through the soft part of her schedule, quarter-poling to the point and scoring in 1:53.2. That eclipsed the stake mark of 1:53.4 established about 15 minutes earlier by Crucial. Last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behind Closedoors will begin a tougher stretch with the July 15 PA Sires Stake leg at Harrah's Philadelphia. Is Sister Sledge where she needs to be to handle more competitive fillies? "She couldn't have been any better today, that's for sure," Gingras said. "It will get tougher; that's coming for sure. There are a lot of good fillies that weren't here today. But her timing is right. She's really good right now." Sister Sledge Sans Defaut (trained by Burke) and Perth Angel De Vie finished second and third, respectively. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Sister Sledge, who now boasts a career bankroll of $584,843. Although Crucial's stake record was fleeting, her win after a quarter-pole move signaled that she might be ready for more. "She had a class edge on these horses for sure," Gingras said. "She's grown since last year, of course, and she's stronger. I thought she was very professional today." Petey Sarah and Dune Hill rounded out the ticket. In keeping with Burke's huge day, he swept the top three spots in this split. Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, now has banked $159,587 for Burke Racing Stable, Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. Dave Palone collected four wins Saturday while Dan Charlino and Jim Pantaleano enjoyed triples. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when 59 freshman filly trotters will make their stakes debut in a pair of events: a $210,221 PASS and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake. In addition, the 15-race card will feature a $9,712.33 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 3, 2020 -- Saturday's Independence Day celebration at The Meadows will be more festive and exciting than originally anticipated. Thanks to a reshuffling of harnss racing stakes due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the July 4 card features both the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters and the $64,594 Currier & Ives filly division. The Currier & Ives goes as race 7 while the fillies will battle in races 9 and 10. The 15-race program also features an $8,080.56 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. In the Currier & Ives, Ron Burke will send out It's Academic (post 6, Yannick Gingras), the 9-5 morning-line favorite who's banked $160,002 and enters the Currier & Ives off two straight place finishes in Ohio Sires Stake legs. But they'll be coming at him in waves. Trainer Ake Svansted has three in the race: Steel Schooner (post 3, Brady Brown); Coventry Hall (post 5, Chris Shaw); Easter King (post 10, Jim Pantaleano). On paper, at least, the trio looks unprepossessing; they're a combined 2-18 with nary a stakes win. More threatening may be the duo representing trainer John Butenschoen. Kyrie Deo, who sprang a 21-1 upset in last year's $70,000 New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund championship, leaves from post 9 for owners Harmony Oaks Stable, David J. Miller and James Crawford. The Donato Hanover-Rare Book gelding will have the services of Dan Rawlings. Swipe Right (post 1, Mike Wilder) is an Explosive Matter-Online Exclusive gelding who races for VIP Internet Stable, Lawrence Vincent and Harmony Oaks. Both Butenschoen charges were inexpensive yearling purchases, and the trainer is realistic about their chances. "They're nice horses, but they're not 'A' Class, top-of-the-sires-stakes types," he says. "They're good, consistent colts; they'll show up, and hopefully they'll be good enough to get some money." Butenschoen indicates he kept both horses in training -- within limits -- throughout the COVID-19 disruption. "We didn't quite know what to do with them," he says. "We kept them in training to see what they could do, but we didn't want to train them up too hard, but we needed them to be ready to go." Burke also figures to have both favorites here. His budding superstar Sister Sledge, last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up who rolled to victory a week ago at The Meadows in her season's debut, leaves from post 3 in race 10. The Currier & Ives could be a tougher test for her if only because of the presence of her stablemate, Sans Defaut (post 1, Wilder), who kicked off her sophomore campaign with a 1:53.2 win at Pocono. In the other division, Burke sends out Crucial (post 1), a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene who boasts a bankroll of $143,439 and a show finish in an International Stallion Series split. Gingras will steer Sister Sledge and Crucial. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 1, 2020 -- Amelia's Courage A waited patiently in the pocket while the harness racing leaders dueled, then rolled by in the Lightning Lane to capture Wednesday's $17,900 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Blue Ivy engaged the front-ending Lakeisha Hall down the backside and finally edged past her at the top of the lane. But when Dan Rawlings pointed Amelia's Courage A inside, she proved the freshest of the trio, downing Blue Ivy by a neck in 1:51.3 to match her career best. Lakeisha Hall saved show.   Richard Perfido trains Amelia's Courage A, a 6-year-old daughter of Courage Under Fire-American Dreamer who now boasts $153,565 in lifetime earnings, for Thomas Mattingly. Dave Palone, Mike Wilder and trainer Ron Burke each fashioned a four-bagger on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, Independence Day, when the program features the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters as well as the $64,594 Currier & Ives filly division. The card also offers an $8,080.56 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 30, 2020 -- Rebounding from last week's uncharacteristic break, Perlucky exploited a pocket trip and captured Tuesday's $17,900 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows in a career best 1:52.4. Perlucky shot to the lead for Dave Palone and stretched out Icanflylikeanangel to a demanding 26.3 opening panel before releasing him. The 5-year-old Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl gelding kicked by the vulnerable leader in mid-stretch and downed him by a neck, with long shot Tequila Talkin third.   Ron Burke trains Perlucky, who extended his lifetime bankroll to $370,066, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Mike Wilder and Palone each collected three wins on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 15-race program features a $6,400.77 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $1,357.00 carryover in the Early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 29, 2020 -- Dancin Dragon sat comfortably in the pocket behind the dueling harness racing leaders, then blew by in the lane to capture Monday's $17,900 Open Handicap Pace in a career-best clocking of 1:49.3 for the one mile race at The Meadows. While the first-over Rock Candy threw down a protracted challenge to Windsong Leo on the point, Dancin Dragon and Jim Pantaleano were saving ground in the pocket. When Rock Candy finally backed off at the top of the lane, Dancin Dragon wheeled by Windsong Leo and downed him by 3/4 lengths. Major Nemesis came from far back for show.   Randy Bendis conditions Dancin Dragon, a 5-year-old Dragon Again-McDance Desire gelding who lifted his bankroll to $271,625, and owns with Pollack Racing LLC. Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each collected three wins on the 14-race card. Tuesday's 15-race program at The Meadows features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $5,014.15 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3); a $2,025.10 carryover in the early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 27, 2020 -- Facing an overmatched field, a stinging rain and a sloppy surface, freshman sensation Sister Sledge kept her "A" game under wraps and fashioned a workmanlike win in her harness racing 3-year-old debut in Saturday's $53,528 Arden Downs at The Meadows. The stake for 3-year-old filly trotters, known as the Ned McCarr, was contested over two divisions, with 49-1 bomb Dazzling Diva pulling off the shocker in the other split. Sister Sledge won her first seven races at 2, banked more than $500,000, swept the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and finished second to Ramona Hill in Dan Patch Award voting. Under ordinary circumstances, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors would have had several starts by this time. But with so many stakes canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, trainer Ron Burke found that he needed a race for his budding superstar. The Ned McCarr, usually offered as part of Adios Week, fit the bill. Dave Palone idled with Sister Sledge before the pair seized the lead past the quarter. Sister Sledge drew off as she pleased and scored in 1:55.3 under a Palone stranglehold. Cocktails N Dreams was 4-1/2 lengths back in second, with Perth Angel De Vie third. "She's like all the great ones," Palone said. "Not only is she blessed with ridiculous speed, but her manners and her intelligence are what make her a great horse. They'll put her in the right spot every week. She's one you remember for sure." Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own Sister Sledge, whose career bankroll now stands at $569,195. Her next start is tentatively set for the July 4 Currier & Ives at The Meadows. Sister Sledge The other McCarr split was hardly as formful, as 1-2 favorite Dune Hill jumped it off while on a clear lead down the backside. Dazzling Diva, an eight-race maiden entering the stake, already was out and moving and was able to reach the point and open daylight on the field. Yet it wasn't a spot that winning driver Dan Rawlings coveted. "She dehydrated really badly last year," Rawlings said. "She followed the best fillies in the state, and she was wrapped up doing it. But in both qualifiers this year, when she cleared, she pulled up. I was trying to race hard and drop to the two hole, to be honest. When I cleared, I thought, it's all or nothing now. I kept screaming at her, and she kept going." The daughter of Cantab Hall-Hustle Heart persevered and downed Sentebale by 3/4 lengths in 1:56. Ginger Tree Bren earned show. Norm Parker trains the winner for Jacobs Creek Racing, George Romanoff, Martin Garey and Jon Erdner. Dazzling Diva Mike Wilder and Palone each collected three wins on the 14-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the program features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3) and a $3,295.59 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 26, 2020 -- The Meadows kicks off its reconfigured stakes season Saturday, and the opening event has attracted one of harness racing's budding superstars. Sister Sledge, who banked $555,313 at 2 and finished second in Dan Patch Award voting, will make her seasonal debut in the $53,528 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. The stake goes as races 7 and 10. Sister Sledge will leave from post 3 in race 10 with Dave Palone driving. The 14-race card also features a $2,093.64 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. Sister Sledge was a phenom at 2, winning her first seven starts and sweeping all four Pennsylvania Sires Stake preliminary legs en route to the championship. She finished second to Ramona Hill, who won the Dan Patch Award, in the Breeders Crown final. Had trainer Ron Burke been able to stick to his original schedule, Sister Sledge likely would have a few starts under her belt instead of just the pair of qualifiers she's mustered. But with racing and stakes schedules disrupted by COVID-19, Burke decided to ship Sister Sledge from her New Jersey base for the Arden Downs -- and possibly for the Currier & Ives filly division July 4 at The Meadows. "With the schedule changes, this was the first stake she was eligible for," Burke said. "She needs the race, and we didn't want her in an Open Trot. We want to stretch her out a bit." Mark Weaver of Weaver Bruscemi LLC, which owns the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors with Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, noted that, although Sister Sledge will compete for much higher purses later in the year, this race is important to her. "We hope this will lay a foundation for her for the rest of the year," Weaver said. "Anytime we go to the gate, we want to win, and the purse isn't chopped liver." Saturday's program also features The Meadows debut of Portrstownchris IR (race 1, post 4, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), a 9-year-old Irish bred who is part of a package of six horses that the Burke stable purchased through Irish horseman/broker Derek Delaney. "Derek had been pushing us for a few years to buy some horses from Great Britain, but we thought that wasn't really our game," Weaver said. "Then, one of the British horses beat one of our horses and I thought, maybe there's method to Derek's madness." So far, it's been a successful new route to the winners' circle for the Burke stable. In their 18 starts to date (counting qualifiers), the British/Irish six pack has 16 victories and two place finishes. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 24, 2020 -- Tequila Talkin commanded the mile from start to finish, putting away a couple challengers and capturing Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Trot, in a sharp 1:54.4. Tequila Talkin and Dan Rawlings grabbed the point early from post 5 and refused to release Truman Jr Hanover, who found a seat third. Tequila Talkin later thwarted the first-over bid of Cherry Peep and rolled home to down her by 1-3/4 lengths, with Truman Jr Hanover third. Richard Perfido trains Tequila Talkin, a 5-year-old Cantab Hall-Margarita Nights gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $145,383, for Thomas Mattingly. Elsewhere on Wednesday's card, fans of classic television got a thrill when Aunt Bee, a 3-year-old filly trotter named for the wise but vulnerable matriarch in The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., broke her maiden in her eighth try. Wilbur Yoder piloted the daughter of Donato Hanover-Mayberry for trainer Kelly Rader and owners Greg Callihan and Susan Callihan. Mike Wilder collected four wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday when the 2020 revised stakes schedule kicks off with the $53,528 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Heading the field is Sister Sledge, last year's Pennsylvania freshman champion who banked $555,313. Also featured is a $2,093.64 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 23, 2020 -- Icanflylikeanangel flew to a front-end victory in a career-best 1:53 in Tuesday's $17,900 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows. After the winner was pressured to a demanding 26.4 opening panel, Mike Wilder was able to give him a 29.3 second-quarter breather. With that, the 6-year-old Archangel-Fox Valley London gelding easily thwarted the first-over challenge of Rising MVP and downed the pocket-sitting Lady's Dude by 2-3/4 lengths. Classicality finished third. Randy Bendis trains Icanflylikeanangel, who now boasts career earnings of $361,116, and owns with Pollack Racing LLC. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., trainer Ron Burke and Wilder each collected a pair of victories on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $1,748.20 carryover in the Pick 5 (race 2) and a $1,156.29 carryover in the Super Hi-5 (race 13). First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 22, 2020 -- Hung on the rim for more than one-half mile, Major Nemesis nevertheless put away the formidable Windsong Leo late to spring a 14-1 harness racing  upset in Monday's $17,900 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Major Nemesis was seventh when Aaron Merriman tipped him off the cones, perhaps looking for cover. When none emerged, the 6-year-old Big Bad John-Nassau Loop gelding was forced to tackle the front-ending Windsong Leo without help. He advanced steadily, passed Windsong Leo near the wire and triumphed in 1:51.1. Dancin Dragon followed the cover of Major Nemesis for second, beaten a neck, while Windsong Leo saved show. Bill Bercury trains Major Nemesis, who extended his career bankroll to $220,119, for Renee Bercury. Major Nemesis Dave Palone collected five wins on the 13-race card, including a pair for trainer Brian Brown. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, first post 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 20, 2020 -- Our Third Rock bore down on Stride Of Pride in the lane, passed him in the shadow of the wire and pulled off the 24-1 harness racing upset in Saturday's feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Pace. While Our Third Rock and Dan Rawlings were 2 lengths in arrears heading for home, they had just enough racetrack to edge Stride Of Pride by a head in 1:52.1, a career best. Long shot Latest Desire earned dhow. Jack Smith conditions Our Third Rock, a 5-year-old Pet Rock-Marymac Is A Whack gelding who now boasts career earnings of $117,423, for Karen Ritter. Jim Pantaleano, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Rawlings each fashioned a double on the 10-race card. After several carryovers, the Super Hi-5 was hit, with the single winning ticket returning $13,391.06. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association    

WASHINGTON, PA, June 17, 2020 -- Cherry Peep quarter-poled to the top and was untouchable from there, scoring an easy harness racing victory in Wednesday's feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Trot. Mike Wilder swept the front three and finished with five victories, winning a nifty half the 10-race card. Jim Pantaleano piloted three winners. Although Cherry Peep hadn't raced since March 11, Aaron Merriman confidently sent her to the point from fourth. The 5-year-old daughter of Conway Hall-Jenny On The Block shrugged off the first-over challenge of Tequila Talkin and triumphed in 1:56. Early leader Cantab Lindy was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Tequila Talkin saved show. Andy Rickert trains Cherry Peep, who extended her lifetime bankroll to $175,948, and owns with Corey Hendricks and Nicole Stahl. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday when the 10-race program features a $10,911.35 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 16, 2020 -- McDazzle drove relentlessly first over, grinding out a gritty harness racing victory in Tuesday's feature at The Meadows, a $17,900 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace. McDazzle got away fourth from post 7 for Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. before attacking the leader, Touchamatic, with an uncovered bid. The 6-year-old daughter of Art Official-Dream McQueen put away Touchamatic in mid-stretch and triumphed in 1:52. The pocket-sitting Amelia's Courage A shot the Lightning Lane for second, beaten a neck, with Hedges Avenue A third. Ron Burke conditions McDazzle, who now has won 30 races and $363,616 lifetime, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. McDazzle Dave Palone piloted four winners on the 10-race card, including a pair for trainer Kevin Johnson, while Burke enjoyed a double. Bryce Brocklehurst collected two victories -- one for his brother, trainer Michael Brocklehurst, one for his dad, trainer Harold Brocklehurst. After a wild day of long shot winners on Monday's reopening day, things settled down Tuesday, with favorites copping seven races. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 10-race program features a $9,928.54 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 15, 2020 -- Final Breath shed faltering cover just in time and powered home to spring an 8-1 upset in the $17,900 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows on Monday, the harness racing track's reopening day after a 91-day COVID-19 shutdown. With so many horses racing off stale dates. Monday's card provided a bonanza for long shots -- and long shot players -- as the average win price exceeded $35.00 When Smalltownthrowdown took the field through a hotly contested 54.2 front half, it seemed likely that the closers would pick up the tiring leaders. But when Brady Brown tipped Final Breath off the rail down the backside, the pair found themselves pinned behind the weary Icanflylikeanangel, who had been parked every step. Brown moved wider still, and when he showed Final Breath racetrack, the 10-year-old Victory Sam - First Breath gelding rolled home in 1:52.3, a tick off his career best. What's The Word rallied from far back for second, beaten 3-3/4 lengths, with Classicality third. Norm Parker trains Final Breath, who boosted his lifetime bankroll to $636,518, for Duane Lowe. Mike Wilder collected a pair of victories on the 10-race card. The Meadows is now racing every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday beginning at 12:45 PM each day. Tuesday's 10-race program features a $7.568.72 carryover in the Super Hi-5 (race 10), a $5,974.41 carryover in the Pick 5 (race 6) and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Early Pick 4 (race 2). By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 14, 2020 -- If you've forgotten that the late Pick 5 and the Super Hi-5 were uncovered on the final harness racing card at The Meadows before the COVID-19 shutdown, you're forgiven; that was March 16, 91 days ago. But it means that when live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, June 15, the 10-race program will offer a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $2,026.34 Pick 5 carryover (race 6); a $5,243.61 Super Hi-5 carryover (race 10), and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the early Pick 4 (race 2). The Meadows will offer four live cards each week -- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday -- each beginning at the new post time of 12:45 PM. Monday's card features an ultra-competitive $17,900 Open Handicap Trot; the eight heavyweights in the field boast combined earnings exceeding $4.58 million. Three of the contenders have recent pari-mutuel starts under their belts. Icanflylikeanangel (post 8, Mike Wilder) finished second in a June 6 Open Handicap at Northfield. Perlucky (post 6, Dave Palone) was a hard-used third in a May 26 Open Handicap at Northfield while Final Breath (post 4, Brady Brown) actually has a pair of recent outings. He won that May 26 event at Northfield and finished sixth in a June 5 Open at Scioto Downs. Also formidable is Smalltownthrowdown (post 5, Aaron Merriman), a 7-year-old millionaire making his initial start in the stable of trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury. Here’s the exotic wagering schedule for Monday’s card: ·      Daily Double — Races 1&2, 9&10; ·      Exacta, Trifecta — Every race; ·      Superfecta — Every race, 10-cent minimum wager; ·      Pick 3 — Races 3&8, 50-cent minimum wager; ·      Pick 4 — Races 2&7, 50-cent minimum wager; ·      Pick 5 — Race 6, 50-cent minimum wager; ·      Super Hi-5 — Race 10, 20-cent minimum wager. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, May 22, 2020 -- Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down harness racing March 16 at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, veteran trainer Randy Bendis had 25 horses in his stable. That's down to 23, as Bendis was forced to sell two mares to raise cash to pay his bills and avoid laying off staff. Now, that number may decline even further as racing venues in states other than Pennsylvania are reopening, forcing Bendis and his owners to consider moving their horses outside the Commonwealth for a chance to earn money. Not only would that reduce income for Pennsylvania horsemen, horsewomen and their supply chains, but a diminished horse population also could make it harder for The Meadows and other Keystone State tracks to assemble full, quality fields when racing does resume. All harness racing in North America shut down in mid-to-late March and has been dark since. But because trainers, grooms, security personnel and track and facilities maintenance staff still report to work each day to feed and exercise horses, the vast majority of people needed to stage live racing already are on the backside and following stringent CDC safety measures. Live racing would require only a few more people, including state judges and a broadcast production crew, action that would have negligible impact on public health. States have begun to realize this and have announced reopening schedules for their racetracks. Ohio venues will resume racing today, while the states of New York, Delaware, Indiana and Minnesota, as well as the Province of Ontario, have announced June reopening dates. (All venues will race without spectators.) If Pennsylvania doesn't take a similar step soon, Bendis, says, he'll be forced to ship some of his horses to jurisdictions where they can earn purses to offset ongoing expenses. "If we don't get any news here, two of my horses will go to Hoosier Park (Indiana), four to Ohio and two more to Yonkers (New York)," says Bendis, who owns a piece of most of the horses in his stable. "My partners have suggested sending their horses to trainers at jurisdictions that are racing, and I really can't argue with them." Bendis indicates he knows of horsemen who have taken part-time work delivering groceries and driving for Uber to keep some cash coming in. Things haven't reached that point yet for trainer Sarah Andrews, but she can see a time when they might. At the start of this week, Andrews' stable at The Meadows had nine horses. That has changed. "I sent one to Indiana on Monday," she says. "My owner has horses in four different states, so there's no reason not to move them to states where they can race. I can't hold my owners hostage." What really hurts: the Indiana-bound horse is Statham N, a fast-class pacer almost certain to turn a healthy profit this year. If Pennsylvania racing doesn't reopen soon, Andrews and her staff may not see any of it. "I'm hoping my owners will send their horses right back here once we start racing," she says. "If they don't, my stable will slowly disappear." By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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