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WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 1, 2019 -- One of the most spectacular, improbable, inspirational equine careers in harness racing history ended New Year's Eve at The Meadows with the final race of Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred ever. Although his fifth-place finish disappointed the expectant crowd, his $650 check sent his career earnings to $7,635,588, a mark that likely won't be eclipsed anytime soon. The race, the 331stfor the Dragon Again-In A Safe Place gelding, also capped a hugely successful "Farewell Tour" in which Foiled Again's owners -- Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and JJK Stables -- campaigned him at 18 tracks across the continent. The tour was an athletic and an artistic success; not only did Foiled Again win 11 of those races, swelling his career total to 109, but he also was the centerpiece of special events that created handle and buzz for the venues he visited. In fact, the tour did so much for the sport that the United States Harness Writers Association voted Foiled Again the winner of the 2018 Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award, one of harness racing's most prestigious and coveted accolades. Foiled again and Yannick Gingras  post parade for the last time. (Raymond Lance Photo) The chances for victory in his final race took a hit when "Foiled Again's Last Call," as the event was styled, came up so tough that his trainer, Ron Burke, called it a "mini-open." All-day rain made for a sloppy, tiring surface, while his draw, post 8, certainly didn't help. As if all that weren't enough, one of Foiled Again's rivals, Knocking Around, a tough-as-nails, off-the-pace type, was piloted by David McNeight III seeking a milestone of his own -- career victory 1,000. It was a less-than-ideal spot, but the gallant gelding gave it his all, shooting to the top for Yannick Gingras and holding it through fractions of 28.4/57.4. When McNeight challenged first up with Knocking Around, a weary Foiled Again eventually yielded, defeated 3-1/2 lengths but missing show by only 1/4 length. Foiled Again leads the field Going to the ½...(Raymond Lance Photo) The scenario set off celebrations that The Meadows winners' circle seldom has seen. First was the mob that greeted McNeight and Knocking Around, still so full of himself that he would barely settle for the picture. Then the even more boisterous greeting for Foiled Again, who was calm and gentlemanly throughout. Burke Brigade and Foiled Again heading to Winners circle  for the retirement ceremony. (Raymond Lance Photo) Among those speaking in the winners' circle: Gingras, probably Foiled Again' most frequent driver, who cited the horse's victory in the 2013 Breeders Crown as his most memorable trip aboard Foiled Again. (Matt Kakaley, who also has driven Foiled Again, didn't speak but slipped quietly into the celebration.); Burke, who conceived and led the execution of the Farewell Tour. He also cited Foiled Again's Breeders Crown win as his most memorable; Mickey Burke, patriarch of the Burke clan, who decades ago left the auto sales industry to take a fling at harness racing . . . and launched a harness racing dynasty. An emotional Burke insisted that son Ron stand beside him while he made his remarks. Sylvia Burke, partners with son Ron in Burke Racing Stable, who expressed gratitude to the horse's legion of fans; Tessie Irey, Foiled Again's caretaker at The Meadows; Mike Tanner, executive vice president of the United States Trotting Association, who presented the owners with a handsome Foiled Again collage on behalf of USTA and the Harness Racing Fan Zone. USTA Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Tanner presents Ron Burke with Foiled Again Photo Collage. (Raymond Lance Photo) His ownership group purchased Foiled Again privately midway through his 4-year-old campaign, figuring they'd acquired a nice horse who fit their program. But as he developed his potential under Ron Burke's tutelage, he dominated older-horse company and was nigh well unbeatable on smaller tracks. When he captured that 2013 Breeders Crown at age 9, he became the oldest horse ever to win a Breeders Crown event. He won the Dan Patch Award for older males three consecutive times, a feat matched only by the legendary Rambling Willie. Indeed, Foiled Again became a phenomenon unseen since Rambling Willy; his middle-aged and Golden-Years exploits inspired fans -- particularly those with a few miles under their belts. But that phase of his life ended about three hours before his mandatory retirement at the age of 15. Burke indicated he would halt the gelding's training schedule immediately rather than cut back gradually, as Foiled Again always has responded well to being turned out. Burke said he would quarter skittish horses with the old boy so he could teach his nervous buddies to relax, and that Foiled Again would be available for promotional appearances. Now, as his front shoes were pulled for the final time, he turned to face the appreciative crowd, which serenaded him with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." Then Foiled Again jogged into retirement. Into immortality. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows  

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 1, 2019 -- He had to beat the richest Standardbred ever to do it, but David McNeight III collected career win 1,000 Monday at The Meadows when he piloted Knocking Around to victory in race 10. The race was styled "Foiled Again's Last Call," as it marked the final race of Foiled Again, who faced mandatory retirement Jan. 1 when he turned 15. McNeight and Knocking Around, however, weren't intimated by Foiled Again's career bankroll of more than $7.6 million, as they powered up first over to prevail in the slop. Foiled Again finished fifth. Winners’ circle following the 1,000th career win of David McNeight III. - Chris Gooden photo McNeight, a native of western New York who has compiled just less than $6 million in purses, learned the business under the tutelage of his father, trainer David McNeight, Jr., the conditioner of Knocking Around. "My dad worked for General Mills for a while, but he got back into the business in 2008 when I was 18," he says. "I was cleaning stalls and grooming for him, but when I watched the drivers winning races, I wanted to do the same thing." McNeight cut his teeth on the half-mile ovals at Buffalo and Batavia. When the McNeights relocated to The Meadows about two years ago, he found that the most difficult aspect of the transition was not the switch to a five-eighths-mile track. Rather, it was holding his own against The Meadows' talented, experienced drivers. "The driver colony here is deep," he says. "You definitely want to get away close to the lead when you're racing against Dave Palone, Mike Wilder, Jim Pantaleano and all the Ron Burke horses. It's more challenging, but at the same time, it's more rewarding." The younger McNeight also trains three horses -- he's their sole owner -- and doesn't foresee a time when he'll want to specialize in training or driving exclusively. "I'd like to add to my own stable and keep driving for my father and other stables," he says. "Having other owners for my horses would be good, but right now it seems better to own them myself."   Evan Pattak   The Meadows Racetrack & Casino Home of Pennsylvania's largest jackpot ever paid, The Meadows is an all-inclusive entertainment destination and significant economic generator for the region. With its nearly 1,300 employees, The Meadows provides approximately $125 million in taxes annually and more than $14 million per year to the Local Share Account designated for new economic, community and industrial development projects. The Meadows features 82 table games and more than 3,100 slot machines, premier restaurants with spectacular views of the gaming floor and the racetrack, a racing grandstand with VIP suites, a simulcast area, an 11,000 square foot event center, a 7,500 square foot banquet room and an all-ages bowling center. The Meadows also offers a high limit slots area and a high limit table games room featuring exceptional service in a relaxing, upscale setting. For more information, please see: www.meadowsgaming.com.

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 1, 2019 -- Competitive fields and a sloppy, tiring surface set the stage for upsets in Monday's finals of six Holiday Claiming Series at The Meadows, as three of the winners scored at odds of 22-1 or longer. The six-pack of championships served collectively as the co-feature for "Foiled Again's Last Call," the final race in the spectacular career of the richest Standardbred all time. Highlights of those championships:   $28,700 Final, $20,000 Claiming Colt, Horse & Gelding Pacers Lyons King may have been the most improbable winner, as he trailed by 9 lengths at the half and appeared pinned inside. But when the Lightning Lane became available, he shot through for Yannick Gingras and scored at 28-1 in 1:54.2. Poacher N was a length back in second, with Believeinthespirit third. "I would've been fifth over if I pulled, so I thought it was better to stay inside," Gingras said. "He had a lot of pace, and we got lucky that the inside opened up." Brandon Presto trains the 4-year-old Somebeachsomwhere-Boldnbrash Hanover gelding for Spring Valley Ranch and Michelle Linnert.   $17,100 Final, $10,000 Claiming Trotters ER Kevin was a close-up second in the series' second leg but was shunned by bettors, who sent him off at 22-1. But he also used the Lightning Lane to pull off the 22-1 stunner in 1:58.3 for Dan Charlino and owner/trainer Todd Keith. Mutinyonthebounty was a head back in second while Boy Meets Girl K completed the ticket. "I thought maybe he would be a 5-1 shot," Keith said of the 6-year-old Elegant Man-Karen's Karma gelding, who lifted his career bankroll to $158,237. "Dan gave him a real good steer, and we were lucky enough to find room."   $17,700 Final, $10,000 Claiming Filly & Mare Pacers For the most part, the claimers handled the foul racing conditions well. This championship was the exception, as four of the nine horses jumped it off. The most costly break was that of Deprived, as it occurred at the three-quarters when she was on the point. That opened the door for Lady Dudette, who triumphed at 26-1 for 'Downtown' Brady Brown and trainer Mark Goldberg, who owns the 3-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Luxury Goods with Richard Gubanish and Betty Gubanish. "Even without the breaks, I think I would've beaten them in the stretch," Brown said. "The leader wasn't getting away from me, and I think I would've picked her up."   $28,000 Final, $20,000 Claiming Filly & Mare Pacers Entering the series, Ellasen had been racing primarily off the pace. After her claim by trainer Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, she changed her style. "When she made the front last week, her ears went up, and it felt like that's where she wanted to be," winning driver Dave Palone said. "I wasn't going to take any chances in the final. She was very strong through the wire." She powered off to a 1-3/4-length victory in 1:53.4, lifting her career bankroll to $155,248. The pocket-sitting My Kind Of Dance and Always A Z Tam rounded out the ticket.   $28,000 Final, $20,000 Claiming Trotters Nailed late in both preliminary legs, IC Caviar also changed his tactics, ducking before moving first over for Dan Rawlings. "He trained off a helmet this week, and he responded very well," said John Sullivan, who conditions the 7-year-old Malabar Millennium-Lady Caviar gelding for Michael Marocco. "So we thought, leaving from the rail, just try and get him out of there as best we could and hope the cards fall right." IC Caviar took to the trip and defeated Pembroke Morgan by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:56.2, with Teddy Brosevelt third. IC Caviar now boasts $250,911 in career earnings.   $17,700 Final, $10,000 Claiming Colt, Horse & Gelding Pacers Stonehouse Adam was pushed four wide through the final turn but had little trouble roaring past the leaders and scoring in 1:54.2 for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Tyler George. T'S Electric was 1-1/2 lengths back in second while Fairytale Prince earned show. "This horse is older and he's really gritty," Merriman said. "He out-hearted them today. When we got next to the leader, I knew I was the winner." The 11-year-old Intrepid Seelster-Shirleys Last Pie gelding has earned $442,055 in his career.   Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino Home of Pennsylvania's largest jackpot ever paid, The Meadows is an all-inclusive entertainment destination and significant economic generator for the region. With its nearly 1,300 employees, The Meadows provides approximately $125 million in taxes annually and more than $14 million per year to the Local Share Account designated for new economic, community and industrial development projects. The Meadows features 82 table games and more than 3,100 slot machines, premier restaurants with spectacular views of the gaming floor and the racetrack, a racing grandstand with VIP suites, a simulcast area, an 11,000 square foot event center, a 7,500 square foot banquet room and an all-ages bowling center. The Meadows also offers a high limit slots area and a high limit table games room featuring exceptional service in a relaxing, upscale setting. For more information, please see: www.meadowsgaming.com.

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 19, 2018 -- Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred all time with more than $7.6 million in career earnings, will race for the final time in his incomparable harness racing career on a special New Year's Eve card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. He faces mandatory retirement the next day when he turns 15. The Dec. 31 program begins at 5:30 PM. An official retirement ceremony will take place in the winners' circle following the race, called "Foiled Again's Last Call," when his connections will pull his shoes for the final time. The ceremony also will feature a video of Foiled Again's career highlights. In addition, the action-packed program includes the finals of six Holiday Claiming Series and the "Night of Champions," when The Meadows Horses of the Year are presented their awards. Patrons will receive New Year's party hats and noisemakers and will be invited to participate in the holiday festivities in the casino. The "Last Call" not only will conclude the great gelding's career, but it also will wrap-up his spectacular "Farewell Tour," through which his connections -- The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and JJK Stables -- campaigned him across the continent to create special events for tracks and allow fans to see him compete one more time. This was no mere star turn, as the son of Dragon Again-In A Safe Place has won 10 times this year with a season's best 1:53 at Freehold, pushing his career victory total to 108. Among Foiled Again's many accomplishments: He was named Pacer of the Year in 2011 at the age of 7, becoming the only pacer older than 4 to receive that honor. In that 2011 campaign, he won six $100,000 events.  He was named Best Older Male Pacer in three consecutive seasons (2011-2013); only Rambling Willie has matched that achievement.  In 2013, at the age of 9, he won the Breeders Crown Open Pace to become the oldest horse to win a Breeders Crown event. This year, he's been nominated for the Proximity Award, one of harness racing's most prestigious accolades. The Meadows next week will announce details of "Foiled Again's Last Call." by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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

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