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WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 5, 2017 -- The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) on Tuesday honored Ray Paver for the 4,000th winning drive of his career. Paver, who years ago left a job dealing blackjack to mess around with harness racing, dealt himself winning hand 4,000 on Aug. 23 at the Monroe County Fair in Woodsfield, Ohio. Paver responded in kind by winning Tuesday's feature with Shesasmokinlady, a mare he also trains. An Ohio native, Paver helped his dad, the late horseman Ray Paver, Sr., while attending Marysville High School but didn't envision harness racing in his future. He struck out on an itinerant path, serving a stint as a tugboat painter in Florida before landing in Las Vegas. There, he secured a job dealing blackjack at the Flamingo. One of the important lessons he learned was that his compensation might be enhanced by women of a certain age. "All you had to do was be sweet to them," he recalls, "and they'd just keep tipping you. I always hoped they won. The more they won, the more they tipped." After three years of dealing on the graveyard shift burned him out, he returned to Ohio, primarily to help his father, but his own career as a trainer/driver took off. In fact, United States Trotting Association records show Paver, 61, with 793 career training wins; that figure is almost certainly substantially below his actual total, as USTA didn't begin documenting trainer statistics until 1991. Today, Paver and his wife, Kelly, jointly operate a stable of about two dozen horses at The Meadows, though they also race in Ohio and, occasionally, in New York. Since Kelly also is a trainer, they've developed a system that determines which of them should be listed as conditioner for a given horse. "They're pets to her more than racehorses," he said, "so if she wants to keep one, she's his trainer. For the others, I'm the trainer." Paver is talking retirement, but nobody is taking him seriously -- yet. "I would have to do something; I just don't know what it would be," he said. "Kelly doesn't want to quit, so she could operate the stable. It would give her something to do while I'm laying on the beach." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Collegiate Scholarships.   This year, a total of over $15,000 is being awarded to five students that are sons and daughters of MSOA members. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Collegiate Scholarships. This year, a total of over $15,000 is being awarded to five students that are sons and daughters of MSOA members. The top award is a $5,000 scholarship presented by the Board of Directors of the MSOA.  The award goes to Kristopher Bryce Hite, who will begin studies this fall at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he will major in biomedical engineering .  He is the son of Kris Hite.   The $3,700 Well Said/Hanover Shoe Farms Scholarship has been awarded to Brett Schoeffel, the son of Steve and Kathy Schoeffel of Evans City.  Brett will be a sophomore this fall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he will be studying business.   The Winning Key Farms/Bob Key Scholarship for $3,100 is awarded to Rielly Steuernagel, son of James Steuernagel.  Rielly will be a freshman this fall at Allegheny College, where he will pursue degrees in both chemistry and theater   This year’s $2,500 CSC Insurance Scholarship has been awarded to Sara Zidek, the daughter of Jeff Zidek.  Sara is a sophomore at the College of Wooster, where she is studying neuroscience.   Jessica Cocciolone is the winner of the $1,000 Dr. Barry C. Betts Memorial Scholarship, presented by Mary and Larry Smith.  She is the daughter of Carl and Sharon Cocciolone, and is a junior at Robert Morris University studying cybersecurity.   “We do a lot of charitable work, but nothing is more gratifying for us than this annual scholarship presentation,” said MSOA President Rich Gillock.  “We have helped so many young people over the years, and it is great to see them go out into the world and be successful, knowing that we helped to play a part in that.  We are fortunate to have some great partners that help us, and we are thankful to Hanover Shoe Farms, Bob Key, CSC Insurance and the Smith Family for their generosity.”   The recipients will be honored in a winners circle presentation at The Meadows Racetrack on Adios Day, Saturday, July 29.   by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

The Meadows Standardbred Owners' Association has received a $150,000 grant from the State Horse Racing Commission for the marketing of racing in the region.   The MSOA is one of six horsemen's and breeders' associations in the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition to receive a grant.   The state grant is part of Act 7, which was enacted in 2016 to reform the racing industry in Pennsylvania. The legislation stated that a percentage of the Racehorse Development Fund is to be used for marketing purposes statewide.   "We are extremely pleased to receive this grant from the Commission," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. This will give us an opportunity to market our sport locally in ways that we have been unable to in previous years. We can reach a potential new audience through various media that we have never tried before, along with others where we've been very limited in the past."   The marketing campaign will feature television, radio and digital media (internet) advertising. It will also include bus wraps on Freedom Transit Bus Lines.   "You will see our 16 buses in a four-county area," said Gillock, "Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. Our message will be on metro buses to the City of Pittsburgh and Shared Ride buses in other counties. We think it's a unique opportunity for us."   The early portion of the campaign will feature the excitement of wagering on live racing at The Meadows in conjunction with Triple Crown events. The campaign will then shift its focus to events planned at The Meadows Racetrack this summer, including the Delvin Miller Adios Pace, along with racing's online presence. "We will be getting out the message that you can watch and wager on our races from anywhere, via the internet," said Gillock. "There are still a lot of people out there that don't realize that."   The MSOA's new campaign kicks off on May 1.   by Jeff Zidek for the MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for its 2017-2018 Collegiate Scholarship Program. The MSOA Scholarship Program, which began in 2008, continues to grow. Thanks to generous donations from many members of the harness racing community, more than $13,000 will be available to deserving young men and women.   This year's scholarship options include the $5,000 MSOA Collegiate Scholarship, the $2,500 CSC Insurance Options Scholarship, the $1,000 Dr. Barry C Betts Memorial Scholarship (sponsored by LCM Nutraceuticals), the Well Said Scholarship (sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms) and the Winning Mister Scholarship (sponsored by Key Farms).   Applicants must be a son or daughter of an owner, trainer, driver or groom who has participated in harness racing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a regular basis over the 2 years preceding the application. Said parent must be a member of the MSOA, and the applicant must be at least a senior in high school.   One application covers all of the above listed scholarships. An independent committee will review the applicants and determine the winners of each individual award.   Applications must be submitted to the MSOA Office or postmarked no later than Friday May 12, 2017. Click on the link below for the application.   2017 MSOA Scholarship Application   from the MSOA

Four late closer finals totaling more than $100,000 in purses will go to the post on Saturday, March 25 at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino featuring top harness racing three- and four-year-old pacers and trotters.   Up first on the 1PM card is the $24,700 Ken Weaver Memorial for trotting colts, stallions and geldings. DD's Comet, out of the Chris Beaver Stable, is the morning line choice after winning both legs of the series. His 2:00.1 victory on March 14 was by a five lengths on a track listed two seconds off. Aaron Merriman has driven the son of Crazed to both of his series wins and will be in the bike on Saturday.   Pacing fillies and mares will be featured in the fifth race on the card, the $24,400 Donna Dunn Memorial. Terrortina is the 5-2 morning line choice out of the Bob Key/Norm Parker Stable, after winning both of her series legs. However, while she posted wins in 1:56 and 1:56.2, Terrortina has only won each race by a half-length and drew post 6 in the final. Jim Pantaleano will drive the Western Terror filly.   The 8th race on the card is the $25,900 Mary Wohlmuth Memorial for 3- and 4-year-old trotting fillies and mares. Ms Mullen, out of the Dirk Simpson Stable, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line pick after winning back-to-back series races in 1:59.3 and 2:00.3. Tony Hall will drive the daughter of Muscle Massive.   Race 10 is the $27,100 Walter Russell Memorial for stallion, colt and gelding pacers. Art N Music, the only two-time winner in the series, is the 5-2 choice for driver Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke. A 4YO by Art Colony, Art N Music will leave from post four.   This first round of late closers will be followed by a second round featuring only three-year-olds. The annual spring series are a lead-in to The Meadows' lucrative stake schedule.   Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that Hanover Shoe Farms and Winning Key Farms have donated breedings that are now being auctioned to benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship fund.   Hanover Shoe Farms has donated a breeding to Artspeak, and Winning Key Farms has donated a breeding to Winning Mister.   "Both Hanover and Bob Key have been regular supporters of our collegiate scholarship program," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "We are very happy that both have made donations once again this season. We hope that breeders will support everyone's efforts by bidding."   Artspeak banked over $1.6 million in his racing career and was the 2-year-old Pacer of the Year in 2014. This is his first season at stud. He stands at Hanover Shoe Farms for a fee of $5,000.   World Champion Winning Mister earned $1.1 million in his career, and his oldest foals were 2-year-olds in 2016. He stands at Lindwood Farm in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a fee of $6,000.   The breedings are listed on the auction site Ongait.com. Bidding is currently open and will end on Friday, March 24 at 2PM.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA        

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association has scheduled a General Membership Meeting for Thursday, March 9.   The meeting will begin at 6PM in Delvin's Banquet Room on the Racebook level of The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.   All members are encouraged to attend.

Tom Kirwan, a former harness racing trainer/driver who spent nearly 30 years as the stall superintendent at The Meadows, passed away on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the age of 70.   Kirwan, of Meadow Lands, Pennsylvania, was the grandson of Michael J. Kirwan, a longtime United States Senator from Youngstown, Ohio. Tom was raised by his parents, John and Ruth, in the Washington, DC area.   In the fall of 1964, at the age of 18, Tom came to Western Pennsylvania to visit his aunt and uncle, Michael and Jewel Kirwan. During that visit, the Kirwans took a trip to The Meadows for an evening of harness racing, and Tom was hooked. Through an ad in the newspaper, he discovered that trainer George Beinhauer was looking for barn help, and he took his first job as a caretaker soon after. "Flaky," as Tom was known, worked for the Beinhauer Stable for several years, living at the Beinhauer's Von Valley Farm. He started driving horses in 1966 at The Meadows and around the Pennsylvania fair circuit. In 1976, he took a job for horseowner Ed Ryan, who was starting his own stable after racing horses with Beinhauer.   Kirwan became the Ryan Stable's main trainer and driver. During the 1970s through the early 1980s, he drove 453 winners and was one of the Meadows' leading drivers. In the late 1980s, when Ryan was a co-owner of The Meadows, Kirwan transitioned from the barn to the race office. He took over as the track's stall superintendent, a position he held for three decades until his retirement in 2015.   Away from the track, Tom loved cheeseburgers and playing poker.   He is survived by his wife, Sharon, who works in the paddock at The Meadows, and his mother, Ruth, along with three sisters and six brothers. Funeral arrangements are not yet available. from the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that Dawnelle Mock has joined the association as director of social media. A 2016 graduate of Youngstown State University, Mock earned a degree in Marketing Management. This past summer, she interned with the marketing department at The Meadowlands after spending the previous two summers working with the MSOA as a marketing assistant. The Somerset, Pennsylvania native has been around harness racing her entire life. Her parents, Daniel and Lisa Mock, are Standardbred owners, and her father has also trained. Her sister, Dana Kahrig, is a trainer at The Meadows. Dawnelle is a US Trotting Association member and active horse owner. "I'm very excited to be starting this new venture," she said. I'm able to use my degree while helping to promote the sport that I love." Mock has taken the reins of the MSOA's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and earlier this week created a new MSOA Snapchat account. Those wishing to connect with Mock can reach her at msoasocialmedia@outlook.com or via the MSOA's social media accounts. By Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

BEDFORD PA – The annual Pennsylvania Fair Harness Racing awards banquet was held on Saturday (January 14) in this southwest PA town, with the top performers receiving awards and generous sponsors continuing to make this PA Fair banquet one of the best values in harness racing (ticket price = $40; value of doorprizes divided by number of attendees = $65) through the hard work of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Shawn Johnston, a 24-year-old driver who had posted 30 victories in limited chances during his first six years of driving, showed rapid development this summer with 37 sulky triumphs to rank fourth on the fair circuit, earning the second Walter “Boots” Dunn Memorial Rising Star Award. Boots had presented the first Rising Star Award to Brady Brown in one of his last public appearances before his passing early in 2016; this year, Brown and Boots’s daughter Lisa Dunn conferred the honor to Johnston. “Boots was someone around here always admired,” Johnston noted. “And he drove horses for my grandparents. When we would talk, he might say something about learning driving – ‘Be more patient with a trotter’ – but we also talked about the horses he remembered driving for my grandparents.” The Pa Fair Circuit’s “Blues Brothers,” driver Chris and trainer Jason Shaw (so named because of their colors), earned the Top Gun Awards during the 2016 fair season, as Chris posted 65 sulky victories and Jason harnessed 57 winners circle visitors to lead their fellow horsemen in the winning column. Also honored were the divisional pointwinners during the 20-stop fair circuit, and those horses who visited Victory Lane after winning in October 8’s PA Fair Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadows: POINT WINNERS 2TC – Toolbox Tuesday, owned by Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2TF – No Not Yet, owned by Dr. William Solomon 2PC – Marvalous Artist, Roger Hammer and Vicki Fair 2PF – Camera Lady, owned by Dave Brickell and Mitchell York (the top pointwinner in all classes)   3TC – Major Matter, owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer 3TF – A Little Laid Back, owned by Roger Hammer (won her point championship at 2 and 3) 3PC – Star Of Terror, owned by Fortunate One LLC 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, owned by Mason Shaw during the fair season (top pointwinner of 2 and 3)   CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS 2TC – Photo Bomber, owned by Tony and Linda Schadel 2TF – All Set Lets Go, owned by the McMullen Stable LLC 2PC – Cruiserwillwin, owned by Todd and Christine Schadel 2PF – Gemalous, owned by Mason Shaw   3TC – Shady McCoy, owned by Dave and Delores Wade 3TF – Waterview Hanover, owned by Susan Daugherty (only the third fair filly to win both of her Championships in the 20-year history of the Fair Finals, following trotter Rosebud Sioux in 2004-2005 and pacer Big City Hanover in 2006-2007) 3PC – Captain Dinger, owned by James Dodson and Ron Lineweaver 3PF – Unbeamlieveable, sold to Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi LLC before the Championship (the only 2016 point champion to also win the divisional Championship.) Jerry Connors

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that it has debuted its redesigned website, www.themsoa.com.   The MSOA.com has an updated look and continues to strive to serve both MSOA members and racing fans in general, with Meadows news, handicapping help, replays, video of qualifiers and more. Additional new features will be added in the coming weeks.   MSOA President Rich Gillock said, "Racing fans are no different than anyone else these days. The internet is their main source of news and information. We want our website to be one that racing fans visit on a regular basis, in addition to being a source of valuable information for our members."   The new site was a joint project between the MSOA and Reimagine Main Street, a multimedia company in Washington, Pennsylvania.   by Jeff Zidek for the MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association reminds all harness racing horseplayers that handicapping help is available on the group's website, www.themsoa.com.   The Dean is a veteran handicapper that provides insight, analyzing charts and providing an in-depth view of each and every Meadows race. The Dean specializes in following every horse throughout the race and spotting items that some handicappers may miss. His detailed race chart comments are available each day along with "outsiders to watch," which are noteworthy horses that may provide some value in their next start.   The Dean's goal is to educate race fans and allow them to gain better insight into what happens on the track, in order to assist their handicapping.   If you are looking for straight handicapping numbers, the MSOA's resident handicapper, The Professor, provides a traditional daily tip sheet. The Professor is another veteran horseplayer, and provides selections for every Meadows race, every day, along with a list of horses to watch, provided by a third party, "The Capper."   These services are provided free of charge by the MSOA.   To access our handicapping pages, visit: http://www.themsoa.com/handicapping. by the MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association announces that three of its harness racing members have been elected to the group's Board of Directors.   Results of the balloting resulted in the re-election of John McMullen, along with the return of Bill Bercury to the board, while Tom Pollack was voted onto the board for the first time.   McMullen, an owner/trainer from Armagh, Pennsylvania, returned to the MSOA board in 2014 and has been re-elected for a new term. McMullen was in attendance for the track's opening night in 1963 and raced horses at the inaugural meet. His son, John and grandson, Owen, are active horseowners and the family races both at The Meadows and around the PA Fair circuit.   Bercury, from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, did not seek re-election after his last stint on the board, but decided to run this year and has been returned to the board by voting members. Bercury has been a longtime owner/trainer/driver and in recent years has had a very successful small stable that focuses on horses racing at the Preferred level.   Pollack, from Venetia, Pennsylvania, first got involved as an owner in 2010, and currently owns parts of 70 horses. His local horses are trained by Randy Bendis. Outside of harness racing, Tom is the owner, president and Chief Financial Officer of CCN America, LP, a pharmaceutical company.   The MSOA welcomes the new and returning members to the board, and looks forward to a bright future working together.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association's members have selected Unlocked and Medusa as co-Horses of the Year for 2016. It is the first time in the history of the harness racing association that members' voting resulted in a tie for the top spot.   Unlocked won seven of 23 starts at The Meadows during the year, earning, in excess of $158,000 racing almost exclusively in the Preferred level. Owned by the Megan Rogers Racing Stable, Unlocked was trained throughout the year by Norm Parker. Unlocked was also named Pacer of the Year and Older Male Pacer of the Year. Medusa, owned by Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack, won six of 15 local starts with earnings of more than $182,000. Bendis trains Medusa, who took a mark of 1:49, equal to the best 2016 win of Unlocked. In other voting, Goodtogo Hanover was named MSOA Trotter of the Year, sporting a record of eight wins in 10 starts for trainer Bill Zendt, who co-owns the filly with Gary Saul. Goodtogo Hanover was also named Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year. Goodtogo Hanover was also the only repeat winner from last season, as she captured top 2YO filly honors in 2015.   Owner Bob Key swept the freshman pacing honors as Cinnabar Dragon and Terrortina were named Two-Year-Old Male Pacer and Filly Pacer of the Year, respectively. Rich Gillock trains Cinnabar Dragon, who hit the board in all six local starts with one win (1:55.1). Norm Parker trains Terrortina, a 2-time winner in five starts with a mark of 1:55.4.   Media Buzz, owned by trainer Steve Bush along with Alvira and Dennis Fassett, was named Two-Year-Old Male Trotter of the Year. The two-time winner took a mark of 1:56.3. McMullen Stable's All Set Let's Go, who split time with trainers John McMullen and Wilbur Yoder, was named the top freshman filly trotter. She hit the board in all six local starts with three wins and a mark of 1:58.1.   Rip This Joint, trained by Mike Palone for the Lone Wolf Stable, was named the top 3YO Male Pacer. Taking a mark of 1:51.2, Rip This Joint won four of 18 Meadows starts during the year and was an entrant in the track's top race, the Delvin Miller Adios Pace.   The Bendis Stable earned their second honor of the night when Wasaga Beach was voted the top sophomore pacing filly of 2016. Owned by Bendis in partnership with Pollack, Reed Broadway and John Campbell, Wasaga Beach took a mark of 1:53 with seven wins during the Meadows season.   Top honors for sophomore male trotters went to Truemass Volo, owned by Jon Erdner and Martin Garey. Doug Hamilton trains the horse that competed around Pennsylvania in Sire Stake events, winning two of five local appearances with a mark of 1:56.   The top Older Mare Trotter for 2016 was Princess Pablano, owned by Rags To Riches of Pennsylvania, LLC and trained by Tyler Stillings. The mare won 7 of 32 starts with a 1:54.1 mark at The Meadows, earning more than $100,000 locally.   Last but not least, Tamarind, owned and trained by Bill Bercury, earned a unique honor. The trotter captured his second MSOA Older Male Trotter of the Year award, but in non-consecutive seasons. The 2014 award winner reclaimed the title for 2016 as an 8-year-old, winning 7 of 27 local starts with earnings in excess of $125,000.   The MSOA congratulates all of the winners, and looks forward to seeing this year's champions defend their titles in 2017.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA  

Thanks to donations from more than 100 individuals, harness racing stables and organizations, the annual Caretaker Appreciation Day, hosted by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, was a resounding success.   All caretakers with horses racing on Saturday (November 12) at The Meadows received a free gift, while many were fortunate enough to take home additional goods, courtesy of donations which included monetary gifts, gift cards and more.   "The caretakers are the backbone of our stables," said Rich Gillock, MSOA President. "We all know that caretakers are a big part of the success of any horse, and we also know that they are the ones that get the least recognition. We are pleased to be able to show our appreciation for their efforts through this annual event. And we are pleased to have ever-growing support from our members as well as others throughout harness racing."   The MSOA also would like to thank Lisa Beinhauer, who was instrumental in coordinating the event.    

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association will host its harness racing annual Caretaker Appreciation Day at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino this Saturday, November 12.   The MSOA will kick off the day by providing a free lunch to all caretakers beginning at 12Noon in the Meadows' paddock.   Throughout the afternoon, monetary gifts and gift certificates will be awarded to winning caretakers. Others will win similar prizes via random drawings.   Additionally, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation will be giving 150 HHYF trading cards, and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association will give a harness horse chocolate bar to all caretakers participating in Saturday's races.   The event is made possible via a generous donation from an anonymous donor, along with contributions from several Meadows stables. Anyone else interested in making donations of cash or prizes can contact the MSOA office at 724-228-3644, or via email at msoaprheather@gmail.com.   Post time for the first race on Saturday is 1PM.    

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