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CHESTER PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Divas Image, despite having to go first-over, paced her back half in a sizzling 54.1 to take the harness racing $18,000 featured distaff pace at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. Driver Joe Bongiorno got away third from the rail with the winner of $362,682, then sent her out and up first-over, and Divas Image responded, going a 26.3 split down the back in the process of gunning to the lead, and then tacking on a 27.3 back quarter to easily handle her competition by 3¾ lengths while taking a new lifetime mark of 1:51. Jennifer Bongiorno trains the fast five-year-old, who has now won two straight and 5-of-9 in 2018. The victory was perhaps a bit bittersweet, because on Monday Eugene Kurzrok, a partner in both the Our Horse Cents Stables and Stable 45, which shares ownership of the winner with J&T Silva Stables LLC, had passed away at 81. Among the ownership of such stars as Mission Brief and Southwind Frank, Kurzrok was among the sport's higher-profile owners, and the victory of Divas Image may help allay some of the grief of his friends and partners. For the total Friday Philly card, the "Ohio Millers" combined for half the victories in the 14 races, with David winning four times (the first three with Nifty Norman trainees) and Brett three. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, April 19, 2018 -- When she takes to The Meadows racetrack in Saturday's $26,000 championship of the Margaret Provost Memorial Trot for the harness racing 3-year-old fillies, Kenziesky Hanover will bring an unusual name -- and an unusual amount of talent -- to the fray. The Margaret Provost (race 2) is one of four series finals for 3-year-olds that The Meadows will host Saturday, with a combined $101,900 in purses up for grabs. Also featured are: the Ruby Cook Memorial Trot for filly pacers (race 3), the Ben Wood Memorial Trot for colts and geldings (race 4) and the Tom Kirwan Memorial Pace for colts and geldings (race 9). First post Saturday is 1:05 PM. The naming of Standardbreds is a phenomenon that's part science, part art, part frustration. All names proposed in this country must be approved by the United States Trotting Association, the breed registrar, which limits names to 18 characters -- including spaces. Hanover Shoe Farms, perennially the sport's leading breeder, always uses "Hanover" in foal names. Add the space before it, and you're left with only 10 characters to fashion colorful, creative names. Hanover's Website lists well over 300 broodmares; naming their foals is a challenge that Hanover meets in part by inviting harness racing fans and Hanover staff to suggest names. Jodi Markle estimates that she's named about 40 foals in the seven years she's worked in administration at Hanover. She named Blaise MM Hanover for her son, for example; that horse has banked more than $285,000 and continues to race. In similar fashion, she named Kenziesky Hanover (Cantab Hall-Kandor Hanover) for Kenzie Sky, the 4-year-old daughter of her cousin, Mike Wolf. Weanling/yearling purchasers have the right to change the names bestowed by breeders, so even the most clever or appropriate monikers may not last. That's where the frustration can come in. "That's happened to me a couple times, but it doesn't bother me," Markle says. "I'll just reuse the original names somewhere down the line." Her colorful name won't allow Kenziesky Hanover to win the Margaret Provost championship, but her talent might. She was purchased for a modest $7,000 by J. Patrick Huber and Glenn Congrove, and her trainer, Bill Zendt knows what shut down the auction so soon. "I like her body and the way she looks, but her conformation is not the best," Zendt says, "I was a little leery, but when she went for so little, Pat Huber wanted her. She showed signs of being a nice filly last year, but she got a little sore, and we quit with her early." Indeed, she had only two starts at 2, but after a pair of in-the-money finishes to begin this season, she added Lasix and put it all together in last week's series leg and scored impressively on the front end in 1:57.2, fastest mile in the series thus far. "She raced good on the front, but I don't think it really matters," Zendt said. "There are three or four in the final who are real even, so it should be competitive. I don't know where we'll go with her after the series, but if she stays healthy, I think she'll compete." Kenziesky Hanover goes from post 5 with Brian Zendt aboard. Also on Saturday, Mychoice members can compete in a Thoroughbred handicapping contest, with Laurel Park the featured track. More information is available at the retail counter in the track's Racebook. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, April 3, 2018 — Agent Mac made it three straight Tuesday at The Meadows when he wore down the leader, What A Hunk, with a persistent uncovered move that carried him to victory in the opening leg of the Ben Wood Memorial Trot. Conservator took the other $15,000 opening-leg division in the series for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The event honors the late Ben Wood, longtime trainer, driver and owner at The Meadows. Winless at 2, Agent Mac opened his sophomore campaign with a pair of victories highlighted by mid-pack moves. Tuesday’s win was a carbon copy, as he moved from fourth for Wilbur Yoder and finally subdued What A Hunk in deep stretch, downing him by a nose in 1:59.2 over a sloppy surface. Mr Contestant recovered from an early break and earned show. Rich Gillock trains the Muscle Massive-Mac’s Caper K gelding for owner/breeder Bob Key. In the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace, Rosemary Rose and Mike Wilder worked out a cozy 30.3 second quarter, a breather that helped them hold off the late rally of Albany Girl and defeat her by a head in 1:54. The pocket-sitting Graceful Vision finished third. Ron Burke trains the 4-year-old daughter of Foreclosure N-Pantathlon who extended her career bankroll to $270,792, for Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer Dirk Simpson enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Evan Pattak

WILKES-BARRE PA - Driver Mike Simons, known as the "Pocono Trot Man" because of his success rate with horses of the diamondgaited variety, guided two of the three divisional winners in the $15,000 first prelim of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs Tuesday night over a sloppy surface at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Myrna Myrna, who had found her form at The Meadows for trainer Scott Betts as 2017 changed to 2018, made her first start in 2½ months a successful one, winning her division in a career best 1:57.4 with Simons sulkysitting. Despite having to go first-over into a 57.3 back half, Myrna Myrna was able to draw away by 2¼ lengths over Girl Crush, who raced well in her career debut. The victorious four-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven looms a major factor in the series for owner Timothy Betts. "The Trot Man" also had to go the uncovered route with the Donato Hanover filly Ms American Muscle, making her 2018 bow, in the second cut, but the raw challenger was able to outmuscle pacesetting Baby Wants home by ¾ of a length while lowering her mark 2 3/5 seconds to 1:59.2 for Simons, trainer Jenny Melander, and owner John Devito. The third section proved a tough stretch battle between a pair of 7-5 shots, pacesetting Miss Ruby and pocket-to-Pocono Pike challenger Via Lattea IT - who not only was making her stateside debut, but also doubled trainer Ã…ke Svanstedt's collection of white horses to two (White Bliss). Via Lattea IT had had five months away from the races before Tuesday's outing, and she just failed to overhaul the Cantab Hall four-year-old mare Miss Ruby by a head at the end of a 1:59.2 mile. Simon Allard was in the sulky behind the winner for trainer Kelvin Harrison and the Spaaaartners (four a's - we double-checked) ownership. In the $14,000 co-feature for distaff pacers, trainer Brianne Good scored her first-ever Pocono victory, and the third of her four-month conditioning career, when driver Jim Taggart Jr. was able to rally the Well Said mare Shutthefrontdoor from last at the half to win in 1:54 and light up the tote board at $51.80. The victorious mare, owned by Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villenueve, came her last half in just a shade over 55 and won going away by two lengths. Jerry Connors

As we barrel forward into the month of April, we are still waiting for signs of spring to show up in the weather in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Rest assured, however, the cold weather hasn't had any negative effect on the early-season racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. If anything, the racing action is ripping along as if we were all basking in a heat wave in the middle of summer. That means lots of competition for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: WALKS OF LIFE First of all, any horse sort of named after an 80's hit gets my immediate stamp of approval. But this eight-year-old gelding has brought the game to match up with the name. And his success started long before he arrived at Pocono for the beginning of the meet. Racing on the New Jersey circuit, Walks Of Life hit the board in every one of his first eight 2018 races while winning five of them. He didn't waste any time at Pocono either, winning his first two races of the meet in gate-to-wire fashion. After winning at the $12,500 and $15,000 claiming levels, he went back at it against the $15,000 claimers on Saturday night. This time around, he was working for a new barn, going for trainer Toni Freitas after the bulk of his 2018 success came with Vincent Fusco Jr. Even with the barn switch, the Pocono faithful believed in Walks Of Life, making him a 3-5 favorite as he left from post position #1 in a field of eight. When driver Jim Morrill Jr. asked him for a quick burst of speed on the front stretch, he moved to the lead, which is where he loves to operate. From there, the favorite handled a first-over challenge from Mainland Key N, while the pocket tripping Annuity tried to stay close for a final rally. But the rest of the field turned out to be playing for second, as Walks Of Life glided away from the pursuit and ended up winning by 5 ½ convincing lengths in a season-best time of 1:51:2. Now with wins in seven of ten on the year, he also became the first horse to rack up three wins in the Pocono 2018 meet. And, with how great he's been going, he'll probably be tough to beat as he tries to be first to four. Other top pacers this week include: Cowboy Terrier (Eric Carlson, Ron Burke), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in a sizzling time of 1:50, fastest of both his career and of all pacers on the young 2018 racing season at Pocono; Kimberlee (Jim Marohn Jr., Ake Svanstedt), a filly whose victory on Sunday night in the first leg of the Bobby Weiss late closer series made her two-for-two at Pocono in the meet and came in a career-best 1:53:3; and Charmbro Curiosity (Marcus Miller, Dan Morrissey), who stepped up in claiming price to $10,000 on Saturday night and won his second straight at Pocono, this one coming in 1:53:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TOUR DE LINDY A year ago as a three-year-old, the most memorable win for Tour De Lindy came when trainer Lucas Wallin drove him to a victory at Pocono at some of the longest odds for any winner in the entirety of 2017 at the track. When he returned to Pocono racing on March 27, he came in much more highly-regarded. He had begun the year with back-to-back near-miss second-place finishes at The Meadowlands. With Wallin handing the driving chores off to Marcus Miller, the four-year-old gelding easily handled a tough non-winners of four grouping in 1:55, which marked a new career-best time. On Sunday night, Tour De Lindy stepped up his game to face the non-winners of six group with a purse of $17,000. Leaving from a #6 post in a field of eight, he was made the 1-2 betting favorite in a field of eight. And Miller once again set about putting him out in front of the field with a move to the outside on the race's first turn. With seemingly no sweat, Tour De Lindy stepped past Zagster and grabbed the lead, daring anyone to come and try to catch him. Needless to say, nobody could, nor did anyone really threaten his supremacy in the race. After being rated well by Miller, Tour De Lindy powered home in the lane to win by 2 ¾ lengths over Ataboy Hanover and matched his career-best time of 1:55 from the week before in the process. That time was also the fastest of any trotter on the week at Pocono. Considering how well he's been racing, it will likely be quite a stretch before this gelding is ever again deemed a long shot like he was a year ago. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Ameliosi (Marcus Miller, Jenny Melander), a mare whose victory in a condition group on Saturday night in 1:55:1 gave her four wins in five races on the year; Chas Hanover (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who picked up a win in a division of the Weiss series for male trotters on Sunday night in 1:56:2, the fastest time of the three Weiss divisions for that group; and Myrna Myrna (Mike Simons, Scott Betts), who posted the fastest winning time among three divisions of the Weiss for distaff trotters in the slop on Tuesday night with a 1:57:4 victory, a new career-best. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR This mare rallied from way back in Tuesday night's featured condition pace to win at 24-1 with Jim Taggart Jr. in the bike, paying off $51.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MIKE SIMONS Mike looks well-stocked in the distaff trotting Weiss series after scoring victories in two of the three divisions of the first leg held on Tuesday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JENNY MELANDER Melander had fun with the trotters at Pocono this week, scoring trotting victories with Ameliosi on Saturday night, Meadowbranch Ricky on Sunday, and Ms American Muscle on Tuesday. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.   Jim Beviglia

Qualifying races at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, scheduled for Wednesday, March 21st, will be moved to Thursday, March 22nd, due to the impending winter storm, and for the safety of our horsemen and horses. Races have already been drawn. Jennifer Starr

WASHINGTON, PA, March 20, 2018 — Camera Lady avenged her only defeat this year when she made up 8-1/2 lengths over the back half and nipped Albany Girl — who upset her last week — in Tuesday’s $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Away sixth, Camera Lady followed the live cover of her stablemate, Rosemary Rose, before fanning three wide into the final turn. Under the urging of Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., she caught Albany Girl in the shadow of the wire and downed her by a head in a career-best 1:53 in the slop. Graceful Vision closed well for show. Ron Burke trains Camera Lady, who won for the sixth time in seven 2018 outings and extended her career bankroll to $168,603, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Mike Wilder collected three wins on the 10-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday, when the card features a two-day carryover of $4,952.13 in the Pick 5, races 7-11. First post is 1:05 PM.   Evan Pattak

WASHINGTON, PA, March 7, 2018 — Camera Lady found yet another way to win, shooting the Lightning Lane to capture her fifth straight victory in Wednesday’s $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Camera Lady had won on the front and with furious rallies during her streak, but on Wednesday, she stalked Medusa from the pocket and blew by late to score for Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. in 1:53.4 over a “good” surface. The first-over Graceful Vision was second, 3/4 lengths back, while Fox Valley Charm also used the Lightning Lane for show. Ron Burke trains Camera Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Ann Van Go who lifted her career bankroll to $153,603, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Wrenn collected a sweep of Wednesday’s co-features when he guided Maewegonow to victory in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Trot. Richard Perfido conditions the 4-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Mauresmo, who now boasts lifetime earnings of $241,844, for Thomas Mattingly. Tony Hall piloted four winners on the 10-race card while trainer Randy Bendis enjoyed a triple. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the program features a pair of carryovers — a $5,022.63 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 6-10) and a $2,881.31 carryover in the day’s first superfecta.   Evan Pattak  

WASHINGTON, PA, March 6, 2018 -- Fancytucky parlayed two moves into victory in Tuesday's co-feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Racing off a layoff of about seven weeks, Fancytucky got away third from post 6 and, under most circumstances, probably would have been satisfied with a covered trip. But when Dan Rawlings saw two of the top contenders break stride, he gunned Fancytucky to the top at the quarter. The 6-year-old daughter of Pinetucky-Beaucoup Amour responded by holding off the Lightning Lane challenge of Saint Beth and downing her by 1/2 length in 1:57.2. The first-over Rose Run Reanna finished third. Troy McDougal trains Fancytucky, who extended her career bankroll to $140,103, and owns with James Steuernagel. Lars Perry became a $100,000 performer in Tuesday's co-feature, an $11,500 Conditioned Trot, when he shot the Lightning Lane and triumphed in 1:56.2. Jim Pantaleano piloted the 4-year-old Cantab Hall-Southwind Wasabi gelding for trainer Richard Perfido and owner Thomas Mattingly. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday when the card features a pair of carryovers: a $3,430.46 carryover in the day's first superfecta and a $1,326.57 carryover in the Pick 5, races 6-10. First post is 1:05 PM   Evan Pattak

WILKES-BARRE PA - The evergreen pacer Keystone Velocity, recently the recipient of the Older Pacing Horse of the Year award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch banquet, gave no indication of slowing down Tuesday morning as his age moves into double digits. The 10-year-old son of Western Hanover was the fastest winner in a dozen qualifying races during the season's first a.m. session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, posting a snappy 1:52.1 victory. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for brother/trainer Rene, was out past the 28.1 quarter to get the lead, then went on to the half in 57.1. A 27 sprint down the back saw Allard and "Velocity" open up an eight-length lead, and the pair were unchallenged to the wire. The 2017 champion in Yonkers' Levy Pacing Series, Keystone Velocity looks ready to mount a vigorous defense of the title when the Levy action starts on Saturday, March 17 (ironically, the same night as Pocono starts its 2018 pari-mutuel campaign). Les freres Allard combined for three victories over the dozen qualifiers, topped only in the horsemen's ranks by driver Matt Kakaley, who crossed the wire first four times. Kalaley handled the day's other sub-1:55 winner in the day's first race, with I Said Diamonds showing no apparent rust after a layoff of nearly seven months with a 1:54.4 triumph (in 32o temperatures; the mercury had warmed to 40o when Keystone Velocity won), and he also guided the fastest trotting winner, Ontheroad De Vie, who posted his fastest winning time ever of 1:56.3. There will be another session of qualifying at Pocono on Thursday, and then the track will revert to its usual "qualie" schedule of weekly Wednesday sessions. As noted, Opening Night for the 2018 pari-mutuel season at the mountain oval is Saturday the 17th, with the first draw to be held on Monday the 12th (despite what you may have read elsewhere). The Downs will gradually add cards per week as the horse population increases, and plans to have its first "regular" racing week of Saturday-Sunday-Monday-Tuesday in early April. Post time for all non-special event cards at Pocono this year will be at 7 p.m. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 8, 2018 -- Camera Lady remained undefeated in four starts this year when she sustained a rally that carried her from worst to first in Wednesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Camera Lady followed the live cover of Graceful Vision before moving three wide into the final turn for Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. The 4-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Ann Van Go just got up to down early leader Medusa by a nose in 1:53.4, with Fox Valley Charm another nose back in the Lightning Lane. Ron Burke trains Camera Lady, who extended her career bankroll to $144,603, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC. Camera Lady winning Wednesday’s feature - Chris Gooden Photo Jim Pantaleano and trainer Christen Pantaleano teamed for a pair of victories on the 10-race card while Wrenn and trainers Dirk Simpson and Burke also enjoyed doubles. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, first post 1:05 PM. 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.   Evan Pattak  

The award of the first of 10 mini-casino licenses has left Commissioner Dan Vogler hopeful for Lawrence County's chances at one of the remaining nine licenses. The first license was awarded on Wednesday to Mountainview Thoroughbred Association LLC, the Dauphin County-based parent company of Hollywood Casino. The winning offer for $50,100,000 outbid three other competitors. The new mini-casino will be located in Yoe Borough in southern York County. The community is near the Maryland border with access to Interstate 83 into Maryland. "That is very similar to our situation," said Vogler who made the drive to Harrisburg to witness the bid award. "Lawrence County is located on a state border with Ohio. We have access to many major highways from Interstate 376, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstates 80 and 79. We also have empty buildings that would be ideal locations to house a casino." All the county needs, he agreed, is an existing casino operator with deep pockets who can outbid others vying for the remaining nine Category 4 licenses. Vogler said he could not say if any potential casino operators have visited Lawrence County but agreed that several locations might be attractive for such a project. Potential sites could include the Cascade Galleria in downtown New Castle and the former Sears store in Union Township, which has good highway access, is near the Ohio border, has access to massive amounts of free parking and is located near hotels and restaurants. The winning bid and proposed location for the state's first mini casino were announced prior to Wednesday's Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting by executive director Kevin O'Toole who said the amount of the bid must be provided to state officials by 4 p.m. Friday or the license will go to the second place bidder. In all, four bids were received for the first casino license auction. O'Toole said the names of the unsuccessful bidders and their offers would be locked away "secured and confidential and will not influence upcoming auctions." The next auction is scheduled for Jan. 24. Vogler noted that under terms of the new licenses, the casino must be located within a 15-mile radius of Yoe, and may be no closer than 25 miles to an existing casino. Vogler also noted that with Gettysburg in Adams County and all of Lancaster County opting out of potential casino sites, "This locks up south central Pennsylvania along the Maryland border." Gov. Tom Wolf in October expanded the gaming law, creating opportunities for 10 mini-casinos also called satellite or Category 4 casinos. The state anticipates generating $100 million if all 10 licenses are sold. However, an estimated 1,017 municipalities within the commonwealth have opted out of gaming expansion. Vogler, however, noted that there is interest in Reading, Williamsport, State College, Altoona, Johnstown and Lawrence County which under the law is far enough from casinos in Allegheny and Erie counties not to be seen as competing. The county is also 30 miles from the Penn National Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown. "The advantage of a mini-casino here is they will have table games — which they do not have in Austintown — and that is a no-smoking facility. A Pennsylvania casino will have designated smoking areas," he said, noting that the Austintown facility is smoke free. Based on the first bid, Vogler said, he believes interested bidders will now retool their strategies for when they return in two weeks. He said he also believes future bids will be lower than the $50.1 million bid for the initial license. What he doesn't know if he'll attend the next bid award. "I'll have to talk it over with Steve (Craig) and Bob (Del Signore) to see if they feel it will go any good to maintain a presence," Vogler said. Over the years Vogler has regularly attended Harness Racing Commission and Gaming Control Board meetings while Lawrence County remained in the running for a Category 1 racetrack/casino complex planned for Mahoning Township. "In that time, I got to know a lot of the officials," he said. "In the year and a half since I've been here, five of the seven Gaming Board members have turned over. I only know two current board members." New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo believes Lawrence County — and New Castle in particular — would be an ideal location for a casino. "We're open for business and willing to talk to anyone who wants to come in," he said. Mastrangelo said he is not personally aware that anyone representing casino interests has visited the city. "I invite them to see me," he said. "A casino could do us well. It could help us to get out of Act 47." New Castle has been part of the Act 47 recovery plan for financially distressed cities since 2007. Under a change in the law, the city must get out of the program by 2019. Mastrangelo agreed that existing sites in Union and Shenango townships could be good locations for a casino, "But they are not in the city," he said, adding, "I can think of at least three locations right now that would be ideal," The Cascade Galleria, which is in the heart of town offers 70,000-square-feet of developable space, is surrounded by free parking, "and the owner is very interested." Mastrangelo also believes the nearby former Post Office building on Kennedy Square would be an ideal casino location. "This would benefit the downtown," he said. "These sites are available now Mastrangelo added that the New Castle Area Transit Authority "takes six buses every day down to Pittsburgh's Rivers Casino. "If we had a casino, they could stay at home."  By Nancy Lowry  Reprinted with permission of The New Castle News

VENANGO TOWNSHIP — Recognizing the 2017 Crawford County Fair had losses totaling more than $200,000, the county Fair Board reviewed plans for the 2018 edition at its annual meeting Wednesday at Venango Valley Inn and Golf Course in hopes of generating more interest and revenue. The annual treasurer's report showed the fair lost $219,519.73, of which $38,904.77 was from the grandstand acts. The operating expenses totaled $1,361,987.30 compared to revenues of $1,263,010.54. Expenses increased when adding capital expenses totaling $120,542.97. Of that, $50,000 was the final payment to commissioners for the grandstand. When not counting the capital expenses, the 2017 fair lost about $99,000. Of 10 acts in front of the grandstand, six showed a profit. They were: Saturday evening demolition derby, $31,426.08; Straight No Chaser concert, $30,49.01; Friday truck and tractor pull, $13,773.46; Old Dominion concert, $6,305.60; Saturday afternoon demolition derby, $4,32762; and Monday truck pull, $2,370.56. Losses were: King and Country concert, $85,492.83; Fair Queen pageant, $11,635.41; six hitch class, $26,372.73; and Saturday morning tractor pull, $5,104. An analysis of increased expenses show an increase of $84,951.74 in various categories. Increases of more than $10,000 over 2016 included: marketing and advertising expenses $36,636.70; official expense and audit, $18,145.97; labor in the office, $16,610.16; equipment rental, $12,138.83; harness racing purse, $17,759.37; and entertainment, $57,338.51. The Fair Board last year hired Julliette Enfield, educator and agriculture entrepreneurship with Penn State University, to draft a business plan for the fair's future. She is meeting with the board and others to gain research and information to come up with a plan. The next session is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 8 at the Crawford County Cooperative Extension Office, 1099 Morgan Village Road, Suite A. Enfield is based out of Warren and her duties have included marketing and business plans for fairs. The university has agreed to pay her expenses to attend the State Fair Convention as well. When the Fair Board voted to purchase land last year, commissioners had requested the Fair Board develop a business plan and that is why Enfield was hired. In relation to the new land purchase, the Fair Board approved adding another gate near Gate 2 (across from the land acquired) that will be only for walk-in or those on golf carts to use. It will be a movable gate to accommodate the public. The board also voted to have evening meetings — on a trial run — in February, March, April and May. Meetings are at 6 p.m. at the extension office at 1099 Morgan Village Road, Suite A. Board members noted the belief that younger people are needed and thought perhaps moving meetings to evening hours would help attract more interest. The lineup of grandstand entertainment for 2018 is: Saturday, Aug. 18, truck pull; Sunday, Aug. 19, fair queen pageant (free admission); Monday, rodeo; Tuesday, six hitch class and veterans programs (free admission); Wednesday, country music concert; Thursday, Christian music concert; Friday, truck pull; and Saturday, demolition derbies in afternoon and evening. Also free on Tuesday will be a logging contest from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission to grandstand acts (except for the concerts) will be $7 for the grandstand and $10 for race track seats. Tentative agreements have been reached with country and Christian music acts, board member George Deshner reported, but those names will not be released until April when all contracts are finalized. The board gave Deshner the authority to investigate the possibility of having the Rhinestone Roper Show if he is available and to investigate possible sponsorship for the cost of $1,900 a day for six days. Roper would perform two or three times daily if he is added to the fair. Board member Bill Good suggested this could be a new act to attract more people. Also approved was requiring campers to have a number 10 electrical cord. Discussion is being held to upgrade electric in the area, and board members said it is imperative that the cords be upgraded. Anyone not having the proper size will not be permitted to hook up. The board heard a request from Kenny Carr to reconsider its action to have zero free senior citizen days in 2018. He requested that at least a half day be free for seniors. Also, the board heard a request concerning the increased cost in 2018 for vendor passes, noting a letter to the editor from a member of Fallowfield United Methodist Church. It was noted that many volunteers cannot or will not help with the increased pass price. The cost of a 2018 concessionaire weekly pass will be $35 in 2018, up $20 from $15 in this year. Anne Hall has agreed to research the number of nonprofits at the fair and the impact the increase will have on the nonprofits as well as the anticipated loss to the fair revenues. She will take that information to the next meeting for the board to consider. The board re-elected its officers: William Winters, president; Ron Kerr, first vice president; Good, second vice president; Diana Perry, secretary-treasurer; and Shelby Proctor, executive secretary. Also approved was to recommend Winters and Perry to commissioners for another term on the Fair Board.  By Jane Smith Special to the Tribune Reprinted with permission of The Meadville Tribune

The curtain fell on the 150 day harness racing meet at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, December 17, 2017. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera was the leading trainer at the meet. Herrera had 111 wins in 395 starts for a UDRS of .419, and purse earnings of $1,070,569. Ron Burke, who led the meet in purse earnings with $1,518,484, was second with 97 wins on the season. Driver George Napolitano Jr won his record 12th dashwinning title, once again winning the titles at both Harrah's Philly and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Napolitano had 316 wins of 1,376 starts for a UDRS of .367, and purse earnings of $3,243,110. Tim Tetrick, who had the most total purse earnings on the meet ($3,494,086) finished second with 274 wins. Harrah's Philadelphia would like to thank the horsemen and women for an exciting 2017, and wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season. Michael Bozich

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved fines totaling $79,500 for two harness racing track and slot machine casino operators. Robert Soper, the former President and CEO of Downs Racing, L.P. — which operates Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County — was personally fined $60,000 for his failure to properly disclose various business interests, the Board’s release states. The business interests include 10 companies, two of which deal directly with Mohegan Sun Pocono. Washington Trotting Association Inc., which operates The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County, was assessed two fines. The company was fined $12,000 for allowing an individual who is on the Board’s Self-Excluded Persons List to gamble and cash in chips at the casino’s cage, the release adds. It was also fined $7,500 for failure to notify the Board of construction modifications between two restricted areas at The Meadows. By Sean Naylor Reprinted with permission of Fox43

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 10, 2017 -- Tessa Seelster quarter-poled to the top and cruised home from there, capturing Tuesday's $20,000 harness racing filly & mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace in a sharp 1:51.3. Tessa Seelster was away second for Dave Palone but sat only briefly behind Spreester before powering to the top. The 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Titania Seelster drew off late, downing Spreester by 3 lengths, while Southwind Roulette shot the Lightning Lane for show. Ron Burke trains Tessa Seelster, who soared over $500,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jonathan Newman. Elsewhere on Tuesday's card, Flowers N Songs took the $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Trotting Handicap with an eye-popping charge through the Lightning Lane that carried her from seventh to first in 1:55.2. Dan Charlino piloted the 4-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Pleasure's Song, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $539,503, for trainer Rich Gillock and owner/breeder Bob Key. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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