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HARRISBURG PA - The Keystone Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced the harness racing humans and equines it will honor for outstanding performance in 2014 - and in one notable case, for many, many years before that.   Aime Choquette, 100 years young this past Halloween, is being honored with the Chapter's highest prize, the Mary Lib Miller Award, for longtime outstanding service to harness racing. The designation is especially appropriate in Choquette's case, as for over 40 years he was "right-hand man" for Mary Lib's husband, the immortal Delvin Miller, serving as second trainer for the likes of Arndon, Tarport Hap, and Horse of the Year Delmonica Hanover, who won the famous Prix d'Amerique while under Choquette's daily supervision in France.   Aime was also a pretty good "trainer" of harness executives, too - those who worked with him in the Miller barn include Hall of Famers Andy Grant and John Cashman Jr., along with Breeders Crown executive Tom Charters and many others in various fields of the sport.   For sheer impact on 2014, few can be mentioned in the same breath with trainer Ron Burke and his principal ownership partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. Burke again smashed the earnings record for harness trainers last year, and even surpassed the previous thoroughbred mark for North America, by harnessing the winners of over $28.3M, most of them owned by Burke Racing (Ron and his mother Sylvia) along with Weaver-Bruscemi. The trainer and the double partnership are being honored, not the least of reasons being that on many of their top horses they add "outside partners," giving people, often newcomers to the game, a taste of stakes success in very short order.   Burke leads the trainers standings at his home track, The Meadows, just as the leading driver there is Keystone honoree Dave Palone. Palone got the nod over Pocono/Philly driving champ George Napolitano Jr. because Dave now leads the entire world in career victories, eclipsing the old mark of the German meister Heinz Wewering late in 2014, and now standing at a count of 16,870 - and growing every week.   It's hard to overlook the breeder who has topped the moneywinning charts of each of the 66 years the stat has been kept in North America, and Hanover Shoe Farms more than deserves another honor for 2014, as their produce won $29.2M at the races, trailing only their own $30.0M total of 2012.   For top Pennsylvania Sire Stakes performer, there was a "dead-heat to win" between freshman pacing filly Southwind Roulette and her sidewheeling counterpart, sophomore colt McWicked. The filly had the richest single-season ever for a pacer in the Sire Stakes, going undefeated in four prelims and the Championship to bankroll $269,293, while McWicked became the fastest-ever Championship winner by streaking to a 1:48.4 triumph.   Top Pennsylvania-sired horse, combining both state and national-caliber starts, was the five-year-old stallion Sweet Lou, the sport's Pacer of the Year in 2014 on the strength of 11 wins, $1.36M in earnings, and a 1:47 victory at Pocono - the fastest mile ever on a five-eighth-mile track, and only a tick above the all-time racing standard.   To be honored as the state's top performers on the weekly Invitational level are the pacer Dancin Yankee and the trotter Cowgirl Hall. Dancin Yankee won six of his seven top-class starts at Pocono, fastest in 1:47.2, while the mare Cowgirl Hall came to The Meadows in June and then won 11 races the rest of the year, including a five-race win streak facing not only females but also "the boys."   The Keystone writers' choices will be honored in trackside presentations on their "home turf" over the next few months - except for Choquette, who understandably at 100 is not much of a traveler now. But if he could take a mare to France and win one of the world's toughest harness races, surely a way will be found to get his trophy to his home in la belle province of Quebec.   From the Keystone Chapter of USHWA

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 25, 2015 -- Atta Boy Dan made it three straight at The Meadows when he strolled through a leisurely 58 half, then blazed home in 55.4 to capture Wednesday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace. Dave Palone was able to work out that comfortable half for Atta Boy Dan, which left the 6-year-old Western Terror - Dropitlikesitshot gelding plenty in reserve to thwart the stern first-over challenge from I'm Feelin Good. Atta Boy Dan scored in 1:53.4, 1-1/4 lengths better than the ground-saving Dew N Doughnuts, while I'm Feelin Good saved show. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, who extended his career bankroll to $244,560, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano and trainer Paul Corey teamed for three winners on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 20, 2015 -- Returning from a layoff of more than three months, Continual Velocity still was the best at The Meadows as she notched a front-end harness racing victory in the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. Dave Palone hustled Continual Velocity to the front, where she enjoyed a comfortable 58 opening half on a "good" surface. Palone had to chase Continual Velocity in the lane, but the 7-year-old daughter of Real Artist - Extreme Velocity responded and held off Macharoundtheclock by 1/2 length in 1:55. The pocket-sitting R Marie Hanover was third. Ron Burke trains Continual Velocity, who now boasts $542,275 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC. It was one of three wins on the 12-race card for Palone. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Coming off his first loss since December 13th, Rockeyed Optimist returned to the Meadowlands with a vengeance, winning his division of The Sonsam harness racing pacing series in 1:50.3. The first $17,500 division went post-ward as race two on the Saturday program with a field of six and Rockeyed Optimist was sent off as the 3/5 betting choice from post position one. The early speed came from Bettorever, fresh off his runner-up effort in round one with Corey Callahan. In fact, Bettorever would proceed to cut the mile, establishing fractions of 26.3, 55.4 and 1:24.4, stealing a 58.1 middle-half under no pressure, that is until Rockeyed Optimist and Brett Miller made their move. The favorite, a son of Rocknroll Hanover, sat back in fourth position early on and was guided to the outside approaching the half-mile pole where he would proceed first over, eventually racing on even terms with the pace-setter. Turning for home, Rockeyed Optimist exploded and powered away from the field winning in a sparkling 1:50.3, pacing the final quarter in an absurdly-fast 25.4. The win was one of four on the card for Brett Miller on the heels of his four-win performance Friday night. Rockeyed Optimist is trained by Steve Elliot for Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, A and B Srable and Joseph Battaglia. With the win, Rockeyed Optimist has surged past $100,000 in lifetime earnings while earning his ninth win of his career from 23 starts. Major Uptrend will be shooting for the series sweep, following his win in the second division of The Sonsam on Saturday night. After briefly allowing JK Patriot to claim the early lead, Yannick Gingras quickly guided Major Uptrend to the lead before the opening quarter and would click off fractions of 28, 55.4 and 1:23.4 before facing just mild pressure from Company Man who moved first over. In the stretch, Gingras called to the Somebeachsomewhere gelding and the response was evident as there was never an anxious moment through the stretch. Major Uptrend won while racing well within himself equaling the mark of 1:50.3, identical to the winning time of Rockeyed Optimist in the first division of The Sonsam. Major Uptrend is trained by Ron Burke for Howard Taylor. In other racing action, National Seelster, the three year old colt that opened eyes winning upon debut two weeks ago returned to the races on Saturday night and returned with another win. Allowed to sit the pocket throughout the mile, National Seelster found room late in the stretch up the pylons and accelerated rapidly to win again, in 1:53.1. National Seelster, a son of Bettor's Delight is now two for two to start the career. An intriguing match-up could be on the horizon between a pair of undefeated and lightly raced three olds in the William "Buddy" Gilmour series between National Seelster and Wiggle It Jiggle It. The latter won a division of the first round of the Sonsam series and will square off with Rockeyed Optimist and Major Uptrend in the final of that series before tackling National Seelster in the Gilmour. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed, but there were only two winning tickets which were paid a dividend of $4,257. The last race jackpot also carried over to the tune of $123,827 into the last race on the Thursday program, which will begin at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 13, 2015 -- She was racing off a three-month layoff, and her faltering cover didn't take her where she wanted to go. Nevertheless, Blissfull Romance was the best in Friday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Blissfull Romance was away eighth for Dave Palone and still trailing by 4-1/2 lengths at the three-quarters. When Palone tipped her three wide, she brushed powerfully and scored in 1:54.4, a neck better than Prima Dragon. Early leader R Marie Hanover saved show. Ron Burke trains Blissfull Romance, a 6-year-old daughter of Blissfull Hall - Draconian Promise who lifted her career bankroll to $251,925, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Jim Pantaleano and Palone each piloted three winners on the 12-race card. The Meadows is dark Monday in observation of Presidents' Day. Live racing resumes Tuesday, first post 12:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Atta Boy Dan surrendered the lead at the three-quarters but found another gear late as he captured his second straight in Wednesday's harness racing $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. A parked-out 27.1 opening panel made Atta Boy Dan vulnerable to the first-over bid of Royal Heart, who was able to cross over and move a length in front. When Dave Palone asked Atta Boy Dan for more, the 6-year-old Western Terror - Dropitlikeitshot gelding surged through the Lightning Lane, scoring in 1:53. Dew N Doughnuts was second, 1/2 length back, while Royal Heart saved show. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, who extended his career bankroll to $235,560, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC. Tony Hall and Palone each piloted three winners on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 11, 2015) - Last Friday's opening leg of the Burning Point Series at The Meadowlands was supposed to be a showdown between Ron Burke's dynamic duo and Tony Alagna's red-hot Witch Dali. Instead, 14/1 longshot Empress Deo passed all three of them in the stretch to win in an upset. Burke expects a bounce back effort from both of his mares, Southwind Serenity and Donttellruss, in the second leg of the Burning Point Series on Friday night (February 13). The entry has been installed as the 8/5 favorite on Darin Zoccali's morning line. The twosome is part of a field of seven pacing mares that also includes Worldly Beauty champion Witch Dali and first leg winner Empress Deo. The $65,000 final is February 21. In last week's opening round, Southwind Serenity led the field to the top of the stretch before fading to finish fifth. "She tied up last week," said Burke. "I'm not making any equipment changes and I'm confident she won't have those issues again this week." He's also hoping for a change in tactics on Friday night. Last week, Southwind Serenity was on the lead while Donttellruss came first over. "Hopefully with different trips this week we will see better results," said Burke. Once again, Yannick Gingras will drive Southwind Serenity and Corey Callahan will be partnered with Donttellruss. The Burning Point is race six on a 13-race card. Melady's Monet looks to win his third straight in a small, but select field in the Open Trot and world champion Shebestingin continues her comeback in race seven. The 50-cent Pick 5 with an average pool of more than $50,000 begins with race 1. The Early Pick 4 begins in race 3. Its average pool size has also been more than $50,000. The Late Pick 4 covers races 7-10 and features an average pool size of more than $72,000. by Justin Horowitz, for the Meadowlands        

The Sonsam pacing series attracted 20 entries for its first round of harness racing competition on Saturday night at The Meadowlands, split into two divisions. The first division went postward in race seven and featured the Escort Champion, Company man, who was sent off as the slight 9/5 favorite. JK Patriot, third in the Escort Final was also in the field. The newcomer on the scene was the three year old invading from Dover, Wiggle It Jiggleit for George Teague Jr. The speed came from JK Patriot, who made the lead early and hit the opening quarter in 27 seconds before yielding that lead to the oncoming Company Man who cleared the lead down the backstretch, reaching the half in 56 seconds. At that point, Montrell Teague decided it was time to move Wiggle It Jiggleit into contention as they went first over around the far turn, into a 26.4 third quarter. But, that did not phase the three year old one-bit as Wiggle It Jiggleit powered through the stretch, lengthening his stride and won impressively in 1:49.4, establishing a sub-1:50 mark in just his third lifetime start. As of now, the sky appears the limit for this three year old son of Mr Wiggles. Clyde Francis trains the gelding for George Teague Jr. Inc. Bettorever was second and JK Patriot checked in third. The second division of the Sonsam featured an interesting matchup of the razor sharp Rockeyed Optimist and the highly talented Major Uptrend. It would be Major Uptrend, The Escort runner-up who established the pace through fractions of 27.1, 55.1 and 1:23.3, while seeing pressure from Fritzie Pic Up Man who was challenging first over. In the meantime, Rockeyed Optimist, the 1/2 favorite was looming second over as the field turned for home and he would flip three wide for the drive. Yannick Gingras then asked Major Uptrend for more speed and he and Rockeyed Optimist would sprint to the wire together, with Major Uptrend narrowly holding off the favorite to win in 1:50.4. The winner is trained by Ron Burke for Howard Taylor. Rediscovery was third. The $25,000 Dash For The "C" Notes Final was also contested for the pacers on Saturday with 6/5 favorite Dragon Lore living up to his advanced billing, scoring an impressive victory in 1:51.1 with Corey Callahan in the sulky, rallying from just off the pace. Road Untraveled was second and Sir Melo's Z Tam third. Dragon Lore is trained by Mark Capone for Thomas Magliozzo, Steve Schachner and Christopher Duffy. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers continued to see their carryovers grow. The fifth race carryover is now $16,540.98, while the last race carryover grew to $102,498, surpassing the $100,000 mark for the first time. The bet continues to grow in popularity, with its largest amount bet into the last race pool to date on Saturday of over $36,000. Yannick Gingras won the last three races on the card, totaling four wins on the Saturday program after a grand slam on Friday as well. The 13-race Saturday program handled $3,328,477. Racing returns on Thursday with a 10-race program featuring the second round of the Charles Singer Memorial Trotting Series. Post time is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

Heading into the first round of the Burning Point series for pacing mares, all eyes were on the re-match of Worldly Beauty winner Witch Dali and her rival and runner-up from that same series, Donttellruss. New to the party was the Ron Burke trained Southwind Serentiy, a fine compliment to her stablemate, Donttellruss. Such a fine compliment, that Yannick Gingras, given his choice of the two, opted to Southwind Serenity. That harness racing entry was sent off as the 1/2 favorite, with Witch Dali the 2-1 second choice. But someone forgot to tell Empress Deo that this was a three-horse race. The early lead belonged to Southwind Serenity, who was hustled to the front by Gingras and established a 27.1 opening quarter under no pressure. She was allowed to coast through a 55.4 half-mile as her stable-mate, Donttellruss committed first over. But it was a slow grind and Southwind Serenity appeared comfortable as she reached three-quarters in 1:24. Witch Dali loomed as a menacing presence from second over as the field turned for home. But when the field straightened up in the stretch and Gingras asked his mare for more, there was no real response. Donttellruss had stalled first over at this point, Witch Dali kicked off cover and Somenicebeach pulled the pocket and was in contention. But behind all that, Empress Deo, hopelessly locked in on the pylons was angled all the way to the outside by Brett Miller and as soon as she saw clear racetrack in front of her, she exploded and stormed past the entire field to win in 1:51.4. Somenicebeach was second and Witch Dali third. The winner was trained by Wayne Givens for Legacy Racing Of Delaware Inc. She returned $30.20 to win. The $25,000 Dash For The "C" Notes for the trotters was contested Friday night at The Meadowlands. The race featured an overwhelming favorite in Rock Of Cashel at 1/2. There was plenty of action throughout the mile with four lead changes between the start and the three-quarter pole. Rock Of Cashel turned for home with the lead, but the field was closing in. Meanwhile, Perfect Picture, a 70-1 longshot was blocked and looking for racing room. Suddenly she found it inside the 1/8th pole and rallied to score a huge upset to kick off the late pick four, a sequence that returned over $24,000 for a $.50 cent ticket. My Muscleman was second and Rock Of Cashel faded to third. The winner was driven by Trace Tetrick for trainer Amber Buter, and owners Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter. The same trainer and owner connections of the Thursday night Dash For The "C" Notes winner, Antigua Hanover. In the 11th race, a nw15000L5 condition event for pacing mares, Shebestingin, the fastest pacing mare of all time made her return to the races. She was taken off the pace, followed cover and rallied to finish second as the 1/2 favorite, defeated by 29-1 longshot, Addy's Way. Trainer Joe Holloway indicate in a pre-race interview that Shebestingin would need to return to the top level or she would likely head to the breeding shed for this breeding season. The brothers' Tetrick combined for four wins on the program, while Yannick Gingras hit a grand slam himself. The fifth race $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed tonight, resulting in a $12,996.60 carryover into the Saturday program. The last race jackpot also was not hit, and that carryover now stands at $94,175.03. That means there will be well over $100,000 on the line in the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 on Saturday night. Post Time for the 13-race program, featuring the first round of the Sonsam series is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 6, 2015 -- A veteran of the New York Sires Stakes circuit, Medusa launched her 4-year-old campaign successfully Friday at The Meadows when she captured the $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. Making her first start in the powerful Ron Burke Stable, Medusa quarter-poled to the lead for Dave Palone but faced a serious late challenge from Macharoundtheclock. When Palone popped her earplugs around the final turn, Medusa took off again and defeated Macharoundtheclock by 2 lengths in 1:54.4. Early leader Doubelieveinmagic finished third. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura own Medusa, a daughter of Bettor's Delight - Mythical who now boasts $124,898 in career earnings. Aaron Merriman drove three winners on the 12-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 4, 2015 -- Atta Boy Dan worked out a cozy pocket trip, then brushed by his stablemate, Visible Gold, in the lane to capture Wednesday's harness racing $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Visible Gold cut out a seemingly comfortable 59 half, but the sloppy surface and a stern first-over challenge from Desperation left the leader vulnerable. Atta Boy Dan and Eric Goodell had little trouble overtaking Visible Gold, prevailing by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Exactly Black was a ground-saving third. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, a 6-year-old Western Terror - Dropitlikeitshot gelding who extended his career bankroll to $225,560, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman, Dave Palone, Burke and Goodell all fashioned three-baggers on the 14-race card. Goodell's haul lifted his career victory total to 4,994. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 4, 2015) - A field of eight harness racing mare pacers has been entered in the opening leg of the Burning Point Series at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment on Friday night (February 6). The field is headlined by Worldly Beauty champion Witch Dali, trained by Tony Alagna, and Worldly Beauty runner-up Donttellruss, trained by Ron Burke. Burke will also send out Southwind Serenity as part of a coupled entry. Witch Dali returned in November from a 13-month layoff necessitated by an injury. Since her return, she's won six of seven including wins in the Niagara Series at Woodbine and the Worldly Beauty. Her only loss during the streak came courtesy of Donttellruss. "Witch Dali has had a nice week and trained back well on Tuesday," said Alagna. "I always knew she could race from off the pace and I think she showed everyone else that new dimension in the Worldly Beauty Final. It was nice for her to finally get a trip like that after having rough trips in her previous starts." Alagna will also send out Hello My Dream in the Burning Point. She makes her first start for Alagna after spending her first two seasons of racing in Illinois with trainer Mike Brink. She's won 10 times from 42 lifetime starts with a mark of 1:51.1 at Balmoral. "Hello My Dream is owned by Ed Teefey who has had horses with my mom for 30 years back in Illinois," explained Alagna. "She had a really good year and Mr. Teefey wanted to give her a shot in the series." The Burning Point headlines Friday's 13-race card at the Meadowlands that also includes a wide-open edition of the Dash For The C-Notes Final for trotters and the 2015 debut of Shebestingin, the fastest female pacer of all-time. Rachel Ryan

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 2, 2015 -- Appomattox vaulted to the lead from post 9, then cruised to a comfortable harness racing victory in Monday's $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Appomattox had been taking on tough fields at The Meadowlands and more than holding his own. The 6-year-old, battle-tested son of Yankee Glide-Courtney Hill had little trouble overcoming his difficult post position and scoring in 1:55.1, two lengths better than the rallying Classicality. The pocket-sitting TSM Photo Bugger held third. Ron Burke trains Appomattox, who now boasts $456,398 in career earnings, for Reima Kuisla Stable. Mike Wilder and Burke each fashioned a four-bagger on the 14-race card while Tony Hall enjoyed a triple. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

The feature race on the Saturday Night harness racing program at The Meadowlands was the $20,000 B-1/A-2 Handicap Pace. The race favorite was Ultimate Beachboy leaving from the outside post, sent off as the 3/2 choice. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Ultimate Beachboy was asked for speed throughout the first quarter of a mile and cleared the lead nearing that first quarter in 27.1. Gingras and his gelding settled into a high-cruising speed and the 5yr old Somebeachsomewhere gelding reeled off solid fractions, including a 54-second half-mile and hitting three-quarters in 1:22.1. Ultimate Beachboy turned for home clinging to that lead while facing a challenge from pocket sitting Capozzo. When it was clear that Capozzo was not going by, a new challenge emerged in the hard-charging Ontario Success who rallied boldly on the far outside, but narrowly missed to a game Ultimate Beachboy, who completed the mile in 1:49.4 on a cold, windy night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The win was one of five on the card for Yannick Gingras. Ultimate Beachboy is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and M1 Stable and J Piatt III. The Saturday program also included six division of the Dash For The "C" Notes for the pacers. Only a win would guarantee a berth into the $25,000 Final next Saturday. The six winners were, Why Don't U Stay (1:52 - Gingras), Hare Craft (1:52 - D. Miller), Hunchie (1:51.2 - Gingras), Rock Star (1:52 - Tetrick), Road Untraveled (1:52.1 - Simons) and Dragon Lore (1:50.3 - Gingras) There were six second place finishers, of which four will make the $25,000 Final, drawn by lot. Those six were Jack Attack, Bakersfield, Abelard Hanover, Magic Tricks, Sir Melo's Z Tam and New Kind. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5's went unclaimed Saturday. The fifth race carryover stands at $7,487.21 while the last race carryover grew to $82,698.99. Racing resumes on Thursday, featuring the first round of the Charles Singer Series. Post time is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 30, 2015 -- On their 2nd annual "Night of Champions," The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) honored locally based horsemen Dave Palone and Ron Burke, who have become two of harness racing's most celebrated champions. Burke, the sport's leading trainer for six consecutive years, in 2014 smashed his own record with more than $28.3 million in earnings. "It's pretty well documented that we're a family operation . . . I couldn't do it without any of them," Burke said. "There's a whole other crew that we consider just like family. Thank you, and let's make this year special." Palone, a harness Hall of Famer, in 2014 collected career victory 16,754, which made him the world's "winningest" harness racing driver. Noted equine artist Thomas Allen Pauley captured that historic moment in a painting; on Friday, he presented the work to Palone. Palone also accepted congratulations from Pennsylvania Rep. Brandon Neuman; Bill Paulos, principal of Cannery Casino Resorts, which owns The Meadows, and Phil Langley, president of the United States Trotting Association. Langley said he hopes to be present for Palone's 20,000th victory. When asked about that, Palone smiled but said emphatically, "No shot." Few in attendance, however, doubted the possibility. Before the ceremony, fans were able to meet the two champions and take away Palone- and Burke-themed premiums. The festivities also included presentation of awards to The Meadows' 2014 equine champions, as voted by MSOA members. Evan Pattak

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 28, 2015 -- Dave Palone and Ron Burke are two of harness racing's grandest champions, and on Friday, Jan. 30, fans will have an opportunity to meet them and take home Palone- and Burke-themed premiums. The occasion is the annual "Night of Champions Celebration" presented by The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA). Beginning at 6 PM, fans may meet Palone and Burke and receive posters autographed by the two champions and mugs honoring their achievements (while supplies last). Also participating will be noted equine artist Thomas Allen Pauly, whose painting of Palone getting career win 16,754 -- the victory that made him the world's "winningest" harness racing driver -- will be featured. Palone was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010. For his part, Burke has been North America's leading trainer for six consecutive years and, in 2014, smashed his own record with more than $28.3 million in earnings. Both Palone and Burke are based at The Meadows. Other activities include: A "Spin to Win" wheel offering prizes of $2 wagering vouchers and other items; A handicapping contest for Racing Player Rewards members, with the winner earning 20,000 bonus points; Presentation of awards to The Meadows' 2014 equine champions, as voted by MSOA members. The connections of Cammikey will receive his award as The Meadows 2014 Horse of the Year. Friday's live card begins at 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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