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The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association reminds horsemen that auctions for breedings to the Pennsylvania stallions Crazed and Tom Ridge, end tomorrow.   The breedings were donated by Hanover Shoe Farms and Ted Tomson, respectively. Money raised by the auctions goes directly to the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship Fund.   The auctions are being conducted by the website www.ongait.com, and additional information is available there. The auctions end at 12Noon eastern on Tuesday, April 15.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announced that applications are now being accepted for its 2014-2015 Collegiate Scholarship Program.   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 Hypnotic Blue Chip Scholarship (sponsored by Fran Azur) and the Tom Ridge Scholarship (sponsored by Ted Tomson).   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 received on or before Friday, May 2, 2014. To apply, please visit the MSOA's website, www.themsoa.com.   by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

Horsemen at The Meadows took some time between races yesterday to create what could be a first...a harness racing "selfie" video.   from the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association    

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that three breedings are being offered via auction to benefit the MSOA's Scholarship Fund.   This year, the MSOA welcomes back a familiar face and a new partner to assist with the scholarship funding effort. For the second straight season, horse owner and MSOA member Ted Tomson of Brackenridge, PA has donated two breedings to trotting stallion Tom Ridge, on the roster at Nandi Farms in New Freedom, PA for a fee of $3,500.   Tom Ridge, a World Champion son of Muscles Yankee, has a mark of 1:50.2 and banked over $886,000 in his racing career.   The MSOA is pleased to welcome Hanover Shoe Farms to the team, as the nation's leading farm has donated a breeding to Crazed, valued at $4,000.   Crazed, a million-dollar winning son of Credit Winner, is no stranger to Pennsylvania racing, as a past winner of the Colonial Trot at Harrah's Philadelphia.   "We are pleased to have the Tomson family and Hanover Shoe Farms work with our program this year," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "We have had some great partners donate breedings in recent years, including Green Acquisition Corporation, owner of Trainforthefuture, and Fran Azur, owner of Hypnotic Blue Chip. The MSOA Scholarship Fund is lucky to have had the opportunity to work with these folks and their generosity has helped to benefit a lot of young men and women."   The breedings will be listed on the website  www.ongait.com The 14-day auction opens April 1 and ends at noon on April 15, 2014.   One Crazed breeding is available to the top bidder. Two Tom Ridge breedings are being offered. The underbidder will be contacted by the MSOA and offered the second breeding at the price of their bid as soon as the auction has closed. Terms are 10% down (non-refundable), remainder due upon live foal.   For more information, call 724-228-3644 or email, msoa@themsoa.com.

Six teams and nearly than 50 college students were on hand at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Friday night as the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted its first-ever College Games for Charity. In the end, Phi Sigma Cappa from Robert Morris University took top honors and earned $500 for Special Olympics. The teams competed in several events, including Handicapping the Pick-4, bowling, an egg and spoon race and more. Each team had a chance to go to the winners circle for an interview on the Meadows Live! television broadcast and get a photo taken with a winning horse. Several members of each team were also given a paddock tour. A team from Washington & Jefferson College finished in second place, earning $250 for the Washington City Mission. A "home" team featuring a group of The Meadows' own young horsemen and women finished third, earning $100 for New Vocations Horse Adoption. Also participating were the California University of Pennsylvania Equestrian Club, Wheeling Jesuit University, and Robert Morris University's Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.   All that participated seemed to have a great time, and many vowed to return to the track. The MSOA expects to host another College Games in the future. by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

The freshman pacer White Bliss may have garnered all of the attention last fall due to his pure white appearance, but at The Meadows, an unusual trotter has picked up quite a following thanks to her "fancy" look.   Fancy Sierra Star is a rarity in her own right. She is a pinto Standardbred, getting her coloring from her second dam. A daughter of Sierra Kosmos out of a Lark's Crown mare, the second dam is listed as "breeding not proven" in the official United States Trotting Association log. Now a member of the Bill and Moira Fahy Stable, Fancy Sierra Star stepped in front of the camera at The Meadows this week in a video produced by Jeff Zidek.   To view the video, follow this link: http://youtu.be/j9MnO1TvtHM   For further information, contact Jeff Zidek, 724-228-3644.   From the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce its first ever College Games for Charity. The event will take place this Friday night, March 28 at The Meadows.   Students representing several area colleges will compete in five events, including a handicapping challenge, an egg and spoon race, basketball shooting contest, a corn hole game and a bowling challenge. The team with the most points will earn $500 for the charity of its choice, while second and third place will receive $250 and $100, respectively, for their charities.   The MSOA is co-sponsoring the event with The Meadows Chaplaincy Program.   In addition to the teams competing in the College Games, anyone with a state issued and college ID, showing proof of being 18 years of age or older, will receive a $2 wagering voucher and a coupon for a free hot dog, courtesy of the MSOA and The Meadows Racing.   On the track, the night will also feature the finals of four Late Closer Series, each going for more than $25,000. Owners of horses in the championship races, along with representatives from various local charities, will be hosted by the MSOA in the Triple Crown Banquet Room on the track's lower level.   As always, the Friday night races will also feature the MSOA's popular "Spin To Win" prize wheel and additional giveaways. Meadows Racing Rewards members will have a chance to compete in a Handicapping Challenge, with a top prize of 40,000 bonus points.   Post time for Friday night's race card is 6:55PM.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

Harness Horsemen International continued their Annual Meetings on March 4 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida.   Horsemen’s representatives from ten associations, including Cloverleaf SOA, Delaware SOA, Illinois HHA, Ohio HHA, Maine HHA, Meadows HHA, Western New England HHA, Pennsylvania HHA, SBOA of New Jersey and Kentucky HHA were in attendance.   T.C. Lane of the USTA offered the audience a first look at the new online entry system for horsemen, to be launched in the near future. Any USTA member will be able to access this user-friendly system, Lane stressed, which allows trainers to enter their horses at various racetracks via the Internet, free of charge.     Association reports continued, followed by HHI committee meetings. The Insurance Committee discussed current HHI coverage, including liability, fire, and disaster, and pending cases which could affect the horse industry, as well as possible changes in policies.   Instant racing in Kentucky and sports wagering in New Jersey were topics cited by the Legal Committee. The HHI Scholarship Foundation Committee passed a motion to use a universal scholarship application for all horsemen’s association scholarships, in order to simplify the process for applicants. A proposal by the HHI Convention Committee, to return to this same meeting place in 2015, will be voted on in the Wednesday General Session.   The March 5 meetings will begin with elections and a panel discussion entitled “I Can’t Believe This is Happening,” which will examine critical issues facing Standardbred horsemen, followed by the HHI Awards Luncheon.   The HHI Annual Meetings will conclude with a farewell breakfast on Thursday, March 6.   HHI is comprised of horsemen’s associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI’s governing body consists of representatives from its member associations.   by Kim Rinker, for HHI

On Friday night, February 28, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association will host a special event to benefit the Washington Area Humane Society. The last time the groups worked together, it was the beginning of a journey that has taken a horse and a young girl to places no one could have imagined.   The MSOA will donate its commission from all money wagered on the designated race on Friday. The Meadows Racing will also donate its commission, doubling the benefit for the WAHS.   Racing fans are encouraged to join in by not only wagering on the race, but also by bringing an item from the WAHS "Wish List", which includes dry cat food, clay cat litter, Purina One dry and canned dog food, dog treats and more. Fans donating an item from the "Wish List" will receive a $2 betting voucher, courtesy of the MSOA and The Meadows.   For the full list, visit the MSOA's website, www.themsoa.com.   The MSOA and Meadows horsemen are quite familiar with the work of the Washington Area Humane Society. Five years ago, the groups got together when nearly two dozen horses were found in extremely poor health on a nearby farm.   Several local trainers stepped up and worked together with the Meadows race office and the WAHS to donate whatever items they could. Leslie Zendt, a trainer/driver, was one of several that took the extra step to help.   "Word got around the backstretch at The Meadows, and so I got in touch with the Humane Society," said Zendt. "The horses were having trouble getting to fresh water, so the first thing I did was buy some water troughs. The next day, more people got involved and a bunch of us went over to see firsthand. In my lifetime I never thought I would see anything like that." What Zendt saw were more than 20 horses, mostly Quarterhorses, all emaciated and very ill.   Zendt stepped up and began the process immediately to adopt a young horse that she thought was a gelding, but turned out to simply be an underdeveloped two-year-old colt. "We loaded him up and brought him back to my farm," says Zendt. "   After consulting with veterinarians Barry Betts and Larry Smith, Zendt started, giving the horse, which she discovered was a registered Quarterhorse, small amounts of feed and brushing him, trying to get him comfortable.   He eventually began to gain strength, but remained small in Stature due to his early malnutrition. After Dr. Betts gelded the colt free of charge, Zendt began looking for a home for the horse, now named "Junior."   "I'm busy enough with my racehorses, and didn't have use for another riding horse. Dave Palone and I threw the saddle on him one day and started breaking him. I talked to (husband) Bill's son Brian. He and his wife Dawn were looking for a riding horse that could eventually be used for their daughter, Lexi.   Dawn Zendt then picks up the story. "The horse was so young. We kept trying to work with him, but he was just so immature. Physically and mentally it took him a while to catch up. Dawn rode the horse during the summer of 2012, when Junior was five years old, but he just wasn't aggressive enough for barrel racing at her level. "He was just so laid back, and I realized he would be a great horse for our daughter, Lexi."   Lexi Zendt, at age 10 last summer, was coming back to barrel racing after an incident with her pony left her with a broken arm the previous year. "She needed to get her confidence back," said Dawn. "We started her with Junior this past September, and she quickly realized that the horse will take care of her. He has helped her to gain so much confidence. He is just so trustworthy and eager to please. He will only go as fast as Lexi wants him to go."   Together, Lexi Zendt and Junior are learning together, and succeeding. "They are already top-five in the youth class in the West Virginia region of the International Barrel Racing Association," said Dawn. "Lexi is in love with him."   The entire Zendt family had a hand in bringing Junior from a very difficult beginning to where he is today. Their story shows how horsemen at The Meadows have made a difference while working with the Washington Area Humane Society, and they are happy to see that the partnership will continue with this Friday's event. "I think that a lot of people are quick to think that horses like that are too much trouble," said Dawn Zendt. "But that's not the case. They can turn out to be the most caring, forgiving animals. I was happy that The Meadows' horsemen stepped up last time. None of the horses were Standardbreds, yet our community did what we could to help. Lexi's story is just one of many from what took place five years ago. We're happy to see the two groups work together again."   Post time for the Friday, February 28 card is 6:55PM, as The Meadows races in the evening on the final Friday of every month, through April.   by Jeff Zidek, for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 31, 2014 — Mike Jeannot, president of Meadows Racing for The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, died Friday, his family confirmed. He was 61 and had been suffering from liver cancer. “The entire Meadows family is saddened by the passing of Mike,” said Bill Paulos, principal of Cannery Casino Resorts, which owns and operates The Meadows. “His enthusiasm for his work, combined with his genuine and warm personality, made him a special member of our team. Mike's presence will be sorely missed. We will continue to keep the Jeannot family in our prayers in the days and weeks to come.” Jeannot had served as Meadows Racing president since 2009 after serving the track in a variety of positions almost continuously since 1991. Among his roles were director of OTB operations, vice president of operations and vice president of government relations. In that latter capacity, he was influential in the passage by the Pennsylvania Legislature of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004, which permitted alternative gaming to commence in the Commonwealth and helped revitalize the state’s horse racing industry. During his years at the helm, Jeannot elevated The Meadows to one of the premier harness tracks in North America by expanding its phone-account wagering and simulcast operations and introducing such cutting-edge options as interactive account wagering technologies. Many of his major accomplishments came through regular collaboration with a number of key organizations. For example, he worked with the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission, which oversees the sport in the Commonwealth, on such important matters as updating and refining The Meadows’ wagering format and ensuring proper regulation. In an e-mail to track personnel, George Crawford, executive secretary of the commission who previously served as the commission’s track manager at The Meadows, observed: “Mike was more than just someone you worked with every day. He was someone who offered to his friends and colleagues a part of himself. Mike gave his time, energy and talents to ensure that what you did working together at the Meadows was the best anyone could offer.” Yet another of his successes was strengthening the track’s relationship with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA), which represents horsemen and horsewomen. Through that healthy relationship, The Meadows and the MSOA cooperate on many projects and events, including “Fan Appreciation Days” and the production and distribution of Meadows Live! “Mike understood the perspective of both management and horsemen from all his years here,” said Kim Hankins, MSOA executive director. “He was a very fair man, honest and to the point, so we knew where we stood. At the same time, he understood the things that we needed. We’re deeply saddened by his passing.” Although his ailment was diagnosed months ago, his commitment to his job was such that he continued to work full days through the end of 2013. A native of Kenosha, WI, he was graduated from the University of Wisconsin and began his career in the food industry, first as a pastry chef and later as an executive with Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Chicago and Dallas. He shifted to racing when he accepted a position with Inter-Track Partners, a consortium of Illinois tracks. A resident of Moon Township, he is survived by his wife, Jo, and their sons Christopher of Manchester, NH and Benjamin. The Meadows began its card Friday evening with a moment of silence in Jeannot’s memory, with a fuller tribute planned for next week. Arrangements are pending and will be announced when they are completed. by Evan Pattak for the Meadows

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that it will be featuring a new event, a Night Of Champions, at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Friday, January 31. Post time for the card will be 6:55PM, marking the first evening card of the 2014 season. "Hosting" the event will be a true champion, multi-millionaire Foiled Again. The star pacer will not only be available for a "meet and greet" in the winners circle at 6:30, but several lucky fans will receive the chance of a lifetime - to ride around the track behind Foiled Again. Fans hoping to get a jog cart ride from Foiled Again will need to arrive early, as names will be drawn at 6:45, ten minutes prior to the first race of the night. The owners of Foiled Again will also be giving away free hats, and New Vocations Standardbred Adoption agency will be offering "We Can't All Be Foiled Again" T-shirts to commemorate the evening. Horses that earned MSOA Horse of the Year awards for their age and gait will also be honored throughout the night with presentations in the winners circle between races. Twilight Bonfire, owned by Bob Key, will be honored as the MSOA's 2013 Horse of the Year. Twilight Bonfire was trained throughout much of 2013 by Danny Collins, and is wintering in the local barn of Rich Gillock. Each divisional award winner from last season will have a race named in their honor and owners of those horses are invited to a special gathering in Delvin's banquet room in the Racebook area. Fans will also have an opportunity to share in the success of harness racing's top training outfit, the Ron Burke Stable, which won a record 1,090 races in 2013. Fans can turn their losing tickets into a big payday on Night of Champions, as they enter a Second Chance Drawing which will have a $2,180 prize...$2 for every race that the Burke Stable won. The cash prize is sponsored by Burke Racing LLC, the MSOA, and The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. The MSOA's prize wheel will also be back that night, giving fans a chance to "Spin To Win" various items, and free hot dogs will also be given away. January 31's Night of Champions is the lone night card during the month. From January through March, the track will host live racing on the final Friday of the month, post time 6:55. by Jeff Zidek for MSOA  

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) today released the majority of their 2013 human award winners for excellence in the Standardbred industry. Heading the list is Joe Thomson, winner of the Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award. The award, originally named for the great trotting mare, Proximity, is considered the second-most-prestigious honor in harness racing, after the Hall of Fame. In 2012, the name of the award was altered to honor harness racing's only double Hall of Famer, the Stanley F. Bergstein, and is now referred to as the Bergstein-Proximity award. It is presented annually to a person or organization for outstanding contributions to harness racing. In 1991, Joe Thomson and his wife JoAnn founded Winbak Farm on the site of Windields Farm, where the great Thoroughbred Northern Dancer was foaled. They employed the Win from Windfields Farm with the initials of their children -- Bradley, Ashlee and Kimberly -- to form the name Winbak. Their main farm is located on more than 2,000 acres near Chesapeake City, MD. Winbak Farms has been named Breeder of the Year by USHWA three times. This past July, two horses owned by Winbak Farm, Bettor's Delight and Lady Ashlee Ann, were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Over the last 10 years, Joe Thomson's Winbak Farm bred, raised and sold three Horses of the Year -- No Pan Intended in 2003, Rainbow Blue in 2004 and Muscle Hill in 2009. Muscle Hill and Vivid Photo were both Hambletonian winners bred by Winbak, which also produced 2011 Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year Roll With Joe. Thomson, one of four partners in the ownership of Lexington's Red Mile, is involved in many aspects of the Standardbred industry. He is a director of the Hambletonian Society, Breeders Association of Delaware, Lexington Trots Breeders Association, and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He was elected president of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania in 2012. Other honors he has received include 2001 Sports Eye Breeder of the Year, 2001 times: In Harness Owner of the Year, 2009 Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductee, and 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA. All of the award winners will be honored at the annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet hosted by USHWA on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Dover Downs, Dover, Delaware. The Norman Woolworth Owner of the Year award goes to the team of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi. Burke Racing Stable (trainer Ron Burke and his mom Sylvia) and Mark Weaver and Michael Bruscemi (Weaver Bruscemi LLC) have been racing partners for years. Together, the partnership raced more than 220 horses over the course of a year and according to the U.S. Trotting Association, they have together owned nearly 1,000 horses. The stable reads like a "Who's Who" of harness racing with such as Foiled Again ($1.4 million earned this season), Quillen Memorial champion Clear Vision ($596,103), multiple-stakes-winner Charisma Hanover ($555,729), Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Southwind Silence ($375,581), American-National winner Southwind Spirit ($370,295), Monument Circle winner Dedi's Dragon ($368,342), Meadowlands Maturity champ Sweet Lou ($330,138) and Garnsey Memorial division winner Carols Desire ($260,099). In 2013, Foiled Again became the richest Standardbred in North American history (with more than $6 million in lifetime earnings) and the oldest to win a Breeders Crown. This group is dedicated to the sport and is invested in it for the long run. Burke, Weaver and Bruscemi - along with their many other ownership partners - have been an asset to the sport by keeping their stars at the tracks where fans are able to see, enjoy and connect with them. Burke and Weaver Bruscemi have been the leading owners in terms of both races and money won every year this decade, racing mostly overnight stock. The Rising Star award goes to a "younger" driver in the industry who has achieved above and beyond the norm in racing ability and this year's recipient is long overdue. Corey Callahan did not find his way into the harness world until 2005, but his rise has not been of the meteoric variety. Callahan began as a full-time driver at 29 and almost immediately accorded himself as a top-20 driver in both wins and earnings. From 2007-2012 he ranked 13th, 11th, 11th, seventh and eighth nationally in wins, and 21st, 14th, 19th, 18th and 13th in earnings. While his statistics were strong, he plied his trade mostly out of the spotlight until making a decision to focus on major stakes races in 2013. That choice has paid off in leaps and bounds for Callahan, who currently (through early December) ranks fifth in wins (566) and seventh in earnings ($9.2 million). Both numbers are career bests. Callahan picked up drives on some of the best horses in the country in 2013, including those from top trainers Jonas Czernyson and Tony Alagna. He has won the driving title at Dover Downs for four consecutive years and he ranks among the leaders at Harrah's Philadelphia . He finished second at the Meadowlands with 99 wins, behind only Yannick Gingras. It is no surprise that the Breeder of the Year in 2013 is none other than White Birch Farm for the second straight year. The farm bred both three-year-old pacer Captaintreacherous and the three-year-old trotting filly Bee A Magician. In the final month of racing in 2013, White Birch progeny have accounted for more than 390 trips to the winner's circle and $8.3 million in 2013 earnings. Other White Birch Farm standouts in 2013 includes free for all trotter Sevruga, who earned $484,575 of his $800,000 lifetime purse money this year, $500,000 winner Wake Up Peter, and six-figure earners Ali Blue, Proclaiming April, I Fought Dalaw, She's Da Bomb and Ideal Champ. The late Joe and Marie Parisi started building White Birch Farm's breeding operation more than 35 years ago as Jo-Mar Farm, where they stood New Jersey Sire Stakes stallion Adios Ronnie. Their son, Michael Parisi, now runs the 800-acre facility that is home to nearly 100 broodmares and also serves as one of the premier training centers in Central New Jersey, accommodating 300 horses in training. The Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award goes to a "non-racing" individual who has excelled beyond the scope of their job profile during the year. This year's winner is Heather Wilder, who is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Assocation (MSOA) at the Meadows Racetrack in Washington, PA. Heather had background doing publicity and racing support work in the Columbus area (Scioto, Delaware) while still in her teens. After staying home with two children in her 20s, Wilder decided to pursue training horses. It was because of this unique marriage of talents that she was thought to be an ideal person by the board of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) to fill their newly-created role of Director of Public Relations and Marketing. With her extensive backstretch knowledge, Heather has been the liaison to introducing countless area fans, both individuals and groups, to the "hands-on" side of racing, through backstretch tours, time in the jog cart and the starting gate, and even reaching out to the local business community through the area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. A big night of racing always finds the MSOA and Wilder with several outreach programs for fans and casino patrons. Wilder also promotes the The Meadows and MSOA through social media efforts which help extend their reach. While wearing her BET HELP button and walking the grandstand assisting patrons with any questions about making wagers on the races, Wilder is dynamic and approachable. Always willing to support harness racing and USHWA, she is slated to be one of the emcees for the national awards dinner in 2014. There is no more legitimate "Good Guy" in the sport than trainer George Ducharme, who will be honored with the W. R. Haughton Good Guy Award. He totally embraced the spotlight this year with his outstanding three-year-old colt trotter, Royalty For Life, while always representing the sport in a classy manner to the media and to the public. The hard working 51 year-old native of Norfolk, Massachusetts was catapulted into the spotlight in 2013 after a 25 plus year racing career that saw him toil mostly in anonymity in New England. But Ducharme's work ethic and commitment to his trade and his great attitude towards both the fans and media have always been there despite the immensely rocky road to his Hambletonian victory with the horse of a lifetime. Along with all the glory of guiding the career of a Hambletonian champion, Ducharme also faced a lot of difficult situations during the year. An early year quarantine at his home base, a tiring off-track at Lexington, hard trips from difficult draws and a season-ending scratch from the Breeders Crown all had to be dealt with. Through the tough times, Ducharme never ducked the media and took the good with the bad while offering the best analysis of any situation he could. He looked for his next positive move forward and remained accessible while dealing with every twist and turn with class and dignity. Ducharme was asked to be part of the autograph session on Hambletonian Day (clearly the biggest day of his career) and never hesitated to accept. He even arrived early to spend as much time with the fans as possible. And all year long he did every interview and answered every question from anyone who approached him. Ducharme is universally liked. From his days in New England to campaigning his first "good horse" Donttellmywife to his Grand Circuit success this year; you would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't respect the man. And through it all, he has always been affable and approachable to any media member and fan alike. Dedicated to the industry, Ducharme also toils as a USTA Director for District 9. He is truly one of harness racing's good guys in many ways. The 2013 Leeanne Pooler Unsung Hero award goes annually to someone who has gone beyond the scope of helping the harness racing industry that that person is Sam Landy. In 2012 horse owner Sam Landy and a committee of volunteers created an event called the Open Space Pace Day at Freehold Raceway. The concept arose from Landy's determination to find a way to illustrate the importance of harness racing to the state and local economy in New Jersey's horse country. The inaugural event included a parade, celebrity appearances, under saddle races, a Southside Johnny concert - but primarily showcased harness racing in one of the most populous counties [Monmouth] in New Jersey. The event was valuable as a public relations vehicle, both raising the awareness of harness racing as well as bringing out legislators and public officials to see the importance of racing to the county and state economy. In September of 2013, despite the expense (much of it personal) and countless hours of work involved, Landy and his Open Space Pace committee presented the second annual festival, employing it as a tool to connect the agri-business of harness racing in the minds of legislators and the public. Several thousand people were drawn to the borough of Freehold and the raceway within its borders for the renewal of the event. Grants totaling $10,000 were distributed to harness racing and agricultural-related charities and programs. There are also two additional equine awards announced today by USHWA. Two outstanding "moms" will be honored as the 2013 Broodmares of the Year. They are Beehive and Worldly Treasure. The lightly-raced trotting mare Beehive 3,Q1:57.3f ($8,791) is the dam of the undefeated 3-year-old Bee A Magician (by Kadabra), a winner of 26 races in her career (17 of them in this year) and $2,313,956. She is owned by White Birch Farm of Allentown, NJ. She is also the dam of the Explosive Matter freshman filly Dynamite Honey 2,2:00.3f ($17,400). This season Bee A Magician has swept her division, winning the $500,000 Breeders Crown at Pocono; the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands; the $356,981 Elegant Image at Mohawk, the $253,000 Moni Maker at The Meadowlands; the $205,608 Simcoe Final at Mohawk; the $265,600 Delvin Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands; the $118,500 American National at Balmoral; among others. The pacing broodmare of the year, Worldly Treasure, is the dam of world champion Captaintreacherous p,3,1:47.1 ($2,973,286). Worldly Treasure herself was no slouch on the track, taking a 2-year-old mark of 1:53.1 en route to earning $97,923. She hails from a strong maternal family, as her full sister is the outstanding pacing mare Worldly Beauty, who was a two-time Dan Patch Award winner with nearly $2 million in career earnings. They are both out of World Order p,3,1:53 ($267,205), whose dam was Rodine Hanover p,2,1:54 ($231,630)-the dam of Real Artist p,3,Q1:51 ($424,94) and the grand-dam of Art Major p,4,1:48.4 ($2,727,224), Perfect Art p,3,1:51 ($629,122) and Panspacificflight p,3,1:50.3 ($368,843). She is also owned by White Birch Farm of Allentown, NJ. USHWA can be reached at www.ushwa.org  by Steve Wolf, president USHWA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association announces the winners of its 2013 Horse Awards, as voted by the group's members.   2YO COLT PACER: El Chivato - William Spotti, owner. Trainer - Jason Shaw.   2YO FILLY PACER: That Woman Hanover - Dan Altmeyer, Richard Kelson, Jack Piatt II, Jeff Altmeyer, owners. Trainer - Dan Altmeyer.   2YO COLT TROTTER: Sarcastic Man - Robert Key, owner. Trainer - Rich Gillock.   2YO FILLY TROTTER: Static Electricity - Mason Shaw, owner. Trainer - Jason Shaw.   3YO COLT PACER: Twilight Bonfire - Robert Key, owner. Trainer - Danny Collins.   3YO FILLY PACER: Charisma Hanover - Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, owners. Trainer - Ron Burke.   3YO COLT TROTTER: Picture This - Leonard Buckner, owner. Trainer - Charlie Norris.   3YO FILLY TROTTER: Promisemethis - Rick & Regina Beinhauer, owners. Trainer - Rick Beinhauer.   OLDER HORSE/GELDING PACER: Visible Gold - Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, RTC Stables, owners. Trainer - Ron Burke.   OLDER MARE PACER: Do Me Honor - William Bercury, owner/trainer.   OLDER HORSE/GELDING TROTTER: TSM Photo Bugger - Theodore Tomson, owner. Trainer - Jan Fread.   OLDER MARE TROTTER: Unefoisdansmavie - Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III, owners. Trainer - Ron Burke.   MSOA TROTTER OF THE YEAR: TSM PHOTO BUGGER MSOA PACER OF THE YEAR: DO ME HONOR MSOA HORSE OF THE YEAR: TWILIGHT BONFIRE   The MSOA congratulates all of this year's winners and wishes everyone continued success in 2014.   by Jeff Zidek for MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association announces that John McMullen and Brad Buxton have been newly elected to its Board of Directors. McMullen, of Armagh, PA, will serve as an owner-director while Buxton, of Meadow Lands, PA, was elected as a trainer/driver-director. The third open seat went to Jon Erdner of Washington, PA, also an owner-director, who was re-elected to his position. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association congratulates and welcomes its newest board members. by Jeff Zidek for MSOA  

Joe Lucas turned out to be the big winner on the day, but he was just one of many caretakers that went home with a special pre-holiday bonus on Caretaker Appreciation Day at The Meadows, hosted by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. The second annual event featured a cash prize ranging from $30 to $300 for each winning caretaker, with the prize drawn at random prior to the race. Lucas was the caretaker of Windsong Jack, winner of the 9th race on the card, which had been pre-determined as the featured race, with the winner also earning a commemorative blanket from the MSOA. The cash prizes were the result of a gift that was first offered last year by an anonymous local horseowner that wanted to recognize a hard-working group of people that rarely receive accolades for their work. This year, that donation increased to $1000. "I wish that more people would take time to compensate and thank caretakers for the hard work that they put in every day," said the owner in a statement along with the anonymously given check. According to Lucas, "Earlier today when I heard we were going for $300, I thought I have a good driver and good horse so I was hoping for the best. All of us back here really appreciate this, we work hard and it makes it even better that today is such a cold day. That extra bonus made my day a lot better." Lucas added, "I been doing this since I was sixteen, I was out of it for six or seven years and had what everyone in this business calls a real job, and a lot of people really don't realize how fortunate we are to be in this business, doing what we love." Also coming on board for this year's event was Southern States Feed, which donated $400. Southern States Feed serves the track through its distributor in Eighty Four, PA, Eighty Four Agway. According to Southern States, "Along with Agway, we want to thank and congratulate all the hardworking ladies and gentlemen who help keep the horses racing." The MSOA also offered a free buffet lunch to all caretakers, served in The Meadows' paddock throughout the afternoon. by Jeff Zidek for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association          

Veterans spending their day at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino were honored in the winners circle after the 6th race on Monday as part of a special Veterans Day event.   Anyone that served their country was invited to the winners circle, where they received a free win photo to share in the victory by DM Big Dog Daddy.  They were also given a $5 betting voucher, free drinks and food, all courtesy of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Ron Burke, trainer of DM Big Dog Daddy, said, "I wanted them to remember their day at The Meadows.  They are truly heroes and we appreciate the sacrifices they have made."    After the group photo was taken, Burke called down to request that one of the veterans be given the blanket, which had been presented to the winning horse. Winning driver Dave Palone added, "It was an honor to meet those fellas.  My dad is an ex-Marine and I wish he could have made it today.  It sure puts things into perspective.  We owe them a lot."    When Palone returned to the Winners Circle he hung up the lines and went to shake the hands of all the Veterans that had joined him.  Russ Otto a veteran and a regular patron at the track, summed it up. "I think that it was really great that The Meadows and MSOA honored the veterans, we really appreciated it."   by Jeff Zidek for MSOA

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