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The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted a very special harness racing event on Tuesday, June 24, the third annual Ruffner/Yoder Gun 23 Memorial Pace.   The event was named in honor of two fallen heroes, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew Ruffner and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarret Yoder. Both served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and lost their lives in a helicopter crash in April, 2013.   Horseman Grant Boudreaux served in the same unit and helped to create the memorial race in May of 2013, when he and his unit were still serving overseas.   The top race of the day was named in honor of Ruffner, Yoder and the 1st of the 104th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In all, 20 members of the unit and their families were in attendance, along with several other veterans from the area. They enjoyed sulky rides around the track between races, and four members of the unit, including the battalion commander, took part in a match race, joined by four of The Meadows' top drivers in two-seat jog carts.   The Ruffner/Yoder Pace itself was won by Atta Boy Dan in a track record time of 1:49.2. Following the race, many trainers and drivers came to the winners circle to be part of the photo and greet the veterans. "It was an outstanding day," said Boudreaux. "Most of these guys had never been around a horse, so to get to do the jog cart rides and participate in a match race, that was just wonderful. It was just a great day and we are all thankful to the MSOA for putting on such an outstanding program for us." by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA        

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and The Meadows Racetrack are combining efforts for a Live Bankroll Contest during the evening harness racing  this Friday, May 29.   The cost to enter is $100, with $50 to be used as the wagering bankroll. The other $50 will go to the prize fund, with a $5,000 guaranteed prize pool.   The MSOA will offer a free buffet dinner for those that register for the contest. The dinner will take place in the Triple Crown Banquet Room on the track's lower level, next to the Racebook.   The Meadows Racetrack will administer the contest and give a free program to all registered contestants.   Registration will take place between 4:30 and 6:15PM on Friday, or you can register in advance by calling 724-503-1509.   Friday will feature a 12-race card, with first post at 6:55 p.m.   Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for its 2015-2016 Collegiate Scholarship Program.   The MSOA's scholarship program, which began in 2008, continues to grow. Thanks to generous donations from many members of the harness racing community, more than $13,000 will be available to deserving young men and women.   This year's scholarship options include the $5,000 MSOA Collegiate Scholarship, the $2,500 CSC Insurance Options Scholarship, the $1,000 Dr. Barry C Betts Memorial Scholarship (sponsored by LCM Nutraceuticals), the Crazed Scholarship (sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farms) 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 submitted to the MSOA Office or postmarked no later than Friday, May 1, 2015.   For an application, visit www.themsoa.com.   Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is set to host a big night of harness racing this Friday, March 27 at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Featured will be the 2nd Annual College Games, which will bring dozens of local college students to the track to enjoy a night of harness racing and compete for various local charities in events such as bowling, cornhole and harness handicapping. First prize is $500, with $250 for second and $125 for third. The event is sponsored by the MSOA, Meadows Racing and the Meadows Chaplaincy Program. The top races on the evening card will be four late closing series finals. First up will be the 3&4YO filly and mare pace, the $28,100 Donna Dunn Memorial. The morning line favorite is Dream Ball, out of the Ron Burke Stable with driver Mike Wilder. It is carded as Race #2. Race #3 of the evening is the $33,200 Ken Weaver Memorial, for 3&4YO colt and gelding trotters. The morning line choice is Keystone Chester, owned by Murdock Racing, trained by Andy Rickert, and driven by Aaron Merriman. The $30,500 Walter Russell Memorial is the 4th race on the card, for 3&4YO colt and gelding pacers. The top early choice is Heavenly Knox, a Chicago invader that has won 5 of 6 career starts for owner Wolf Creek Farm and trainer John Zawistowski. Eric Ledford is slated to drive. Race #9 will be the final of the Mary Wohlmuth Memorial, for 3&4YO trotting fillies and mares. Wu Long, owned by Harmon Racing and Knightstalker Stable, is the morning line choice for trainer Rob Harmon and driver Dave Palone. The MSOA will also be hosting an owner event in the Bistecca Nero Suite, beginning at 6:30PM. For more information, contact the MSOA office, at 724-228-3644. Post time for the Friday evening card is 6:55PM. Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association would like to remind harness racing horsemen that the auction for a breeding to Winning Mister, offered on Ongait.com, will be ending this Monday, March 16 at 2PM.   Proceeds from the auction will benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship Program.   Bob Key, the owner of Winning Mister, graciously made the donation to the MSOA.   For more information, visit this direct auction link.

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that horse owner Bob Key has donated a breeding to Winning Mister, to be auctioned off to benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship Fund.   The breeding has a value of $6,000.   "Bob Key has been a longtime supporter of racing at The Meadows and throughout the industry," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "The MSOA is very thankful of his donation to our scholarship program."   The auction is currently underway on the website OnGait.com. Terms are 10% non-refundable down at the conclusion of the auction. The remainder is payable upon a live foal. The auction ends on March 16.   Winning Mister, a son of Angus Hall, earned over $1.1 million in his career and took a mark of 1:51.3. He is currently standing at Lindwood Farms in Greensburg, PA for a fee of $6,000.   The MSOA would like to remind breeders that a previously announced breeding to Western Ideal, donated by Hanover Shoe Farm, is also being offered by auction on OnGait.com. That auction ends (tomorrow) Monday, March 2 at 2PM Eastern.   Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that Hanover Shoe Farms has donated a breeding to Western Ideal, to be auctioned off to benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship Fund.   Western Ideal, a winner of more than $1.4 million in his career, stands for a fee of $7,500. Bidding, which is currently underway at OnGait.com, starts at $3,000.   "We are pleased to have support from Hanover Shoe Farm on board to assist with our scholarship program," said MSOA President Rich Gillock. "Over the years we have had many great partners that have helped our scholarship program to benefit many deserving young people."   The OnGait.com auction for the Western Ideal breeding ends on March 2 at 2PM Eastern.   Jeff Zidek

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will host a special night of harness racing this Friday, January 30. The second annual Night of Champions will have a first race post of 6:55PM. Activity will begin nearly an hour earlier, at 6PM, when Dave Palone and Ron Burke will be in the track's Racebook area for a 30-minute "meet and greet." Fans will get a chance to meet the record-setting duo, as Palone recently became the world's winningest driver, surpassing Germany's Heinz Wewering, and Burke is coming off a record season which saw his horses earn more than any other trainer - harness or thoroughbred - in North American racing history.   Fans will receive a limited edition poster of a painting by renowned equine artist Thomas Allen Pauly commemorating Palone's record-setting drive at The Meadows, courtesy of the track, as well as travel coffee mugs honoring the accomplishments of Palone and Burke, courtesy of the MSOA, while supplies last.   The night will also honor the horses that earned top honors in the MSOA's annual Horse of the Year balloting for 2014. Twelve horses and their respective owner/trainer connections will be honored, with a race named in their honor during the 12-race card. Video features will also be shown on the Meadows Live! television broadcast and on the track's in-house big screen.   The 6:55PM Night of Champions post represents The Meadows' first night card of the 2015 season. Night racing will take place on the final Friday of each month through May. For a full 2015 racing schedule, visit www.themsoa.com. by Jeff Zidek for the MSOA            

Three-year-old harness racing pacing colt, Cammikey, owned by Cam Land, LLC, has been named Horse of the Year by the members of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Cammikey, who is trained by Bill Zendt and was also named the organization's Pacer of the Year, beat out Daylon Miracle for the top honor. Daylon Miracle, owned and trained by Bill Bercury, was named the MSOA's Trotter of the Year. Chaching Hanover earned top honors as the 2YO Colt Pacer of the Year for owners Karen Fread, Michael Toth and Michelle Linnert and trainer Jan Fread. Top 2YO pacing filly honors were earned by Half Past Seven, owned by the Lone Wolf Stable and trained by Mike Palone. Among freshman trotters, the top vote-getters were Wimborne Hanover and Matter Hatter. Wimborne Hanover, named the top colt, is owned by Susan Daugherty and trained by her husband, Bill. Filly Matter Hatter is owned by Pius Soehnlen and was trained by Jeff Cox. Top sophomore colt pacing honors went to Cammikey, while Eiffel Tower was named the leading pacing filly. Eiffel Tower, owned by Glenda Collins and Janine Zito, is conditioned by Dean Collins. Bob Key's Jett Star, trained by Steve Owens, was named the top local trotting colt of 2014, while Broadway Socks earned honors on the filly side. Broadway Socks is owned by her trainer, David Wade, in partnership with Gerald Brittingham and William Peel. Visible Gold was named the top aged male pacer for the 2014 season. Ron Burke trains for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and the RTC Stables. Do Me Honor, owned and trained by Bill Bercury, was named the top aged pacing mare, while stablemate Tamarind was named the top aged male trotter. They joined Daylon Miracle, the top older mare trotter, as the Bercury Stable brought in the most awards on the evening. The MSOA would like to congratulate all of this year's honorees. by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted its annual membership meeting, hosted by organization president Rich Gillock. Gillock opened his report by announcing that membership in the MSOA had increased during 2014 to nearly 800 members. He then reported on the group's legislative process in 2014 and let the members know that the group will continue to work with state legislators in 2015 to ensure a bright future for racing in Pennsylvania. Backstretch improvements from 2014 were reviewed, and plans were discussed for additional work on the barn area in 2015. The MSOA's public relations program, implemented by PR director Heather Wilder, was updated and reviewed by the group. Additionally, Gillock reported that the MSOA's driver/trainer bonus program, initiated in 2014, would continue in 2015. The MSOA's 2015 budget was presented and approved by the membership. Executive Director Kim Hankins then announced the result of the Board of Directors election results, which were compiled by Michalik & Daniels, LLC, of Pittsburgh. In the trainer/driver category, Rich Gillock retained his seat, while Jack Piatt II was reelected in the owner category. The other open owner position on the board was won by Stuart Williams, who has served many terms on the MSOA board in the past. Williams will be taking the seat formerly held by Bill Bercury, who did not seek reelection. President Gillock then presented a service plaque to Bercury, thanking him for his service, and he was applauded by the membership. The annual meeting was held in Delvin's Banquet Room at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

Thomas John "Chad" Chadwick, 76, of North Huntingdon, PA, died Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. He was born Nov. 5, 1938, in McKeesport, the son of the late Chester and Mary Lakatosh Chadwick. Tom was a longtime owner of Standardbreds and a member of the US Trotting Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. His main trainer for several decades was Dane Snyder, with horses based at The Meadows. He also raced in Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and Virginia. His top horse was Blueridge Abigail, a dual-state champion. After winning Virginia stake championships at 2 and 3 at Colonial Downs, she went on to win the Indiana Sire Stake aged trotting mare title in 2013. According to Tom King, Chadwick's longtime partner on many of his horses, "He would spend countless hours studying the sales books. He knew families, and knew everything about it. He was famous for how he marked his book, and people would always want to borrow his book to see what he liked. He was a real student of the business. I never saw anybody more liked by more people. He was genuinely a nice guy." Chadwick was a member of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, and the Glassport Polish Club. He also owned horses and enjoyed harness racing at the Meadows. Chad was a pharmacist at UPMC McKeesport and retired after 39 years of service. He was an Army veteran. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie Catherine Stashko; stepson, Gene (Kristi) McCahill, of Delmar, Md.; stepdaughter, Lee (Thomas) Brown, of Boston; grandchildren, Alexandria, Mary Lee and Jacob Brown; and many cousins. Friends are welcome from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the Gilbert Funeral Home, 6028 Smithfield St., Boston, (Elizabeth Township), PA. Private funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel. Private interment will be in the St. John the Baptist Cemetery, North Versailles. Condolences may be made at gilbertfuneralhomeandcrematory.com. by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association advises its members that the annual membership meeting will take place on Sunday, December 7 at 4PM.   This year's event will take place in Delvin's Banquet Room at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Racebook level. The 2014 MSOA Horse Awards will be announced at the meeting.   All members are strongly encouraged to attend.   The meeting will take place in advance of the 2014 Chinese Auction for Charity, which will take place in the Triple Crown banquet room area, also on the Racebook level of the casino. Doors will open for the auction at 5PM.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association recently hosted its 3rd annual Caretaker Appreciation Day, thanks to the generosity of several owners, trainers and drivers. The day began with a free lunch for all caretakers in the paddock lounge prior to the races, courtesy of the MSOA. An anonymous donor gave $1,250 that was divided up among the winning caretakers of each of the day's 15 races. A minimum "bonus" of $50 was given to each winning caretaker, with three races offering a larger amount of $200-$250. Additionally, other owners and trainers donated cash, blankets and/or gift cards to area businesses, which were given away via separate random drawings each race. The big winner on the afternoon was Mike Wallace, caretaker of I'm Feelin Good for trainer Ashley Hall. Wallace picked up the day's largest bonus, $250. The annual event is a way for owners, trainers and drivers to show their appreciation for the efforts made behind the scenes by the caretakers that work with their horses on a daily basis. by Jeff Zidek, for MSOA

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and The Meadows hosted the track's 6th annual Pink Out event benefitting breast cancer research on Saturday night, November 1. Featured on the card was an all-female race, captured by Terry Millhoan and Woodruff. Tabby Canarr finished second with Gambler Springs, while two-time defending champion Rachel Kaneoka was third, guiding Fortissimo. A later race was designated as the breast cancer research event, with the MSOA donating its commission from the race to Pittsburgh's Magee Women's hospital. Also featured on the final night card of the season was a special appearance by Morgan Grand National and World Championship winning Sophia Stillings. The 12-year-old granddaughter of Hall of Famer Dick Stillings led a post parade with her horse, Artful Image. The night also featured an emotional video message from Bethann Palone, wife of driver Dave Palone, for whom the Pink Out event had special meaning. To view Bethann's video, visit http://youtu.be/m_uWYT9WM-g. The next live card at The Meadows is on Monday (November 3). The track is now racing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 12:55. by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA  

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and The Meadows Racing will host the track's 6th Annual Pink Out event tonight, Saturday, November 1. Post time for the special evening card will be 6:55.   Race #4 on the card will feature a 10-horse field and 10 female drivers. Two-time reigning Pink Out champion Rachel Kaneoka will defend her title from post 7 with Fortissimo, but is 20-1 on the morning line. The early favorite is Gambler Springs, who leaves from post 5 for Indiana's Tabby Canarr, who is making the trek to Pennsylvania for her first Pink Out race.   The seventh race on the card has been designated as the Breast Cancer Awareness event, and the MSOA will donate its commissions from all money wagered to breast cancer research.   The card also features four Late Closer Series finals, with purses topping $110,000 in total. The new series for 2-year-olds have been well received and supported by horsemen, and tonight's finals follow two series legs held during October.   Another special event on tap for the evening is a guest appearance by Sophia Stillings, granddaughter of Hall of Famer Dick Stillings. Sophia recently won multiple world titles in the Morgan Grand Nationals and World Championships. She and her horse, Artful Image, will join marshal Wendy Ross to lead a post parade during the evening card.   This will be the final night card of 2014 at The Meadows, with the remainder of the season racing at 12:55 afternoon posts.   by Jeff Zidek, for the MSOA

Decades ago, Meadow Lands Farm was known as one of the nation's leading breeding farms and the home of Adios. Perhaps more importantly, it was the homestead of Meadows founder and Harness Racing Hall of Famer Delvin Miller, where he lived with his wife Mary Lib, and was known to host famous celebrities at his barn parties.   Today, Meadow Lands Farm is owned by Joseph Salandra, a native of Washington, PA and a local business owner. Salandra has kept the spirit of the farm's harness racing past alive, and recently offered an inside view at what the home and farm look like today.   by Jeff Zidek, for The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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