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The Meadows Racetrack and Casino

This article refers to the horse race track. For other uses, see The Meadows (disambiguation).
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
[www.themeadowsracing.com Official website]
Location North Strabane Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Date opened 1963
Race type Standardbred / Harness
Course type Flat


The Meadows Racetrack and Casino is a standardbred harness racing track and slot machine casino in North Strabane Township near Meadow Lands, Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. The facility is located between U.S. Route 19 and Interstate 79, 5 miles north of Washington, Pennsylvania, United States and 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.

Contents

History

In November 1962, ground was broken for the first parimutuel horse racing track in Western Pennsylvania. The track opened on June 28, 1963 and was operated by the Washington Trotting Association. [1]

The Washington Trotting Association was purchased in February 1973 by a group including famous trainer/driver Delvin Miller. Miller's imprint still exists on the track today, with The Meadows most prestigious race bearing his name (the Delvin Miller Adios), and a statue of his famous sire Adios located at the track's entrance.

The Meadows introduced two significant technological advancements in 1983: Call-A-Bet and the Meadows Racing Network (MRN). Call-A-Bet allowed users to create individual wagering accounts and phone in wagers for races. In conjunction, the Meadows Racing Network telecast each day's live races and was distributed to local cable providers. The telecast also included a half hour preview show hosted by track announcer Roger Huston. The track used a marketing campaign to promote the services with the slogan "Every 16 minutes the place goes crazy", alluding to the typically quick pace from race-to-race at harness tracks.

Pittsburgh lawyer Stuart A. Williams purchased the track in 1986, and subsequently sold it England-based Ladbroke Group PLC in 1988. The company changed the name to Ladbroke at the Meadows, and opened a series of off-track betting parlors named Ladbrokes. The first opened in New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States in June 1990. Locations followed in Greensburg, Harmar Township, Moon, and West Mifflin (all in Pennsylvania, United States). The Greensburg location was closed in 2000 following the decline and eventual vacancy of the Greengate shopping mall at which it was located. All other locations currently remain operational.

Magna Entertainment Corp leased the track from Ladbroke in 2001. Magna transformed Call-A-Bet into Xpressbet, an internet and telephone based wagering service that allowed users to not only wager on The Meadows, but also on numerous other tracks owned by Magna or with whom a business agreement was in place. The Meadows was also featured on HRTV, a cable television station part-owned by Magna. The OTB names were changed to "The Meadows-location" (e.g. The Meadows-Harmar). Another Greensburg OTB location was opened in 2004 but closed in 2007.

Las Vegas based Cannery Casino Resorts purchased the track in July 2006. Magna was retained to operate the track under a five year management contract.

In December 2007 Crown Limited, an Australian company, agreed to purchase both Cannery's casino assets as well as The Meadows. However, in March 2009 Crown backed out of the deal. [2]

Casino

Legislation passed in the state of Pennsylvania in July 2004 included The Meadows among the locations slated to obtain a gambling license for slot machines. [3] The legislation upheld a 2005 legal challenge by gambling opponents, and on September 27, 2006, The Meadows was awarded a gaming license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. [4] [5]

On November 16, 2006, The Meadows broke ground on construction. [6] Plans called for initial construction of a temporary casino adjacent to the track, which opened on June 11, 2007. [7]

On September 5, 2007, a ceremony was held to mark the beginning of the grandstand removal, which was necessary to clear space for the permanent casino. [8] The permanent casino opened on April 15, 2009; the temporary building was also closed on this date. Amenities include a 350,000 square foot casino, premier steakhouse, food court, specialty restaurant with view of the race track, covered grandstand, simulcast viewing area, vip boxes, and a boutique-style bowling alley. [9] The Meadows features 3,700 slot machines.

On July 6th, 2010, The Meadows Casino hosted an "invite only, test date" for casino table games. The test runs have been successful, and as of 6 AM on July 8th, 2010, the table games (including roulette, blackjack, craps, etc) opened to the general public. The chips used by the Meadows Casino have a special microchip inside of them, that broadcasts to the table that it is a legit chip. This measure prevents fake or forged chips from entering into the play area. The cost per chip is slightly higher than normal chips, but has a less chance of being counterfeited.

Physical Attributes

The race track is a 5/8 mile (1006 m) oval. As the standard harness race distance is one mile (1610 m), races start on the backstretch and proceed through three turns.

The original track surface was made of Tartan, a synthetic material manufactured by Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M). [10] As problems with Tartan surfaces began to emerge, the surface was changed to a more traditional stone dust.

The track has no hub rail (inner portion is marked by pylons). [11] The stretch is 566 feet (173 m) in length, and 80 feet (24 m) in width. There is an inside passing lane in the stretch, referred to as the Lightning Lane.

Racing

Unlike many other tracks in the United States, The Meadows conducts racing year round, with over 200 days of the year featuring live racing. The specific days that the track conducts live racing vary throughout the year. In 2010, racing is conducted primarily on weekday afternoons with first race post time at 12:55 eastern. The facility conducts limited twilight and evening cards.

Races are conducted with a maximum of nine starters. All horses start on the gate; no trailer is used.

Current Stakes Races

[12]

  • Delvin Miller Adios: August, part of Grand Circuit week. The Meadows signature event, the Adios is a prestigious race for 3 year old open pacers. It has been raced every year since 1967. The 2008 running was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to ongoing construction at the Meadows.
  • Adioo Volo: August, part of Grand Circuit week. The female equivalent of the Adios, the Adioo Volo is conducted for 3 year old filly pacers. It has been raced every year since 1972. The 2008 running was held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to ongoing construction at the Meadows.
  • Arden Downs: August, part of Grand Circuit week. 2 year old filly pace, filly trot, colt/gelding trot have been run every year since 1957; 3 year old filly trot, colt/gelding trot have been run every year since 1958.
  • Currier & Ives: May, June. 3 year old open trot, 3 year old filly trot have been run every year since 1975.
  • Pennsylvania Sire Stakes: Various dates May through September. All combinations of 2 and 3 year old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.
  • Pennsylvania Fair Finals: October. All combinations of 2 and 3 year old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.
  • Keystone Classic: October. All combinations of 2 and 3 year old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.

Past Stakes Races

[13]

  • The Messenger Stakes: 1995-2003. Traditionally run at Yonkers Raceway, The Messenger is the final leg of the three year old Pacing Triple Crown. In the nine years the event was run at The Meadows, three horses captured the Triple Crown: Western Dreamer (1997), Blissfull Hall (1999), and No Pan Intended (2003).
  • The John Simpson, Sr. Memorial Stakes, 1963-1967: "The Super Bowl" two year old colt trot, "The Bret Hanover" two year old colt pace, "The Ayres" three year old colt trot, and "The Albatross" three year old colt pace.
  • Pacing Classic Final: 1997. Open pacing event has been run every year since 1997. Race is conducted at various distances, all longer than the standard mile (1610 m), and at a different track each year. The Meadows hosted the inaugural version of the race at 1-1/4 miles (2012 m).
  • Classic Distaff Final: 1998. Filly and mare pacing event has been run every year since 1997. Race is conducted at various distances, all longer than the standard mile (1610 m), and at a different track each year. The Meadows version of the race was held at 1-1/4 miles (2012 m).
  • Classic Oaks Final: 1999. Filly and mare trotting event has been run every year since 1997. Race is conducted at various distances, all longer than the standard mile (1610 m), and at a different track each year. The Meadows version of the race was held at 1-1/4 miles (2012 m).
  • The Lady Maud: 2001-2003. Traditionally run at Yonkers Raceway, this three year old filly pacing event has been run every year since 1960.

Notable Horsemen

[14]

Drivers

The following is a list of drivers who finished in the top 10 in wins at The Meadows each of the last five years (2004-2008).

  • Dave Palone: 2004 - 1st (585 wins), 2005 - 1st (571 wins), 2006 - 1st (502 wins), 2007 - 1st (531 wins), 2008 - 1st (805 wins)
  • Mike Wilder: 2004 - 3rd (297), 2005 - 2nd (303), 2006 - 3rd (296), 2007 - 3rd (318), 2008 - 3rd (269)
  • Richard Stillings: 2004 - 2nd (306), 2005 - 4th (200), 2006 - 4th (291), 2007 - 4th (225), 2008 - 4th (237)
  • Ray Paver: 2004 - 8th (113), 2005 - 5th (165), 2006 - 5th (160), 2007 - 5th (199), 2008 - 6th (145)
  • Doug Snyder: 2004 - 6th (169), 2005 - 8th (133), 2006 - 7th (114), 2007 - 7th (106), 2007 - 8th (114)
  • Brian Zendt: 2004 - 4th (208), 2005 - 7th (140), 2006 - 6th (129), 2007 - 6th (113), 2008 - 7th (119)

The following is a list of drivers who finished in the top 10 in UDR at The Meadows each of the last five years (2004-2008), with minimum 200 starts.

  • Dave Palone: 2004 - 1st (.433), 2005 - 1st (.428), 2006 - 1st (.416), 2007 - 1st (.446), 2008 - 1st (.459)
  • Mike Wilder: 2004 - 3rd (.304), 2005 - 2nd (.316), 2006 - 4th (.308), 2007 - 3rd (.290), 2008 - 4th (.257)
  • Richard Stillings: 2004 - 2nd (.323), 2005 - 6th (.263), 2006 - 3rd (.311), 2007 - 4th (.267), 2008 - 5th (.242)
  • Doug Snyder: 2004 - 5th (.272), 2005 - 3rd (.275), 2006 - 7th (.223), 2007 - 8th (.233), 2008 - 7th (.214)

Trainers

The following is a list of trainers who finished in the top 10 in wins at The Meadows each of the last five years (2004-2008).

  • Mickey Burke: 2004 - 1st (159 wins), 2005 - 1st (169 wins), 2006 - 1st (208 wins), 2007 - 1st (276 wins), 2008 - 1st (294 wins)
  • Mike Palone: 2004 - 2nd (134), 2005 - 10th (43), 2006 - 9th (51), 2007 - 3rd (96), 2008 - 2nd (142)
  • Randy Bendis: 2004 - 3rd (121), 2005 - 3rd (111), 2006 - 2nd (144), 2007 - 2nd (97), 2008 - 3rd (131)
  • Marcus Marashian: 2004 - 8th (78), 2005 - 8th (57), 2006 - 4th (77), 2007 - 6th (56), 2008 - 4th (82)
  • Dane Snyder: 2004 - 4th (96), 2005 - 5th (101), 2006 - 8th (54), 2007 - 6th (56), 2008 - 10th (59)

The following is a list of trainers who finished in the top 10 in UDR at The Meadows each of the last five years (2004-2008), with minimum 200 starts.

  • Mickey Burke: 2004 - 6th (.319), 2005 - 1st (.382), 2006 - 1st (.374), 2007 - 1st (.420), 2008 - 2nd (.393)
  • Mike Palone: 2004 - 2nd (.367), 2005 - 7th (.271), 2006 - 5th (.318), 2007 - 2nd (.384), 2008 - 1st (.442)
  • Randy Bendis: 2004 - 8th (.304), 2005 - 4th (.295), 2006 - 2nd (.354), 2007 - 8th (.279), 2008 - 9th (.272)
  • Marcus Marashian: 2004 - 7th (.315), 2005 - 5th (.282), 2006 - 9th (.287), 2007 - 7th (.281), 2008 - 8th (.276)

References

  1. Smith, Pohla (2007-12-13). "History of The Meadows". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07347/841402-85.stm?cmpid=localstate.xml. 
  2. Belko, Mary (2009-03-14). "Australian company pulls out of deal to buy Meadows' parent". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09073/955612-58.stm. 
  3. Blood-Horse Staff (2004-07-05). "Pennsylvania Slots Bill Headed to Governor". The Blood-Horse. http://www.bloodhorse.com/article/23255/pennsylvania-slots-bill-headed-to-governor.htm. 
  4. Schossler, Jason (2005-07-12). "Slot Machine Measure Comes Up Aces in PA". FindLaw. http://news.findlaw.com/andrews/bt/sel/20050712/20050712pennsylvania.html. 
  5. La Torre, David (2006-09-27). "PA Meadows LLC Awarded Category 1 Gaming License". Meadows Gaming. http://www.meadowsgaming.com/PDFs/GamingLicenseAppr.pdf. 
  6. La Torre, David (2006-11-16). "Meadows Holds Ceremonial Groundbreaking on New $450 Million Racino". Meadows Gaming. http://www.meadowsgaming.com/PDFs/releaseGroundbreaking%2011.14.06.pdf. 
  7. La Torre, David (2006-06-05). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino Announces June 11 Grand Opening". Meadows Gaming. http://www.meadowsgaming.com/PDFs/AdvisoryNewDates.pdf. 
  8. La Torre, David (2007-09-05). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino to Begin Removal of Grandstand". Meadows Gaming. http://www.meadowsgaming.com/PDFs/RemovalOfGrandstand.pdf. 
  9. La Torre, David (2008-04-09). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino Unveils Changes to Permanent Casino Design". Meadows Gaming. http://www.meadowsgaming.com/PDFs/permanentCasinoUpdate.pdf. 
  10. Hoffman, Dean (2007-12-27). "What's So New About Artificial Surfaces". HarnessLink. http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=59585. 
  11. USTA. "The Meadows Track Facts". USTA. http://www.ustrotting.com/trackside/trackfacts/pdf/2008/mea.pdf. 
  12. themeadowsracing.com. "2008 Stakes Schedule". The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. http://www.themeadowsracing.com/NR/rdonlyres/932C14A6-08A3-43B8-B11E-F9668CD30366/0/StakesPoster2008.pdf. 
  13. USTA. "History of Major Races". USTA. http://www.ustrotting.com/services/pub/harnesshandbook.cfm. 
  14. TrackMaster. "StatsMaster @ The Meadows". TrackMaster. http://www.trackmaster.com/statsmaster/MEA.html. 


External links

Coordinates: Template:Coord/input/dec



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