The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- This article refers to the horse race track. For other uses, see The Meadows (disambiguation).
|Location||North Strabane Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Owned by||Cannery Casino Resorts|
|Race type||Standardbred / Harness|
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 (8.0 km) north of Washington, Pennsylvania, United States and 25 miles (40 km) south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.
|Location||210 Racetrack Road
|PA marker dedicated||August 01, 2009|
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 Pace for the Orchids), and a statue of his famous sire Adios located at the track's entrance. In 2009, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission erected a historical marker at The Meadows to note Miller's historic importance.
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 to 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, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 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. The Johnstown, Pennsylvania location was later sold to the Penn National Gaming corporation in July 1998. 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. The Meadows-West Mifflin also closed it doors in April 2012.
In May 2014, Cannery agreed to sell The Meadows to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) for $465 million. GLPI said that it would retain ownership of the real estate, while a third-party company would operate the facility.
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. 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. 
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. The permanent casino opened on April 15, 2009; the temporary building was also closed on this date. Amenities include a 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) casino, food court, cafe restaurant, premier steakhouse with view of the race track, covered grandstand, simulcast viewing area, VIP boxes, and a 24 lane state-of-the-art bowling center. The Meadows features over 3,300 slot machines.
On July 6, 2010, The Meadows Casino hosted an "invite only test date" for casino table games. The test runs were successful, and at 6 AM on July 8, 2010, the table games (including roulette, blackjack, craps, etc.) opened to the general public. The chips used by the Meadows Casino are RFID chips that 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 less chance of being counterfeited.
The race track is a 5/8 mile (1006 m) oval. As the standard harness race distance is one mile (1609 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). 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). 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.
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. Racing is conducted primarily on Monday & Tuesday afternoons with first race post time at 12:55pm eastern. The facility conducts evening cards on most Wednesdays and Fridays with a post time of 6:55pm eastern.
Races are conducted with a maximum of nine starters. All horses start on the gate; no trailer is used except in curtain stakes races or early/late closer events..
Current stakes races
- Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids: 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. three-year-old open trot, three-year-old filly trot have been run every year since 1975.
- Pennsylvania Sire Stakes: Various dates May through September. All combinations of two- and three-year-old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.
- Pennsylvania Fair Finals: October. All combinations of two- and three-year-old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.
- Keystone Classic: October. All combinations of two- and three-year-old, colt/gelding and filly, trotter and pacer.
Past Stakes Races
- The Messenger Stakes: 1995-2003. Traditionally run at Roosevelt 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.
- "PHMC Historical Markers" (Database search). Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Smith, Pohla (2007-12-13). "History of The Meadows". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Belko, Mary (2009-03-14). "Australian company pulls out of deal to buy Meadows' parent". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Paul J. Gough (May 15, 2014). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino CEO bittersweet, but deal too good to pass up". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- Blood-Horse Staff (2004-07-05). "Pennsylvania Slots Bill Headed to Governor". The Blood-Horse.
- Schossler, Jason (2005-07-12). "Slot Machine Measure Comes Up Aces in PA". FindLaw.
- La Torre, David (2006-09-27). "PA Meadows LLC Awarded Category 1 Gaming License" (PDF). Meadows Gaming.
- La Torre, David (2006-11-16). "Meadows Holds Ceremonial Groundbreaking on New $450 Million Racino" (PDF). Meadows Gaming.
- La Torre, David (2006-06-05). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino Announces June 11 Grand Opening" (PDF). Meadows Gaming.
- La Torre, David (2007-09-05). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino to Begin Removal of Grandstand" (PDF). Meadows Gaming.
- La Torre, David (2008-04-09). "Meadows Racetrack and Casino Unveils Changes to Permanent Casino Design" (PDF). Meadows Gaming.
- Hoffman, Dean (2007-12-27). "What's So New About Artificial Surfaces". HarnessLink.
- USTA. "The Meadows Track Facts" (PDF). USTA.
- themeadowsracing.com. "2008 Stakes Schedule" (PDF). The Meadows Racetrack and Casino.
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