REMINDER: Sire Stake payments due March 15

PHRC logoThe Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission reminds owners that 2016 Sire Stakes payments for two-year-old and three-year-olds are due by March 15.

The first payments due for two-year-olds are $150 for the Pari-mutuel Division and $25 for the Fair Division. This payment must be made for the horse to qualify for future opportunities in the PA Sire Stakes.

The final payment of $500 for the Pari-mutual Division for three-year-olds is also due by March 15.

The Sire Stakes Sustaining Payment forms are available at  Search “sire stakes.”  Individuals can also contact Pennie Dodson at to obtain payment forms.

“Boots” Dunn, 85, passes

Boots DunnWalter L. “Boots” Dunn, 85, a key contributor to harness racing in Pennsylvania since the 1940s and USTA Director since 1987, died this morning (February 3, 2015).

He was also a longtime member of the MSOA and a staunch supporter of harness racing on the Pennsylvania fair circuit.

“We are saddened by the loss of Boots Dunn,” said MSOA President Rich Gillock. “Boots was a well respected horseman, a great trainer and driver, but his contributions to the sport went well beyond his involvement with his own stable. His service to our district as a USTA Director and his service to the fair circuit had a tremendous impact of nearly everyone that races today in Pennsylvania. He will be missed.”

Boots was president of W.L. Dunn Construction Company of Cochranton, Pa., founded by his late father, Wilbur “Cubby” Dunn. He trained and drove his own horses, maintaining his amateur status and competing across eight different decades. He is believed to be the leading amateur driver of all time, with 1,152 wins to his credit. He was a five-time national leader in UDR for his category of starts.

Boots learned to train and drive from his late father, who started the family construction business in 1919, building bridges and roads and operating a gravel plant, with a team of oxen and later horses. The younger Dunn had his own equine business as a child, charging local kids a nickel for a ride on his pony. Cubby bought a race horse in 1946, and father and son hit the road to compete, most frequently in neighboring Ohio at Northfield Park, Painesville Raceway and Grandview Raceway.

When The Meadows opened in June of 1963, Boots made his friend Delvin Miller’s track his home.

With the help of his daughter, Lisa, he operated a private training center in Cochranton with two tracks and a farm for his racehorses, broodmares and young horses.

Over the years, Boots raced many good horses, almost all of them homebreds, among them the top-class Meadows pacer Justassuming during the late 1970s; Dark Magic 3,1:57.3f ($193,570), a winner of 36 races; Yourworstnightmare 3,1:56.3f ($154,339), a winner of 19 of 34 races at ages two and three; and Classicality 1:52.4f ($299,237), who took his mark last year at Pocono while trained by Lisa.

He was active in leadership of the Crawford County Fair Board in Meadville and served as their speed superintendent and race secretary. He was a member of the 4H Horse and Pony Hall of Fame and the Meadville Area Sports Committee Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Boots shared an award with his late wife, Donna, from the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen’s Association for their support of the fair program. In 2016 that group awarded the inaugural Walter “Boots” Dunn Rising Star Award, which goes to an up-and-coming Pennsylvania horseman, to Brady Brown.

“Boots was an individual unlike any other,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “He loved harness racing and he loved the fairs.

“I last saw him on Jan. 23 at the USTA banquet in Bedford, Pa. He was surrounded by a lot of friends and relatives and he was in good spirits. He was tough. We’re going to miss him.”

Boots is survived by his daughters, Debbie Dunn Sheatz (Ike), Lisa Dunn, Kathy Dunn Harvey (Leo) and Leslie Dunn Zendt (Bill); and grandchildren, Cortney Sheatz, Wade Sheatz, Alex Sheatz, Shawn Harvey, Ryan Harvey, Wyatt Adams and Garrett Adams. He was preceded in death by his parents, Iris and Wilbur; and a daughter, Dinah.

Friends may call from 2-7PM on Friday and Saturday, February 5-6, at Dickson’s Funeral Home in Cochranton.  The funeral service will be held Sunday, February 7 at 3PM at Methodist Church in Cochranton.

VIDEO: Horse of the Year award winners

Several interviews have been posted on our Video page, featuring owners and trainers of our 2015 MSOA Award Winners.

CLICK HERE to be taken to the Video page, then follow the links to each interview.

NOTICE: Retirement Signups

Retirement signups for trainers, drivers and caretakers will take place February 17, 18 and 23.  For additional information, CLICK HERE.

PHRC Notice: February deadlines for Breeders Fund Award Program

Horsemen are reminded of two important February deadlines for paperwork due to maintain eligibility in the Pennsylvania Breeders Fund Award Program. 

The Harness Racing Commission today announced that owners must register their stallions for the 2016 state breeding season by February 1. Additionally, any owners looking to register their broodmares for the Breeders Fund Award program must have their horses registered as “PA-residents” by February 15 to ensure their foals are eligible for the awards.

A stallion must remain in the state, at a declared facility, from February 15 to July 4. Breeding can take place within a couple of weeks of either date. If a horse is intended to be used as both a stallion and a racehorse in 2016, approval must be gained from the Harness Racing Commission, and if the horse competes out-of-state, the horse must return to his Pennsylvania-home base after each of those out-of-state races.

Broodmares whose owners want them to qualify for “resident” status must have the paperwork, postmarked to the Harrisburg Commission office by February 15. Broodmares must reside in Pennsylvania for at least 180 contiguous days, including foaling, and be in foal to a registered Pennsylvania stallion for their offspring to be eligible for the breeder awards. No registered broodmare is authorized to leave the state for any reason except for a medical emergency. If that occurs, the Commission must be notified as soon as possible.

Registration forms are available by contacting Pennie Dodson at 717-787-5196 or

For more information, click here.

MSOA donates $6,000 to Classy Lane fire victims

COSA GFMThe Meadows Standardbred Owners Association has announced a $6,000 donation to the victims of the Classy Lane Training Center fire.

The January 4 fire in Ontario took the lives of 43 horses from six stables, and the trainers affected also lost all of their racing equipment.

“We at The Meadows certainly understand what they are going through,” said MSOA President Rich Gillock. “We had a catastrophic fire here in 2001, and the racing community pulled together to help our horsemen at that time. We know how important it is for all of us to join together in a situation like this. It’s the worst possible thing that can happen in this sport, and we want to do anything we can to help.”

The MSOA also encourages its members that wish to donate privately to visit the GoFundMe page set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.

CLICK HERE to visit the GoFundMe page.

Race Office announces Spring Series

Meadows Racing logoThe Meadows Racetrack & Casino in March and April will offer eight early- and late-closing series, including four for 3- and 4-year-olds and four for sophomores only.

The events for 3- and 4-year-olds, which are limited to Pennsylvania owned or sired horses, each will feature three preliminary legs plus a championship with an estimated $20,000 purse. The series for 3-year-olds, restricted to Pennsylvania sired horses, include two preliminary legs and a final worth an estimated $25,000.

Entry fee for each series is $300.

The series are:

  • The Walter Russell Memorial Pace, 3- and 4-year-old colt, horse and gelding pacers, first leg March 5
  • The Donna Dunn Memorial Pace, 3- and 4-year-old filly and mare pacers, first leg Feb. 29
  • The Ken Weaver Memorial Trot, 3- and 4-year-old colt, horse and gelding trotters, first leg March 1
  • The Mary Wohlmuth Memorial Trot, 3- and 4-year-old filly and mare trotters, first leg March 2
  • The Atta Boy Dan Pace, 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, first leg April 9
  • The Do Me Honor Pace, 3-year-old filly pacers, first leg April 4
  • The Whata Donato Trot, 3-year-old filly trotters, first leg April 6
  • The Classicality Trot, 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, first leg April 5

Nominations close Feb. 15 for the 3- and 4-year-old events, March 15 for the sophomore series.

For nomination forms, click here. For more information, contact The Meadows Race Office, 724.225.9897, or visit the track’s website,

Join us in The Carvery for Saturday racing

CarveryThe Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is pleased to announce that the private dining room in The Carvery located on the Casino level is available this Saturday afternoon for you to view the races with your friends and family.

This is a great opportunity for owners, trainers and drivers to see the live racing action while catching up with everyone.

We have an opportunity to once again have a place to gather for the races. Food and drinks are available for purchase at reasonable prices.  You can order off the menu, or enjoy the buffet for $15.

Come see for yourself and reconnect with old friends!

PLEASE NOTE…Because the Carvery is located within the casino, guests must be 21 years of age or older.

Q&A: Rick Beinhauer

This is the third part of a series of question and answer sessions with Meadows horsemen.


Rick BeinhauerQ: You’ve had a lot of success over the years breeding your own horses.  What’s the secret to success in the breeding game?
A: Hard work and luck.  You just have to try to find the right bloodlines and to pick the right cross, then have some luck training them.

Q: You have a successful business outside of racing, how do you balance your two lives?
A: I work a lot of hours every day. Plus, I have a lot of good people working with me. You can’t do what I do without a good staff and good co-workers. That’s absolutely imperative.

Q: Sometimes you drive your own horses and sometimes you use catch drivers.  How do you make that choice?
A: I usually try to drive my two-year-olds because I want them educated the way I want them educated. Then once they get to be three, they pretty much know the routine. And because I have other interests, I can’t always commit all of my time to the horses. That’s when I have other people drive, normally.

Q: We saw you at a few fairs this past summer.  Do you still enjoy that atmosphere once in a while?
A: Oh, I love the atmosphere. I miss it. I really miss how the fairs used to be. Unfortunately today they aren’t the way they were. Today, it’s a hit-and-miss game. You’re in, you’re out. The comradery that we enjoyed in the generations of yesteryear is not there today, although most of us that are my age were part of that generation growing up. I hope that the younger fellas get to enjoy it like we did.

Q: Your dad, Fritz, was a longtime horseman.  What is the most important thing he taught you about the business?
A: Integrity, honesty, hard work.

ALERT: Coggins tests must be updated by January 27

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From The Meadows’ Race Office:  

All horses currently racing at The Meadows in 2016 must have a new negative Coggins test dated by January 31, 2016. It needs to be made available in the Race Office for recording by Wednesday January 27. This is trainer’s responsibility. Do not rely on the vet to turn it in. Time is short; get it done now so you will not be left out.

Time to renew memberships for 2016

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association reminds its members that it is time to renew your memberships for 2016.  Please choose from the appropriate application form and click on the link below:

2016 Paddock Schedule released

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The Meadows Race Office has released the paddock and Lasix schedules for the new 1PM and 5PM post times that will go into effect for the 2016 season. Click on the links below:

1PM Paddock & Lasix schedule
5PM Paddock & Lasix schedule

Insurance Update: Open Enrollment time

Horsemen are advised that it is Open Enrollment time for drivers, trainers and caretakers, for health and dental insurance with Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

In January 2016, members will be able to elect health and/or dental insurance coverage and insurance will be effective February 1, 2016, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements.    

If you would like to enroll, you will need you to turn in your form by Friday, January 15th.

Please contact the MSOA Office if you have further questions at 724-228-3644, or via email at

MSOA announces 2015 award winners

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association has named its 2015 award winners, as voted on by the organization’s members.

Atta Boy Dan, owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, has been named Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Atta Boy Dan won 10 of 13 starts at The Meadows during the season en route to more than $225,000 in earnings. He paced his best mile in 1:49.1, a track record for aged pacers. Ron Burke trains Atta Boy Dan, a 6-year-old son of Western Terror.

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NOTICE: 45-day rule until further notice

Due to the 3-week racing hiatus in October, The Meadows Race Office has announced that the 30-day qualifying rule will be extended to 45 day until further notice (approximately Jan 1st).

Qualifying standards: Effective April 16, 2015

From The Meadows Race Office:
Effective April 16h the new Qualifying standards will be, until further notice:

2:00 Pacers
2:02  Trotters

Three-year-olds will be allowed 2 seconds.
Two-year-olds will be allowed 4 seconds.

Cambria Suites Meadow Lands discount available to MSOA members

cambria2A reminder, MSOA members are eligible to receive a discount at the Cambria Suites, Meadow Lands.

Be sure to mention the MSOA when booking by phone at 724-223-5555.

The Cambria Suites is located at 451 Racetrack Road.