The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association hosted a special evening of racing on Friday night, May 30, to conclude the Memorial Day holiday week.
Featured on the evening was be the second annual Ruffner/Yoder Gun 23 Memorial Race, which honors 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 last year, but was still serving overseas and could not attend. Following the 2013 race, Boudreaux, along with members of the Ruffner and Yoder families, presented the MSOA with an American flag that flew during one of their combat missions. This year, both Boudreaux and the flag were in the winners circle for the post-race presentation. Sam Hill, owned by Don Tiger, trained by John Sullivan and driven by Greg Wright Jr won the event for the second straight year.
The MSOA also continued its charitable efforts that evening, hosting a special race to benefit JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Race #5 on the Friday night card was the JDRF Benefit Race, and the MSOA donated its commission from wagering on the race to the fund.
A match race featuring three local celebrities from ABC affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. Marcie Cipriani, Ashlie Hardway, and Justin Rose, part of the WTAE news team, was another feature on the card, and Rose, a sports anchor, followed up the race by making his debut as a race announcer, calling The Meadows’ 10th race on the card.
The MSOA also hosted its highly popular Family Fun Night, with a bounce house, racehorse “Meet & Greet” in a stall on the track’s apron level, “Spin To Win” giveaways and driver/trainer meet and greets.
It was a successful night overall, both on the track and in the grandstand, as a large crowd was entertained by a strong 15-race card that featured a win by Hambletonian hopeful Father Patrick in 1:53.1.