The Trot Blog

The Meadows Tour

Media tour unveils casino’s amenities

Today we have a great link to The Meadows Racetrack & Casino that can be viewed at The Meadows Media Tour.  Hopefully, this turns out to be a great success for harness racing.

PA Harness Week TV show set to resume

PA Harness Week TV show set to resume
April 08, 2009

The Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association has announced that its PA Harness Week television show will begin its 2009 season on Saturday, April 11. The show, which features the best of Pennsylvania harness horse racing plus features, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, was critically acclaimed in its debut 2008 season.

New episodes of the weekly half-hour show will air every Saturday at 1 pm on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia from April 11 through Sept. 5. PA HarnessWeek reaches an audience of over three million viewers in Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states.


In addition, the show’s website, PA Harness Week, features full episodes.

The show is produced by Emmy-award winner Bruce Casella and hosted by longtime racing pros Steve Ross and Heather Moffett. It is produced in conjunction with Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and taped live at Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack. Every episode features a recap of the previous week’s races in Pennsylvania and around the world, a look ahead at the coming week’s upcoming cards, plus segments like “Blast from the Past” featuring rare footage from historic races and more.

Seven minutes of commercial time is available per episode. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Harrah’s Chester Racetrack & Casino, Hanover Shoe Farms and M.H. Eby Inc. have already committed as advertisers. Interested parties may contact the PHHA for a media kit with demographic data and a complete rate sheet. (PHHA)

Merriman Leads NA Drivers

MerrimanAaron Merriman finished sixth in wins among all harness racing drivers in North America last season, so he is no stranger to the top 10 list. He just might not be as familiar yet with his current spot – No. 1.

Merriman, who drives regularly at both Northfield Park in Ohio and The Meadows in western Pennsylvania, entered Monday with 187 wins and held a 22-victory lead over second-place Dave Palone. Merriman has been the leading driver at Northfield each of the past three seasons. He leads the standings
again this year and is eighth at The Meadows.

“It’s exciting,” the 30-year-old Merriman said about his place in the North American standings. “I don’t know how long it will last, whether it will continue, but it’s kind of a neat experience. I’m just really working a lot, between Northfield and The Meadows. I got my foot in the door last March at The Meadows, so I’ve been going there pretty steady. It’s a little tiring, but the driving is going really well.”

Merriman started in the sport with his father Lanny, who has nearly 1,200 lifetime wins as a driver and more than 500 victories as a trainer. Merriman got his first win in 1998 and had his first million-dollar season in 2004. He won 558 races in 2006, good for ninth place in North America, and set career highs with 612 victories and $3.1 million in earnings in 2008. Entering Monday, he was three wins from 3,500 for his career.

As one of the new kids on the block at The Meadows, it can be more difficult for Merriman to get top assignments, particularly with the likes of Palone, Tony Hall, Mike Wilder and Brett Miller already established in the driving colony.

“It doesn’t really bother me, I just like driving,” Merriman said. “Everyone wants to have power, but sometimes it’s not the case. It just doesn’t work out that way. There are a lot of other guys in this business with talent.”

Driving at The Meadows, which is a five-eighths-mile oval, may have helped Merriman become a better driver at Northfield, which is a half-mile oval, by exposing him to a different type of racing.

“It’s not typical for five-eighths-mile racing,” Merriman said. “Horses just cannot live on the outside at The Meadows like they can other places. It’s kind of helped me at Northfield because it’s got me to be a bit more patient.”

Merriman has no plans to change his routine at the moment. In the future, though, he will need to have shoulder surgery as the result of an accident suffered last year and could be sidelined for up to six months.

“I’m happy with what I have,” Merriman said. “I’ve got a six-year-old son (Kristopher) that I really base my life around. I want to stay here for now because he goes to kindergarten in Ohio and it’s a very nice area. As long as I can keep up the doubleheaders and make a living, and I’m not gone too much, it’s good.”

He also might keep an eye on the driver standings as the year progresses.

“If it gets toward the end of the year and I’ve got a chance to be the top dash guy, it’s something I might shoot for,” he said. “But I’ve got a lot on my plate.”

(Harness Racing Communications)

A wicked triple dead heat finish!

The Meadows had A wicked triple dead heat finish.  In watching the replay, it appeared several horses might have won.  What a finish.

New Meadows starting gate to aid horses drawn outside

trackside rendering

The new Meadows starting gate is going to apply the same model used successfully at Harras Chester.  It will set the outside horses slightly ahead of the inside horses and will lessen the handicap for drawing an outside post.  This concept has proven successful at Harrahs Chester and other 5/8 mile tracks should consider going to this as well.