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  Home of the Lightning Lane!     

The Meadows On the night of June 28, 1963 many of harness racing top drivers including Stanley Dancer and Billy Haughton showed up to kick off pari-mutual racing in Western Pennsylvania. Preceded only by Liberty Bell in Philadelphia three months earlier, The Meadows was the second racing venue to open in Pennsylvania. Mostly a harness racing site The Meadows did make a short foray into thoroughbred racing.

The Meadow  In 1971 three years after thoroughbreds were legalized in Pennsylvania Pitt Park was introduced at The Meadows. Besides the new name, a chute was built at the beginning of the stretch to accommodate running races at six furlongs. The experiment lasted less than two years, as in 1972 the meet was cut short for lack of interest and the tent folded up.

 In 1973 The Meadows returned full time to what it does best harness racing. Over the years The Meadows has been the innovator of many gambling techniques. In 1983 in implemented Dial-a-Bet a telephone wagering system. In 2001 Dial-a-Bet was transformed into Xpressbet an online wagering site. After favorable legislation The Meadows was granted a Racino license in 2007. Gaming was held in a temporary structure as the grandstand was torn down and rebuilt. In 2010 the grand new Meadows Harness and Gaming facility was unveiled. For three years wagering was conducted and viewed in a trailer at the complex entrance.

 In 2011 The Meadows ran it's normal Jan 1 to Dec schedule of races. In recent years The Meadows has gone away from all night racing and is now split about fifty-fifty day, night performances. No surprise here! Dave Palone again captured leading driver honors. Racing returns year round in 2012.

I had a chance to visit The Meadows after the casino was completed, it was a Monday afternoon and as I drove into the parking lot, it looked like the old days of weekend racing in New Jersey or Maryland. Being use to parking in the front row, it was strange to have to park in the back forty. Looks like racing at  The Meadows was alive and well. We'llll once I got inside it made more sense, nobody was really there for the races. I have to admit I found a place to buy a program and there was even a betting machine or two on a little concourse overlooking the track. I really didn't look around much and there could be some place where all the racing fans are.

As for racing The Meadows is the home for Dave Palone one of the, if not the winningest driver of all time. They also have track announcer Roger Huston, whose nickname is the "Voice". You can't mistake the sound of his call, but if he ever says you're horse is "coming up the lightning lane" don't get excited, it's made out of quicksand! Another lighthearted moment involving Roger Huston was in the fall of 2012, when two deer wandered onto the track between races, quick to realize what was going on, Huston started calling the race. It went something like "As they race down the track, Bambi has the lead. Here comes Rudolph from the outside." It went on for a couple of minutes than the deer just left the track.

The Meadows is also the home of The Adios, a pace for three year olds. Most of the most notable horse in recent memory have competed in this race.