The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has completed grading and banking of its racing surface and is ready to install a new crushed limestone-silica mix to complete the $223,000 renovation of the track.
Live racing resumes Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 12:55 PM, but the refurbished track will get its first test with qualifying races scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30. Although day-long rain Wednesday slowed renovation activities, Dan Coon of Charles E. Coon and Sons Inc. said better weather Thursday — the forecast calls for a dry day — would enable his crew to install up to 8,000 tons of the new mix, which already has been delivered.
"We wanted to have horses on the track Wednesday, but the rain prevented it,” Coon said. "We've been pretty fortunate with the weather, though.”
With the resumption of live racing, The Meadows will roll out a schedule that emphasizes daylight cards rather than a split between afternoon and evening programs. In fact, between Sept. 3 and the end of the year, all cards will begin at 12:55 PM, with only two exceptions: Friday, Sept. 13, when The Meadows hosts the $1.2 million Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championships for 3-year-olds, and Saturday, Oct. 5, when the track offers all eight divisions of the PA Fairs championships.
The Meadows also will introduce 10-horse fields for as many as eight races per week, meaning that one horse will start from the second tier in each of those races. Expanded fields, which are being implemented in collaboration with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, are expected to result in larger payoffs and more carryovers in Pick 5, Pick 4 and Superfecta events.
The Meadows will welcome fans back with $1,000 in cash giveaways over the four programs from Sept. 3 to Sept. 6. Five times during each card, a lucky patron will win $50 and a Meadows 50th anniversary tee shirt. In addition, the track will resume its handicapping contests for Racing Player Rewards members each Saturday in September. Churchill Downs is the featured track throughout the month.
"Our fans have been supportive and patient throughout our renovation,” said Mike Jeannot, president of Meadows Racing. "The drawings are one way we can express our appreciation to them.” (The Meadows)