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Burke And Palone Feted In Pennsylvania

Published: January 31, 2015 12:52 am ET

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On their second annual “Night of Champions,” The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) honoured locally based horsemen Dave Palone and Ron Burke, who have become two of harness racing’s most celebrated champions.

Burke, the sport’s leading trainer for six consecutive years, in 2014 smashed his own record with more than $28.5 million in earnings.

“It’s pretty well documented that we’re a family operation...I couldn’t do it without any of them,” Burke said. “There’s a whole other crew that we consider just like family. Thank you, and let’s make this year special.”

Palone, a harness Hall of Famer, in 2014 collected career victory 16,754, which made him the world’s “winningest” harness racing driver. Noted equine artist Thomas Allen Pauley captured that historic moment in a painting; on Friday, he presented the work to Palone.

Palone also accepted congratulations from Pennsylvania Rep. Brandon Neuman; Bill Paulos, principal of Cannery Casino Resorts, which owns The Meadows; and Phil Langley, president of the United States Trotting Association.

Langley said he hopes to be present for Palone’s 20,000th victory. When asked about that, Palone smiled but said emphatically, “No shot.” Few in attendance, however, doubted the possibility.

Before the ceremony, fans were able to meet the two champions and take away Palone and Burke-themed premiums. The festivities also included presentation of awards to The Meadows’ 2014 equine champions, as voted by MSOA members.

(With files from The Meadows)

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