In This Space
Almost 50 years ago a large, once barren farmland was broken to make way for Western Pennsylvania's first betting race track. In June of 1963 The Meadows Racetrack was first opened by the Washington Trotting Association for those of legal age of course. Forty years later, in 2004, legislation passed to allow The Meadows to obtain a gambling license for slot machines.
The Meadows casino opened on April 15, 2009 and boasted a giant 350,000-square-foot casino, five restaurants, a covered grandstand, and a state of the art bowling alley. The Meadows offers over 3,500 slot machines, both old fashion and high tech. In July of 2010, legislation was again passed to allowed the Meadows to have table games. Consequently, 62 table games ranging from the highly popular Blackjack to the more mysterious game Baccarat have been place installed throughout the wonderful casino. The Meadows Casino also includes a luxurious poker room that offers 26 tables, full private bar and own unique menu. The Meadows Casino is just like its racetrack, one of the nicest in the area.
The Meadows Racetrack holds year round harness races, which utilize a "harnesses" to pull racers in their carriages. The racetrack is a 5/8 mile oval made of stone dust. Races often take place late afternoons and early evenings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. With most races starting at 12:55 pm, it is a perfect time to waste and hour before or after classes, even on a rainy or col day. In 2009 The Meadows has constructed a brand new Grand Stand that is fully covered, protecting patrons from whatever conditions are outside.
Steve Watkins, the Co-Director of Events Affairs explains other essential part to year round racing. "If mid-winter race days are too harsh for you, Delvins Café is racetrack front and is a nice place to warm up. Patrons can also spectate from our Winners Circle enclosed balcony that overlooks the entire track, or relax in a luxurious lazy-boy while watching it on one of our five big screen TVs at the sports book."
The Casino is located less than five miles away from Washington & Jefferson's College campus. For any student, faculty or staff to visit the casino all they must do it take US-19 north and take a left on Racetrack Road.
College students get some good perks when they are at the casino. If they show a student ID they are automatically updated from a regular players card to a V.I.P. players card. This card offers free entries in prizes and giveaways, food and drink discounts and special Meadows packages. The V.I.P. card allows them to obtain triple the player points while using the slots or any table game, which can be redeemed at the Meadows or at places like Mr. Gyros through the Neighborhood Partners Program. This program allows card holders to redeem points at local businesses to get a discounted rate.
With all these amenities it has become a W&J hot spot and heavily visited attraction near Washington.
People really do love betting on horses during beautiful fall days, like today. The stunningly remodeled grandstand, with its beautiful tan columns is filled to capacity, even so, is the balcony overhead. The race is about to start now that the horses and riders are trotting behind the starting gate car as it passes the grandstands one final time before opening the gate. The patrons anxiously cheer for their horse in hopes it comes out the winner. Simultaneously, the announcer exclaims "And there they go!"
The race is one mile long and is quite possibly the fastest two minutes of anyone's life. The horse Overtime never made it out of the starting gate. Accordingly any tickets owners of Overtime did one of two things, curse the horse out or ripped up the tickets and threw them on the ground as the stormed out.
The crowd remains mostly silent through the first turn, but increases in noise as the horses separate after turn number one. "Not my Horse with the hole shot on the outside." At this instant a large eruption occurs from the crowd; Not my Horse is clearly the crowd favorite. People in the stand frantically look to find their horse and where it is located in the pack.
The horses round turn two with Not my Horse in the front, followed closely by Hello Lady, 3 lengths back is Mr. Wiggles, and 5 lengths back is the pack. The crowd grows in noise from a lot rattle to a load roar. Many patrons began to stand in anticipation of the end of the race.
As the horses come down the home stretch, Not my Horse begins to fall back. The crowd let out a painful sigh. Hello Lady takes the lead accompanied by and a loud hurrah from the crowd. "Coming strong from the outside, in the last 20 feet, is Mr. Wiggles! And Mr. Wiggles wins by a hair!" At this point the entire place in standing on their feet, arms raised high in the sky. A portion of crowd bellows out a low cry for Hello Lady to stay steadfast, which is drowned out by the other half's thunderous shouts. Hands fall to the grown along with faces and losing tickets. Yet the lucky few, the ones with the winning tickets, rejoice and are overjoyed. What an exciting two minutes.
First Person Narrative
26 beautiful long oval tables fill a large rectangular room, which is only accessible through a small back staircase, reminding me of a hidden basement poker room except with leather seats and a full private bar. The bartender offers you a drink, from behind the beautiful marble bar, as you pass by towards the tables. LCD televisions hang from every marble pillar, looping the day's top sports and drawing winners. The beauty of the place is stunning, but easily ignored when you in the zone.
There is little discussion done among the tables, everyone is busy thinking of pot odds and players' tells. Players surround the table with different backgrounds and different playing types. You can easily spot the sharks in the room; they are the ones with sunglasses on, nice collared shirts, and of course chip stacks that could but the bar ten times over.
The dealer keeps the game running quickly and mostly positive with their professionalism and smiles. Every once and a while an intimidating older man, dressed in a nice suit with a shiny name badge, will walk by the table and write on his miniature clip board. His face has the strictest of stern looks I have ever seen. I am sure you wouldn't smile if roughly 20 million dollars in chip was your responsibility. Attractive cocktail waitresses often stop by and ask if you would like a drink. Now a serious gambler would say no, but when it is on the house it is hard for a college student to pass that up.
Surprisingly I can't smell the lady's smoke floating off of her cigarette sitting across the table from me. It must be the pure oxygen they pump into the place that overpowers the smoke. Another shocker was the complete silence---there is no music playing, no top stories from the news, just the sound of chips being thrown around.Although big pot wins usually break the silence by short-lived celebrations that are often accompanied by cursing.
Hours of Operation
Casino open 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week.
How to get there
Turn onto Murtland Ave/US-19 North and travel for three miles. Then turn left onto Racetrack road and make a right at the first stop light onto Casino Drive. The Casino will be to your left and free parking garage to your right.
Gambling Problem? Call (800) 848-1880
21 and over only
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