By Evan Pattak For The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association “Horsemen Helping Horsemen”

Hollywood Casino at The Meadows hasn’t officially dubbed this week “Freshmen Fest,” but it well might have. By the time the four-day race week ends late Saturday afternoon, a total of 108 freshmen will have faced the starter in a combination of overnights, Pop-Up Series, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and PA Stallion Series events.

Not only does this focus on 2-year-olds provide challenging handicapping for players and entertaining racing for fans, but it also reflects the confidence of local horsemen and horsewomen in the ongoing opportunities harness racing provides.

Friday’s card was indeed a showcase for 2-year-olds, bringing together 44 of them in a pair of Pop-Up Series opening legs spanning seven $10,000 splits. Here are the highlights:

Pop-Up Series, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers

Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and trainer Ron Burke enjoyed a Pop-Up double with Lou’s Albano and Lew Hauber while Fasting took the third split.

A first-time starter, Fasting hustled to the point from post 5 and blazed the final quarter in 27.4, quashing all hope foe the closers. Jeremy Indof piloted the Stay Hungry-Rachel Welch gelding for trainer Mitch York, who owns with Erin York. Ridin The Waves finished second, beaten 3/4 lengths, while Aiden Station completed the ticket.

Pop-Up Series, 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters

The four divisions went to Bombay Tom, Vandy Lane, Got Lucky De Vie and Memory Vault, with Chris Lems collecting a Pop-Up double behind Bombay Tom and Vandy Lane.

It was the second career start for Bombay Tom, but he responded to Lems like a seasoned pro, moving first over from third to score in 2:02. Abraham Hanover was a neck back in second, with Cadeau third. Norm Parker trains the Bar Hopping-Miss Willa gelding for Bart Brice. Tood Brice, Charles Receski and Ed Receski.

Wrenn totaled five wins — including four for Burke — on the 13-race card while Lems fashioned a three-bagger, including a pair of victories for trainer Scott Cox.

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen.

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