by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Washington, PA — As part of the year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, The Meadows has renamed a pair of Grand Circuit stakes to honor two people instrumental in the track’s success over those five decades.
The 2-year-old Arden Downs colt and gelding trot, formerly the Henry Oliver, is now the Edward M. Ryan to recognize the vital role played by the late Ed Ryan — both on and off the track. A determined and visionary entrepreneur, he founded Ryan Homes and, with partner Joe Hardy, owned The Meadows in the immediate post-Delvin Miller era.
He created the Meadows Racing Network (now called Meadows Live!) against the advice of seasoned cable TV executives, who warned it would be too costly. A harness racing Hall of Famer, he also was an active philanthropist who, in 1992, organized relief for victims of Hurricane Andrew. As a horseman, he owned and drove such standouts as Seven O’clock and Knight Dandy.
The Arden Downs 2-year-old filly pace, previously the Catherine Baker Knoll, is now the Mary Lib Miller to commemorate the contributions of one or harness racing’s most enthusiastic and effective champions. She served harness racing and The Meadows in many ways, including a stint as a director of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Most significantly, she worked with her husband Delvin to make The Meadows happen.
“It was so neat when Delvin was called ‘The Ambassador of Harness Racing,’” she once said. “He was so respected around the world — Russia, Sweden, Germany, France, everywhere — that we were able to spread good will abroad. In that regard, we could do more in sports than we were doing politically.”
Mary Lib Miller died in 2009.
“It is quite appropriate that we honor the contributions of Mary Lib Miller and Ed Ryan during our Golden Anniversary year,” said Mike Jeannot. “They are among the leaders who guided us to a position of prominence in today’s industry.”
The Ryan and the Miller will be contested as part of 2013 Adios Week, which commences Saturday (July 20), with eliminations for the Delvin Miller Adios.