Michael Jeannot, president of Meadows Racing for the Meadows Racetrack and Casino and a champion of horse racing in southwestern Pennsylvania, died Friday after a battle with liver cancer. He was 61.
A resident of Moon, Mr. Jeannot had continued to work at the Meadows until the end of 2013, despite his illness, according to the company. He had worked at the Washington County racetrack since 1991, in various positions including vice president of operations and vice president of government relations.
"The entire Meadows family is saddened by the passing of Mike," Bill Paulos, principal of Cannery Casino Resorts, which owns and operates The Meadows, said in a statement. "His enthusiasm for his work, combined with his genuine and warm personality, made him a special member of our team. Mike's presence will be sorely missed. We will continue to keep the Jeannot family in our prayers in the days and weeks to come."
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Mr. Jeannot graduated from the University of Wisconsin and began his career in the food industry, first as a pastry chef and later as an executive with Lawry's The Prime Rib in Chicago and Dallas. His first position in the racing industry was with an Illinois company called Inter-Track Partners.
The company credited Mr, Jeannot with being influential in seeking passage of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004, which allowed slot machines at racetracks and set aside part of the revenue to enhance horse racing and breeding programs throughout the state.
Mr, Jeannot also maintained a good relationship between the racetrack and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, collaborating on fan appreciation and other events.
"Mike understood the perspective of both management and horsemen from all his years here," said Kim Hankins, MSOA executive director. "He was a very fair man, honest and to the point, so we knew where we stood. At the same time, he understood the things that we needed. We're deeply saddened by his passing."
The Meadows began its card Friday night with a moment of silence in Mr. Jeannot's memory. A spokesman said a tribute is planned later this week.
Mr. Jeannot is survived by his wife, Jo, and their sons Christopher and Benjamin.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Saturday.
Kim Lyons: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1241. Twitter: @SocialKimly.