The Horse of the Year voting caught some industry insiders by surprise, since for the first time ever the Horse of the Year was not also voted Pacer of Trotter of the Year. However, the voting process has been relatively unchanged since 1970 when distinct Pacer and Trotter of the Year awards were added.
Nonetheless, the process has ALWAYS been that the horse with the most votes for Horse of the Year is, in fact, the E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year. Being Trotter or Pacer of the Year is not, and has never been a requirement. The ONLY requirement is that the VOTERS must choose THEIR Horse of the Year from, and only from, either THE Trotter or THE Pacer of the Year that THEY VOTED FOR.
This year’s process worked as it should have. The only difference is that in this particular racing season there were two horses vying extremely closely for that honor, and both happened to have been pacers. Several other horses also took a substantial number (an additional 47 votes or 30%) of the Horse of the Year votes. When in doubt, the numbers speak for themselves. With the exception of a few outliers, the voting was pretty consistent across all divisions. Just 5 votes separated Horse of the Year, and just one vote separated Pacer of the Year.
The anomaly occurred because a greater number of voters that selected JK She’salady for Pacer of the Year on their ballot also voted her their Horse of the Year. Only 16 people that voted JK She’salady as the best pacer gave their Horse of the Year vote to their Trotter of the Year selection, compared to 22 for Sweet Lou.
JK She’salady and Sweet Lou were landslide winners in Dan Patch Award voting announced Wednesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, but one of the six pacing divisions resulted in a rare dead heat.
Anndrovette and Rocklamation will share the Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer after each received 51 of 157 votes. The only previous tie for a Dan Patch Award came in 1965 when Cardigan Bay and Race Time finished in a dead heat for best older pacer.
JK She’salady, who was undefeated in 12 starts, came within one vote of being the unanimous selection for best 2-year-old female pacer. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was three votes from being the undisputed top older male pacer.
Completing the list of division champions were 2-year-old male pacer Artspeak, 3-year-old male pacer McWicked, and 3-year-old female pacer Color’s A Virgin. Artspeak received 90 percent of the vote in his group while McWicked had 82 percent and Color’s A Virgin had 68 percent.
Seven-year-old Anndrovette and 5-year-old Sweet Lou are repeat winners.
Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, www.playmeadowlands.com.
Anndrovette now has received a record four Dan Patch honors in the pacing mare division, and is tied with Eternal Camnation for the most honors for any pacer in history.
Rocklamation’s trophy is the first in the division for trainer Ron Burke, who has conditioned the six most recent winners among older male pacers.
This season, Anndrovette won six of 22 races and earned a division-leading $520,352 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer P.J. Fraley, and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. Her victories included the Roses Are Red Stakes and Betsy Ross Invitational.
Rocklamation, a 6-year-old, won four of 18 races and banked $517,364. Her triumphs for driver Yannick Gingras and owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables included the Golden Girls, Artiscape, and Lady Liberty.
Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor’s Cup. He is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. He is trained by Tony Alagna, who also captured this division in 2012 with Captaintreacherous, and was driven by Scott Zeron.
After losing her first three starts of the year, Color’s A Virgin rebounded to win all but one of her next 14 races, with her victories including the Jugette and Nadia Lobell. She finished the campaign with 13 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $532,622 for driver Trace Tetrick, trainer Brian Brown and owner Emerald Highlands Farm.
JK She’salady won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old female pacer in winning the She’s A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes.
Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK She’salady is trained by Nancy Johansson. The filly was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Gingras in her previous starts.
McWicked was the richest pacer of the year, with $1.47 million in purses for owner SSG Stables and trainer Casie Coleman. The colt won 12 of 23 races and hit the board a total of 21 times. He finished the season on a three-race win streak, which included the Breeders Crown and a stakes-record triumph in the Progress Pace.
Other victories for McWicked included the Delvin Miller Adios and Max C. Hempt Memorial. His time of 1:47.3 in the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. He was driven primarily by David Miller, with Brian Sears in the sulky for the Breeders Crown.
A Dan Patch Award winner in 2011 at the age of 2, Sweet Lou added a second trophy this year for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million.
Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe.
Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement.
2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Artspeak (141 of 157 votes) Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman. Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Scott Zeron. Races: 10-8-0-2. Purses: $742,185. Mark: 1:50.2 at Mohawk. Top wins: $613,640 Metro Pace; $502,850 Governor’s Cup.
2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER JK She’salady (155 votes; one abstention) Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables. Owners: 3 Brothers Stables. Trainer: Nancy Johansson. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick. Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $883,330. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk (equals world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $441,600 She’s A Great Lady; $377,360 Three Diamonds.
3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER McWicked (128 votes) McArdle – Western Sahara – Western Ideal Yearling Price: $35,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Andray Farm. Owner: S S G Stables. Trainer: Casie Coleman. Drivers: David Miller, Brian Sears. Races: 23-12-5-4. Purses: $1.47 million. Mark: 1:47.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $531,250 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Hempt Memorial; $400,000 Adios.
3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Color’s A Virgin (106 votes) Always A Virgin – Full Color – Allamerican Ingot Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Emerald Highlands Farm. Owner: Emerald Highlands Farm. Trainer: Brian Brown. Driver: Trace Tetrick. Races: 18-13-2-0. Purses: $532,622. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $298,100 Jugette; $176,500 Nadia Lobell.
OLDER MALE PACER Sweet Lou (154 votes) Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future Yearling Price: $38,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 19-11-3-1. Purses: $1.36 million. Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $463,300 William Haughton Memorial.
OLDER FEMALE PACER (tie) Anndrovette (51 votes) Riverboat King – Easy Miss – Big Towner Yearling Price: Private sale. Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owners: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 22-6-4-4. Purses: $520,352. Mark: 1:49.1 at Mohawk. Top wins: $303,600 Roses Are Red; $250,000 Betsy Ross.
Rocklamation (51 votes) Rocknroll Hanover – Art Sale – Artsplace Yearling Price: $50,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Perretti Farms. Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 18-4-5-2. Purses: $517,364. Mark: 1:48.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $183,450 Golden Girls; $178,000 Artiscape; $177,750 Lady Liberty.
The fastest trotter of all time and the richest Standardbred of the year were among the six trotters to receive divisional honors in Dan Patch Award voting announced Tuesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Divisional honors for pacers will be revealed Wednesday, followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar.
Sebastian K, an 8-year-old who won in 1:49 in June to become the fastest trotter in history, was voted harness racing’s best older male trotter of 2014. Father Patrick, who earned $1.69 million this season to lead all Standardbreds, was named the sport’s best 3-year-old male trotter.
Father Patrick is from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, who also conditioned Pinkman, the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, and Shake It Cerry, who was one vote shy of being the unanimous selection for best 3-year-old female trotter.
Shake It Cerry and Father Patrick also were honored last year at age 2.
Completing the list of this year’s award winners were 2-year-old female trotter Mission Brief and older female trotter Classic Martine.
A total of 157 ballots were returned. Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Sebastian K joined Shake It Cerry in exceeding 89 percent of the vote in their respective divisions. Father Patrick received 60 percent and Classic Martine garnered 58 percent.
Yannick Gingras was the primary driver for three of the trotters to receive Dan Patch honors: Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Father Patrick.
Classic Martine won nine of 18 races this year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equaling performance.
Trained by Chris Oakes and driven primarily by Tim Tetrick, Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold.
No harness racing horse earned more money this year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic, Beal Memorial, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, American-National Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.
His 1:50.2 win in the Beal Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by any 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track.
Father Patrick joins Lucky Chucky, Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe, and Donato Hanover as male trotters in the last 10 years to receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages 2 and 3.
Mission Brief trotted the fastest mile ever by any 2-year-old, stopping the clock in 1:50.3 in winning her division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 2 at The Red Mile. It was the third time Mission Brief either equaled or lowered the world record. She finished her campaign by winning the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters in a stakes-record 1:51.4.
For the year, Mission Brief won nine of 13 races – she went off stride in all four losses – and earned $591,070 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won eight of her starts by at least three lengths and had a combined margin of victory of 65-3/4 lengths – an average of more than seven lengths per triumph.
In addition to the Breeders Crown, her wins included the Merrie Annabelle Stakes and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship.
Pinkman, who was entered in November’s Standardbred Horse Sale’s Mixed Sale before Takter reconsidered, won six of eight races and earned $566,960 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Named after a character from the television series, “Breaking Bad,” the gelding’s victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes.
Takter-trained horses have been named best 2-year-old male trotter three times in five years, with Pinkman following Father Patrick in 2013 and Pastor Stephen in 2010.
Sebastian K arrived in the U.S. this season after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his 1:49 triumph at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Sebastian K was driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt and finished the year with eight wins in 13 races and $663,853 in purses. His victories included the Cashman Memorial, Crawford Farms Open Trot, and Cutler Memorial.
Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig’s Racing Partners ownership group and driver Ron Pierce.
The Takter-trained filly finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a “good” surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage.
Both of Shake It Cerry’s parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007 and Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honor of his mother.
Shake It Cerry joins Passionate Glide and Pampered Princess, both also trained by Takter, and Check Me Out as female trotters to receive Dan Patch Awards at ages 2 and 3.
Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement.
2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
PINKMAN (144 of 157 votes) Explosive Matter – Margie Seelster – Angus Hall Yearling Price: $77,000 under name Traffic Jam at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: O Narutac Equine Nursery. Owners: Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, Herb Liverman. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras, Sylvain Filion. Races: 8-6-1-0. Purses: $566,960. Mark: 1:53.2 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $463,690 Valley Victory.
2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
MISSION BRIEF (150 votes) Muscle Hill – Southwind Serena – Varenne Yearling Price: $150,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 13-9-0-0. Purses: $591,070. Mark: 1:50.3 at The Red Mile (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $352,050 Merrie Annabelle.
3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
FATHER PATRICK (94 votes) Cantab Hall – Gala Dream – Enjoy Lavec Yearling Price: $105,000 under name Royal Press at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 17-12-3-0. Purses: $1.69 million. Mark: 1:50.2 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Beal Memorial.
3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
SHAKE IT CERRY (156 votes) Donato Hanover – Solveig – Yankee Glide Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Solveig’s Breeders. Owner: Solveig’s Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 17-15-0-1. Purses: $1.23 million. Mark: 1:51.2 at The Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $368,100 Elegantimage; $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity.
OLDER MALE TROTTER
SEBASTIAN K (141 votes) Korean – Gabriella K – Probe Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Knutsson Trotting AB. Owner: Knutsson Trotting Inc. Trainer: Ake Svanstedt. Driver: Ake Svanstedt. Races: 13-8-2-0. Purses: $663,853. Mark: 1:49 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $300,650 Cashman Memorial; $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot; $175,000 Cutler Memorial.
OLDER FEMALE TROTTER
CLASSIC MARTINE (91 votes) Classic Photo – Drinking Days – Andover Hall Yearling Price: None (sold privately at age 3). Breeders: Todd Schadel, Christine Schadel. Owners: Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold. Trainer: Chris Oakes. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 18-9-5-2. Purses: $438,912. Mark: 1:51.1 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $244,720 Armbro Flight; $121,500 Miss Versatility.
It's unanimous: Yannick Gingras is the Driver of the Year. Based on his handling of the winners of more than $16.5 million and a record-tying four triumphs in the recent Breeders Crown series, Gingras was nominated by every Chapter who participated.
For the annual Dan Patch awards given to humans, the chapters of USHWA send in their various nominees, and balloting is conducted among eligible voters of its 220 members, plus a select group of racing secretaries. This year, every chapter sending in a driver nomination selected Gingras, and so no further balloting is needed.
For the 35-year-old Gingras, a native of Quebec, 2014 saw him handle many of the sport’s stars, and perhaps most tellingly, he was the “first call” driver for the two barns who have dominated much of the stakes scene this year, those of Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter.
Of his four Breeders Crown wins, two were from Burke (Mission Brief and Sayitall BB) and two were for Takter (Pinkman and Father Patrick).
The 2014 season also saw Gingras help the 10-year-old Foiled Again further his world record career earnings mark, which currently stands at $6,769,531.
Gingras was the leading driver for the 2014 season at the Meadowlands, a track which features what many consider the best driving colony in the world. Another highlight for Gingras was returning to his native Quebec and winning the $200,000 Prix d’Ete at his “home track,” Hippodrome 3R, where his victory with the Takter-trained Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 -- more than two seconds faster than the previous mark -- was cheered by many members of his family, a group which plays as important a part of Gingras’ life as harness racing does, according to him.
Dear fellow harness writers-
The Breeders Crown eliminations start Saturday (Nov. 15) at the New Meadowlands. After thirty years, we all know that “In Harness Racing--it all comes down to the Breeders Crown.”
Historically, these prestigious year-end events have also been a barometer for the Dan Patch Award winners, including Horse of the Year. The BC finals are next weekend (Nov. 21-22) with our Dan Patch human award nominations and biographies (100-300 words) due to the secretary shortly thereafter on Wednesday, November 26 for Owner, Trainer, Driver, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy, and Unsung Hero awards.
Chapters and members may also want to schedule meetings or communicate regarding Bergstein-Proximity finalists Russell Williams and Charlie Keller, as well as discuss the various divisional Horses of the Year.
In addition, potential Communicators Corner nominations and any bylaw change proposals are due to the secretary 30 days (Jan. 22) before the annual meetings begin on Saturday, February 21. Ballots for ALL the awards, horse and human, go out on Wednesday, December 3 and are due back by 9 am on Thursday, December 18.
Although the details are still being finalized, USHWA will hold an announcement luncheon at the New Meadowlands on Thursday, December 18 where all of the horse award winners will be announced while being live-streamed on the internet, as well as distributed to the AP through HRC. Stay tuned for further details.
This year, the hotel for our National USHWA meetings and Dan Patch Awards Banquet is the Double Tree by Hilton Orlando (Florida) at Seaworld.
The directors meeting will start promptly at 3 pm on Saturday, February 21, 2015. This will be followed by a buffet dinner at 7 pm.
The membership meeting is slated for 10 am sharp on Sunday, February 22. Later that evening, the Dan Patch Awards banquet will be begin with cocktails at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm.
Tickets for the banquet are listed at $125, however USHWA members are $100.
As always, our Sunshine State hotel expert, Steve Wolf, has secured an excellent $115 rate for our stay, which is valid from Feb. 13 –Feb 27. Although there is a link below for reservations, please call the hotel directly for potentially better pricing of junior or special suites. The direct line to the hotel is 407-352-1100.
Click here to access our personalized USHWA reservation desk.
It is imperative that members make their hotel reservations and book flights immediately as the hotel is expected to be sold out and airfare rates will increase dramatically after Thanksgiving. Self parking and internet are free.
Steve is also making arrangements for a reduced rate for round trip shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Currently the cost is $32 per person for a round trip. Please make your reservation online. (We are trying to get a special discount code).
Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Also, this is my second request to chapter presidents to provide me with the name of the library of your choice to have a copy of Standardbred Old Friends sent on your behalf.
Please be sure to take part in our most important task of the year –VOTING!
Chris Tully National President of USHWA
Russell Williams, vice-president of the famous nursery Hanover Shoe Farms and a director on the boards of many of harness racing’s top organizations, and Charles Keller III, who carried on the tradition of his father’s famous Yankeeland Farm and also continues to serve the sport on many of its top organizations’ boards, have been announced as the finalists for the 2014 Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, it has been announced by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA).
After the various chapters of USHWA submitted nominations for the award, the highest honor USHWA bestows based on voting only by its members and given for outstanding achievement in/service to the sport, the nominees were sent to the Association’s directors, who voted to winnow down the candidates to the top two. Williams and Keller will now be voted on by the entirety of USHWA during the annual Dan Patch Awards balloting honoring the year’s stars, both equine and human; that balloting will be conducted in early December.
Williams, the grandson of Hanover’s founder Lawrence Sheppard, plays a major part in the operation of the world’s leading Standardbred-producing farm, where he keeps his own small but select band of broodmares (he is the breeder of the million-dollar-winning top three-year-old colt Nuncio). He is also vice chairman of the U.S. Trotting Association, the sport’s supervisory organization, and a trustee of the American Horse Council and the Harness Racing Museum. Williams is also a noted “equine philanthropist,” financing the possibility of many Standardbreds being able to live out their lives with dignity, including retired Hanover broodmares.
Keller, the son of noted Yankees baseball player “King Kong” Keller, took over operation of Yankeeland Farms, which his father established, in 1990 until the farm’s closing in 2006. The farm bred two Hambletonian winners, Muscles Yankee (1998) and Yankee Paco (2000), and it also bred Yankee Blondie, the dam of 2009 winner Muscle Hill, along with countless other divisional champions. It has produced the outstanding sires Yankee Glide and Yankee Cruiser, and has been the cradle of four Breeders Crown winners. Keller is the chairman of the executive committee of the Hambletonian Society, a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum, and a former director of the U. S. Trotting Association.
The Bergstein/Proximity winner, along with the awards for the best of 2014, will be given at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards dinner on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld.
if you would like to watch the entire 2014 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, click this link and relive all the excitement and glamor of the evening. The United States Harness Writers Association would like to thank the USTA and Roberts Communication for making this archive video available for viewing.
New! Click here to see all the Dan Patch presentation photos
New! Click here to view 150+ picture photo album w/ Red Carpet
United States Harness Writers Association, harness racing’s principal
organization for media workers, held its annual meetings on
Saturday and Sunday (February 22 and 23) at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend
culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday night,
attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing.
Saturday meeting, the directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks
and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot
Marks has been a
leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport,
most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker,
from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the
Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor
in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company,
positions she maintains to this day.
At the conclusion
of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association
officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and
writer was elected
president of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com.
Tully’s “first official act” was to present Wolf, who now becomes the
chairman of the board, with a gold lifetime membership pin.
Bojarski, Hoof Beats columnist and USTA blogger was elected to 1st vice
president, Shawn Wiles, Monticello
Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director was elected to the 2nd vice president slot.
Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the
success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as
treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings
weekend, remains as executive treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors
as USHWA secretary.
Much of the
discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport’s Hall
of Fame in Goshen N.Y., where plans for renovation and modernization are
starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant
contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Hall of
Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and
rules change relating to the Hall, especially the re-establishment of a
seniors category for both.
plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these
matters were tabled until a committee, soon to be appointed, can focus
on the merits -- and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed
heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning
throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the
organization’s member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good
shape, pointing to future success in USHWA’s upcoming progressive
The Dan Patch
Awards Dinner was, as always, the highlight of the gathering with
superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician “finishing her
unbeaten season” by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness
Horse of the Year.
Her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous,
took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign
showing speed and courage in equal amounts.
Also honored were the
quartet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame Sunday (July 6) in Goshen:
Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak.
The Clyde Hirt Media
Workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association and Meadowlands
Racetrack. It is held in conjunction with harness racing's most prestigious
race (the Hambletonian) and offers college students a chance to learn from
journalism professionals while covering a major sporting event. Students
interact with a variety of sports professionals, write race previews and
results stories for daily newspapers and news websites and attend workshop
sessions with experts from print, broadcasting, public relations and other
Corey Alexander, one of the students from the 2012 workshop, produced a video featuring many of the highlights of the weeks activities. we are making it available here for you to view and see what great exposure the workshop is giving the sport of harness racing to college students who are up and coming media professionals.
Click here to see the video of what the young men and women from colleges all over North America have experienced; our sport, first hand.
USHWA NEW MEMBER BROCHURE IS HERE-The hard work of the New Member Committee led by Chairwoman Jessica Schroeder has brought to frution a new tool to help broaden and build the membership of USHWA. It is a colorful and informational brochure that will explain exactly what USHWA is, what USHWA does, and why those who work in the sporting media would want to join.
We also had hard copies printed and are looking for all of our members to take this opportunity to help distribute the pamphlets (either electronically of paper copy) to anyone you may think would be interested in becoming a part of our organization or convince someone who is not. It is in the best interest of USHWA to get as many people on board with us to help promote our great sport.
The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 220 members committed to the chronicling of harness racing through the print and electronic media. It was founded in 1947 by New York City area sportswriters who were covering harness racing at Roosevelt Raceway. It remains the only media organization in harness racing with a membership of newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, ad agency, publicists and others involved in racing communications. With most of USHWA's members allied to one of 12 regional chapters, the
association strives to bring about a closer relationship among the media, racetracks and horsemen to promote a centuries-old American-bred sport.
USHWA members, in annual voting, choose harness racing's most prestigious awards, such as the Living Hall of Fame and the Horse of the Year. Its Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award is one of the sport's most cherished honors. It also recognizes top divisional winners and leading drivers and trainers at its annual awards dinner, which began in 1948.
The association is governed by a member board of directors, which represents the chapters and at-large members (those living or working in regions where there is no chapter). Also serving are seven national officers and past presidents.
USHWA, with input from the American Harness Racing Secretaries and logistic expertise provided by the United States Trotting Association, determines the Horse of the Year and other equine and human awards. USHWA also presents the John Hervey Awards for excellence in writing and broadcasting. Its members choose Hall of Famers, so the association also works closely with the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Goshen, New York.
A number of chapters hold annual awards or recognition dinners to salute the leading horses and drivers in their areas. Some chapters also raise money for local charities.