The U.S. Trotting Association and Illinois Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association honored the stars of 2005 at the USTA District 5 awards banquet on Saturday evening January 21, which was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Ill.
Awards presented included the 2005 Illinois Horse of the Year, Stallions of the Year, plus those for the 2- and 3-year-old state champions on both gaits and of both sexes.
USTA District 5 Director and Illinois Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association executive director John Cisna began the evening’s festivities by introducing master of ceremonies, and Illinois Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association chairman of the board Ed Teefey,who then turned the microphone over to guest speakers, including Illinois State Fair manager Amy Bliefnick, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke, U.S. Trotting Association president Phil Langley, and the guest speaker for the banquet, Kelly Rucker, customer service manager for the U.S. Trotting Association.
The names of the award winners were then announced by Teefey and presented by Rucker.
Loyal Opposition repeated as the Illinois Harness Horse of the Year. The “Queen of the Open Mare pacing ranks” earned almost $700,000 in 2005, with 14 wins in 20 starts -- despite being on the shelf for part of the year with a hoof injury. Themare, bred by Cottonwood Farm of Big Rock, Ill., is owned by Daniel Waxman of Ancaster, Ont. and trained by the 2005 Trainer of the Year, Ervin Miller. The auburn-coated mare who races with the pink bike also has earned over $2.5 million, lifetime.
Victor’s Finesse was named the 2-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year in Illinois. Thefilly out of R Finettie, she by Back Fin, won 10 of 16 starts in 2005, took a race mark of 1:554, and earned over $234,000. She was bred by Elva Schrock, is owned by Vandalay Racing, and is also trained by Erv Miller.
Illinois’ 2-year-old colt trot honoree was Fox Valley Cayenne. Thefreshman, from the mare Spicy Princess, she by Cumin, is owned by Tanah Merah Farms, was bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, and races for the Ervin Miller Stable. Cayenne earned over $68,000 in 2005, with four wins in seven starts, and sports a 1:564 race mark.
My Metallica earned the 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly title. A winner of nearly $144,000 for her owners, the Ciara Stable, Michael Polansky, and William H. Johnston III, she took a 1:523 race mark in one of four wins and posted one place and two show finishes in nine starts. She is trained by Tom Harmer and was bred by Charles E. Day and the Ciara Stable. She was sired by Party At, and is from the mare Princess Pacific, she by Rashad.
The 2-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year is My Boy David. Theoffspring, from Eicarls Valentine, a daughter of , earned nearly $256,000 while winning one-half of his 14 starts for owners Shirley LeVin and David J. Riff. “David” is trained by Homer Hochstetler and was bred by Lake to Sky Farms and Cottonwood Farm.
Victor’s Pursuit dominated the 3-year-old female trotting ranks in 2005, and was thus honored as the best in that division. The filly made a whopping 24 trips to the starting gate, and crossed undere the wire first 12 times, finished second six times, and finished third once for owners Robert Rietveld and Paul Gibson. Thefilly was bred by Phillip Rietveld and is trained by Roger Welch. She owns a 1:551 race mark and has earned over $203,000.
A stellar, .733 winning percentage in 2005 earned the flashy trotter Sherrie’s Delight divisional honors. The Keystone Kim sophomore took his lifetime mark of 1:553 at Balmoral Park on Illinois Super Night. The colt is owned by Michael Polansky, is trained by Tom Harmer, and was bred by H. Phil Pearce. He earned almost $160,000 as a 3-year-old.
A national season’s leading 3-year-old pacing filly, Brianna Joy, was named the best in that division on Saturday evening. Raced on the front end by regular pilot Eric Ledford, the duo wired the field in the Illinois State Fair Colt Stakes Final this past August, in 1:493, and thus became the fastest pacing female in North America in 2005. She made 16 starts for trainer Seldon Ledford, won 12 of those, finished second twice, and earned over $266,000 last year. The-sired speedball, from the mare Almahurst Bally, she by Dragon’s Lair, is owned by James Jesk and Ledford Racing, Inc., and was bred by Freedom Hill Farms.
eam Hutch ventured outside the Prairie State to do battle with the likes of, , and in 2005, but the highlight of his 3-year-old campaign was capturing the Illinois Colt Stakes Pace Final, in 1:502, at Springfield. His zest for competition earned him the title of 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year in the Land of Lincoln. Earning over $327,000 in 19 starts last year, the gelding tripped the timer first nine times for owners “Hutch” and Joy Hutchison. He was trained by Homer Hochstetler and was bred by the owners.
Cottonwood Farm’swas named as the Pacing Stallion of the Year in Illinois; was again named the Trotting Stallion of the Year for Phillip and Robert Rietveld and Elva Schrock; Jim and Donna Crebs’ Fox Valley Redhot was named the Pacing Broodmare of the Year; and trotting broodmare honors went to Connie Hochstetler’s Quillo.
by Timothy M. Jones, USTA Web Newsroom correspondent
ourtesy of the USTA