USHWA names Tetrick top driver, Burke top trainer

07:08 AM 24 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Tim Tetrick, harness racing Ron Burke, harness racing
Tim Tetrick named USHWA's Driver of the Year in 2013
Ron Burke is named Trainer of the Year in 2013

Harrisburg, PA --- Tim Tetrick and Ron Burke both need to make room for another award.

For the second consecutive year, Tetrick was named harness racing's best driver while Burke nabbed the honor as top  trainer for the second time in three seasons.

Results for the awards, voted upon by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), were announced Monday.

A 32-year-old Illinois native, Tetrick has been named Driver of the Year four times.

This season, Tetrick will lead all North American drivers in purses for the seventh consecutive year, with $16.1 million, and finish among the leaders in wins, with 582. Only Billy Haughton won more consecutive earnings titles, with eight straight from 1952-59.

Tetrick was the regular driver of Dan Patch Award winners Captaintreacherous, I Luv The Nitelife and Market Share. He teamed with Captaintreacherous, who was named the sport's best 3-year-old male pacer, for wins that included the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown.

I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the top 3-year-old filly pacer, captured the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge and Lynch Memorial while Market Share, voted best older male trotter, and Tetrick partnered to win the Maple Leaf Trot and Breeders Crown.

Other top wins for Tetrick included the Canadian Pacing Derby with older male pacer A Rocknroll Dance and the Roses Are Red Stakes with older female pacer Anndrovette.

Tetrick, who has suffered from a degenerative hip condition since childhood, had replacement surgery on his left hip last week and expects to be sidelined until early February. He had surgery on his right hip in 2008.

"What a great honor this is." Tetrick said. "This is the fourth time for me and each time it is special to be recognized by the industry for doing something I love."

Tetrick said he is hoping to be back racing by around the Super Bowl in February.

"I am walking now without a cane and things seem to be going better." Tetrick explained. "I guess I am in better shape than the first surgery. I just hope to be sound again and not have any more pain."

Burke followed his record-setting 2012 season by smashing his own records again in 2013.

The 44-year-old western Pennsylvania native became the first harness racing trainer in history to surpass $20 million in purses in a single year, entering Monday with $22 million. He also became the first trainer with 1,000 wins in a season, heading into today with 1,084 victories.

Since taking the lead role in the Burke Stable from his father, Mickey, in 2009, Burke has led all trainers in North America in both wins and earnings every year. Mickey Burke was Trainer of the Year in 2006.

Burke's top horse in 2013 was Dan Patch Award-winning older male pacer Foiled Again, who at the age of 9 became the oldest horse to win a Breeders Crown and also became the richest Standardbred in North American history, with $6 million in career purses.

Foiled Again won 11 of 29 races this year and earned $1.40 million, breaking his own record for oldest horse to have a million-dollar season. His wins included the Breeders Crown, TVG Free For All Series Championship and the Ben Franklin Pace.

Burke's stable also included Governor's Cup winner JK Endofanera, Milton winner Rocklamation, Monument Circle winner Dedi's Dragon, Maxie Lee Memorial winner Wishing Stone, Quillen Memorial winner Clear Vision, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champions Charisma Hanover and Southwind Silence.

"This is just great news," Burke said from his winter home in Delray Beach, Fl. "We had such a sensational year and Foiled Again was the icing on the cake. We are already looking at having an even better season in 2014. We invested a lot of money in young horses so hopefully we will break the records we set this year."

By Ken Weingartner and Steve Wolf for the United States Harness Wrtiers Association



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