Day At The Track

Top Indiana-Sired Standardbreds in 2019 honored

04:12 AM 21 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Grand Swan, harness racing
Grand Swan was named Indiana 3YO Filly Trotter of the Year in 2019
Lindscott photo

As the Indiana harness racing industry embarks on a new decade, the Indiana Standardbred industry paused to take a look back at the year that was 2019. A night of champions was celebrated as Hoosier horsemen honored the top Indiana-sired harness racing horses in Indianapolis during the Indiana Standardbred Association's annual banquet held in January.

Every year, the Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA) recognizes the year's top pacer, trotter, aged pacer and aged trotter, determined by total earnings in Indiana throughout the year. Two-year-old pacer Odds On Osiris took home the Pacer of the Year award after amassing earnings of $343,895 at Harrah's Hoosier Park.

The colt's record included seven wins in 10 starts, including the Indiana Sire Stake Super Final and the Fox Stake. Bred by Merlie Schwartz, the Rockin Image colt is owned by Odds On Racing, trained by Melanie Wrenn and was driven by Peter Wrenn. The Odds On Racing crew also took home the Indiana-Sired Two Year Old Colt Pace Championship for the horse.

Glorious Nite was named the Aged Pacer of the Year after earning $74,397 at Harrah's Hoosier Park in 2019 in 20 starts and nine wins. The 4-year-old Always A Virgin mare was bred and owned by Phyllis Grozich and Paula Kind and trained by Charles Morgan.

Grand Swan earned the Indiana Sire Stakes Three Year Old Filly Trot Divisional Championship, the Indiana-Sired Three Year Old Filly Trot Championship and the Trotter of the Year title after earning $411,232 in 2019 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. The Swan For All filly had 15 starts with ten wins during the year for trainer/driver LeWayne Miller. Bred by Larry Miller, the filly is owned in partnership with Grand Swan Racing, Go Fast Stable and Never 2 Late Stable.

The Jailhouse Jesse gelding Bridge To Jesse's repeated as the Indiana Sire Stakes Super Finals and Divisional Champion in the Aged Stallion/Gelding Trot, which netted him the Aged Trotter of the Year Award. After a season where Bridge To Jesse's had seven wins in 22 starts, he earned $131,650 for owners William C. DeLong, William P. DeLong, Roger Welch and Ray DeLong. He was bred by Michael and Randy Wilt and trained by Roger Welch.

Divisional Champions for the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit were announced for the horses who earned the most points up until the Indiana State Fair in August. The Indiana Sired Fair Circuit is the racing circuit for Indiana-sired and -bred two and three year olds throughout the summer. During that time, a total of $1,628,250 was awarded in purse money, including eight $20,000 championship races during the Indiana State Fair.

The emotional portion of the banquet was the honoring of the four new inductees into the Indiana Standardbred Hall of Fame. Harold Barnes and Lynn Wilfong were the human inductees. A pair of Breeders Crown Champions, Freaky Feet Pete and Hannelore Hanover, were also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Inductee and fan favorite Freaky Feet Pete, 2015 Breeders Crown 3 Year Old Pace Champion recently retired to Ivy Lane Farm in Goshen to stand his first season as a stallion in 2020.

"This is more than just our horse, he's everyone's horse," Marty Rheinheimer stated when accepting the Hall of Fame trophy on behalf of Freaky Feet Pete and the Rheinheimer family.

Super mare Hannelore Hanover, two-time Breeders Crown Champion and 2017 Dan Patch Horse of the Year was also inducted. "She's the type of horse that if anyone is lucky enough to get to own, you can appreciate her presence," said a teary Frank Baldachino, owner of Hannelore Hanover.

Victory Hill Farm in LaGrange, Indiana, repeated as the Large Breeder of the Year while Larry E. Miller, Jr., was named Small Breeder of the Year. Victory Hill Farm earned more than $2,891,000 in Indiana alone with more than 91 starters bred by the farm. While Miller only had two starters in 2019, those two earned more than $402,000 racing in Indiana.

With 55 Indiana Sire Stakes starters earning more than $1,741,000, including champions Priceless, Rockin Nola and Odds On Osiris, Rockin Image earned the Indiana Sire Stakes Pacing Sire of the Year. Swan For All was named the Indiana Sire Stakes Trotting Sire of the Year. The repeat winner sired 53 Indiana Sire Stakes starters who earned more than $2,273,000 in earnings. Champion progeny from Swan For All included Grand Swan, Rock Swan, TJ's Top Pick and Swandre The Giant. Both stallions stand at Victory Hill Farm.

"As always, it was a wonderful night celebrating the best of Hoosier Horsepower," says Jessica Barnes, Director of Racing and Breed Development for the IHRC. "Every year is exciting when it comes to horse racing in Indiana, but with the return of the Breeders' Crown to Harrah's Hoosier Park this year, the level of excitement has been elevated as we hope to see more Indiana-sired horses taking the spotlight."

A comprehensive list of the award winners can be found on the ISA website (http://www.indianaharness.com).

From the Indiana Horse Racing Commission

 

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