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HARRISBURG, PA - The remaining winners of Dan Patch Awards in the human and broodmare categories, as voted on by the membership of the United States Harness Writers Association, the sport's leading association, have been announced. The Rising Star and the Breakthrough Awards are for up-and-coming stars in harness racing, in the trainer/driver and non-trainer/driver category respectively; the Good Guy Award is given to someone who thinks and speaks positively about the sport and has a good relationship with the media, while the Unsung Hero is someone performing important tasks for the sport out of the spotlight. In grouping these four awards and their winners for description, the combinations of the foursome falling on male and female lines, as expressed in the title, is interesting. Dawnelle Mock is the Director of Marketing for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. In her three years at the western Pennsylvania track, she has been the spearhead for the MSOA onto multiple digital platforms. She has shepherded several successful charity events; she has reached out to form a partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey team, a project with a large crossover potential; and she has been the MSOA liaison with the operators of The Meadows' racetrack for a number of successful promotions, which contributed to a 6% year-over-year rise in handle at the track. Mock "works well with others," but much of her success has been born of her own initiative and vision. Wanda Polisseni has long campaigned harness horses under the name Purple Haze Stable with success, mostly in her home state of New York. She has founded a humanitarian organization to improve the standard of living - education, human services, civic improvement - in Upstate New York. Long an advocate for the after-track life of racehorses, on both the Standardbred and the Thoroughbred side of racing, Polisseni has now undertaken to buy a farm in New York that will serve as a home and a base for the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, for state-bred horses, that will also be the headquarters of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. If Wanda Polisseni can help, you can count her in; like Mock, she makes things happen. Both Bob McClure, based in Ontario, and Jim King Jr., who races out of the state of Delaware but competes at all the major tracks, come from generations of horsepeople, and as such are not the type to seek the spotlight, though they cooperate with the media when attention comes their way. Attention came to McClure in a big way during 2019, when he won the most prestigious harness race in North America, the Hambletonian, with Forbidden Trade. The victory was the culmination of a decade of continuous growth for the graduate of smaller raceways to the Grand River-Georgian Downs-Western Fair circuit and then right to the "A" class of his province's racing at Woodbine at Mohawk Park, where he ranks among the colony's top drivers. He earned over $5 million (Can.) for the first time in 2019, despite suffering a broken pelvis on April 25 - he was back racing in less than a month, using the cutting-edge technology of a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery. Jim King Jr. has a reputation as a "ladies' man," but only in the best sense. In addition to having in his family two of the sport's best spokespeople - wife Jo Ann Looney-King, a former winner of the Good Guy Award, and the self-proclaimed "harness racing firecracker," awardwinning communicator Heather Vitale - King seems to have a particular touch with the pacing ladies, as evidenced by his two 2019 stars: the free-for-all Shartin N, who won over $2 million in 2018-19, and the precocious two-year-old Lyons Sentinel, North America's biggest earner as a freshman while banking over $800,000. In keeping with his winning the Good Guy award, King will give honest, thoughtful answers to the media's questions, never assuring success, but conscious of the power of the stable that his talents has built. Brittany Farms LLC, breeders of the 2019 "Millionaires' Row" of Bettor's Wish, Manchego, Six Pack, and American History among other top trotters and pacers, was voted as Breeder of the Year by USHWA. Also earning honors was the dam of Manchego, Secret Magic, who was picked as the Trotting Broodmare of the Year. Brittany Farms, owned by Hall of Famer George Segal, was purchased in the late '80s and has been among the leading nurseries in the sport throughout Segal's ownership. In 2019 Brittany ranked third among breeders with offspring winning over $12 million, despite a much lesser number of produce racing than many other establishments. Brittany bred three Breeders Crown winners in 2019 - American History, Manchego, and Reflect With Me - to raise their all-time total to 25 Crown champions, one behind Hanover Shoe Farms. As noted, the Cantab Hall-Chorine Hanover matron Secret Magic earned honors as Trotting Broodmare of the Year, primarily because of the $2 million world champion Manchego, but also contributing was In Secret, a ten-time winner and $200,000 earner against Open company. Brittany bred Secret Magic, raced her, and then kept her as a broodmare until selling her early in 2019 to Hanover. The Art Major-Precious Beauty matron Precocious Beauty has only two foals of racing age - the powerful, Breeders Crown-winning freshman pacing colt star Tall Dark Stranger and the filly Beautyonthebeach, a winner of $540,428 who lowered her mark to 1:49.2 during 2019. These two sharp stakes performers were enough to secure Pacing Broodmare of the Year honors for Precocious Beauty, herself a racetrack winner of $838,004 and with ever-increasing prospects as a broodmare for James Avritt Sr., who bred her, raced her, and continues to own her as a broodmare. This release completes the announcement of the Dan Patch Awards in the human and broodmare categories. The twelve racehorse divisional champions will be announced this Friday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. on The Meadowlands' "pre-races" show, with media releases following (availability to view that announcement will be released shortly). All of the honorees in this release and their connections will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the Banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.net; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708 557 2790 (the 2019 journal is online at the writers' website). From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

MONTICELLO, NY--After a spectacular season in the sulky Jazmin "the Little Flower" Arnold was unanimously named the USHWA Dan Patch Amateur Driver of the Year. She now joins "Hurricane Hannah" Miller as only the second woman to earn this prestigious harness racing honor. In her first full season driving harness horses, to say that the diminutive miss posted excellent numbers would be a gross understatement. Currently with 59 trips to post Jazmin has 23 wins, 10 seconds and five thirds for a spectacular .512 UDR. "I'm tremendously honored with award but it wasn't anything that I seeking when the season started," Jazmin related. "But after success at the Ohio Fairs I was approached by Steve Oldford who was seeking members for the Billings Series and I was quick to jump aboard. And it turned out to be absolutely fabulous for me." A member of a harness racing family and a veteran of the Woodland Run Equine Veterinarian Clinic in Columbus, Ohio as well as an accomplished barrel-racer, she was urged by her boyfriend, Adam Short, to try her hand at driving. And after a few victories she was hooked. After mainly driving around the Ohio county fairs for her dad, Larry Finn, and Adam Short she then met veteran trainer Herman Hagerman whom she admits was instrumental in helping her along in her burgeoning career by offering her a chance to drive some good raceway stock. "He was the easiest man in the world to drive for," she said. "He is low keyed and easy going and he taught me a lot about handling and driving a harness horse." Once she joined the Billings Series she was a terror on the racetrack. She recently has won 12 races against accomplished Billings drivers at Delaware Ohio and at pari-mutuel racetracks in the Midwest. And on November 3rd she had a driving-double winning both Billings trots at Northfield Park. With her talent and dedication she has gained respect from all in the industry and the sky's the limit for Jazmin Arnold. When the members of the United States Harness Writers Association host their annual Convention and Awards Banquet in Orlando in late February "the Little Flower" will be in full bloom when she accepts the 2019 Dan Patch Amateur Driver of the Year Award. by John Manzi, chairman of USTA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Committee    

It's time to start booking rooms for the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) 2020 Dan Patch Awards banquet, which returns for the third consecutive year to the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 23. Room reservations are now available by using the USHWA link to the hotel's reservation page that can be found below. Rosen Shingle Creek played host to the harness racing Dan Patch Award weekend for the first time in 2018 and proved such a popular venue it was unanimously voted to return to the stunning 230-acre property in 2019. That dinner was highlighted by a surprise appearance by Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner Foiled Again that many proclaimed one of the most memorable moments ever in racing. "USHWA is ecstatic to return to Rosen Shingle Creek for the third consecutive year," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This is a first-class venue that our dinner guests and attendees thoroughly enjoy coming to." Located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from the many area attractions, the 1,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that is ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting hotel by Cvent. Rosen Shingle Creek includes four swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, a spa with nine treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer redesigned golf course. There are also 15 restaurant/lounges, including the upscale steakhouse A Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Café Osceola, Tobias Burgers and Brews, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa Tequila and Taquiera, and a 24-hour deli. Dinner ticket prices and menu will be announced later, with a reduced price available for children 12 and under. All attendees will receive a 10-percent discount at all of the above mentioned restaurants, a 10-percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. The Dan Patch Awards banquet annually honors the best and brightest performers, both human and equine, of the previous season. The award winners are selected by USHWA, with all winners announced in advance except for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year, which will be revealed at the conclusion of the banquet. USHWA will hold its annual directors meeting on Saturday, Feb. 22, and its general membership meeting the morning of the banquet. All standard rooms under the USHWA block are $199 nightly (plus applicable taxes). For room reservations, please click here for USHWA's dedicated hotel link, which can also be found at the USHWA website www.ushwa.net. Reservations must be made by Jan. 31, 2020. To inquire about several sponsorship opportunities for the weekend, including live video streaming, the Red Carpet reception and live feed hosted by Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, please contact USHWA President Wiles at swiles@empireresorts.com. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Harness racing is cashing a winning trifecta as the United States Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet will return to Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., for the third year in a row in 2020. The banquet, which honors the best equines and humans in the sport, will take place on Sunday night, Feb. 23. Rosen Shingle Creek played host to the Dan Patch Award weekend for the first time in 2018 and proved such a popular venue the past two years that it was unanimously voted to again return to the stunning 230-acre property. After four-star reviews of the last two dinners, including a surprise appearance by Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award winner Foiled Again this year that many proclaimed one of the most memorable moments ever in racing, it's never too early for sponsorship opportunities that are available. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the weekend, including Dan Patch Presenting Sponsor, live video streaming sponsor, Red Carpet reception and live feed sponsor hosted by Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, please contact USHWA President Shawn Wiles at: swiles@empireresorts.com. "USHWA is ecstatic to return to Rosen Shingle Creek for the third consecutive year," said Wiles. "This is a first-class venue that our dinner quests and attendees thoroughly enjoy coming to." USHWA would again like to thank this year's sponsors, which included: McWicked; Crazy Wow & Crawford Farms; Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association; Southwind Frank Partners; Shartin N connections; AM Bloodstock; Six Pack connections; Harrah's Hoosier Park; Delaware Valley USHWA; Bow River Jewelry; Fennell's Tack Shop; Embroidery Unlimited; Nick Surick, the Hambletonian Society; George Brennan; Hanover Shoe Farms; and the United States Trotting Association. All the award winners will be announced in advance of the dinner except for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year. The names of those three prestigious award winners will remain sealed in envelopes and revealed at the conclusion of the dinner. As for Rosen Shingle Creek, the site is located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from all area attractions. Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that is ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting hotel by Cvent. The property includes an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-redesigned golf course, four swimming pools, a spa that includes nine treatment rooms, two lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball, basketball and a state-of-the-art fitness center. There are 15 restaurant/lounges located on the property, including the upscale steakhouse A Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, and a 24-hour deli. As part of the weekend, USHWA's annual general membership meeting will take place earlier on Sunday morning, with its board of directors meeting the previous afternoon on Saturday, Feb. 22. More details will be made available at the USHWA website and through trade media as they become available throughout the year. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Feb. 28) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Gordon Waterstone & Shawn Wiles, from the United States Harness Writers Association; Casie Coleman, trainer of Horse of the Year McWicked; and Scott Warren, the Race Secreatry at The Meadowlands. Waterstone and Wiles, will join the program this week to give a recap of the 2018 Dan Patch Awards that were held recently in Florida. The pair will discuss with the duo about the amount of preparation and work that goes into putting an event like this on. Coleman, trainer of Horse of the Year McWicked, will discuss her talented horse and what the racing plans are for 2019. McWicked won HOY honors in a landside over Shartin N and Atlanta after also securing Pacer of the Year. Warren, who joined The Meadowlands staff as the race secretary will discuss his illustrious career and his climbing through the ranks to land "the job of a lifetime." Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN.   Michael Carter Social Media and Publicity Coordinator       U.S. Trotting Association | 6130 S. Sunbury Rd. | Westerville, OH 43081-3909   Phone: 877.800.8782 ext. 3215 | 614.224.2291 ext. 3215 | Cell: 601.543.6213   Fax: 844.229.1338 | 614.224.4575   www.ustrotting.com | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube      

The name of the 2018 Horse of the Year will be announced tonight (Feb. 24) at the annual U.S. Harness Racing Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. But even if you aren't among the attendees you will be able to watch the announcement live via USHWA's Facebook page. After a cocktail hour and open bar sponsored by McWicked, the awards ceremony gets underway at 7 p.m. and will be available via the Facebook page, sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow. At approximately 10 p.m., emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will announce the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Horse of the Year trophy, which follows the revealing of the names of the Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year. To access USHWA's Facebook page, please click here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day (Monday, Feb. 25). Post time for the evening is 6 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by the Southwind Frank Partners. Also starring on the Red Carpet will be Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, with the two Heathers broadcasting live on their individual Facebook pages. It's your guarantee to see who's wearing what and what the attendees have to say about the festivities. Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found here. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found here. Ken Weingartner

Want to walk the Red Carpet at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday night, Feb. 24? An expected crowd of more than 300 will have the chance, but so too do those who can't make the trip. For the second year in row, well-known harness racing personalities Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder will be walking the Red Carpet, sponsored by Southwind Frank Partners, and broadcasting live on their Facebook pages. The Facebook Live shows will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m., when the awards dinner will commence. "If you can't make the banquet we are going to bring the party to you!" said Wilder. "And it's going to be some party!" Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/PacinHeather. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Vitale has hosted two popular television shows: Post Time and PA Harness Week. In addition to her local weekly productions, the charismatic personality has covered the sport nationally on espn2, CBSSN and MAV-TV. Vitale loves communicating with Standardbred enthusiasts around the world via social media and her unconventional interviews with a "when in doubt, add glitter" attitude has brought a unique sparkle to the sport and grabbed the attention of new fans. Wilder is currently known for her handling talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. While working as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. She was the 2013 recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award. Sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow, the entire awards dinner, hosted by Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir, will be broadcast live on the USHWA Facebook page and available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

The name of the 2018 Harness Racing Horse of the Year will be announced Sunday night, Feb. 24, at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. But even if you aren't among the attendees you will be able to watch the announcement live via USHWA's Facebook page. After a cocktail hour and open bar sponsored by McWicked, the awards ceremony gets underway at 7 p.m. and will be available via the Facebook page, sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow. At approximately 10 p.m., emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will announce the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Horse of the Year trophy, which follows the revealing of the names of the Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year. To access USHWA's Facebook page, please click here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. Dinner tickets are still available but must be ordered by Monday, Feb. 18, by contacting Judy Wilson via email at zoe8874@aol.com or by phone at (302) 359-3630. Tickets for the filet mignon-featured meal are $175 each. Post time for the evening is 6 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by the Southwind Frank Partners. Also starring on the Red Carpet will be Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, with the two Heathers broadcasting live on their individual Facebook pages. It's your guarantee to see who's wearing what and what the attendees have to say about the festivities. Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found here. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found here. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The United States Harness Writers Association Dan Patch Awards Night has received some great New York Yankees memorabilia and game tickets for the silent auction on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. A very rare Mariano Rivera autographed baseball heads the list. Rivera played 19 seasons for the Yankees and was a 13-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. He was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, becoming the first player ever to be elected unanimously. There is also a baseball autographed by current Yankees star, Dellin Betances. He made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2011, and was an All-Star in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Both baseballs were secured by Joe Lee, who works for the Yankees and is also a very good amateur harness racing driver. There are also two tickets for the New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays game on Monday, June 24. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and the seats are in Section 115/Row 2/Seats 1 and 2, which is on the Yankee/first base side and within 10 rows of the field. The seats are padded and also provide access to the MVP Club lounge which offers complimentary food and beverage as well as entrance to the Audi Club Restaurant and Bar in left field. These tickets are donated by Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Mitchel Skolnick/Bluestone Farms and retail for $500. The Dan Patch Awards will offer its biggest silent auction ever with more than 30 items to bid on. Bidding can also be done over the phone. Items will be on display and available for bidding for those at the dinner on Feb. 24 from 5:30 p.m. to approximately 8:15 p.m. Final call for bidding will be announced just prior to dinner break. Phone bids must be made before 5:30 p.m. the day of the dinner. For more information on the silent auction or to purchase dinner tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Night, visit www.ushwa.net. To submit an advance bid, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

It is last call to make room reservations at the luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., for the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24. If you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best equines and humans in the sport in 2018, room reservations must be made by Friday, Feb. 1. Rooms are nearly sold out so make sure you don't get shut out! The USHWA rate for a standard room at Rosen Shingle Creek is $199 (plus tax). For a direct link to the Rosen Shingle Creek special page to make USHWA room reservations, please click here. Depending on availability, rooms may still be available after Feb. 1, but reservations can only be made by calling the hotel directly at 866-996-6338 and asking for the "Dan Patch Awards rate." Rosen Shingle Creek hosted last year's Dan Patch Awards banquet for the first time and the weekend was such a resounding success it was an easy decision for USHWA to return in 2019. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gaitlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet at 6 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly at 7 p.m. Be on hand when the Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year are announced. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 15 by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at zoe8874@aol.com or 302-359-3630. Remember, all attendees will receive a 10 percent discount at all of the hotel's restaurants, a 10 percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. There is still limited space available in the USHWA journal. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 1. To take out a congratulatory ad please contact Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708-557-2790. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association        

Harrisburg, PA---The Dan Patch Awards dinner is rapidly approaching and along with it, the annual silent auction that is held in conjunction with the evening's festivities. Once again the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and U.S. Harness Writers Association industry outreach will benefit from the proceeds. This year's auction features 31 outstanding items so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone! Lots available include: ITEM (donors) Rosen Shingle Creek Package (Rosen Shingle Creek) Gold Cup & Saucer Package (Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Melissa Keith) Mare & Foal Statue (Judy Wilson) BG's Bunny Wine Bucket, Wine & Wine Stopper (Shawn Wiles, Murray Brown, & Callie Davies-Gooch) Bow River Necklace (Bow River Jewelry) Pedigree Services through Pedigree Matching Website (Norman Hall, Melissa Keith) Cam Fella Print (Carol Hodes) Somebeachsomewhere Print (Michelle Hogan) Champagne Collection # 1 (Barry Lefkowitz, Callie Davies-Gooch) Champagne Collection # 2 (Barry Lefkowitz, Moira Fanning) Yankees Tickets (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Mitchel Skolnick/Bluestone Farms) Autographed Baseball # 1 - signer to be announced (Joe Lee) Autographed Baseball # 2 - signer to be announced (Joe Lee) Ladies' Accessories (fascinator hat, earrings, scarf) (Lilliput Hats, Pat Hillman, Harness Racing Museum, Garnet Barnsdale, Melissa Keith) Foiled Again Collection (Adam Bowden, Callie Davies-Gooch, Moira Fanning, Hoosier Park, The Meadows, The Meadowlands) Cozy Evening Collection (Ann Lufkin, Carol Cramer, Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Museum, Fennell's) Horse Sculpture (Estate of Mary Lou Dondarski, Judy Wilson) Tomasello Wine Basket & Tasting (Tomasello Winery, Tom Cosentino, Barry Lefkowitz) Halters From Trotting Greats - Continentalvictory & Credit Winner (Halters For Hope, Andrew Cohen) Preakness Package (Maryland Jockey Club, Cheri Stambaugh) McWicked Poster (US Trotting Association, Mark Hall) Shartin N Poster (US Trotting Association, Mark Hall) Glenlivit Archive 21 Year Old Scotch (Barry Lefkowitz) Somebeachsomewhere Print & Program (Brent McGrath, Melissa Keith) On The Road Again Print & Program (Northlands Park, Melissa Keith) Ohio Sires Stake Basket (Ohio Sires Stakes, Kim Rinker) Harness Racing Swag Bag (Adriano Sorella, Garnet Barnsdale) Post Time With Mike & Mike Advertising Package (Mike Carter, Mike Bozich) Handicapping Seminar With Garnet Barnsdale (Garnet Barnsdale) Gettin' An Education Print (Kim Rinker) Timothy T at DuQuoin Painting Classical Way at The Red Mile Painting - And perhaps a few late entries! Proceeds from the silent auction go to fund the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Summer Programs as well as the U.S. Harness Writers Association's industry outreach initiatives. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit www.hhyf.org and www.ushwa.org or call Steven Wolf 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor 317-908-0029. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to Feb. 23. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24, is nearing and if you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best harness racing equines and humans in the sport in 2018, room reservations at the luxurious host site of the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando must be made by Saturday, Feb. 2. Rooms are nearly sold out so make sure you don't get shut out! Rosen Shingle Creek hosted last year's Dan Patch Awards banquet for the first time and the weekend was such a resounding success it was an easy decision for USHWA to return in 2019. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gaitlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet at 6 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly at 7 p.m. Be on hand when the Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year are announced. The USHWA rate for a standard room at Rosen Shingle Creek is $199 (plus tax). For a direct link to the Rosen Shingle Creek special page to make USHWA room reservations, please click here. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 15 by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at zoe8874@aol.com or 302-359-3630. Remember, all attendees will receive a 10-percent discount at all of the hotel's restaurants, a 10-percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. There is still limited space available in the USHWA journal. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 1. To take out a congratulatory ad please contact Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708-557-2790. U.S. Harness Writers Association

Dave Briggs and Bob "Hollywood" Heyden were named the winners of the 2018 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism while Chris Gooden and Michael Burns were named recipients of the George Smallsreed Awards for photography and Woodbine Entertainment Group was selected the winner of the Sam McKee Award for broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Tuesday. The winners will be recognized at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the awards by providing banquet tickets for the winners. Briggs won in the feature writing category for his two-part series "Inside the Mind of Jimmy Takter" that appeared in the Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 editions of Harness Racing Update. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. With the win, Briggs extended his record for Hervey honors to 12, with eight of the trophies for feature writing. Heyden won in the news/commentary category for his essay "Requiem for Sam McKee," which appeared in the March 9 edition of Harness Racing Update. To read the piece, click here. The honor was Heyden's first in the journalism category; he was recognized previously, with McKee, in the broadcast division. Honorable mention in the feature writing category went to Jessica Hallett for her story "Stronger Together: Florida horsemen work together to bring a friend to a survivor," which recounted the efforts of horsemen to find a therapy dog for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kayla Schaefer. The story appeared in the June issue of Hoof Beats magazine. Honorable mention in the news/commentary category went to Derick Giwner for his column "Is the Standardbred horse shortage real?" that appeared in the June 21 edition of DRF Harness Weekend and to Briggs for his coverage of the Hambletonian Stakes in the Aug. 6 edition of Harness Racing Update. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of past Hervey winner Brad Schmaltz, freelance writer Lou Monaco, and former Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the Smallsreed competition, Gooden won in the race action category for his photograph "Blizzard," which appeared online on March 14 on Australia's National Trotguide website. Gooden is a two-time Smallsreed winner. Burns won in the feature category for his photograph of pacers behind the starting gate that appeared on Oct. 18 on the Woodbine Mohawk Park website. Burns also is a two-time Smallsreed recipient. Honorable mention in the action category went to Clive Cohen's racing silhouette photograph that appeared on March 23 on the Woodbine Facebook and Instagram pages and to Ryan Thompson's Hawthorne triple-dead-heat photograph that appeared on the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association's website on Jan. 11, 2018. Honorable mention in the feature category went to Brad Conrad's snowy post parade photograph that appeared in the January 2018 issue of Hoof Beats and to Gooden's "Ice Crystals" that appeared on Nov. 20 on the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association's Facebook page. Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe. In the McKee competition, Woodbine Entertainment Group was honored for its story on 3-year-old pacer Lather Up, which appeared as part of the June 16 North America Cup coverage on TSN. The story was written and produced by Phil McSween for the NA Cup special produced by Kris Platts. It was narrated by Paul Salvalaggio and edited by Jason Vanderzee. The camera operators were David Syrie and Gage Fletcher. The win gave WEG its third award in the broadcast division. To watch the story, click here. Honorable mention went to CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Aug. 4 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations, produced by Peter Lasser and featuring broadcasters Gary Seibel, Dave Brower, and Greg Blanchard. Entries for the Sam McKee Award were judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster. For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet, visit www.ushwa.org. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - Marcus Melander, "to the manor born" in terms of personal harness racing pedigree, went out in 2018 and made great accomplishments with a small but talented collection of trotters, including the two dominant two-year-old colts, in the process earning the Rising Star Award in voting conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Also honored by USHWA were Order By Stable (Stefan Balazsi) as Breeder of the Year, and two broodmares, trotter Southwind Serena and pacer Lady Ashlee Ann, as their gait's respective Broodmare of the Year. Marcus Melander came from a rich trotting heritage in his native Sweden, with perhaps the best-known of his family being his uncle Stefan Melander, the Hambletonian, Prix d'Amerique, and International Trot winner, and also noted for his photography as "Foto Tarzan." Upon coming to the United States, Marcus worked for Jimmy Takter, as fine an addition to a resume as one could want, and then went out on his own. 2018 was the current peak of what is likely to be many more high points in Marcus's career. His 1-2 punch in the baby trotting colt ranks were Gimpanzee, the undefeated New York Sire Stakes champion who then won his Breeders Crown and divisional honors, and Green Manalishi S, second in the Crown and like his stablemate a winner of over $500,000 in his freshman campaign. (Other members in Melander's 2019 sophomore arsenal may be Demon On The Hill, who showed great potential, mostly in Pennsylvania, and Greenshoe, a $330,000 yearling who showed promise in a brief freshman campaign.) It's not often that anybody wins a $1,000,000 race, especially a 26-year-old sending a horse out for the first time, but that's just what Melander did, getting expatriate Cruzado Dela Noche from uncle Stefan before the International Trot and then beating a group of the world's elite trotters. In another big FFA win, Crazy Wow, also recently added to the barn, turned in a 31-1 upset in the Maple Leaf Trot Final. STEFAN BALAZSI'S ORDER BY STABLE IS BREEDER OF THE YEAR Named as Breeder of the Year was the Order By Stable of Stefan Balazsi, which started in Sweden but now is one of the emerging major players on the North American breeding scene. The breeding operation produced only 30 starters "on this side" during 2018, but still ranked twelfth in terms of money won, with Order By's offspring earning $2.4 million in Canada and the U.S.. Hambletonian-winning, million-dollar earning sophomore filly Atlanta, her division's champion, certainly was the cream of the crop of Order By's produce in 2018. Not too far behind, though, was Gimpanzee, mentioned above in connection with trainer Marcus Melander, who also was a divisional champion and accounted for almost $600,000 in earnings himself. LADY ASHLEE ANN, SOUTHWIND SERENA PICKED AS TOP BROODMARES The winning broodmares shared producing a three-year-old colt who when at his best delivered blistering speed that left most of his generation behind. Lady Ashlee Ann, a daughter of Camtastic owned by Winbak Farms for more than twenty years, was the dam of pacer Courtly Choice, a son of Art Major who sped to a 1:47.1 record, emerged victorious in the Empire Breeders Classic Final, Meadowlands Pace and a thrilling Little Brown Jug, and earned over $900,000. Lady Ashlee Ann was declared a "walkover winner" by USHWA's Breeders / Broodmares Committee, so outstanding did they see the merit of her and her son. On the trotting side, Southwind Serena, a Varenne mare owned by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc., was recognized because of the exploits of trotter Tactical Landing. This Muscle Hill colt, a full brother to the mercurial distaff Mission Brief, had been in the spotlight since his sale for $800,000 as a yearling, second-highest price ever, and for the better part of the next two years looked like a questionable investment. But trainer Jimmy Takter (Stefan Melander's earlier mentor) exhibited tremendous developmental patience, and entering the Hambletonian with five races lifetime and $14,000 on his card, the colt showed he "belonged" by winning his elimination and finishing third in the final. This was the igniting of a late-season surge than saw him take a mark of 1:50.2 at Lexington, sweep his Breeders Crown races, and then defeat older horses handily in the TVG Championship - while winning nearly $800,000 after the first Saturday in August. Marcus Melander, Order By Stable, Lady Ashlee Ann, Southwind Serena and their connections will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - Aaron Merriman, the first driver to win over 1000 races in two consecutive years and set to post the second-highest one-season victory total in North American history, has been selected as Driver of the Year in a vote among members of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading media group. Merriman is only 40 years old, but he is already a "veteran" of 20+ years of the sulky wars, learning from his father Lanny, mostly at Northfield Park near Cleveland. He had 182 winners in 2000, his first year of full-time exposure, but he has been gaining with every step, with 10,857 victories in the 21st century and 6926 visits to Victory Lane in the first nine years of the this decade. Merriman will post the second-highest win total for a driver in harness racing history, behind only Tim Tetrick's standard of 1189 in 2007; Aaron was at 1118 after Wednesday's racing. This total eclipses his personal best of 1093, taken last year, and this year he has reached another important milestone with his mounts earning over $10.3 million - his first eight-figure season. And the level of competition Aaron faces at the main terminals of his endless miles on the road is very high - at Northfield, he consistently races against Ron Wrenn Jr., who was the last person to dethrone him for the national title (2014, by a 847-841 count), and at The Meadows near Pittsburgh he competes against Dave Palone, the winningest driver of all-time (18,640 and counting), and the leading pilot at The Meadows since shortly after high-wheeled sulkies went out of fashion, so it seems. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The United States Harness Writers Association announced today that three outstanding indiviuals in the sport of harness racing will be honored with Dan Patch Awards. Michelle Crawford was voted the "Good Guy" award, journalist Ray Cotolo the Breakthrough Award and photographer Chris Gooden the Unsung Hero Award. Michelle Crawford may not keep quite as unremitting a schedule as Merriman, but she comes very close. An unbridled enthusiastic voice for harness racing, Michelle is foremost the co-operator with her husband Al of Crawford Farms, a midstate New York breeding facility, and his racing component Crawford Farms Racing, always looking to acquire the next big star and improve the overall quality of horses associated with Crawford. One giant step towards that goal in 2018 found Michelle in the winners circle of the sport’s biggest race, the Hambletonian, as a partner on the filly Atlanta, who upended the boys in the classic race for three-year-old trotters and then went on to a million-dollar season, and now looms as potentially a great broodmare. Crawford Racing also is co-owner of Homicide Hunter, whose 1:48.4 mile at Lexington earned him “World’s Fastest Trotter” honors. Michelle is aware of the “bigger picture” in harness racing, reflected in her serving as vice-president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, and especially as a board member of the newly-formed Standardbred Transition Alliance, where she will undoubtedly put into practice on a continental level the well-established programs to take care of former racing and breeding stock that she has established at Crawford. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her one of the more positive forces – a real Good “Guy” -- for the sport. Two other USHWA honorees serve the sport on a communications level, with one of them involved in the chronicling of the sport half his life – and he’s only 19! Ray Cotolo, winner of the Breakthrough Award as an up-and-comer on the non-training-driving side, started accompanying his journalist father Frank to the major races, and swiftly picked up the necessary knowledge to combine with his natural communications skills to become a source of knowledge for the industry and fans in several areas: a podcast called North American Harness Update, a pioneer (2012) project which went “on the road” for the first time in 2018; freelance work, mainly writing, for such important entities as the Hambletonian Society, The Meadowlands, Standardbred Canada, the Woodbine Entertainment Group, and the Red Mile; and as a budding announcer. And Ray is doing all this while enrolled at Elizabethtown (PA) College, as a communications major benefitting from the Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund of the late on-track television pioneer. Chris Gooden works as the photographer for the racing at The Meadows racetrack, in addition to “regular” jobs his business picks up in his southwestern Pennsylvania area. But what is “Unsung” – and remarkable – about Gooden is the amount of work he does gratis, of his own volition, to keep The Meadows at the forefront of the new forms of “social” communications media (and beyond). Facebook coverage of live racing? Check. Including “live-from-the-bike” camera photography? Double check. Keeping up a high profile on Twitter? Check. And there’s one above and beyond the call of duty. When illness hampered a local horseman’s finances a few months ago, Gooden posted a Facebook notice that he was selling a special photo of Foiled Again – the Bergstein/Proximity winner, and based at Gooden’s “home track” of The Meadows – and would donate the money minus shipping to the beleaguered family. And over $1500 has been raised so far. No fanfare, just results -- that’s why Chris Gooden is an Unsung Hero. Crawford, Cotolo, and Gooden will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

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