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In her first drive after recently receiving the National Amateur Driver of the Year Award in south Florida "Hurricane Hannah" Miller was back in the winner's circle again after copping a division of the harness racing NAADA Trotting Series with Warrawee Preferred at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon (March 10). Ms. Miller, the first woman to be named Amateur Driver of the Year, received her award at the national Dan Patch Awards Banquet held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on March 6, and she seems to be picking up where she left off last year when the talented miss reined 32 winners. In a second split, Alan Schwartz with Bad I Am, and Dave Yarock up behind Mr. Invincible, finished simultaneously to score the first dead-heat victory ever recorded in recent amateur racing history. Both divisions were contested on a rainy afternoon over a race track rated 'good', and both competitive splits were decided by the photo finish camera. In her division Miller used a second over trip with Warrawee Preferred to wear down the favorite and pace-setter Nautilus De Vie (Dave Yarock) in the deep stretch to score a head victory in a 2:01.3 clocking despite racing with an unhooked check. "It (his overcheck) must have come unhooked somewhere in the mile and although he was running in on the turns he kept at his work and we overtook Dave's (Yarock) trotter in the final strides to win it," Miller said of Warrawee Preferred. Rev Up The Spice (Bob Kenny) and Bloomfieldcantifly (Monica Banca) finished third and fourth respectively and both were in the win photo. Owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger, Warrawee Preferred paid $9.20 for win.  The second split was a barn burner and it took the nudges five minutes to declare the race a dead-heat. The third place finisher, Just Like Lloyd (Bob Kenney) finished third a neck behind the winners and fourth place went to The B Street Fan (Matt Zuccarello) a short length in the rears in the 2:03.2 trotted mile. In that contest Dave Yarock and Mr. Invincible grabbed the race track when the gate sprung and parked Bad I Am (Alan Schwartz) to the quarter before letting them take command. "I was going to let Dave retake but since Bob Hechkoff (Alternat Thursdays) was also parked it never happened, " Schwartz explained. "But with me on the engine and Hechkoff parked it allowed Dave's horse to have a perfect covered trip." When the field trotted into the final turn Alternat Thursday was still third on the limb and when they swung into the stretch and Hechkoff's charge faded Yarock aimed his trotter up the passing lane and he and Bad I Am finished simultaneously on the wire. Bob Kenney and Just Like Lloyd were struggling for racing room and they finished just a neck behind the top two. B Street Fan was in the picture also, but a short length back in fourth place. Bad I Am, owned by Alan Schwartz and trained by Raheim Strong paid $5.10 for win. Mr. Invincible, owned and trained by Jimmy Doherty, Jr. paid $7.60. The NADDA Series continues at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, March 17. John Manzi for NAADA        

If Clyde Francis got a little teary eyed during Sunday night's harness racing Dan Patch Awards banquet, it was understandable. It also was not unexpected. Francis, who celebrated his 59th birthday Saturday, on Sunday watched as Wiggle It Jiggleit was honored as harness racing's 2015 Horse of the Year during the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six hotel. Wiggle It Jiggleit, trained by Francis for owner and longtime friend George Teague Jr., won 22 of 26 races last season and earned $2.18 million in purses. "With him, it doesn't take much for me to get emotional about it," Francis said. "I'll go back and look at races, I'll look at them over and over again, and I get teary eyed. It's just a sentimental thing. "I'm around him every day. He's like a pet. Everybody doesn't get to enjoy a horse like him every day. I'm just lucky enough to be around one like him. I never thought I'd be. Just to be affiliated with a horse like him is great." Wiggle It Jiggleit's Horse of the Year Award topped the night, but there were numerous other horses --- not to mention horsemen and horsewomen --- recognized during the evening's festivities. Other horses honored were trotters Pinkman (Trotter of the Year and best 3-year-old male), Southwind Frank (2-year-old male), Broadway Donna (2-year-old female), Mission Brief (3-year-old female), JL Cruze (older male) and Bee A Magician (older female) and pacers Boston Red Rocks (2-year-old male), Pure Country (2-year-old female), Divine Caroline (3-year-old female), State Treasurer (older male) and Venus Delight (older female). Francis has worked with Teague for nearly two decades. Teague co-owned and trained 2004 Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue, and while Francis was somewhat involved with Rainbow Blue it was nothing like his connection with Wiggle It Jiggleit. Francis liked Wiggle It Jiggleit from his earliest days and Teague decided it was time for Francis to get more recognition and named him the trainer for the horse. "With Rainbow Blue, I was around for a little bit but not as much hands on as with (Wiggle It Jiggleit)," Francis said. "With him, I was hands on from day one; from the time we started breaking him. Me and Mike (caretaker Mike Taylor) had him on our side of the barn and we were the only ones to fool with him. It's been a fun ride." It's been a ride that has seen Francis become better known throughout the harness racing industry, even though he was previously recognized by many trainers and caretakers in racetrack paddocks on the East Coast through his association with the Teague Stable. "Now, I'm more so known worldwide in the horse industry as the trainer of Wiggle It Jiggleit," Francis said. "That's a great feeling. It's great to go through the paddock and have all eyes on you. "You're not going to find a better person than George. He would do anything for anybody in the world. He doesn't even have to know you for him to help. He just likes to help people. I can't praise him enough." Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is getting ready for a return to action this season, also received 2015 Dan Patch honors as Pacer of the Year and best 3-year-old male pacer. His victories included the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug, Battle of the Brandywine, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Carl Milstein Memorial, Hap Hansen Progress Pace, and Matron Stakes. He won the Little Brown Jug in a memorable stretch duel with Lost For Words, rallying in deep stretch after racing on the outside for much of the mile to get to the wire first by a nose. "The Jug, I don't know if you'll ever see another horserace like that again," Francis said. "I look at that race as one of the greatest races I've ever seen a horse go. "Even the races he lost, I was never disappointed in him. He's one of those horses that gave you what he's got every time he hit the track. You could never get down on him." Team Teague's celebrating went beyond Wiggle It Jiggleit's Horse of the Year honor. Teague was recognized as the 2015 Owner of the Year, his second such trophy in his career; 25-year-old Montrell Teague, who drove Wiggle It Jiggleit in all his races, was recognized as the Rising Star; and Taylor was honored as Caretaker of the Year. Teague's previous Owner of the Year honor was in 2007. "What a fun year it was to have such a great horse," Teague said, referring to Wiggle It Jiggleit. "Words can't explain it. When you've got the mom and you've got the dad and you wind up with one like this, and you don't expect it, it's definitely an extra bonus." Montrell Teague won 160 races last year and set a career high with $3.71 million in purses. In addition to driving Wiggle It Jiggleit, he piloted Ohio Sire Stakes champion Miss Me Yet and Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund winners Apple Bottom Jeans and Remember Me VK. "It's been a very fun ride, and to be honored with such a great award adds to it," he said. "Dad always said greatness comes with opportunity and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to race one of the greatest horses to ever hit the track. Wiggle It Jiggleit has given me and my family enough thrills to last a lifetime." Jimmy Takter received his fifth trophy --- and second in a row --- for Trainer of the Year. Takter trained Dan Patch Award-winners Pinkman and Pure Country and set a record by winning six Breeders Crown races in 2015. Other top horses for Takter last year included Crown champs Wild Honey, All The Time, Always B Miki, Creatine, and The Bank. "It's nice; we had a fantastic year," Takter said. "I had a great group of horses and I have a great group of people that participate with us. It's not just a one-man show." David Miller was recognized as Driver of the Year. He won a record five Breeders Crown races last year and was the regular driver of Dan Patch Award-winners Divine Caroline and Broadway Donna. He also had stakes wins with State Treasurer and Bee A Magician. Miller also was Driver of the Year in 2003. "It means a lot to me," Miller said. "I think my competition is pretty tough, it's a battle every night, so it's an honor to be named Driver of the Year. It's been an incredible ride. I love it so much." Hanover Shoe Farms President and CEO Jim Simpson received the Stanley Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award for his contributions to harness racing. He also saw Hanover Shoe Farms recognized as Breeder of the Year. Hanover-bred horses earned a record $30.16 million in 2015. "I would like to emphasize that political activism is one of my new chores in this industry, and I can't say I like it," Simpson said. "But it must be done. The more active you can be politically, the better." Other honorees included trainer Joann Looney-King, with the Good Guy Award; Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association Executive Director and multiple racetrack announcer Gabe Prewitt, with the Breakthrough Award; and Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame Director of Development Joanne Young, with the Unsung Hero Award. For a complete list of winners, visit the U.S. Harness Writers Association website here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Delaware harness racing is in the spotlight at the U.S.Harness Writers Association’s (USHWA) annual  “Night of Champions’ Awards-Dinner in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,saluting the outstanding individual and horse standouts,  the Dan Patch Award winners, of the 2015 season. First state horses and horsemen walk off with many of the major honors. World champion Wiggle It Jiggleit is top award winner, named Horse of the Year, as well as Pacer of the Year and 3-Year-Old Pacer of 2015. George Teague is Owner of the Year, his driver Montrell Teague is “Rising Star’ Award winner. JoAnn Looney-King is winner of USHW‘s ‘Good Guy’ Award. World champion JL Cruze is Trotter of the Year.  Last Wednesday, Wiggle It Jiggleit  make his 4-year-old debut in a qualifying race at Dover Downs. He finished third but is set to return this Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a second qualifying race. Qualifying races are just that, it only shows speed, it doesn’t count on its record. This week regular driver Montrell Teague will be back to drive. Early 2016 season Preferred pacer standout, Bushwacker, continues to be the richest horse in the sport earning $74,700 with five wins in nine races. Bushwacker takes off  from this Monday’ $36,000 Preferred pace. Mustang Art, second  in money won with $64,050, leads a select field of six including Doctor Butch, returning Phil Your Boots and fast Atta Boy Dan, in the week’s top pace of the week.    Rocknroll Jewell’s longest win streak at the track ended at six straight on Monday (2/22) finishing second. Filly pacer Westluckycam won her fifth in-a-row on Tuesday (2/16), a win that ended a three-win streak for Mystery Writer. Meanwhile, Northern Rocknroll, recorded her fifth consecutive victory and sixth in her last seven races. The 3-race win streaks by True Blue Hall and Lew’s Maverick, both came to an end on the 2/22 program.   Blazing Bobby Sox racked up his seventh win of the meet (2/29). On Monday he will be tested in the 8th race. Doctor McSwing is still the track’s richest maiden pacers.  the money-making five-year-old is still looking for his first lifetime win  after finished third for the fourth straight race. The well-bred pacer races in a $9,500 Delaware pace on Monday in the 3rd race. While winning $61,936 in his career, Doctor McSwing has yet to win a race in 68 starts. Hi lifetime record shows  68 races,15-times finishing second and 12- times third. Doctor McSwing races again  Monday from post 8 in the 3rd race. Driver Corey Callahan continues en route to his seventh-straight track’s dash win crown; Callahan with 146  wins has a big lead over second-place, Allan Davis with 104 wins. Tony Morgan ranks third with 97 winners, Ross Wolfenden, is fourth with 91 winners. George Dennis completes the Top 5 with 87 wins. Dylan Davis is also nearing a three-peat as the track’s Leading Trainer . Davis has trained 59 winners.  Jim King is second with 41 wins. Wayne Givens is in third place with 35, while Kevin Lare has moved into a fourth place haltering 29 winners with Josh Green and Kevin Lare tied for fifth with 29 wins. PHIL YOUR BOOTS RETURNS IN 36,000 PREFERRED MONDAY Phil Your Boots, a 1.49.1 winner in his last local appearance in mid-December, returns in this week's $36,000 Preferred/Handicap pace on Monday, March 7 at Dover Downs., Mustang Art, Doctor Butch and another returnee, Atta Boy Dan are among the select six starters in the feature race. The program features a standout undercard. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Trainer Andrew Harris has replaced last week's 1:49.2 winner Lucan Hanover, with another stable standout, Lou Frascella's Phil Your Boots teamed with Tim Tetrick, Atta Boy Dan, driven by Andrew McCarthy, also posted a late 2015 sub-1:50 victory for owners Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing, at Dover Downs, negotiating the five-eighth mile oval in 1:49.4. Among the regulars in the week's top race is the fast Max Walton and Greg Papaleo owned Mustang Art handled by Sean Bier. He has three wins already this year good for the second highest purse-earnings thus far in 2016. . Stepping up to the top pace is Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta's had-hitting Adventure Bound reined by Art Stafford Jr. starting from the rail after a big win last week. G.P.Calloway, Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing's Sweet Rock and Allan Davis leave from post 2. Not to be overlooked in this field is Ken Jacobs'$1-million winner, Doctor Butch, steered by Tony Morgan. On the undercard is an $18,500 Male pace. In one of two $17,000 paces, Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt (Tetrick) and Wood, Dittmar, Iaquinta's Soto (Ross Wolfenden square off. Also there are two $16,000 4&5-Year-Old Male paces, three $14,500 paces. Doctor McSwing makes his 69th career start in the 3rd race. The five-year-old pacer owned by Allan Pullman, Barry Glickstein and Eddie Davis, is still looking for his first win ever. He has been second 15 times and third 12 times including his last four races. A winner of nearly $62,000 lifetime, he's a longshot from post 8 this time. Monday through Thursday racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are dark days. At Dover Downs, there is no charge for parking and admission. Harness and thoroughbred simulcasts, daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad    

Harness racing's richest horse with $7.33 million in career earnings, 12-year-old Foiled Again is preparing for another season of going against the top older pacers in North America. He will qualify for the first time this year on Friday, at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with an eye toward competing in the upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The Levy Series begins March 19. Foiled Again won the series championship in 2009 and 2010. "He could not have trained back better," trainer Ron Burke said. "He really seems good. I cannot wait. He seems sharp. I'm just excited to get it going. Every time he steps on the track it's history, so it's cool." Foiled Again received Dan Patch Awards for best older male pacer in 2013, 2012, and 2011, when he also was named Pacer of the Year. The only older male pacers to receive three consecutive Dan Patch Awards are Foiled Again and Rambling Willie (1975-77). Foiled Again also received O'Brien Awards for best older male pacer in 2013 and 2011. Last year, Foiled Again won three of 22 races and earned $436,207. It was his lowest earnings total since 2008, but still ranked ninth among all older pacers in North America despite missing nearly seven weeks following minor throat surgery. He was the only pacer older than age 6 among the top 10 money-winners in 2015. His seasonal earnings also were a record for any 11-year-old pacer in history. Foiled Again's wins last season came in the Battle of Lake Erie, a triumph that lifted him to above $7 million in lifetime purses, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, and an elimination for the Breeders Crown. He finished second in the Bobby Quillen Memorial and third in each the William R. Haughton Memorial, TVG Free For All Pacing Championship, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe Stakes. The gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and JJK Stables. "He really is amazing," Burke said. "He's 12 years old, and maybe he's not the best aged free-for-aller, but he's in the top 10 easily. Last year he missed a big part of his normal schedule with throat surgery. I look for him to have a little bit of a bounce back year this year." Foiled Again is among a dozen horses from the Burke Stable qualifying on Friday at the Meadowlands. The others are pacers Always At My Place, Bettor's Edge, Request For Parole, Sassa Hanover, Skippin By, Somewhere In L A, Southinkucandance, Take It Back Terry, and Western Bayama, plus trotters DW's NY Yank and Luminosity. Bettor's Edge, a 7-year-old, has earned $1.79 million in his career, and 7-year-old Take It Back Terry finished second in last year's Levy final on his way to $471,110 in purses. Stakes-winner Somewhere In L A is a newcomer to the stable. Sassa Hanover, a 4-year-old mare, also has $1 million in lifetime purses. "I think we're going to go four or five horses to the Levy," Burke said. "We're just trying to decide which ones. Take It Back Terry for sure is going. He couldn't have had a better year. By the end of the year he was just out of his mind. We're going to give him a shot this year to race a little more in the bigger races and see if he can compete with the true top ones. Somewhere In L A trained back very well. Hopefully he gives us another quality, upper level horse. "Skippin By and Request For Parole look like they're going to be top mares this year. Luminosity and DW's NY Yank are both a step below the true free-for-all trotters, but they can race in those races and get checks. I'm excited. We've got a lot of good horses getting ready to come back. This will be the first wave and then the 3-year-olds will come back and before you know it the 2-year-olds will be ready to go." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications A division of the U.S. Trotting Association

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - A week-long trip for two to the Vincent Delaney Memorial festival in Dublin, Ireland, headlines the 2016 Dan Patch Awards Night live/silent auction at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 on Sunday, March 6. Tickets are sold out for this gala event held by the United States Harness Writers Association. The Dan Patch Awards honor the top pacers and trotters in racing and the leading horsemen and women in the industry from the 2015 season. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and if you cannot make it to the dinner, you can still call-in or text bids on the auction items. The lone live auction item is the trip for two to Ireland. The semi-flexible travel dates for the event are Wednesday, August 10 (right after the Hambletonian weekend) and returning Tuesday, August 16. Included is $1,500 in airfare cash, six night hotel stay at the Hilton, Dublin, all transportation for events, a trip to Oakwood Stud Farm & Training Center with lunch at a local pub, carriage ride through downtown Dublin with lunch in Temple Bar, two tickets to the August 12th kickoff gala dinner and VIP tent access both August 13th and 14th for the Vincent Delaney Memorial race cards. For more information visit The silent auction features the following items: Philadelphia Phillies Ticket Package with 2 tickets in the Diamond Club (best seats in the park!) and a parking pass for the following games: May 3 - Phillies Vs. Cincinnati, June 17 - Phillies Vs. Arizona, July 15 - Phillies vs. Mets plus three $50 VISA gift cards for food and souvenirs.  CR Kay Suzie Collection with winning blanket from her 1995 victory in the Merrie Annabelle at The Meadowlands and Rod Allen's whip from her 1994 Freehold Raceway victory in which she tied the world record in 1:59. A Bow River "for men" jewelry package including a gold & silver men's ring, money clip and cuff links all with sulky design. Two-night stay and dinner for two at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. A rare watercolor harness racing painting by Cortland Butterfield (1904-1977) well known as a painter of figure, genre, still life and marine works. The painting features a driving finish of Lila Belle Rhythm at Liberty Bell Park. Dimensions are 36 x 18. Lovely Polish crystal dish with exclusive LV Harkness sand-carved harness racing design. Size is 10 x 6 x 4. Baseball/Harness Racing Memorabilia collection featuring an official 1998 American League Baseball/Mickey Mantle edition signed by 13 Hall of Famers: John Campbell, Robert Heyden, Wally Hennessy, Charles Keller III, Michel Lachance, Bob Marks, Sam McKee, David Miller, Ray Remmen, James Simpson, Chuck Sylvester, Jimmy Takter. Also in the collection is a Phillies warm up jacket signed by Dan Plesac (former pitcher for the Phillies) and a first edition Mickey Mantle comic book. Framed 2004 Wanda Morgan print of three horse heads. Print is numbered 6/400. Dimensions are 26.5 x 21. Large Italian flag signed by the connections of the international trotter Varenne, making it a one-of-a-kind collector's item. Hoosier Park Gift Basket stuffed full of goodies. "Nostalgic" Harness Racing Memorabilia including programs/tip sheets from Roosevelt Raceway, Garden State Park, Lewiston, Green Mountain, Foxboro, Fox Stake trivet, a Garden State Park Groundbreaking plaque, Sportsman's Park Leroy Neiman promotional poster, a copy of Chicago's Horse Racing Venues by Kimberly Rinker, Red Mile retired logo items and a PA Harness backpack. In order to bid on these items via phone or texting, please contact Steve Wolf, email at, phone: 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor, email at, phone: 317-867-5877. From the United States Harness Writers' Association      

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - The dinner committee of the United States Harness Writers' Association (USHWA) is pleased to announce that the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Dinner, set for Sunday, March 6, 2016 is SOLD OUT! All 350 seats have been purchased for the event that honors the leading horses, horsemen and women from the 2015 harness racing season. The dinner is being held at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. "It is great news that our Dan Patch Awards dinner is sold out," said Chris Tully, president of USHWA. "This dinner is the highlight of the 2015 race season and everyone wants to be here. It is going to be a grand affair!" From the United States Harness Writers' Association  

Goshen, NY - The Dan Patch Horse of the Year trophies will be presented on Sunday, March 6, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tickets for this gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet--Night of Champions, are still available, but the deadline for advertising in the souvenir journal is Wed., Feb. 10.   In addition to equine divisional honors, a host of the industry's biggest and brightest will be feted at the annual awards ceremony, including this year's inductees to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Charles Keller III & Bruce Nickells; and Communicators Hall of Fame, David Carr and Jerry Connors.   The U. S. Harness Writers list of human awards also includes the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner, James Simpson, as well as the Owner, Trainer, Driver, and Breeder of the Year, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy and a host of others, which are listed below and available on the website.   Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are now available can be reserved via telephone or Email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at 302-359-3630 or Email: Steve Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Email:   Savings on hotel rooms can be attained for this event, which is being held at the luxury resort of Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six. A special rate can be reserved by calling 888-421-1442 BEFORE February 11, and mentioning code: DAN PATCH or by clicking this link: The deadline for the Dan Patch Awards journal is Wednesday, February 10. To advertise in the Souvenir Journal, please contact Chris Tully by calling 845.807.7538 or Email: All of this information and applicable advertising forms can be accessed via internet link:   Dan Patch Horse Awards – 2015 Champions   E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of theYear: Wiggle It Jiggleit Trotter of theYear: Pinkman Pacer of theYear: Wiggle It Jiggleit 2-Year-Old Colt Trotter: Southwind Frank 2-Year-Old Filly Trotter: Broadway Donna 3-Year-Old Colt Trotter: Pinkman 3-Year-Old Filly Trotter: Mission Brief Trotting Horse: J L Cruze Trotting Mare: Bee A Magician 2-Year-Old Colt Pacer: Boston Red Rocks 2-Year-Old Filly Pacer: Pure Country 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer: Wiggle It Jiggleit 3-Year-Old Filly Pacer: Divine Caroline Pacing Horse: State Treasurer Pacing Mare: Venus Delight   United States Harness Writers Association – Awards and Honorees United States Harness Writers Association Awards Harness Racing Hall of Fame: Charles Keller III Harness Racing Hall of Fame: Bruce Nickells Communicators Hall of Fame: David Carr Communicators Hall of Fame: Jerry Connors Stan Bergstein–Proximity Award: James W. Simpson Norman Woolworth Owner: George Teague Jr. Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year: Jimmy Takter Driver of the Year: David Miller Breeder of the Year: Hanover Shoe Farms Lew Barasch Breakthrough: Gabe Prewitt Rising Star: Montrell Teague President’s Award: Breana Carsey President’s Award: Michelle & Albert Crawford W. R. Haughton Good Guy: Jo Ann Looney-King USHWAn of the Year: Ellen Taylor Lee Anne Pooler Unsung Hero: Joanne Young January Davies Humanitarian Award: Marvin Chantler Amateur Driver of the Year: Hannah Miller Caretaker of the Year: Mike Taylor Trotting Broodmare of the Year: Margie Seelster Pacing Broodmare of the Year: Mozzi Hanover Hervey Awards - Writing: Feature: Kimberly French; Writing: News & Commentary: Dave Briggs Broadcasting: CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Smallsreed Photography Awards - Feature:  Frances Lund; Racing:  Clive Cohen Grand Circuit – Driver: Yannick Gingras; Trainer: Ron Burke; Owner: Burke Racing US Trotting & US Harness Writers Railbird Recognition Awards - Horse Person: Joe Bellino; Racing Moment: Wiggle It Jiggleit’s Jug US Trotting & US Harness Writers Dash Winning Driver: Aaron Merriman Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service to Youth Award: Callie Davies-Gooch   Chris Tully    

Harness racing's richest pacer of the year, 3-year-old gelding Wiggle It Jiggleit, and fastest pacer of the year, 6-year-old stallion State Treasurer, were among the six pacers named divisional champions in Dan Patch Award voting announced by the U.S. Harness Writers Association on Wednesday. Also receiving Dan Patch Award pacing honors were undefeated 2-year-old female Pure Country, 2-year-old male Boston Red Rocks, 3-year-old female Divine Caroline, and older female Venus Delight. Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be announced live Thursday at approximately 1 p.m. from Monticello Raceway, following the second race. The announcement will be available on Monticello's simulcast, advance deposit wagering sites, or via replay at An email announcement will follow immediately. A total of 136 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned. Wiggle It Jiggleit received 97 percent of the votes in the 3-year-old male pacer division while Pure Country got 91 percent for 2-year-old female pacers. Divine Caroline, State Treasurer, and Venus Delight each received more than 77 percent in their categories and Boston Red Rocks got 60 percent. All six pacers are receiving their first Dan Patch Award honors. Wiggle It Jiggleit won 22 of 26 races this year and finished second on three occasions on his way to $2.18 million in purses. The gelding's victories included the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug, Battle of the Brandywine, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Carl Milstein Memorial, Hap Hansen Progress Pace, and Matron Stakes. In addition, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a half-mile track when he won in 1:49 at Harrington Raceway. His time of 1:48 in winning the Battle of the Brandywine set the world record for a 3-year-old gelding on a five-eighths-mile oval. Wiggle It Jiggleit is owned by George Teague Jr. Inc. and trained by Teague's longtime assistant Clyde Francis. Teague's son, Montrell, drove Wiggle It Jiggleit in all his starts. Three-year-old filly Divine Caroline won five of her final six starts this year --- including the Breeders Crown and Tarport Hap --- and won eight of 22 races overall. She finished among the top three a total of 19 times and earned a division-leading $667,266 for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel. Divine Caroline's remaining wins this season also included divisions of the Glen Garnsey and Bluegrass stakes. State Treasurer topped all older pacers in purses with $865,807. His time of 1:47 in winning the U.S. Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands was this year's fastest mile by a pacer and only one-fifth of a second off the fastest race mile in harness racing history. For the year, State Treasurer won nine of 19 races and hit the board a total of 15 times. His victories also included the Canadian Pacing Derby, Roll With Joe, Dayton Pacing Derby, and Molson Pace. His triumph in the Molson Pace made him the first three-time winner of the event. State Treasurer, trained by Ian Moore, is owned by Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald. Venus Delight was the richest pacing mare of the season, with $603,265 in purses for trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. and owner Bamond Racing. She won eight of 19 starts and finished among the top three on 15 occasions. Her wins included the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, the Milton Stakes, the TVG Free For All Series championship for pacing mares, and the Artiscape. Pure Country was a perfect 10-for-10 this year and led all 2-year-old pacers with $689,968 in earnings. She joins JK She'salady (2014), See You At Peelers (2010) and My Little Dragon (2005) as the only 2-year-old female pacers to win a Dan Patch Award with an undefeated season. Trained by Jimmy Takter for owner Diamond Creek Racing, Pure Country's wins included the Breeders Crown, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship --- in a stakes- and track-record 1:51 at The Meadows --- and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. Boston Red Rocks never finished off the board in nine races this year, winning four times. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers and Governor's Cup. The colt, trained by Steve Elliott, is owned by Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Boston Red Rocks earned $579,205 this year, the top figure for a 2-year-old male pacer. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Boston Red Rocks (82 votes) Rocknroll Hanover---McGibson---McArdle Yearling Price: $50,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Andray Farm Owners: Peter Blood, Rick Berks Trainer: Steve Elliott Drivers: Tim Tetrick, John Campbell Races: 9-4-4-1 Purses: $579,205 Mark: 1:50.3 at Meadowlands Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $413,000 Governor's Cup 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Pure Country (124 votes) Somebeachsomewhere---Western Montana---Western Hanover Yearling Price: Homebred Breeder: Diamond Creek Farm Owner: Diamond Creek Racing Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller Races: 10-10-0-0 Purses: $689,968 Mark: 1:51 at The Meadows Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Wiggle It Jiggleit (132 votes) Mr Wiggles---Mozzi Hanover---Jenna's Beach Boy Sale Price: Private Breeders: James Bernstein, Theresa Bantle, Eric Felter, Vincent Tancredi Owner: George Teague Jr. Inc. Trainer: Clyde Francis Driver: Montrell Teague Races: 26-22-3-0 Purses: $2.18 million Mark: 1:47.4 at Meadowlands Top wins: $706,000 Meadowlands Pace; $677,000 Little Brown Jug; $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine; $500,000 Hempt Memorial 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Divine Caroline (113 votes) Rock N Roll Heaven---Loving Caroline---Art Major Yearling Price: $75,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Diamond Creek Farm Owners: Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, Michael Ouriel Trainer: Joe Holloway Driver: David Miller Races: 22-8-5-6 Purses: $667,266 Mark: 1:49.2 at The Red Mile Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $173,500 Tarport Hap; $117,250 Glen Garnsey division OLDER MALE PACER State Treasurer (108 votes) Real Desire---Ideal Treasure---Western Ideal Yearling Price: $6,500 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Brittany Farms Owners: Sally MacDonald, Paul MacDonald Trainer: Ian Moore Drivers: David Miller, Randy Waples, Chris Christoforou Races: 19-9-1-5 Purses: $865,807 Mark: 1:47 at Meadowlands Top wins: $513,750 Canadian Pacing Derby; $215,400 U.S. Pacing Championship; $150,000 Roll With Joe OLDER FEMALE PACER Venus Delight (105 votes) Bettor's Delight---Venus Killean---Run The Table Sale Price: Private Breeder: Estate of George Hempt Trust Owner: Bamond Racing Trainer: Jeff Bamond Drivers: Jason Bartlett, Tim Tetrick, James MacDonald Races: 19-8-3-4 Purses: $603,265 Mark: 1:49.4 at Vernon Downs Top wins: $261,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker; $225,000 Milton; $200,000 TVG; $194,000 Artiscape From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Bee A Magician, Mission Brief, and Pinkman added to their respective Dan Patch Award totals Tuesday when divisional honors for harness racing trotters were announced by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Mission Brief, a filly, and Pinkman, a gelding, were Dan Patch Award winners last year at age 2 and repeated as honorees for 2015. Five-year-old mare Bee A Magician was previously recognized in 2013, when she was voted harness racing's best 3-year-old female trotter as well as Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year. Joining that trio in also receiving Dan Patch Award divisional honors this year were 2-year-old filly Broadway Donna, 2-year-old colt Southwind Frank, and older male JL Cruze. Divisional honors for pacers will be announced Wednesday, followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday after the second race at Monticello Raceway. The announcement will be available on Monticello's simulcast, advance deposit wagering sites, or via replay at An email announcement will follow immediately. A total of 136 ballots were returned. Each winner received at least 82 percent of the votes in their division. Southwind Frank received 135 votes, with one voter abstaining from voting in the category. Pinkman, trained by Jimmy Takter, is the richest trotter in North America this year, with $1.89 million in purses. He won 11 of 17 races, including the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic, Kentucky Futurity, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, and Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. His time of 1:51 in the Hambletonian set the world record for a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a mile racetrack and his 1:51.3 win in the Beal established the world record for a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval. Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. Pinkman is the second consecutive Takter-trained male trotter to receive Dan Patch Award honors at ages 2 and 3, following Father Patrick in 2013 and 2014. Mission Brief, trained by Ron Burke, won 10 of 14 races this year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $1 million in purses. Her triumphs included the Elegantimage Stakes, Matron Stakes, and the filly division of the Zweig Memorial. She challenged the boys in the Hambletonian, rather than facing the fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks, and won her elimination before finishing second to Pinkman in the same-day final. Her time of 1:50.2 in the Matron Stakes set the world record for a 3-year-old female trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and equaled the fastest mile ever by any 3-year-old trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval. Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. Mission Brief joins Shake It Cerry (2013 and 2014) and Check Me Out (2011 and 2012) as recent trotting fillies to receive Dan Patch Award recognition at ages 2 and 3. Bee A Magician enjoyed multiple successes this year against male rivals. She became the first female trotter to win the Maple Leaf Trot since 2006 and she became the first mare to ever win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and Centaur Trotting Classic. She also knocked off the boys in the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. For the year, Bee A Magician won 10 of 18 races, finished second five times, and earned $980,845 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. Her victories also included the Armbro Flight Stakes for trotting mares. Bee A Magician is the first female trotter since Peace Corps to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages 3 and 5. Peace Corps garnered five consecutive trophies from ages 2 through 6 (1988-92). JL Cruze, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Eric Ell, saw his season cut short by complications from a virus, but before being sidelined won 16 of 21 races and put together a string of three consecutive world-record performances. He became the sport's first trotter to trot a mile in less than 1:50 on a mile-sized track, stopping the timer in 1:49.4 to capture the Graduate Series championship at the Meadowlands. In addition, JL Cruze set the world record of 2:04.2 for the distance of 1-1/8 miles in the Hambletonian Maturity and equaled the world record of 1:51 for a 4-year-old gelding on a five-eighths oval in the Sun Invitational. A relative unknown entering this year, JL Cruze began the season by winning the Super Bowl Series championship in January, followed by the Singer Memorial Series in February, the Shiaway St Pat Series in March, and the Weiss Series in April. He earned $627,456 this season. JL Cruze is owned by Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta. Two-year-old colt Southwind Frank, another trotter from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won 11 of 12 races this year and earned $786,419. His wins included the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, and William Wellwood Memorial. His time of 1:52.2 in a division of the International Stallion Stakes set the world record for a 2-year-old male trotter. Southwind Frank is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables, and J&T Silva Stables. Two-year-old filly Broadway Donna won nine of 10 races this season and earned $531,286 for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms. Her victories included the Jim Doherty Memorial, a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Southwind Frank (135 votes) Muscle Hill---Flawless Lindy---Cantab Hall Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale Breeder: Southwind Farm Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 12-11-0-0 Purses: $786,419 Mark: 1:52.2 at The Red Mile (world record) Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial; $283,480 William Wellwood Memorial   2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Broadway Donna (112 votes) Donato Hanover---Broadway Schooner---Broadway Hall Yearling Price: Homebred Breeder: Fashion Farms Owner: Fashion Farms Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: David Miller Races: 10-9-0-0 Purses: $531,286 Mark: 1:53.3 at Meadowlands Top wins: $389,450 Jim Doherty Memorial; $351,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship; $129,500 Bluegrass Stakes division   3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Pinkman (132 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 Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Brian Sears Races: 17-11-3-1 Purses: $1.89 million Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands (world record) Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $532,000 Canadian Trotting Classic; $527,000 Kentucky Futurity; $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial   3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Mission Brief (118 votes) Muscle Hill---Southwind Serena---Varenne Yearling Price: $150,000 at Lexington Selected Sale Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 14-10-3-0 Purses: $1 million Mark: 1:50.2 at Dover Downs (world record) Top wins: $307,040 Elegantimage; $187,400 Matron; $185,000 Zweig Filly   OLDER MALE TROTTER JL Cruze (118 votes) Crazed---Topcat Hall---Conway Hall Sale Price: $37,000 at 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale Breeders: Joanne Morrison, Glengate Farms Owners: Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., Stephen Iaquinta Trainer: Eric Ell Driver: John Campbell Races: 21-16-2-0 Purses: $627,456 Mark: 1:49.4 at Meadowlands (world record) Top wins: $443,300 Hambletonian Maturity; $250,000 Graduate; $75,000 Sun Invitational\   OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Bee A Magician (119 votes) Kadabra---Beehive---Balanced Image Yearling Price: $90,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: White Birch Farm Owners: Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee Trainer: Richard "Nifty" Norman Drivers: Brian Sears, David Miller Races: 18-10-5-0 Purses: $980,845 Mark: 1:51.1 at Mohawk Top wins: $516,800 Maple Leaf Trot; $220,320 Armbro Flight; $210,000 Centaur Trotting Classic   From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

LUCAN, Ontario . . . Seelster Farms today announced that the harness racing Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winning Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year,  Wheeling N Dealin, is the latest addition to their stallion roster for 2016.   Wheeling N Dealin enjoyed a spectacular freshman season during which time he never tasted defeat in nine starts. He swept the Bridger Series, won the Champlain in a season’s best 1:55, captured the elim and final of the William Wellwood Memorial and concluded the season with a sweep of the Breeders Crown.   He was the overwhelming choice as the best two-year-old trotting colt of the year in Canada and the US winning the O’Brien and Dan Patch Awards.   As a sophomore, Wheeling N Dealin started in the three toughest races for his group, the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic and the Kentucky Futurity. In the first, he finished second in his elimination timed in 1:53.1 and, in the second, he was a close third in his elim and fourth in the final.   Wheeling N Dealin concluded his racing career late this summer at Mohawk, winning his final two starts including a life best 1:54 performance. He retires to the Seelster Farms’ breeding shed with $913,000 in earnings.   In addition to his talent on track, Wheeling N Dealin also possesses a deep pedigree. His sire is the great Cantab Hall, a winner of $1.5 million in his racing career and the sire of such standouts as Father Patrick ($2.6 million), Wild Honey ($1.6 million), Explosive Matter ($1.5 million), etc.   Wheeling N Dealin’s dam is the multiple stakes winner Quick Credit who won more than $553,000 and has also produced Sugar Wheeler ($354,000).   The introductory fee for Wheeling N Dealin is $4,000. For further information, please see or call (519) 227-4294.   2012 Breeder's Crown     2012 Bridger Final     2012 Champlain Stakes     2012 William Wellwood Final  

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has set the schedule of 2015 year-end awards announcements. The six Dan Patch Award trotting winners in their age and gender divisions will lead off with announcements, with the exception of Trotter of the Year, at noon (ET) Tuesday, Dec. 15. Pacers follow the next day, Dec. 16, also at noon. On Thursday, Dec. 17 at approximately 1 p.m. (ET) the announcement of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year will be made via a live announcement from Monticello Raceway following the second race, on its simulcast, advance deposit wagering sites or replay at An email announcement will immediately follow and it is expected that the Associated Press will also carry the news. The following week, award announcements for people in harness racing will follow, with the Proximity Award, along with Owner, Driver and Trainer of the Year to be announced at noon (ET) Monday, Dec. 21. The next day, also at noon, those selected for Rising Star, Breakthrough and Unsung Hero awards will be announced via email. The U.S. Harness Writers Association

Some of the races for divisional honors are done deals at this point. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who has earned more than $2 million; set world records for his class on half and 5/8 tracks; won the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug; and come out on top in 20 of 24 starts that stretch through almost the entire calendar year, will win his division and be voted Horse Of The Year. He has one more start scheduled, in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs on November 29. Pinkman, with wins in the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and Canadian Trotting Classic, will win the Dan Patch for sophomore trotting colts. The gelded son of Explosive Matter has won 11 of 17 starts and earned more than $1.8 million for Jimmy Takter. Pinkman will give the latter consecutive wins in this division. Southwind Frank will top the freshman trotting colts. He won 15 of 17 starts, including the Breeders Crown and the Peter Haughton. He earned almost $800,000 and set a world record of 1:52.2 in a split of the ISS at The Red Mile. That’s almost two seconds slower than his paternal sister Mission Brief went last year, but that’s OK. Speaking of Mission Brief, she’ll win the three-year-old trotting filly division on brilliance alone. The three classic stakes for a sophomore trotting filly are the Oaks, Kentucky Filly Futurity and Breeders Crown. Wild Honey took all of them, and she has a bigger 2015 bankroll than the Muscle Hill Amazon, so on the basis of her resume she should be on equal footing with Mission Brief, at the very least. But life isn’t always fair, and brilliance sometimes trumps a season of stellar accomplishments. Last Thursday’s eye popping world record 1:50.2 win in the Matron by Mission Brief put her over the top. She also finished second in the Hambletonian, and won the Elegantimage, Zweig Filly, and a split of the Bluegrass. The public loves her and she will win the division, regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s Continentalvictory. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in the US and Canada, will be back on the podium after an off year—for her—in 2014. She beat the boys in the Maple Leaf Classic, Charlie Hill, Cutler and Centaur. She also triumphed over the mares in the Armbro Flight. BAM is entered in the TVG Mare Trot on Friday. Regardless of the outcome, she will be hoisting a Dan Patch. Jimmy Takter’s SBSW two-year-old filly, Pure Country, should win a competitive contest for the Dan Patch with the Canadian based Bettor’s Delight filly, L A Delight. The former is a perfect 10 for 10 while Bob McIntosh’s L A Delight has experienced one loss in a dozen starts. Pure Country is almost $157,000 richer. This one came down to the Breeders Crown, which the SBSW filly won handily. L A Delight was not staked to it. Pure Country also won splits of the Bluegrass and ISS at The Red Mile and the Pennsylvania Championship. L A Delight won the Eternal Camnation, Great Lady and Champlain, as well as the OSS Super Final. Figuring out which freshman colt will take home a Dan Patch is much more difficult. If Control The Moment (Well Said), who won the Metro and Nassagaweya, had taken the Breeders Crown he would have ended the discussion, but he didn’t, and he hasn’t come to the States for the Matron or the Governor’s Cup. The Rocknroll colt Boston Red Rocks took the BC, but that’s about it. He is entered in Saturday’s Governor’s Cup. Ron Burke’s Western Ideal colt Big Top Hanover won the Matron, in addition to an ISS split in Lexington. A win on Saturday would make him a strong candidate. If neither Big Top Hanover nor Boston Red Rocks win the Governor’s Cup it may go by default to Control The Moment. If the Donato filly Broadway Donna had won the BC, the division would be hers. She entered her elimination a perfect 9 for 9 with wins in the Doherty, Bluegrass and PA Championship. But she failed to make the final, and is now at the mercy of Jimmy Takter’s Muscle Hill filly, All The Time, who starts from the rail in the upcoming Goldsmith Maid. She won the BC and will have $125,000 more on her card than Donna if she wins on Friday. All The Time has won seven times and she dominated in her recent starts. No sophomore pacing filly got even a single point in this week’s Top Ten Poll. The division will probably be settled in the 1 1/8 mile Tarport Hap at The Meadowlands. Divine Caroline, who starts from the seven for David Miller and Joe Holloway, won the Breeders Crown, Garnsey and a split of the Bluegrass. She’s the richest and fastest filly in that division. A win on Saturday should secure a Dan Patch for her. Ron Burke’s Sassa Hanover, the winner of the Jugette and Adioo Volo, is also entered in that race. Wrangler Magic won the Fan Hanover and Simcoe, and Purrfect Bags took the Lady Maud and Lismore, but both checked out of the division battle early. Also, the Courageous Lady is a week from Friday. The aged trotters are another difficult group in which to crown a leader: There is no Sebastian K this year. Bee A Magician won several of the trotting stakes that generally go to males. Papagayo E took the Yonkers International, while Creatine, who only made a couple of NA starts, won the Breeders Crown. Il Sogno Dream won the Allerage and the Dayton Trotting Derby. Is he the champ? JL Cruze was an early season sensation, winning sixteen times. However, once the four-year-old restricted races ended, he fell apart. His last win was four months ago in the Hambletonian Maturity. None of the TVG Final winners would become prime candidates with a win. No idea. Anndrovette won’t be winning the Dan Patch for aged pacing mares for a fifth consecutive year. At least I don’t think she will. She has only three wins, with the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty being two of them. But the latter was her last win and that was more than three months ago. She scratched out of the BC. Venus Delight, who won the Matchmaker, Artiscape and Milton, should take the division with a win in Friday’s TVG Mare for Tim Tetrick. On the other hand, last year’s three-year-old champ, Color’s A Virgin, has come alive at the right time with wins in the Allerage Mare and Breeders Crown. A win in the TVG for David Miller will secure another Dan Patch for her. The race for the Dan Patch in the older pacing division presents the voters with an interesting dilemma. Throughout most of the season it was assumed that six-year-old State Treasurer, who has nine wins and dominated that division for most of the 2014 season, would win in a walk. But then along came Miki. By the time Always B Miki made his first start, in an Indiana Sire Stakes elimination on October 3, State Treasure had already racked up wins in the Molson,  Mohawk Gold Cup, William Haughton, the US Pacing Championship, Roll With Joe, Canadian Pacing Derby and Dayton Pacing Derby. All that before the four-year-old son of Always A Virgin made a single start. That’s a very impressive seasonal resume. Subsequent to that, State Treasurer was a disappointing seventh in the Allerage Open, after leading most of the mile.  He then faced Miki in a Breeders Crown elimination, won easily by the latter, with State Treasurer finishing third, three lengths back. And the following week Miki took the final in handy fashion in 1:49.3, with State Treasurer finishing sixth. State Treasurer called it a year after his Breeders Crown loss, while Miki went on to win the American-National in 1:49.1 at Balmoral. Since he was not staked to the TVG, that’s it for him in 2015. This week’s Breeders Crown Poll shows Always B Miki in sixth place with 147 points, while State Treasurer is in twelfth with only 29 points. While some of the folks who vote in this poll will also vote for the division champions, not all will. Still, we must choose between five months of domination at the highest ranks of the aged pacing tree and one month of brilliance at the tail end of the season. Does that old saw “What have you done for me lately” rule the day? As unfair as it might be, I believe Always B Miki will take home the Dan Patch. by Joe FitzGerald for Harnesslink Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

Freehold, NJ --- After dominating winter harness racing events at the Meadowlands and Pocono earlier this year, JL Cruze is ready to face his toughest test of the season. He is heading to Saturday’s (June 6) second round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M, where he will meet a field that includes two-time Dan Patch Award winner Father Patrick. The race is the second of two Graduate divisions for the trotters, with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry headlining the first group. The card also includes two second-round Graduate divisions for 4-year-old pacers, featuring winter series sensation Rockeyed Optimist meeting stakes stars JK Endofanera, Luck Be Withyou, and Limelight Beach in the first division. JL Cruze brings a seven-race win streak to Saturday’s start. For the year, he has won 11 of 13 races, including the Super Bowl, Singer Memorial, Shiaway St Pat and Weiss series championships. He has won $155,513 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Stephen Iaquinta, who purchased the horse for $37,000 at November’s Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. The group purchased JL Cruze -- who had three wins in 14 races prior to the sale -- because he fit favorable non-winners conditions at Dover Downs, where the owners race frequently. Now he will get the opportunity to race against world champion Father Patrick, who won the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational on May 24 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in his only start so far this season. “He’s been unbelievable,” trainer Eric Ell said. “We didn’t know what we had bought when we bought him. We just knew we had a young trotter that fit some cheaper classes at Dover. We just popped him in a couple of those (winter) series in case he turned out to be something, and he did. “It’s been a fun ride, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to racing the big boys. We’re going to see if we can go with them or not.” JL Cruze’s most recent start came April 21 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he won the Weiss final by a length over Opulent Yankee in 1:52.4. He prepped for his return in the Graduate by finishing second to Gural Hanover in a qualifier on May 30 at the Meadowlands. He was timed in 1:52.1 with a :26.4 last quarter-mile despite being on the mend from a cut he suffered on his right front foot three weeks earlier. “He’s doing good,” Ell said. “He grabbed his quarter on his right front foot and he was really sore. I couldn’t do much with him and couldn’t get him trained. It was a freak thing; he’s never done it before. But he qualified well. It looks like he’s going to be OK for Saturday. “The sky is the limit for him. He just keeps getting better all the time. After the Weiss final I gave him some time off, which he needed. I gave him two weeks completely off in the field and then I started bringing him back. He really needed the time. He was able to put some weight back on and get freshened up again. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.” John Campbell has been the regular driver of JL Cruze, but on Saturday will be in Canada for stakes races at Mohawk. David Miller will drive JL Cruze, who will start from post three in a seven-horse field. Father Patrick, who has won 23 of 29 career races and earned $2.51 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group, will leave from post five with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. The remainder of the field is Resolve, Rompaway Galaxy, Opulent Yankee, Uva Hanover, and Madewell Hanover. In the first division, Shake It Cerry -- the only female in the field -- will start from post two with Takter driving. Shake It Cerry has won 24 of 32 career races and earned $2.08 million for Solveig’s Racing Partners. The remainder of the field is DD’s Hitman, Muscle Network, Gural Hanover, Datsyuk, and Sumatra. Shake It Cerry and Opulent Yankee, trained by Julie Miller, won first-round Graduate divisions, held May 25 at Tioga Downs. The third round is June 19 and the $250,000 final is July 11. On the pacing side, Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover -- both from the stable of trainer Steve Elliott -- won the first-round divisions at Tioga. Doo Wop Hanover romped by 7-1/2 lengths over stablemate Rock Out in 1:47.4. It was the fastest mile in Tioga Downs’ history. Doo Wop Hanover will start from post No. 1 in the second of the two divisions for pacers Saturday. He is joined by Bushwacker, Somewhere In L A, Lyonssomewhere, All Bets Off, Rock Out, and Mattamerican. Rockeyed Optimist leaves from post four in his division, which includes JK Endofanera, Luck Be Withyou, Caviart Luca, Limelight Beach, and Somesizesomestyle. The third round for pacers is June 19 and the $250,000 final is July 3. “They’re all good, knock on wood,” Elliott said about his three starters. “(Doo Wop) is real good right now. He’s always been good. He was a little unmanageable at times, if you left with him he wouldn’t come back to you. We rigged him a little differently and he seems fine. “I think Rockeyed is better coming from behind, but he’s become more versatile and learned how to race. Rock Out is faster than he shows he is. He’s going to be better as the year goes on.” JK Endofanera, whose stakes victories in 2014 included the North America Cup, is making his second start of the season. He won the first round of the TVG Free For All Series for older pacers on May 16 at the Meadowlands, giving him 15 wins in 28 career starts and earnings of $1.50 million. Limelight Beach won last year’s Little Brown Jug while Luck Be Withyou was the Breeders Crown champion at age 2. All Bets Off won the 2014 Art Rooney Pace and Messenger Stakes. Lyonssomewhere captured the Cane Pace and Mattamerican won the Horseman Stakes. “There are a lot of good 4-year-olds out there,” Elliott said. “It’s a tough transition from (age) 3 to 4. I want to keep (my horses) against 4-year-olds so they mature the right way. Hopefully, anyway. “I don’t know if there are any easy races, they go fast everywhere all the time. But it helps when you have nice horses.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

MANALAPAN, NJ - May 16, 2015 - Artspeak, the Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year in 2014, coasted to a three and a half-length harness racing victory in his season's debut, a $20,000 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes, the fourth race on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Scott Zeron tipped the 3-2 favorite out and brushed to the lead before the half, hand driving the son of Western Ideal to a career best 1:49 flat. Gokudo Hanover [Cam's Card Shark] is second best with five and a half lengths to Dealt A Winner [Cam's Card Shark] in third. Artspeak, winner of the Governor's Cup and Metro Pace at two, lifted his bankroll to $752,185 with nine wins and two thirds in 11 career starts. The Tony Alagna trainee is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners. Artspeak Hurrikane Ali, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by John McDermott Jr., won the second of the two $20,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the ninth race, in 1:50 flat on a surfaced rated good. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Hurrikane Ali claimed the lead before the half and held off Rock N' Roll World by two lengths. Rock Of The Ages was third by seven and a quarter lengths. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. Hurrikane Ali now has two wins in two starts in 2015 after going winless in five starts at two. He has earned $55,575 for the partnership of Kuhen Racing LLC, Jonathan Klee Racing, Dr. Kenneth Rucker and Robert Pucila. The card began with victories by daughters of Rocknroll Hanover in both of two $20,000 divisions of New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. In the first race, 3-5 favorite Lindys Old Lady, unraced at two, posted her second straight victory, drawing away to a two and a half-length victory over Cheyenne Robin [Rocknroll Hanover] with three and three-quarter lengths to Wicked Little Minx [Rocknroll Hanover] in third. Lindys Old Lady, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Frank Antonacci, paced the mile in 1:51 flat. Lindy Farms of Connecticut owns and bred the filly who has now earned $19,200. In the second race, 1-9 favorite Happiness by Rocknroll Hanover, controlled the pace and repelled the late challenge of Stacia Hanover [Western Ideal] to win by a length and a quarter. Hollyrocker [Rocknroll Hanover] was third by three lengths in the 1:50.4 mile. Yannick Gingras drove the Ron Burke-trained Happiness for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won three of six starts at two and now has two wins and one third in three outings this year. Overall, she has banked $67,765. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

East Rutherford, NJ --- Some of harness racing's biggest stars, including five Dan Patch Award winners, were in qualifier action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack, where they were greeted by an unseasonably cold morning and stiff headwind in the stretch. Three of the Dan Patch Award winners - older trotters Father Patrick, Market Share and Bee A Magician - met in the ninth of the day's 16 qualifiers, but it was Kevin McDermott-trained Melady's Monet who led them all to the finish line. Melady's Monet, who has raced in the Opens during the winter at the Meadowlands and has won five of eight starts this season, won by 1-1/4 lengths over Father Patrick in 1:54.4. Market Share was third and Bee A Magician fourth, both timed in 1:56. Four-year-old Father Patrick, making his first trip of the season to the track, and driver Yannick Gingras were content to sit behind Melady's Monet through the stretch after fractions of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:27. No harness racing horse earned more money last year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million. He was a divisional Dan Patch Award winner at both ages 2 and 3. "(Father) Patrick looked fantastic," trainer Jimmy Takter said. "Yannick said he was just crawling over (Melady's Monet), but he didn't want to make a sprint of it." Father Patrick, whose wins in 2014 included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic and Beal Memorial, has done stallion duty while preparing for this season. "He loves it," Takter said. "Everything is good. He's filled out quite a bit; he's much more stout." Bee A Magician, a 5-year-old mare who was the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year in 2013, was making her final qualifying start prior to the Miami Valley Distaff on May 3. "She was good," trainer Nifty Norman said. "She's come back really good. I'm very happy with her. (Driver Brian Sears) likes to qualify nice and simple, but he's very happy with her. If he's happy, I'm happy." Market Share, a 6-year-old who has won $3.68 million in his career and received Dan Patch Award honors at ages 3 and 4, was making his first qualifying start as he gets ready for the Cutler Memorial (eliminations May 9) at the Meadowlands. "It was pretty much what we expected," trainer Linda Toscano said. "We've kind of gone back to basics and we knew we were going to race him just at the end of the mile. It was such a tough qualifier; we don't really have anything to prove. We just needed to get some work under him. "He'll come back and qualify again next week and he should be the better for it. If he acts like he's good for the Cutler, we'll go to the Cutler. He'll tell us." Pinkman, who was voted the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, was the only award-winner to win his qualifier. The Takter-trainee won by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Uncle Lasse in 1:55.1. Aldebaran Eagle and Cruzado Dela Noche, who each won an International Stallion Stakes division last year, were third and fourth, respectively, followed by Breeders Crown runner-up Muscle Diamond. Last season, Pinkman won six of eight races and earned $566,960. 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. "Pinkman is so lazy," Takter said. "He does what you ask of him. It's not impressive at all, but that's him. And he wins. He might be one of those horses we always underestimate." Artspeak, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer, made his first qualifying effort Saturday, but went off stride approaching the three-quarters point and finished 10th. Hurrikane Ali, trained by John McDermott Jr., won in 1:51.4. Last year, Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor's Cup. He went off stride in both losses. "He loses his focus sometimes when he comes first over like that," trainer Tony Alagna said. "He did it the other day training up here. He just doesn't pay attention. (Driver Scott Zeron) says he felt perfect, he just loses his focus. If he's on a helmet, he doesn't do it. But he's got to be able to come first over as well. "I'm going to take his hobbles back in a little bit more because they're still two inches longer than they were last year. We'll train him next week and make sure he's OK before we put him back in to qualify. That's why we gave ourselves some extra time, just to make sure, because he's done it before. It's frustrating, but if training horses was easy everybody would do it. We'll fix it and he'll be as good as ever." Takter sent out four qualifier winners, with 3-year-old filly trotters Wild Honey (1:55.1), Lilu Hanover (1:57.4) and Fly Angel Fly (1:56.3) joining Pinkman in victory. Takter's 3-year-old male trotters The Bank, Walter White and French Laundry finished second through fourth behind Crazy Wow in another qualifier featuring multiple stakes winners. "I thought they qualified very good," Takter said. "It's tough weather; the wind is tough, but I'm happy with all of them." Crazy Wow, who won last year's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male trotters, was making his debut for trainer Ron Burke after spending last season with Dan O'Mara. Crazy Wow won in 1:54.1. "He was very good," Burke said. "I wasn't surprised, but he was even better than I thought he would be." Burke also had wins with 3-year-old filly pacers Happiness (1:53.1) and Southwind Roulette (1:53.3). JK Endofanera, who won the 2014 North America Cup, finished second to Larry Remmen-trained Somesizesomestyle in 1:51.3 in a qualifier for older male pacers. Somesizesomestyle was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2014. "Overall I thought it was real good," Burke said. "I was happy with JK Endofanera; he was strong for his first start. My better horses were what they should have been. They improved today. That's all you're looking for, improvement each time." Steve Elliott had two qualifier winners, with 3-year-old male trotter Twain Drive (1:56.2) and 3-year-old male pacer Artistic Major (1:53.2). Toscano's Dapper Don won a qualifier for 3-year-old male trotters in 1:58.2 and Alagna's 4-year-old male trotter Propulsion won in 1:55. Other winners were Wayne Givens' 5-year-old pacing mare Jerseylicious (1:51.4) and Monte Gelrod's 3-year-old male pacer Maxdaddy Blue Chip (1:52.3). For the complete charts of Saturday's qualifiers, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Shake It Cerry, the 2014 Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, is ready to shake off the rust and begin a new harness racing campaign. The 4-year-old female trotter, who closed out last season by winning her final nine races, will kick off this year in Friday's inaugural $51,100 Meadows Maturity for older female trotters at The Meadows Racetrack in western Pennsylvania. Shake It Cerry drew post No. 7 in the nine-horse field and is the 7-5 morning line favorite. Meadows leading driver Dave Palone will sit behind Shake It Cerry for trainer Jimmy Takter. Classic Martine, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, drew post No. 9 and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Dan Rawlings will drive for trainer Chris Oakes. Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races last year and earned $1.23 million for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group. In addition to being named Trotter of the Year, she was voted harness racing's best 3-year-old female trotter. She also was the 2-year-old Dan Patch Award winner in 2013. She prepped for Friday's Maturity with a 1:55 win in a qualifier on April 18 at the Meadowlands. "It's her first start and she had a soft qualifier, but she felt great," said Takter, who drove the mare in her qualifier. "She felt super. I was very happy." Shake It Cerry will try to become the first trotter since Moni Maker to win consecutive Trotter of the Year awards. Moni Maker, a mare who also was trained by Takter, captured three Trotter of the Year honors from 1998-2000. The only other horses in the last 45 years to earn back-to-back Trotter of the Year accolades were Pine Chip (1993-94) and Mack Lobell (1987-88). Of course, it will not be an easy task. Shake It Cerry will see tough competition in the older female trotting division alone, with the likes of 2013 Horse of the Year winner Bee A Magician also in its ranks. The trotting mares as a group in 2014 posted eight of the 12 fastest times in their division's history, with Classic Martine responsible for three of the efforts and Bee A Magician one. "It's no walk in the park there," Takter said. "By the same token, everybody knows (Shake It Cerry) is not just an average horse either. I'm sure she can go with them. Of course, sometimes those mares are a little tougher. They've been through a little bit more. "But she's a fighter. I'm excited to see her race. I'm sure she's not going to be as dominant as when she was as a 3-year-old. We have to pick our spots, but she's going to win one or two of those big ones this year." Last year, Shake It Cerry 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. Shake It Cerry is named in honor of one of Takter's sisters. The horse's dam, Solveig, was named in honor of Takter's mother. The horse's sire is Donato Hanover, who was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007. Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Classic Martine won nine of 18 races last 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. She is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold. Here is the Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1 2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1 3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1 4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1 5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1 6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1 7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5 8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1 9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

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