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ORLANDO, FL - The annual meetings of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading media organization, were held this past weekend at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, with the weekend climaxing in Sunday's Dan Patch Awards Banquet honoring the top harness racing performers, equine and human, during the past 2019 season. Saturday's USHWA meeting gathered together the group's Board of Directors, while Sunday's session was an open event for all of USHWA's members. Positive numbers for USHWA were reported by several Officers and committee chairpeople. The Association reported a profit for the fourth straight year, with the prospects of a fifth straight growth period looking good, as USHWA's financial status is largely determined by the annual Dan Patch Banquet, and high-level performance in both sponsorship participation and ads taken in the popular Souvenir Banquet Journal were very promising. Also a good sign is that the membership of USHWA, declining a few members a year in a contracting industry in recent times, actually showed a small increase since last year's meetings. The annual By-Law and Rules & Regulations Change Proposals did not offer some of the controversy and heated exchanges of recent years, although both sides were argued well on a couple of contentious issues. One By-Law change that went into effect right away was the method by which the Directors established the two ballot candidates for this summer's Communicators Hall of Fame elections, and as reported earlier Jay Bergman and Joseph Kyle were selected from a talented field to take a place on the election ballot. Sunday's General Membership saw the 26 USHWA directors in attendance joined by a similar number of members from the Active membership ranks. The greater portion of the Sunday meeting was devoted to the Committee reports of some two dozen USHWA subdivisions which keep all aspects of the organization in working order throughout the year, from Hall of Fame candidate biography compilation, to traffic control during the Dan Patch Banquet, to oversight of various phases of social media usage. Kim Rinker, the Director of the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, was elected President of the organization during the Sunday meeting. Rinker, who had been vice president, succeeds Shawn Wiles of Monticello Raceway, who by USHWA bylaw now becomes the Chairman of the Board. In a contested election for USHWA Vice-President, Barry Lefkowitz, the USHWA treasurer, narrowly defeated Derick Giwner of Daily Racing Form Harness. Lefkowitz said that he would retain his treasurer's duties as well during this term. Both Wiles and Lefkowitz were presented with Gold Lifetime Membership pins during the General Meeting: Wiles as an outgoing President, and Lefkowitz, for the required years of service on the Board as treasurer. Jerry Connors was again voted USHWA secretary. At the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, pacing mare Shartin N was announced as the 2019 Harness Horse of the Year, which was met with wild cheers from her many and vociferous backers in attendance. Shartin N becomes the first older pacing mare to win Horse of the Year honors, and also the first horse bred outside of North America to take this continent's highest award. "She's certainly been a life changer for us," noted trainer Jim King Jr. at the banquet. Greenshoe, the brilliant three-year-old colt, was named Trotter of the Year; Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year were the only awards being announced for the first time at the dinner. Greenshoe now goes off to a stud career at Hanover Shoe Farms, while Shartin N has already posted a winning qualifier in front of a 2020 campaign. The highest human award given by USHWA, the Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, resulted in a voting dead-heat for the first time in its 69-year history. The members of the Association voted equal honors to the contributions made by Joe Faraldo, the President and CEO of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, an important member of the U.S. Trotting Association's Board of Directors, and a staunch advocate of horsemen's rights, and the Libfeld-Katz partnership of owners-breeders Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, Ontarians who have ranked at the top levels of both of those fields of racing and also sponsored the Breeders Crown races when they came to their hometown Mohawk track this past year and held a successful charity tie-in. Also honored at the Dan Patch Banquet were newly-voted Hall of Famers Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Bill Popfinger, and Tim Tetrick, along with Communicators Hall of Famers Phil Pikelny and Ken Weingartner. This group will be formally inducted into their respective Halls of Fame on Sunday, July 5 at the site of the sport's Hall, Goshen NY. From the United States Harness Writers Association    

The name of the 2019 Horse of the Year will be announced Sunday night (Feb. 23) at the annual U.S. Harness 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 YouTube page. After a one-hour cocktail hour, the awards ceremony gets underway at 6:30 p.m.(12:30pm NZ time) and will be available via the U.S. Trotting Association’s YouTube page. At approximately 9:30 p.m (3:30pm NZ time), 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 YouTube page, please click here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association’s YouTube page on Monday (Feb. 24). Post time for the evening is 5:30 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by Shartin N. 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. (USHWA)   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

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. 23? An expected crowd of more than 300 will have the chance, but so too do those who can't make the trip. For the third year in row, well-known harness racing personalities Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder will be walking the Red Carpet, sponsored by Shartin N, and broadcasting live on their Facebook pages. The Facebook Live shows will begin at 5:30 p.m. and continue until 6:30 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. She was the 2018 USHWA Member of the Year. 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. 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. 24. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

The name of the 2019 harness racing Horse of the Year will be announced Sunday night, Feb. 23, 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 one-hour cocktail party, the awards ceremony will get underway at 6:30 p.m., and will be available via the Facebook page. At approximately 9:30 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. 24, by clicking here. Post time for the evening is 5:30 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by Shartin N. 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: https://www.facebook.com/PacinHeather. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/heather.k.wilder From the United States Harness Writers Association      

Jim Avritt Sr. bought his first Standardbred in 1963 when he was a senior at Xavier University and nearly 60 years later continues to enjoy the thrills of harness racing and breeding. On Feb. 23 in Orlando, Fla., Avritt's Precocious Beauty will be honored as the Pacing Broodmare of the Year at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Award banquet. Precocious Beauty is the dam of Tall Dark Stranger, who that same night will receive the Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer. Earlier this month, Tall Dark Stranger picked up the O'Brien Award in Canada. Avritt bred and raced Precocious Beauty, who in 2013 also captured O'Brien and Dan Patch awards. Tall Dark Stranger, a Bettor's Delight-sired colt who sold for $330,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale, was her second foal. Her first foal, an Avritt-owned filly by Somebeachsomewhere named Beautyonthebeach, was a two-time Kentucky Sire Stakes champion. She was retired following the 2019 season and will be bred to Bettor's Delight this week. "It's incredible, really incredible," the 79-year-old Avritt said. "I never thought when I started out that I'd reach this point, that's for sure. I never dreamed at that time I would have something like Precocious Beauty down the road, either as a race filly or a broodmare. Precocious Beauty "I can't wait (for the awards weekend). I'm going to hit some of the training centers on Saturday morning before heading to Orlando. I'm looking forward to it." Avritt traces his successes to the purchase of Dominique Semalu as a broodmare in 1995. Dominque Semalu is the dam of Precious Beauty, whose offspring in addition to Precocious Beauty include O'Brien and Dan Patch awards winner Sportswriter and Grand Circuit winner Prescient Beauty. The family also includes the grandam of Dan Patch Award winner Downbytheseaside. "I've said it before, if I hadn't been lucky enough to buy Dominique Semalu nobody would have ever heard of me," Avritt said. "I've sold some high-priced yearlings out of her. Although she didn't produce any really top stakes winners, she had good raceway horses that earned quite a bit of money, and every daughter she ever had turned out to be a tremendous producer." Avritt generally keeps fillies out of his broodmares and sells the colts. Precocious Beauty's third foal, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere named Beach Party, sold for $190,000 last fall at Lexington. Avritt has kept a yearling filly out of Precocious Beauty, by American Ideal, named Elegant Beauty. He also has a 2-year-old homebred filly out of Barefoot Beauty that he is training. She is by Shadow Play and named Barefoot'npregnant. "She is a really, really nice filly," Avritt said. "She's probably as nice as anything I've trained. If she's good enough, she'll go up to Gregg (McNair) when he goes north from Florida. Otherwise, she'll stay down here and I'll race her some at the fairs and see how much she can improve." Avritt still likes to drive in races, although he does not do it often. "Every now and then I drive," he said. "I really enjoy that part of it. There is no feeling in the world like going behind the gate." Even if he does not get on the track, the Kentucky resident still gets to enjoy watching his small broodmare band's offspring compete. "I'm hoping it's not over yet," Avritt said. "I just wish I was younger so I could enjoy it a lot longer." by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Harrisburg, PA---The Dan Patch Awards Dinner will be held on Sunday, February 23 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The annual silent auction will be held in conjunction with the evening's festivities. The Harness Horse Youth Foundation Summer Programs and U.S. Harness Writers Association industry outreach initiatives will benefit from the proceeds. This year's auction features more than 40 outstanding items, so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone! Framed artwork includes original oils and pen and ink drawings to collectible prints and iconic photographs. There are resort and race day packages, Yankees tickets, and on-line courses. There is signed sports memorabilia and a variety of themed gift baskets. For a complete listing of items and bidding instructions, please click on this link -- https://hhyf.org/auctions/. Additional questions may be directed to Ellen Taylor at HHYF: by email, ellen@hhyf.org or phone 317.908.0029. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to February 23; contact Ellen Taylor or Steven Wolf 954.654.3757 for more information. Many thanks to the generous donors who support this fundraiser. From the U.S. 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 (February 6th, 2019) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Derick Giwner and Melissa Keith. Giwner, the Chief Editor at DRF Harness, earned his first John Hervey Award for excellence in harness racing journalism for his column "Rolling the sport into the future", which was in the February 9th edition of DRF Harness Weekend. We'll talk to him about that article, and other top headlines in the sport of harness racing. Keith, Canadian Chapter Vice President of USHWA Canada, earned the award for her two-part story on the death of Ron Graham, which was in Harness Racing Update. The duo will also talk about opening weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and much more. 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. From Post Time with Mike & Mike  

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. 23. If you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best equines and humans in the sport in 2019, room reservations must be made by Friday, Jan. 31. 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 Jan. 31, but can only be made by calling the hotel directly at (866) 996-6338 and asking for the "Dan Patch Awards rate." This is the third year Rosen Shingle Creek will host the Dan Patch Awards banquet. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gaitlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet at 5:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly at 6:30 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 $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 17 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, Jan. 31. 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  

Hightstown, NJ — Fast horses have put Marcus Melander’s career on a fast track. In late December, one year after being named the Rising Star Award winner by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, Melander was recognized as the sport’s Trainer of the Year by the same organization. The 27-year-old native of Sweden is the youngest person to ever receive the honor. The previous youngest was Mark Ford, who at the age of 30 in 2000 shared Trainer of the Year with Jimmy Takter. Marcus Melander’s stable posted 86 victories and $5.36 million in purses in 2019. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s first full season as a trainer was in 2015. He has seen his stable’s wins and purses increase every season since, reaching 86 victories and $5.36 million in 2019. His earnings last year ranked fourth among all trainers in North America despite having fewer starts (332) than any trainer in the top 17. “I’m very humbled,” Melander said. “It’s very exciting and a very big honor. It’s not that many years I’ve been a trainer, so it’s all been very fast. I have a lot of people to thank for that; the people that work for me, family, owners. “We were lucky; we had no sick horses or anything like that. We had a good year all along. We won big races, both 2- and 3-year-olds. The horses raced well all the time. They all performed.” Marcus Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. Greenshoe won 10 of 13 races, finished second in all three of his losses, and earned $1.27 million to top all trotters in North America. Gimpanzee finished second to Greenshoe in the Dan Patch voting. He won eight of 14 starts and $1.12 million. Melander became only the second trainer ever to have two million-dollar-earning trotters in the same division in the same season, joining Takter, who accomplished the feat in 2014 with Father Patrick and Nuncio. In addition, 3-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S won six of 13 races and $646,838. That trio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity and Zweig Memorial (Greenshoe), Breeders Crown and Yonkers Trot (Gimpanzee) and Canadian Trotting Classic (Green Manalishi S). Greenshoe was retired to stallion duty at the end of his season. Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S will return in 2020, with Green Manalishi S expected to race in Europe after spending the winter in training with Melander. Marcus Melander with Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, and has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. He finished last year with a fourth-place finish against older horses in the TVG Series championship at The Meadowlands. He was within 1-1/2 lengths of the top three: Six Pack, Manchego, and Guardian Angel AS. “I’m very excited he’s coming back,” Melander said. “We didn’t over-race him and I think he will be a very good older horse. In my opinion, he raced great in the TVG. With another year, he will be good. He has everything that a horse needs to be a good older horse. He’s always sound, he’s always happy, he always does his job. He never really had a bad race for us.” Among last season’s 2-year-old trotters, Hypnotic AM won the James Doherty Memorial while Capricornus, Back Of The Neck, Rome Pays Off, Hell Patrol, Expectations, Hellbent For AM S, and Hall of AM S all were Grand Circuit or state-restricted stakes winners. Hypnotic AM was her division’s New York Sire Stakes champion while Rome Pays Off was second in the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial and Capricornus was runner-up in the Wellwood Memorial. Cruzado Dela Noche, a 7-year-old stallion trotter in 2019, won the Cutler Memorial for older trotters. He will perform stallion duty in Sweden, Melander said. Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. owned or co-owned a number of the top horses in Melander’s barn, including Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, Green Manalishi S, and Hypnotic AM. Courant Inc. was named the sport’s Owner of the Year by USHWA. “We have a really good relationship,” Melander said. “I train a lot of horses for him and I’m very happy for him as well.” Melander now must put 2019 in the rear view mirror and focus on the road ahead. His stable has 43 2-year-olds and a total of 66 horses for 2020. “I’m excited to start the new season,” Melander said. “Hopefully we can match those numbers from last year, but it’s going to be tough. But we have a good staff, good owners; we’re just going to keep what we’re doing. It will be an exciting year.” by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Sometime down the road when harness racing driver Bob McClure wants to reminisce about 2019, he knows what it will involve. "A lot of replays," McClure said. Get your popcorn ready. McClure enjoyed numerous highlights in 2019, topped by his win with Forbidden Trade in the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes final last August at The Meadowlands.   For the year, McClure won 229 races and a career-best $4.67 million in purses despite missing a month in the spring because of a broken pelvis. He ranked third on the money list among Canadian drivers and saw his earnings increase for the sixth consecutive year. He is a finalist, for the third time, for Canada's Driver of the Year. The winner will be announced Feb. 1 at the O'Brien Awards in Ontario. "Third time's a charm, hopefully," said McClure, who is up against defending champ Louis-Philippe Roy. Regardless of that result, McClure needs to clear space for a trophy. In December, the 29-year-old was named the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Rising Star. He will receive his award Feb. 23 at the Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. McClure is the first Canadian to receive the honor since Scott Zeron in 2012. "It was certainly a shock and I'm really grateful," McClure said of the honor. "It shows the significance of the Hambletonian, how much weight it carries with the voters. It's pretty neat to follow in the footsteps of other Canadians who have won that award." McClure drove three O'Brien Award finalists in 2019: Forbidden Trade, older female trotter Emoticon Hanover, and 2-year-old male trotter Port Perry. All three horses were trained by Luc Blais and owned by Determination stable. There was no question that Forbidden Trade's upset of Greenshoe in the Hambletonian, harness racing's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, led the list of memorable moments for McClure. "I'd say that's the highlight of anybody's career if you're lucky enough to win it," McClure said. In addition to winning the Hambletonian, Forbidden Trade and McClure captured the Ontario Sire Stakes championship and were second in the Yonkers Trot and Goodtimes Stakes. Emoticon Hanover, who retired at the conclusion of her 6-year-old season in 2019, went out a winner with McClure when she won a preferred trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park in December. Port Perry was a two-time winner on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit and finished second in the series final. McClure also had multiple OSS victories with 3-year-old female pacer Powerful Chris, 2-year-old male trotter Threefiftytwo, and 2-year-old female pacer Off The Press. Other winners in the series with McClure were 3-year-old male pacer Best In Show, 2-year-old male pacer Examiner Hanover, and 2-year-old female pacer P L Notorious. "The OSS here is a really great program," McClure said. "I was the leading money-winner in it, so that shows you drove a lot of nice horses all the way across the whole Ontario circuit. I think that was the biggest part of the year for me. Between Forbidden Trade, Powerful Chris, a whole bunch of real nice (OSS) Gold horses I was lucky enough to drive, I think that's what made the summer so fun." Powerful Chris provided McClure with another memorable night, although not in a win. She finished third, beaten only a neck, in the Fan Hanover Stakes at odds of 54-1. The filly is owned in part by McClure's grandfather, John. "That was pretty special," McClure said. "He never had a horse in a race like that before, so to be that close with some of the top fillies in North America was a lot of fun. It was close to home." McClure, who led Canadian drivers in wins in 2016 and 2017, made the move from Canada's "B" tracks to the main stage of the Woodbine-Mohawk circuit in December 2017. "Things have happened a lot faster than I think anybody could have predicted," McClure said. "Obviously, it's beyond exceeded my expectations. I was lucky enough to pick up Determination, which was a huge boost. They have a lot of quality horses and every time they go to the track they're going with a shot. It really puts your name out there, puts you on the map. I would attribute a lot of it to that." So, what does McClure do in 2020 for an encore? "I just try to keep improving every year, year to year," he said. "That's my biggest goal. I think that will be tough to do this year, to top last year, but I'm excited." For information on the Dan Patch Awards banquet and accommodations at Rosen Shingle Creek, visit www.ushwa.net. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Courtney Polan, who works in the Norm Parker Stable based at The Meadows, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Caretaker of the Year Award sponsored by Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Polan, 27, has worked for Parker since October 2014, joining the stable after a two-year stint working for Tim Pinske. "This is amazing," said Polan, a Pennsylvania native who turned to harness racing after graduating with a degree in biology from Thiel College in Greenville, Pa. Polan, who owns a retired Standardbred and Quarter Horse, currently takes care of eight horses in the Parker Stable, including the 2019 Meadows Horse of the Year Wild Wild Western. Wild Wild Western is owned in part by Jacobs Creek Racing's Jeff Weaver, who nominated Polan for the Fair Island Caretaker of the Year Award. "I have observed just how special Courtney is at developing a unique relationship with all of her charges," wrote Weaver. "Each horse garners her attention as though she was all theirs. Each receives full care, unique and individual attention and even when called for, discipline." Polan said one word in the dictionary describes her strength as a caretaker: Caring. "I care. I care a lot," said Polan. "My biggest thing is that sometimes I care too much. I just love all of them. I don't have human kids yet, so they are my kids." All caretakers in North America were eligible for the award, with nomination letters submitted detailing the skills and special qualities of the nominee. A seven-member panel -- all of whom were former caretakers themselves -- selected Polan as the winner. As winner of the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award, Polan will receive a cash prize of $500, transportation, hotel accommodations and two tickets to USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., where she will be presented a trophy. Polan, along with all the USHWA 2019 award winners, will be recognized during the Dan Patch Awards banquet. Information on accommodations at Rosen Shingle Creek and dinner tickets can be found at www.ushwa.net. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

The names of the 2019 award winners have been announced so it's time 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. 23. If you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best equines and humans in the sport in 2019, room reservations must be made by Friday, Jan. 31. Rooms will go quickly now that the names of the honorees are known 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 can only be made by calling the hotel directly at (866) 996-6338 and asking for the "Dan Patch Awards rate." This is the third consecutive year that Rosen Shingle Creek will host the Dan Patch Awards festivities. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gatlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet cocktail hour sponsored by Shartin N at 5:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly afterward. The highlight of the evening will be the much-anticipated announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and E. Roland Harriman Horse of the Year. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 17 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. If you are attending, make sure you tell your restaurant server prior to ordering you are a Dan Patch Awards attendee. To take out a congratulatory ad in the popular USHWA journal, please contact Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708-557-2790. From U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA)

HARRISBURG, PA - Three-year-old trotting colt Greenshoe, who was the highest moneywinning trotter in North America during 2019, had the largest margin of victory among six trotters elected to Dan Patch Award divisional honors in year-end voting conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association, the sport's top media organization, and the American Harness Racing Secretaries. The trotting side also produced the closest decision in the 12 categories for both trotters and pacers. Four-year-old mares Atlanta and Manchego, who combined have won over $4 million lifetime, produced as good a finish as any on the track, with Atlanta edging out her rival, 74-72. Also elected divisional trotting winners were 2-year-old gelding Real Cool Sam, 2-year-old filly Ramona Hill, 3-year-old filly When Dovescry, and 4-year-old stallion Six Pack. There were 147 participants in this year's Dan Patch Awards racehorse voting. Greenshoe's margin was 123-22 over Gimpanzee, the group's defending champion and his stablemate in the barn of Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander. Greenshoe, a Father Patrick colt out of Designed To Be, was bred by co-Bergstein/Proximity winners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, driven by Brian Sears, and owned by Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, Morten Langli and Owner of the Year Anders Ström's Courant Inc. Greenshoe won 10 of 13 starts and $1.27 million; in his three other races he was second, and suffered interference in two of them. Among his notable victories were the Kentucky Futurity, the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, and sire stakes championships in Kentucky and New Jersey. He took his mark of 1:49.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile. Defending Trotter of the Year Atlanta got the barest of nods among the trotting mares for her campaign in which she won eight of 15 races, hit the board a total of 13 times, and earned a division-best $769,950. She won the Charlie Hill Memorial and two legs and the final of the Graduate Series in mixed company, along with the Armbro Flight and Miami Valley Distaff. A daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip bred by Order By Stable, Atlanta raced for trainer Ron Burke, driver Yannick Gingras, and the ownership of Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, and Howard Taylor. Six Pack joined Atlanta as a repeat champion in 2019, collecting 56 percent of the vote among older male trotters. Six Pack won four of 12 starts and was worse than third only once on his way to $581,314 in purses. An authoritative 1:49.2 win at Lexington in the Allerage Open Trot and a strong rallying victory in the TVG Series final were among Six Pack's wins. The son of Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady was bred by Breeder of the Year Brittany Farms and campaigned by trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt for his Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E-Knutssontrotting, Stall Kalmar Inc., and L Berg Inc. The champion among 2-year-old male trotters, Real Cool Sam, was a success from the word "go," winning his first nine starts and suffering defeat only at the Breeders Crown, where he got too far behind in off going and could only rally for fourth. The son of Muscle Hill is out of the mare Cooler Schooner, a world-record-setter in her racing days, and in 2019 Real Cool Sam set no fewer than five divisional world records, including in his division of the International Stallion Stakes, where he dead-heated with Big Oil in 1:52.1, making him the fastest freshman trotting gelding ever, and the time also the fastest dead-heat ever on the trot, regardless of age. Other wins for Real Cool Sam included the Peter Haughton Memorial and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Fashion Farms bred and owns Real Cool Sam, who was trained by Jim Campbell and driven by David Miller. Ramona Hill ensured her selection among 2-year-old trotting fillies by rocketing to the lead from the outside post 10 in her Breeders Crown final, surrendering the advantage, then coming back on to win by four lengths, leaving Sister Sledge and Hypnotic AM, respectively, both second and third in the race and in the year-end voting. For the year, Ramona Hill won six of seven races and $405,400. She is a daughter of Muscle Hill-Lock Down Lindy, bred by Crawford Farms, and owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, and In The Gym Partners. She is trained by Tony Alagna and was one of driver Andrew McCarthy's four Breeders Crown winners. When Dovescry first made noise in the 3-year-old trotting filly division by winning her Hambletonian Oaks elimination on July 27, then came back the next week to win the final of the prestigious event. Further triumphs in the Matron and divisions of the Simcoe and Bluegrass stakes boosted her earnings for the year to $644,380. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove was campaigned by the brother team of trainer Rene Allard and driver Simon Allard. She was bred by William Weaver III and is owned by Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, and Lawrence Dumain. All of the honorees 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, Feb. 23, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando Fla., the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed at the banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on Feb. 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 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 award-winners 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).   TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER REAL COOL SAM, gelding (91 votes, 61.9%) Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner - Broadway Hall Breeder: Fashion Farms LLC Owner: Fashion Farms LLC Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: David Miller Races: 10-9-0-0 Purses: $497,774 Mark: 1:52.1 at Lexington. Top wins: $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial; $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER RAMONA HILL (67 votes; 45.6%) Muscle Hill - Lock Down Lindy - Lucky Chucky Breeder: Crawford Farms LLC Owners: Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert Leblanc, In The Gym Partners Trainer: Tony Alagna Driver: Andrew McCarthy Races: 7-6-0-1 Purses: $405,400 Mark: 1:52.2 at Lexington Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER GREENSHOE, colt (123 votes, 83.7%) Father Patrick - Designed To Be - Donato Hanover Breeders: Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz Owners: Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, Morten Langli Trainer: Marcus Melander Driver: Brian Sears Races: 13-10-3-0 Purses: $1,277,049 Mark: 1:49.4 at Lexington Top wins: $450,000 Kentucky Futurity; $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial; $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship; $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER WHEN DOVESCRY (90 votes, 61.2%) Muscle Hill - Cedar Dove - Andover Hall Breeder: William Weaver III Owners: Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, Lawrence Dumain Trainer: Rene Allard Driver: Simon Allard Races: 12-5-4-3 Purses: $644,380 Mark: 1:50.1 at Lexington Top wins: $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $176,150 Matron Stakes OLDER MALE TROTTER SIX PACK, 4-year-old stallion (83 votes, 56.5%) Muscle Mass - Pleasing Lady - Cantab Hall Breeder: Brittany Farms LLC Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E-Knutssontrotting, Stall Kalmar Inc., L Berg Inc. Trainer/driver: Ake Svanstedt Races: 12-4-3-4 Purses: $581,314 Mark: 1:49.2 at Lexington Top wins: $350,000 TVG Open championship; $145,000 Allerage Open OLDER FEMALE TROTTER ATLANTA, 4-year-old (74 votes, 50.3%) Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip - Cantab Hall Breeder: Order By Stable Owners: Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, Howard Taylor Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 15-8-4-1 Purses: $769,950 Mark: 1:49.1 at Meadowlands Top wins: $250,000 Graduate Series championship; $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial; $192,000 Armbro Flight From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - None of the six pacing divisional winners for the 2019 Dan Patch Awards were able to garner all the votes in their division, but three came close - pacing mare Shartin N and 3-year-old filly Warrawee Ubeaut were selected on all but two ballots and 3-year-old colt Bettor's Wish saw only three votes go against him. The remaining pacing divisional winners were 2-year-old colt Tall Dark Stranger, 2-year-old filly Lyons Sentinel, and 8-year-old stallion McWicked. The voting was conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association, the sport's top media organization, along with the American Harness Racing Secretaries group. Shartin N, Warrawee Ubeaut, and McWicked were repeat winners. Among the females, we'll follow the adage "age before beauty," or in this case "Ubeaut," and say first that 6-year-old Shartin N received 145 of the 147 votes, with late-season nemesis Caviart Ally getting the other two. Shartin N won 15 of 19 races, finished second three times, and earned $982,177. She became the fastest female in harness racing history with a 1:46.4 victory in the Lady Liberty at The Meadowlands. Other wins included the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Roses Are Red, Golden Girls, and Artiscape. Shartin N is a New Zealand-bred daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin, bred by G. J. Crabbe, trained by Jim King Jr., and driven by Tim Tetrick, who is co-owner through his Tim Tetrick LLC with Jo Ann Looney-King, Jim's wife, and Richard Poillucci. Three-year-old filly Warrawee Ubeaut also received 145 of the votes cast in her division; Tall Drink Hanover gathered the other two. Warrawee Ubeaut had an eight-race win streak in the prime of the season, which included her Breeders Crown final, the Glen Garnsey Memorial, the Jugette, and her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. For the year, she won 12 of 19 races, finished off the board only twice, and earned $950,610. A daughter of Sweet Lou-Great Memories, Warrawee Ubeaut was bred by Warrawee Farms and owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She was trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras. Bettor's Wish drew 144 votes out of 147 after having a season with 13 wins and six seconds in 19 starts bring him the top earnings honor of all North American Standardbreds of $1.64 million. His victories included the Carl Milstein Memorial, Art Rooney Pace, a division of the Tattersalls Pace, the Matron, and Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. The Bettor's Delight-Lifetime Star colt was bred by Breeder of the Year Brittany Farms; owned by Bettors Wish Partners, Fair Island Farm Inc., Bella Racing Ltd., and trainer Chris Ryder; and driven by Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn. McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, won his third divisional crown at age 8, going along with his coronations at ages 3 and 7. He was involved in the closest vote among the pacers, winning 73-70 over Lather Up, who earlier in the season tied the 1:46 all-time record. For the second year in a row and record-equaling third time in his career, McWicked posted a million-dollar season. He won six of 17 races and $1.03 million, with victories including the Jim Ewart Memorial, Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, and Dan Rooney Invitational. The son of McArdle-Western Sahara was bred by Andray Farm, owned by S S G Stables, trained by Casie Coleman, and piloted by Brian Sears. In contests among the 2-year-olds, the Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover filly Lyons Sentinel won by more than 100 votes over her nearest rival. Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and owned by Threelyonsracing, Lyons Sentinel gave trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick a second divisional winner among the pacing distaffs, as she earned $801,809 to top all other freshmen of either gait or sex. Lyons Sentinel won nine of 14 races, with her victories including the She's A Great Lady, her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and Matron Stakes. Tall Dark Stranger topped the 2-year-old colts and geldings, getting 86 votes to outdistance rival Papi Rob Hanover by 36. Tall Dark Stranger, a Bettor's Delight colt out of Pacing Broodmare of the Year Precocious Beauty, had eight wins and a second in nine starts and earnings of $717,514. His wins for trainer Nancy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras included the Breeders Crown, Metro Pace, and a division of the International Stallion Stakes. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor, Tall Dark Stranger was bred by James Avritt Sr. All the honorees 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, Feb. 23, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando Fla., the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed at the banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on Feb. 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 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 award-winners 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). TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER TALL DARK STRANGER, colt (86 votes, 58.5%) Bettor's Delight - Precocious Beauty - Art Major Breeder: James Avritt Sr. Owners: Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, Howard Taylor Trainer: Nancy Takter Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 9-8-1-0 Purses: $717,514 Mark: 1:49.1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $562,500 Metro TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER LYONS SENTINEL (129 votes, 87.8%) Captaintreacherous - Tutu Hanover - Western Ideal Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. Owner: Threelyonsracing Trainer: Jim King Jr. Principal driver: Tim Tetrick Races: 14-9-4-1 Purses: $801,809 Mark: 1:49.3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park Top wins: $405,000 She's A Great Lady; $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship; $176,400 Matron THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER BETTOR'S WISH, colt (144 votes, 98.0%) Bettor's Delight - Lifetime Star - Western Ideal Breeder: Brittany Farms LLC Owners: Chris Ryder, Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc., Bettors Wish Partners Trainer: Chris Ryder Driver: Dexter Dunn Races: 19-13-6-0 Purses: $1,643,745 Mark: 1:47.4 at Lexington Top wins: $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial; $300,000 Art Rooney Pace; $270,000 Tattersalls Pace division; $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship; $248,350 Matron THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER WARRAWEE UBEAUT (145 votes, 98.6%) Sweet Lou - Great Memories - Apaches Fame Breeder: Warrawee Farm Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 19-12-2-3 Purses: $950,610 Mark: 1:48.3 at Lexington Top wins: $550,000 Breeders Crown; $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship; $216,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial; $155,760 Jugette OLDER MALE PACER MCWICKED, 8-year-old stallion (73 votes, 49.7%) McArdle - Western Sahara - Western Ideal Breeder: Andray Farm Owner: S S G Stables Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: Brian Sears Races: 17-6-3-3 Purses: $1,034,091 Mark: 1:47.2 at Lexington Top wins: $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial; $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial; $250,000 Dan Rooney Pace OLDER FEMALE PACER SHARTIN N, 6-year-old (145 votes, 98.6%) Tintin In America - Bagdarin - Live Or Die Breeder: G. J. Crabbe Owners: Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, Tim Tetrick LLC Trainer: Jim King Jr. Driver: Tim Tetrick Record: 19-15-3-0 Purses: $982,177 Mark: 1:46.4 at The Meadowlands Top wins: $402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final; $247,500 Roses Are Red; $183,500 Lady Liberty; $179,550 Golden Girls From the United States Harness Writers Association

Anderson, IN - The Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF) and the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) are seeking items for its Silent Auction that will be held at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet - Night of Champions on Sunday February 23, at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida. Donations of unique one-of-a-kind items, vacation packages, vintage memorabilia, themed gift baskets and/or gift certificates for industry services are just a few ideas! Donations and arrangements may be made by contacting Ellen Taylor - 317.908.0029 or ellen@hhyf.org - or Barry Lefkowitz - barryl22@aol.com - preferably no later than January 22 to insure inclusion in pre-event advertising, All proceeds from the Silent Auction jointly benefit HHYF Summer Programs and USHWA outreach projects. From HHYF and UHSWA

The announcement of the Dan Patch divisional racehorse winners will take place tomorrow (Friday).   At 6:45 p.m. tomorrow, video of the announcement of the winners can be seen at the USHWA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/USHarnessWriters, as it is shown live during the pre-races show at The Meadowlands, which can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/user/MeadowlandsRacetrack. The Meadowlands television crew produced the video.   Press releases with voting information will be e-distributed immediately at the announcement's conclusion.   Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be announced for the first time LIVE at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet on Sunday, February 23 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL.   From the U.S.Harness Writers Association

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