DOVER DE - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's principal organization for media workers, held its annual meetings this past Saturday and Sunday at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday (Feb. 23) night, attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing. During the Saturday meeting, the Directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot this summer. Marks has been a leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport, most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker, from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company, positions she maintains to this day. At the conclusion of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association Officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and writer whose digital literacy and social media acumen has helped bring USHWA to the cutting edge of communications technology, was elected President of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com; Tully's "first official act" was to present Wolf, who now becomes the Chairman of the Board, with a gold Lifetime Membership pin. Tim Bojarski, writer/blogger for the USTA, moved up a chair to 1st Vice President, with the 2VP position going to Shawn Wiles, Monticello Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director. Judy Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as Treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings weekend, remains as Executive Treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors as USHWA secretary. Much of the discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport's Halls of Fame in Goshen NY, where plans for renovation and modernization are starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Halls of Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and rules change relating to the Halls, especially the re-establishment of a Seniors category for both. Debate was plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these matters were tabled until a Committee, soon to be appointed, can focus on the merits - and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed changes. The attendees heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the organization's member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good shape, pointing to future success in USHWA's upcoming progressive efforts. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner was as always the highlight of the gathering, with superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician "finishing her unbeaten season" by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness Horse of the Year; her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous, took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign showing speed and courage in equal amounts. Also honored were the quartet to be inducted into the Halls of Fame Sunday, July 6 in Goshen: Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. by Jerry Connors for USHWA
Coral Springs, FL - Video streaming of harness racing's biggest night of the year, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, will take place this Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Dover Downs, Delaware, and can be seen on the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) website, www.ustrotting.com. Heading the awards will be the announcement of the 2013 Harness Horse of the Year along with both the Pacer and Trotter of the Year winners. The voting was conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association membership and race secretaries throughout the country. The cocktail party outside the Grand Ballroom begins at 6:00 pm and the awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 pm. The video streaming of the Dan Patch awards banquet is being provided by Roberts Communications and is being co-sponsored by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. Awards will be made to the top trotters and pacers in each of their respective divisions per gait, age and gender from the 2013 race season, with the human stars of last year being honored as well. It will also be the first introduction of the recent inductees to the Harness Racing Museum Living Hall of Fame, David Miller and Bill Weaver, and the Communicators Hall of Fame inductees, Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. By Steven Wolf, president of USHWA
Monticello, NY - Tickets are going fast --- don't be shut out --- place your banquet reservations now! The highly anticipated winner of harness racing's E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year trophy will be announced live by the United States Harness Writers Association on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Dover Downs, Dover, Delaware. Tickets for this gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Night of Champions, will only be available until this Tuesday, February 18. In addition to the twelve equine divisional honors, including Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, Captaintreacherous and I Luv The Nitelife, a full field of the industry's biggest and brightest will be feted at the annual awards ceremony. This year's inductees to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, David Miller and Bill Weaver; and Communicators Hall of Fame, Carol Cramer and John Pawlak will also be honored. In addition, the U. S. Harness Writers list of human awards also includes the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner, Joe Thomson, as well as the Owner, Trainer, Driver, and Breeder of the Year, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy and a host of others, a list of which are available on the USHWA.org website. Tickets cost $125 for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet and include a one-hour open bar, as well as a main course of Lobster & Filet Mignon "Surf & Turf." Tickets can be reserved via telephone or Email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson (302.359.3630), email@example.com or Scott Warren (302.222.1222), firstname.lastname@example.org by Chris Tully for USHWA
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Studio City needed every step of the mile to run down the front running Lutetium in the $10,500 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway Friday night (Feb. 7). Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) set the fractions with marks of 29.1, 1:00 and 1:31 and tried desperately to make every step a winning one. He was close but no cigar. Studio City and Buffalo Raceway's leading driver Billy Dobson had other ideas. Starting a first over trip down the backstretch the final time, Studio City ($7.10) began a slow but methodical grind in chasing down Lutetium. Then in the shadow of the wire, he managed to poke a head in front to capture the win in 2:01.2 over the good track. Cedarridgetag (Peter Wrenn) took the show position. It was the first victory in four starts for Studio City this season. He has now earned $9,135 in 2014 and $133,868 lifetime. The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison and is trained by Lisa Lederhouse. Racing will resume on Saturday night with a 12-race card scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
Monticello, NY - The much anticipated winner of the E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year trophy will be announced live on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at Dover Downs, Dover Delaware. Tickets for this gala event, the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Night of Champions, are now available. 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, David Miller and Bill Weaver; and Communicators Hall of Fame, Carol Cramer and John Pawlak. The U. S. Harness Writers list of human awards also includes the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award winner, Joe Thomson, 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 USHWA.org website. Adding to the festivities will be the popular souvenir red carpet photo shoot during the cocktail hour followed by a main course dinner of lobster surf and turf. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet can be reserved via telephone or Email by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson (302.359.3630), email@example.com or Scott Warren (302.222.1222), firstname.lastname@example.org Substantial savings on hotel rooms can be attained for this event, which is being held at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, on US Rte. 13 (DuPont Hwy.) in Dover, Delaware. A special rate of $149 can be reserved by calling 866.473.7378 BEFORE January 22, 2014, and mentioning code: GHWA. The deadline for the Dan Patch Awards journal is Monday, January 27. To advertise in the souvenir journal, please contact Chris Tully by calling 845.807.7538 or Email: email@example.com All of this information and applicable advertising forms can be accessed via internet link: USHWA.org Dan Patch Horse Awards - 2013 Champions and Finalists* 2-Year-Old Trotting filly: Shake It Cerry 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly: Precocious Beauty 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt: Father Patrick 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts* -- He's Watching, Luck Be With You 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts* -- Royalty For Life, Spider Blue Chip 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly: Bee A Magician 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly: I Luv The Nitelife 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt: Captaintreacherous Trotting Mare: Maven Trotting Horse: Market Share Pacing Mares* -- Anndrovette, Rocklamation Pacing Horse: Foiled Again *Finalists, *Trotter of the Year, *Pacer of the Year, and the E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year* to be announced live Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 United States Harness Writers Association - Awards and Honorees Harness Racing Hall of Fame: David Miller & William Weaver Communicators Hall of Fame: Carol Cramer & John Pawlak Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award: Joe Thomson Norman Woolworth Owner: Burke Racing & Weaver Bruscemi Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year: Ron Burke Driver of the Year: Tim Tetrick Breeder of the Year: White Birch Farm Lew Barasch Breakthrough: Heather Wilder Rising Star: Corey Callahan President's Award: Mary Lou Dondarski W. R. Haughton Good Guy: George Ducharme USHWAn of the Year: Judy Davis-Wilson Unsung Hero: Sam Landy & Open Space Amateur Driver of the Year: Steve Oldford Trotting Broodmare of the Year: Beehive Pacing Broodmare of the Year: Worldly Treasure January Davies Humanitarian Award: Donna Marshall HHYF Service to Youth Award: Janet Stevenson Davis Grand Circuit Awards: Owner, Burke Racing; Trainer, Ron Burke; Driver, Yannick Gingras USTA & USHWA Railbird Recognition Awards TBA Hervey & Smallsreed Awards TBA by Chris Tully for United States Harness Writers Association
We all need, no matter what your religious affiliation is, to say a little prayer. It was reported today by the United States Trotting Association (USTA) that John Pawlak of the publicity department, underwent surgery Friday evening at Mt. Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to have a brain tumor removed. While subsequent testing found that the tumor was benign, post-operative swelling required Pawlak to have additional surgery on Monday, October 21. According to his wife, Kris, Pawlak has been sedated and is resting comfortably but has a long recovery ahead of him. Pawlak, along with co-USTA employee, Carol Cramer, were both recently voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicators Corner by the United States Harness Writers Association. Pawlak has been a long-time employee at the USTA and before that was the track announcer and publicity man at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. He has done outstanding work over his career not only as journalist but also as a radio announcer and television broadcaster covering racing throughout the world. This season he reported from along with assisting in organizing the World Trotting Council Meetings in France, which he has helped run for many years. Since John is unable to receive gifts and cards in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, it is suggested that they be sent to the USTA offices at 750 Michigan Ave., Columbus, OH 43215 and they will be forwarded to the Pawlak’s. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Delaware, OH --- CSX Stables both presented and received the trophy for the $52,544 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers, when their On Golden Ponder(Ponder-In Trepid Water, by Intrepid Seelster) won in a 1:52.2 world record, withJohn Campbell in the sulky, on Thursday (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. The winner made a bold move from fourth after the half and drew away from Totally Kissed (Montrell Teague) and He’s Got It (David Miller) in the late stages. On Golden Ponder has won four of seven as a freshman and is trained by Bob McIntosh. The trainer also bred him, along with CSX Stables. That duo shares ownership with Michael Kohler. The clocking of 1:52.2 was a new stakes and track record, as well as a world record for a freshman pacing colt on a half-mile track. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
Delaware, OH --- Joseph Di Scala, Jr. and Cynthia Lynn Massari's Vibe Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras) popped out of the three hole going to the three-quarters and captured the $65,750 first division of the Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Thursday (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. From the first call to the top of the stretch they all chased Bluto (Andy Miller), who couldn’t withstand the charge of Vibe Blue Chip. Bluto held second and Sailer Eddie (Ron Pierced) earned third money. Vibe Blue Chip (Andover Hall-Winning Jonlin, by Muscles Yankee) won in 1:54.3, a national season’s record for a sophomore trotting gelding on a half-mile track. He has now won five of 14 and $128,787 this year under the direction of trainer Ron Burke. "I only put trotting hobbles on him to give him confidence," said Burke. "He gets a little shaky, but it's not a gait issue. He's cleanly gaited. "Actually I saw he had a little trouble on the turn but Yannick did a great job holding him together around the turn, then pulling out the plugs coming into the stretch. I knew if he could do that he would trot right by them. "We are taking him to Lexington and after that it will be day-to-day with him." The favored Spider Blue Chip (Ron Pierce) made two breaks, which helped High Bridge (Yannick Gingras) win the $65,750 second division of the Old Oaken Bucket. The mile was covered in 1:55.1, equaling the national season’s record for a 3-year-old trotting colt on a half-mile track. Boffin (Charlie Norris) and Theatrical Session (David Miller) were next to the wire, finishing second and third, respectively. High Bridge (Cantab Hall-Madame Volo, byYankee Glide) is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Jim Fielding and is trained by Jimmy Takter. He has won five of 18 this year, with $249,348 in the bank. He finished seventh, beaten only four lengths, in this year’s Hambletonian. "He might not be right up with the top horses but he is very consistent and a good horse to have in the barn," said Jimmy Takter. "If he could have gotten out in the Hambo, as he got blocked in behind some horses, he could have finished second. "There are still a lot of races left this year and he is a very sound horse. I've never had a problem with him. Look how well he raced just six days ago (a strong second in the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final). "We have the Breeders Crown at Pocono (in October) and he really likes it there." -- Kimberly French also contributed to this report by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association web newsroom
Delaware, OH --- A torrential, mid-morning downpour did nothing to dull what had been a speed-favoring track on Wednesday at the Delaware County Fair, and that showed in Thursday’s first stakes, the $51,944 Standardbred for 2-year-old trotting colts. Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing's Sumatra brushed to the lead past the opening quarter and went on to a 1:58.3 victory on Thursday morning (Sept. 19) at the Delaware County Fair. Andy Miller was in the bike for trainer Julie Miller as the son of Muscles Yankee-Lola Seelster won for the fifth time in nine season's starts, lifting his earnings to $89,734. Sumatra got away second from the two hole, but pulled the pocket and brushed to the lead past the opening quarter in :29. He was never headed through subsequent fractions of :59, 1:29 and 1:58.3. Epic Ranger (Corey Callahan) was second and Gangio (Yannick Gingras) finished third. Sumatra has enjoyed a fine freshman campaign, with Grand Circuit wins in the Arden Downs, Historic Series and Kindergarten Series. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association web newsroom
Delaware, OH --- Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, J&T Silva Stables and Matt Tudisco’s Frau Blucher and driver Ron Pierce set a world record of 1:53.1 in the $52,194 second division of the Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 18) at the Delaware County Fair. The mile, raced in take-no-prisoners fashion, gave Frau Blucher (Broadway Hall-My Angel, by Muscles Yankee) her sixth sophomore win in 11 tries, and the Lisa McNerney-bred filly has now won $759,617 lifetime. Frau Blucher left from post position two and went right to the front, cutting out fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Coffeecake Hanover (Yannick Gingras) and Bethel Hanover (Brian Sears), who sat behind the winner the entire mile, finished second and third, respectively. "At the end of the day a world record is certainly a great thing and it means a lot to have her put her name in the history books," said co-owner Timothy Hauser. "I've always had a great amount of faith in her. "We struggled with her earlier in the year and the Hambletonian Oaks was a setback (sixth placed tenth after a break) because we expected to run one or two, but now we will gear her up for the Breeders Crown and see what we have for Bee A Magician." Miller’s Stable’s Silver Credit, in rein to Corey Callahan, used the number one post to its greatest advantage in the $52,194 first division of the Buckette. The Randy Beekman-trained miss by Muscles Yankee and out of Credit Review (by Credit Winner) went wire-to-wire through splits of :27, :55.2 and 1:24 on the way to a 1:54.4 win -- a new mark and (at the time) a national season’s record for a 3-year-old trotting filly on a half-mile track. Silver Credit has now won four of 13 this year and has won three straight -- all on half-mile tracks. UF Tadys Donato (Brian Sears) finished second, 6-1/4 lengths behind the winner, and Andie Sophia (Tim Tetrick) came from off the pace to earn third money. "We were very glad to get the one (post)," said winning trainer Randy Beeckman. "She has been very consistent the whole year and it was nice to have things go her way a little bit. "She really enjoys racing and likes what she does. "I'm hoping her next start, which will be down in Lexington, she won't have to do it on the front end again. She's been out there a lot. After Lexington, if all goes well we will go to the Breeders Crown." -- Kimberly French also contributed to this report by John Pawlak Courtesy of the United States News Room
Delaware, OH ---- Joe Putnam and Novi Trot’s Simply Class, driven by John Campbell, exited the two hole on the final turn, and out-kicked Petticoat Affair (Brad Hanners) and the fast-closing Dress For Success (Corey Callahan) to win the $46,744 Standardbred for 2–year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Sept. 18) at the Delaware County Fair. The time of the mile was 1:59, a national season’s mark for a freshman trotting filly on a half-mile track. Simply Class (Chocolatier-Minnesota Karen), also trained by Putnam, won for the second time in four outings and shaved two and four-fifths seconds off her life mark. She got the first call when leaving, but Campbell let Hanners and Petticoat Affair go on in the first turn and cut fractions of :29.1, :59.3 an 1:29.2. Dress For Success made a bold move from fourth to second after the three-quarters and seemed to block the winner’s path to the wire, but Campbell took the winner three-wide and on to a narrow victory by a neck. by John Pawlak, the U.S. Trotting Association Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
David Miller, who has won more than 10,800 races and ranks fourth in lifetime earnings among all drivers in harness racing history, will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame next summer, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Monday. William Weaver, who bred influential trotting sire Valley Victory as well as several division champions, also will be inducted during the ceremonies on July 6 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. In addition, longtime U.S. Trotting Association Publicity Director John Pawlak and retired USTA Stakes Director Carol Cramer will be enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame. Miller, a 48-year-old native of Ohio, was voted Driver of the Year in 2003, when he led North America in purses and guided No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown. He has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting) and 12 Breeders Crown trophies. He ranks No. 5 in career Breeders Crown purses with $8.5 million. He is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug and one of only two drivers to capture the Little Brown Jug and its filly companion race, the Jugette, in the same year. Victories in other top stakes include the Adios, Canadian Pacing Derby, Canadian Trotting Classic, Cane Pace, Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Futurity, Maple Leaf Trot, Nat Ray and Yonkers Trot. In 2011, Miller became the 10th driver in North American history to reach 10,000 wins. He has won at least $10 million in purses 11 times, the most of any driver in history, and trails only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance in career earnings. Weaver, 77, from New Jersey, has enjoyed success as a breeder despite breeding a small number of horses each year. Valley Victory was the sport's top 2-year-old colt trotter in 1988 and won 11 of 14 lifetime races before being retired at age 3 because of illness. His offspring include Hambletonian winning colts Victory Dream and Muscles Yankee as well as filly Continentalvictory. Victory Dream and Muscles Yankee also produced Hambletonian winners, with Muscles Yankee sons Deweycheatumnhowe, Muscle Hill and Muscle Massive winning the sport's top trotting race in consecutive years (2008-10). Other notable horses bred by Weaver include U.S. and/or Canadian division champions Chocolatier, Laddie, To Dream On, Was It A Dream and Wheeling N Dealin plus millionaire trotting mare Elusive Desire. The multiple award-winning Pawlak joined the USTA in 1985 after serving as an announcer and marketing executive at Raceway Park in Ohio. His work with the USTA has ranged from writing to broadcasting, in addition to compiling and editing the annually harness racing fact book "The Trotting & Pacing Guide." He also is known for his work coordinating the biennial World Driving Championship and the World Trotting Conference. When time permits, he continues to announce races on the Ohio fair circuit. Cramer retired as a fulltime employee of the USTA in 2007, but remains active as editor of the annual "Stakes Guide," a job she has handled for 45 years. She joined the organization in 1965 as project assistant to James Harrison in the publication of the first "Care & Training of the Trotter and Pacer." In addition, she was advertising manager for "Hoof Beats" magazine and a longtime Grand Circuit steward and secretary. Veteran writers on a screening committee, after discussion with an advisory committee of Hall of Famers, take nominations sent in by USHWA chapters and select nominees to go before the voters. Nominees must receive 75 percent approval from the voters, which are qualified members of USHWA and Living Hall of Fame members, to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored twice; first at the annual USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet, Feb. 23 at Dover Downs, and for enshrinement July 6 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association
TOLEDO, OH -- Although simulcasting action will continue, Sunday (Sept. 15) marked the final night of live harness racing action at Toledo’s Raceway Park. Approximately 3,500 patrons came to watch the last of the live racing that the historic track will offer since opening the doors in 1959. The evening’s weather was not good, but the rain did not dampen the life that was felt within the grandstands. The stands were crowded and the evening’s handle ($221,749) was in excess of 50% over last year’s closing day’s handle ($147,482). Among various events throughout the evening, fans enjoyed special guest announcers who had previously called the action at Raceway Park. Hall of Fame announcer Sam McKee was joined by fellow announcers Steve Cross, John Pawlak, Ayers Ratliff and Ron Sobczack. Reminiscent conversations were heard throughout the facility. Names such as Charlie Brown, Mel Chupp, Jay Cross, Jeff Fout, Mark and Greg Grismore, Bev Haywood, Jimmy Landess and Mike Rosengarten, as well as Candy Super Star, Grandpa’s Liquor, Grain Dealer and Scotch Baker were often heard as people discussed their favorite Raceway Park horses and drivers. Raceway Park thanks their loyal fans, horsemen and employees for their efforts and decades of dedication, loyalty and support. Although it is emotional to close a chapter in history, it is exciting to start writing another. Two brand new harness tracks are being built in Ohio and will offer much larger purses and increased opportunities to the Ohio horse industry. Ohio’s harness racing scene is on a fast track to increased popularity and prosperity. The 2014 racing season will be held at a brand new facility, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. Ayers Ratliff for Raceway Park
A rousing victory by Captaintreacherous in the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final this past Saturday was the exclamation point on a perfect month and clinched harness racing honors as U.S. Trotting Association Horse of the Month for June.
The next-to-last session of the 2013 World Trotting Conference was given over to roundtable discussions of medication and animal health and genetics and breeding, featuring some of Europe and the world's top researchers and regulators.
Discussion of television and technology's positions in racing and the promotion of racing and racetracks shared the spotlight on the third day of the World Trotting Conference.