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Riverina harness racing driver Cameron Hart drove 50 winners during the 2016/17 season and subsequently has been nominated for this year's Daily Form Service Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award. Hart started his driving career on a winning note in April 2016 and last season was honoured for his efforts when asked to represent the Riverina in the New South Wales Rising Stars Series. Alongside Hart in this year's nominees for the Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award is fellow Riverina reinsman Peter McRae who also represented his region in the Rising Stars Series. McRae steered 26 winners last season and drove a winner during the Rising Stars Series and finished third overall. Meanwhile, fellow drivers that competed in this year's Rising Stars Series and also nominated for the Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award are Brad Elder, Madi Young and McKayler Barnes. Brad Elder, had a memorable 2016/17 season driving 55 winners which included his first Group winner. Madi Young from Worrigee also has her best season to date, travelling throughout state and landing 19 winners while also being an ambassador for Team Teal. Bathurst based driver McKayler Barnes tripled her previous best season during 2016/17 driving 15 winners. The recipient of this Award will be given a travel scholarship to New Zealand where they will spend two weeks learning from leading trainers and drivers. Nominees for the 2016/17 Daily Form Service Country Junior Driver Encouragement Award are: Brad Elder Cameron Hart Madi Young McKayler Barnes Peter McRae Harness Racing New South Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the nominees and look forward to the Award announcement on Saturday October 28 at the Hilton Sydney Grand Ballroom. For tickets to the event please contact Kate Dumesny at or (02) 9722 6672. AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Harness Racing fans have put forward their nominations and from this five drives in New South Wales in the 2016/17 season have been selected for the TAB Kevin Newman Award For Driving Excellence. The winner of this inaugural award will be announced at the Arthur J. Gallagher Harness Racing NSW Awards Night on October 28 at the Hilton Sydney. And those that vote for the winner go into the draw to win a $2000 Tabcorp account. The five drives in question are: Geoff Simpson – ‘Early move secures the win’ – CASTALONG SHADOW (Bathurst 25/03/17 – No.6) WATCH REPLAY   Brad Elder – ‘Patience pays off’ – DAYS END (Newcastle 6/05/17 – No.9) WATCH REPLAY   Darren Hancock – ‘Weaving magic in the shadows of the post’ – DON KEE (Menangle 20/02/17 – No.4) WATCH REPLAY Chris Geary – ‘The last stride’ – THE SYSTEM STRIDE (Penrith 8/12/16 – No.3) WATCH REPLAY   Ray Walker – ‘Early tactics pays dividends’ – OUR RED JACK (Wagga 25/7/17 – No.7) WATCH REPLAY To vote go to: Voting closes on Wednesday October 18 at 5pm. Harness Racing New South Wales

THE Arthur J. Gallagher Industry Awards Night is fast approaching and harness racing nominees for the TAB Carnival of Cups Club categories have been finalised. Flowing on from the same structure as last year, clubs will also be acknowledged for their community and fraternity engagement as well as innovation. The nominations for the Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $50,000 (but no less than $25,001) are: Bathurst – Shirley Turnbull Memorial meeting December 26, 2016 Leeton – Breeders Plate meeting January 1, 2017 Wagga – Wagga Cup meeting March 4, 2017 The 2016 winner of this category was Eugowra. The nominations for the Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $25,000 (but no less than $14,001) are: Orange – Banjo Patterson Cup February 12, 2017 Parkes – Langlands Hanlon Sprint December 31, 2016 Junee – Junee Cup January 26, 2017 The 2016 winner of this category was Parkes. The nominations for the Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $14,000 (but no less than $10,001) are: Temora – Temora Cup January 14, 2017 West Wyalong – West Wyalong Cup April 23, 2017 Cowra – Cowra Cup May 14, 2017 The 2016 winner of this category was West Wyalong. The nominations for the Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of not more than $12,000 are: Cootamundra – Wattle Time Cup March 19, 2017 Coolamon – Coolamon Cup, April 27, 2017 Forbes – Forbes Services Memorial Final, April 30, 2017 The 2016 winner of this category was Griffith. There are also awards for: Best Community Engagement Club 2016 winner – Goulburn Best Fraternity Engagement Club 2016 winner – Leeton Best New Innovation Club 2016 winner – Temora This year’s TAB Carnival of Cups Club award winners will each receive a $5000 prize - $3000 of which to be used towards prizemoney and $2000 to be used for on-course promotion. Harness Racing New South Wales would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the nominated clubs and look forward to the Award announcements on Saturday October 28 at the Hilton Sydney Grand Ballroom. For tickets to the event please contact Kate Dumesny at or (02) 9722 6672. AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

It was a huge night for the Singleton duo, Charlie Shearer and  Aaron Goadsby, at the annual Hunter Valley Harness Racing Awards Night.  In her inaugural season, Shearer’s prized filly, Takara Truffle, took out not one but two ‘Horse of the Year’ awards.  With a select panel judging her the most deserving of the top gong which is the coveted TAB sponsored Newcastle Horse of the Year title. Prior to this she was also judged Horse of the Year by the Hunter Valley Owners and Trainers. The impressive filly won 12 races in her three- year-old season; enjoying success at Bankstown, Tamworth, Maitland, Newcastle, Bathurst, and Albion Park in Queensland as well as notching up three Metropolitan wins at Tabcorp Park, Menangle –  including two Group 3 wins.   Takara Truffle And, her wins in the Group 3 Go Girlfriend series and the Group 3 Baby Bling Stakes were against older and more seasoned fillies and mares. She finished the season with 24 starts for 12 wins, 3 seconds and 3 fourths and was only out of the major money on six occasions and this returned prize money in excess of $91, 000. Upon accepting the accolade, Shearer said he looks forward to the racing ahead with his pride and joy. “It’s a great honor to win this award,” he said. While her trainer, Goadsby, picked up a Trainer of the Year award for those who had 25 runners or less on Hunter tracks this season. He recorded six wins from nine starts. Goadsby said the filly has enjoyed six weeks in the paddock and is now looking forward to her four year-old season of racing.  As such no racing program has been set out but he indicated that we won’t see Takara Truffle back to the races before the New Year.  He thanked both the Mericeca and Camilleri families along with farrier Ray Barwick because without their help and assistance “none of this could have been possible”. Charlie Shearer   Reprinted with permission of the Singleton Argus site

Charles Cooley was one of the founding fathers of harness racing in Tasmania so it is just reward that he has finally made it into the Tasmanian harness Racing Hall of fame. Cooley was born in Hobart in 1870 and he was a pioneer of trotting in Tasmania and became a Foundation member of the Hobart Trotting Club. He also enjoyed success as an owner, trainer and driver-rider. His best horses included Black Bess with 8 wins, Acacia notched up seven victories with Bruno winning the Champion Mile in 1904. Cooley was the first Tasmanian trainer to win professional races in Melbourne and Sydney in the early 1900's. He imported Dolly Berlin from New Zealand, the Dam of champion racehorse and sire Berlinwood. His career as a race rider was cut short in a race fall in 1913 but he quickly bounced back turning his hand to administration, carrying out roles as judge, handicapper and starter for his beloved Hobart Trotting Club. Charles Cooley passed away in 1922 so it is almost century on that one of the founding fathers of trotting in Tasmania has finally been honoured as an inductee to the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Peter Staples

W H (Hec) Baker was regarded as one of the best Tasmanian reinsmen to sit in a sulky and in Hobart last night the former great was inducted into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame at a gala awards ceremony at Luxbet Park. Baker's career covered four decades from 1945 to 1976 during which time he drove 516 winners and was the state's leading driver on two occasions in 1957/8 and 1965/66. He handled the ribbons on a number of outstanding pacers none greater than champion Chamfers Star. The pair combined to capture the 1964 Easter Cup and the 1965 Tasmanian Pacing Championship. Baker won the Tasmanian Derby three times. He won aboard Raider Chimes 1956, Jimmy Maru (1960) and in 1970 he won with Atok. Pipriki was successful in the Danbury Park Cup while Raizaire proved too good in the 1957 Show Cup. Baker also enjoyed triple success in the The Metropolitan Cup with Tasara in 1958, in 1961 with Shannon Bay and again with Karaman in 1974. There were also Dual successes in the Brighton Cup with Hideaway and Prince Chamfer and the Westbury Cup partnering Fantastic and Lulu O'Neill. Baker is regarded as one of the doyens's of Tasmanian Harness Racing and is a deserving inductee to the Hall Of Fame. Peter Staples  

Chester Bullock was rewarded for his long-term involvement in Tasmanian harness racing when he was last night inducted into the Tasmanian Harness racing Hall of Fame. Bullock is a long term active participant in almost every aspect of Tasmanian harness racing including ownership, breeding, training and administration. Born at St Marys, Chester's father Keith was the St Marys Trotting Club Treasurer and his mother, Doris, loved to have a small wager on horse racing. Chester spent much of his youth at St Marys at the harness stables of Linton Bullock and Eric Bean, before moving to Launceston when he was 16 years of age. Chester put his toe in the water with his first purchase, a yearling, Thunder Fame which won two races in 1984 when trained by Eric Bean. Chester had been bitten by the bug and acquired more mares, yearlings and racehorses and in 1986 decided to purchase a property at Riverside to accommodate his rapidly expanding harness operation. An 1,100 metre track was constructed on the flats adjoining the Tamar River, where the legendary Jack Stamford previously trained. Many prominent trainers took up residence at the Bullock training establishment. David Angus was the initial trainer and Mark Stanley, Rohan Hadley, James Rattray and Todd Rattray all had stints training from the Bullock property. Chester acquired his training license in 1990 and has prepared 68 winners from the complex. They include Cardinal Nelson (10 wins) and Cardinal Tucker (7 wins). In 1998, Chester and his daughter Julia established an AI Breeding Station at the Riverside property. Since then, Fred and Pauline Barker, Trevor Leis and Lloyd Whish-Wilson have been some of the many prominent Tasmanian breeders who have used the facility. Chester has played a significant role in racing administration. It commenced at the Launceston Pacing Club (LPC) at Elphin in 1984. Three years later he resigned from the committee while he filled the position of Project Manager for the new Mowbray Racing Complex including the 1,000 metre harness track. He returned to the LPC committee in 2000 until the present day and took over as President in 2016. Chester joined the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association in 1995 where he has served 23 years as President. In 2006, he joined a group of participants to establish the Tasmanian division of BOTRA, the Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association and he was immediately elected President, serving seven years in the role. Since 2009, has represented the LPC and/or NTLHA at the quarterly Tasracing Harness Industry Forum meetings and he is also a member of the Tasracing Harness Yearling Sale Working Group. Through his company Bullock Consulting, now 60 Degrees, Chester has been one of the major harness sponsors in Tasmania over the last 23 years, extending sponsorship and support to all clubs around the state as well being the major sponsor and supporter of the Youngbloods Series for our young star drivers of the future. Peter Staples

He is now the voice of harness racing in New Zealand but Australian homebred racecaller Mark McNamara was the special host at the Harness Breeders New South Wales annual Awards Night last Saturday. Held at Tabcorp Park Menangle, breeder-owner Pat Driscoll received the highest accolade when presented with his HBNSW Life Membership. In the AGM preceding the Awards Night the following long time contributors to the breeding industry were elected as life members: Janet Moore, Peter Neil, Tom Reay and Paul Hurley.  Their achievements will be recognised at the 2017/18 Awards Night. The full list of HBNSW award winners for the 2016/17 season were: DON CLOUGH OAM AWARD - Graham Bullock BROODMARE OF THE YEAR - Miss Brazilian - bred by Sloys Company SIRE OF THE YEAR - Million Dollar Cam USA HORSE WELFARE AWARD - Marie Neil & Joanne Andersen 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Ignatius - bred by Rattray Family Trust 2YO FILLY of the Year - Nostra Villa - bred by Patrician Park, Brett Coffee and J Boag 2YO TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - La Grange - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 2YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Queen of Clevedon - bred by Danny Rothwell and Christie Rothwell 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Vincent - bred by Sloys Company 3YO FILLY of the Year - Tell Me Tales bred by Helen Head  3YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Dance Craze - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 4YO+ COLT/GELDING of the Year - Aztec Bromac - bred by Rob McCardle 4YO+ MARE of the Year - Eye See Diamonds - bred by Mary and Jackie Gibson 4YO+ TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - Quillabamba - bred by Kevin Hipkins 4YO+ TROTTING MARE of the Year - Red Hot Tooth - Bred by Graham Bullock NSW BLUE AWARDS: 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Lucky Unlucky - bred by Weona Standardbreds 2YO FILLY of the Year - Shes Sporty - bred by Brooklyn Lodge 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Jilliby Bandit - bred by John Starr 3YO FILLY of the Year - Elle Yeah - bred by Matthew Nagle AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Harness Racing Australia has today announced its 2017 Horse of the Year Awards, headlined by Smolda as the 2017 Harness Horse of the Year. The Horse of the Year Award caps off an amazing career for the recently retired Smolda, with his 2017 season highlighted by his wins in the Inter Dominion and the South Australian and Ballarat Pacing Cups. Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and predominantly driven by Mark, Smolda retired as the 6th richest Australasian bred pacer of all time for owners G & P Kennard, N Pilcher and M Kirkwood. Smolda also won the Pacer of the Year title and the Aged Horse/Gelding Pacer of the Year. Two year old trotting gelding Wobelee became the first two year old trotter to win Australian Trotter of the Year. His record-breaking year included four group ones, 10 wins from 12 starts and $180,330 in seasonal earnings. It was a phenomenal year for Wobelee and his owner Colin Murphy, drawing comparisons with champion trotter, Noopy Kiosky, who was also driven by Chris Alford. Of course, Chris’ wife Alison trains Wobelee. The performance criteria for the HRA Awards is for performances by Australian trained horses, as well as for the Australian performances of New Zealand trained horses. The HRA Australian Horse of the Year Awards are voted upon by over 60 judges including media and administrators spread across the country.  The full list of Australian Horse of the Year winners and their performances across all categories is attached:             Lawn Derby Awards – Pacers             Vancleve Awards – Trotters For details of previous winners see: Harness Horse of the Year Lawn Derby Awards Vancleve Awards For more information, contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3000.

MANALAPAN, NJ — August 8, 2017 — The 2017 BCAP and SBOANJ scholarships winners were invited to the Meadowlands with their families on Saturday (July 29), to receive their harness racing awards. The scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, community service, financial need and affiliation with the New Jersey Standardbred industry.  This years recipients were Travis Ceppaluni of Jackson, NJ and Tyler Miller of Millstone Twp., NJ.  Each student received a $4,000 check and a plaque from the SBOANJ and BCAP associations. Congratulations to the winners and their families, we wish them success in their future academic careers. Courtney Stafford      

Long-time Little Brown Jug simulcast harness racing host, Sam McKee has been named the 2017 Joseph Neville Memorial Award honoree by the Delaware County Fair. The native of Michigan, McKee started calling imaginary races as a young boy. His developed a pen-pal relationship with the Hall of Fame and Little Brown Jug announcer, Roger Huston. Huston's mentorship helped shape McKee's career. The day after graduating high school, McKee was hired by Saginaw Valley Downs to serve as their track announcer. He later worked for Sports Creek Raceway, Raceway Park, Detroit Race Course and Northville Downs. In 1990, McKee moved his family east to work at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He served as the Big M's co-announcer, simulcast director and TV coordinator. His distinctive voice would later be heard during the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington's Red Mile. McKee was inducted into the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. He also owned a spot in the Michigan Harness Racing Hall. McKee died March 8, 2017 at the age of 54. He is survived by his wife, Chris, and three daughters - Meagan, Lindsey and Melissa. Jay Wolf

Saratoga Springs, NY – Jeff Gural is a tower in Standardbred Racing. As the owner of three racetracks: The Meadowlands in New Jersey (which features Harness racing and a short Thoroughbred meet), in addition to Standardbred tracks, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs, both located in New York State, he has become a driving force in keeping trainers suspected of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and those trying to buy or sell horses to slaughter out of his three racetracks. Gural will receive the Ellen and Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award for his commitment to the humane fate and aftercare of horses bred for racing, their safety during their racing careers and toward maintaining integrity and honesty in racing. The world-renowned equine surgeon, Dr. Patricia Hogan, who was honored by Equine Advocates at this event in 2008, had this to say about her friend, Jeff Gural:  "Horse racing faces many modern challenges today, not the least of which is a shaken public confidence in the integrity of the competition itself, but also in the racing community's ability to handle the whole host of welfare issues surrounding the care (and aftercare) of our magnificent horses. Jeff Gural has certainly been a trailblazer in implementing innovative ideas that have chipped away at these problems and started some very important conversations in racing that no one wanted to have, but were sorely needed. Oftentimes, he is doing these things alone - at great personal and financial cost. He richly deserves this recognition and more from our industry."  Also being honored are actress and author, Cornelia Guest and the Honorable Ed Whitfield of Kentucky who served in the House of Representatives from 1995 – 2016. The gala will be held on Thursday, August 3rd at the historic Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs.  Guest, who can currently be seen in the return of “Twin Peaks” on Showtime, is being honored for her equine rescue work, for her strong public stance and activism against horse slaughter and for founding the Artemis Farm Rescue in New York State for abused and slaughter-bound equines. Ed Whitfield will receive a Special Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work and dedication to the protection of horses. He has been a staunch opponent of horse slaughter, horse soring and all forms of equine cruelty both personally and throughout his years in Congress where he fought hard to prevent equine abuse.  The evening includes a cocktail hour, silent & live auctions, gourmet dinner by Mazzone Hospitality, award presentations and a performance by the popular country band, Skeeter Creek. The live auction will include many exciting and unique items including authentic halters worn by champions California Chrome and Arrogate. Some tickets are still available at $250 per person. For more information, please call (518) 392-0175.  Equine Advocates – P.O. Box 354 – Chatham, NY 12037 Website: – Email:  

Twenty-one years after delivering harness racing trainer John Ryan success aboard Barunah Bay in the Cobram Cup, champion reinsman Chris Alford drove his 6000th winner on another of Ryan’s horses, this time Diamond Grace at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford needed three winners at the start of today to become the first driver in the southern hemisphere to reach the 6000-win mark, and it took him until the last race to cap a winning treble with his family on-course to celebrate. “Alison and the kids wanted to be there so after the first win I rang her and said you getter get Sam from school. I thought I had a few chances late in the day. For a moment there it looked as though it was going to have to wait until tomorrow, but it was a huge thrill to achieve it on a horse trained by John Ryan,” Alford said. The champion reinsman, who turns 49 later this week, said achieving the milestone was “extremely satisfying”, adding, “I’m privileged to get to drive so many good horses. I can’t make bad horses win”. Very much at the top of his game, Alford is leading the national drivers’ premiership by a huge margin this year and his drives have netted over $2.5 million in stake earnings. Included among those wins is this season’s Group 1 Miracle Mile aboard one of Alford’s modern day – and all-time – favourites, Lennytheshark. CHECK OUT TROTS MEDIA'S #PUPPET6000 CELEBRATION VIDEO Alford’s association with Lenny, the 2015 Inter Dominion champion, is legendary but so is his connection with Golden Reign, Tailamade Lombo and a host of other topliners. Alford has been swamped with messages of congratulations from fans and his fellow participants on social media, but is taking the time to soak up the win with his family before delving into the latest word on the tweet. “We’re just heading for a pub meal and I can see there’s been a bit of talk on social media. It’ll be good to catch up on it later,” Alford said. Alford achieved the 5000-win milestone in November 2013. Already some pundits are looking towards 7000. And that journey starts tomorrow night at Kilmore where Alford has six drives. On Saturday night Alford will take time out to meet fans and sign souvenir #Puppet6000 t-shirts at Tabcorp Park Melton on Benstud Queen of the Pacific night. Funds from the sale of the t-shirts, $10 and available at the race night office, will be donated to Alford’s chosen charity, the Children’s Tumour Foundation.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Pompano Beach, FL…May 5, 2017…When Rick Plano won the third race at Hoosier Park on Thursday night (May 4), it marked a harness racing milestone for the Plano family as Rick and son, Luke, now have a combined 10,000 career wins. The 65 year-old Plano has 6,836 of those wins (along with 3,728 career training wins) while Luke, who recently turned 37, has amassed 3,165 wins in his career dating back to 2000. Ironically, Plano reached the milestone 10,000th win by driving the three year-old Well Said filly, Flirtswell, to her maiden win over a sloppy oval in 1:56.2. Flirtswell is a homebred filly bred and owned by Lawrence Keethe and John Darrah. Immediately after the race, Plano said, “Well, now that we have achieved 10,000, it’s time to start on the next 10,000.” Two races later, he did exactly that. Driving Secretsoftheknight, owned by wife Maryann along with Michael Guest, the classy eight year-old son of Mach Three scored in 1:53.4 over the rainy oval. Plano reflected on the milestone win by saying, “I have been blessed to be able to compete successfully for over 40 years. This sport has been great to our family and, as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, we have been blessed. “I am very proud of Luke and his accomplishments and, with his help and a little more longevity, maybe we’ll add a few thousand more. “This is a great sport and our breed of horse, in my eyes, is the greatest in the world.”

Guests of honor included Kent Oakes of Standardbred Canada, Egmont MP Robert Morrissey, and Land and Environment minister Robert Mitchell, PCHC president Kingsley Walsh, and 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee, Doug Brown. Brown traveled from Ontario to share his successes and harness racing stories to the enthusiastic crowd at the year-end awards. His career saw him win more than 8,400 races while seated as a sought after catch driver in central Canada, including winner of $89 million for driving horses. “It’s a great honor to be here,” said Brown, the top O’Brien Award winning driver of all time and perennial leading reinsman on the Ontario Jockey Club Circuit. “The Island has just been such a great supporter of harness racing for many years, and it’s a pleasure to be a guest speaker tonight.” The thrill of harness racing has been an Island tradition that dates to the 1880’s. “We have a wonderful horse racing following, especially here in Prince County,” said Vance Cameron, MC for the event. “Our numbers for attendance would be greater than what you can find in downtown Toronto with the Jockey Club… I mean, the people support us here incredibly.” Attendees were from all parts of the Island and every aspect of the standardbred industry. Dr. Colleen Dickie, president of the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association, came from Charlottetown to offer her support and present the Fan Favorite award. “Harness Racing is a very important industry to the Island,” she said. “If we want to see the industry survive, then we should be willing to put our time and effort into doing that by volunteering. This is why you see so many people tonight because they want the industry to do well, and they are willing to volunteer their time and effort.” Event sponsors included Noonan Petroleum, ALC Red Shores, and Meridian Farms. 2016 Award Winners Top Driver (50+ Starts): Marc Campbell Top Trainer (50+ Starts): Terry Gallant Top Percentage Driver (25-49 Starts): Keith Campbell Top Dash Winning Driver (25-49 Starts): Adam Merner Top Percentage Trainer (25-49 Starts) Ralph Sweet Top Dash Winning Trainer (25-49): Ralph Sweet and Sirfroi Melanson Groom of the Year: Madonna Morrison 2 Year Old Pacing Filly: Good Morning Ky 2 Year Old Pacing Colt: Mick Dundee 2 Year Old Trotting Filly: Revenue of Windemere 2 Year Old Trotting Colt: Howmacs Survivor 3 Year Old Pacing Filly: Every Time and Southfield Sassy 3 Year Old Pacing Colt: Heart and Soul 3 Year Old Trotting Filly: Rustico Duchess 3 Year Old Pacing Colt: Mr Bower Fan Favorite: Minor Wisdom Claimer of the Year: Casimir Luciano Aged Trotter of the Year: I Aint No Lady Aged Pacing Mare of the Year: Minor Wisdom Aged Pacing Horse of the Year: Motorino Horse of the Year: Casimir Luciano Breeder of the Year: Wendell Williams Frank Daniels Memorial: Sandra Cole Standardbred Canada Owner of the Year: Shelly Gass Philip and Henry Doucette Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award: Lloyd Hannah Garth Schurman Memorial: Jason Hughes Horsewoman of the Year: Deanna Clow Horseman of the Year: Ralph Sweet By Desiree Anstey Reprinted with permission of The Journal Pioneer

HARRISBURG PA - The Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has announced its award winners for their outstanding accomplishments in Pennsylvania harness racing during 2016.   And of the seven award categories put to the voters, three of them resulted in two winners - which was quite predictable!   Let's see how that could be:   --The Mary Lib Miller Award, named after the wife of Hall of Famer Delvin Miller and herself an integral part of Delvin's many success stories, is the highest award the Chapter gives annually, for overall outstanding contributions to Pennsylvania racing. This year, two members of the Bedford (PA) Sports Hall of Fame, Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, were the nominees, and there were three choices for the voters: Beegle individually, Hammer individually, or Beegle and Hammer jointly.   And the writers chose to honor both, longtime friendly rivals since their days both wrestling in southwest Pennsylvania area high schools. Their sports' accomplishments continue to this day - Hammer, an 8-time national U.D.R. champion, was the leading trainer and driver at the PA Fairs this past season, while Beegle, who also is in charge of his own shedrow and takes an occasional turn in the sulky, makes an impact, statewide as the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, and nationally as Chairman of USTA's District 7 (Pennsylvania).   --The PA Horse of the Year, restricted to horses who made more than 50% of their starts at a Keystone state oval and thus usually earned by a top-flight overnight horse, resulted in a tie between two Invitational pacers who both earned in the neighborhood of $120,000 just during their fine campaigns at The Meadows: the stallion Unlocked and the mare Medusa. This result also was not a shocker - for both Unlocked and Medusa had also tied for top honors when the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association gave their 2016 prizes!   --For PA Breeder of the Year, the Keystone voters cast an equal number of ballots for Bill Mulligan, breeder of Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder, and the legendary Hanover Shoe Farms, who bred $1M+-winning mare Hannelore Hanover - thus figuring the two "even closer" than the 2016 Trotter of the Year contest, where Marion Marauder edged Hannelore Hanover by a single vote!   Other award winners voted by the state communicators include:   --Double honors for North America's leading trainer Ron Burke, who won Pennsylvania Trainer of the Year for the eighth straight year, and also garnered Owner of the Year honors through his Burke Racing Stable LLC (a partnership with his mother Sylvia), who were picked for honors alongside their solid partners, the Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Mike Bruscemi and Mark Weaver.   --PA Driver of the Year laurels to Aaron Merriman, who has parlayed consistently high finishes in the driving ranks at The Meadows with consistent 1-2 rankings in the horseman's colony of Northfield Park to become the two-time defending North American dashwinning king among all drivers.   --PA Sire Stakes Horse of the Year Broadway Donna, a three-year-old trotting filly who was national champion at both two and three and the only sophomore to repeat from freshman form as the 2016 Sire Stakes champion. She earned $429,106 at 2 and 3 in PA Sire Stakes competition alone.   --And a special award from Chapter President Kevin Decker to Pastor Joe DiDonato, one of the most popular figures on the Meadows backstretch for many years, a man who brings calm, aid and comfort on several levels to the people to whom he ministers.   Each of the honorees will soon be feted at their home racetrack - unless it is decided to honor Beegle and Hammer together at the Bedford Fair in late July.   NOTE: in accompanying picture by Seth Dowling, pictured are Mary Lib Miller Award winners Sam Beegle (green/gray, to left) and Roger Hammer (blue/yellow/red, to right), going to the half in a contest at Meadville PA last year.  

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