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INVERNESS, N.S. — The Inverness Raceway held its annual awards banquet last Friday in Inverness, handing out the Cape Breton track’s prestigious harness racing awards from the 2018 race season. Doubleshotofscotch was named the horse of the year, while mare of the year was given to Modern Best and Makes Me Stupid and Bonny Mac were chosen for the iron horse award. Tipperback Jack was the most improved horse for 2018, while Intended Royalty took home the fastest mile for a local horse award. Claimer of the year was Shanghai BG. Red Doucet Jr., who also had the most drives during the year, took home the top driver over the age of 50 with 44 wins, followed by Rodney Gillis with 28 wins and Ryan Campbell with 24 victories. The top trainer over 50 was John MacDonald with 13 wins, followed closely by Lennan MacIsaac with 12 wins and DF Beaton and Wendall Harper with 11 wins each. Shawn MacDonald and Lanny Hanscombe were the top drivers in the 20-49 category while Alex Sutherland Jr. was the top trainer in the division. Ambrose Gillis was chosen as the rookie driver of the year while Matt Hinkley and Zack Mullins were selected as the rookie trainers of the year. The Gerard Kennedy Financial Award was presented to Mary MacQuarrie, while the Raymond (Slim) Gillis Award was given to Barry Watson. Meanwhile, the Standardbred Canada award went to John MacDonald. Dylan MacLean was the junior groom of the year. The volunteer of the year was awarded to Ed Copley, while the fan of the year was given to Jamie Campbell. The 2019 harness racing season will begin at Inverness Raceway on June 2. Full list of 2018 annual award winners: Horse of the Year: Doubleshotofscotch Mare of the Year: Modern Best Fastest Mile For Local Horse: Intended Royalty Iron Horse: Makes Me Stupid and Bonny Mac Mode of Consistency: Res Aiden Most Improved: Tipperback Jack Claimer of the Year: Shanghai BG Three-year-old Filly: This Old Millie Three-year-old Colt: Windmeredontmatter and Blackriver Ripper Two-year-old Filly: Miss Dynamite D Two-year-old Colt: TQs Charlie Top Trainer (50-plus): .466 with 13 wins John MacDonald, 12 wins Lennan MacIsaac, 11 wins DF Beaton and Wendall Harper, Top Trainer (20-49): .485 Alex Sutherland Jr. Top Driver (50-plus): .466 with 44 wins Red Doucet Jr., Rodney Gillis (28 wins), and Ryan Campbell (24) Top Drivers (20-49): .455 Shawn MacDonald and Lanny Hanscombe with six wins, Sandy MacNeil, Alex MacDonald, Joey Poirier with five wins, and Charles Fraser and Ambrose Gillis with four wins Most Drives: Red Doucet Jr. Rookie Driver: Ambrose Gillis Rookie Trainers: Matt Hinkley and Zack Mullins Junior Groom: Dylan MacLean Gerard Kennedy Financial Award: Mary MacQuarrie Fan of the Year: Jamie Campbell Standardbred Canada Award: John MacDonald Raymond (Slim) Gillis Award: Barry Watson Volunteer of the Year: Ed Copley Recognition Award: Malcolm MacEachern, DF Beaton and Charles Fraser Appreciation Award: Bernie MacDonald, Kevin Deagle and Richie Mullins Reprinted with permission of The Cape Breton Post

Who is the greatest 3rd Baseman of all time? My pick is Brooks Robinson, perhaps your choice is Wade Boggs, Chopper Jones or Mike Schmidt. We can agree to disagree. Who belongs in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, like the baseball topic it is cause for much healthy lively debate as we rally behind our choices like reading off our favorite baseball card and rattle off stats like Hollywood Heyden for support of our star. Everyone has their own viewpoint on the many of the possible outstanding candidates, along with and their opinions on the process such an individual goes through to be enshrined in Goshen's Hall of Fame. What most people don't realize is that there is already a lengthy and involved process with checks and balances that must be adhered to for a worthy candidate to even be considered. First and foremost, in order to receive any consideration a candidate's name must be put forth to a USHWA Chapter and approved. The Process Each Chapter of USHWA nominates individuals that their membership feels have met the criteria and warrant being in the Hall of Fame, Chapter meetings are usually conducted between now and the end of May. USHWA's Advisory Committee, a group of veteran USHWAns, annually prepares biographies for twenty top candidates for the Hall. Chapters may nominate up to two candidates from these twenty. Chapters receive this "Book of 20" on May 1. Each chapter may also nominate one individual outside this twenty, providing they send in a 350-700-word biography clearly capturing why this person deserves recognition for their North American lifetime accomplishments. Integrity Committee USHWA's Integrity Committee gets involved in this nominating process twice - to examine the Advisory Committee's twenty people before the list is distributed to the Chapters, and then again to examine anyone else the Chapters may nominate. The Integrity Committee checks the records and background of nominees, assuring they meet with the sport's highest standards. HOF Screening Committee Once all the candidates have been reviewed, vetted and approved by the Integrity Committee, the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, consisting of six longtime journalists and the President of USHWA, will meet in Goshen the first weekend of July. They will discuss the candidates among themselves, get the advice of a specially-appointed Committee of present Hall of Famers, and then decide who will advance to the midsummer balloting Don't be a Monday Morning Quarterback, If you feel strongly that you have a viable candidate with national recognition that warrants Hall of Fame consideration, contact the President of your local USHWA Chapter to discuss inclusion of your candidate. By Shawn Wiles - President of USHWA

Saturday night's Filly and Mare Open Pace is named for Larry and Eileen Brodbar, recipients of the harness racing 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the California Harness Horsemen's Association. "This is truly an honor for us," said Eileen Brodbar. Larry and Eileen were married in 1980 and it was Larry, who cut his teeth on the trotters and pacers at New York's Monticello Raceway, who introduced his wife to the game up close and personal. "In 1987, there was harness racing at Fairplex Park and there was ad in the program for a seminar for potential new owners," Eileen related. "Ann and Jonn McGregor were there as well as Andy Perez, and that along with some advice from Alan Horowitz led us to buying into our first horse." The Brodbars became partners with the McGregors in a newly-turned 3-year-old named Pasadena Phantom and they were off and running, or more accurately in this case, pacing. Pasadena Phantom worked his way up the ranks and eventually became an Invitational winner, one of many outstanding performers who have joined Larry and Eileen in the winner's circle not only in California, but across the country. The best they ever bred was Iwannawinbets, while Eileen estimates the best they've ever campaigned in partnership is Show Runner. In between, they have been represented by the likes of Solid Bet and the New Zealand trio of Jay Bees Risk, Gifted Lobell and Bobby's Dream. "Risky Broad, who is a daughter of Jay Bees Risk, is currently our broodmare," Brodbar noted. One of Eileen's major contributions to the sport came at Los Alamitos in the 80's and early 90's when she was responsible for Clocker's Corner, which educated people about harness racing with drivers, trainers and handicappers on scene to make it a well-rounded and educational experience. "I'm very proud of the what we were able to accomplish with those seminars," she stated. Said CHHA Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Robin Clements, "The Brodbars have stuck with California through the good and the bad times and they still support and love the sport." Cal Expo congratulates Larry and Eileen Brodbar on this well-deserved recognition. Outrageousdelightn sets sights on another score Outrageousdelightn, who has accounted for two of the last three top dances at the meet, heads the cast for Saturday night's Larry and Eileen Brodbar Filly and Mare Open Pace. There are 11 races on tap, including the co-featured Robert Gordon Prep, with first post under the Watch and Wager LLC banner set for 6:10 p.m. Outrageousdelightn has captured two of the last three Distaff Opens since coming in from the East. The 10-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight races for Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Tyler Wiseman with Kathie Plested conditioning. In last week's clash at the head of the class, driver Steve Wiseman was able to work out a pocket trip behind favored Delightfully Wild, eased out for the drive and got the job done by three-quarters of a length. Capitol Hill accounted for three straight Filly and Mare Opens between November 10 and December 15 and gives the Plested barn two big looks at the outcome. The 8-year-old Badlands Hanover mare is owned by of George McChrystal and Plested. Rounding out the cast are Magnifique, Misspanderosajones, Along Came Jane, Bettor Lady, Burn My Villa and Getter Queen Flush. The Robert Gordon Prep will match a field of eight as they get ready for next week's Final. Urgointohearmeroar has won four of this five starts at the meet and looms large for owner Mark Anderson, trainer Gordie Graham and regular pilot Mooney Svendsen. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

Sheila Napier, who works in the Chris Beaver Stable, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Caretaker of the Year Award sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HRRNP) in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Napier, 37, has worked for Beaver for three years, and in 2018 her horses included the $500,000-winning 3-year-old filly trotter Custom Cantab. She also had four horses that made the Ohio Sires Stakes championship card at Scioto Downs, including three in the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot. Prior to working for Beaver, Napier's 10-year stint with Ron Potter including being the caretaker of the 2011 Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John. "I've always read about this award and this is really great," said Napier, a native of Cincinnati whose first job working with horses came while in high school in 1995 at the Delaware (Ohio) Equine Lab. "I've been doing this for a long time and something I looked forward to as far as possibly getting, but maybe in Ohio and not this big." 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 Napier as the winner. Beaver nominated Napier, and in his letter he noted, "Sheila takes unrivaled pride in the condition of her horses. I can rest at ease when she has a horse racing. I know it will get on the road on time and will be wearing all the right equipment, even if I can't make it. "Her horses are never shorted on the care that I expect for them and that is required," added the Ohio-based Beaver, who also winter trains at Spring Garden Ranch in Florida. "She can't stay away from her horses. She truly loves them and takes incredible pride in their accomplishments. My life would be a lot easier if more grooms brought the passion into their work that Sheila has." Napier said she usually has at least eight horses under her care in the Beaver barn, and it was Custom Cantab who was the star in 2018. Included among Custom Cantab's 13 wins were the Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final at Hoosier Park and the season-ending Matron at Dover Downs. "Oh, that filly," said Napier, whose travels always include her 11-year-old daughter Jess. "Custom Cantab is one of those special little fillies that wants to finish in the top three her whole life. She's quite sassy, amazing and full of heart. I absolutely love that filly; she is very special." As winner of the HRRNP Caretaker of the Year Award, Napier will receive a cash prize of $500, transportation, hotel accommodations and two tickets to USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, where she will be presented a trophy. Napier, along with all the USHWA 2018 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.usha.net. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park/USHWA  

Dover, DE - On Friday, January 11 The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA) held their 22nd Annual Harness Racing Awards Dinner.   On this evening the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund Champions were also honored, along with some other awards deserving recognition. The awards were emceed by Heather Vitale and Bill Ellis. In the beginning of the evening, a special tribute video was also played to honor the memory of Hall of Famer and Dover Downs Publicity Director Marv Bachrad, who recently passed away. A highlights video from the DSOA-produced Post Time Show, which airs on the local CBS affiliate, was also shown before the awards were given out. There were seven DSOA scholarships awarded totaling $7,000 dollars. The winners of those scholarships were Lena Berry, Sydney Botsch, Amanda Bowman, Camryn Dennis, Brendan Gray, Alleigh Townsend and Riley Wolfenden. Several legislators came out to celebrate our Standardbred industry's stars on this evening including: Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor. Bethany Hall-Long, Senator Trey Paradee, Senator Dave Wilson, Representative Gerald Brady, Representative Ruth Briggs-King, Rep Ron Gray, Representative John Kowalko, Representative Shannon Morris, Representative Charles Postles, Representative Mike Ramone, Rep Lyndon Yearick and retired Senator Nancy Cook. The DSOA Directors are President Andy Markano, 1st Vice President Brenda Bramble, 2nd Vice President George Dennis, Treasurer Frank Deliberti, Secretary Frannie West, Richard Ashley, Jim King Jr., Vic Kirby, Charles Marsh, George Teague Jr., Valerie Warnick & Ross Wolfenden. Also in attendance were representatives of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission and Delaware Department of Agriculture including: Chairwoman Beth Ann Steele, Commissioner George Statts, Commissioner Pat Wagner, Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger and Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse. The following is a list of award winners from the evening: HARRINGTON RACEWAY AWARDS Claimer of the Meet at Harrington Raceway -AUNT BETTY Owner: Ron Davis - Trainer: Brooks Gray Trotter of the Meet at Harrington Raceway - MURMUR HANOVER Owner: Zippett Racing Stable - Trainer: Jay Gannon Pacer of the Meet at Harrington Raceway - FOOLISH HEART Owner: Tom Lazzaro & Brit Evans - Trainer: Dylan Davis DOVER DOWNS AWARDS Claimer of the Meet at Dover Downs - MISTER VIRGIN Owner: Ron Davis - Trainer: Brooks Gray Trotter of the Meet at Dover Downs - THERESADEMONINME Owner: Michael Casalino & Dylan Davis - Trainer: Dylan Davis Pacer of the Meet at Dover Downs - BODEGA BAY Owner & Trainer: Gary Ewing Special Recognition Award- LATHER UP The Delaware-owned and trained three-year-old pacer had and incredible year including a win in the North America Cup. Owned by Gary & Barbara Isles - Trained by Clyde Francis Driven by Montrell Teague Special Recognition Award - SHARTIN N The Dan Patch Award winner, became the first pacing mare in history to win a million dollars and is First State trained and co-owned. Owned by Rich Poillucci & Jo Ann Looney-King - Trained by Jim King Jr. Driven by Tim Tetrick President's Special Appreciation Award - DE SEC. OF FINANCE RICK GEISENBERGER The Delaware Secretary of Finance is a huge supporter of the business and an important part of our Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund program. James T. Case Jr. Horizon Award - JOE COLUMBO The award is presented to a young horseperson who is a rising star on our Delaware circuit. The Delaware Standardbred Breeeders Fund Awards were also given out on this evening. The list of winners are as follows: Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - DISCO SOLIEL Breeder & Owner: Rod Allen Trainer: Rod Allen & Carlo Poliseno Driver: Rod Allen Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - THE LADY SHERIFF Breeder: George Teague Jr. & K&R Racing Owner: George Teague Jr., K&R Racing & Montrell Teague Trainer: Clyde Francis Driver: Montrell Teague Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trotter - EMBRACE THE GRIND Breeder: Leigh & Tyler Raymer Owner & Trainer: Bobby Glassmeyer Driver: Jon Roberts Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer - CHILLAXIN AWAY Breeder & Owner: Jo Ann Looney-King Trainer: Jim King Jr. Driver: Vic Kirby & Tim Tetrick Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - STAR SAPPHIRE Breeder Serendipity Stable Owner: Shirley Shand Trainer: Tui Stone Driver: Russell Foster Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - GO SANDY GO Breeder: Brent Outten & Green Racing Owner: Richard Lombardo, Brent Outten & Green Racing Trainer: Josh Green Driver: Jason Green Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - SUPER FLY Breeder: Marvin & David Meyer Owner: Stacy Johnson-Stafford, Leigh Raymer & StephenMoss Trainer & Driver: Art Stafford Jr. Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - SLICK TONY Breeder, Owner & Trainer: George Leager Driver: Russell Foster Pacing Broodmare Of The Year - QUEEN KATHY Owner: George Leager Dam of DSBF Champ Slick Tony Trotting Broodmare Of The Year - MLT FEDS Owner: Ronald Whitehouse Dam of Super Fly & Spunky MLT Delaware Standardbred Owners Association.

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Fair Managers inducted Mel Hagemeyer, Jacqueline and Jack Wood II and Darrel D. “Cubby” Cubbison into the Ohio Fairs Hall of Fame class of 2019, Jan. 6. Hagemeyer Hagemeyer has contributed to the fair community in Warren County for more than 60 years. Hagemeyer has been on the Warren County Agricultural Society Board since 2002 and has worked at the Lebanon Raceway 45 years, serving as program director, mutual clerk, paddock judge, director of operations, and since 1992, general manager. He has served as served as the fair harness racing superintendent for 12 years. Mel has also been the open class superintendent of antique tractors, competitive arts, baked goods and horticulture. For the last five years, Hagemeyer was one of the driving forces behind getting video terminals legalized at Ohio’s horse tracks. Mel is a member of the Optimist, Shrine, Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rites Lodge. He is a past president and current member of the Ohio Valley Standard Bred Association, the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and the United States Trotting Association. Mel is also a past director for Harness Tracks of America. Mel is actively involved in the multi-generational operation of Hagemeyer Farms in Clarksville, Ohio. He has been married to Pam for 34 years. They have four children, Scott, Tiffany, Steven and Cheryl, and five grandchildren. The Woods Jack was born and raised in the concession business by his father. Jack missed two fair seasons in his lifetime due to two tours of duty in Vietnam. Two weeks out of the Navy, he attended the 1971 OFMA convention and was elected to the seat held by his father on the Greater Ohio Showman Board. He served on that board for 22 years with four years as president. Jacqueline and Jack started out buying two trailers from Jack’s parents in 1971. After Jack’s  time on the Greater Ohio Showman board, he served on the board of the National Independent Concessionaires Association for five years with one as president. Jack has served three terms on the Ohio Food Service Advisory board and several years on the Games Rules Advisory board. Jack and Jacqueline started and operated Rite-Way Custom Trailer for 25 years, building concession trailers for the industry. Jacqueline served on many committees for the Greater Ohio Showman Association. She belongs to the Women in NICA committee, was secretary of the Logan County Fair, Indian Lake school board, Daughter of the American Revolution and earned the Certified Concessionaire Executive designation. Jack and Jacqueline have been the food midway concession manager at the Warren County Fair for more than 30 years. They have been married more than 51 years. They have two children, who are continuing the legacy of Woods Concessions, and three grandchildren. Cubbison Cubbison is a lifelong resident of Muskingum County. He was an active 4-H member who showed chicken and sheep, then later became a 4-H adviser. After serving six years in the National Guard, part of which was active duty, Darrel operated Cubby’s Poultry. He retired from Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative, Inc. Cubby has always had a passion for fairs and has visited nearly every fair in the state, along with many fairs in the eastern half of the United States. He has served on the board of the Muskingum County Fair since 1972 and has led the board through many building projects and property negotiations. He has served as the OFMA District 7 director and received the OFMA District Director of the Year in 2009. He has also served as the first and second vice president of the OFMA and served as the OFMA president in 2014 and 2015. Darrel is active in his community where he has been a 4-H adviser, Sunday School teacher and lay leader at his church, a member of the local Board of Trade, and serves on the board of directors of both Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center and the John and Annie Glenn Historic site. Darrel is also a past member of Caret Council Agricultural Research Extension and Teaching. Darrel was inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame for East Muskingum Schools in 1996. He also received the Bob and Delores Hope Good Samaritan Award in 1996 for his contributions to his community. He was recognized by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and received recognition of outstanding public service and support of the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service and its educational programs from the Epsilon Sigma Phi. Darrel and his wife Carol operate a small grassland farm near New Concord, Ohio. He has two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Pictured (left to right): Jack Wood II, Jacqueline Wood, Darrel D. “Cubby” Cubbison and Mel Hagemeyer. Reprinted with permission of the Farm And Dairy

HARRISBURG, PA - John Polvinale, who started the Facebook page Harness Racing History to share his extensive collection of memorabilia and has curated it to grow into one of harness racing's most popular sites in the new technology, has been named the winner of a President's Award by U.S. Harness Writers Association head Shawn Wiles for its contribution to the knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by people both inside and outside of the sport. Polvinale first went to the races at Roosevelt Raceway when the track's age was still in single digits, then furthered his knowledge on the backstretch of Freehold Raceway, where trainer "Big Mike" Petito urged him to purchase a horse named Steady New Yorker in 1979. "In his first start for me, he went off at double digits, but he still won by eight lengths, with Jack Moiseyev driving. I thought this sport was going to be a piece of cake - which, of course, has not turned out to be the case." But the inevitable ups and downs of racing did nothing to deter Polvinale's enthusiasm for the game, with his love of history also leading him to assemble a large collection of harness-related materials, books, trophies - you name it. "I had started to watch race replays on the Internet and social media, and with the encouragement of friends who wanted me to share my collection, I decided to use these emerging media to start Harness Racing History." Extensive collection of memorabilia Polvinale soon found that his new site had struck resonantly with many harness racing fans - and also with people with only a passing or little knowledge of the sport. "It started with people that I knew," John remembered, "but then those people talked to people in their own 'circles,' including those not in racing," and a "ripple effect" was soon evident, with those outside the sulky community finding items and people that interested them. Harness Racing History just broke the 30,000 "member" plateau, and in a given month will have 100,000 "engagements" (posts, comments, likes, views). The site's viewership is 60-40 male-female, and 60% fall within the desired 25-54 age range demographic. It was Polvinale who started the Facebook page, doing most of the early postings, and he still checks the site "about once during most of my waking hours," watching for any signs of commercialism or incivility, both of which are quickly eradicated. However, he is very proud that now "it's mostly the members, the visitors to the site who have determined its 'shape,' and are the drivers of what appears on the website. We know of certain trends, say people who want to see the replays of certain races at certain times, but it's really our audience who are the content shapers with their postings and comments. "One of the things that gives me the greatest satisfaction is that the site has become a place where 'family reunites' - people who haven't heard from another party for 20 or 30 years will see some experience they had in common and make a comment, and old friendships are reborn." Polvinale's catchwords for operating the site are "pure" and "simple," and those feelings resonate so much that when USHWA president Wiles told John of his winning the award, Shawn used those very words in congratulating Polvinale - "and it was evident he had captured the spirit of the site exactly." John Polvinale will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

West Cork, IE - The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation Awards 2018 Dinner was recently held and the ITHRF has made a wonderful video of the awards night. Video courtesy of David Sheehy  Click on link to watch the video,    ITHRF AWARDS 2018 .m4v   The 2018 ITHRF awards night was held last Friday night at The Drimoleague Inn.    The "oscars" for Harness Racing in the South Of Ireland were presented to both the young and old in the sport.   The Murphy family who run the IB Stables in Baltimore took three of the awards with Donal getting driver of the year his brother Tadhg received trainer of the year and his son Eoin was judged as joint saddle jockey winner.   Near neighbour of the Murrphy boys Kieran Sheehy was the recipient of trotter of the year Everyfor Vigo De Bassiere who also claimed the national award and the Sheehy family were guests of Le Trot in Paris recently to honour the French bred gelding.   This scribe is the proud owner of the pacer of 2019 Meadowbranch Demon the veteran securing a well deserved gong.   It was an emotional night for the O'Donovan family from Leap who were on hand to accept the best meeting of the season for The Red John Memorial meeting which was a huge success with record attendances and record purse money.   The achievements of Reclamation and Rebel Rouser who were exported to the USA were also mentioned.   Everyone is looking forward to 2019 in the Cork region as they are set to begin in early May with Portmarnock Raceway to open on St Patrick's Day March 17th.   From Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

New Zealand bred, Breckon Farms bred, had a big week in three Countries this past week wiith harness racing winners in New Zealand (Elle Mac), North America (Never Say Never N) and Australia (Miss Streisand). The winning started at the Auckland Trotting Cup Meeting on New Year's Eve with Jean Fiess owned Elle Mac putting up a sensational run in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres recording her 11th victory in just the 22 starts for stakes off $519,827. Elle Mac now has six track records to her credit including two overall New Zealand records for a four-year-old and older mare. Elle Mac is bred on the golden cross, she is a Bettor's Delight from a Christian Cullen mare, the same as champion Lazarus and many others that are racing. Elle Mac winning in a New Zealand record of a 1:51.6 mile rate over 1700 metres Your chance of securing a close relation to Elle Mac has improved dramatically with three outstanding entries from the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February. Lot 6 an American Ideal filly from a race winning full-sister to Elle Mac, Lot 12 an American Ideal filly from a race winning Mach Three sister to Elle Mac and Lot 18 an Art Major colt brother to Elle Mac who is appropriately called Billion Dollar Boy. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy is a colt by Art Major from Goodlookinggirl by Christian Cullen from the Butler BG mare Twice As Good. Billion Dollar Boy is the first colt from Goodlookinggirl. Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy The stallion Art Major needs no introduction. He has sired the winners of over $122 million in North America alone. In New Zealand he has sired the winners of over $13 million and in Australia he has sired the winners of over $51 million.  The second winner this last week for Breckon Farms was Miss Streisand, the A Rocknroll Dance half-sister to Elle Mac, who won at Newcastle this past Friday night in New South Wales, Australia. Miss Streisand has been unbeaten in her last five seasonal starts putting together a very good record of 16 starts lifetime for 9 wins, 4 placings and earning $115,000 in the process taking a record of 1:53 flat. Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Lot 18 - Billion Dollar Boy featured above and of course Miss Streisand is a half-sister to Elle Mac. What more needs to be said for this great family of Elle Mac, Miss Streisand and especially for the close  relations of these outstanding winners in the Breckon Farms draft at the Inaugural 2019 National Yearling Sale held in Karaka, Auckland, on the 17th and 18th of February.  Miss Streisand winning her fifth race on end at Newcastle on Friday night The third winner this last week for Breckon Farms was the ever improving Never Say Never N winning at Dover Downs in North America on Thursday of this past week and what a win it was. It was his second win in a row and 18th lifetime from 58 starts and it was a very impressive victory in 1:50.4 a new lifetime nark, and he beat home the former New Zealand open class pacer Tiger Thompson N who was having his first start on American soil finishing second.   RACE 7 - Dover Downs - DE - January 3, 2019  Conditions: WINNERS OVER $9,500 (DE $11,400) LAST 6 STARTS OR WINNERS OVER $110,000 LIFETIME    Gait: Pace     Purse: $14,000     Class: WO9500L6     Distance: 1 mile     Track Cond: FT     Temp-Allow: 45-0     Off Time: 6:21 PM HN  Horse  PP  1/4  1/2  3/4  Str  Finish Actual LQ Odds  Driver  Trainer     3  Never Say Never N  3  3°/2Q  1/1H  1/Q  1/1H  1/1 1:50.4  28.1 *1.70   Corey Callahan  Dylan Davis         1  Tiger Thompson N  1  5/5T  5°/3  4°/1Q  3/2H  2/1 1:51.0  28.1 7.40   Art Stafford Jr  Joshua Parker         6  Last Gunfighter  6  1/2  2/1H  3/1Q  2/1H  3/1Q 1:51.0  28.1 7.30   Mike Cole  Joseph Columbo         8  Sweet Rock  8  8/10Q  8°/6  8°/3T  6/3T  4/2T 1:51.2  28.0 17.40   Allan Davis  Wayne Givens         7  Soto  7  2/2  4/2T  5/2Q  4/3H  5/3 1:51.2  28.2 6.40   Russell Foster  Eric Ell         5  Machiavelli  5  7/8T  7/5H  7/3T  7/4Q  6/3Q 1:51.2  28.0 28.10   Victor Kirby  Mark Harder         4  Sprinter N  4  4/4Q  3°/1T  2°/Q  5/3H  7/3H 1:51.2  28.4 1.70   Tim Tetrick  Michael Hall         2  Star Messenger  2  6/7Q  6°/4H  6°/2T  8/5Q  8/4Q 1:51.3  28.2 33.60   Anthony Morgan  Gary Ewing       Time:  26.2 54.3  (28.1) 1:22.3  (28.0) 1:50.4  (28.1)     HN  Horse  Driver Win  Place  Show    3  Never Say Never N  Corey Callahan 5.40  3.60  2.80    1  Tiger Thompson N  Art Stafford Jr   6.20  4.20    6  Last Gunfighter  Mike Cole     4.00       Wager Type  Numbers/Payouts Pool     Exacta  (3-1 $42.00)      Trifecta  (3-1-6 $227.80)      Superfecta  (3-1-6-8 $853.40)       1st Never Say Never N  (6, H   Bettor`s Delight - Maid In Splendor - Christian Cullen) Registered Owner(s)/Lessee(s):  Thomas Lazzaro - NY Breeder(s):   ** View Top 3 Finishers (-) 2nd Tiger Thompson N  (6, G   Big Jim - Aziza - Pacific Rocket) Registered Owner(s):  Nanticoke Racing Inc - DE, Joshua Parker - DE, Stephen Messick - DE, Prestige Stable - DE Breeder(s):  H 3rd Last Gunfighter  (5, H   Rocknroll Hanover - One Last Kiss - Artsplace) Registered Owner(s):  George & Tina Dennis Racing - DE Breeder(s):  Steve Jones - NY   Never Say Never N was sold to North America by JC International in November 2016 and has been a good earner there making a tidy $236,728 to date. Before he was exported, Never Say Never N had only five starts in New Zealand for trainer Ken Barron, for one win at Ashburton over 2600 metres rating a 2.05.9 mile rate over the distance. When he arrived in North America Never Say Never N won his first five races in a row with the last of those five wins coming in the $61,800 Sagamore Hill Final at the half-mile oval of Yonkers Raceway in 1:54.2 which was a great effort for a new import from New Zealand. Never Say Never N is the first foal of the Group placed race winning mare Maid In Splendour who has produced three to the races for three winners to date. A full-sister to Never Say Never N was a recent winner for The Allstars stable at Addington called Ruby Rose. Another full-brother is entered in the inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka on the 18th of February 2019. Entered on behalf of The Breckon Farms draft as Lot 58 this full-brother to Never Say Never N  is called Pace N Pride and is the fifth foal of Maid In Splendour. Lot 58 - Pace N Pride Pace N Pride is by Bettor's Delight, who needs no introduction as he is the dominant leading pacing stallion in the world right now, yes that is right he is the overall leading money winning sire in all four Countries, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. Bettor's Delight has bred over 7,500 mares in all Countries and he is heading towards $300 million in progeny earnings right now. Maid In Splendour Maid In Splendour is from the race winning and now great producing Holmes Hanover mare Diamonds N Gold, dam of ten winners to date including Diamonds N Furs 1:54.8f ($231,399). Diamonds N Gold is a half-sister to the super racehorse Desperate Comment ($1,033,065) who won many races including the 1996 $250,000 Victoria Cup seen here; Harnesslink Media

When harness racing owner Brad Grant heard the news last April about the accident that claimed the lives of 16 people aboard a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, he knew he wanted to help. Grant, whose own involvement in Canadian junior hockey stretches more than three decades, was uncertain what to do, but came upon the answer as he looked at a page of racing entries. Earlier in the year, Grant had bought a pacer named Humboldt. Grant decided to donate the horse's earnings for the remainder of the month to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Assistance Program, which was created to raise funds for all people affected by the accident. Humboldt, the horse, raised $15,000 for the fund. Horse owner Tom Rankin also contributed purse earnings to the program, pushing the figure to nearly $25,000. For his efforts, Grant has been named the 2018 recipient of the January Davies Humanitarian Award presented by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. The award was created in 2008 by U.S. Harness Writers Association member Callie Davies-Gooch in memory of her daughter to recognize contributions beyond harness racing. "Brad is the epitome of what this award is about," Davies-Gooch said. "His work in the community, not only in this instance but in many others, is a great example of humanitarianism and he is a perfect choice for this award." Grant, a resident of Milton, Ontario, said he was surprised by the recognition. "I think there are a lot of good people that do a lot of good things, but I'm honored," Grant said. "I've known Callie all my life. To receive this in memory of her daughter is really quite an honor." Grant, the leading owner on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit in 2018, is also on the volunteer board of the Milton District Hospital Foundation, which raises funds for facilities and equipment. In addition, Grant has held several positions in the Ontario Hockey Association, including chairman. In 1986, he purchased the Milton Merchants junior hockey club and saved the team from folding. The Merchants won four division titles, three league championships, and a provincial crown before Grant sold the team in 2001. In November, Grant was inducted into the Milton Sports Hall of Fame for his work with the program. It was his connection to junior hockey that fueled his desire to help the people affected by the Humboldt tragedy. "Hockey has been a big part of my life and I know many of the people out there in junior hockey," Grant said. "That's something people are never going to forget; it's a tragedy beyond tragedies. To be able to get something going and support those who are going to need help down the road, my wife and I are very big supporters of health care in our local community at the hospital, so it was a no-brainer for us to do something. In my mind it was the least we could do." On the racetrack, Grant enjoyed a banner year. In February, his horses won three 2017 O'Brien Awards - Stay Hungry, Bettor's Up, and Sandbetweenurtoes. His highlight on the track came in August when he watched filly Atlanta win the Hambletonian, but he also owned multiple-stakes-winner Stay Hungry and six-figure-earners Babes Dig Me, Dr J Hanover, Easy Lover Hanover, Captain Trevor, B Yoyo, Witch Dali, Bettor's Up, Captain Ahab, and Missle Hill. In December, Atlanta was named the Dan Patch Award-winner for best 3-year-old female trotter. "There were a lot of highs this year," Grant said. "It's going to be hard to top, but I'd sure love to give it a try. We're hoping for good things for some of our 3-year-olds coming back and it looks like we have a nice crop of (2-year-olds). They're all going good, which at this time of year it's really hard to get excited, but they seem to know what they're supposed to do and their breeding says they should know what to do so we'll keep our fingers crossed. "It's going to be hard to top last year, but just to be a part of it, that's the exciting part." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association  

London, January 3, 2019 -- Veteran trotter Spicey Victor and pacing mare Casino Classic will headline the winners of the Raceway at Western Fair District's 2018 harness racing awards. Spicey Victor captured both Aged Male Trotter and Claiming Trotter of the Year while Casino Classic picks up her second Raceway Award - she will be honoured as top Older Pacing Mare after capturing Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year last year. Officials with The Raceway have announced the majority of the track's 2018 award winners to be honoured during the Western Fair's annual awards night, which will take place this year on Saturday, February 23. The Raceway's top performers for 2018 will be honoured in a variety of categories. Awards for the three-year-olds and older horses are based on the top money earners who made at least six starts at The Raceway during 2018. The top claimer awards are based on total number of claiming wins at The Raceway in the same calendar year. Trainer Patrick Shepherd will take home his first Raceway Trainer of the Year award while Scott Coulter will be honoured with his first Top Driver award. The Owner of the Year award, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, goes to the owner who finished in the top 10 for money winnings and had the highest number of starters during the season. The popular Caretaker of the Year award will be handed out once again. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Friday, February 1st. To nominate someone, send an email outlining their contributions to one of the following: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com, sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com, ggangle@westernfairdistrict.com, or aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway will announce its Horse of the Year the night of the event. The Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award, Caretaker of the Year and Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year awards will also be announced at the event. The evening will include dinner and dancing. Tickets go on sale beginning Friday, January 11th with the deadline to purchase on Wednesday, February 20th. Anyone interested in attending should note that tickets for this year's event will not be sold at the door so are urged to purchase before the deadline. They will be available in both the race office and marketing department. For more information, call 519-438-7203 (Ext. 299). A list of the 2018 Raceway Award winners appears below. Older Pacing Horse • Artistic Pick Older Pacing Mare • Casino Classic Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Maximus Power Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Together We Run Older Trotting Horse • Spicey Victor Older Trotting Mare • Espoir Go Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • P C Glideline Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Miller Time Claiming Pacer • So Long Sugar Claiming Trotter • Spicey Victor Driver • Scott Coulter Trainer • Patrick Shepherd Owner • Rebecca Williamson Greg Blanchard  

HARRISBURG PA -- Heather Vitale, secretary of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), international harness racing video journalist, self-proclaimed "Harness Racing's Firework," two-time Sam McKee Broadcasters Award winner, and probably the only person in harness racing who both holds Madonna as a role model and also has her own Wikipedia page, has been announced by USHWA President Shawn Wiles as the organization's Member of the Year. "Make no mistake about it, there is only one Heather Vitale!" USHWA president Wiles said. "Her colorful and lively persona always adds excitement to any event. We look forward to seeing Heather again at this year's Dan Patch Awards Dinner, on the Red Carpet, as we have for many years. She has been a great voice and face for Harness Racing in her region and for USHWA." Heather comes from a multi-generational harness family in Delaware. Her mother, Jo Ann Looney King, was the first woman to drive a winner at The Meadowlands, and she is the co-owner of 2018's outstanding pacing mare Shartin N, trained by husband Jim King Jr. Heather is a graduate of Monmouth (NJ) University, with a focus on public relations/journalism, and she chose to follow that career path rather than working with the horses. Her show "Post Time" has aired on the CBS affiliate in the Delmarva region for some twenty years, and she also co-hosts the weekly show "Pennsylvania Harness Week," a position in which she has served for nearly a decade. She has worked for ESPN and for the Little Brown Jug network. But a person of Heather's ambition, flamboyance, and talent cannot of course be confined to any one country. Her journalistic travels have taken her not only to Canada, a logical extension because of the fluency of the U.S./Canada harness crossing, but also to Ireland and Australia, where she appeared as an on-air reporter during a major stakes day. (And speaking of international recognizability, Heather was also a driving force behind getting the richest harness horse world-wide, Foiled Again, into the famous "stable" of Breyer collectible horse models.) Heather is a prolific user of social media since its inception, with many followers of her frequent postings on the various platforms. "I'm not a bettor," she says, "so I focus my stories on the horses and the people in the sport, trying to tell their interesting stories, and trying to appeal to people to come out to the track and watch the races. I want to expose the sport outside of the fans we already have." Her presentation is tirelessly upbeat and positive in the service of harness racing. Perhaps the best summation of Heather Vitale was offered by Joe Thomson of Winbak Farms, who once told her, "The best business I could be in is to bottle your attitude and sell it." The Harness Writers Association has benefited a great deal from her attitude and her talents, and that's why she has been named USHWAn of the Year. Heather Vitale (and her family in their connections to Shartin N) will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). Jerry Connors      

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) hosted its Annual Awards Banquet December 2 at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2018 harness racing season. Awards were given to the 2 and 3-year old champions across the three racings series: the New York Sire Stakes, the Excelsior Series and the County Fair Series. This season's NYSS "Night of Champions" was held at the Yonkers Raceway on September 22. Taking home a combined $1.8 million in purses were champions Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie), Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows), Money Shot Hanover (Art Major-Marinade Hanover), Reigning Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Little Miss K), Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato), Helpisontheway (Chapter Seven-Porque), Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom), and Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven-Capelo Rose). The title of Leading Breeder went to Winbak Farm, Linda Toscano took home Leading Trainer and Jim Morrill Jr. was honored with Leading Driver of 2018. The 2019 Night of Champions' date was unveiled during the awards banquet. New York's richest night of racing will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Batavia Downs. The evening honored the NYSS Excelsior Champions, who took home $55,000 each at Saratoga Casino Hotel on September 23. The 2018 champions are Lifetime Credit (Credit Winner-Mariah De Vie), Labadee As (Conway Hall-Smith Hall), Heavens Challenge (Rock N Roll Heaven-Challenge Accepted), Cal (American Ideal-Hula's Z Tam), Michando (Muscle Mass-Haul'n Fanny), Nows The Moment (Credit Winner-Glide By), Special Kay Deo (American Ideal-Little Miss K), and Thor De Vie (So Surreal-Pebblebeach De Vie). The evening also celebrated the NYSS County Fair Champions, crowned at Monticello Raceway on September 6, following two months of racing at 20 county fairs across New York State. Each final carried a purse of $10,000, collected by Golden Gypsy (Ulay Boko-Uffra Girl), Hereyago (Muscle Mass-End of Innocence), Lily Hammer (So Surreal-Jens Underdog), Cal (Roll With Joe-Crystal De Vie), Good Luck Ginny (Lucky Chucky-Classical Ginny), Royal Bahama (RC Royalty - Becca J), Heaven's Diva (Rock N Roll Heaven-Village Bolero), and Super Roll (Roll With Joe-Calista). Joseph Chinado Sr. took home Leading Trainer, and his son, Joseph Chindano Jr. took home the title of Leading Driver of 2018. "It's always a special evening to be able to reflect on the past season and relive so many of the impressive moments from the New York Sire Stakes," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We want to thank Batavia Downs for their incredible hospitality and we look forward to being back here next fall for the 2019 Night of Champions." The USTA District 8 Champions recognized at the banquet included Winndevie, Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna), Brooklyn Lilacs (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sombodythatiustono), Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star), Atlanta (Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip), Perlucky (Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl), Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie), and Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N). Atlanta took home the coveted title of Horse of the Year, while Toscano was named as Trainer of the Year, Morrill Jr. as Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year and Chindano Jr. as County Fair Driver of The Year. The Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal was awarded to longtime NYSS supporter and Standardbred owner, Kenneth Jacobs. The medal is presented annually by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State in recognition of outstanding contributions to harness horse racing and the improvement of breeding Standardbred horses in New York. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Jason Politi | Baker Public Relations

Plainville, MA --- With the 2018 Plainridge Park harness racing meet coming to a close last Thursday (Nov. 29) the Harness Horseman's Association of New England (HHANE) has announced their award winners for outstanding performances by both equine and human participants from this past year. Horse of the Year: Quick Shot (P, 6, Art Major-Cannae Cindy) Owner: Kathleen Brewer Trainer: John Bowman Plainridge meet: 28-7-7-6 $87,640 1:50.4 Lifetime: 145-28-30-27 $313,670 1:50.3 Pacer of the Year: Western Stepp (P, 5, Western Maverick-French Stepp) Owner: Diane Dunn Trainer: James Dunn Plainridge meet: 19-5-5-3 $62,540 1:51.3 Lifetime: 83-26-15-12 $237,231 1:51.3 Trotter of the Year: Quicksilver Kemp (T, 3, Andover Hall-Smarty Had A Party) Owner: Joel Wheeler Trainer: Joel Wheeler Plainridge meet: 26-6-10-3 $65,355 1:55.4 Lifetime: 35-6-10-5 $73,021 1:55.4 Claimer of the Year: Panhellenic (P, 11, No Pan Intended-Panne Ala Vodka) Owner: John Sears and Alfred Lang Trainer: James Dunn, Bryant Sears, John Sears Plainridge meet: 22-8-4-5 $35,666 1:53 Lifetime: 276-34-32-40 $169,765 1:52.3 Iron Horse of the Year: Hailstorm Volo (T, 10, Classic Photo-Hail Mary Hanover) Owner: Tony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski Trainer: Scott Rollins Plainridge meet: 26-3-7-8 $23,374 1:57.2 Lifetime: 226-34-45-34 $234,522 1:54.4 Senior Horse of the Year: Hopeful Artist (P, 14, Real Artist-D-Na's Hope) Owner: Joel Wheeler Trainer: Joel Wheeler Plainridge meet: 20-0-1-2 $3,130 Lifetime: 346-25-33-48 $175,021 1:53.1 Driver of the Year: Drew Campbell Plainridge meet: 807-160-169-135 $1.25M .370 UDR Trainer of the Year: Jim Nickerson Plainridge meet: 221-56-34-33 $601,342 .389 UTR Joel Wheeler was selected as HHANE's Horseperson of the Year. All the winning horses will receive a personalized cooler emblazoned with their name and award won and their connections will receive framed certificates. All human award winners will receive jackets as well as framed certificates. The HHANE annual meeting, awards presentation, and holiday party will be held on Saturday (Dec. 15) from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Foxboro V.F.W. Post on 337 Cocasset Street. Reservations need to be made by Wednesday (Dec. 5) and a reservation form can be downloaded from HHANE's website (www.hhane.com).   By Tim Bojarski, for HHANE  

Feelin Red Hot crossed the finish line faster than any other five year-old-and-up pacing mare on a half-mile track in the history of harness racing when she won the $16,500 F&M Open Handicap in 1:50.1 on Saturday (May 5) at Northfield Park. In fact, the clocking tied the all-age record for distaff pacers on a half-mile oval which was held by Call Me Queen Be (3, 2016, Dela, Scott Zeron). The former five and-up world record was held by Mach It Par (6, 2016, YR, Brian Sears) and the Northfield record was held in a tie by Beyonces Rockin (5, 1:51, Ryan Stahl) and Olivia V (6, 1:51, Aaron Merriman). The partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own Feelin Red Hot. Ron Burke is her conditioner and Ryan Stahl was in the sulky for the winning drive. Feelin Red Hot (Feelin Friskie-Red Rapid Girl-Red River Hanover) started from post five. She left from the gate and led the entire mile through times of :26.4, :55, 1:22.2 and 1:50.1, besting her competition by three lengths. Feelin Red Hot now has five wins in 12 starts this year. Saturday's victory represents her ninth career score and bolstered her bankroll to $119,739. She was heavily favored and returned $3.20 to win. Ayers Ratliff

HARRISBURG PA - Aaron Merriman, who was won more races than any other harness racing driver in North America for each of the last three seasons and who recently became the 13th - and youngest - sulkysitter in continental history to record 10,000 career victories, has been voted the Mary Lib Miller Award, the most prestigious award given by the Keystone chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. "Ironman" Merriman commutes on many racing days between The Meadows near Pittsburgh and Northfield Park on the outskirts of Cleveland - a lot of miles, and on a tight schedule that is hard to maintain (in winning an award in Florida recently, the "background music" as he approached the stage was the wail of a police car's siren). But Aaron has much more success on the racetrack than he does on the interstate - last year he won 1095 races, second-highest yearly total ever and almost 500 victories ahead of his nearest competitor. The Mary Lib Miller Award is named after the wife of The Meadows' founder, Hall of Fame horseman Delvin Miller, who was the goodwill ambassador and hostess to scores of dignitaries who raced at The Meadows. (How much she would have seen of Merriman, who always seems to be racing a horse or racing to a car to drive at another track, is difficult to say.) Hannelore Hanover, 2017 Harness Horse of the Year, was the logical choice for Pennsylvania-bred Horse of the Year. Raised at the renown Hanover Shoe Farms (another Keystone Chapter honoree after breaking their own record for yearly earnings with $31.5M), the trotting mare posted the second-fastest mile on her gait, a 1:49.2 mile at Lexington, and often defeated male company. The Meadows-based horse, trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver / Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables, bankrolled just over a million dollars in a championship campaign. A filly who many think may soon rank in the stratosphere is Manchego, a Jimmy Takter-trainee who was voted Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horse of the Year. Last year at two she was undefeated in 12 outings, including two prelim wins in the Sire Stakes and then an authoritative victory in the Championship, with her 1:54.2 time in the final matching the stakes record of Wild Honey. Horses purchased by the Bill Bercury stable after successful stakes campaigns in their youth were named the PA Overnight Pacer and Trotter of the Year. The sidewheeler is Dapper Dude, who beat Sweet Lou in his PaSS championship at two and now has gone in 1:50 in each of the six years since, with 13 wins and $163,000+ at age eight in 2017; the trotter is Barn Girl, who has won 19 times since being acquired by Team Bercury in October 2016, including 15 triumphs last year while amassing over $200,000. Team McMullen added their second Small Stable of the Year award to the one they earned in 2012. Headed by patriarch John McMullen Jr., the three-horse stable ran up a UTR of .660 at the fairs, and had two Fair Final champions: Hockey Hanover, a two-year-old trotter who became the first PA horse to win his Stallion Series Championship and his Fair Championship in the same year, and All Set Lets Go, the only repeat Championship winner from two to three in 2017, and the top pointwinner at the fairs this summer. The freshman pacing colt Venier Hanover earned a Special Achievement Award for the unprecedented speed show he put on at the fairs this season, setting eight track records, going seven times in 2:00 or better, and tying the all-age track record of 2:00.1 at Wattsburg under the guidance of Dave Brickell. This elite group of Keystone State campaigners will be awarded their trophies in racetrack ceremonies throughout the state's pari-mutuel tracks, and at the fairs when they resume in early summer. Keystone Chapter, U. S. Harness Writers Association

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