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Inter Dominion champion Ultimate Sniper has been named Horse of the Year at the NZB Standardbred Harness Racing Awards.  The classy son of Bettor’s Delight took out the top gong by the narrowest of margins, winning 11 votes to Amazing Dream’s 10.   Undefeated in the Inter Dominion heats and final, Ultimate Sniper won six races during the season, accruing $349,100 in stakes.  At a ceremony limited to 100 people at Addington Raceway because of COVID-19 restrictions Amazing Dream had earlier won the 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year for a season that netted eight wins from nine starts, including the 2020 Northern Derby. Beating  Copy That and One Change she was the first filly to win the Northern Derby since Ripper’s Delight in 1975.  Winterfell was the night’s big winner in the trotting ranks, voted Trotter of the Year after his win, among others, in the Inter Dominion Grand final. Of the other trotting awards it was father versus son in the 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding  category. And the voters couldn’t separate Ultimate Stride trained by Phil Williamson and Cracker Hill trained by his son Brad. They got 11 votes each.  Ultimate Stride won five from five for the season (three of them in Australia) while Cracker Hill won six from eight, including the Hambletonian Three-Year-Old classic at Ashburton.   Blair Orange, who won the New Zealand Cup with 5YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year Cruz Bromac, won his third drivers’ premiership in a row. He had 219 wins for the season, despite the COVID-19 interruption.   While the All Stars (Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen) trained the star individuals of the season – Ultimate Sniper, Amazing Dream and Winterfell -  the Trainer of the Year was Robert Dunn. It is his first premiership after a season that saw him train 95 wins, 14 ahead of the All Stars.  Ricky May’s return to the racetrack was judged the People’s Choice Best Moment of the Season. In January he collapsed to the track while driving A G’s White Socks in the Omakau Cup and had to be revived. He was at tonight’s ceremony and received his trophy to a generous round of applause.  For a full list of winners can be viewed here   Harness Racing New Zealand

HARRISBURG PA - Roger Huston, the Communicators Hall of Fame member who ended a 44-year announcing career at The Meadows racetrack last November but continues harness racing involvement in his native state of Ohio, has been voted the highest honor annually given by the Keystone Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the Mary Lib Miller Award, named for the lifelong helpmate of "Mr. Harness Racing," Delvin Miller, founder of The Meadows - a couple Roger knew quite well. Huston got his start in broadcasting at a radio station in his native Xenia OH; his uncle Don was the announcer at Lebanon Raceway and some nearby fairs, which became Roger's introduction to going behind the microphone in the sport. Besides announcing at The Meadows, Roger will in 2020 calling at Delaware OH at the Little Brown Jug for the 53rd straight year, and he has been the announcer at several western Pennsylvania fairs. Besides his new role as "brand ambassador" for the Ohio horsemen's association, Huston continues to serve as a Director of USHWA for the Keystone Chapter (for whom he served as founding president), and he was the Director with the most years of USHWA membership (52) at the association's Florida annual meetings in February. About the only harness racing "force" that has been going longer than Roger is Hanover Shoe Farms, which again was voted Pennsylvania Breeder of the Year. The Shoe Farms has been the sport's leading breeder every year since records started to be kept in 1948, and while recording their 72nd straight win they established a single-season high for the winnings of their produce, $34.0M. Another repeat winner is George Napolitano Jr., who was voted his second straight Pennsylvania Driver of the Year award and fourth in the twelve years the award has been given. Napolitano, who recorded his 10,000th career victory at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on October 12, won 638 Pennsylvania races between The Downs (337), where he was the top sulkywinner for the eighth straight year, and Harrah's Philadelphia (301). "George Nap" was third in all of North America last year with 651 driving wins. Kim Hankins, the longtime executive director of the Meadows Standardbred Association and one of the most well-rounded and well-respected individuals in harness racing, was named a Friend of Pennsylvania Harness Racing for his leadership of his horsemen's group in such diverse areas as racetrack negotiations, marketing, and intrastate partnerships and communications. A longtime top horseman in Illinois for many years, Hankins is currently 1st Vice President of Harness Horsemen International, and served for many years on the board of directors of the U.S. Trotting Association. Two smaller stables raised their profiles in 2019 to a degree that they were voted awards by Keystone USHWA. Longtime Meadows horseman Bill Bercury, campaigning a five-horse stable most of the year, saw his barn earn over $590,000 for the sixth straight year (with only 123 starts), and he posted the #1 trainers percentage in North America for those with fewer than 300 starts, a .580 "batting average." The constant sharpness and success shown by his stable earned Bercury Pennsylvania Trainer of the Year honors. Bob Rougeaux III campaigns the horses of the Brocious Racing Stable of the late Harold "Lefty" Brocious, and the "Rocky Top" stable, as they style themselves, sent out four of the eight blanketwinners at the Pennsylvania Fair Banquet for having amassed the most points in their respective divisions during the twenty-stop fair season in the Keystone state. As with Bercury, "quality" trumped "quality" here, and the Rougeaux/Brocious "team" were named the Small Stable of the Year in Pennsylvania. Missy Rothfuss, the outrider at The Meadows, is this year's recipient of the Keystone Unsung Hero Award. Rothfuss started her career while a senior in high school and has been at The Meadows 24 years. She is the first responder when accidents happen on the racetrack, often anticipating problems and arriving before anyone else at the site of trouble, and because of her record is well-respected by Meadows horsemen. Between races Missy is meeting fans, letting them pet her equine partner, and educating them about harness racing. She has ridden in Breeders Crown events and also is the head outrider at The Little Brown Jug in Delaware, OH. And after many years toiling in semi-anonymity, Missy is not only receiving this award but was also recently featured in Vicki Howard's "Superstar Females of Harness Racing" column in the online journal Harness Racing Update. The now-11-year-old pacer Atta Boy Dan started his season in the western part of the state, but the record he put up while operating at Pocono was the major contributor to his being named Pennsylvania Horse of the Year, for horses making over half their starts within the borders of Pennsylvania. The winner of over $900,000 lifetime won 19 times (earning over $200,000) during 2019, the most victories of any horse in the United States, and he set an unofficial record by being claimed in fourteen consecutive starts. The state writers initiated a Keystone Chapter Member of the Year this past season to recognize outstanding efforts made by those within their ranks, and in this inaugural season a recognition will be given to a member in both the western and the eastern parts of the state. Chris Gooden, who has been a Smallsreed Photo awardwinner in the national competition for the last two years, was selected as the top Keystoner from the west; on the eastern side, the honors went to Jennifer Starr, the multitalented and tireless Racing Marketing Manager at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Ordinarily, the Keystone USHWA awardwinners would have had a moment in the spotlight as they received their awards in a trackside ceremony. But with the coronavirus throwing unprecedented uncertainty into everyone's schedules, it was thought to send the recipients their trophies through delivery, before the shine of their 2019 accomplishments became too faded by time. Jerry Connors

Mayville, WI — Derek Bromac N, the 20-year-old retired harness racing Standardbred, took some time to spread some Easter cheer to the residents and staff of Prairie Ridge Assisted Living and Cornerstone Nursing and Rehab Centers, both of Mayville, Wis., on Sunday morning (April 12). The residents were all smiles as they sat at their windows waiting for the gelding to patiently make his rounds to visit each and every one of them. Decked out in a colorful Easter egg necklace and a saddle with an Easter bunny aboard, Derek Bromac N enjoyed all the attention as he pressed his nose to the windows and even paid a personal visit to a resident in a wheelchair as he placed his head on her lap and she burst out in laughter. The New Zealand bred is a regular face in the promotion of Standardbreds and harness racing in Southern Wisconsin. He was recently awarded the prestigious Equine of the Year Award (District 3), the first Standardbred to ever win. He was also featured in a story in the February issue of Hoof Beats magazine and made a public appearance at the Winter Day at Spring brook in Burnett, Wis., also in early February. Derek Bromac N is owned by Sawyer’s Stables of Burnett, Wis.   April 13, 2020, by Amber Sawyer, for the Wisconsin Harness Horse Association

An Oshawa native is being honoured for his career in harness racing. Paul MacDonell is joining the list of this year’s Class of 2020 inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (CHRHF). “It feels great, it really does,” says MacDonell of the recognition. “There’s a very small amount of people in the hall of fame and to be a part of it, it’s really, really something.” Founded in 1976, the CHRHF inducts 10 people and horses from categories, including Builders, Jockeys, Trainers, Drivers, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. MacDonell joins the roster as a Standardbred Driver. MacDonell’s driving career is highlighted by both consistency and superstars, with earnings surpassing $1 million for 33 consecutive years, due in part to piloting such horses as Hall of Fame Honoured Members Somebeachsomewhere, Admirals Express, and Invitro. “I raced a horse called Somebeachsomewhere who will probably go down in history as one of the best race horses of all time, and that includes the world,” says MacDonell. “He was a dynamic horse that everyone followed back in 2008, and he was just one of those super heroes, like Secretariat from the Thoroughbred side, or Northern Dancer,” he continues. “Somebeachsomewhere was, in our business of harness racing, Standardbred side, one of the best of all time.” Macdonell has also been the primary pilot for millionaires Village Jiffy, Village Connection, Elusive Desire, Bigtime Ball and Laddie. The Oshawa native’s major stakes victories include three Metro Paces, five Confederation Cups, and eight Breeders Crowns, as well as a record 16 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals to his credit. MacDonell was also awarded an O’Brien Award as the 2008 Canadian Driver of the Year, and to date, has chalked up more than 15,000 top three finishes, 5,623 wins, and has driven horses to in excess of $122 million in purse earnings. MacDonell attributes his successful career to his love for horses, which started at a young age. “My dad had a few horses in the Oshawa area. He worked at General Motors and did it part time. After school I would go to the barn with my dad,” he says, adding that he was around 10 or 11 years old at this time. “I fell into looking after the horses with him and helping him out, which then graduated into a career of harness racing,” says MacDonell. MacDonell explains you start with getting your trainer’s licence and then you graduate to become a driver. He started his driving career at Kawartha Downs when he was 18, about 38 years ago, and remains active in the business today. The now Guelph resident continues to race, and mostly works in training the horses for competition. “I think most of it is just my love of the horses, I love being around the animals, and then of course getting them ready to compete. And as MacDonell reflects on his accomplishments throughout his career, his advice for up-and-comers in the industry is simple. “It’s just like any career. It doesn’t happen overnight,” says MacDonell. “You have to really invest in it. It’s hard work. It’s not easy. Just like any professional that’s made it to a high level, you have to invest and you have to really, really work at it.” By Courtney Bachar Reprinted with permission of /The Oshawa Express

Three of the most respected horsemen in Canadian harness racing — Jack Darling, Paul MacDonell and Ben Wallace — took part in an interview to discuss their careers on Wednesday (April 8). The interview with the three Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame nominees and pair of inductees was streamed on COSA TV’s Facebook Page and conducted by Greg Blacnhard. The trio of horsemen, who have known each other for decades, revisited memorable moments throughout their spectacular careers, answered questions from fans and filled the audience in on how they are keeping busy while harness racing across North America continues to take a hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Both MacDonell and Wallace were ecstatic about their inductions into the Hall Of Fame. “I was overwhelmed by the news. It was hard to believe and it still is now,” MacDonell said of the news. “You work all your life and you don’t even think about Hall Of Fame status as you’re going but here we are all these years later.” The induction for Wallace posed as a time to reflect on the years composing his career. “The horses you always remember, the races you won and the horses that you dealt with are etched in your mind. I was just awash with memories of 50 years of racing horses for a living. The people that you conjure up in your mind that you remember from years ago that either worked for you or worked alongside you and stories of the fun times and tough times…it was all that type of stuff that really took over me. I had a tough time sleeping because I kept revisiting various evenings and situations that popped up. “We always remember the good times of our horses and we struggle through some of the bad ones, the memories of the horses are prevalent whether I am a Hall Of Famer or not,” noted Wallace. “But, the Hall Of Fame brings out this other memory void for everybody.” Although Darling’s name was not on the winning ballot, the lifelong horseman was still very grateful for the honour. “It’s funny when something like this happens, you really go into the memory banks. It really is an honour to be considered for something like that. I’m really happy for both of these guys, they’re both good friends and both very well deserving of their inductions.” Between the trio of horsemen is a list of great racehorses they have all been associated with over the years. While that list is near endless, there are always a few that standout the most. For MacDonell, a memorable horse and perhaps one of the greatest horses he has driven in his career — arguably one of the greatest racehorses in history — would be none other than Somebeachsomewhere. Blanchard revisited Somebeachsomewhere’s first Ontario start at Grand River Raceway. “I was probably expecting more from him than most would have because I had the opportunity to train him at Mohawk in between his qualifier and his race at Grand River,” recalled MacDonell. “The first time I sat on him, you could tell there was something very special about him. He was just a powerful horse and it was hard to believe that he was just a two-year-old. I did have a little bit of insight on him and I remember driving to the track this night feeling some excitement to see what he was going to be all about. He still went way above my expectations. “[In his first career start] I felt so much power in him, I was just making sure that he was going to be okay on a half-mile track. I had a ton of horse and I was just waiting on him to do his thing. He did that :54 mile with so much ease it was scary.” A memorable performer for now Hall Of Famer Ben Wallace would be a Hall Of Famer he conditioned, Blissfull Hall. “He was a ridgling which was concerning to some, but I’ve had ridglings before and it didn’t bother me. He was such a powerfully-built colt, he looked like early speed would be in his repertoire but what happened was the testicle was bothering him. He made well over a hundred thousand as a two-year-old and was locked on a line the entire time. I remember saying to Daniel [Plouffe] who owned him that if he doesn’t come off the line, we’re going to have to go in and remove it. We opted not to take it out and I took him and Armbro Rosebud, who was an O’Brien Award winner, to The Meadowlands coming into their three-year-old seasons — I figured that surface would be perfect to bring them up on. I remember jogging Blissfull in the middle of February or so and as I was jogging him it appeared to be that the other testicle had come down and sure enough it did. “From that day on he was just an exceptionally fast horse and a gentleman horse at that. His speed got him out of any trouble that he may or may not have gotten himself into. He opened many doors all over for me again.” Darling, who is prominently known for developing young horses into champions, has a near infinite list of memorable horses who have walked through his stable including 1997 North America Cup winner Gothic Dream. Perhaps one who is more memorable would be Northern Luck — a horse who certainly overcame tough ‘luck’ throughout his career. “In his three-year-old year, I had two horses in the North America Cup. Gothic Dream won his elimination and Northern Luck won his elimination as well. Gothic Dream was a big name at the time and Northern Luck was just starting to come up. Trevor Ritchie drove Northern Luck and said to me ‘I hope you’re not going to be disappointed if Northern Luck beats Gothic Dream next week.’ On the way home from the races that night he [Northern Luck] took some kind of a claustrophobic fit in the trailer and he almost took his entire hind foot off. You would have never dreamed he would have ever been able to walk again let alone race. So he missed the final of the North America Cup and he was off for about three months, but he came back strong after that. He was a very aggressive horse that always wanted to go forward.” Northern Luck passed on his desire to go forward to many of his offspring, some of which were conditioned in their early years by Darling such as Silent Swing and Jr Mint. Great memories were shared among the horsemen who have become lifelong friends over the years and insightful information on developing younger horses and choosing future champions was shared with the audience. The feature can be viewed below. Central Ontario Standardbred Association  

The Living Horse Hall of Fame committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the selections for the 2020 broodmare inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame. Danae 3,1:54.2 ($529,099) and Precious Beauty p,2,1:53.3 ($112,842) were elected. Danae's offspring include 2019 Swedish Horse of the Year Propulsion 1:52.1 ($3,572,969), 2017 Matron Stakes winner Dream Together 1:51.3 ($801,782) and world champion D'Orsay 1:51.4 ($445,732). Precious Beauty's offspring include 2009 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year and 2010 North America Cup winner, world champion Sportswriter p,3,1:48.3 ($1,566,460); 2013 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and She's A Great Lady winner, world champion Precocious Beauty p,1:50.1 ($838,004) and 2018 Three Diamonds winner Prescient Beauty p,2,1:50.4 ($464,250). Danae and Precious Beauty will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day which is tentatively planned for Sunday, July 5, 2020. The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred broodmares will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit from April 2020 onward or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845-294-6330. Standardbred broodmares are eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade only if they comply with the following strict criteria: Annually on March 1st, a list of living broodmares that have produced two Dan Patch winners, OR two millionaires, OR one Dan Patch winner and one millionaire are assembled for the Living Horse Hall of Fame Committee to review. Committee members can also nominate a broodmare that does not meet those criteria. Each of the committee members votes for his or her top 5 broodmares, voting results are tabulated and the top two vote getters are elected to the Living Horse Hall of Fame. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, New York. For information on the Museum, membership, special events, gift shop services and educational programs the Museum offers, please call (845) 294-6330 or visit The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

For the third time in a row, Bilibili and harness racing jockey Alexandre Abrivard won the Prix de l’Ile de France, a Group I under saddle race, at Vincennes Sunday afternoon (Feb. 2) and was timed in a new world record 1.52.3 (mile rate). A 9-year old French trotter, Bilibili is under saddle specialist. In fact, all his lifetime earnings of more than $2 million were won in under saddle races. Bilibili was the 1-5 favorite to win this 1/5-16 mile event which has a standing start. A victory also added 100,000 Euro to as a bonus for Bilibili winning the three biggest under saddle races during the winter meeting. Although he won, Bilibili had to fight for the victory, as outsider Etonnant, with Eric Raffin in the saddle, was hard to get by. Etonnant was in command from start and with half-mile to go, it seemed that Bilibili would have a very tough task to catch him. But going down the stretch Etonnant started to fade and Bilibili was now flying. Bilibili trotted the last fraction in :27.3 and and won by a length. Bilibili is sired by Niky and his grandson is Viking’s Way, the grandsire of Ready Cash. He is owned by Jean-Pierre Barjon, recently elected chairman of the French Le Trot-organization, and is trained by Laurent-Claude Abrivard, the father of the his rider. by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent

The California Harness Horsemen’s Association had their annual harness racing awards meeting Sunday January 26th at Cal Expo in Sacramento, along with the USTA’s district 3 annual meeting as well. Jim Perez, executive director hosted the annual event with updates to the CHHA. Eileen Brodbar was welcomed to the board of directors replacing long time director Rick Thomas. Dante Jay was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Stephen Chambers. Dante Jay a little trotter by Dante Hanover out of Talvez , owned by Desomer Stables Inc. and Fritz Haug was the only Cal Bred to ever win the prestigious American Trotting Classic in 1981 at Hollywood Park race track. A longshot but crowd favorite, Dante Jay, not only won the final but also both legs of the event beating the heavy eastern invaders like Final Score and Crown’s Star. Steve Desomer had noticed something about Dante Jay, an unraced 4 year old. He quickly made a trade with Ruby Bailey, the breeder for a cheap claimer in Herm’s Barry. But getting Jay to the races was no easy task for Steve as the little horse also was very temperamental. After 1½ yrs, Desomer frustrated at this point decided to try Jay on the pace. Again, Jay wasn’t having it and after burning in the hopples, Steve came back, took them off and headed back to the track and trained Dante Jay in 2:07 on the trot! The rest was history. Dante Jay went on to earn $306,160 and took a mark of 1:59 at Hollywood Park. Dante Jay started 150 times in his career picking up 47 wins, 19 seconds and 11 thirds. Racing his last race at Fairmont Park at the age of 10, Dante Jay was retired and given to Tom Tetrick for his kids, Tim and Trace as a pet and riding horse where he lived until his passing. Also on the CHHA agenda was the divisional stakes winners in their respected classes. Donna Newman, CSSSC Administrator, passed out the 3 year old awards to: 3 year old pacing colt, Daa Trumpster. Owned by Mark Anderson 3 year old pacing filly, Mean Sister of Lodi, owned by Mary Harris and Pierre Girard. 3 year old Trotter, Remembering Bob also owned by Pierre Girard and Mary Harris. Pacing Stallion of the year went to Pierre Girard and Mary Harris for Another Mile while Pierre and Mary also picked up the trotting stallion award for Eager Seelster. Leading sire stakes trainer also went to Pierre Girard while Luke Plano picked up the award for leading sire stakes driver. The CHHA board of directors voted Allmyx’sliventexas as the CHHA horse of the year for the second year in a row. Robin Clements California Harness Horsemen's Association

HARRISBURG PA – There was a “dead heat for win” in the voting for the most prestigious harness racing award for which the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) are the sole arbiters – the Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award. The joint winners are New York horseman Joe Faraldo and the Ontario owning/breeding partnership of Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz – the first time there has been a tie in the top of the voting in the 68-year history of the award, which is voted on by the sport’s leading media organization. Joe Faraldo, an attorney by trade and an owner/amateur driver, is heading into his 40th year as President and CEO of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the horsemen’s group that serves Yonkers Raceway, the track which pays the highest purses in the North American sport. He has been a staunch advocate of horsemen’s rights, and is the only attorney who has argued a harness racing-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Faraldo has been a director of the U.S. Trotting Association for over 20 years, and currently serves as Chair of the USTA’s District 8-A (lower New York). He is the chair of the important Harness Racing Medication Collaborative, which not only keeps up to date with substances and testing procedure in the sport, but also seeks to find common ground among the pari-mutuel sports’ breeds and jurisdictions. Faraldo is also an amateur driver of some note, and has driven in several countries during competitions. His international presence helped Yonkers re-establish the International Trot after a two-decade absence. He has been honored by Harness Horsemen’s International, the USTA, and USHWA. Joe Faraldo The partnership of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, both of whom are in the southern Ontario real estate field, was not an instantaneous success by their own admission; the horse which started a turnaround for them was 1997 Meadowlands Pace winner Dream Away. But it is hard to miss the impression they have made on the owning and breeding of quality horses, especially in the last decade. The racehorse list includes millionaires Ariana G and Dream Away; the most recent of their breeding accomplishments was the selling of the sport’s first million-dollar yearling, Maverick, a Father Patrick full brother to this year’s spectacular three-year-old Greenshoe, who sold for $1,100,000 at Lexington this past fall. Horses they have owned and/or bred have accounted for the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity, Canadian Trotting Classic and other world-class events. The pair have been honored on both sides of the North American racing border previously. Libfeld/Katz were also the Presenting Sponsors of the 2019 Breeders Crown championships when they came to their nearby Woodbine at Mohawk Raceway, and the associated Breeders Crown Charity Challenge raised over $200,000 for area charities. The Bergstein / Proximity Award honors the great trotting mare Proximity, who was Harness Horse of the Year in 1950, and Stan Bergstein, the sport’s only “double Hall of Famer” and an industry visionary and leader for going on half a century until his passing in 2011. The remainder of the human and broodmare Dan Patch awardwinners are being announced today and tomorrow; the twelve racehorse divisional champions will be announced this Friday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. on The Meadowlands’ “pre-races” show, with media releases following (availability to view that announcement will be released shortly). Joe Faraldo, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the Banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; “post times” on February 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at or 302 359 3630.   Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website,; 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 (the 2019 journal is online at the writers’ website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

Grove City, Ohio – Harness racing driver Conley Newberry of Beavercreek, Ohio will be presented the 2019 Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association Terry Holton Youth Award at the 2019 Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and United States Trotting Association’s District 1 Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday January 18th at the Marriott Columbus University Area Hotel, 3100 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH  43220. Newberry, a senior at Beavercreek High School is heavily involved in harness racing.  He has worked for the Mike Polhamus Stable in Troy, Ohio.  Constance Polhamus says Coney is a hard worker, “He is knowledgeable and dependable working in the stable and is very interested in the future of harness racing.” Newberry started in the harness racing business at the age of 12.  He worked with his father Matt Newberry and has progressed from doing little things around the stable to cleaning stalls, harnessing horses and jogging horses. This year Newberry obtained his fair qualifying license and raced at seven fairs and picked up his first win. The award is named for Terry Holton, a 2005 inductee into the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame.  Holton of Newark, Ohio, was the winner of over 1,700 races in his career.  He overcame many obstacles in his life, the biggest may have been overcoming pancreatic cancer. The Terry Holton Youth Award is awarded to a youth between the ages of 13 and 19 who has actively participated in harness racing during 2019 as a driver, trainer, groom, breeder, race office/publicity assistant, track maintenance crew or has provided outstanding service to harness racing. The award, in its 19th year, will be presented at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and United States Trotting Association’s District 1 Annual Awards Banquet January 18, 2020 at the University Area Marriott in Columbus, Ohio.  Tickets to the banquet are $30 each and can be purchased by calling the OHHA office at 614-221-3650.  Reservation forms are also available on the OHHA website at  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) is a non-profit organization serving Standardbred horse owners, breeders, trainers, drivers and fans who participate in the sport of harness racing in the Buckeye State. OHHA was founded in 1953. The mission of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association is to preserve, protect, promote and serve the entire Standardbred industry in Ohio and beyond. For more information: Frank Fraas

The NZB Standardbred Harness Racing NZ Awards for the 2018/19 season were run last night, Saturday the 28th of September, at Addington Raceway.  Horse of the year honours went to Spankem, the Miracle Mile winner Harness Racing NZ are delighted to announce the following winners:   Standardbreds Make Great Pets 2YO Trotting Filly Of The Year Tailored Elegance PI & GJ Kennard  2YO Pacing Filly Of The Year Sweet On Me Clarkson Signs 2YO Trotting Colt or Gelding Of The Year Bolt For Brilliance Emblems NZ 2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding Of The Year One Change Inkwise 3YO Trotting Filly Of The Year Tickle Me Pink Vincent 3YO Pacing Filly Of The Year Belle Of Montana IRT 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding Of The Year Lotamuscle Garrard's Horse & Hound 3YO Pacing Colt or Gelding Of The Year Ultimate Sniper Dyer Decorating 4YO Trotting Mare Of The Year Kenny's Dream Breckon Farms 4YO Pacing Mare Of The Year Elle Mac The Commodore Hotel 4YO Trotting Entire or Gelding Of The Year Sundees Son Brandwear 4YO Pacing Entire or Gelding Of The Year Spankem Trackside 5YO & Older Trotting Mare Of The Year Destiny Jones Hanley Formula 5YO & Older Pacing Mare Of The Year Dream About Me Majestic Horse Floats 5YO & Older Trotting Entire or Gelding Of The Year Speeding Spur Airpark Canterbury 5YO & Older Pacing Entire or Gelding Of The Year Thefixer The Breeders Trotting Broodmare Of The Year Della's Speed The Breeders Pacing Broodmare Of The Year Reality Check The Breeders Breeder Of The Year Charles Roberts Trotting Stallion Of The Year Majestic Son Auckland Trotting Club Pacing Stallion Of The Year Bettor's Delight Airpark Canterbury & Addington Owners Pass Owner Of The Year Jean Feiss Southern Harness Leading Junior Driver John Morrison Cruickshank Leading Junior Driver - UDR Ben Hope Harness Racing NZ Education & Training Leading Driver Blair Orange Lone Star Spitfire Leading Trainer Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Catch Driver Cadet Of The Year Kaleb Bublitz Catch Driver Runner Up - Cadet Of The Year Alana Cameron What The Hill Trotter Of The Year Sundees Son Woodlands Stud Pacer Of The Year Spankem TAB Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing Colin & Julie DeFilippi NZB Standardbred Horse Of The Year Spankem Witches of Westview Best Moment Of The Season Overzealous - Comeback after accident Harness Racing NZ Outstanding Contribution to Life After Racing Julie DeFilippi   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc    

By Jonny Turner Majestic Man was crowned Otago Horse Of The Year on Saturday night following his breakout season in the open trotting ranks. The Phil Williamson-trained squaregaiter was crowned 4yr-old male trotter of the year before claiming the top prize at the Otago Harness Racing Awards at Forbury Park. Williamson took home a boot-load of trophies, including trainer of the year. Liberty Stride, (3yr-old trotting filly), Kenny's Dream (4yr-old trotting mare), and Jen Jaccka (aged trotting mare) each won their categories for the Oamaru trainer. Williamson stables drivers and fiances, Matthew Williamson and Charlotte Purvis, won driver of the year and junior driver of the year, respectively. Williamson was denied another win by his son, Brad, when Cracker Hill edged out Ultimate Stride in the 2yr-old trotting category. Three stalwarts of the Otago harness racing industry were recognised with significant contribution awards on Saturday night. Graeme Mee was acknowledged for his lengthy service as clerk of the course at several of the province's harness tracks. North Taieri trainer-driver Craig Buchan also took home a significant contribution award for his nearly 40-year contribution to the Otago industry. Popular Central Otago horseman Bryan "Ginger" Woodhouse was recognised for his 60 years as a trainer, driver, owner, breeder and administrator. Ultimate Sniper beat out a star-studded line-up to win best Otago-owned horse of the year. The two-time Derby winner beat racetrack stars Eamon Maguire, Havtime, Majestic Man, Princess Tiffany and Speeding Spur. Foreal knocked off an equally impressive line-up to win the broodmare excellence award. The dam of Australasia's fastest ever pacer, Field Marshal, won the category over Bethany, Fleet's Pocket and One Over Kenny. Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight enjoyed a successful evening at Saturday night's awards. Their pacers The Ideal Touch (2yr-old male pacer), Candidasa (4yr-old male pacer) and Sounds Bettor (aged pacing mare) collected titles. One of the most popular victories of the night came when Waikouaiti warhorse Alexy won the aged male pacer of the year. Forbury Park trainer, Darryn Simpson, who trained Alexy to one of his three wins last season, was crowned Otago's strike rate trainer of the year. Other category winners included Motu Top Mach (3yr-old male pacer), Tango Dancer (3yr-old pacing filly) and Count Eyre (3yr-old male trotter). Thoroughbred training great Dave O'Sullivan was warmly received as the guest speaker at the awards evening. The 12-time national champion trainer gave Saturday night's crowd an insight into his own career and those of his sons, Paul and Lance. O'Sullivan also reminisced and spoke about the careers of former top line gallopers Horlicks, Mr Tiz and Waverly Star.   Full winners list  2yr-old male pacers The Ideal Touch.   2yr-old male trotters Cracker Hill   3yr-old male pacers Motu Top Mach   3yr-old pacing fillies Tango Dancer   3yr-old male trotters Count Eyre   3yr-old trotting fillies Liberty Stride   4yr-old male pacers Candidasa   4yr-old pacing mares Kotare Elite   4yr-old male trotters Majestic Man   4yr-old trotting mares Kenny's Dream   5yr-old and older male pacers Alexy   5yr-old and older pacing mares Sounds Bettor,.   5yr-old and older trotter. Monty Python   5yr-old and older trotting mares Jen Jaccka   Letty Ferguson Memorial Award for most improved mare Sounds Bettor    Best Otago Owned Horse Ultimate Sniper.   Broodmare Excellence Award Foreal.   Breeders Of The Year Lex and Heather Williams   Trainer of the year Phil Williamson   Strike rate trainer of the year Darryn Simpson   Driver of the year  Matthew Williamson   Junior driver of the year Charlotte Purvis   Significant contribution to Otago Harness Racing Graeme Mee Craig Buchan Ginger Woodhouse   Otago Horse Of The Year Majestic Man

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The incomparable Ron Burke raised the training dash-win bar to new heights Friday night at the Meadowlands, as the 49-year-old Washington, PA native became the first conditioner in harness racing history to record 10,000 career victories. "It's cool," said Burke. "The next guy is probably 10 years away from doing it. It's never been done before and I'm very proud of our whole crew, my whole family." Burke won three times on the Friday twilight program at his home track - the Meadows in Meadow Lands, PA - to raise his win total to 9,999, setting the stage for the big one at the Big M. In an elimination for the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies, Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, gave Burke the victory that raised his lifetime win total to five figures by scoring in 1:54.3 and paying $6.00 for the stable's go-to driver, Yannick Gingras. "Ten years ago, I wasn't so sure we'd get here, but five years ago, maybe I thought we'd get to this point," said Burke. "We were just starting to take off then, and the addition of (owner) Mark Weaver made a big difference. It gave us someone who acquires horses all day, every day. We used to sit together at the Meadows and watch races and we could tell we were pretty good together and we wanted to go to the next level." Mission accomplished. Crucial and driver Yannick Gingras It's a pretty sound bet that Burke will stay at the top of both the dash-win and money-earnings lists for some time to come. Virgil Morgan, Jr. currently sits second in wins with just over 6,400, and the now-retired Jimmy Takter is second in earnings at $130 million. Burke's horses have earned $222 million. "It all started when my dad sold the family business selling cars in 1981. We had two horses then. Now, I have about 300 and about 70 people on my staff," said Burke. "I became the face of Burke Racing 11 years ago. There are so many of us. I put a lot of time into it but I could not have done it by myself. I thought by now I'd slow down, but I don't have any feel for when that will happen. I love what I'm doing, I love racing and the sport seems to be doing well." Maybe that's true, just not quite as well as Ron Burke is doing. CHALK TALK: Nine favorites scored on the 14-race program, setting up small payouts on the 50-Cent Pick-5 ($70.40) and Pick-4 ($13.05). Of the five losing chalks, three went off at odds of 2-1 while one was 5-2. A LITTLE MORE: Burke's home track might be in Western Pennsylvania, but he loves the East Rutherford mile oval. "The Meadowlands is still the greatest place," said Mr. 10,000. ... It figures that on a big night for Burke that Gingras would excel. The Big M's leading driver scored four times on the card. ... All-source wagering on the 14-race program totaled $2,434,672. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. For thr results of tonight's card click here. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

GUELPH, ON --, horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable, added another world-record to its harness racing portfolio. Three-year-old trotting gelding Yes clocked an all-time best time of 1:53.1 over Northfield Park's half-miler on June 29 in the $25,000 final of the Gin Blossom Series. Ryan Stahl steered the Manofmanymissions son to a six-length finish over stablemate Westfiftysecond, driven by Anthony MacDonald. Jason McGinnis trains both sophomores for Yes is a winner of five wins from 16 career starts and $133,000. He was purchased by from the Ohio Select Sale as a yearling for $16,000 and is currently owned by 23 of the fractional ownership stable's 650 clients. The 1:53.1 world record replaces the mark of 1:53.3 set by Dennis in the 2008 edition of the Old Oaken Bucket at the Delaware, Ohio Fair. Northmedo Mission matched it 10 years later over Northfield Park. Kelly Spencer

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

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