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Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 Caretaker of the Year. The award, in its third year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HRRNP) in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the harness racing sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by HRRNP and USHWA. The HRRNP Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening, Feb. 25, 2018, where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets. "It is so important that we recognize the people who are hands-on everyday with all our great horses because they are the ones the animals most closely relate to and are responsible for the care that keeps them sound and competitive week to week," said Tim Bojarski, president of USHWA. "I along with all the members of USHWA could not be more proud to co-sponsor this award and take the time to appreciate and thank not only the winner, but all the nominees as well." Any caretaker working for any stable in North America is eligible. All that is need to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Goshen, NY - Few individuals in upstate New York have influenced so many New York bred harness racing horses. Yet Dave Hanson has put his stamp on nearly 500 trotters and pacers over his lengthy career.   In recognition of his dedication and selfless contributions of time, talent and energy to the improvement and integrity of Harness Racing in the State of New York, Dave Hanson will be honored with the 2017 Monticello-Goshen USHWA Excelsior Award at the chapter hosts its 59th annual awards banquet this Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club.   In 1980, Dave Hanson started his Standardbred breeding career as a night watch/foaling attendant at Hempt Farms in New York. In 1981 Dave accepted a position as a farm hand and worked his way up the ladder to Farm Manager at Walnridge Farm in New Jersey, leaving in 1988.   From 1988 to 1993, Dave worked at Pine Hollow Stud Farm in Pine Bush, New York as the General Manager.   He returned to Morrisville State College in 1993, where he graduated with an AAS in Equine Management, to teach equine reproduction wet labs, manage the Standardbred breeding program, as well as manage the annual Standardbred yearling sale.   While serving as Institute Manager at Morrisville, Hanson was an integral part of the success of the college's breeding program as well as mentoring the next generation of breeding managers...many of which can be found at such top Standardbred nurseries as Winbak Farm, Diamond Creek and Allerage.   Under Hanson's guidance the Morrisville Yearling Sale grew and prospered. For well over a decade Morrisville was the only regional Standardbred auction held in New York State, featuring Empire State-bred consignments from Winbak Farm, Blue Chip, Cameo Hills and of course the Morrisville Foundation's own yearlings, which Dave had a large hand in cultivating.   In fact the Morrisville College Foundation has bred over 450 horses, many of which are a product of Hanson's two decades of expertise at the college...including the dam of 2-time New York Sire Stakes champion BARN BELLA 3, 1:51.3 ($688,725).   Hanson became a "go-to guy" in upstate New York for his knowledge of stallions and breeding. Hall of Famer Alan Leavitt often sends horses such as Deweycheatumnhowe and Conway Hall to Hanson.   He is also responsible for RC Royalty, and cared for dozens of other stallions when they called a New York breeding shed home.   Dave joined Leatherstocking Veterinary Services in fall of 2014. As the Leatherstocking General Manager, Dave manages the Standardbred breeding program. Always eager to lend a helping hand, Hanson can also be found pitching in wherever he is needed, such as moving hay, assisting with surgery recovery, sale prep of yearlings, equipment repair, etc.   Hanson still sells yearlings at the Morrisville sale under his own Lakeview Equine banner. A big proponent of the academic/horse sale environment, he noted, "It's a big thing for the (Morrisville) students,"   "It's the same in that aspect as it was when I ran the sale. It is the one event that all the disciplines work together to pull off. The hunt seat students are here. The western riding students are here. The draft horse, the thoroughbred and, obviously, the Standardbred students are here. They all get together and pull off what is really a pretty significant fundraiser here for the equine program."   When Dave isn't busy with horses and farm management, he is a scuba diving instructor, and enjoys hunting with his wirehair pointers.   Betty Holt, the long-time executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State had this to say about the organization's past president, "Dave is one of the most knowledgeable people in our industry today. I have the utmost respect for him and value his advice."   "He says what he thinks and if you don't want his honest answer don't ask him a question!"   This year, in addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Ray Schnittker (Lifetime Achievement Award); Dr. Herbie Burns (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Crevani Farms (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Tim Masters (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Joseph Lee (Amateur Driver); Brandon Parker (Rising Star); and Carole Macedonio (Award of Appreciation).   Tickets for the gala event are still available and can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 794-4100 extension 458 or Email: swiles@empireresorts.com, or contact Chris Tully at (845) 807-7538 or Email: tullytrot@yahoo.com.   by Chris Tully for Monticello-Goshen USHWA    

HARRISBURG PA - Four men instrumental in the growth and sustaining of harness racing's pre-eminent position in the state of Pennsylvania - Walter "Boots" Dunn, Roger Hammer, Harry Harvey, and Jim Simpson - have been selected by the Keystone Chapter of the U. S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) as the second group of inductees into the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Along with this quartet, a Veterans Committee of Keystone USHWA has selected "Judge" Joe McGraw for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Hall. These men join the first Pennsylvania Harness Hall's inaugural class - Bowman Brown Sr., Max C. Hempt, Roger Huston, Delvin Miller, Dave Palone, Ed Ryan, Lawrence Sheppard, John Simpson Sr. and Paul E. Spears, plus Veteran selection Mary McCune. Walter "Boots" Dunn was a positive factor in every area of the sport in which he participated; as the longtime Chairman on the USTA's Board of Directors representing Pennsylvania; as a horsemen, breeding and training generations of champions and setting a record with 1179 victories as an amateur driver; as consultant to one and all, especially on his beloved county fair circuit, where he oversaw the racing at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville; and as a friend, sounding board, and invaluable sharer of advice. Roger Hammer has won the national title for his category of the Universal Driver Rating (UDR, similar to a baseball players' batting average) eight times, tying for the all-time lead with the immortal horseman Stanley Dancer. He campaigned Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo and many other fine racehorses, notably the "Keystone" horses of his fellow PA Hall of Famer Max Hempt, and to this day he continues as an annual major factor on the Pennsylvania fair circuit. Fearless, impervious to injury or fatigue - always driving to be first. Harry Harvey worked for Pennsylvania's #1 horseman, Delvin Miller, for many years, and drove the Miller-trained filly Helicopter to victory in the sport's premier race, the Hambletonian. He then took over the day-to-day operation of Miller's Meadow Lands Farms, and became so adept at that facet of the sport that he wrote a chapter on farm management in the seminal book Care and Training of the Trotter and Pacer. He also gave early lessons to the star pacer Albatross, and trained and drove him in his two-year-old form. Jim Simpson has a noble a personal pedigree as a person can have in harness racing - his father, John Simpson Sr., is already in the Pennsylvania Harness Hall. Jim had success on the racetrack for many years, then followed his father into management at the world-famous Hanover Shoe Farms, the sport's leading nursery, and under his able leadership the farm has maintained its place in the industry, changing with the times and reinvesting in both top stallions and broodmares. Like Harry Harvey, he is a member of harness racing's National Hall of Fame. Joe McGraw started his career working with the harness horses in southwest Pennsylvania, but his work led him to such occupations as handicapper, timer, and most notably judge, from whence he got his nickname. He worked the Grand Circuit of harness racing for nearly half a century, and earned the respect of both colleagues and horsemen alike. He also was an innovator, designing a method for starting races just before the starting gate was introduced, and he also was one of the first to use claiming races in filling cards. He was elected as a national Hall Immortal in 1975. Pictures of and further biographical information about the members of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame can soon be found at the Keystone/USHWA website, www.keystonechapter.com; the new electees are being added at press time. To contact the Keystone/USHWA chapter, write to ushwainfo@gmail.com. Keystone Chapter, U.S. Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG PA---The United States Harness Writers Association has announced its new website is now up and running. The site has gone through a complete make-over and is now state-of-the-art in terms of optics and functionality, with many enhancements that will make everyone's user experience pleasant. It now has streaming ability and also a marketplace, where members can pay their dues and the organization can sell items such as Dan Patch Awards Banquet tickets, making these transactions much easier. USHWA also now owns three domains for the site: ushwa.org, ushwa.com and ushwa.net. Any one of the three will get you to the same site. "We are very excited about the release of our new website. Its look and versatility will enhance the user experience of our members as well as everyone in the racing community that visit it regularly," said Tim Bojarski, President of USHWA. Although the site has published, it's still a work in process, so bear with us if any glitches occur over the next few weeks. We do not expect any interruptions but cannot rule out the possibility. From the U. S. Harness Writers Association  

Becker & Briggs to Communicators Hall of Fame

Harrisburg, PA - Jules Siegel, owner of Fashion Farms in Pennsylvania, twice national owner of the year in the U.S. and Owner of the Decade (2000s) as named by Standardbred Canada, and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, an important breeder, owner, and board member of organizations on both sides of the Atlantic, were named ballot candidates for the sport's most prestigious honor, the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, this past weekend by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Siegel, who will turn 90 this year, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in pharmacy, and operated a chain of drug stores for 40 years. When he sold the drug stores in 1995, his wife and partner Arlene, who passed away in 2010, insisted, "you cannot retire to nothing," so the Siegels' Fashion Farms soon became home to some of Standardbred racing's best broodmares and racehorses. Tagliabue won the Hambletonian the year Jules Siegel retired - the first of eight Dan Patch Award winners for him. He has five Breeders Crown victories to his credit as well, three of them homebreds with the farm's "Broadway" first name: Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, and Broadway Donna just last year. Wallenius-Kleberg is the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, the most successful breeding farm in Sweden for the last nine years; her family has owned the farm for 70 years, having been purchased in 1947 by her father Olof Wallenius. Menhammar Stuteri is noted for having stood the transcontinental champion Mack Lobell at stud, and also for standing two stallions sent to Sweden by Wallenius-Kleberg's business partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth: Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee. A tireless worker for the sport, Wallenius-Kleberg is a director of the Hambletonian Society in the U.S., and in 2011 received the Pinnacle Award for promotion of the sport. In Sweden, she was the former chair of the Swedish Breeders Association and of the organization operating Solvalla Racetrack, home of the famous Elitlopp, and is an honorary lifetime member of these two organizations and of the Swedish Trotting Association. If elected, Ms. Wallenius-Kleberg would become the first woman enshrined in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg were among nominees sent in by the chapters of USHWA for the consideration of the Screening Committee. After meeting with an Advisory Committee comprised of Hall of Famers, USHWA's Screening Committee made its decisions on the day of the annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, the first Sunday in July. Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg will be joined on the midsummer ballot by Carl Becker, race-caller/auctioneer/pedigree authority, and Dave Briggs, nine-time winner of the Hervey Award for outstanding writing about the sport; they are the candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame. If a nominee receives 75 percent of the yes-no votes cast, she or he will be elected. The results will be announced shortly after Labor Day. The new Hall of Famers will be first feted at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday, February 25, 2018 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, in conjunction with USHWA's annual meetings. The new Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame Sunday Dinner in 2018 on July 1. U.S. Harness Writers Association

Marcia Louise (Bickford) Stearns of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, died Saturday, June 17, after a long illness. She was 76.   Born and raised in Wolfeboro, NH, she graduated from Brewster Academy and earned a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire.   Mrs. Stearns began her career teaching elementary school in Farmington, NH. Later she was elected Town Clerk of Hampstead, NH and served two terms until she moved to Newtown, PA. She then returned to teaching at St. Ignatius School in Yardley where she taught the fourth grade for nearly two decades.   She was married for 35 years to the late Bruce Adams Stearns, a prominent harness racing leader who served as executive director of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Program in the State Department of Agriculture before his passing in 2001. Previously, Mr. Stearns was publicity director at harness racetracks, including Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania and Rockingham in New Hampshire. He was elected posthumously in 2002 to the Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame.   Survived by daughters Christine Stearns and Catherine (Stearns) Medich, son-in-law Benjamin, granddaughter Elizabeth Medich, sisters-in-law Elaine Bickford and Gail Bird (David), and several nieces and nephews.   She was predeceased by her parents, Frank Lovewell Bickford Jr. and Eleanor (Kenney) Bickford; husband Bruce Adams Stearns, and brother Kenneth Bickford.   Family visitation will be from 4 to 8 PM on Wednesday, July 21, at the Orender Home for Funderals, 2643 Old Bridge Road, Manasquan, NJ. Burial will be in New Hampshire.   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the George School and sent to the Advancement Office, 1690 Newtown Langhorne Rd, PMB 4438, Newtown, PA 18940, or to the charity of your choice.   From Leon Zimmerman, USHWA      

The U. S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the trade organization of harness racing communicators and the largest organization of its kind in the world, has announced that it will be holding its 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, February 25, with the organization's annual meetings to be conducted the day before and that day. Located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from the many area attractions, Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that is ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting hotel by Cvent. The stunning 230-acre property includes an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-redesigned golf course, four swimming pools, a spa that includes nine treatment rooms, two lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball, basketball and a state-of-the-art fitness center. There are 15 restaurant/lounges located on the property, including the upscale steakhouse A Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, and a 24-hour deli. Rosen Shingle Creek offers more than 1,500 smoke-free guestrooms, which include Creek Sleeper Beds with designer linens and pillows, plush robes, 40-inch TVs and a spa-like bathroom. Dan Patch Awards banquet ticket prices will be announced later, but a special price offering will be available for children 12 and under. Also, attendees will receive a greens fee discount at the adjacent golf course. Rosen Shingle Creek offers complimentary shuttles to area theme parks and Orlando Premium Outlets. Attendees will be able to purchase theme park ticket packages at a discount via USHWA, with that information also available at a later time. To see a promotional video of Rosen Shingle Creek, please click this link: RosenShingleCreekSizzleVideo2.mp4 "Through the hard work of our location committee,"said USHWA President Tim Bojarski. "USHWA now has a unique opportunity to host our Dan Patch Awards banquet at a truly luxurious location. The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort has facilities and amenities far beyond anywhere we have ever stayed in the past and we look forward to welcoming all of our award winners and guests to this property next February." The Dan Patch Awards Banquet annually honors the best and brightest performers, both human and equine, of the previous season. The award winners are selected by USHWA, which will be holding its directors meeting on Saturday and its general membership meeting on the banquet Sunday. Details will be made available at the USHWA website, http://www.ushwa.org/, and through trade media as they become available. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Goshen, NY - When the directors of Goshen Historic Track met for their monthly business meeting, the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) presented the non-profit harness racing organization with a donation of three thousand dollars ($3,000).   John Manzi, the driving force behind the chapter's benevolent activities for the past four decades was on hand to make the presentation of funds.   "This is our Cooperstown!" the affable publicist proclaimed in his signature style. "The track and the [Harness Racing] Museum are to Harness Racing what Cooperstown is to Baseball. And we are darn proud to continue to donate to both of these important institutions." In just the last ten years the Monticello-Goshen chapter has donated well over $30,000 to the "World's Oldest Harness Track." President Steve Jones stated, "The board of directors at Goshen Historic Track is grateful to the Monticello-Goshen chapter for their continued financial support. These sizable contributions allow us to carry on with improvements to this National Historic Landmark...which due to its advanced age constantly requires renovation and updating." In preparations for the track's 107th racing season, as well as to accommodate a few training stables arriving from down South, several ongoing projects were in mid-stream or nearing completion. The largest undertaking is the painting of the century-old grandstand. In addition, the BOCES barn has been completely re-sided and the floors of the stalls replaced. Repairs to the Arden Clubhouse, the track's operating office, are also in the works. Matinee racing begins in just seven short weeks on June 4, and again on subsequent Sundays 11 & 18. Grand Circuit racing starts at the 'Cradle of the Trotter' on Saturday, July 1. Hall of Fame day is Sunday, July 2, with two more race dates slated for Monday (July 3) and Tuesday (July 4). Established in 1838, Goshen Historic Track encourages membership in their iconic facility. For more information check out their website: GoshenHistoricTrack.com By Chris Tully for Monticello-Goshen USHWA

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2017 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. On average, there have been up to $3,000 awarded annually in scholarship money. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.8 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than May 29, 2017, for consideration of a June 2017 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33068. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

LAS VEGAS NV - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the world's largest organization for industry communicators, conducted its annual two days of business meetings this past weekend at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino along "the Strip" in this renowned gambling mecca. The weekend culminated in the Sunday evening celebration of the sport's best and brightest stars of 2016, both human and equine, at the annual Dan Patch Annual Banquet, for which Hoosier Park in Indiana joined with USHWA as its first Dan Patch Banquet title presenters.   The presence of Hoosier Park, and several other high-recognition entities of the sport providing sponsorship of phases of the Dan Patch Banquet, was reflective of the hard work of many individuals in shoring up the financial bottom line of the organization, and then developing a plan upon which to expand and help make USHWA's economic base even stronger.   This was perhaps the major theme of the USHWA weekend meetings, with Florida member Tom Hicks earning USHWA's Member of the Year award for spearheading a diverse, hard-working committee that took a look at all of USHWA's spending and income of recent years, and tried to find ways to minimize the former while maximizing the latter. A detailed report, emphasizing expansion of avenues of income, especially through the group's website (www.ushww.org), was prepared, explained, and distributed to the assembled as a baseline for ongoing activities.   Association economics were very much prevalent in the annual by-law and rules & regulations change proposals. One proposition argued in most years again was taken to a vote: the debate whether it was more advantageous to continue the current method of announcing Horse, Trotter, and Pacer of the Year at the end of the calendar season to take advantage of significant international press exposure, or to announce these awards for the first time at the Dan Patch Banquet in order to heighten the drama and perhaps bring in additional revenue (e.g., through sponsoring streaming video). This year's tabulation revealed that both sides' arguments had merit: 20 Directors voted to move the announcement to the banquet while 15 favored keeping the announcement at year's end, but this vote meant that the announcement will stay when it is, as under USHWA's by-laws a 2/3 majority (here, 23 votes) would have been necessary for a by-law change.   The Directors of USHWA also voted on the two ballot candidates for this summer's election for the Communicators Hall of Fame. Veteran Midwest announcer and auctioneer Carl Becker garnered the most support; the contest for the second spot was extremely tight, with the nod going to Dave Briggs of Harness Racing Update, who at the banquet would collect his record ninth John Hervey Award for excellence in writing about the Standardbred sport.   USHWA's officers generally work on a two-year cycle, and since this was an "off-year" election, the same officials were retained for another year: Tim Bojarski as President; Shawn Wiles as 1st Vice President; Kim Rinker as 2nd Vice President; Chris Tully as Chairman of the Board; Barry Lefkowitz as Treasurer; and Jerry Connors as Secretary.    

The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association has announced the recipients of its 2016 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park, and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. The 2016 recipients include Sarah Birkhold of Newberry, FL, a senior at the University of Florida, majoring in animal sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sarah is a member of the Golden Key honor society. She is actively involved in the equine industry, training Standardbreds, participating in rodeo events and involved in equine reproduction. Rebecca Soodeen of West Palm Beach, FL is also a scholarship recipient. This senior and honor student at the University of Florida (major in applies physiology and kinesiology) has been involved in equine related activities such as being a research assistant for the UF Wildlife Department and volunteer assistant for Bit by Bit Medical Therapeutic Riding. Both scholarship recipients plan to begin post-graduate studies. We are delighted to assist Sarah and Rebecca with financing their academic pursuits and wish them continued success. For 2017 the Finkelson Scholarship program continues with preference for the scholarship awards given to students majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2017. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33068. For more information or to receive an application for 2017 on the internet, contact Steven Wolf via e-mail at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com or Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net. By Thomas H. Hicks for the Florida USHWA Chapter  

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF) are again teaming up to offer an exciting silent auction to benefit both harness racing organizations at the Dan Patch Awards Dinner Sunday, February 26 in Las Vegas. For those who are on the go, one lucky bidder may attend the 2017 Preakness on May 20. That package includes two tickets to Turfside Terrace at Pimlico, including admission, seating, buffet, beer and wine, and parking. And while what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, one successful bidder can choose a two-night stay at any Caesar's property, along with a dinner for four. Special works of art, including a 22x8x22 inch stone, fiberglass and resin horse head statue title "Champagne," a framed, double matted 25x33 inch "Stretch Drive," signed print by renowned artist James Crown and a 14x18 inch Greyhound framed print by R.H. Palenske are also up for bid. For that special female, the auction features a Bow River two heart horse pendant and necklace featuring a .10 carat diamond and 14K gold necklace. Also offered is an equine-themed L.V. Harkness etched whisky decanter. In addition to on-site bidding in Las Vegas, USHWA and HHYF are offering advance bidding on all of these items. Contact Steve Wolf at 954-654-3757, or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029 for bidding requirements and information. Now in its fifth decade of service to harness racing, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 220 members committed to the chronicling of harness racing through the print and electronic media. It was founded in 1947 by New York City area sportswriters who were covering harness racing at Roosevelt Raceway. It remains the only media organization in harness racing with a membership of newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, ad agency, publicists and others involved in racing communications. With most of USHWA's members allied to one of 12 regional chapters, the association strives to bring about a closer relationship among the media, racetracks and horsemen to promote a centuries-old American-bred sport.  

Let's Go Racing LLC's feature, "Always B Miki's Miraculous Return," which aired during the Breeders Crown telecast on SNY (SportsNet New York) on Oct. 28, was named the winner of the 2016 John Hervey Award for excellence in harness racing broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Wednesday. Winners in the Hervey writing categories and Smallsreed Award photography divisions were announced last week. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the Hervey and Smallsreed awards by providing USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet tickets for the winners. The broadcasting division was judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster. "Always B Miki's Miraculous Return" chronicled the pacer's comeback from two leg surgeries to become a Breeders Crown champion and the fastest horse in harness racing history. The piece was produced by Bruce Casella and narrated by Heather Vitale. Becker said the production was "well-edited, with a keen sense of what was pertinent to the storyline" and "told the story in an efficient and powerful manner." Honorable mention was presented to WISH-TV's "Indiana Born" feature that focused on the career of pacer Freaky Feet Pete and his owners/trainers the Rheinheimer family. It appeared on Indianapolis' WISH-TV on Oct. 16. It was produced by Peggy McClelland. Winners will be recognized at USHWA's Dan Patch Awards dinner presented by Hoosier Park at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.ushwa.org. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Dave Briggs, writing for Harness Racing Update, and the tandem of Melissa Keith and Keith McCalmont, writing for Trot magazine, were named the winners in the 2016 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness writing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Thursday. In addition, Clive Cohen and Mark Hall were named the winners in the Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the Hervey and Smallsreed awards by providing USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet tickets for the winners. Results of the broadcast division will be announced at a later date. Briggs won in the news/commentary category for his story titled "Wallace slowly starting to rebuild after being decimated by Classy Lane fire," which appeared in the Jan. 8 issue of Harness Racing Update. It is Briggs' ninth Hervey Award, which is a record, and his third in the news/commentary division. Click here to read the story. Keith and McCalmont won in the feature writing category for their story titled "Remember those lost," which appeared in the February issue of Trot and presented memories of horses lost in the Classy Lane fire from horsemen and horsewomen affected by the tragedy. It is Keith's second Hervey honor and the first for McCalmont. Honorable mention in the news/commentary category went to Gordon Waterstone, writing for The Horseman And Fair World magazine, for his story "Suspicious texts cause Jug controversy," which appeared in the Sept. 28 issue. Feature writing honorable mentions went to Marvin Pave and Beverley Smith. Pave was recognized for his story "Have cause, will travel," which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats magazine and detailed how a racing family inspired the industry to help in the fight against multiple sclerosis. Smith was recognized for her story "Ron Waples: Just a win away from happiness," which appeared on the Woodbine Entertainment website on May 30. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of past Hervey winner Brad Schmaltz, freelance writer Lou Monaco, and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. Cohen's photo "October Racing," which first appeared on the WEG Standardbred Instagram page on Oct. 1 received the Smallsreed Award for feature photography. It is Cohen's second Smallsreed honor. Cohen also received honorable mention in the action category for his photo of three horses in the snow at Woodbine. Hall was recognized in the Smallsreed action category for his photo "Hey there," which appeared in the September issue of Hoof Beats. It is Hall's sixth Smallsreed Award. Michael Burns received honorable mention in the feature category for his photo of horses behind the starting gate at Mohawk. Ann MacNeill received honorable mention in the action division for her photo of a horse on the track at Pinette Raceway. Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe. Winners will be recognized at USHWA's Dan Patch Awards dinner presented by Hoosier Park at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.ushwa.org. Ken Weingartner

Lexington, Ky. - Justin MacEachern, who works in the Ross Croghan harness racing stable, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Caretaker of the Year Award sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HHRNP) in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). MacEachern, 26, has worked for Croghan for three years, and in 2016 he was the caretaker of Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Filly Pace champ Call Me Queen Be. Call Me Queen Be also included in her 2016 victories the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final as well as the first heat of the Jugette at Delaware, Ohio, when she set a new world record of 1:50.1h for her division. "I am so overwhelmed by this, I can't even begin to explain it," said MacEachern. "When you take care of a horse, and I've taken care of Call Me Queen Be for two years and she was my only horse up until this winter, just waking up every day knowing that I had so much to do with the horse, it's just great. There is a whole connection there and it's an amazing feeling." All caretakers in North America are 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-chose MacEachern as the winner. As winner of the HHRNP Caretaker of the Year Award, MacEachern will receive a cash prize of $500, transportation, hotel accommodations and two tickets to USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet presented by Hoosier Park on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, where he will be presented a trophy. A third-generation horseman, MacEachern had been pursuing a degree in culinary management at the Art Institute of Philadelphia when the lure of the horses changed his direction. MacEachern received several nominations, with one noting the "countless hours he has dedicated to the filly (Call Me Queen Be)" and a pacer who he needed "to use his horsemanship skills to gain the trust of." Croghan agreed, saying recently, "He has spent hours and hours with this filly giving her confidence and getting her mannered. Justin has just put his heart and soul into this horse." Croghan also noted MacEachern's attention to detail, whether it involved shipping, shoeing, exercise schedules or equipment. Another nominator noted that MacEachern "risked his own life" last winter when fire engulfed a barn at the South Florida Trotting Center. One of the first on the scene, MacEachern helped rescue several horses from the burning barn, later helping ship the injured to a nearby vet clinic. MacEachern, along with all the USHWA 2016 award winners, including Always B Miki as Horse of the Year, will be recognized during the banquet on Feb. 26. Information on tickets and accommodations for the event can be found at www.ushwa.org. by Gordon Waterstone, for Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park and U.S. Harness Writers Association  

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