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GOSHEN NY - At its annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Sunday, July 1, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame was a recipient of a check for $5000 from the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading media organization. Two years ago, the Directors of USHWA made a change in the organization's rules and regulations of operation, mandating a $5000 contribution to the Hall and Museum. USHWA has been entrusted with conducting the annual elections for the sport's highest honor, acceptance into the Hall of Fame, with its membership joining with present Hall of Famers in voting to honor the best of the best. The organization is proud of the work of the Hall and the Museum, and is glad to contribute to ongoing operations. Shawn Wiles, president of USHWA, is also Manager of Racing Operations at nearby Monticello Raceway; in fact, his USHWA chapter is named the Monticello-Goshen Chapter, and he is very aware of the importance of and the ongoing good work done by his "backyard neighbor." Noted Wiles, "The preservation and promotion of the achievements of the sport's greatest participants who have been honored by election to the Hall would be enough for many organizations. But the Hall/Museum also serves as the sport's main repository of history for today's racing fans, and often is on the road with exhibits, furthering exposure for the sport; it also has a component that tries to encourage the fans of tomorrow, to introduce them to harness racing at a young age." The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is open 361 days a year in Goshen NY; their website's address is From the United States Harness Writers Association

MONTICELLO NY - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading group of Standardbred journalists, has announced that it will be donating $2,500 to the unfortunate horsemen who lost more than two dozen horses and their associated equipment - basically, their means of livelihood -- in a barn fire at the Mount Hope Training Center in Otisville, Orange County NY during the morning of June 2. "Even the mere mention of the word FIRE sends shivers down the spine of every horseman, every track executive, every shedrow in the world," notes Shawn Wiles, president of USHWA, executive director of racing at New York's Monticello Raceway, and a former caretaker. "Any loss of equine life is horrific. "It is during catastrophes such as this that the industry comes together and rallies behind those who have lost everything. The U.S. Harness Writers Association makes this donation in an effort to help horsemen get back on their feet and get their lives together again." A GoFundMe page, for others who want to help these devastated horsemen, has been set up jointly by North American Harness Update Picks and Post Time with Mike & Mike, and it has now raised over $10,000. The website for making donations is From the United States Harness Writers Association

Harrisburg, PA --- The Dan Patch Awards Dinner is rapidly approaching and along with it, the annual silent auction held in conjunction with the evening's festivities on Feb. 25 in Orlando. Once again the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA's industry outreach will benefit from the sales. This year's auction features a wide variety of items so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone in attendance. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to February 24. Lots available include: 14K horsehead necklace with diamond and chain (donated by Bow River Jewelry); 2018 Preakness Stakes Package (donated by Maryland Jockey Club); The "Campbell Collection" of memorabilia including board game, posters, shirts, hats, programs and more - most autographed by the one and only John Campbell; Custom harness racing stained glass panel (donated by Barbara Dresser and Callie Davies Gooch); Signed and numbered Always B Miki mounted pen & ink print (donated by Michelle Hogan); "Night on the Meadowlands TV Set" experience; "Handicapping Session with Garnet Barnsdale"; Production of audio advertising piece by Retromedia; (PR services for audio production, script and voiceover: donated and provided by Mark McKelvie and Melissa Keith) Red Mile Package $1000 value Dinner and programs for 4 in The Red Mile Clubhouse (excluding alcohol) and Railbird Box Seats (for up to 6 people) - all during  2018 The Red Mile Grand Circuit meet! Exact location for box seats to be determined. (Donated by the Red Mile) Rosen Shingle Creek hotel vacation package (donated by same); Baseball package including tickets for Mets and Phillies games (donated by Nick Saponara); Collection of framed, vintage cigar box labels of Ashwood, Peter Manning, and Single Kay; Off & Pacing game package; Limited-edition Cam Fella print by equine artist Fred Stone: (donated by The Farm Ventures (Off and Pacing/Ryan Clements/Landon Mulhall) Set of 6 hand-painted goblets (donated by Suzanne D'Ambrose); Variety of gift baskets from Batavia Downs, Hoosier Park, Ohio Sires Stakes, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and Hambletonian/Breeders Crown; (Canadian horse racing gift basket: items donated by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Retromedia Publishing, and Melissa Keith) Gift certificates from Fennell's, Big D's and The Red Mile Gift Shop; And perhaps a few late entries! Proceeds from the silent auction go to fund the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Summer Programs as well as the U.S. Harness Writers Association's industry outreach initiative, which this past year made contributions to the Harness Racing Museum, Historic Track rebuilding fund, the Filion family and the Clyde Hirt Media Workshop during Hambletonian week. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit or call Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029. by Ken Weingartner, for USHWA

HARRISBURG, PA---Positive commentary and industrious promotion of harness racing are the best ways to gain new owners, fans and gamblers as well as retain the ones already engaged in order to keep this industry viable for the next generation. And there is no one that does these things more effectively on a daily basis than T.J. Burkett and Jason Settlemoir. As a result, they will each be presented an USHWA President's Award for their contributions to the sport at the 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet that will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, February 25. Burkett is the Executive Editor of Hoof Beats Magazine and has spent more than a decade working on the publication for the U.S. Trotting Association. After joining the USTA in 2007 as associate editor, he became the youngest-ever executive editor of Hoof Beats in December of 2010. Burkett has continued the magazine's long tradition of providing harness racing fans with an insider's view of the sport through in-depth features and profiles. But he has also directed the magazine's focus to promoting the stars of racing, tackling the issues that racing faces and shining a light on those who work hard at every level, but haven't gotten the recognition they deserve. During his tenure, Burkett has implemented some significant improvements in the monthly publication. Among the biggest was the transition of the annual Stan Bergstein experimental ratings to a modern day formula, the significant growth of the Hoof Beats photo contest and introducing the digital format "Hoof Beats Direct" in 2013, making the magazine easily accessible through any handheld device. Currently Burkett is supervising a major redesign of Hoof Beats that is scheduled to be unveiled in March of 2018. He is also leading the way on a project to digitize the entire historical archive of the magazine with search term capability. Settlemoir is the COO/GM of New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW at Bayonne, N.J., and is vice president of racing, simulcast and sponsorship for American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs). He is also simulcast director for the Little Brown Jug as well as their second announcer, a vice president of Harness Tracks of America, past president and chairman of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, a Grand Circuit and Little Brown Jug Society Director, a member of the USHWA Hall of Fame Screening Committee, and a director for the United States Trotting Association. Settlemoir was awarded the 2006 U.S. Harness Writers Association's Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for his work in opening up Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and was inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's Hall of Fame in 2011. Settlemoir has also always been a big part of any community he has lived in and sat on the board of directors for the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Tier Red Cross and the Tioga County United Way, where he was chair for the annual campaign drive, before making his move to The Meadowlands and New Jersey. "T.J. and Jason were both born and raised in this business and have made it their life's work. Their extensive first-hand experience gives them a unique understanding of harness racing at every level," said Tim Bojarski, President of USHWA. "They both come to the office each day with a positive attitude towards the sport, its participants and the viability of its future, and they work to try to infuse that into every aspect of their individual responsibilities. As a result. I believe harness racing as a whole is better for their efforts now and will continue to improve in the future under their respective leadership roles." "Although rivals at the academic level (Burkett went to Michigan State and Settlemoir Ohio State), the Big 10 produced a great team of harness racing proponents who both have made significant contributions to date and will continue to do so for a long time," Bojarski concluded. From USHWA (U.S. Harness Writers Association)  

It was unanimous. The USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award Committee has named "Yankee Joe" Lee the National Amateur Driver of the Year for 2017. The ever- improving 38-year-old Bronxville, NY native is enjoying his best season in the harness racing sulky while being a member of multiple amateur organizations. When contacted, Lee was at Yankee Stadium where he is the New York Yankee's assistant equipment manager, thus the moniker "Yankee Joe." When told of his recent accolade, Lee paused a moment and then said: "I'm greatly honored and I'm humbled by the award. This is only my third full season of amateur driving and I love it. And I'm especially grateful for the confidence that the owners and trainers have shown in my abilities" Lee could be considered a true amateur in that he owns no racing stock nor does he have any specific trainer to drive for exclusively (save Bruce Aldrich, Sr. at Monticello Raceway) and has taken the reins from at least 15 different trainers this year alone. This National Award comes on the heels of the local Amateur Driver of the Year Award from the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA ,which, by the way, pioneered showcasing the talents of amateur drivers back in the 1980's. Currently Lee has a career best 15 driving victories to go along with 11 seconds and 10 thirds. Arguably the most prolific was the triumph in the 1-1/4-mile $25,000 CKG Billings Gold Cup Final at Yonkers Raceway with Dizzy Rizzy on November 26. However, it didn't come easy. And Lee recalls that triumph vividly. "We had tough trip that that night but we got the job done. I tried leaving but Steve Oldford , with Gonna Fly, was giving Paul Minore and Wygant Prince a tough time. I then tried to slip down along the pylons to no avail but got lucky when Bob Krivelin's horse made a break. "Sitting third I thought I had a good spot. Then Oldford pulled the pocket with over a half mile to go so I got to slip into the two hole. At the top of the stretch I rolled out of the pocket grunted at her (Dizzy Lizzy) a little and she scampered past the leader and got there in time. I was real honored to win the Billings Gold Cup for her connections." However, Lee's fastest victory this year was a 1:54.3 triumph with Soul Train at the Meadowlands on September 8th for trainer Al Annuziatta. Not bad for a kid who began with show jumpers. "Once I jogged a (harness) horse I never had anything more to do with jumpers," he said. Lee credits his friend Buzzy Sholty as his mentor. " I love the sport and once this game gets into your blood it consumes you. And the more involved you become the more dedicated you are to the sport of harness driving." Lee alleges. Says competitor and two time National Amateur Driver of the Year, Dein Spriggs: "Joe Lee demonstrates what I feel is required to receive the 2017 National Amateur Driver of the year Award" "He's a strategic driver using tactics and not losing composure during a race while readjusting strategies during the race to overcome his competition. He's of good character and moral standing besides being the 2017 Billings Gold Cup winner." Lee will receive his accolades at the National US Harness Writers Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida during late February, 2018. by John Manzi for USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award  

Congratulations to the new Hall of Famers. Well, we just announced the newest inductees voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, and the four individuals could not be more deserving. Congratulations to Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, who are going into the Hall, and to Carl Becker and Dave Briggs, who are going into the Communicators Hall. Jules Siegel and his late wife Arlene established Fashion Farms in eastern Pennsylvania, acquired first-rate broodmares and bred them to top sires to achieve successful racehorses.  Siegel has raced Hambletonian winner Tagliabue along with eight Dan Patch Award champions and five Breeders Crown winners including Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner and Broadway Donna. Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg is the first woman elected to the Hall of Fame. She is the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, the leading breeder in her native Sweden, which has been in her family for 70 years. Wallenius-Kleberg also created a North America-Europe comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by champion horses such as Mack Lobell. Carl Becker began his career in harness announcing in 1963 and became in-demand with major tracks like DuQuoin IL, where he called the Hambletonian and World Trotting Derby, and The Red Mile where he announced Niatross’s historic 1:49.1 time-trial. Dave Briggs achieved journalistic success through his award-winning work as editor of the Canadian Sportsman magazine. In the last couple years Briggs has been in charge of Harness Racing Update, the online racing newsletter. Briggs is also a nine-time Hervey Award winner for excellence in harness journalism; the next highest total for an individual is five. Siegel, Wallenius-Kleberg, Becker and Briggs will all be honored at the 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL on Sunday February 25, 2018. They then will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Goshen NY on Sunday, July 1, 2018. USHWA helps to rebuild Goshen Historic Track After the devastating fire that completely destroyed barns and a blacksmith shop at Goshen Historic Track, the Executive Board of USHWA met and unanimously agreed to donate $5,000 to help rebuild the oldest operating harness racing track in the world, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The Officers wanted to take a lead role in the industry and help provide GHT a hand in getting the track back to where it should be, and we hope that others within the sport follow our example and donate what they can to keep this historic property open and operational for generations of racing fans to come. USHWA to be a sponsor of the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park For the first time ever, USHWA will be a sponsor for the Breeders Crown, to be held at Hoosier Park in October. Because of the generosity of Hoosier Park, who was the title sponsor of our Dan Patch Awards Banquet this past February in Las Vegas, the Officers decided it was important to support them now as they host their very first Breeders Crown, along with showing our support for all the participants of the races themselves. Our name will be prominently shown on the grooms’ gear, namely the fleece jackets they will be provided with; our organization’s name will be on the chest and down the arms. We will also have a full-page color USHWA ad in the Breeders Crown program. Proximity nominations are due next month Please keep in mind that the first nomination deadline of the fall comes up on Tuesday, Oct. 13, for the Bergstein/Proximity Award (250-500 word biography per nominee, one per chapter). These nominations need to be reviewed by the Integrity Committee and the Directors before being returned to the membership for final voting. So it is important that the original deadline be met in order to keep in line with other year-end award announcements. … so Plan a Chapter meeting NOW! With the Proximity nominations due then, if your Chapter can mobilize for a meeting very soon, that may be best. If not, with all the year-end award nomination and voting activities just around the corner, it would be a great time to plan a Chapter meeting to get “all your ducks in a row.” Also make sure you let Secretary Connors know who your Directors are for 2017-2018 so we have a record we can refer to when it comes to reimbursements in February. New website is in trial mode We are literally days away from the release of our new website. It is up and running in a faux-domain until we get it tweaked and finally released. Look for a release as soon as we go live. 2018 Budget is currently being drafted Tom Hicks and the Budget Committee are currently putting together the final touches on the 2018 financial plan. This year we are on target to make a profit commensurate with the projections presented to the Directors – and, depending on what transpires with banquet sponsorships prior to the end of the year, could go higher. Our principal organizational functions this year have stayed on point, and we thank everyone involved for their work in that achievement. Dan Patch Awards host hotel reservation portal now open The USHWA-only reservation portal for the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando is now live on our website, and you can now make your plans to attend the National meetings and Dan Patch awards banquet the last weekend in February. Please keep in mind that as every year, a limited number of rooms will be available at the discounted rate, and making an early reservation may be a good idea. Don’t forget about Items for the DPA Silent and Live Auctions As was mentioned in my previous newsletters, you are aware that we annually hold a silent auction to help fund not only the business of USHWA, but also the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the Clyde Hirt Workshop.  In recent years, the items that have been made available to us for this auction have dwindled severely, and we need your help and support to turn the tide.  This is a call to EVERY USHWAN!  Please take a minute of your day to call a business, hotel, sport team, industry outlet, race track, farm, distributor, anyone or anything you can think of and try to get donations for this auction, so we can more adequately support the worthy causes that the proceeds are put towards.  To date, I have only received a response from Dave Brower, Melissa Keith, and Matt Sparacino with offers of auction items. I know it’s early, but it’s never too early to help the organization. Whether you attend the banquet or not, it would help the functions of the organization immensely if everyone got just one donation of any value to put into this auction. I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming fall weather and all the great stake racing that is yet to come. I also hope I run into many USHWA members at the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park next month as it promises to be one of, if not THE, best presentation of this stake ever.   Tim Bojarski President of USHWA

No sooner was a very eventful Hambletonian day in the books; it seems we are now counting the days to the Little Brown Jug. Where does the summer go? With so much racing action seemingly every week the time looking forward to the next great race just eats away at the calendar. HALL OF FAME VOTING The 2017 Hall of Fame ballots are in the mail; if you haven't received yours already, it should be in your mailbox shortly (or let the Secretary know). Please keep in mind that the deadline for voting is Wednesday, September 13, and you may reply with your selections either via e-mail or the good old USPS. Please make sure you follow all the instructions included with your packet and reply in a timely matter. Hall of Famer and advisor Jim Simpson remarked that this was by far the best set of complied biographies that the Hall of Fame Screening Committee had ever received and praised the work of the new USHWA Advisory Committee for their work putting them together. NEW USHWA WEBSITE IS CLOSE TO COMPLETION The new USHWA website is nearing completion and I can tell you it’s looking awesome. Tom Hicks has been working hard with designers from, who is building the site for us. The new site will give us the option for online pay, and you could also pay annual dues, buy Dan Patch Banquet tickets or even conduct any other business that would require the transfer of funds. We will also have live streaming ability as well as the capacity for selling banner ads. And of course the new site will display all of our content in a more cohesive and easier-to-navigate manner. We will send out a notice as soon as it goes live. ROSEN SHINGLE CREEK/DAN PATCH AWARDS BANQUET UPDATE Florida Chapter President and new Hall of Famer Steve Wolf took a road trip up to Orlando for us to look over the Rosen Shingle Creek, which is the host property for the 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet. And to say he was impressed with it would be an understatement. The food, the accommodations, all the facilities and the property were all top of the line. Mr. Wolf also looked over the layout of the banquet room and simply said “It’s huge!” We will have a reservation link up shortly so you can start making your arrangements early. PLAN A CHAPTER MEETING NOW You might want to start planning a Chapter meeting in the next month or so to discuss possible human awards and Communicators Hall of Fame nominees, and perhaps talk about By-Law change and Rules and Regs change proposals. And also the first nomination deadline of the year comes up in October for the Bergstein/Proximity Award (250-500 word biography per nominee, one per chapter). That would also be a good topic of discussion. DON’T FORGET ABOUT ITEMS FOR THE DPA SILENT AND LIVE AUCTIONS As was mentioned in my previous newsletter, you are aware that we annually hold a silent auction to help fund not only the business of USHWA, but also the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the Clyde Hirt Workshop.   In recent years, the items that have been made available to us for this auction have dwindled severely, and we need your help and support to turn the tide.   This is a call to EVERY USHWAN! Please take a minute of your day to call a business, hotel, sport team, industry outlet, race track, farm, distributor, anyone or anything you can think of and try to get donations for this auction so we can more adequately support the worthy causes that the proceeds are put towards.   To date, I have only received a response from Dave Brower and Melissa Keith with offers of auction items. I know it’s early, but it’s never too early to help the organization. Whether you attend the banquet or not, it would help the functions of the organization immensely if everyone got just one donation of any value to put into this auction.   The best of racing luck to everyone the rest of the summer, and hopefully I will see you sometime between the Jug and the Breeders Crown. Tim Bojarski President of USHWA

Coral Springs, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced five candidates who will receive awards this year from the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Fund. 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 "There were eleven candidates that were eligible for the scholarships," said Thomas H. Hicks, who chairs the scholarship committee. "And our committee worked diligently in deciding who would be the winners. We are very pleased to have had so many applications this year and it was not easy making the final selections." Two students, Daniel Clien and Jessica Hallet, will both receive scholarship checks for $750 each as the two top candidates. Students Amber Kelley, Paul Levia and Sarah Birkhold will each get $500. Preference for these scholarship awards were given to a student(s) majoring in journalism, communications or equine related studies. On average, there has 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. Daniel Clein will start his freshman year this fall at the University of Central Florida with a goal of becoming a veterinarian. He is a graduate of Wellington High School with a GPA of 3.6, was in the Wellington HS Equine Pre-Vet Academy Magnet Program and participated in numerous community outreach programs, including creating a 501C3 not-for-profit charity. Jessica Hallett will be a freshman at Nova Southeastern University. She is the daughter of trainers John & Michelle Hallett and has spent most of her life around harness racing. She graduated from Deerfield Beach High School with an impressive GPA average of 5.12, was a star athlete, volunteered in numerous community service activities and has been writing feature stories on harness racing for Sarah Birkhold is from Sarasota and is a first year graduate student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinarian Medicine. She has been an Allen J. Finkelson scholarship winner the past four years. Her GPA is 3.72 and she has been President of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen Society, Treasurer of Block & Bridle Group, a teaching assistant in Equine Management and did an internship at Firethorn Equine in Ohio. She is the daughter of FSBOA Director and horse owner, George Birkhold. Amber Kelley is from North Lauderdale and is a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University and is majoring in Multi Media Journalism Studies. She has a GPA of 3.789 and was nominated for both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Society for Collegiate Leadership. She is also secretary of the Kiwanis Circle K International local chapter and is involved with a Mentoring Project. Paul Levia hails from Pembroke Pines and is a junior at Florida International University and is majoring in Broadcast Media. He has a GPA of 3.875 and is an AP Scholar, National Honor Society since 2014 and is a volunteer at the Broward Public Library. By Steve Wolf, for the Florida USHWA Chapter  

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

The best in harness racing in 2016 will be honored Sunday night, Feb. 26, at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner, presented by Hoosier Park, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. But even if you are not planning on attending, you can still watch the entire night of award presentations. While the video streaming won't be live, it will be available Monday morning, Feb. 27, on the U.S. Trotting Association YouTube page, which can be accessed here, as well as at, which links directly to the video page on the USTA website. In addition, the video will be available for viewing on the USHWA Facebook page. For those who are attending, remember the cocktail party in Celebrity Ballrooms 5-8 starts at 6 p.m. (PT) and the awards dinner will get underway promptly at 7 p.m. And for those who are attending, make sure you are there early as you don't want to miss seeing a special performance by a legendary performer that will kick off the awards portion of the night. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - The New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, designed to transition racehorses from their careers on the track into a productive "adoptive" program suitable for both the equine and her/his new "family," has been selected for the United States Harness Writers Association's President's Award, as announced by the president of USHWA, harness racing's leading media organization, Tim Bojarski. Over 6000 retired Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses have been placed by New Vocations since its founding in 1992. Many have gone on to be pleasure horses, and some have been re-educated to participate in other equine disciplines such as horse show competition. One New Vocations "graduate" even served as a "stand-in" when the recent movie about Seabiscuit, the champion racehorse, was made! New Vocations has two farms in Ohio, Laurelville and Marysville; one in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; and one in Lexington, Kentucky. The Executive Director of the New Vocations program is Dot Morgan, who won the 2012 Unsung Hero Award from USHWA, and its current Standardbred Program Director is Dot's daughter, Winnie Morgan Nemeth, a member of USHWA. Bojarski notes, "New Vocations is a highly-motivated group of 'horse people' who aggressively re-home and re-train retired Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racehorses. Their plan is simple: determine the horse's demeanor, find the horse's best traits, and then teach the horse a skill that suits her or him best and will ensure that the animal will be productive forever in its new home. "New Vocations is in the process of building the former Mereworth Farm in Lexington KY, consolidating the group's efforts and making the new facility the largest rehabilitation, retraining, re-homing and retirement facility in the nation. The group's Standardbred Division led by Winnie Morgan Nemeth does extraordinary work for our retired warriors of the track, and does that work with the horse's best interests uppermost in mind." New Vocations will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing. From the United States Harness Writers' Association

HARRISBURG PA - With the various racehorses, including Horse of the Year Always B Miki, now recognized for the achievements on the track during 2016, and the human and breeding award-winners for the year winding down to be announced over the next week and a half, the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) would like to direct those interested in attending the 2017 Dan Patch Night of Champions Presented by Hoosier Park, to be held Sunday, February 26 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, as well as those who might want to take a congratulatory ad for one or more of the various recipients, to the organization's website,, where there are large quantities of information concerning the gala awards dinner. (If you are viewing our mobile site, click the "full website" tab at the upper right for all the links to the banquet.) There is a link through which you can make reservations directly within the Planet Hollywood hotel system at special USHWA prices. For those who might want to extend their stay, a $69 hotel room rate is available the Thursday before, and the Sunday night of the dinner, and the Monday after. It is urged that you reserve rooms early, as there is a limited USHWA bloc - and we also mention that it would be wise to make air reservations as soon as possible as well. The website also contains a link towards buying tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park. In addition, there is a link to a form listing rates for advertising in the time-honored Banquet Souvenir Journal, where all connected with award-winners can extend their thanks and congratulations. Award-winners, friends of award-winners, vacationers, those attending the HHI and USTA meetings to be held in Vegas at about this time period, and also members of the Harness Writers Association - it would be good to start your plans in motion now for the weekend culminating on Sunday, February 26, using And more award-winners will be in the pipeline within the next ten days - so keep an eye out for those as well, to be announced on the USHWA website and through the trade media. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Top-earning female trotter Hannelore Hanover and Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder were among six trotters named Dan Patch Award winners Thursday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Ariana G, Broadway Donna, Obrigado, and Walner also were named divisional champs by the organization. A total of 155 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned by USHWA's membership. Ariana G, Hannelore Hanover, Marion Marauder, and Walner all were selected on at least 94 percent. Broadway Donna, who received 83 percent of the vote among 3-year-old female trotters, is a repeat winner. The six champions came from six different training stables. Divisional honors for pacers will be announced Friday. Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be announced at noon Monday in a live show streamed over the Facebook pages of USHWA, Hoosier Park, and the Harness Racing FanZone. The presentation will be hosted by Emily Gaskin, Hoosier Park's race marketing manager. Marion Marauder was named the sport's best 3-year-old male trotter following a campaign that saw the colt become the ninth Trotting Triple Crown winner - and first since 2006 - by sweeping the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity. In addition, Marion Marauder won the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on his way to $1.48 million in purses. His earnings led all trotters in North America. Marion Marauder won 10 of 15 starts and finished second three times this season for the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. Marion Marauder is owned by the couple's son, Devin Keeling, and Wellwood's mother, Marion Jean Wellwood. Scott Zeron was the colt's regular driver. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Spellbound Hanover, Marion Marauder was bred by William Mulligan. For the second consecutive year, filly Broadway Donna was named a divisional champion and in the process joined her dam, Broadway Schooner, in receiving a Dan Patch Award at age 3. Broadway Schooner was honored in 2009. Broadway Donna, a daughter of stallion Donato Hanover, won seven of 12 starts and earned $664,708 in purses for breeder/owner Fashion Farms. Trained by Jim Campbell and driven by David Miller, her wins included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters, Kentucky Filly Futurity, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Four-year-old mare Hannelore Hanover was named the sport's best older female trotter. She won 17 of 20 races and earned $1.11 million in purses, leading all female trotters in earnings. Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare Trot and the Hambletonian Maturity, where she defeated male rivals. She also beat the boys in the Centaur Trotting Classic in addition to winning the Armbro Flight Stakes, TVG Series championship for female trotters, Fresh Yankee, Muscle Hill, and Miami Valley Distaff. Her mile time of 1:51 in winning the Armbro Flight equaled the world record for a 4-year-old trotting mare. Hannelore Hanover, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras and Ricky Macomber Jr., is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. A daughter of stallion Swan For All out of the mare High Sobriety, she was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Obrigado was named the best older male trotter. The 6-year-old gelding's wins included a world-record-equaling 1:53.2 performance around Northfield Park's half-mile oval in the Cleveland Trotting Classic and victories in the TVG Series championship for male trotters, Maxie Lee Memorial, Charlie Hill Memorial, Crawford Farms Open, and Dayton Trotting Derby. He won more than $800,000. The gelding, trained by Paul Kelley and driven by Mark MacDonald, is owned by the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45. Obrigado, bred by Mike Andrew, is a son of stallion Boy Band out of the mare Malimony. Walner won seven of eight races and finished the season with a five-race victory streak that included triumphs in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, Kindergarten Classic Series championship, and a division of the International Stallion Stakes in a world-record 1:51.3. Linda Toscano trained Walner for owner Ken Jacobs. Tim Tetrick handled the driving. The colt is a son of stallion Chapter Seven out of the mare Random Destiny. He was bred by Overseas Farms. Owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz finished second with All The Time in last year's voting for best 2-year-old female trotter, but captured the division this year with the aforementioned filly's sister, Ariana G. The homebred daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All won nine of 11 races and earned $743,967. Trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Gingras, Ariana G's wins included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters, Jim Doherty Memorial, Peaceful Way Stakes, and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Walner (151 votes) Chapter Seven---Random Destiny---Ken Warkentin Yearling Price: $90,000 at Lexington Selected Sale Breeder: Overseas Farms Ltd. Owner: Ken Jacobs Trainer: Linda Toscano Driver: Tim Tetrick Races: 8-7-0-0 Purses: $484,037 Mark: 1:51.3 at Red Mile (world record) Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $200,600 Kindergarten Classic; $56,000 International Stallion Stakes division 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Ariana G (152 votes) Muscle Hill---Cantab It All---Cantab Hall Yearling Price: Homebred Breeders: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld Owners: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 11-9-1-0 Purses: $743,967 Mark: 1:51.4 at Red Mile Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $306,500 Doherty Memorial; $275,880 Peaceful Way 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Marion Marauder (146 votes) Muscle Hill---Spellbound Hanover---Donerail Yearling Price: $37,000 under name Marion Monopoly at Lexington Selected Sale Breeder: William Mulligan Owners: Marion Jean Wellwood, Devin Keeling Trainers: Paula Wellwood, Mike Keeling Driver: Scott Zeron Races: 15-10-3-0 Purses: $1.48 million Mark: 1:51.3 at Meadowlands Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $500,000 Yonkers Trot; $431,000 Kentucky Futurity; $209,040 Goodtimes 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Broadway Donna (129 votes) Donato Hanover---Broadway Schooner---Broadway Hall Yearling Price: Homebred Breeder: Fashion Farms Owner: Fashion Farms Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: David Miller Races: 12-7-2-1 Purses: $664,708 Mark: 1:51.1 at Red Mile Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $312,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity; $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final OLDER MALE TROTTER Obrigado (88 votes) Boy Band---Malimony---Malabar Man Sale Price: $53,000 at 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale Breeder: Michael Andrew Owners: Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, Stable 45 Trainer: Paul Kelley Driver: Mark MacDonald Races: 17-7-2-4 Purses: $808,320 Mark: 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs Top wins: $400,000 TVG Series final; $210,000 Hill Memorial; $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Hannelore Hanover (151 votes) Swan For All---High Sobriety---Dream Vacation Yearling Price: $32,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva Stables Trainer: Ron Burke Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Ricky Macomber Jr. Races: 20-17-2-0 Purses: $1.11 million Mark: 1:51 at Mohawk (equals world record) Top wins: $471,200 Hambletonian Maturity; $250,000 Breeders Crown; $220,000 Centaur Trotting Classic by Ken Weingartner, for the US Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's largest organization for communicators of the Standardbred sport, presents the announcement schedule for the naming of the 2016 Harness Horse of the Year, the Trotter and Pacer of the Year, and the various divisional awardwinners. These announcements are made with the partnership of Hoosier Park, who is the title presenter of USHWA's Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas, and with the U. S. Trotting Association (USTA), who prepares the statistics mailed to eligible voters and then tallies the incoming voting. On Thursday, December 15, a press release will be coming from Harness Racing Communications (HRC), shortly after noon, listing the six winners in the various age/sex divisions for trotters. A similar release will be sent for pacers the next day, Friday, December 16, just after twelve noon. On Monday, December 19, at twelve noon, there will be an announcement of the Trotter and Pacer of the Year, followed by the naming of the 2016 Harness Horse of the Year. This will be a live announcement, streamed over the Facebook pages of USHWA, Hoosier Park, and the Harness Racing Fan Zone. The show will be hosted by Emily Gaskin, Hoosier's Race Marketing Manager and the winner of USHWA's 2014 Breakthrough Award for an up-and-coming person in industry management or communications. A full press release detailing the particulars of these announcements will be sent out by HRC immediately after the awards are announced on Monday. The winners of the "human" Dan Patch Awards (which do include the Broodmares of the Year) will be announced during the rest of the week after Monday's Horse of the Year announcement. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

The U.S. Harness Writers Association Canadian Chapter invites students from university and college journalism, broadcast journalism and related programs to apply for one of two available seats in our student journalism workshop.   Inspired by the Clyde Hirt Media Workshop, which the U.S. Harness Writers Association conducts annually at The Meadowlands, the Canadian workshop is new in 2016. It will run Atlantic Breeders Crown weekend (October 7-9, 2016) at Red Shores Charlottetown, P.E.I., with opportunities for participating students to learn about harness racing and its media coverage while writing articles for publication.   Students must provide their own transportation and accommodations (information can be provided if required). Deadline for applications is September 23, 2016.   To apply, please contact Melissa Keith, Canadian chapter president, at or DM @USHWACanada on Twitter.   From Melissa Keith, USHWA Chapter Canada  

Driver Brian Sears, a third generation horseman, is the sole nominee on the ballot in voting for the 2017 Harness Racing Hall of Fame. The Harness Racing Hall of Fame screening committee met this past weekend in Goshen and reviewed nominations from 11 chapters of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Sears was the only candidate to make the ballot. The ballot will be sent to 223 members of USHWA and existing Hall of Fame inductees in August. A nominee must receive 75% of votes cast to be inducted in to the Hall of Fame. Results will be announced when tabulated. Sears, who plies his trade primarily on the east coast, has 9,601 wins in nearly 50,000 starts. He has exceeded $10 million in annual purse earnings nine times for a total of just over $172 million. He concluded another outstanding driving year in 2015 with the highlights including capturing his third Hambletonian win with Pinkman and grabbing divisional Dan Patch Award honors behind the great trotting mare Bee A Magician. Sears has driving wins in classic races such as 10 of the 12 divisions of the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian, Little Brown Jug, Kentucky Futurity, Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup, Yonkers Trot, Messenger, Cane, Adios, Battle of Brandywine, Canadian Trotting Classic, Metro, Stanley Dancer, Del Miller and Canadian Pacing Classic. He has been the primary driver on three Dan Patch Harness Horses of the Year, Muscle Hill in 2009 and Bee A Magician in 2013 plus Rocknroll Hanover in 2005. Racing has been a family affair for Sears. His father, Jay, won more than 1,400 races and purses of over $3.3 million. Brian's grandfather, the late Gene Sears, was also a 1,000-plus race winner who won $1.7 million in purses during his career. by Ellen Harvey for Harness Racing Communications

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