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Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Caretaker of the Year. The harness racing award, in its fourth 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 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. 24, 2019, 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. "Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights," said USHWA president Shawn Wiles. "This cadre toil in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm 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. 7, 2019, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. (USHWA) From U.S. Harness Writers Association

John Manzi, the guy who carried the torch for decades, reveled in the moment when 175 well-wishers packed The Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club to honor his lifelong passion and lifetime achievement in harness racing on Sunday evening, Dec. 2. The banquet was the chapter's 60th annual event, but after 40 years of running the show, Manzi said he wanted to step aside and let his successors run with the ball. Retired after famously re-inventing harness racing promotions while managing the publicity department at Monticello Raceway for 40 years, Manzi has always said, "I had a great run. It's better to be a 'has been' than a never was!" "I didn't make a lot of money, but I sure made a lot of great friends and great memories! And we pulled off some crazy promotions too!" he said with a laugh. Manzi was the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award winner...and has been the fuel that propelled the chapter to become one of the strongest in the association. "We have had many National USHWA presidents come from our chapter, and we have given tens of thousands of dollars to both the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, as well as Goshen Historic Track," Manzi noted. "We are very proud of that." A souvenir journal with 16 color pages of iconic photos from Manzi's famed office walls were like a walk down memory lane. Hall of Famer, and cousin, Cat Manzi, along with his other cousin Eddie Lohmeyer also made the trip to surprise the guest of honor. Manzi's brothers Gary and Gerard were also on hand. On a Manzi-filled night, the inaugural recipient of the John Manzi Leadership Award was the Hambletonian Society's COO Moira Fanning. Always an eloquent speaker, and self-appointed Manzi-instigator, Fanning outlined how men like Manzi, Marv Bachrad, Tom Charters and Bill Fidati all gave a former-caretaker many of the opportunities the sport had to offer. "For me, it was more like a 'She Too' movement...illustrating what her mentors thought, 'If I could do it, she could too!" And do it she has, rising to the top echelon of a male-dominated sport, earning a seat on every executive board in the industry. Other prominent honorees included, Chuck Connor (John Gilmour Good Guy), Peter Gerry (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award), Salt Hill Farm/Jim & Anne Feeley (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award), Jennifer Lappe (Amateur Driver), Debbie Little (Phil Pines), Shane Darish (Rising Star), and Arthur Robinson (Award of Appreciation). Of course the local equine practitioners from the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association where also honored. Driver of the Year, Mike Merton was on hand to accept his award for most wins, as was Kearstin DeGraw, the Caretaker of the Year from the Gary Messenger Stable. Monticello Raceway's horse of the Year was Johnnie DeSimone's Sentimental Lady. Proceeds from the generosity of advertisers in the souvenir journal and banquet ticket sales go toward making sizeable donations to both the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and Goshen Historic Track, two distinct and separate entities that each received $4,000 from the chapter coffers in 2018. by Chris Tully for Monticello-Goshen USHWA        

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will present a live stream announcement of the 2018 harness racing divisional horse winners for both genders and gaits in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association (USTA) over a two-day period in mid-December. On Wednesday (Dec. 19) the trotters will be revealed and on Thursday (Dec. 20) the pacers will be named. Both days the live stream broadcasts will begin at noon and will be carried on both the USHWA and USTA Face Book pages. USTA Social Media and Public Relations coordinator Michael Carter will be the host of these programs. Balloting for the equine divisional honors begins early this week. The announcement of the Trotter, Pacer and Horse of the Year will once again be made at the conclusion of the 2019 Dan Patch Awards Banquet which will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida on Sunday (Feb. 24). There will be no advance announcement of these three winners. You may book your room now for this event by visiting www.ushwa.org and clicking on the USHWA-only reservation portal on the top of the homepage. A limited number of specially priced rooms are currently available, but are selling fast. It is recommended you book early as last year's block of rooms sold out fast. Ticket information for the 2019 Dan Patch Awards Banquet will be forthcoming.   By Tim Bojarski, for USHWA

HARRISBURG PA – Marvin Bachrad, a member of harness racing’s Communicators Hall of Fame, a former president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) with 35 years as a director of the association, and such an influence on generations of harness journalists that he won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service To Youth Award, passed away on Friday evening in Phoenix AZ at the age of 82. Born to the late Max and Freda (Lipow) Bachrad on December 28, 1935, Bachrad was already doing sports journalism while at Norristown (PA) High School, into whose Hall of Fame he was inducted in 2015 – he gained fame by entering sports trivia contests and acquiring a massive collection of sporting equipment. After graduation, he served his country as director of the Armed Forces Radio Services at a camp station in Fort Jackson SC. His burgeoning radio career started in Beckley WV then gravitated back to his native Philadelphia area, initially his hometown of Norristown, where he conducted the first sports call-in show. Two contacts proved important in Philadelphia: Tommy Roberts, owner of a radio station in Camden NJ (near Garden State Park) and a thoroughbred broadcaster who was an influence on Bachrad’s being knowledgeable about both breeds of racehorses (he had no family connections to racing); and the sports staff of Philadelphia’s KYW Newsradio, where he quickly made his talents evident and covered the city’s major sporting events for over 40 years, with a 1982 induction into the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Bachrad worked as an announcer at Liberty Bell Park and as assistant publicist to the legendary “Colonel” Dave Herman at Brandywine, and upon Herman’s retirement after the 1979 season became the track’s director of publicity. Working with the Electronic Race Patrol of Sid Alpert and his son Mark, with whom he worked while doing thoroughbred publicity at Garden State Park, Bachrad was a pioneer of pre-race handicapping on tracks’ closed-circuit TV system, and an innovator in doing attractive and detailed video profiles of horses and horsemen competing at Brandywine. Marvin later worked at TIMES: in harness, the Harrisburg PA publication that was the first major entry into the electronic reporting of harness racing news. He then was summoned back to the outskirts of his Delaware Valley roots when the state of Delaware passed slot machine gaming. He became publicity director at Dover Downs, a track that so profited from the new gaming that its late 1995 Invitational purse in three successive weeks was $2000-$5000-$9000, and which rose from 55th of 57 harness tracks in terms of purses to second a couple of years later. Bachrad served as publicity director for over two decades at the capital city track, using the combination of innovation, hard work, and attention to the needs of the fans that had hallmarked his career. Bachrad also gave back to the sport on a national level. He was president of USHWA in 1992-1993, and at the time of his passing, his 35 years of being a director for the organization was tops among living directors of USHWA. He was a president of the Harness Publicists Association, winning that group’s Golden Pen Award. With such ability and success of course came many awards, with the crown his 1997 election to the Communicators Hall of Fame. His 1988 Service To Youth Award meant very much to him, being a mentor to many of harness racing’s “next generations” of media – three of which have followed him into the Communicators Hall of Fame. He was the winner of Harness Tracks of America’s Dan Patch Award for excellence in communications in 2005, and received a 2010 Special Appreciation Award from the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, in addition to the other tributes mentioned above. Marv was also a harness horse owner for over 40 years, from the early days of Liberty Bell, where a newcomer named Herve Filion was the trainer/driver of his horses, right up to July of this year, when his sophomore trotting filly Star Sapphire won a $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Race Fund Championship at the State Fair in Harrington. He possessed a detailed knowledge of pedigrees. Bachrad leaves behind two brothers Allen (Marci) of Phoenix AZ and Ronald (Eileen) of Boca Raton FL; a bachelor, he also leaves behind four nieces/nephews and six grandnieces/grandnephews. His “extended” family, a lifetime of colleagues and friends, will also greatly miss his sagacity and kindness. There will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Road, Jenkintown PA 19046. Donations in his honor may be made at your discretion or to the Mitzvah Circle, 1561 Gehman Road, Harleysville PA  19438. UPDATE Detail Update on Marv's Service on Tuesday -- Note new time and Luncheon Details   Tuesday December 4, at Montefiore Cemetary, 600 Church Rd, Jenkintown, PA 19046 at 11.30 am.    There will be luncheon at the Monte Carlo Restaurante, 8080 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, PA  19027 directly after the services.  All are welcome.   Also..... a religious service called Shiva will be observed at the Tiferet Bet Israel Synagogue,  1920 W Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422  at approximately 7.00 pm on Tuesday.  (I know this is very late for most people in DE and NJ.)    Don't forget to bring your GPS. Jerry Connors

Edward A. Palladino, Jr., former local area sports writer, died Thursday, October 25, 2018 at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Born November 19, 1933 in Poughkeepsie, he is the son of the late Edward A. and Nancy (Guido) Palladino, Sr. He was 85. A graduate of the Mt. Carmel Elementary School and Pougkeepsie High School Class of 1951, Ed played baseball and basketball and began his career as a sports writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal following graduation from Poughkeepsie High. His sports writing career was interrupted in 1952 when he served our country in the United States Marine Corps., attaining the rank of Sergeant during the Korean War; he was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Republic of Korea Service Medal. After his service to our country; Ed returned to the Poughkeepsie Journal for two years until 1957 when he moved to Kingston. In 1957; he began working at the Daily Freeman as a sports writer. From 1957 to 1974; Ed held several different positions at the Freeman; such as the Assistant City Editor, City Editor and Managing Editor. For the following ten years; from 1975 to 1985, Ed took his sports writing talents to the Capital District to work for the Albany Times Union, where he was awarded "Outstanding Harness Writer in the Northeast", only to return to the Daily Freeman from 1985 through 1996. During this time he championed the renovation at Dietz Stadium to convert it to an all-purpose field and won "Most Popular Area Columnist". In 1997; Ed took the position as the first Press Box Manager for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization; retiring in 2000. Ed was the First Chairman of the Dietz Stadium Commission; a Charter Member, President & Vice President of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writer's Association. He is a life member of both the Joyce Shirick VFW Post #1386 and the American Legion Post #150 in Kingston, a Commissioner of the Kingston Housing Authority, and Past President of Brigham Seniors. A former National Director, President, First & Second Vice President of the United States Harness Writer's Association, Commander of the Dutchess County Catholic War Veterans, Vice President of the Saratoga Chapter of the United States Harness Writer's Association, Vice Chair of the City of Kingston Democratic Committee. He is also a former member of the Democratic Committee and Italian Center in Poughkeepsie, Ulster County Office for the Aging Advisory Council, Hudson Valley Football, Baseball, Basketball Officials Organizations. Ed is an inductee to both the Dutchess County Softball and the Harness Racing Hall of Fames. Surviving are two daughters Tracie Short and her husband Wayne of Hurley and Nancy Griffin and her husband Mark of Poughkeepsie. Three grandsons Zachary, Avery and Brady Short. A nephew Scott Palladino of Saratoga, cousins; Frank Guido of Kingston, Carmen Guido of Fort Pierce, Florida and a brother in law Joe Rosso of Poughkeepsie. One sister Patricia Rosso died previously. Cremation and memorial arrangements are under the guidance of the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc. 27 Smith Avenue Kingston. www.jvleahyfh.com. Friends will be received at the funeral home on Sunday from 1 to 6 PM. The American Legion Post #150 will hold a ritual at 5:30 PM and prayers will be held at 6:00 PM. Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers may be made in the form of contributions to Ulster County Veterans Emergency Fund, 5 Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. by John Manzi, for Nation    

Not only is it Breeders Crown time, it's also time to start booking rooms for the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) 2019 Dan Patch Awards banquet. USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet returns to Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 24, and room reservations are now available. The USHWA link to the hotel's reservation page can be found below. The 2018 Dan Patch Awards banquet was held for the first time at Rosen Shingle Creek and because of the tremendous positive response to the site and overall experience, USHWA decided to return for an unprecedented second year in a row. "Last year's event was so well received by many of the attendees and USHWA members that it was an easy decision to return for another year," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "Rosen Shingle Creek is a first-class venue that offers many amenities for its guests, we look forward to another excellent event." Located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from the many area attractions, the 1,500-room 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 four swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball, basketball, a spa that includes nine treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer redesigned golf course. There are also 15 restaurants/lounges, including the upscale steakhouse A Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Cafe Osceola, Tobias Burgers and Brews, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa Tequila and Taquiera, and a 24-hour deli. Dinner ticket prices and menu will be announced later, with a reduced price available for children 12 and under. All attendees will receive a 10-percent discount at all of the above-mentioned restaurants, a 10-percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. Rosen Shingle Creek offers complimentary shuttles to area theme parks and Orlando Premium Outlets. 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, with all winners announced in advance except for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year, which will be revealed at the conclusion of the banquet. USHWA will hold its annual directors meeting on Saturday, Feb. 23, and its general membership meeting the morning of the banquet. All standard rooms under the USHWA block are $199 nightly (plus applicable taxes). For room reservations, please click here for USHWA's dedicated link. More details will be made available at the USHWA website, www.ushwa.org, and through trade media as they become available. To inquire about several sponsorship opportunities for the weekend, including live video streaming, the Red Carpet reception and live feed hosted by Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, please contact USHWA President Wiles at swiles@empireresorts.com. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

GOSHEN, NY - Results from the balloting for harness racing's highest honor, membership in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, are in, and at the Sunday, July 7, 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Dinner in this New York town, a record number of six people will be feted - Hall of Fame inductees Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Linda Toscano, Ted Wing, and Jerry Silverman. The balloting was conducted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading group of communicators. All of the Hall of Famers except Silverman achieved their distinction by getting 75%+ of the "yes-no" ballots distributed in mid-summer; eligible for voting for the Hall of Famers were qualified members of USHWA and the existing Hall of Fame members. Those on the ballot were decided by the USHWA Screening Committee from the nominations of the Writers' chapters. Silverman was selected for direct admission to the Hall, through the bylaws of USHWA and its Veteran category, which once every three years allows its Hall of Fame Screening Committee to choose one nominee (aged 70+) to directly become a Hall of Famer, and was announced earlier. Blair Burgess now completes a "Hall of Fame double," having been voted into the Hall in his native Canada last year. Burgess has been a frequent figure in the winners circle of the sport's top races: the Hambletonian (Amigo Hall and Triple Crown winner Glidemaster), Breeders Crown (Real Desire), Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet and Real Desire) and Little Brown Jug (Tell All). Real Desire and Glidemaster were both voted Horse of the Year by the Harness Writers. Twice the trainer of the Year in Canada, Burgess is the son of Canadian Hall of Fame breeder/owner/executive Bob Burgess. Ted Gewertz first caught the harness racing "bug" when Kennedy was President, and his love for the sport has not waned over the years. He has been co-owner of three Hambletonian winners - Giant Victory, Windsong's Legacy (Triple Crown winner and Trotter of the Year), and Deweycheatumnhowe - in addition to such horses as Huntsville and Housethatruthbuilt, the latter having her best year in 2004, when USHWA named Gewertz the Owner of the Year. Conscious of keeping the highest standards in the sport, Gewertz is a director of the Hambletonian Society and a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum. Joe Holloway started in the sport as a caretaker in his native Delaware when he was in grade school. Holloway connected with the uppermost level of the sport with his masterful handling of Jenna's Beach Boy, three-time Breeders Crown winner, twice Pacer of the Year, and a horse whose record for a race mile of 1:47.3 stood for a decade. Holloway, voted the sport's top trainer in 1995, has since buffed up his resume by developing She's A Great Lady, Shebestingin, and Somwherovrarainbow, as well as the handling of 1:46 pacer Always B Miki at two and three. Linda Toscano has long had a harness background association, dating back to her driving ponies in races when her age was in single digits. She served an apprenticeship with legendary NYC horseman Buddy Regan, then went out on her own in 1985. Linda has attracted widespread attention throughout much of the current decade, including being named 2012 Trainer of the Year by USHWA - in that year alone she had the Hambletonian winner Market Share, but he was a (high-class) second fiddle that year to Horse of the Year winner Chapter Seven. The ill-fated Walner, champion 3YO Heston Blue Chip, and half-mile track world champion Jet Laag have also benefited from her care and tutelage. Ted Wing was an Olympic-caliber skier before suffering an injury, and the loss of the downhill sport was harness racing's gain, as the native of Maine captured titles in New England in his early years of the sport, then emerged as one of the leading horsemen in the founding days of The Meadowlands, balancing his racing at that track with regular duty at Roosevelt/Yonkers. Inducted into the New England Harness Racing Hall of Fame the same year as Bill O'Donnell and Jim Doherty, who would later go on to the national Hall, Wing has been an important part in the success of such stars as Skip By Night, Gallo Blue Chip, Butler BG, and Calvert. Jerry Silverman was one of the leading Grand Circuit trainers for five decades, from the 1960s through the 2000s. He made a big impact in 1966, when he was 31 (a "mere pup" among the trainers of his days), with Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover, and the subsequent years saw a stream of champions such as Fame, Hit Parade, Masquerade, Saccharum, Die Laughing, and Glowing Report (the last-named a stakes winner 40 years after Romeo Hanover) among the large stable that he ran with intelligence and endurance. Silverman retired four years ago, but continues assisting his son Richie, himself a fine horseman. The group will first be publicly honored at the USHWA Dan Patch Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, where the Hall of Famers will take their first ensemble bow during the banquet honoring the top humans and equines of the previous year's racing. Then comes the July 7 formal induction to the Hall of Fame, at a dinner set just outside the building in which their likeness will be placed to immortalize their selection as harness racing's best of the best. From the United States Harness Writers Association

GOSHEN, NY - Mark Hall, the U.S. Trotting Association photographer who holds the modern record for citations for excellence in his field, and Dave Little, who has successfully worked in such journalistic areas as writing, editing, handicapping, race announcing, and television commentary, have been announced as new members of the Communicators Hall of Fame in recent balloting conducted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading media group. To determine the Communicators Hall of Famers, chapter nominees were whittled down to five finalists by a blue-ribbon panel of USHWAns, and then the organization's directors selected two of that quintet for placement on the summer election ballot. They were elected by winning 75%+ of the "yes-no" ballots returned in a midsummer balloting, with all Active members of USHWA eligible to vote, held in conjunction with the Hall of Fame voting. Mark Hall has worked in the photography department of the U.S. Trotting Association for over 35 years, teaming with two members of the Communicators Hall of Fame, George Smallsreed and Ed Keys. It is after the flamboyant Smallsreed that the annual USHWA photography awards are named, and Hall has done his former mentor proud by winning six Smallsreed awards, the most of any photographer, with his work spanning the Standardbred spectrum from racing to foals in the field to conformation photos to "beauty shots" involving the sport. Dave Little joined the team in publicity and TV functions at the mighty Meadowlands racetrack in New Jersey after working 24 years as the Racing Editor of the New York Daily News. Dave once "swept" a nine-race card at Roosevelt with his top selections, and also knows his way around a thoroughbred program as well. He has announced at several racetracks, including Historic Track in Goshen NY, and he is a longtime director of USHWA, as is his wife Debbie, who handicaps for the cross-city Post and is president of USHWA's New York City chapter. Hall and Little will first be publicly honored at the USHWA Dan Patch Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, where the Halls of Famers will take their first ensemble bow during the banquet honoring the top humans and equines of the previous year's racing. Then comes the July 7 formal induction to the Halls of Fame, at a dinner set just outside the building in which their likeness will be placed to immortalize their selection as harness racing's best of the best. From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA -- The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) is the world's oldest organization for harness racing communicators, but it's always open to new ideas and new members. At their 2018 annual meetings in Orlando, FL, USHWA directors approved the introduction of a Youth Membership category. This non-voting category was designed for aspiring harness racing media members, 21 years of age and younger. USHWA Youth Membership Committee Chair Melissa Keith is pleased to welcome the first three youth members. The organization's three newest members were nominated by their local USHWA chapters. Nathan Bain was nominated by the Canada chapter. One of the youngest racecallers in North America, he handles social media at Ontario's Leamington Raceway. Bain joined Dresden Raceway as an on-track host, handicapper, and social media co-ordinator this year. Jessica Hallett was nominated by the Florida chapter. She is a writer who has contributed to the Harnesslink site for nearly a year; chapter president Steve Wolf notes that one of her articles even went national. Hallett is also a member of the U.S. Trotting Association's Youth Committee. Ryder Skinner was nominated by the Delaware Valley chapter. He was the first applicant for youth membership in USHWA. Chapter president Matt Sparacino says, "He is always eager to engage racing participants and is no doubt a true fan of the game, who is very likely a future member of the harness racing workforce in some capacity." USHWA will offer one year of complimentary youth membership dues to Bain, Hallett, and Skinner, thanks to the generosity of Tim Konkle (2017 Dan Patch USHWAn of the Year; editor of Midwest Harness Report). USHWA Youth Membership is an ongoing pilot project for the media organization. Future plans involve learning more about the goals of the inaugural trio of youth members; developing ways for chapters to support their youth members' aspirations in the sport; and making the Youth Membership category a helpful resource for tomorrow's racing media. For further information, visit www.ushwa.net, or contact committee chair Melissa Keith (mkeith71@gmail.com or via @USHWACanada on Twitter).     by Melissa Keith, for USHWA

GOSHEN NY - The Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the Standardbred sport's leading media organization, annually meets on the first Sunday in July, in consultation with a group of Hall of Fame members, and considers nominees submitted by USHWA's chapters to determine those to advance to the possibility of earning the sport's highest honor, membership in the Hall of Fame. Quality always results from the deliberation about the best of the best by the Screening Committee; what was unprecedented this past Sunday was the quantity of outstanding individuals that the Committee selected to advance beyond their consideration stage. One person was selected for direct admission to the Hall, through USHWA's bylaws and its Veteran category, which once every three years allows the Committee to choose one nominee (aged 70+) who will directly become a Hall of Famer. That honoree was the veteran trainer of Standardbred stars, Jerry Silverman. Five other individuals were put forward by the Committee to appear on a midsummer ballot, conducted among USHWAns and Hall of Famers. If the nominee secures 75% of the yes-no votes in the balloting, they will join Silverman as inductees into the hallowed Hall on July 7, 2019. This quality quintet includes Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Linda Toscano, and Ted Wing. Jerry Silverman, named by the Committee to the Hall of Fame in the Veteran category, was one of the leading Grand Circuit trainers for five decades, from the 1960s through the 2000s. He made a big impact in 1996, when he was 31 (a "mere pup" among the trainers of his days), with Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover, and the subsequent years saw a stream of champions such as Fame, Hit Parade, Masquerade, Saccharum, Die Laughing, and Glowing Report (the last-named a stakes winner 40 years after Romeo Hanover) among the large stable that he ran with intelligence and endurance. Silverman retired four years ago, but continues assisting his son Richie, himself a fine horseman. The five candidates to be placed on the summer ballot for Hall election have all contributed to top-level racing in a variety of different ways: Blair Burgess will look to complete a "Hall of Fame double," having been voted into the Hall in his native Canada last year. Burgess has been a frequent figure in the winners circle of the sport's top races: the Hambletonian (Amigo Hall and Triple Crown winner Glidemaster), Breeders Crown (Real Desire), Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet and Real Desire) and Little Brown Jug (Tell All). Real Desire and Glidemaster were both voted Horse of the Year by the Harness Writers. Twice the trainer of the Year in Canada, Burgess is the son of Canadian Hall of Fame breeder/owner/executive Bob Burgess. Ted Gewertz first caught the harness racing "bug" when Kennedy was President, and his love for the sport has not waned over the years. He has been co-owner of three Hambletonian winners - Giant Victory, Windsong's Legacy (Triple Crown winner and Trotter of the Year), and Deweycheatumnhowe - in addition to such horses as Huntsville and Housethatruthbuilt, the latter having her best year in 2004, when USHWA named Gewertz the Owner of the Year. Conscious of keeping the highest standards in the sport, Gewertz is a director of the Hambletonian Society and a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum. Joe Holloway started in the sport as a caretaker in his native Delaware when he was an altar boy, as the new local priest took up harness racing as a way to connect with his flock. Holloway connected with the uppermost level of the sport with his masterful handling of Jenna's Beach Boy, three-time Breeders Crown winner, twice Pacer of the Year, and a horse whose record for a race mile of 1:47.3 stood for a decade. Holloway, voted the sport's top trainer in 1995, has since buffed up his resume by developing She's A Great Lady, Shebestingin, and Somwherovrarainbow, as well as the handling of 1:46 pacer Always B Miki at two and three. Linda Toscano has long had a harness background association, dating back to her driving ponies in races when her age was in single digits. She served an apprenticeship with legendary NYC horseman Buddy Regan, then went out on her own in 1985. Linda has attracted widespread attention throughout much of the current decade, including being named 2012 Trainer of the Year by USHWA - in that year alone she had the Hambletonian winner Market Share, but he was a (high-class) second fiddle that year to Horse of the Year winner Chapter Seven. The ill-fated Walner, champion 3YO Heston Blue Chip, and half-mile track world champion Jet Laag have also benefited from her care and tutelage. Ted Wing was an Olympic-caliber skier before suffering an injury, and the loss of the downhill sport was harness racing's gain, as the native of Maine captured titles in New England in his early years of the sport, then emerged as one of the leading horsemen in the founding days of The Meadowlands, balancing his racing at that track with regular duty at Roosevelt/Yonkers. Inducted into the New England Harness Racing Hall of Fame the same year as Bill O'Donnell and Jim Doherty, who would later go on to the national Hall, Wing has been an important part in the success of such stars as Skip By Night, Gallo Blue Chip, Butler BG, and Calvert. There will also be midsummer balloting (75%+ of yes/no ballots required) of USHWAns on writer/commentator Dave Little and photographer Mark Hall, who were nominated for the Communicators Hall of Fame at the annual Directors meeting of USHWA this past February. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Goshen, NY --- Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg took different roads to success as harness racing breeders and owners, but those paths merged Sunday when they were inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies on the grounds of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Siegel, a retired pharmacist who operated a chain of drug stores before turning his full attention to harness racing, owns Pennsylvania’s Fashion Farms. Siegel and his late wife Arlene owned 1995 Hambletonian Stakes winner Tagliabue. Other successes have included eight divisional champion horses and five victories in the Breeders Crown. She was introduced by USTA President Russell Williams, who spoke first in Swedish and then in English.Wallenius-Kleberg, the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as the First Lady of International Trotting. She owns Menhammar Stuteri, the renowned breeding farm that has led Sweden in purses each of the past 11 years. The farm was purchased by her father, shipping magnate Olof Wallenius, in 1947 and has produced an impressive list of notable trotters. "Being here tonight is the result of a fantastic combination of American and Swedish friends and partnerships through the years," Wallenius-Kleberg said. "I do hope I can fulfill what is expected of me as a Hall of Famer. And as the first woman with this title, I hope I can be inspiration to all girls and young women out there." Also honored Sunday were the late horseman Hakan Wallner, who was inducted into the Hall of Immortals; writer Dave Briggs and announcer Carl Becker, who were inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame; horses Cantab Hall, Western Ideal, Gala Dream, and Sweet Future; and amateur driving champion Hannah Miller. Siegel was steered into harness racing by his wife Arlene, a retired nurse whom Jules has called “the real inspiration” for a retirement spent with horses. The couple worked together at Fashion Farms, with Arlene among those who guided Jules through the early years of the farm’s operation, even getting him to assist with mares when foals were born. “This honor is by far one of the most unbelievable experiences of my 90 years," Siegel said. “First, mostly John Campbell was my go-to guy in the beginning. I was amazed at his consistent ability to make good horses into great winners. Jim Campbell, my trainer, taught me how the horse business works. How in the world can I ever reward him for all he’s done for me? “The one person who is responsible for my standing here is my wife Arlene who made all this possible. She told me ‘dear, I will not let you retire to nothing.’” The Siegels received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 2002 and 2009 and Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s. Other honors included being named the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2008 and 2009. Tagliabue was the first of the Siegels’ Dan Patch Award-winning horses, followed by two-time recipient Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, Possess The Will, and two-time honoree Broadway Donna. Broadway Schooner, a daughter of Broadway Hall bred by the Siegels, won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and is the dam of Broadway Donna. Wallenius-Kleberg was one of the first people to recognize the importance of international bonds among trotting breeders and regulators. She created a North American-European comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by stallions Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee. Zoot Suit was Sweden’s top sire for six consecutive years, 1991-96, and was preceded at the top of the list by Smokin Yankee in 1990. Menhammar Stuteri also was home to two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell. One of Menhammar’s earliest stars was Big Noon, who was Scandinavia’s version of American’s early 20th century star Dan Patch. Among the horses bred by the farm are 2014 Prix d’Amerique winner Maharajah, 2013 Elitloppet winner From Above, and 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy. Beginning this year, Menhammar Stuteri stands recently retired Nuncio, who was a star in North America and Europe. Nuncio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot, and Elitloppet. After Wallenius-Kleberg’s purchase of Zoot Suit from Woolworth, the two trotting devotees developed a bond that opened doors in North America for her burgeoning interests in trotting. Wallenius-Kleberg began keeping and breeding mares in the U.S. and having fillies trained and raced in North America before they entered the Menhammar broodmare band. By the 1980s, Wallenius-Kleberg was a familiar figure at the Hambletonian, the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile, and the Hall of Fame weekend in Goshen. She also traveled to Florida regularly to see her young horses in training. Concurrently she was developing contacts and friendships throughout Europe so that she could broaden the Menhammar influence on the continent. She was a regular at the Prix d’Amerique in Paris and cultivated contacts among French horsemen and breeders. Recognizing the importance of sustaining the trotting sport, Margareta has assisted and encouraged many young people in racing. She always insisted on the highest standards in the horses she acquired and used her business skills to operate successfully. Already a member of Sweden’s Trotting Hall of Fame, Wallenius-Kleberg has held numerous positions in organizations related to the sport in her native country and abroad and worked to promote harness racing on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a Hambletonian Society director and received the Harness Racing Museum’s Pinnacle Award in 2011. Wallner, too, was a globe-trotting pioneer who raised the bar of Swedish racing and breeding to an international level. Wallner, who won the Elitloppet and Prix d’Amerique in Europe, was convinced he could succeed in the U.S. as a trainer of trotters and in a short amount of time he was competing at the highest level and affecting every facet of harness racing from the yearling sales to the Grand Circuit. With Jan Johnson and Berndt Lindstedt he founded Continental Farm, which counted among its many accomplishments winning the first-ever Breeders Crown race with Workaholic in 1984. The stable was a force in the series, winning four trophies and $2.85 million in the first eight years of the Breeders Crown. Its $3.94 million in purses overall in the event remain No. 6 among all trainers in history. Continental Farm also won the Hambletonian in 1988 with Armbro Goal and multiple editions of the Hambletonian Oaks. Wallner led the way for other Scandinavian and European horsemen to move to the U.S. and compete at the sport’s highest level. The list includes Soren and Jan Nordin, Jimmy Takter, Per Eriksson, Per Henrikson, Stefan Melander, Mario Zuanetti and Pekka Korpi. Collectively that group has nine Hambletonian winners. Wallner died Jan. 20, 2001, in Treviso, Italy. He was inducted to the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame in 2015. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Ron Waples always enjoys returning to Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y., but this year's visit will combine business with pleasure. The business comes in the form of competing in Sunday's $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot, an invitational race for Hall of Fame drivers. The pleasure will be seeing renowned writer Dave Briggs inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame during festivities later that evening. "I always liked Goshen," said Waples, a Toronto native who was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1986. "Even back when I was racing New York-sired horses, it amazed me that there is no betting there but you've got all the fans. That just takes you back to your roots. "When you look up there in the grandstand and it's full and everybody is hooting and hollering and cheering, it just gives you a very good feeling." The Gerry Memorial Trot is the highlight of the third of the four-day Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. The meet coincides with the sport's Hall of Fame inductions, which will be held Sunday evening at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Also participating in the Gerry Memorial Trot are Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Dave Palone, Brian Sears, Richard "Dick" Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Commemorative cards will be distributed to the first 500 fans on Sunday and the Hall of Famers will be available for photos and autographs following the race. Waples won the Gerry Memorial Trot in 2015. When asked if he was looking forward to this year's event, he responded with a laugh, "How did I draw?" When informed he drew post six, he laughed again and asked, "Did I get any power?" He then said, "It's a pretty big honor to be in there. The Gerry family, they support (harness racing and the museum) so much, it's unbelievable really. I think everybody kind of feels the same way; you don't want to let them down and you want to help out a little bit. If this helps out a little bit, then so be it." Among this year's Hall of Fame inductees are breeders Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, and the late horseman Hakan Wallner. Briggs will join announcer Carl Becker as inductees into the Communicators Hall of Fame. Briggs, who like Waples resides in Ontario, has received a record 11 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing feature writing and reporting. He also is a three-time winner of the Standardbred Canada Media Excellence Award for Outstanding Written Work as well as the recipient of multiple International Harness Racing Media Awards and American Horse Publication Awards, and the Ontario Equestrian Federation Media of the Year Award. "I have a special feeling this year because Dave Briggs is getting inducted there," Waples said. "He's just one of a few. He's a great writer and a great guy and just all for the sport. It will be worth the trip just for that." Racing begins at 1 p.m. each day at Historic Track. For Sunday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

HARRISBURG PA - Tim Bojarski, the immediate past president of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and now the chairman of the board, the organization's webmaster, and a publicist for Batavia Downs (NY) and Plainridge Park (MA), has been named to a six-year term on USHWA's Hall Of Fame Screening Committee, it has been announced by Shawn Wiles, current president of USHWA, the largest harness racing organization devoted to standardbred communicators. Bojarski, of Akron NY, has a background in harness horse ownership and training, and has driven in qualifying races. He has been a member of USHWA for 17 years, 11 of them as a Director of the Association. Voted in as national second vice-president in 2012, he progressed "up the chairs" to become the organization's president from February 2016 to February 2018, and per the USHWA bylaws will serve as the Chairman of the Board until the 2020 national meetings. Tim is familiar with the procedures of the Screening Committee, as the president of USHWA is an ex officio voting member of all committees, so he has attended the group's last two sets of screening sessions. Bojarski works with his "hometown track," Batavia Downs, as the publicist during their racing season, and since has linked with Plainridge Park near Boston and the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. He is a regular columnist for Hoof Beats magazine, the acclaimed publication of the United States Trotting Association (USTA). Tim is also kept busy updating the USHWA website, bringing the latest of information about the organization, its activities, and major racing news to all visitors to www.ushwa.net. And in case that doesn't fill all his time, Bojarski also serves as the president and secretary of the Upstate New York chapter of USHWA. "Tim brings with him a wide range of knowledge of harness racing and its vast and glorious history," said USHWA president Wiles upon making the appointment. "As past President of USHWA he is familiar with the inner workings of this committee. He will be a welcome addition to an already-strong slate of members on this prestigious committee." Bojarski will begin his new term, which expires after the 2023 meeting, with the gathering of the Screening Committee during Hall of Fame weekend at the Hall / Harness Racing Museum in Goshen NY, that weekend culminating with the induction of the newest Hall of Famers at a dinner on Sunday, July 1. United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA)

The United States Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, which honors the best equines and humans in harness racing, will return to the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday night, Feb. 24, 2019. The site played host to the Dan Patch Award weekend for the first time ever in 2018 and proved so popular the venue was quickly booked for the 2019 dinner that will spotlight the best of this year. Sponsorship opportunities are now available and with record attendance expected after the glowing reviews of the Shingle Creek property and the dinner itself, it's never too early to take advantage of early booking. "We received numerous compliments during the last Dan Patch Awards at Rosen Shingle Creek," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This venue is first class, with the property having many amenities, it was an easy decision to return here in 2019." To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the weekend, including Dan Patch Presenting Sponsor, live video streaming sponsor, Red Carpet reception and live feed sponsor hosted by Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, please contact: Shawn Wiles at swiles@empireresorts.com. USHWA would again like to thank this year's sponsors, which include: Downbytheseaside partnership; Hoosier Park; Fourth Dimension partnership; Finn Tack; Embroidery Unlimited; Burke Racing/Weaver Bruscemi LLC; Meadowlands; Tioga Downs; Vernon Downs; Winner's Bayonne; George Brennan; Hanover Shoe Farms; and the United States Trotting Association. All the award winners will be announced in advance of the dinner except for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year. The names of those three prestigious award winners will remain sealed in envelopes, and revealed at the conclusion of the dinner. As for Rosen Shingle Creek, the stunning 230-acre property is located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from all area attractions. Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that is ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting hotel by Cvent. The 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. As part of the weekend, USHWA's annual general membership meeting will take place earlier on Sunday morning, with its board of directors meeting the previous afternoon. More details will be made available at the USHWA website, https://www.ushwa.net/, and through trade media as they become available throughout the year. Ken Weingartner

Pompano Beach, FL - The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has debuted their new website at www.ushwa-florida.com. The Florida Chapter has also developed a Facebook Page at Florida Chapter USHWA. "The Florida Chapter has dedicated this year to working harder than ever to help promote the sport of harness racing in Florida and across the nation." said Florida USHWA Chapter president Steve Wolf. "The debut of our website and our new Facebook Page is just the start of our 2018 program. "The harness racing industry, especially in Florida," Wolf explained, "needs to have more exposure to the general masses. We will be doing more stories on owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and the many training/breeding farms throughout the state, working on special events in the local communities, and hopefully help educating new fans to this great sport through our chapter. "Our Chapter's treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks," Wolf credited. "created and developed the website and did a super job." The Florida Chapter of USHWA was first formed in 1964 following the opening of the Pompano Park racetrack. Over the many years the Chapter has worked with racetrack management and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in helping promote the sport both locally and nationally. The Chapter annually hosts the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Banquet, has given out tens of thousands of dollars through the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship for Florida residents studying journalism or equine related majors, and provides special funding for Florida horsemen and women in need due to poor health, accidents and/or dire financial situations through the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA          

Goshen, NY - The Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, an organization that has been raising money for local harness horse racing venues for the past six decades, will sponsor the inaugural Iron Horse Motorcycle Poker Run to benefit Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 26, 2018. Chapter Vice President/Secretary Janet Terhune noted, "We are thrilled to host this exciting inaugural event, the Iron Horse Poker Run, which will bring well over 100 new visitors to the Museum and introduce them to Harness Racing." The Harness Racing Museum in Goshen has been selected as the home base for the ride, a 70-mile loop with three additional checkpoints located throughout Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties; O'Toole's Harley-Davidson in Wurtsboro, the Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner, and the Angry Orchard in Walden. Terhune, the Museum's Director, continued, "We will serve the participants brunch in our beautiful Haughton Hall during the event registration, and welcome them back for prizes, raffles and additional refreshments following the run. This is a great opportunity for harness racing to reach out to a relatively untapped demographic that enjoy taking part in benefit activities." Shawn Wiles, the Chapter's Vice President/Treasurer agreed. "Once this event becomes popular, it will grow into a great kick-off for the Goshen Historic Track season, with matinee racing beginning the following weekend in the 'Cradle of the Trotter.' A donation of $20 for all partakers includes food and refreshments before and after ride, as well as door prizes, raffles, 50/50's, and a grand prize of $500 for the best poker hand. Although motorcycles are preferred, cars, trucks and vans are also welcome. Registration and brunch starts at 10:30 am at the Harness Racing Museum, 240 Main St., Goshen. Kickstands up at 12 noon. The primary beneficiaries of the funds raised by the Chapter are the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and Goshen Historic Track...two distinct entities that share the same hallowed ground and a mutual purpose of preserving and promoting harness racing. Lifetime donations by the Chapter to these iconic organizations are approaching $100,000. For more information about the Iron Horse Poker Run go to ironhorsepokerrun.com or contact Chris Tully attullytrot@yahoo.com or call 845-807-7538. by Chris Tully for the Iron Horse Poker Run  

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