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The best of harness racing journalism in 2019 will be honored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association with the John Hervey Awards for writing, Sam McKee Award for broadcasting, and George Smallsreed Awards for photography. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Dec. 9. Entries will be accepted for news/commentary writing, feature writing, broadcasting, race photography and feature photography. Entries published or broadcast between Dec. 1, 2018 and Nov. 30, 2019, are eligible. All entries must be in English. Judges in each category will select a winner and, where appropriate, up to two honorable mentions. There are no entry fees or cash prizes. Winners will be announced in January and will be recognized at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's annual Dan Patch Awards festivities Feb. 23 in Orlando. Winners will receive a plaque/trophy as well as two tickets to the Dan Patch Awards dinner. Photo and written submissions must have appeared in a paid-circulation publication or on the website that is the same-name affiliate of a paid-circulation publication, recognized broadcast news organization, or established industry/news website. Content that appeared on personal websites, message boards or lists, and similar entities is not valid for inclusion in the competition. The final decision on eligibility is in the hands of the Hervey Committee. Broadcast entries will be an accepted feature or live racing segment no longer than 10 minutes. The entry must have aired on a network television or cable station, recognized news and/or industry website, or have been included in a racetrack's simulcasting presentation. Documentaries or other long-form productions are not eligible although one segment of that documentary, edited only to fit the length limitations of no more than 10 minutes, may be submitted for consideration. The awards are not open to entries that are fiction, in the form of Q&As, or were prepared for commercial purposes (for advertisements/promo/publicity purposes). There is a limit of one submission per person per category. A person may enter more than one category, but not with the same submission. An entry may only be submitted in one category and the category must be indicated clearly. The Hervey Committee, at its discretion, may disqualify an entry at any time in the process, and reserves the right not to bestow an award in a particular category based on the quality and quantity of entries. All entries must originate with the author/photographer/producer and must include a signed cover letter expressing the wish to enter materials in the contest and granting permission for the materials to be used for promoting the awards in press releases. The letter must also include the following contact information for the writer/producer/photographer: name, full address, telephone numbers (home, office, cell) and email address. The letter must also include the date that the media organization published/aired the submission and specify the category for which the entry is being submitted. Editors may submit entries provided the cover letter includes contact information for the writer/producer/photographer as well as for the person submitting the entry. All other third-party entries will be rejected. Written entries must specify the category - news or feature - for consideration. All print entries must include a tear sheet of the entry (a PDF is acceptable) as it appeared in print and a plain text version with no identifying information (bylines, publication name, graphs, photos or other graphic elements). Broadcast entries must not exceed 10 minutes and must not contain commercials. Each submission (one per person or organization) should have a cover letter. Submissions can be in the form of a mailed DVD or provided via a file-sharing service. Photography entries must include a cover letter designating the category for the photo - race or feature - and a tear sheet of the published photo, showing the date, name of publication and photographer's name. Tear sheets for Internet-based submissions will consist of a screen shot. Photographs should not be digitally enhanced beyond the basics needed to achieve realistic color balance and sharpness. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification. Photographs may be sent via email. If mailed, three prints of the entry must be provided. The decisions of the Hervey Committee and the judges are final. Email entries, or file shared for broadcast, are encouraged. Email entries should be sent to ken.weingartner@ustrotting.com. Mailed entries should be sent to Ken Weingartner, 425 S. Main St., Hightstown, NJ 08520. Questions can be directed to Ken Weingartner, chairman of the Hervey Committee, at the above email address. by Ken Weingartner, for USHWA  

Akron, NY --- Please note that due to a change in our hosting package with web.com, there has been some delays in getting our .org and .com web extensions functional with the modifications we have made. As a result, www.ushwa.net is currently the only way to access our website.   We are working with web.com to rectify this issue and hope to have all three extensions up and running properly in the near future.   By Tim Bojarski, for USHWA

GOSHEN, NY - Results from the balloting for harness racing's highest honor, membership in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, and from the balloting for the Communicators Hall of Fame, have been tabulated and certified. Four candidates have received the sport's highest honor, election into the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame: Tom Charters, of the Hambletonian Society and Breeders Crown; Jeff Gural, racetrack executive and owner/breeder; Bill Popfinger, a respected horseman for over half a century; and Tim Tetrick, who has set new standards for harness racing sulky success before reaching the age of 40. In addition, Phil Pikelny, noted primarily as an author and a publicist for the U.S. Trotting Association and Columbus (OH)'s Scioto Downs, and Ken Weingartner, the USTA's Media Relations Manager, have been elected into the Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame. The Hall of Famers 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. Tom Charters worked his way through the ranks in harness racing, starting out as a caretaker (among his charges was Horse of the Year Delmonica Hanover) before becoming a racing secretary. In 1984 the Hambletonian Society hired Charters as executive director of the Breeders Crown, a newly-created series of season-end championship races, and his work in establishing the Crowns as signature events led to his being named executive director of the Society in 1994, then being promoted in 1998 to president and chief executive officer. Charters' tireless work in such diverse fields as increasing racing handle, simulcasting and television production, international racing, and brand name establishment, plus the temperament to juggle all of these jobs along with dealing the wide range of personalities at the highest levels of the sport, firmly established him as one of the captains of the industry. Jeff Gural was a longtime racing fan, owner, and breeder, associated with Allerage Farms, Little E LLC, and other equine partnerships, along with proprietorship of New York's Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs racetracks, when he undertook the monumental task of leading the privatization of the sport's flagship track in North America, The Meadowlands, away from a state-run operation of New Jersey. Enlisting the aid of many of the sport's top figures in addition to large investments of his own money, time, and expertise, Gural has been the directing force of the revitalization of the mile oval, with a new grandstand built on the old backstretch side of the track, a facility and the parallel racing program aimed squarely at maximizing revenue for all of racing's interlinked parties in today's changing, challenging gaming environment. Bill Popfinger has been a horseman for over 50 years, going from success at smaller tracks to operating a powerful Grand Circuit stable, and he continues his winning tradition today. Popfinger first hit the harness limelight 50 years when he guided Lady B Fast to an upset win over the great trotters Fresh Yankee and Nevele Pride at Yonkers, and he cemented his stardom with his famous daring early move to the lead with Happy Escort, "the lights on, the horn honking, and the pedal to the metal," to defeat heavy favorites Falcon Almahurst and Flight Director in the 1978 Little Brown Jug raceoff. That quote also cemented Popfinger's nickname of "Showbiz," and over the years he campaigned such marquee horses as Happy Motoring, Praised Dignity, Spellbound Hanover, Say Hello, and Spicy Charlie. Tim Tetrick, at age 37, has already become one of only four drivers to have driven the winners of over $200 million in his career, and few doubt he will contend for the top spot, John Campbell's $299M+ career total, before all is done - after all, any possible mishaps may not slow a man who already has two "bionic hips" after replacement surgery. Also the single-season money recordholder for a driver with $19.7M in 2008, Tetrick also produces quantity with quality, driving his 11,000th winner earlier this year, putting him ninth all-time, fifth among active drivers, and second in the 2019 dashwinning standings. The list of top horses associated with Tetrick is too long to mention here, but it is fairly safe to say that when it comes to Breeders Crown time and the selection of year-end awardwinners, the name "Tetrick" will be associated with several of the champions. 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 too were elected by winning 75%+ of the "yes-no" ballots returned, with all Active members of USHWA eligible to vote. Phil Pikelny was first noticed by harness executive Stan Bergstein while still at Northwestern University. He worked for the Horseman and Fair World, then at age 23 he became the youngest national publicity director in any sport when joining the U.S. Trotting Association. During that period he authored, with Don Evans, the book Rambling Willie: The Horse That God Loved, about the sport's first double millionaire, who had his earnings tithed to an Ohio church. He then was publicity director at Scioto Downs for a number of years. He was the president of the Harness Publicists Association, and the president of the Ohio Chapter of USHWA. Ken Weingartner first went to the harness races with his father "before I could walk," and upon returning to his native New Jersey after college and early newspaper work, his harness racing stories attracted the notice of the U.S. Trotting Association, for whom he now works as Media Relations Manager, writing stories about the leading horses and humans in the sport and conducting the national Top 10 weekly balloting. He received the Allen Finkelson Golden Pen Award for excellence in harness racing publicity, and also has been honored by Harness Horsemen International. The honorees will first be publicly honored at the USHWA Dan Patch Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 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 next July 5's 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  

This year’s Hall of Fame Weekend was another great event, as the large incoming class pushed this year’s attendance to well over 325 on a typical hot Goshen July weekend.  This year the Hall of Fame welcomed the incoming class of Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman, Linda Toscano and Ted Wing.  Congratulations to our very own Dave Little and Mark Hall for their induction to the Communicators Hall of Fame. It was the culmination of months of planning and hard work for Janet Terhune and her staff, who pulled it off to perfection.  Hall Of Fame 2020 The USHWA HOF Screening Committee decided that the ballot candidates for the Class of 2020 would be Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Billy Popfinger and Tim Tetrick. The CHOF nominees are Phil Pikelny and Ken Weingartner, as decided at the USHWA national meetings in Florida.  HOF Screening Committee 2019 While I usually adhere to the theory of not stirring the mud with a controversial topic, I feel that I must be proactive and put to rest any rumors or innuendos concerning the USHWA HOF Screening Committee who have come under social media fire for the recent HOF nominees.  I am specifically addressing the issues of the appearance or perceptions of insider influence in respect to Jeff Gural and Tom Charter being nominated to the HOF.  The Chairman and the Committee were cognizant of the potential ramifications and showed poise and foresight: they went to great lengths to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The Committee followed protocol and worked from the list of nominees that was sent in by the Chapters. Screening Committee Chairman Jason Settlemoir immediately announced to the Committee that he was going to recuse himself during the discussions and voting for Jeff Gural, and at this point Bob Heyden followed suit and did the same. They both left the room during the discussions and were not present during the voting.  Moira Fanning also recused herself from the discussions and vote when Tom Charters’ name came up.  As a silent observer to this meeting, I can say the Chairman and Committee members displayed character and integrity. USHWA cannot control the external voices from any naysayers. The nominated candidates were selected on their own merit and laurels and did not need any “help.”  HOF  - CHOF Ballot Material   In the next few weeks, you will be receiving the Hall Of Fame balloting materials (for all eligible to vote in this election) and the Communicators Hall Of Fame balloting materials (all USHWAns are eligible to vote for the CHOF). Carefully read the instructions. You must make one selection per candidate – YES, NO, or ABSTAIN. If you have any questions, please reach out to me, secretary Jerry Connors or your Chapter president.  USHWA Donation  USHWA National made its annual donation of $5,000 to the Harness Racing Museum during the HOF dinner.  Museum Director Janet Terhune expressed her sincere appreciation on behalf of herself and the Museum.   Monticello – Goshen Chapter of USHWA  The Monticello – Goshen Chapter also donated to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame during a winners circle presentation during Hall of Fame Weekend in the amount of $4,000.  Raffle Items  Last year’s raffle and silent auction items were deep in quantity and quality -- many thanks to all who had a hand in this! We need to duplicate these efforts again this year.  It is not too early to start thinking about securing items!  I will start it off by donating a 27 x 25 NY Jets signed framed photo of Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.  HOY – POY – TOY and Divisional honors  This year the USTA will not be tabulating the year-end horse honors – USHWA gives many thanks to Paul Ramlow, who has handled this important task for many years in the past. USHWA treasurer Barry Lefkowitz has worked very hard in searching for and securing a reputable firm that will handle that voting this year.  This year’s voting format will look and feel different from what we have all been accustomed to over the past few years. This type of voting process may be expanded to the human award winners as well down the line.    Breeders Crown   The Breeders Crown Finals are at Woodbine/Mohawk Raceway and will be raced on October 25-26. The tempo will quicken for the organization as year-end equine and human award voting will come shortly after that. It might be good for Chapters to look ahead at the stakes calendar and the “regular” calendar and start trying to schedule a meeting to discuss the year-end equine and human awards nominations.    Shawn Wiles

GOSHEN NY - Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Bill Popfinger, and Tim Tetrick have been selected by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) as ballot candidates for this summer's election vote toward harness racing's highest honor, membership in the sport's Hall of Fame. The chapters of USHWA, the sport's leading media organization, nominate deserving candidates based on prepared biographical information and discussion within the chapters. This list of names is then considered by the USHWA Screening Committee, with consultation with several Hall of Fame members, on Hall of Fame Day, the first Sunday in July at Goshen, and they then select the candidates for that year's balloting, with the provision that anyone connected to a candidate is excluded from the discussion of and vote on that candidate's viability. A person must receive 75% of the yes-no voted of the USHWAns eligible to vote and the current Hall of Fame members in order to join the Goshen pantheon. Tom Charters worked his way through the ranks in harness racing, starting out as a caretaker (among his charges was Horse of the Year Delmonica Hanover) before becoming a racing secretary. In 1984 the Hambletonian Society hired Charters as executive director of the Breeders Crown, a newly-created series of season-end championship races, and his work in establishing the Crowns as signature events led to his being named executive director of the Society in 1994, then being promoted in 1998 to president and chief executive officer. Charters' tireless work in such diverse fields as increasing racing handle, simulcasting and television production, international racing, and brand name establishment, plus the temperament to juggle all of these jobs along with dealing the wide range of personalities at the highest levels of the sport, firmly established him as one of the captains of the industry. Tom Charters Jeff Gural was a longtime racing fan, owner, and breeder, associated with Allerage Farms, Little E LLC, and other equine partnerships, along with proprietorship of New York's Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs racetracks, when he undertook the monumental task of leading the privatization of the sport's flagship track in North America, The Meadowlands, away from a state-run operation of New Jersey. Enlisting the aid of many of the sport's top figures in addition to large investments of his own money, time, and expertise, Gural has been the directing force of the revitalization of the mile oval, with a new grandstand built on the old backstretch side of the track, a facility and the parallel racing program aimed squarely at maximizing revenue for all of racing's interlinked parties in today's changing, challenging gaming environment. Jeff Gural Bill Popfinger has been a horseman for over 50 years, going from success at smaller tracks to operating a powerful Grand Circuit stable, and he continues his winning tradition today - a trainee of his won at Pocono on Monday. Popfinger first hit the harness limelight 50 years when he guided Lady B Fast to an upset win over the great trotters Fresh Yankee and Nevele Pride at Yonkers, and he cemented his stardom with his famous daring early move to the lead with Happy Escort, "the lights on, the horn honking, and the pedal to the metal," to defeat heavy favorites Falcon Almahurst and Flight Director in the 1978 Little Brown Jug raceoff. That quote also cemented Popfinger's nickname of "Showbiz," and over the years he campaigned such marquee horses as Happy Motoring, Praised Dignity, Spellbound Hanover, Say Hello, and Spicy Charlie. Bill Popfinger Tim Tetrick, at age 37, has already become one of only four drivers to have driven the winners of over $200 million in his career, and few doubt he will contend for the top spot, John Campbell's $299M+ career total, before all is done - after all, any possible mishaps may not slow a man who already has two "bionic hips" after replacement surgery. Also the single-season money recordholder for a driver with $19.7M in 2008, Tetrick also produces quantity with quality, driving his 11,000th winner earlier this year, putting him ninth all-time, fifth among active drivers, and second in the 2019 dashwinning standings. The list of top horses associated with Tetrick is too long to mention here, but it is fairly safe to say that when it comes to Breeders Crown time and the selection of year-end awardwinners, the name "Tetrick" will be associated with several of the champions. Tim Tetrick Charters, Gural, Popfinger, and Tetrick will be joined on the ballot by Phil Pikelny, former author and publicist, and Ken Weingartner, media relations manager for the USTA, the two ballot candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame selected by USHWA directors at their annual meetings this past February. United States Harness Writers Association

Pompano Beach, FL --- Steven Wolf, president of the Florida chapter of the United States Harness Racing Writers Association (USHWA), has announced that the chapter is now accepting applications for its 2019 Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship Awards. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Hall of Famer Allen J. Finkelson, the former Vice President of Public Relations at Pompano Park and longtime Chairman of the Board of the national USHWA organization. Preference for these scholarship awards will be given to a student majoring in journalism, communications or veterinarian related studies. Applicants must be a resident of the state of Florida and currently accepted or enrolled in a fully accredited college or university in the United States. Criteria for selection include community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Applicants must have demonstrated scholastic ability with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and show evidence of community service and leadership through certificates, awards and/or letters of commendation. Fully completed applications must be postmarked no later than June 3, 2019, for consideration of a July 2019 award. Recipients may reapply annually for a maximum of four years. Applications should be submitted/addressed to the Florida Chapter USHWA, Scholarship Committee, 3508 Sahara Springs Blvd., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. For more information or to receive an application on the internet, contact via e-mail to Thomas H. Hicks at renparlc@gate.net or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA    

Harness racing is cashing a winning trifecta as the United States Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet will return to Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., for the third year in a row in 2020. The banquet, which honors the best equines and humans in the sport, will take place on Sunday night, Feb. 23. Rosen Shingle Creek played host to the Dan Patch Award weekend for the first time in 2018 and proved such a popular venue the past two years that it was unanimously voted to again return to the stunning 230-acre property. After four-star reviews of the last two dinners, including a surprise appearance by Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award winner Foiled Again this year that many proclaimed one of the most memorable moments ever in racing, it's never too early for sponsorship opportunities that are available. 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 USHWA President Shawn Wiles at: swiles@empireresorts.com. "USHWA is ecstatic to return to Rosen Shingle Creek for the third consecutive year," said Wiles. "This is a first-class venue that our dinner quests and attendees thoroughly enjoy coming to." USHWA would again like to thank this year's sponsors, which included: McWicked; Crazy Wow & Crawford Farms; Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association; Southwind Frank Partners; Shartin N connections; AM Bloodstock; Six Pack connections; Harrah's Hoosier Park; Delaware Valley USHWA; Bow River Jewelry; Fennell's Tack Shop; Embroidery Unlimited; Nick Surick, the Hambletonian Society; 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 site 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 on Saturday, Feb. 22. More details will be made available at the USHWA website and through trade media as they become available throughout the year. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

HARRISBURG PA - Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred racehorse of all time with $7,635,588 and now retired from the racetrack, caused a sensation at the recent Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando FL when the now 15-year-old actually showed up at the harness racing fancy dinner to "accept" the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award he was voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) for outstanding contributions to the sport. And Foiled Again is now receiving another award - the Mary Lib Miller Award, the highest honor given by the Keystone Chapter of USHWA, for his unmatched career as racehorse and ambassador. It's not like Foiled Again has never been honored before by Keystone USHWA - he was the journalists' PA-Sired Horse of the Year from 2011 to 2013, the same three years he was voted national division champion for the free-for-allers. But the group thought to mark the retirement of the evergreen pacer, whose last campaign was a barnstorming Farewell Tour which took him to 19 different racetracks, by voting him its highest award, especially an award named after the ever-present and gracious mate of "Mr. Harness Racing" himself, Hall of Famer Delvin Miller. McWicked, the 1:46.2 pacer who was 2018's Harness Horse of the Year and led all competitors with seasonal earnings of $1,575,364, got the nod for PA-Sired Horse of the Year as well - he was also voted co-PA Sire Stakes Horse of the Year by the Keystone Chapter four years ago. The breeders of McWicked, the Prushnok family of Andray Farms in western Pennsylvania, will receive the Pennsylvania Breeder of the Year award for having producing harness racing's top 2018 performer. The only two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes performers who led their division in preliminary point accumulation and then went on to win their respective finals, the three-year-old males Dorsoduro Hanover (pace) and Crystal Fashion (trot), were picked as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horses of the Year for their respective gaits. The duo were two of the top four moneywinners in the sulky sport last year; Dorsoduro Hanover also won his Breeders Crown event at Pocono en route to being named divisional champion. For Pennsylvania Harness Horse of the Year honors (50%+ of starts within Pennsylvania), the world's fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington in the fall), was the consensus champion. Homicide Hunter won his Breeders Crown at Pocono, and he also took four legs of the Great Northeast Open Series before setting a world record over 1¼ miles in the GNOS Championship. In a close race between former honorees, George Napolitano Jr. edged out Aaron Merriman for Pennsylvania Driver of the Year. Merriman was named 2018 North American Driver of the Year for being the first sulkysitter to post 1000+ victories in two years, but Aaron won "only" 262 of those races in Pennsylvania, while Napolitano won 637 times within the confines of the Keystone State, taking his fifth straight crown at Harrah's Philadelphia and his seventh consecutive title at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, both earned a place in the spotlight during 2018. Todd was the leading trainer and driver at the PA fairs by a wide margin to earn election as Pennsylvania Fair Horseman of the Year; he also captured a North American title with the highest UDR in the 300-499 starts class. Tony was driver and co-owner of the two-year-old Aflame Hanover, who in winning his Fair Championship posted a clocking of 1:51.4 - the fastest time ever in a Pennsylvania Fair Championship, faster even than any three-year-old; for that milestone, Aflame Hanover was voted a Special Achievement Award. These honorees will be presented their trophies by members of Keystone USHWA during trackside ceremonies at their respective ovals, or when they come to Pennsylvania, within the next couple of months.   Keystone Chapter, U.S. Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the leading organization of harness racing's chroniclers, held its annual meetings at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL for the second consecutive year this past Saturday and Sunday. The writers' meetings were held in conjunction with the group's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, which on Sunday evening celebrated the best of brightest of the sport during the 2018 racing campaign (including an attending "mystery guest" - more on him near the end). Saturday's meeting gathered the organization's board of directors, while Sunday's session was an open gathering for all of USHWA's members. The major by-law change passed by the USHWA directors gave a fuller oversight authority to the group's Integrity Committee, who now is empowered to take action during all stages of all of the awards processes, from the start of the nominations all the way through and beyond the awarding of any honors. As a result of discussion during the meetings, two new USHWA Committees were formed. A proposal to transfer final decisionmaking power on journalists to appear on the annual Communicators Hall of Fame ballot, which would have shifted that authority from the Directors to the Hall of Fame Screening Committee, was after a multifaceted discussion tabled pending a report from the new committee to be established to study the matter. Also to be the subject of investigation of a committee was the possibility of producing "past performance line"-type information to aid voters of the various Dan Patch Equine Awards at year's end. USHWA continued its recent trend of financial responsibility and income production during 2018, showing a profit for the second straight year. Prospects for 2019 also received an early boost from the excellent sale of journal ads, sponsorships, and tickets surrounding the weekend's Dan Patch Awards Banquet. As reported earlier, the Directors voted Ken Weingartner, media relations manager for the U.S. Trotting Association, and Phil Pikelny, former publicity director at the USTA and several tracks and also co-author of the book Rambling Willie: The Horse That God Loved, as ballot candidates for this summer's election for the status of being a member of the Communicators Hall of Fame. The team of Officers in charge of guiding the fortunes of USHWA was returned for another year: Shawn Wiles, of Monticello Raceway, as President; Kim Rinker, of the Ohio Sire Stakes and Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, as Vice-President; and freelance communicators Barry Lefkowitz and Jerry Connors as, respectively, treasurer and secretary. The fifth Officer, the multitasking Tim Bojarski, remains as Chair of the Board, as that position is defined in the USHWA bylaws as the immediate past president of the organization. At the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, USHWA's Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, the highest honor voted on solely by the organization's members and given for longtime distinguished service to the sport, was bestowed on the top moneywinning Standardbred of all time, the $7,635,588 earner Foiled Again. And the banquet crowd was roused to a standing ovation when the 15-year-old Foiled Again, now in retirement, was himself walked into the banquet hall , displaying the equanimity (or should that be "equinimity"?) which had endeared him to so many harness fans on both sides of the fence during his long and illustrious career. McWicked, the leading moneywinner of the 2018 season, took home both Harness Horse of the Year and Pacer of the Year honors, while the three-year-old filly Atlanta, conqueror of "the boys" in the prestigious Hambletonian Stake, won plaudits as Trotter of the Year on the 2018 racing scene. Also on hand to be honored were Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman, and Linda Toscano upon their election to the sport's highest honor, the Hall of Fame, along with Mark Hall and Dave Little, who were voted into the Communicators Hall of Fame. This group will join with Hall of Fame electees Blair Burgess and Ted Wing to be formally inducted on the seventh of July at the site of the sport's Hall, Goshen NY.   Jerry Connors

Want to walk the Red Carpet at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday night, Feb. 24? An expected crowd of more than 300 will have the chance, but so too do those who can't make the trip. For the second year in row, well-known harness racing personalities Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder will be walking the Red Carpet, sponsored by Southwind Frank Partners, and broadcasting live on their Facebook pages. The Facebook Live shows will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m., when the awards dinner will commence. "If you can't make the banquet we are going to bring the party to you!" said Wilder. "And it's going to be some party!" Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/PacinHeather. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Vitale has hosted two popular television shows: Post Time and PA Harness Week. In addition to her local weekly productions, the charismatic personality has covered the sport nationally on espn2, CBSSN and MAV-TV. Vitale loves communicating with Standardbred enthusiasts around the world via social media and her unconventional interviews with a "when in doubt, add glitter" attitude has brought a unique sparkle to the sport and grabbed the attention of new fans. Wilder is currently known for her handling talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. While working as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. She was the 2013 recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award. Sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow, the entire awards dinner, hosted by Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir, will be broadcast live on the USHWA Facebook page and available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

The name of the 2018 Harness Racing Horse of the Year will be announced Sunday night, Feb. 24, at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards dinner at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. But even if you aren't among the attendees you will be able to watch the announcement live via USHWA's Facebook page. After a cocktail hour and open bar sponsored by McWicked, the awards ceremony gets underway at 7 p.m. and will be available via the Facebook page, sponsored by Crawford Farms and Crazy Wow. At approximately 10 p.m., emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will announce the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Horse of the Year trophy, which follows the revealing of the names of the Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year. To access USHWA's Facebook page, please click here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 25. Dinner tickets are still available but must be ordered by Monday, Feb. 18, by contacting Judy Wilson via email at zoe8874@aol.com or by phone at (302) 359-3630. Tickets for the filet mignon-featured meal are $175 each. Post time for the evening is 6 p.m., with a one-hour Red Carpet cocktail reception sponsored by the Southwind Frank Partners. Also starring on the Red Carpet will be Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, with the two Heathers broadcasting live on their individual Facebook pages. It's your guarantee to see who's wearing what and what the attendees have to say about the festivities. Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found here. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found here. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The United States Harness Writers Association Dan Patch Awards Night has received some great New York Yankees memorabilia and game tickets for the silent auction on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla. A very rare Mariano Rivera autographed baseball heads the list. Rivera played 19 seasons for the Yankees and was a 13-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. He was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, becoming the first player ever to be elected unanimously. There is also a baseball autographed by current Yankees star, Dellin Betances. He made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2011, and was an All-Star in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Both baseballs were secured by Joe Lee, who works for the Yankees and is also a very good amateur harness racing driver. There are also two tickets for the New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays game on Monday, June 24. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and the seats are in Section 115/Row 2/Seats 1 and 2, which is on the Yankee/first base side and within 10 rows of the field. The seats are padded and also provide access to the MVP Club lounge which offers complimentary food and beverage as well as entrance to the Audi Club Restaurant and Bar in left field. These tickets are donated by Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Mitchel Skolnick/Bluestone Farms and retail for $500. The Dan Patch Awards will offer its biggest silent auction ever with more than 30 items to bid on. Bidding can also be done over the phone. Items will be on display and available for bidding for those at the dinner on Feb. 24 from 5:30 p.m. to approximately 8:15 p.m. Final call for bidding will be announced just prior to dinner break. Phone bids must be made before 5:30 p.m. the day of the dinner. For more information on the silent auction or to purchase dinner tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Night, visit www.ushwa.net. To submit an advance bid, please contact Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029. Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA. From the United States Harness Writers Association  

It is last call to make room reservations at the luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., for the U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24. If you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best equines and humans in the sport in 2018, room reservations must be made by Friday, Feb. 1. Rooms are nearly sold out so make sure you don't get shut out! The USHWA rate for a standard room at Rosen Shingle Creek is $199 (plus tax). For a direct link to the Rosen Shingle Creek special page to make USHWA room reservations, please click here. Depending on availability, rooms may still be available after Feb. 1, but reservations can only be made by calling the hotel directly at 866-996-6338 and asking for the "Dan Patch Awards rate." Rosen Shingle Creek hosted last year's Dan Patch Awards banquet for the first time and the weekend was such a resounding success it was an easy decision for USHWA to return in 2019. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gaitlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet at 6 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly at 7 p.m. Be on hand when the Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year are announced. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 15 by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at zoe8874@aol.com or 302-359-3630. Remember, all attendees will receive a 10 percent discount at all of the hotel's restaurants, a 10 percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. There is still limited space available in the USHWA journal. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 1. To take out a congratulatory ad please contact Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708-557-2790. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association        

Harrisburg, PA---The Dan Patch Awards dinner is rapidly approaching and along with it, the annual silent auction that is held in conjunction with the evening's festivities. Once again the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and U.S. Harness Writers Association industry outreach will benefit from the proceeds. This year's auction features 31 outstanding items so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone! Lots available include: ITEM (donors) Rosen Shingle Creek Package (Rosen Shingle Creek) Gold Cup & Saucer Package (Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Melissa Keith) Mare & Foal Statue (Judy Wilson) BG's Bunny Wine Bucket, Wine & Wine Stopper (Shawn Wiles, Murray Brown, & Callie Davies-Gooch) Bow River Necklace (Bow River Jewelry) Pedigree Services through Pedigree Matching Website (Norman Hall, Melissa Keith) Cam Fella Print (Carol Hodes) Somebeachsomewhere Print (Michelle Hogan) Champagne Collection # 1 (Barry Lefkowitz, Callie Davies-Gooch) Champagne Collection # 2 (Barry Lefkowitz, Moira Fanning) Yankees Tickets (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock Agency, Mitchel Skolnick/Bluestone Farms) Autographed Baseball # 1 - signer to be announced (Joe Lee) Autographed Baseball # 2 - signer to be announced (Joe Lee) Ladies' Accessories (fascinator hat, earrings, scarf) (Lilliput Hats, Pat Hillman, Harness Racing Museum, Garnet Barnsdale, Melissa Keith) Foiled Again Collection (Adam Bowden, Callie Davies-Gooch, Moira Fanning, Hoosier Park, The Meadows, The Meadowlands) Cozy Evening Collection (Ann Lufkin, Carol Cramer, Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Museum, Fennell's) Horse Sculpture (Estate of Mary Lou Dondarski, Judy Wilson) Tomasello Wine Basket & Tasting (Tomasello Winery, Tom Cosentino, Barry Lefkowitz) Halters From Trotting Greats - Continentalvictory & Credit Winner (Halters For Hope, Andrew Cohen) Preakness Package (Maryland Jockey Club, Cheri Stambaugh) McWicked Poster (US Trotting Association, Mark Hall) Shartin N Poster (US Trotting Association, Mark Hall) Glenlivit Archive 21 Year Old Scotch (Barry Lefkowitz) Somebeachsomewhere Print & Program (Brent McGrath, Melissa Keith) On The Road Again Print & Program (Northlands Park, Melissa Keith) Ohio Sires Stake Basket (Ohio Sires Stakes, Kim Rinker) Harness Racing Swag Bag (Adriano Sorella, Garnet Barnsdale) Post Time With Mike & Mike Advertising Package (Mike Carter, Mike Bozich) Handicapping Seminar With Garnet Barnsdale (Garnet Barnsdale) Gettin' An Education Print (Kim Rinker) Timothy T at DuQuoin Painting Classical Way at The Red Mile Painting - 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 initiatives. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit www.hhyf.org and www.ushwa.org or call Steven Wolf 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor 317-908-0029. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to Feb. 23. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association hand out its annual awards at the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association banquet on Saturday (Jan. 19) at the Marriott University Area Hotel in Columbus. Tom Brinkerhoff, one of Ohio top trainers/drivers, was enshrined as the 45th member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame. During Brinkerhoff 60+ year career, he campaigned some of Ohio best horses, including Osborne Creed; Osborne's Bret; Golly Too, the four time Ohio Sires Stake champion; Lark's Luke ($441,240); Doc Mistake ($342,793); and Ruffstuff Baker, the Ohio Triple Crown winner in 1993. Brinkerhoff was elected into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame in 1994 and received the Jerry Kaltenbach Memorial Award as the top Ohio Sires Stake trainer in 1995. He is credited with 1,695 career driving wins and made his final career start, a second place finish, at the Richland County Fair in 2016. The Ohio Chapter also honored Aaron Merriman as the recipient of the Winner's Circle Award for the Ohioan who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past year; Trevor Smith as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner as the young Ohioan who is an "up-and-coming" star among harness horsemen; Pius Soehnlen into the Immortal Hall of Fame; First Breath into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and Dave Bianconi as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades. Merriman, North America's 2018 Dash Driving champion, recorded 1,141 seasonal wins to become the first driver to record 1,000 or more wins in multiple years. He was also selected as the "Driver of the Year" by the United States Harness Writers Association. Smith is a 22-year-old resident of Washington Court House, Ohio. He enjoyed a tremendous 2018 season with 104 driving wins and earned more than $1.1 million in purse money. Soehnlen was a great trainer and driver and gained fame with the great trotter Dream Of Glory, who won 50 of 86 career starts, was a four-time Dan Patch award winner, set world records before becoming an influential sire. Soehnlen bred and campaigned many other champions over the years, among them Stoneking, Fence Post, Proxies Garland, Preshlash and Kick A Lot. Early in his career he also drove Pickwick Baron. He passed away in January 2016 at the age of 76. First Breath earned over $100,000 during her four year racing career, winning 28 of 58 career starts, but the daughter of the pacing sire Hold Your Breath left her mark by producing several of Ohio's top trotters. Owned and trained by Duane Lowe, First Breath produced 13 foals -- six of which earned $100,000 or more. First Breath is the dam of BV's Sister winner of $643,000, BV Victory and Final Breath. Bianconi is the Executive Vice President of Racing & Simulcasting for Northfield Park. He has been at the Cleveland area track for nearly 30 years and is considered the architect of one of the largest simulcast networks in harness racing. Bianconi is a director for the United States Trotting Association and part of the on-air talent team for the simulcast show at the Delaware County Fair and Little Brown Jug. Jay Wolf

The U.S. Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) annual Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday, Feb. 24, is nearing and if you are planning to attend the gala festivities that will honor the best harness racing equines and humans in the sport in 2018, room reservations at the luxurious host site of the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando must be made by Saturday, Feb. 2. Rooms are nearly sold out so make sure you don't get shut out! Rosen Shingle Creek hosted last year's Dan Patch Awards banquet for the first time and the weekend was such a resounding success it was an easy decision for USHWA to return in 2019. This year's banquet, which will be held in the Gaitlin B ballroom, gets underway with the Red Carpet at 6 p.m., with the awards ceremony starting promptly at 7 p.m. Be on hand when the Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year are announced. The USHWA rate for a standard room at Rosen Shingle Creek is $199 (plus tax). For a direct link to the Rosen Shingle Creek special page to make USHWA room reservations, please click here. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured. Tickets can be ordered until Feb. 15 by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at zoe8874@aol.com or 302-359-3630. Remember, all attendees will receive a 10-percent discount at all of the hotel's restaurants, a 10-percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. There is still limited space available in the USHWA journal. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 1. To take out a congratulatory ad please contact Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com or 708-557-2790. U.S. Harness Writers Association

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