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HARRISBURG, PA - Marcus Melander, "to the manor born" in terms of personal harness racing pedigree, went out in 2018 and made great accomplishments with a small but talented collection of trotters, including the two dominant two-year-old colts, in the process earning the Rising Star Award in voting conducted by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Also honored by USHWA were Order By Stable (Stefan Balazsi) as Breeder of the Year, and two broodmares, trotter Southwind Serena and pacer Lady Ashlee Ann, as their gait's respective Broodmare of the Year. Marcus Melander came from a rich trotting heritage in his native Sweden, with perhaps the best-known of his family being his uncle Stefan Melander, the Hambletonian, Prix d'Amerique, and International Trot winner, and also noted for his photography as "Foto Tarzan." Upon coming to the United States, Marcus worked for Jimmy Takter, as fine an addition to a resume as one could want, and then went out on his own. 2018 was the current peak of what is likely to be many more high points in Marcus's career. His 1-2 punch in the baby trotting colt ranks were Gimpanzee, the undefeated New York Sire Stakes champion who then won his Breeders Crown and divisional honors, and Green Manalishi S, second in the Crown and like his stablemate a winner of over $500,000 in his freshman campaign. (Other members in Melander's 2019 sophomore arsenal may be Demon On The Hill, who showed great potential, mostly in Pennsylvania, and Greenshoe, a $330,000 yearling who showed promise in a brief freshman campaign.) It's not often that anybody wins a $1,000,000 race, especially a 26-year-old sending a horse out for the first time, but that's just what Melander did, getting expatriate Cruzado Dela Noche from uncle Stefan before the International Trot and then beating a group of the world's elite trotters. In another big FFA win, Crazy Wow, also recently added to the barn, turned in a 31-1 upset in the Maple Leaf Trot Final. STEFAN BALAZSI'S ORDER BY STABLE IS BREEDER OF THE YEAR Named as Breeder of the Year was the Order By Stable of Stefan Balazsi, which started in Sweden but now is one of the emerging major players on the North American breeding scene. The breeding operation produced only 30 starters "on this side" during 2018, but still ranked twelfth in terms of money won, with Order By's offspring earning $2.4 million in Canada and the U.S.. Hambletonian-winning, million-dollar earning sophomore filly Atlanta, her division's champion, certainly was the cream of the crop of Order By's produce in 2018. Not too far behind, though, was Gimpanzee, mentioned above in connection with trainer Marcus Melander, who also was a divisional champion and accounted for almost $600,000 in earnings himself. LADY ASHLEE ANN, SOUTHWIND SERENA PICKED AS TOP BROODMARES The winning broodmares shared producing a three-year-old colt who when at his best delivered blistering speed that left most of his generation behind. Lady Ashlee Ann, a daughter of Camtastic owned by Winbak Farms for more than twenty years, was the dam of pacer Courtly Choice, a son of Art Major who sped to a 1:47.1 record, emerged victorious in the Empire Breeders Classic Final, Meadowlands Pace and a thrilling Little Brown Jug, and earned over $900,000. Lady Ashlee Ann was declared a "walkover winner" by USHWA's Breeders / Broodmares Committee, so outstanding did they see the merit of her and her son. On the trotting side, Southwind Serena, a Varenne mare owned by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc., was recognized because of the exploits of trotter Tactical Landing. This Muscle Hill colt, a full brother to the mercurial distaff Mission Brief, had been in the spotlight since his sale for $800,000 as a yearling, second-highest price ever, and for the better part of the next two years looked like a questionable investment. But trainer Jimmy Takter (Stefan Melander's earlier mentor) exhibited tremendous developmental patience, and entering the Hambletonian with five races lifetime and $14,000 on his card, the colt showed he "belonged" by winning his elimination and finishing third in the final. This was the igniting of a late-season surge than saw him take a mark of 1:50.2 at Lexington, sweep his Breeders Crown races, and then defeat older horses handily in the TVG Championship - while winning nearly $800,000 after the first Saturday in August. Marcus Melander, Order By Stable, Lady Ashlee Ann, Southwind Serena and their connections will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $175, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 24 are cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at zoe8874@aol.com or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - Aaron Merriman, the first driver to win over 1000 races in two consecutive years and set to post the second-highest one-season victory total in North American history, has been selected as Driver of the Year in a vote among members of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading media group. Merriman is only 40 years old, but he is already a "veteran" of 20+ years of the sulky wars, learning from his father Lanny, mostly at Northfield Park near Cleveland. He had 182 winners in 2000, his first year of full-time exposure, but he has been gaining with every step, with 10,857 victories in the 21st century and 6926 visits to Victory Lane in the first nine years of the this decade. Merriman will post the second-highest win total for a driver in harness racing history, behind only Tim Tetrick's standard of 1189 in 2007; Aaron was at 1118 after Wednesday's racing. This total eclipses his personal best of 1093, taken last year, and this year he has reached another important milestone with his mounts earning over $10.3 million - his first eight-figure season. And the level of competition Aaron faces at the main terminals of his endless miles on the road is very high - at Northfield, he consistently races against Ron Wrenn Jr., who was the last person to dethrone him for the national title (2014, by a 847-841 count), and at The Meadows near Pittsburgh he competes against Dave Palone, the winningest driver of all-time (18,640 and counting), and the leading pilot at The Meadows since shortly after high-wheeled sulkies went out of fashion, so it seems. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The United States Harness Writers Association announced today that three outstanding indiviuals in the sport of harness racing will be honored with Dan Patch Awards. Michelle Crawford was voted the "Good Guy" award, journalist Ray Cotolo the Breakthrough Award and photographer Chris Gooden the Unsung Hero Award. Michelle Crawford may not keep quite as unremitting a schedule as Merriman, but she comes very close. An unbridled enthusiastic voice for harness racing, Michelle is foremost the co-operator with her husband Al of Crawford Farms, a midstate New York breeding facility, and his racing component Crawford Farms Racing, always looking to acquire the next big star and improve the overall quality of horses associated with Crawford. One giant step towards that goal in 2018 found Michelle in the winners circle of the sport’s biggest race, the Hambletonian, as a partner on the filly Atlanta, who upended the boys in the classic race for three-year-old trotters and then went on to a million-dollar season, and now looms as potentially a great broodmare. Crawford Racing also is co-owner of Homicide Hunter, whose 1:48.4 mile at Lexington earned him “World’s Fastest Trotter” honors. Michelle is aware of the “bigger picture” in harness racing, reflected in her serving as vice-president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, and especially as a board member of the newly-formed Standardbred Transition Alliance, where she will undoubtedly put into practice on a continental level the well-established programs to take care of former racing and breeding stock that she has established at Crawford. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her one of the more positive forces – a real Good “Guy” -- for the sport. Two other USHWA honorees serve the sport on a communications level, with one of them involved in the chronicling of the sport half his life – and he’s only 19! Ray Cotolo, winner of the Breakthrough Award as an up-and-comer on the non-training-driving side, started accompanying his journalist father Frank to the major races, and swiftly picked up the necessary knowledge to combine with his natural communications skills to become a source of knowledge for the industry and fans in several areas: a podcast called North American Harness Update, a pioneer (2012) project which went “on the road” for the first time in 2018; freelance work, mainly writing, for such important entities as the Hambletonian Society, The Meadowlands, Standardbred Canada, the Woodbine Entertainment Group, and the Red Mile; and as a budding announcer. And Ray is doing all this while enrolled at Elizabethtown (PA) College, as a communications major benefitting from the Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund of the late on-track television pioneer. Chris Gooden works as the photographer for the racing at The Meadows racetrack, in addition to “regular” jobs his business picks up in his southwestern Pennsylvania area. But what is “Unsung” – and remarkable – about Gooden is the amount of work he does gratis, of his own volition, to keep The Meadows at the forefront of the new forms of “social” communications media (and beyond). Facebook coverage of live racing? Check. Including “live-from-the-bike” camera photography? Double check. Keeping up a high profile on Twitter? Check. And there’s one above and beyond the call of duty. When illness hampered a local horseman’s finances a few months ago, Gooden posted a Facebook notice that he was selling a special photo of Foiled Again – the Bergstein/Proximity winner, and based at Gooden’s “home track” of The Meadows – and would donate the money minus shipping to the beleaguered family. And over $1500 has been raised so far. No fanfare, just results -- that’s why Chris Gooden is an Unsung Hero. Crawford, Cotolo, and Gooden will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers’ website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - Foiled Again, the highest-moneywinning Standardbred harness racin horse of all-time with $7,634,938 in his bankroll, in the final stages of a whirlwind Foiled Again Farewell Tour as he faces mandatory retirement upon reaching 15 years of age on January 1, has been selected for the Stan Bergstein / Proximity Award, the highest award in the sport voted on exclusively by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading media association. Foiled Again is an altered son of Dragon Again out of the Artsplace mare In A Safe Place. He raced for trainer Herman Heitmann at two and three, and into his fourth year before being purchased by Sylvia Burke, Weaver Bruscemi LLC (Mark Weaver and Michael Bruscemi), and JJK Stables LLC (the late Joseph Koury Sr. and his sons Joseph Jr. and Kevin). Mickey Burke, Sylvia's husband and Ron's father, was transitioning from raceway activities to overseeing the younger horses, and he handled the conditioning of Foiled Again until Ron took over full-time training responsibility in November 2008. Foiled Again reached his full potential under his new connections, staying a vital member of the free-for-all pacing community for half-a-dozen years. He was Older Pacing Horse of the Year in 2011, 2012, and 2013, during each of which he earned over $1 million. Foiled Again took his mark of 1:48 in 2013 at the age of nine, in the elimination race of the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono, coming back the next week to win the Franklin Final and then later in the year to sweep his Breeders Crown action over the red clay. Fans grew to embrace Foiled Again as he battled on at a high quality of performance over the years; they latched onto this "evergreen pacer" who they knew would always give them every ounce of his energy. Once he broke the record for earnings ($5.8 million by the trotter Ready Cash), he gained even more cache, and attracted media attention like few other Standardbreds (or any racehorse). As he entered his 14th year, perhaps a step or two off his peak speed but still competitive every time behind the gate, his connections decided to establish a "Foiled Again Farewell Tour," matching him against local horses and letting fans around the United States and Canada give one last salute to the gallant pacer. He raced at eighteen different tracks during 2018, in ten different states and provinces, and seemed very little the worse for wear. When he raced at Harrah's on December 9, he returned to a track where he had first raced 4165 days - 11 years, 4 months, and 25 days - earlier. Foiled Again's 331st and final start comes on Monday at The Meadows, the home track of the Burkes and Weaver Bruscemi, and as has been noted, "it's unlikely there will be a dry eye in the house." (Start 330 came at Mohawk last Saturday, where Foiled Again posted career victory 109.) Foiled Again is only the second horse to win the Bergstein - Proximity Award: the other was Rambling Willie, who was honored in 1984 after a career that strikingly parallels Foiled Again's in longevity, earnings recordsetting, competitiveness in the free-for-all ranks for years, and popularity among the racegoing public. In an ever-changing world, Foiled Again reaches across 34 years to join another horse who didn't know the meaning of the end of a mile, the end of a career, or making outstanding contributions to harness racing. Ron Burke Trainer of the Year, Team Burke Owners of the Year HARRISBURG, PA -- It seems fitting that as the spotlight finds Foiled Again in his last campaign, it also finds his trainer and his ownership, who have been instrumental in the tremendous success of the horse - Ron Burke has been named Trainer of the Year for the third time (2011 and 2013 previously), while the Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC combine will follow their 2013 Owners of the Year prize with another in 2018, in voting conducted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Ron Burke, who as noted took over the training of the Burke Stable in late October 2008, has been an unstoppable force the last ten years, achieving success levels unreached in the sport. He will reach 1000 victories with his far-flung barn in 2018, his third time posting four figures, and his stable will top the $21 million mark in purses won for the sixth year. For his outstanding 2018, Burke got more votes from USHWA than did any other human (one horse did top him, though - Foiled Again). And as always, there was quality in with the quality. The stable sent out divisional champions Warrawee Ubeaut (2PF) and Dorsoduro Hanover (3PC and millionaire); these two teamed with Percy Blue Chip (3PF) to give Burke three Breeders Crown Championships during 2018. Seasoned pacers Filibuster Hanover and Rockin Ron also earned over $500,000, giving Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi five horses who took down over half a million; trainer Burke had a sixth in 3PF Youaremycandygirl. And then there was of course Foiled Again, who kept in good condition to race every year a Standardbred can race - 13, from the minimum of age two to the maximum of age fourteen. Youaremycandygirl is an exception to the usual makeup of Ron Burke's outfit - most of its horses are earned, in whole or in part, by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. So if trainer Burke has a good year, it's probable that Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC followed along in suit. An important component of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC is the amount that they give back to the sport which has provided them with successes and thrills. The Foiled Again Farewell Tour is a prime example. So too is their "policy" of usually having partners on most of their stakes horses - this is a way to give owners who might have a slight chance (to no chance) to have a Grand Circuit horses be a part of the excitement of campaigning a world-class competitor against the best in their division throughout the stakes season. Foiled Again and his connections will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. Reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at trotrink@aol.com (the 2018 journal is online at the writers' website). Information about purchasing tickets for the dinner will become available and will be posted shortly. From the United States Trotting Association

SCHECNECTADY, N.Y. - New York-breds swept the Dan Patch Awards for 2- and 3-Year-Old trotters in 2018. Year-end divisional honors will be going to four stand-out harness racing performers, 3-Year-Old Female Trotter Atlanta and 3-Year-Old Male Trotter Six Pack and undefeated freshmen Gimpanzee and Woodside Charm. Voting results were released earlier this week by the United States Harness Writers Association. "New York has an outstanding breeding program that is evidenced by the standout Dan Patch winners that came from New York this year," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We offer a plethora of racing opportunities and each of these four Champions competed in the New York Sire Stakes while taking on the best competition in the world on the Grand Circuit. Congratulations to the owners and connections of these exceptional performers. We wait expectantly to see the next chapter of their careers in the new year." 3-Year-Old Female Trotter Atlanta became just the fourteenth filly to win the Hambletonian this year (and first since 1996), capturing harness racing's richest prize in 1:50.4 and taking her over $1 million in career earnings. She won eight of 14 races this year, including the Kentucky Filly Futurity and Empire Breeders Classic. She finished second in the Breeders Crown. She easily scored in New York Sire Stakes divisions at Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs. Atlanta (Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip) was bred by Order By Stable, is trained by Rick Zeron, and owned by Zeron with Crawford Farms, Howard Taylor, Brad Grant and Holland Racing Stable. 3-Year-Old Male Trotter Six Pack trot a world-record mile of 1:50 in the Stanley Dancer Memorial, and then lowered that mark with a 1:49.1 performance at the Kentucky Futurity. He won the Yonkers Trot, Empire Breeders Classic and legs of the NYSS at Vernon Downs and Yonkers Raceway. The colt has earned $970,573 this year and nearly $1.17 million in his career. Six Pack (Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady) was bred by Brittany Farms of Kentucky, is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, and owned by Svanstedt with Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF and Lars Berg. 2-Year-Old Male Trotter Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) went undefeated in nine starts this season, which included a Breeders Crown, six legs of the New York Sire Stakes and a tour of the winner's circle on the New York Night of Champions. The winner of $591,358 this year was bred by Order By Stable and is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. 2-Year-Old Female Trotter Woodside Charm (Chapter Seven-Fireworks) is another New York Sire Stakes and Breeders Crown Champion who went undefeated this year with seven victories. She won three legs of the NYSS, including a world record finish on the half-mile track at Saratoga in 1:53.4 in September. The trotter is trained, driven and owned by Verlin Yoder and was bred by AV & Son Bloodstock LLC. The Dan Patch Awards annually honor the best and brightest performers, both human and equine, of the previous season. The award winners are selected by USHWA members. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes Program. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research. Jason Politi | Baker Public Relations

McWicked and Shartin N, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the sport's year-end harness racing poll, were landslide winners for division honors among pacers in Dan Patch Award voting released Thursday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Shartin N, a 5-year-old mare, was named best older female pacer on all but one ballot while McWicked, a 7-year-old stallion, was named best older male pacer on all but three. Also named division winners were 2-year-old colt Captain Crunch, 2-year-old filly Warrawee Ubeaut, 3-year-old gelding Dorsoduro Hanover, and 3-year-old filly Kissin In The Sand. All of the winners with the exception of Dorsoduro Hanover received at least 90 percent of the vote in their division. Dorsoduro Hanover won, 65-53, over runner-up Courtly Choice in the closest divisional balloting among either pacers or trotters this year. A total of 130 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned by eligible members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and American Harness Racing Secretaries. Dan Patch Award winners will be honored at the organization's banquet Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year will be announced. Divisional trotting champions were announced Wednesday. McWicked led the sport in earnings this year, with $1.57 million. He became the first horse older than the age of 5 to top the money standings since 7-year-old trotter Savoir in 1975. McWicked also became the oldest male pacer to ever win a Dan Patch Award at age 2 or 3 and capture another trophy as an older horse. His first honor came at 3 in 2014. For the season, McWicked won 12 of 19 races, capping his campaign with a five-race win streak, and hit the board a total of 17 times. His victories included the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace, $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial, $462,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, $430,000 Breeders Crown, $350,000 TVG Series Open championship, $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational, and $179,000 Allerage Farms Open. His 1:46.2 clocking in the Allerage was the second-fastest race mile in history. Brian Sears was McWicked's primary driver, but David Miller also posted Grand Circuit wins with the Casie Coleman-trained stallion. McWicked, a son of McArdle out of Western Sahara, is owned by Ed James' S S G Stables. He was bred by Andray Farm. Shartin N became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million in a season, finishing the year with $1.05 million thanks to 19 wins in 24 races. The New Zealand-bred mare joins Hall of Famer Cardigan Bay as a "Down Under" import to receive a Dan Patch Award. Cardigan Bay, also from New Zealand, was a two-time honoree (1965 and 1968). Trained by Jim King Jr. and driven by Tim Tetrick, Shartin N's wins included the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, $281,200 Roses Are Red, $270,000 Breeders Crown, $197,400 Lady Liberty, $175,000 TVG Series Mare championship, $161,000 Artiscape, $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational, $102,200 Chip Noble Memorial, and $98,500 Allerage Farms Mare Pace. She also finished the year with a five-race win streak. Shartin N, a daughter of Tintin In America out of Bagdarin, is owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. She was bred by GJ Crabbe. Dorsoduro Hanover got the nod among 3-year-old male pacers after leading the division with $1.28 million in purses, the second-highest total in the sport. He won 10 of 22 races, with his victories including the $530,000 Breeders Crown, $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios, and $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He also had six second-place finishes, including in the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug. Ron Burke trained the gelding, who was driven by Matt Kakaley. Dorsoduro Hanover is owned by Sylvia Burke's Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Jerry Silva, Theresa Silva, Purnel Jones Jr. and Elizabeth Jones, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and the Wingfield Five (Bradley, Charles, Kimberly, Robert and Thomas Wingfield). The son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Deer Valley Miss was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Two-year-old filly Warrawee Ubeaut also is part of the Burke Brigade. She won seven of 12 races and earned a division-leading $646,995 for trainer Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Her wins included the $600,000 Breeders Crown and $207,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes. In addition, her 1:48.3 victory in a $61,250 division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile made her the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history. Warrawee Ubeaut is owned by Sylvia Burke's Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, the partnership of Jerry Silva, Theresa Silva, Purnel Jones Jr. and Elizabeth Jones, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. A daughter of Sweet Lou out of Great Memories, she was bred by Warrawee Farm. Three-year-old filly Kissin In The Sand and 2-year-old colt Captain Crunch both are from the stable of trainer Nancy Johansson and were driven by Scott Zeron. Kissin In The Sand won 10 of 15 races and never finished worse than second on her way to a division-best $845,495 in purses. Her wins included the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial, $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, $191,800 Mistletoe Shalee, and $126,000 Bluegrass Stakes. She was second in the Breeders Crown and Fan Hanover. Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield's Hatfield Stables own Kissin In The Sand, who is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Kiss Me Kate. The filly was bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding, RAW Equine, and Concord Stud Farm. Captain Crunch won six of 10 races and earned a division-leading $616,113. His triumphs included the $600,000 Breeders Crown and $469,300 Governor's Cup. He is owned by 3 Brothers Stables (Alan, Ron and Steve Katz), Christina Takter, Norman and Robert Aerenson's Rojan Stables, and Judy and Buck Chaffee's Caviart Farms. Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, was bred by Walnridge Farm and Sherri Meirs. For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet and Rosen Shingle Creek resort, visit the U.S. Harness Writers Association's website. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Captain Crunch (126 votes/96.9 percent) Captaintreacherous - Sweet Paprika - Artiscape Yearling price: $85,000 under the name Captain Bean at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeders: Walnridge Farm, Sherri Meirs Owners: 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, Caviart Farms Trainer: Nancy Johansson Driver: Scott Zeron Races: 10-6-1-1 Purses: $616,113 Mark: 1:49.1 at Red Mile Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $469,300 Governor's Cup 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Warrawee Ubeaut (124 votes/95.3 percent) Sweet Lou - Great Memories - Apaches Fame Yearling price: $70,000 at Lexington Selected Sale Breeder: Warrawee Farm Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras Races: 12-7-1-2 Purses: $646,995 Mark: 1:48.3 at Red Mile (world record) Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $207,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Dorsoduro Hanover (65 votes/50 percent) Somebeachsomewhere - Deer Valley Miss - Artsplace Yearling price: $100,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, Wingfield Five Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley Races: 22-10-6-2 Purses: $1.28 million Mark: 1:49.4 at Pocono Top wins: $530,000 Breeders Crown; $400,000 Adios 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Kissin In The Sand (117 votes/90 percent) Somebeachsomewhere - Kiss Me Kate - Real Artist Yearling price: $130,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeders: Christina Takter, John Fielding, RAW Equine, Concord Stud Farm Owners: Marvin Katz, Hatfield Stables Trainer: Nancy Johansson Driver: Scott Zeron Races: 15-10-5-0 Purses: $845,495 Mark: 1:47.4 at Red Mile Top wins: $300,000 Lynch Memorial; $191,800 Mistletoe Shalee OLDER MALE PACER McWicked (127 votes/97.6 percent) McArdle - Western Sahara - Western Ideal Yearling price: $35,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Andray Farm Owner: S S G Stables Trainer: Casie Coleman Drivers: Brian Sears, David Miller Races: 19-12-3-2 Purses: $1.57 million Mark: 1:46.2 at Red Mile Top wins: $500,000 Ben Franklin; $471,100 Haughton Memorial; $462,000 Canadian Pacing Derby; $430,000 Breeders Crown OLDER FEMALE PACER Shartin N (129 votes/99.2 percent) Tintin In America - Bagdarin - Live Or Die Yearling price: None, sold privately at age 4 Breeder: G J Crabbe Owners: Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King Trainer: Jim King Jr. Driver: Tim Tetrick Races: 24-19-1-0 Purses: $1.05 million Mark: 1:48.2 at Red Mile Top wins: $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker final; $281,200 Roses Are Red; $270,000 Breeders Crown; $197,400 Lady Liberty From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

Hambletonian-winning filly Atlanta led a distinguished group of trotters named division champions in Dan Patch Award voting released Wednesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Atlanta received 96.1 percent of the votes for best 3-year-old female trotter, the highest total among the six trotting honorees. Also named division winners were 2-year-old colt Gimpanzee, 2-year-old filly Woodside Charm, 3-year-old colt Six Pack, 6-year-old gelding Homicide Hunter, and 4-year-old mare Ariana G. Ariana G, who received the nod for best older female trotter, was the only repeat winner. She collected her third trophy and joined CR Kay Suzie (1994-96) and Peace Corps (1988-90) as the only female trotters to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages 2, 3 and 4. A total of 130 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned by the U.S. Harness Writers Association's membership this year. Dan Patch Award winners will be honored at the organization's banquet Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer, and Horse of the Year will be announced. Divisional pacing champions will be announced at noon Thursday during a live stream broadcast on the Facebook pages of both the U.S. Harness Writers Association and U.S. Trotting Association. Atlanta, who received 125 votes, became the first filly to win the Hambletonian since 1996 when she captured the $1 million final Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands. Trained by Rick Zeron and driven by his son Scott, she won eight of 14 races this year and earned a division-leading $1.01 million. Her victories also included the $320,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity and $238,613 Empire Breeders Classic. She finished second in the $500,000 Breeders Crown. A daughter of Chapter Seven out of Hemi Blue Chip, Atlanta is owned by Rick Zeron, Michelle and Al Crawford's Crawford Farms, William Holland's Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, and Brad Grant. She was bred by Order By Stable. In the division for the 3-year-old colts and geldings, Six Pack received 54.6 percent of the vote in the closest balloting among trotters. He outdistanced runner-up Tactical Landing, 71-46. Six Pack, a son of Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady, won 11 of 15 races this year and earned a division-best $1.15 million. His triumphs included the $620,000 Kentucky Futurity, $500,000 Yonkers Trot, $223,673 Empire Breeders Classic, $210,150 Matron Stakes, and a $181,000 division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. His winning time of 1:49.1 in the Kentucky Futurity final is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old trotter. Ake Svanstedt trained and drove Six Pack in addition to owning the colt with Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Tomas Olofsson's Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. Six Pack was bred by Brittany Farms. Ariana G added to her hardware collection by receiving 63.8 percent of the vote for best older female trotter, finishing 50 votes ahead of second-place Emoticon Hanover. Ariana G was trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who retired at the end of the season, and posted victories with drivers Yannick Gingras, Brian Sears, and David Miller. The homebred mare, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, won five of 14 races this year and earned a division-leading $597,802 for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She beat male rivals in all her wins, including the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity and $250,000 Graduate Series championship, which were for 4-year-olds, as well as the $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. She finished third in the Maple Leaf final. Homicide Hunter, the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:48.4 winning mile in the Allerage Farms Open on Oct. 6 at Red Mile, received the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter with 73.8 percent of the vote. Marion Marauder, the division's 2017 champion, was the only other vote-getter. In addition to winning the Allerage, Homicide Hunter captured the $500,000 Breeders Crown, $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial, and $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series championship. George Napolitano Jr., Aaron Merriman, and Brian Sears each had a Grand Circuit victory with the Chris Oakes-trained gelding. Homicide Hunter, a son of Mr Cantab out of Evening Prayer, is owned by Michelle and Al Crawford's Crawford Farms Racing and was bred by Patrick Graham. Gimpanzee and Woodside Charm were undefeated, marking the first time both 2-year-old trotting champions completed unblemished campaigns. They also were the two richest 2-year-old trotters this season. Marcus Melander-trained Gimpanzee, who got 90 percent of the vote, dominated the New York Sire Stakes circuit, winning six preliminary rounds and the $225,000 championship, before finishing his season by winning his Breeders Crown elimination and the $600,000 final. His 9-for-9 performance resulted in earnings of $591,358 for owners Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's SRF Stable. Brian Sears drove Gimpanzee, who became the first undefeated 2-year-old male trotter to receive a Dan Patch Award since Wheeling N Dealin in 2012. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven out of Steamy Windows, was bred by Order By Stable. Woodside Charm, who received 93.8 percent of the vote, won all seven of her starts for owner-trainer-driver Verlin Yoder. Her wins included the $600,000 Breeders Crown and $236,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes. She also won a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Saratoga in 1:53.4, the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile track. A daughter of Chapter Seven out of Fireworks Hanover, Woodside Charm was bred by AV & Son Bloodstock. She became only the second unbeaten 2-year-old filly trotter to win a Dan Patch Award, following 2017 honoree Manchego. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Gimpanzee (117 votes/90 percent) Chapter Seven - Steamy Windows - Muscle Massive Yearling price: $170,000 under the name Army Of Monkeys at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Order By Stable Owners: Courant Inc., SRF Stable Trainer: Marcus Melander Driver: Brian Sears Races: 9-9-0-0 Purses: $591,358 Mark: 1:54.3 at Vernon Downs Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Woodside Charm (122 votes/93.8 percent) Chapter Seven - Fireworks Hanover - Muscles Yankee Yearling price: Private Breeder: AV & Son Bloodstock LLC Owner: Verlin Yoder Trainer: Verlin Yoder Driver: Verlin Yoder Races: 7-7-0-0 Purses: $521,658 Mark: 1:53 at Pocono Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $236,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Six Pack (71 votes/54.6 percent) Muscle Mass - Pleasing Lady - Cantab Hall Yearling price: $30,000 at Lexington Selected Sale Breeder: Brittany Farms Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF, Lars Berg Trainer: Ake Svanstedt Driver: Ake Svanstedt Races: 15-11-2-1 Purses: $1.15 million Mark: 1:49.1 at Red Mile (world record) Top wins: $620,000 Kentucky Futurity; $500,000 Yonkers Trot; $210,150 Matron Stakes 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER Atlanta (125 votes/96.1 percent) Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip - Cantab Hall Yearling price: $60,000 under the name Django Unchained at Standardbred Horse Sale Breeder: Order By Stable Owners: Rick Zeron/Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, Brad Grant Trainer: Rick Zeron Driver: Scott Zeron Races: 14-8-5-1 Purses: $1.01 million Mark: 1:50.3 at Vernon Downs Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $320,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity OLDER MALE TROTTER Homicide Hunter (96 votes/73.8 percent) Mr Cantab - Evening Prayer - Like A Prayer Yearling price: Homebred, sold privately at age 4 Breeder: Patrick Graham Owner: Crawford Farms Racing Trainer: Chris Oakes Drivers: George Napolitano Jr., Brian Sears, Aaron Merriman Races: 16-9-0-2 Purses: $605,770 Mark: 1:48.4 at Red Mile (world record) Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $200,000 Hill Memorial; $145,000 Allerage OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Ariana G (83 votes/63.8 percent) Muscle Hill - Cantab It All - Cantab Hall Yearling price: Homebred Breeders: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld Owners: Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld Trainer: Jimmy Takter Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Brian Sears, David Miller Races: 14-5-1-1 Purses: $597,802 Mark: 1:50.2 at Meadowlands Top wins: $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity; $250,000 Graduate; $150,000 Dayton Derby From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

Monticello, NY--Each year amateur harness racing becomes a bigger part in the Standardbred sport with many talented drivers displaying impressive abilities guiding spirited steeds to victory. And this season has been no exception especially with the expansive opportunities available with the ever-growing number of amateur organizations dotting the landscape. In spite of the talents of a multitude of amateur drivers the USHWA National Committee unanimously voted Joe Pennacchio this years recipient of National Amateur Driver of the Year. Although having prominent stats, which "Joltin' Joe " has, it takes more than that for consideration. Besides being a member of many amateur organizations Pennacchio is the president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and sits on the Board of the USTA. Since he purchased his first horse in 1987, over the years Joe has owned more than a hundred standardbreds and in 2004 his 3-year-old trotter, Yankee Slide, won the prestigious Breeders Crown at Woodbine in Canada with Brian Sears in the sulky. " Yankee Slide was trained by Steve Elliot and was sent off at odds of 40-1 and man we were pleasantly surprised with his victory," Pennacchio recalled. But Pennacchio still can remember the first horse he ever purchased. "In 1987 I bought a pacer by the name of Skipper Marlow and raced him at Monticello under the care of Craig Mosher. In 1995 I drove for the first time and had two wins in three starts. That year both wins were with a trotter by the name of Fox Valley Trump. I won at Delaware ,Ohio and then at the Red Mile. After that I was hooked," Pennacchio said. The next year Pennacchio and Fox Valley Trump won the $30,000 Billings Series Final at Freehold Raceway covering thr 1-1/4 mile distance in a time of 2:31.3 Since then "Joltin' Joe (his Billings nickname) has won 176 races. This past season he had 65 starts with 14 wins, 11 seconds and four thirds for a .330 UDR. He currently owns 14 race horses. Pennacchio's Florida contingent is handled by Jim McDonald while Allen Sisco trains his stock in New York. Over the years Joe has won races on all size racetracks and has enjoyed some nice horses along the way. He has even won races in Europe and thoroughly enjoys the sport and the horses he's owned. But arguably his favorite is Super Manning, who is still racing today. The veteran trotter has won $650,000 thus far in his career and earned a record of 1:54.1 taken at Yonkers Raceway. Pennacchio is a retired CEO who spent most of his career in department store retailing. His last assignment was as the president of Jordan Marsh department stores in Boston. He has had significant experience in running companies with both United States and foreign facilities and has served on several boards for both private and public companies. He will receive his National Amateur Driver of the Year Award when the US Harness Writers Association holds its annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2019. For room and ticket information, visit www.ushwa.org. by John Manzi, chairman of USHWA's Amateur Driver Committee

The best of harness racing journalism in 2018 will be honored with the 57th edition of the John Hervey Awards for writing, the 35th edition of the Broadcasters Award and the 19th edition of the George Smallsreed Awards for photography. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. today (Dec. 10). Entries will be accepted for news/commentary writing, feature writing, broadcasting, race photography and feature photography. Entries published or broadcast between Dec. 1, 2017 and Nov. 30, 2018, 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. 24 in Orlando. Winners will receive a plaque/trophy as well as two dinner 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 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. 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. The decisions of the Hervey Committee and the judges are final. Email entries, or file shared for broadcast, should be sent to ken.weingartner@ustrotting.com. Questions can be directed to Ken Weingartner, chairman of the Hervey Committee, at the above email address. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

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  

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

HARRISBURG PA - If you have everything prepared for a winning effort, and that effort results in success, and you have the same people in place for the next time - why make any changes from a winning formula? So thought the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading group of journalists, who are announcing that their 2019 meetings and Dan Patch Awards Banquet will return to the wildly-popular 2018 site, the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL. "We received unprecedented praise and high marks for bringing our night to honor 'the best and brightest of the sport' to Rosen Shingle Creek in 2018," said USHWA president Shawn Wiles. "The facility proved great for our purposes, the cooperation of the staff was terrific, and above all our Banquet honorees really enjoyed their surroundings. So it's back to the Rosen Shingle Creek for USHWA in 2019!" The Harness Writers will have their annual meetings on Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, 2019 in the central Florida location, with the Dan Patch Banquet held on Sunday evening. More information about prices, journal advertising, reservations, and the like will appear over the next few months on USHWA's website, www.ushwa.net. From National USHWA      

Hightstown, NJ --- In only his third full season as a harness racing trainer, Marcus Melander enjoyed a memorable year that culminated with Fourth Dimension being named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. Melander, who turned 26 in January, came to the U.S. from Sweden less than five years ago and worked for trainer Jimmy Takter before starting his own stable in late 2014. He is based in New Egypt, N.J., at a farm that was home previously to each the legendary Stanley Dancer and Continental Farms stables. Last year, Melander’s horses won 38 races and $1.31 million in purses, nearly tripling his earnings from the previous season. His victories in 2017 included the Valley Victory Stakes with Fourth Dimension, a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial with Long Tom, and an elimination of the Hambletonian Stakes with Enterprise, who later was fourth-placed-third in the final. Melander’s stable this year numbers 40 horses, with the majority being 2-year-olds. He recently took time to talk with Ken Weingartner, the U.S. Trotting Association’s media relations manager. KW: First of all, congratulations on Fourth Dimension receiving the Dan Patch Award. What does that mean to you, especially at such a young age? MM: That meant a lot. There are so many good horses and so many good trainers. To have the best one, it means a lot, especially in my third year as a trainer. Like you said, I’m young, and it’s not easy to get those awards. I’m very happy with it. KW: What’s it been like getting settled here in the States and how have you seen your stable change? MM: The first year when I was here, we only had about six babies (2-year-olds). We had a couple that were OK. But after that, I got a horse (Clifton Beach) from (owner) Courant. He was a 3-year-old gelding that made breaks, but I did good with him. After that, I got some more horses from them and we did well. That’s when I started to pick owners up. You need to have good owners to have good horses. I’m very thankful to all my owners. KW: What have you learned over the first couple years? MM: First of all, I learned a lot when I worked for Jimmy Takter my first year here. Then I went on my own. You’ve got to put horses in the right condition, you have to figure out travel, there is always stuff you look at and maybe change. Last year with Enterprise for the Goodtimes we went back and forth (to Canada) and he was no good in the final because he had a problem with ulcers. Maybe we should have stayed up there. You’re always learning things. I’m only 26. I’ve got a lot to learn still. But I’m feeling more comfortable every season. KW: Have you done anything different training wise? Changed your approach? MM: Maybe a little bit. Last year we had a really good year with both the 2- and 3-year-olds. But you always look to improve things. You think about things as you’re out there driving. KW: With the experience you gained last year does that help you going forward? MM: Oh yeah absolutely. With Long Tom and Enterprise, they started early very good and I think maybe I topped them a little too early. They raced great until the (Hambletonian) and after that they flattened out a little bit and we had some bad racing luck. That’s stuff you learn too. Maybe we won’t qualify as early. But it was a little different because Enterprise only made one start as a 2-year-old so you had to be going a little earlier. KW: How are your 2-year-olds coming along? MM: They’re good. I’m very happy with all of them. It’s a good group. I can’t pick anyone out right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing them race. KW: Are they all trotters? MM: I’ve got three pacers. I’ve got 25 trotters and three pacers. It’s fun. They’re really nice. I’ve got one Captaintreacherous colt (Sundown Showdown) and one Sweet Lou filly (Sweet Body) and a Roll With Joe colt (Quickcallblue Chip). They pace very good. I’m happy with them. We’ll see how they do. KW: Do you see much difference with the pacers? MM: No, like I said, I learned a lot the first year I was here working with Jimmy. We had a lot of pacers there. You maybe do some things differently, but it’s not much different. KW: Has it been an adjustment living in the States? MM: I’ve loved it here from the day I got here. This will be my fifth year here. I’m happy. My whole family is here and there are a lot of Swedes around, friends and stuff, so it’s good. KW: What do you most like about living here? MM: I like the racing here. In Sweden it’s very good too, but it’s a little bit different here. I just like it here. KW: What do you most enjoy about working with the horses? MM: We have really good horses this year. I’m looking forward to the season. Hopefully we can have a great year again. Hopefully everything goes well and we have a good year. KW: Do you feel more pressure because of last year? MM: Not really. It’s not pressure. I have good owners that stand behind me. I’m feeling confident in what I do and I think that’s the most important thing. You can’t feel nervous about it. You have to train the horses the way you want and if it doesn’t go well, maybe because of sickness or something else, then that is it. But you can’t go around and feel pressure. I feel more excited and looking forward to the racing season getting started. It will be fun. KW: This is the position you want to be in, with stakes horses. MM: Oh yeah, absolutely. Thirty-seven of 40 (horses) are 2- and 3-year-olds. That’s what we’re looking for, for sure. KW: What do you like to do when you’re not working? MM: I like to be on the farm. There is always work on a farm when you own it. I like to be on the farm. I never leave the farm much if I’m not going racing. Following is a look at 2- and 3-year-olds in the Melander Stable, courtesy of www.melanderstable.com: 2-Year-Olds Army Of Monkeys (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) Demon Onthe Hill (Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall) Dreamgirl Hall (Muscle Hill-Danica Hall) Fly Hawk Hanover (Explosive Matter-Free Spirit) Georgia Beach (Conway Hall-To The Question) Great Explorer (Muscle Mass-Mayflower Volo) Heather Deo (Trixton-Caylee Dream) Isolde (Cantab Hall-Tosca) Kesha Blue (Chapter Seven-Kendall Blue) Kredit Karma (Credit Winner-No Pain No Gain) Matter Of Fact (Explosive Matter-Chips N Caviar) Mimi'spearloflindy (Cantab Hall-Lindy’s Showgirl) Olympic Goal (Donato Hanover-Bewitching Beauty) Profit Prophet (Father Patrick-Jupiter) Quickcallblue Chip (Roll With Joe-Put On A Clinic) Reverie Deo (Trixton-Brigham Dream) Rifleman (Father Patrick-Designed To Be) Shee La (Cantab Hall-Victory Bouquet) Shocking Blue (Andover Hall-Angela Hall) Speed Titan (E L Titan-Show Your Lindys) Sundown Showdown (Captaintreacherous-Rideintothesunset) Sweet Body (Sweet Lou-Beach Body) Tangent (Cantab Hall-Fraction) Tuscaloosa (Father Patrick-Sweet Alabama) Whiteline Hanover (Andover Hall-Wishful Me) 3-Year-Olds Bay View (Yankee Glide-South Bay) Evaluate (Andover Hall-Blathin) Follet (Muscle Hill-Ruling Class) Fourth Dimension (Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip) Fuel Her Flame (Cantab Hall-Graceful Touch) Muscle Playmate (Muscle Hill-Lima Playmate) Stonecoldassassin (Wishing Stone-Horseshowmom) Sweet On You (Kadabra-Dynamite Honey) Thrust Control (Cantab Hall-Ideal Harbor) Tokarev (Muscle Hill-Christiana Hanover) What A Knockout (Donato Hanover-Southwind Sofia) by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Hightstown, NJ --- Trace Tetrick will head to Orlando this weekend to receive harness racing’s Rising Star Award, and even if he stops off at a nearby theme park it will be difficult to top the ride he enjoyed in 2017. Tetrick, a 31-year-old driver who grew up in Illinois and now calls Indiana home, set career highs with 569 wins and $6.81 million in purses. He cracked North America’s top 10 in victories for the first time, finishing fourth, and was No. 11 in North America for earnings, another lifetime best. Interestingly, nine of the drivers ahead of him on the money list were former Rising Star Award winners, including his older brother, Tim. The award, presented by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, recognizes early career achievement for a driver or trainer age 35 or younger. Tetrick, who has won 4,443 races and $45 million in purses lifetime, will receive his trophy during Sunday’s Dan Patch Award banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. “It’s a great privilege to be honored in that category and to be invited to be a part of that event,” Tetrick said. “It was probably my best year overall. The highlight, I’d say, was the Breeders Crown. To be in the Breeders Crown again and get a couple wins was great.” Tetrick won Breeders Crown finals with Blazin Britches (3-Year-Old Filly Pace) and Fiftydallarbill (2-Year-Old Colt Trot). He also captured three Indiana Sire Stakes championships, two Kentucky Sire Stakes championships, and one Ohio Sire Stakes championship. In those eight victories, Tetrick drove the favorite only once. “I guess it was being in the right spots at the right time, being lucky,” Tetrick said. “Everybody is looking to beat the favorites. When you’re not the favorite, you can kind of run under the radar. But whether you’re the favorite or not, you’re just trying to put your horse in the best possible spot to make money. If things work out to where you get all of it, that’s even better.” Tetrick was the regular driver of Blazin Britches, who will receive the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old female pacer. The filly was trained by Brian Brown, who will receive the Trainer of the Year Award, and owned by Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm, which will get the Owner of the Year trophy. Tetrick, Brown and Trogdon also won an Indiana Sire Stakes championship together last year with Always Bet De Grey and enjoyed success previously with Color’s A Virgin, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old female pacer in 2014. “Brian and Bruce Trogdon have been very good to me and things have worked out,” Tetrick said. “It’s great to have the opportunity with those guys.” Another honoree at Sunday’s Dan Patch Awards banquet will be Hoosier Park, which will receive the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award. Hoosier Park, which is Tetrick’s home track, hosted the Breeders Crown last year to rave reviews from horsemen and fans. “I thought they did a great job,” said Tetrick, who has won six driving titles at Hoosier Park. “They put forth a lot of effort and they tried to put on a good show. That’s all you can ask. But I think that everyone that came for it had a great time. They loved it. We had a little bad weather the one day, but there’s nothing you can do about that. The racing was still good; the track was still fair. I thought they did a very good job and everyone was happy. “It also allowed so many people to see the event that never had the opportunity to go to the Breeders Crown; not only new people, but people from the Midwest that have been in the business for years. I think it was great for people to be able to come and see the Grand Circuit-type horses here.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Come this Sunday night, February 25, the United States Harness Writers Association will host its annual Dan Patch Awards Night and part of the festivities will be the largest silent auction in the history of the event. Thanks especially, to all the donors who came forth with some super items. "Members from all corners of the harness racing community have really supported our silent auction with donations this year," said Tim Bojarski, president of the USHWA. "and as a result, we have a plethora of quality items for everyone to bid on. With a large live crowd expected and with the opportunity for anyone to bid in advance from home, this auction could prove to be one of the most profitable ever. "And all the proceeds will help fund worthy initiatives within the industry, spearheaded by the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA," Bojarski concluded. There are 26 unique items in the silent auction, great vacation and racing packages, superb artwork, special collectables, gift certificates, media services and even private handicapping lessons. Something for everyone. The items in the auction are listed below with the donor(s) for each item. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit www.ushwa.org or call Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029.  Rosen Shingle Creek Package (Rosen Shingle Creek) 2018 Preakness Package (Maryland Jockey Club) Phillies/Mets Package (Nick Saponara) Batavia Downs Package (Batavia Downs) Red Mile Package (Red Mile Sponsorship Team) Always B Miki Print (Michelle Hogan) NY Yankees tickets vs Houston Astros plus food and beverages (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Autographed baseball from C C Sabathia (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Autographed baseball from NY Yankees Aaron Judge (Bob Boni/Northwood Bloodstock) Stained Glass Panel (Barbara Dresser & Callie Davies-Gooch) Cigar Label Collection (Barry Lefkowitz and Harness Racing Museum) Adios Print (Tom Charters) Macau Print (Leon Zimmerman) Cam Fella Print (The Farm Ventures, Off and Pacing, Ryan Clements, Lanon Mulhall) Wine Goblets (Suzanne D'Ambrose) Bow River Necklace (Bow River Jewelry) Ohio Sires Stakes Gift Basket (Ohio Sires Stakes) Hoosier Park Gift Basket (Hoosier Park) Canadian Horse Racing Gift Basket (Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Retromedia Publishing & Melissa Keith) Tim Hortons Gift Basket (Melissa Keith) Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Gift Bag (Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown) Campbell Collection (Gordon Waterstone, Moira Fanning) Meadowlands TV Night (New Meadowlands) PR Services (Mark McKelvie & Melissa Keith) Handicapping Session (Garnet Barnsdale) Off & Pacing Package (The Farm Ventures & Off and Pacing Team) Fennell's Gift Certificate (R E Fennell's Company) Red Mile Gift Shop Gift Certificate (Jeremy Wilson) Big Dee Gift Certificate (Big Dees Tack & Vet Supply) Submitted by National USHWA  

And the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Award as the 2017 Horse of the Year is .......... At approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will fill in the blank at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. If you aren't among the attendees at the dinner you can still watch the big announcement -- as well as that of Trotter of the Year and Pacer of the Year -- as the entire awards ceremony, sponsored by Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Ron Burke, will be broadcast live on USHWA's Facebook page, which can be accessed here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 26. Dinner tickets must be ordered by Tuesday, Feb. 20, by contacting Judy Wilson via email at zoe8874@aol.com or by phone at (302) 359-3630. You can also order the $175 dinner tickets on the USHWA website at www.ushwa.net. Dinner selections must be made at the time of ordering, with the choices either filet mignon, Caribbean spiced grouper or a vegetable plate. All meals are prepared gluten-free. Post time for the evening is 6 p.m. with a one-hour cocktail reception sponsored by the Downbytheseaside Syndicate getting things under way. A special guest will be Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair, considered by many to be the greatest professional wrestler of all-time. Flair is attending the Dan Patch Awards dinner as a guest of one of the honorees and will also be meeting and greeting attendees on the Dan Patch Red Carpet, sponsored by Hoosier Park. Also starring on USHWA's version of 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 at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Rooms at Rosen Shingle Creek are nearly sold out so if you plan to attend and still need to book, you can access USHWA's special portal by going to the website www.ushwa.net. Ken Weingartner

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