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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

Dave Briggs and Bob "Hollywood" Heyden were named the winners of the 2018 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism while Chris Gooden and Michael Burns were named recipients of the George Smallsreed Awards for photography and Woodbine Entertainment Group was selected the winner of the Sam McKee Award for broadcasting, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Tuesday. The winners will be recognized at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando. Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeffrey Gural is continuing his longstanding sponsorship of the awards by providing banquet tickets for the winners. Briggs won in the feature writing category for his two-part series "Inside the Mind of Jimmy Takter" that appeared in the Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 editions of Harness Racing Update. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. With the win, Briggs extended his record for Hervey honors to 12, with eight of the trophies for feature writing. Heyden won in the news/commentary category for his essay "Requiem for Sam McKee," which appeared in the March 9 edition of Harness Racing Update. To read the piece, click here. The honor was Heyden's first in the journalism category; he was recognized previously, with McKee, in the broadcast division. Honorable mention in the feature writing category went to Jessica Hallett for her story "Stronger Together: Florida horsemen work together to bring a friend to a survivor," which recounted the efforts of horsemen to find a therapy dog for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kayla Schaefer. The story appeared in the June issue of Hoof Beats magazine. Honorable mention in the news/commentary category went to Derick Giwner for his column "Is the Standardbred horse shortage real?" that appeared in the June 21 edition of DRF Harness Weekend and to Briggs for his coverage of the Hambletonian Stakes in the Aug. 6 edition of Harness Racing Update. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of past Hervey winner Brad Schmaltz, freelance writer Lou Monaco, and former Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the Smallsreed competition, Gooden won in the race action category for his photograph "Blizzard," which appeared online on March 14 on Australia's National Trotguide website. Gooden is a two-time Smallsreed winner. Burns won in the feature category for his photograph of pacers behind the starting gate that appeared on Oct. 18 on the Woodbine Mohawk Park website. Burns also is a two-time Smallsreed recipient. Honorable mention in the action category went to Clive Cohen's racing silhouette photograph that appeared on March 23 on the Woodbine Facebook and Instagram pages and to Ryan Thompson's Hawthorne triple-dead-heat photograph that appeared on the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association's website on Jan. 11, 2018. Honorable mention in the feature category went to Brad Conrad's snowy post parade photograph that appeared in the January 2018 issue of Hoof Beats and to Gooden's "Ice Crystals" that appeared on Nov. 20 on the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association's Facebook page. Judges for the photography categories were racetrack and newspaper photographer Bill Denver, multiple Eclipse Award-winning photographer Barbara Livingston, and former harness racing groom and longtime newspaper/magazine photographer Phil McAuliffe. In the McKee competition, Woodbine Entertainment Group was honored for its story on 3-year-old pacer Lather Up, which appeared as part of the June 16 North America Cup coverage on TSN. The story was written and produced by Phil McSween for the NA Cup special produced by Kris Platts. It was narrated by Paul Salvalaggio and edited by Jason Vanderzee. The camera operators were David Syrie and Gage Fletcher. The win gave WEG its third award in the broadcast division. To watch the story, click here. Honorable mention went to CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Aug. 4 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations, produced by Peter Lasser and featuring broadcasters Gary Seibel, Dave Brower, and Greg Blanchard. Entries for the Sam McKee Award were judged by Kurt Becker, track announcer at Keeneland and an Eclipse Award-winning broadcaster. For more information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet, visit www.ushwa.org. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

HARRISBURG, PA - John Polvinale, who started the Facebook page Harness Racing History to share his extensive collection of memorabilia and has curated it to grow into one of harness racing's most popular sites in the new technology, has been named the winner of a President's Award by U.S. Harness Writers Association head Shawn Wiles for its contribution to the knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by people both inside and outside of the sport. Polvinale first went to the races at Roosevelt Raceway when the track's age was still in single digits, then furthered his knowledge on the backstretch of Freehold Raceway, where trainer "Big Mike" Petito urged him to purchase a horse named Steady New Yorker in 1979. "In his first start for me, he went off at double digits, but he still won by eight lengths, with Jack Moiseyev driving. I thought this sport was going to be a piece of cake - which, of course, has not turned out to be the case." But the inevitable ups and downs of racing did nothing to deter Polvinale's enthusiasm for the game, with his love of history also leading him to assemble a large collection of harness-related materials, books, trophies - you name it. "I had started to watch race replays on the Internet and social media, and with the encouragement of friends who wanted me to share my collection, I decided to use these emerging media to start Harness Racing History." Extensive collection of memorabilia Polvinale soon found that his new site had struck resonantly with many harness racing fans - and also with people with only a passing or little knowledge of the sport. "It started with people that I knew," John remembered, "but then those people talked to people in their own 'circles,' including those not in racing," and a "ripple effect" was soon evident, with those outside the sulky community finding items and people that interested them. Harness Racing History just broke the 30,000 "member" plateau, and in a given month will have 100,000 "engagements" (posts, comments, likes, views). The site's viewership is 60-40 male-female, and 60% fall within the desired 25-54 age range demographic. It was Polvinale who started the Facebook page, doing most of the early postings, and he still checks the site "about once during most of my waking hours," watching for any signs of commercialism or incivility, both of which are quickly eradicated. However, he is very proud that now "it's mostly the members, the visitors to the site who have determined its 'shape,' and are the drivers of what appears on the website. We know of certain trends, say people who want to see the replays of certain races at certain times, but it's really our audience who are the content shapers with their postings and comments. "One of the things that gives me the greatest satisfaction is that the site has become a place where 'family reunites' - people who haven't heard from another party for 20 or 30 years will see some experience they had in common and make a comment, and old friendships are reborn." Polvinale's catchwords for operating the site are "pure" and "simple," and those feelings resonate so much that when USHWA president Wiles told John of his winning the award, Shawn used those very words in congratulating Polvinale - "and it was evident he had captured the spirit of the site exactly." John Polvinale 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 - 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

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

There is still time to submit nominations for the 2018 Caretaker of the Year. The award, in its fourth year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park (HRRNP) in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung heroes of the harness racing sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by HRRNP and USHWA. The HRRNP Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening, Feb. 24, 2019, where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets. "Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights," said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. "This cadre toil in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible. All that is need to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, and sent to chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. From U. S. Harness Writers Association    

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