History’s fastest pacer, Always B Miki, and once-beaten Betting Line were among six pacers named Dan Patch Award winners on Friday (December 16) by the United States Harness Writers Association.
Huntsville, Idyllic Beach, Lady Shadow, and Pure Country also were named divisional champs by the organization.
A total of 155 Dan Patch Award ballots were returned by USHWA’s membership. All of the winners were named on at least 74 per cent, with Lady Shadow’s 93 per cent leading the way.
Pure Country, who received 89 per cent of the vote among three-year-old female pacers, is a repeat winner. She is one of three champions from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, who also conditioned Always B Miki and Idyllic Beach.
Divisional trotting champions were announced Thursday. Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be announced at noon Monday in a live show streamed over the Facebook pages of USHWA, Hoosier Park, and the Harness Racing FanZone. The presentation will be hosted by Emily Gaskin, Hoosier Park’s race marketing manager.
Five-year-old Always B Miki, who paced the fastest mile in harness racing history on October 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile when he won the Allerage Open Pace in 1:46, was named the sport’s best older male pacer. His time eclipsed Cambest’s 1:46.1 mark, which was established in a time trial and stood as the record for 23 years, and lowered the race record, shared by multiple horses, by four-fifths of a second.
In addition to becoming the fastest horse in history, Always B Miki shares the world record of 1:47 for the fastest mile by a horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki paced 1:47 on a five-eighths oval on three occasions, an unprecedented feat. He also holds the record of 1:47.1 for the fastest mile ever paced in Canada.
Always B Miki, driven by David Miller, won 12 of 18 races this year and finished worse than second only once. His victories included the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, William Haughton Memorial, and TVG Series championship for male pacers.
A son of Always A Virgin out of the mare Artstopper, Always B Miki was bred by Roll The Dice Stable, which owns the stallion with Bluewood Stable and Christina Takter.
Lady Shadow, a two-time O’Brien Award winner in Canada, was voted her first Dan Patch Award as best older female pacer. The five-year-old mare won 12 of 20 races and earned $851,981 this year for trainer Ron Adams and owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, and BFJ Stable.
Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare Pace, Roses Are Red, Milton, Lady Liberty, Golden Girls, and TVG Series championship for female pacers. She was driven most often by Yannick Gingras, but also scored a stakes triumph with James MacDonald.
Lady Shadow, a daughter of Shadow Play out of the mare Lady Camella, was bred by Winbak Farm.
After opening his campaign with a second-place finish against older horses, Betting Line never lost again, putting together a 14-race win streak on his way to being named best three-year-old male pacer. His victories included the North America Cup, Little Brown Jug, Battle of the Brandywine, and Carl Milstein Memorial.
His time of 1:47.2 in winning the Battle of the Brandywine at Pocono set the world record for a three-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track and his 1:49 mile in the Little Brown Jug at Delaware equalled the fastest time ever for a three-year-old pacer on a half-mile oval. He earned $1.46 million.
Betting Line was trained by Casie Coleman and driven by David Miller and Jonathan Drury. He is owned by West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun, and Mac Nichol. The colt, a son of Bettors Delight out of Heathers Western, was bred by Fair Winds Farm.
Pure Country is the third female pacer this century to receive Dan Patch Award honours at ages two and three. The most recent, See You At Peelers in 2010-11, also was trained by Takter. The other was Worldly Beauty in 2001-02.
Owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Pure Country is a homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Western Montana.
She won 10 of 21 races this year and hit the board a total of 17 times on her way to $1.08 million in purses. Her victories included the Fan Hanover Stakes, James Lynch Memorial, Simcoe, Matron, and Miss Pennsylvania. She finished second to Betting Line in the Milstein Memorial. Brett Miller drove her in all but one of her starts, when Yannick Gingras subbed and captured the Simcoe.
Huntsville, who was named best two-year-old male pacer, won seven of 11 races and never finished worse than second as he posted earnings of $689,814. He enjoyed a six-race win streak that included victories in the Breeders Crown, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.
His 1:49 mile in the International Stallion equalled the world record for a two-year-old pacer.
Huntsville, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Wild West Show, was bred by trainer Ray Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo. He is owned by Schnittker, Iannazzo, Ted Gewertz, and Steve Arnold. Tim Tetrick was his driver.
Two-year-old female pacing champion Idyllic Beach won eight of 14 races and hit the board in every start. Her wins included the Shes A Great Lady and Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes in addition to a division of the International Stallion.
Gingras drove Idyllic Beach for Takter and owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., and Marvin Katz. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Idyllic, Idyllic Beach was bred by Steiner Stock Farm.
All winners will be honoured at the Dan Patch Awards banquet, presented by Hoosier Park, on Sunday (February 26) at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas. Information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet presented by Hoosier Park is available at ushwa.org.
TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER
Huntsville (118 votes)
Somebeachsomewhere—Wild West Show—Western Hanover
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeders: Ray Schnittker, Charlie Iannazzo
Owners: Ray Schnittker, Ted Gewertz, Charlie Iannazzo, Steve Arnold
Trainer: Ray Schnittker Driver: Tim Tetrick
Races: 11-7-4-0 Purses: $689,814 Mark: 1:49 at Red Mile (equals world record)
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final; $66,000 Bluegrass division; $65,500 International Stallion division
TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER
Idyllic Beach (120 votes)
Yearling Price: $100,000 under name Lima Incredible at Lexington Selected Sale
Breeder: Steiner Stock Farm
Owners: Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc., Marvin Katz
Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 14-8-4-2 Purses: $647,678 Mark: 1:50.3 at Mohawk
Top wins: $328,790 She’s A Great Lady; $246,000 Kentuckiana; $65,500 International Stallion division
THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER
Betting Line (123 votes)
Bettor’s Delight—Heather’s Western—Western Hanover
Yearling Price: $60,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale
Breeder: Fair Winds Farm
Owners: West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun, Mac Nichol
Trainer: Casie Coleman Drivers: David Miller, Jonathan Drury
Races: 15-14-1-0 Purses: $1.46 million Mark: 1:47.2 at Pocono (world record)
Top wins: $780,000 North America Cup; $577,000 Little Brown Jug; $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine
THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER
Pure Country (138 votes)
Somebeachsomewhere—Western Montana—Western Hanover
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeder: Diamond Creek Farm
Owner: Diamond Creek Racing
Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller
Races: 21-10-4-3 Purses: $1.08 million Mark: 1:48.2 at Red Mile
Top wins: $341,640 Fan Hanover; $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania; $300,000 Lynch Memorial
OLDER MALE PACER
Always B Miki (115 votes)
Always A Virgin—Artstopper—Artsplace
Sale Price: Homebred
Breeder: Roll The Dice Stable
Owners: Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, Christina Takter
Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: David Miller
Races: 18-12-5-0 Purses: $1.48 million Mark: 1:46 at Red Mile (all-time fastest mile)
Top wins: $500,000 Ben Franklin; $471,800 Haughton Memorial; $421,000 Breeders Crown; $400,000 TVG Series final
OLDER FEMALE PACER
Lady Shadow (145 votes)
Shadow Play—Lady Camella—Camluck
Yearling Price: $19,000 at Forest City Sale
Breeder: Winbak Farm
Owners: David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, BFJ Stable
Trainer: Ron Adams Drivers: Yannick Gingras, James MacDonald
Races: 20-12-2-1 Purses: $851,981 Mark: 1:48.1 at Mohawk
Top wins: $288,600 Roses Are Red, $250,000 Breeders Crown; $236,360 Milton