by Frank Carulli
December 22, 2018
For the 12 days of Christmas, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced six champion pacers and trotters of 2018. The winners, to be honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando in February, are:
OLDER MALE PACER: S S G Stable’s McWicked, top-ranked in the sport’s year-end poll, dominated the voting, just as he did in winning six stakes races worth at least $250,000 and earning $1.57 million for the year. The Casie Coleman-trainee appears the front-runner for Horse of the Year honors.
OLDER MALE TROTTER: It was an October to remember for Homicide Hunter, who followed a world-record 1:48.4 victory in the Allerage Farms Open at the Red Mile with a winning rally in the $500,000 Breeders Crown. Chris Oakes trains Homicide Hunter for Michelle and Al Crawford’s Crawford Farms Racing.
OLDER FEMALE PACER: Shartin N received all but one first-place vote from 130 ballots cast. She won 19 of 24 starts overall, the $270,000 Breeders Crown, and five consecutive races to close as the first pacing mare to earn $1 million in a season. Jim King Jr. trains Shartin N for co-owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King.
OLDER FEMALE TROTTER: Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld’s Ariana G defeated male rivals in all five of her wins, including the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity, $250,000 Graduate Series final and the $250,000 Dayton Trotting Derby. Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter will retire with his 34th Dan Patch Award champion.
3YO MALE PACER: The well-traveled Dorsoduro Hanover won the $530,000 Breeders Crown, and $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios and finished second in the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug to earn championship status. He earned $1.28 million for owners 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 Wingfield Five (Bradley, Charles, Kimberly, Robert and Thomas Wingfield).
3YO MALE TROTTER: Six Pack scratched sick from the Breeders Crown, but he dominated throughout the year to emerge the winner in a talent-laden division. He won the $620,000 Kentucky Futurity in a world-record 1:49.1 and the $500,000 Yonkers Trot en route to an 11-15 record and millionaire status for trainer Ake Svanstedt and co-owners Lars Berg, Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC and Tomas Olofsson’s Tall Kalmar FF.
3YO FEMALE PACER: Kissin In The Sand finished first or second in all 15 starts and her stirring victory in the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial at Pocono Downs was one of four, six-figure stakes wins for owner Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield’s Hatfield Stable.
3YO FEMALE TROTTER: Atlanta, the first filly to win the $1 million Hambletonian this century, received the highest percentage of votes (96.3 percent). She also won the $320,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity and $238,613 Empire Breeders Classic and ran second in the Breeders Crown to earn a division-leading $1 million for the father-son combo of trainer Rick Zeron and driver Scott Zeron. Co-owners include Brad Grant, Howare Taylor, Michelle and Al Crawford’s Crawford Farms and William Holland’s Holland Racing Stable.
2YO MALE PACER: Breeders Crown winner Captain Crunch (6-10, $616k) gave trainer Nancy Johansson her second divisional champion. He is owned by 3 Brothers Stable (Alan, Ron and Steve Katz), Christina Takter, Norman and Robert Aerenson’s Rojan Stable, and Judy and Buck Chaffee’s Caviart Farms.
2YO MALE TROTTER: Gimpanzee proved more than the King of New York. He won six preliminary heats and the $225,000 sire stakes final before he remained unbeaten in the $600,000 Breeders Crown. Marcus Melander trained Gimpanzee for Anders Strom’s Courant Inc.
2YO FEMALE TROTTER: Step aside Manchego, you have company as the only prior undefeated champion in this division. Woodside Charm was unbeaten – and mostly unchallenged – in winning all seven starts for owner-trainer Verlin Yoder. She romped in the $600,000 Breeders Crown and became the fastest freshman trotter on a half-mile track with a 1:53.4 win at Saratoga.
2YO FEMALE PACER: Warrawee Ubeaut (7-12, $646k) complemented her Breeders Crown win with a world-record 1:48.3 in the Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile. Trainer Ron Burke’s second Dan Patch winner of the year is owned by Sylvia Burke’s Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi and the partnership of Jerry Silva, Theresa Silva, Purnel Jones Jr. and Elizabeth Jones.