by Frank Carulli
January 15, 2020
Marcus Melander trained a pair of 3-year-old millionaire trotters in 2019, a fete rivaled only by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter in harness racing history.
But the U.S. Harness Racing Writers had little difficulty separating Greenshoe and Gimpanzee in the Dan Patch Award voting for divisional honors. Greenshoe won easily, receiving 123 votes to Gimpanzee’s 22, the largest margin among the six trotters named best in their class.
Defending Trotter of the Year Atlanta, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Six Pack, sophomore filly When Dovescry and 2-year-olds Real Cool Sam and Ramona Hill also will be hailed as champions at the awards banquet next month in Orlando, FL.
Gimpanzee deserves special recognition for winning the $500,000 Yonkers Trot and $500,000 Breeders Crown. But Greenshoe was scintillating, winning 10 of 13 starts and $1.2 million for co-owners Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, Morten Langli and Owner of the Year Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. Brian Sears did a masterful job handling Greenshoe, who the $450,000 Kentucky Futurity, $330,000 Dr. Harry Zweig Memorial and sire stakes finals in New Jersey and Kentucky but often raced erratically as he did when second in the Breeders Crown final.
Atlanta survived the closest vote to repeat as a champion, edging Manchego, 74-72. She carried her speed to win the $250,000 Graduate Series championship, the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial and $192,000 Armbro Flight en route to a division-best $767,950 bankroll. Yannick Gingras drove Atlanta for trainer Ron Burke and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor.
Multiple world-record holder Six Pack received more than half the votes as best older male trotter. He won the Allerage Open Trot at The Red Mile in 1:49.2 and capped a $581,314 season with a come-from-behind victory in the TVG Series final at the Meadowlands, his final race before retiring to a career at stud. Ake Svanstedt trained and drove the two-time Dan Patch winner for co-owners Little E-Knutssontrotting, Stall Kalmar Inc. and L Berg Inc.
When Dovescry emerged as the best 3-year-old trotting filly in the second half of 2019. She won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands and proved it was no fluke with a season-ending win in the Matron that pushed her seasonal earnings to $644,380. She finished in the money in all 12 starts for owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain. Simon Allard drove When Dovescry for his brother, trainer Rene Allard.
Fashion Farms’ Real Cool Sam followed the footsteps of his dam, world record-setter Cooler Schooner, on his way to being named champion freshman trotter. He set five world records in winning his first nine starts, including the $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial. He became the fastest 2-year-old gelding ever when he dead-heated with Big Oil in 1:52.1 in the International Stallion Stakes. Hall of Famer David Miller drove Real Cool Sam for trainer Jim Campbell.
Ramona Hill went to the head of the 2-year-old trotting fillies class with a 4-length victory from post 10 in the $600,000 Breeders Crown. She won 6 of 7 starts during a $405,400 year for co-owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc and In The Gym Partners. Her Breeders Crown triumph was one of four for driver Andrew McCarthy and three for trainer Tony Alagna.