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Harness Highlights: Shartin N Named Horse of the Year

by Frank Carulli

February 26, 2020

She danced every dance, with nary a match for her fancy footwork.

Shartin N ran away with harness racing Horse of the Year honors, becoming the first pacing mare in 73 years of voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association to earn such a distinction. She received 83 votes, nearly double that of runner-up Bettor’s Wish (42), a 3-year-old pacing colt who out-distanced Trotter of the Year Greenshoe (14 votes) in the balloting. The results were announced at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet Sunday in Orlando, FL.

 As a 6-year-old in 2019, Shartin N upstaged an historic 2018 season in which she became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million. She won 15 of 19 starts last year and bankrolled an additional $982,177 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo-Ann Looney King and Tim Tetrick LLC. The New Zealand bred became the first horse bred outside the U.S. to win the award.

 She didn’t win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace, finishing second to Caviart Ally, her main rival throughout the last two years. But Shartin N did more than enough to take home the most prestigious of the Dan Patch Awards, winning eight stakes races of $100,000 or more on a whirlwind North America tour.

 With Hall of Famer Tim Tetrick doing the driving, she won in the $402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker series final at Yonkers, $330,000 Roses are Red at Woodbine-Mohawk Park, $179,550 Golden Girls at the Meadowlands, $137,000 Artiscape at Tioga Downs, and the $100,000 Betsy Ross at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial at Miami Valley and Clara Barton at Plainridge.

 Trainer Jim King Jr. had Shartin N primed for a world-record 1:46.4 performance in the $183,000 Lady Liberty at the Meadowlands August 3.

 “It’s crazy good,” King told Ken Weingartner of the U.S. Trotting Association after the Horse of the Year announcement. “It’s unexplainable. It’s one of those feeling that everybody should get the chance to experience. Unfortunately, everybody can’t do this.”

 Bettor’s Wish, runner-up to Shartin N for Pacer of the Year, too, didn’t leave empty-handed. He received the Dan Patch Award as champion sophomore pacer after a year in which he finished first or second in all 19 starts and earned $1.6 million with four major stakes victories at as many tracks. Owned by Bettor’s Wish Partners, Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bella Racing Ltd, Bettor’s Wish was in the capable hands of trainer Chris Ryder and Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn.

 Trotter of the Year Greenshoe won 10 of 13 starts with three seconds for co-owners Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, Morten Langli and Owner of the Year Aners Strom’s Courant Inc. He was one of the most visually impressive trotters ever, winning the $450,000 Kentucky Futurity, $330,000 Dr. Harry Zweig Memorial and sire stakes finals in New Jersey and Kentucky and finishing second in the Hambletonian. Hall of Famer Brian Sears did the driving and Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander handled Greenshoe and Trotter of the Year runner-up Gimpanzee, who both topped $1 million in earnings.