Writers Dole Out Awards At Banquet

Published: November 18, 2014 01:11 pm EST

On Sunday, November 16, the Monticello-Goshen chapter of USHWA held its 56th annual awards banquet.

The event took place at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, New York for the third consecutive year. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. During the evening awards were presented to the deserving recipients, and when they were all given out, banquet emcee John Manzi was the recipient of a friendly roast.

The USHWA chapter presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Ted Gewertz. He is, and has been, a prominent owner who has been part of many champions, including Deweycheatumnhowe, Giant Victory, Windsong Legacy, Somwherovrarainbow and Shebestingin, to name a few. His great love for the sport is unparalleled as is his desire to win. Ted is among the few who puts his money where their mouth is. For more on Gewertz, click here.

Also honoured was Ken Weingartner, who became the sixth recipient of the Phil Pines Award. No one writes more copy about harness racing than Weingartner. “I would guess I’ve written in the neighborhood of 3,000 stories prior to joining the USTA and HRC,” he says. A former sportswriter, Weingartner also has been a multiple newspaper award winner spanning news, sports, and editorial writing. For more on Weingartner, click here.

For all that he has done for the Standardbred sport at the Little Brown Jug, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and now at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Jason Settlemoir was the recipient of the chapter’s Good Guy Award. A man of multiple talents, it seems that there’s nothing that Settlemoir can’t do, except maybe winning Monticello Raceway’s Battle of the Brain Trusts. And even that’s probably going to happen for Settlemoir in the near future. For more on Settlemoir, click here.

George Casale was the unanimous choice for the 31st annual Amy Bull Crist Award for his dedicated service at Historic Track. Casale is the vice president of the Board of Directors at Goshen’s half mile oval and also serves as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is also a USTA certified judge and serves in the stand making sure there are no infractions of the rules during each race. For more on Casale, click here.

An Award of Appreciation was given to Monticello Raceway’s and Historic Track’s award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz. She won the George Smallsreed Photography Award from the United States Trotting Association a few years ago and there’s hardly a racing day that goes by that Schwarz hasn’t come up with an unique photo to go along with her spot-on race finishes and winner’s circle photographs. For more on Schwarz, click here.

This year’s Excelsior Award for deeds done to promote racing in New York State went to Albert and Michelle’s Crawford Farms. Few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms, which is located in Durhamsville, NY. Unfortunately, illness kept Michelle and Albert from attending the award presentation. National USHWA president and longtime chapter member Chris Tully accepted it in their behalf. For more on Crawford Farms, click here.

The Rising Star Award went to 25-year-old Jason Ryan, who has shown the local scribes that he has a great talent for driving Standardbreds. He started the year at Monticello and then went to Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota where he finished as the leading driver with 90 wins in their short season. He has since continued his winning ways upon returning to the Mighty M. For more on Ryan, click here.

The Caretaker of the Year Award went to one of hardest working gals on the backstretch, Nicole Devaux from the Keith Haase Stable

Horse of the Year honours went to the Ed Hall-owned, Jimmy Marohn Jr.-driven and Danny Gill-trained Rose Run Nash. His 19 seasonal victories still ranks him tops in races won by a trotter in North America this year.

Poppy Sydney Ridge was named the three-year-old colt trotter of the year, while KJ Brenda garnered the three-year-old trotting filly award.

Rose Run Nash was also won the older trotting horse of the year award, while Linda B won the older trotting mare award. The older pacing horse award went to 17-time winner Vincent Fra, while 20-time winner Diamond Tiara took home the older pacing mare award.

Since the majority of the races this year were claiming races, pacing awards went to Reflection Of Blue, Rustys Flying and Mr Tommy Fra. Claiming trotter awards were garnered by Bertos Angel and Menard Hanover.

Upon the completion of the awards ceremonies Bob ‘Hollywood’ Heyden moderated a panel consisting of Chris Tully, Moira Fanning, George Casale and Dr. Herb Burns, who were the evening ‘roasters.’ They conjured their best comedic lines and each ‘beat up’ Manzi. However, Manzi got the microphone last and zinged his roasters. All seemed to enjoy the night, especially when all 180 in attendance left the banquet hall chuckling.


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